Beating the brrr

Most of our readers know we live in Minnesota and most of our readers – being the savvy, intelligent people they are – were aware our temps recently hit record lows (-59° wind chill). Hence, our deepest apologies if our hiatus caused you any worries.

Rest assured. We are alive.

In answer to your question as to how we managed it, we did so in the same way we handled Phoenix when it hit a record high (122°). We skipped town.

The week of the dreadful cold, we were in Denver for Hey You’s funeral.  And then our two day trip became a full week because for some reason airlines weren’t anxious to fly back to Minneapolis. Meaning I spent a full week sans laptop.

Yeah, yeah, I know I should have packed it. But it was only supposed to be two days and going through TSA is stressful enough for me. I don’t need to add a laptop to the mix.

So there I was with just my phone, checking my emails but only halfheartedly because if you’re going to get stuck in a city, Denver is one of the better places to do it. They got some mighty fine restaurants and many of them reasonably priced.

omelet with salad on top
Breakfast at The Early Bird Cafe (who ever thought to put arugula and roasted hatch chili on top of an omelet? It’s genius!)

In any case, all this is to say that once home, my inbox was cluttered beyond reason. No matter how much I tried, I could not gain the upper hand. Something had to be done.

But first, a word about the cold.

You gotta be wondering about it, yeah? How this Arizona gal is holding up? Is she filled with remorse, wondering what in God’s name she was thinking moving to such a place?

pine trees covered in snow with mailboxes in front
Pine trees at their finest

Even if you’re not wondering, I feel I must say something to my naysayers on Facebook. Those who, when I posted pictures of the first snowfall back in October with a caption that read, “It’s soooo pretty!!!” (or something to that effect), responded with a snarky and most predictable, “Tell us what you think of it in February!”

It’s now February. It’s still pretty.

bare trees in deep snow
View from my backyard. The Mississippi is back there somewhere.

Personally, I don’t see the point of complaining about weather. Back in Phoenix there were those who got upset about the heat. Some of them even seemed angry about it. Now where’s the sense in that?

Ducks at a frozen pond
The park near our home, right before the severe cold hit. I assume the ducks have left by now, though you never know with ducks. They probably have a cottage nearby.

It was about a year ago when we realized a move to Minnesota might be a possibility. Naturally, I did some research. Using search terms such as, “Winter tips” and “Surviving brutal cold” and “How do Norwegians stand it?!”

Christmas decorations in snow
Christmas lasts longer in these parts.

I learned there’s a Scandinavian saying,

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.

With this in mind, I bought a Queen-size quilt with arms:

quilted down coat with fur-lined hood

Maybe you won’t find it on the cover of Vogue, but it’s rated at -50 “in moderate activity.” So far the coldest I’ve been in was a wind chill of -31°. Dog needed a walk and I couldn’t talk her out of it.

I’m here to report that Dog can do her job amazingly fast when she’s properly motivated. Also, L.L. Bean doesn’t lie. That coat is damn warm.

I learned something else from the Scandinavians: the key is not to endure winter, but to enjoy it.

Get outside when you can, appreciate the glistening snow and brisk air, wear comfy sweaters and curl up with a good book and a cup of tea.

Find the beauty in a red shed covered in snow.

Red shed covered in snow

After all, winter won’t last forever. It may seem like it, but eventually Spring will come.

So no worries about this Arizona gal. She’s handling winter like a champ.

Her inbox on the other hand…

Okay, so on Saturday I set a timer and whipped through Gmail’s Promotions folder and Personal folder in two half-hour sessions. I was on a roll! Then I hit the Social folder and it all came to a screeching halt.

That’s where all the bloggers I follow wind up, and Lordy they are a productive lot. Initially I thought I’d delete all the old posts and only read the most current, but after deleting a few I got to thinking. Is it their fault I got behind?

So then I thought, oh I’ll just read them fast and click “like” without commenting, but… well, that felt wrong too. Instead, I decided to throw caution to the wind and read every single one of them and comment too. (I’m reckless like that.)

As of now, I’ve 28 left to read. Which doesn’t sound bad but the day is young. There’ll probably be 14 new posts by dinnertime. Meaning the cold might not be bad, but the emails might do me in.

But hey, I’m not complaining. I’ll just brew a cup of tea, curl up by the fireplace with my laptop and read its soft, blue screen.


Living in Minnesota ain’t so bad at all. 😉

43 thoughts on “Beating the brrr

  1. Our place here near Woodstock NY is also gorgeous and snow-covered, and was darn cold–not as cold as your place, but very cold–minus something. I completely agree about the foolishness of complaining about the weather–

    1. Right?! It’s not like complaining is going to make you feel better! Well… maybe it does momentarily, but in the end you’re right back where you started. I say enjoy what life gives you and put up with the rest.

      1. It also makes sense to me that if I hate snow or heat, I can move to someplace that doesn’t have it, especially in the US. Lots of people voluntarily move to Florida or wherever to avoid snow, and maybe others move up north to avoid those who moved south!

    1. Phoenix sometimes got down to 30! Man, that felt cold. Funny how quickly one can acclimate though. After several days below zero here, I walked outside and thought, “Finally a warm day!” Checked the thermometer and it was 5°!

  2. Great post ! Condolences on your loss and prayers to keep your family through it.
    Glad your laptop was safe and waiting for you when you returned. Christmas does last longer in those parts- and it is no good complaining about the weather. The Scandinavians were right after all- if you can’t do anything about it, might as well enjoy it.
    And the quilt does look good though it looks like a great big snow jacket. How are the nuns holding up in this cold ? Do you see them these days ?
    I am very surprised to know the Mississippi river passes through Minnesota. I thought it was one of those southern rivers. Hope you made lots of hot pies and soups.

    1. Yeah, the Mississippi starts at the top of Minnesota, takes a slight turn where we are, then heads down south. The slogan for our town is “Where the Mississippi pauses.”
      The nuns are troopers, most of them are native Minnesotans so they do just fine. Some were a little worried about me, then they saw my coat and were very impressed. One said, “Now that’s a REAL Minnesota coat!” 😀

  3. Glad the winter isn’t getting you down. It snowed here in Vancouver (a rarity) and the city shut down — totally. Meanwhile I find Social media is overwhelming, also. I suspected I know a lot of smart people with fantastic things to say and I just have to cowboy up. Minnesota winter does look pretty!

    1. It helps that it doesn’t get very gloomy here, or at least when it does it clears up after a few days. Of course, on the days the sun is shining it’s usually colder, so that’s weird.
      I always forget how Vancouver is coastal. Must be beautiful there.

  4. Confession: The cold weather never used to bother me. (Northern Oklahoma can get surprisingly cold. Below-zero temps in winter were not uncommon; it was just part of life.) But in the last few years I’ve been turning into my Granny. (You could roast a turkey in her house just by leaving it on the coffee table.) I find myself, more and more often, kicking up that thermostat a few notches higher than it really should be. I am SO not a fan when it comes to certain aspects of the aging process. Still, you’re right in that complaining is only a temporary and essentially useless salve. And at least we have houses where we can get warm; there’s a sadly-growing number of folks who don’t have that option…

    1. I’ve heard that about Oklahoma, I know the Plains states are fiercely cold, with bitter winds. Everyone here is saying they haven’t had a winter like this for years. We’re in a somewhat protected area, with lots of trees. Even now, a half-hour south will have a huge storm and it’ll miss us, a half-hour north the same.
      You’re so right about the homeless. Also the elderly or low-income who have trouble paying their utility bills, or can’t afford a new furnace or a/c.

  5. Sounds like you’ve adjusted well. It’s true, the right clothes make a difference. Still, with below crazy wind chills, I think I’d still be hunkering down inside, waiting for the relative balm of 10 above. (And yes, I remember back in the day, unzipping my coat because 10 above felt warm. These days, let’s just say wuss would not be uncalled for.)

    1. Last week when it got all the way up to 0, my neighbor got out of her truck wearing short sleeves and shorts, having just been on a run in the park. It’ll be long while before I hit that kind of acclimation. 😉

  6. I’m so glad you are still alive, Christi. With your fully-encapsulating coat and roaring fire, you and Earl Grey are looking pretty cosy. I think it is very funny that your over-achieving blogger friends are causing more of a disturbance than the Siberian wind-chills.

    1. I guess it’s the neurotic organizer in me, who just can’t stand the sight of a cluttered inbox. But that’s all behind me now. I got up to speed last night with the fire blazing and instead of Earl Grey, a glass of Zinfandel. Lord only knows what sort of comments were a result of that!

  7. And now I’m going to add to your read load by writing a comment! I got quite stressed at not being able to catch up on a 3 week backlog and realised it’s because I always read the comments and often add my own. I put a plea on Twitter for everyone to stop writing for a while 😊. I’m a winter woman, but that’s a lot of cold. Minus 12C is our worst. (I don’t really understand Farenheit!). Seeing the beauty and the big picture does help endure it and put into perspective how lucky we are to have the creature comforts to make life easier. We are now spoilt with central heating. If one of us wants to turn the thermostat up to 18C, we have a committee meeting. 😉

    1. I looked it up, -12C comes to about 10 degrees Farenheit, which right now sounds balmy but if I were still living in Phoenix, I’d be whining something awful.
      I’m sooo glad I’m not the only one trying to get overachieving bloggers to see reason! And if you’re anything like me, before you follow a blog you check to see how often they post. I don’t know how many times I’ve been all nice and “oh, they followed me so I’ll follow them,” only to find out they post every 10 minutes. Seriously, what the hell?!

  8. I’d love to see the Mississippi in real winter, your winter… does it freeze? Yes, I also have been out of it, half aware but for medical reasons so catching up is a heavy load. But it seems like you’ve got it down. so I’m glad your back, safe and sound… jc

    1. The first several inches freeze, yeah, but not evenly so we can’t go walking on it (if we had the inclination, that is).
      Glad you’re feeling better. I finally got caught up with my emails, but it took time. Hang in there!

  9. Yes, growing up in the Midwest, we’ve had bad winters every so often. We’ve had summers in the 100s, too. In Chicago they say if you don’t like the weather, stick around because tomorrow will be different! I’m not crazy about driving on ice but other than that well, this, too, shall pass!

    1. I can believe it about Chicago! When Hubby went to school in Dubuque, Iowa, we took a trip to Chicago and really enjoyed the sites. But it took three tries to get there, the first two we had to turn around because of weather! 😀
      It has surprised us how pretty and white the snow stays here, maybe because there aren’t as many people, but also because it doesn’t melt and get slushy. The new stuff just piles onto the old.

  10. I live on an island. I always wondered what LL Bean folks thought, as they mailed me catalogs. Maybe they thought I was gonna buy their camping or canoeing gear. 🔦⛺

  11. Don’t worry about catching up, there’s one blogger I follow that I’m two years behind on…still slowly chugging through their posts. 😦

    Glad you’re dealing with the cold like a champ as well! I don’t miss winters in Indiana, admittedly, but I do think it’s easier to deal with the cold than the heat. You can’t exactly run around naked outside in the heat, but when it’s cold, you get smart and wear layered clothing and warm coats. 😉

    1. Wow — you’re a dedicated follower, sticking to a reading schedule with two years to go! You’ll note that with my tardy reply to this comment, I’m behind once again. I’ve learned not to get too anal about it. Life happens. 🙂

      You know what’s weird about the cold vs. heat? I’m actually more comfortable here than Phoenix in the wintertime. I have a couple theories as to why this is. One has to do with the clothes — you’d look silly wearing scarf, mittens, etc. in Phoenix, so pretty much my hands were always cold there. But more than that, there it might be 50 outside and you enter a building that’s 70 degrees. But here you go from -10 outside to 70 inside – an 80 degree difference and your body notices!

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