It’s really time for winter to go.

Yes, yes, it’s been a great season for skiers, snowmobilers and people who enjoy shoveling their driveways. (You know who you are. Weirdos.) But for the rest of us? This winter has been long, cold and snowy. And long. And cold.

And snowy.

Shopping Siren is tired of having the weather dictate whether she can drive to work or, heck, to the grocery store. Tired of worrying about whether the roof might collapse in the middle of the night because it’s weighted with too much snow. Tired of wearing a sweater, coat, gloves, scarf and hat — and still feeling her teeth chatter.

A couple of weeks ago the groundhog called for an early spring. Now, so do I! (No jokes, please, about the fact that I just equated myself with a squat, pudgy animal. It’s February and several key brain cells have frozen solid ’til spring. Like my driveway.)

So in an effort to save my sanity and yours, I offer some items to banish those winter blahs. Sadly, none includes a plane ticket to Florida. But I do provide the splendor of Australia’s beaches. (Well, kinda.)

* Grassroots Pro Series putting green, Gee & Bee Sports, $36.99

This portable putting green offers continuous ball return, so there’s no need to trudge all of 4 feet to retrieve your ball. Throw on a pair of golf pants and a short-sleeved polo shirt (the more plaid, the better) and putt around like it’s June! 

* Louisville Slugger Practice Partner pop-up net, Gee & Bee Sports, $99.99

Red Sox spring training begins this week for pitchers and catchers! A sure sign of spring. And, hey, if the major league guys can start training in February, so can you. This pop-up net fits nicely in a living room (if you push away the couch, coffee table and TV). Or get creative and perch it atop that snowdrift in your front yard.

* Tubbs snowshoes, various sizes, Gee & Bee Sports, $89.95-$159.95

To those people who believe snow can be fun and for whom this winter has been a grand and glorious adventure: I hate you. But exercise is a great way to beat the winter blahs, and there are not a lot of choices when snow blankets every available space in the state. So, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. (And, um, try not to get hypothermia in the process.)  

* Magic book and kit, Waldenbooks, $7.99

Kit includes instruction book, magic wand, rings, dice, cards and rope. While away the rest of winter by learning a few tricks to amaze your friends. Come spring, you’ll be a pro and they’ll be clamoring for you to perform at birthday parties and bar mitzvahs. Which will lead to paying gigs, lots of money and the ability to winter in Florida next year. Ta-da! Now, where did that wand go ….

* “Hawaii Five-0” DVD sets, seasons two and four, Rick’s Movies, Music & More, $24.97

Ignore the blizzard outside your window and instead turn your attention to beaches, bikinis and “Book ’em, Danno.” Sure, you’ll have to endure the ’70s haircuts, but that’s really a small price to pay for palm trees, don’t you think?

* Air Supply women’s sandals, The Shoe Dept.,  $24.98

Backless, open-toed, kitten-heeled sandals in springtime pink, green or white, as well as neutral black or brown. Patent-leather-like material gives these shoes an extra-special shine. (And when was the last time you saw anything — cars, shoes, windows — shine?) It’s still too cold to wear these outside, but maybe around the house in lieu of slippers? If anyone asks, you’re just breaking them in.   

Best Find:  Brown Trout Publishers Australian Beaches calendar, Waldenbooks, $1

Hang this up at work or tape it to your fridge at home … and dream. This 2011 calendar features a dozen photos of some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches. Sun, sand and a rainbow. Sun, sand and palm trees. Sun, sand and kangaroos. (I’m not even making that up.) We can’t all afford to jet to a warmer climate when the winter’s got us down, but we can at least spend a few minutes each day admiring the view.

Think Twice: Columbia Sierra Summette women’s boots, The Shoe Dept., $74.98

Pretty gray and brown boots with white faux-fur lining the top. According to the tag, they’re rated to withstand temperatures down to minus-25. Ugh. Don’t get me wrong; they’re perfectly lovely boots. And if we were in October, I’d grab a pair for myself. But I’ve had enough brown and gray and withstanding temperatures below zero. It’s time for spring! Now, excuse me while I gaze at the palm trees on my fridge.  

Shopping Siren’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who love kangaroos and all that they stand for) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at [email protected]


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