I did two things this past winter that I swore I’d never do: 1) I complained about the “cold” weather (or at least admitted to looking forward to warmer days); and 2) I turned the A/C onto heat.

And please, all you cold-blooded Northerners, spare me your sarcasm and your ridicule about how weak I am for even mentioning a stretch of sub-70-degree weather. There’s a reason I live here, and “terrazzo frostbite” ain’t it. Also, I have, like, two sweaters. And 18 pairs of flip-flops. I’m not dying of hypothermia; I’m not busting out the parka for lows in the 40s; I’m just saying: It was unusually cold for here recently, and for an unusually consistent period of time. I’m programmed to happily accept 100-percent humidity, so the cool, while refreshing, is still remarkable.

Anyway, all that to say that it’s been freakin’ awesome outside for the last two days, and I? Have been plugged with mucus from a sinus infection. (Speaking of: I take vitamin C as regularly as I can remember, plus Zinc when I feel myself coming down with something. Someone just recommended fish oil instead as a surefire cold-blocker. Any other theories on avoiding sickness? I’m starting to feel like a leper over here.) So yeah, not smelling the fresh-cut grass just yet, but man, I’m excited for days in the sun, being able to sit back, close my eyes and totally surrender to the perfect weather.

Here are some things I’m looking forward to doing in the springtime air:

BEACH. Dear god, yes, the beach. As we see the end of the chill in sight, all Sarasotans can talk about is getting out to the beach, lying down on the warm sand and soaking up some rays. It’s like we’re all so sensitive to cabin fever that we actually have to be on the beach before it’s cured.

For my money, I like the straight shot down Cortez Road from our house, picking any old place along Coquina Beach and playing paddle ball until I get sweaty, then sprinting into the water until the waves take my feet out from underneath me and I face-plant into the cool Gulf. That is heaven.

GT Bray. Site of many a soccer session for me as a kid, GT Bray’s expanse of fields is still something I can appreciate. Though I’ve tried playing for a few soccer leagues here and there, I find that after college, soccer is something I just don’t want to take that seriously anymore. So grabbing a spot of grass at Bray and kicking to CCB, as far and as hard as I want without worry of losing the ball or beaning any passersby, is a real treat for my inner soccer player.

Camping. Before the skeeters get too scary, time again to brave the hard ground and enjoy a little fireside social time. Rock Star Kim is trying to coordinate a big group to go camping and tubing somewhere north of here—the more the merrier, I say. If you’re going to spend an evening without TV, good to have some entertaining friends around playing with fire.

O’Leary’s. Yeah, it’s good all year round, but O’Leary’s is synonymous in my mind with enjoying the weather. The weather is the setting, which is why this time of year, it’s the best bar around.

Oh, well, Salty Dog, too.

…and the Tiki Bar on Lido. So I guess there’s a few.

Backyard barbecue. Thanks to some faulty wheels, we have the saddest little lopsided charcoal grill right now. But CCB assures me he’ll soon get his homemade grill-cart assembled, so we can wheel it out, bust out the Slip-n-Slides and have a few friends over to chill in the backyard as the sun goes down.

Front-porch sessions. All the neighbors do it, too, and we have a great front porch for sitting. A glass of iced tea and a couple of plastic chairs, and you can have deep conversations or just talk about the souped-up cars going by. Plus, as the sun sets this time of year, the sky turns six different shades of orange. You wouldn’t think it, but our house really has a great view.