Keeping Warm this Wretched Winter

When I got out of work this evening, there were actual puddles on the relatively snow-free sidewalk, evidence of molecules moving, releasing heat. Wispy clouds veiled parts of a blue sky, and the air didn’t make my teeth hurt.

Yet I looked at the forecast earlier in the day, and Saturday’s weather promises “areas of frozen fog.”

Weather, what the HELL is that? I chatted with a friend today, and she said frozen fog sounded dementoresque. She said I should catch a dementor. So that’s what I’m going to do on Saturday. I’m going to tame it and give it a clever name.

The air has been frigid these past couple of weeks. Near zero degrees. Sometimes it rises all the way up to the 20s, sometimes a warm winter front comes through and dumps two easy feet of snow, dragging a hawkish train of more bitter coldness.

I do not get along with this weather. I fight it, stand up for myself. Here’s how:

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  1. Thermals under my pants. My coat isn’t quite long enough to cover all of my legs, so these help.
  2. Two pairs of socks, because there’s nothing I hate more than cold feet. I can’t sleep or work properly when my toes are frozen. I get mad at Frontrunner more easily when my toes are frozen.
  3. A wool layer is good for shielding the cold and trapping heat. I’ll wear this over a shirt, which I’ll usually wear over thermal tops. When I say I like being warm, I don’t mess around.
  4. TWO scarves. I unfold one and wear it like a cape over my shoulders. I’ll wrap the other one around my neck then over my head so that it covers my ears. I also hate when the cold pierces the insides of my ears.
  5. Another layer, usually waterproof and looser-fitting, over my pants. It helps to shield the wind that tries to wrap around my legs. In your face, winter weather!
  6. High, insulated, waterproof boots. These come just below my knees, and I pull my snowpants over them. This combination prevents my feet from getting wet. I’ve had to plow my way through foot-high snow on the sidewalk next to my work building.
  7. The coat is the final layer. I zip everything up and seal everything in. I’m ready to wait for the bus and/or the train. This picture looks like there’s an alien creature pushing through my stomach, but no, it’s other layers that keep me nice and warm.

Not pictured:

  • Gloves: Having cold hands is almost as bad as having cold feet.
  • Earmuffs: Again with the ears, but they ache if they’re cold. And then I cry.
  • Aliens keeping me warm from the inside.

The ultimate goal is to layer up so that I’m like Randy from A Christmas Story and I have to say, “I can’t put my arms down!”  and Reilly will say, “Well, put your arms down when you get to work.”

So far this system of layering has worked this winter. I haven’t yet gotten sick, and it seems that my fist just now shot out in some sort of reflexive action to find the closest wood-like surface to knock on. Bring it, January. I’m ready. Dementor, I’m coming for you.

I hope everyone else is keeping warm.

A Few More Photos from January 3

This is a great memory. I love how bright the snow is in the sun. I love the bluish underglow of the footprints in the snow. I love the sky in the framed shots with the arched trees over the trail. The fellow is my good friend, Ned, whom I love in a good-friend way. He took the photos. He’s really one of my best chums. We met back in 2003, and I’ve had so much fun bantering with him for almost eight years. Snowshoeing and Ned are a good combination. You should give it a try.

You Should Be Very Jealous of Me Right Now

Because I went showshoeing.

Vivian Park, south fork. Fresh powder, breathtaking views. On the way up, my fingertips were going numb, but once we leveled out and my blood was pumping properly, I was nice and toasty. Sweating, even.

Utah, today I really, really love you.

My friend, who was on cross-country skis, told me I did a good job. I told him I’m very strong.

By the way, is that very fair, him on skis while I’m in snowshoes?

We met a couple on our way up, Kaitlyn (not sure how she spells it) and George. Blond and smiley, they were. The girl spent last summer nannying in New Jersey, near the George Washington Bridge, and she said she prefers the fake niceness of Utah to the brashness of New Yorkers.

I can see where she’s coming from.

They took pictures of us, and we took pictures of them. I mean, how can one not bring a camera for an occasion like this?

I’m still kicking myself because I forgot mine. It’s sitting next to me now, in plain sight, cussing me out.

Sorry.

Good thing my friend brought his. I took a few photos with my camera phone, but the lens kept fogging up. You’ll see.

The snow brightened everything. It brought color to our cheeks. It was beautiful and powdery and frolicking in it brought me great joy. We would come to an untouched field along the trail and my friend would say, “This field is for you,” and so I skipped along in the snowshoes, sinking into the drifts and leaving deep prints and wandering trails of a very happy May.

Absolutely exhilarating.

Here are a few photos. Seriously, so much fun.