Saturday, January 11, 2014

Feeling Minnesota.

(Picture taken by yours truly.  Lake Calhoun, at sunrise.)
Hello from the frozen tundra! Although, that's not entirely accurate.  It's in the balmy upper 20s today.  Warm enough to not wear my rated below 0 coat!  That beast is heavy!  I'm so thankful for what I consider perfectly normal winter weather.  That was not the case a week ago.  That was when the polar vortex hit Minnesota.  The temperature reached -25 and the windchill reached -45. 
I knew that it would be colder than I am used to here in Minnesota, but this has so far been the coldest winter in 17 years!  Everyone keeps telling me that it's not normally like this.
So... this is how I've been surviving.
-I have to start my mentioning that I live in a very nice building.  So I don't have to shovel a sidewalk, driveway or roof, or worry about maintaining my car for the winter.  I have a heated garage and take the bus downtown to my office everyday during the week. That eliminates a whole host of problems that most people have to face here in the upper Midwest.
-I have the warmest coat I could find.  I bought it on a whim this summer, on super clearance.  (Similar to this one, but much longer. Looks like the one I bought is out of stock.)  But it is rated -35 to -5 degrees.  And I've been wearing it almost every day since before Christmas.
-No matter where you're going, you wear snow boots.  (Mine are similar to these.  I bought mine a few years ago when we had a blizzard in Maryland.  I wore them once. So they were practically new!)  The sidewalks and parking lots are a sloppy, slippery mess so you wear snow boots.  (It's so cold, traditional means of snow removal just don't work.)  If I'm going to work or to a party or something, you carry along your regular shoes.  Everybody does this. 
-Wearing the warmest gloves, hat and scarf (gaiter) that I can find.  I didn't even know what a gaiter was before I moved to Minnesota.  It's basically a tube of fleece (or some other knit) that you wear around your neck.  None of that wrapping and tangling involved in a scarf.  I had an unfortunate tangling situation once with a traditional scarf and my long hair that nearly drove me to a hair salon.  The gaiter works better.
-Socks.  These make a big difference.  My only Christmas wish was Smartwool socks.  They are expensive, but so worth it! I ordered more today, relatively reasonably priced at Shoe Buy.
-Warm drinks.  I like good old Swiss Miss hot chocolate (it now comes in a K-cup!!) with peppermint marshmallows.  And my favorite hot tea is Tea Forte - Citrus Mint.
Other than staying inside and keeping busy, there's not much you can do.  I'm hopefully planning a tropical getaway and dreaming about summer!

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