Friday, February 11, 2011

my heart belongs to the snow

There's a distinct possibility that I've been the happiest person in Chicago for the past two weeks.  The cold and the snow are delightful, and they remind me of my Minnesota childhood. Blue skies, the sun reflecting off the frozen tundra, steaming mugs of hot coffee... perfect.

my new coffee mug from Jennie the Potter

I credit my mother with my love of winter. She strapped me into ice skates when I was 2-1/2, took me sledding, helped me build snow forts, and always had hot cocoa waiting when I came into the warm house with my rosy cheeks. Mom grew up ice skating even on week nights; she was especially enamored of the aqua skating costume my grandmother made for her -- complete with her initials embroidered with pink pearl beads!

Anyway, here's a wintry mix to cheer you up. It's bookended by the Decemberists, with a little hint of spring at the end.

I would have included the Fairways' "Winter Song," too, but I couldn't find it on Grooveshark.

P.S. Apparently the jonquils are beginning to come up in London, as reported by a friend who's in the UK on holiday right now.
Many of my fellow grad students at the university come from warmer climes, and they're miserable when winter hits. I think a lot of it has to do with not having proper winter gear (especially warm coats -- a cute wool coat from J. Crew just won't cut it, nor will cheap acrylic gloves).  This post has some great ideas for how to keep warm; I would add a few things:

buckskin or elkskin chopper mittens
L.L. Bean carries some very posh choppers, but you can buy them at a substantial discount at almost any farm & fleet in the upper Midwest. Mine are 20 years old and still going strong.

down throws
So warm and cozy! We have some in pretty much every room in the house. The cats love snuggling up in them, too, and they're machine washable.

warm boots
Bogs and Sorels are my favorites. My Bogs are completely waterproof and warm, and the fit is great.  The Sorels have great traction and are also toasty warm! Plus you can buy replacement liners if they wear out -- or just keep a spare pair to switch out.

P.S. I'd also add an automotive category: good tires, a decent battery, a real snow shovel to put in the trunk, a winter emergency kit, a big snow brush, and a serious ice scraper. In terms of more expensive investments, 4WD or AWD make life so much easier, as do antilock brakes and ESC/traction control. These aren't just silly add-ons dreamed up by greedy car company execs. Heated seats, while delightful, are an added bonus.


Hilary said...

And you're of Scandinavian descent, too, right? I swear there's something to genetic memory. I've lived my entire life in temperate environments where winters rarely get below freezing, but when I'm in the snow...I don't just feels like all is right in the world. If you've got cold winters in your nature *and* your nurture, I would totally believe that you are the happiest person in Chicago! Also, your new mug is really, really cute. :)

pzi236 said...

Great playlist! I'm listening to it from sunny Los Angeles and missing the frozen tundra of my New Jersey childhood.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the whole winter survival list. I come from western Maine and the winters are pretty brutal there. Boots, wool head to toe, and serious auto equipment are must haves. I attribute long New England winters and two knitting grandmothers for my love of knitting and quilting!

Rue said...

Good winter gear is absolutely a must! I'll throw in my vote for LLBean's fleece-lined snow boots - it feels like you're wearing soft, comfy slippers but you can still stomp through snow. And heated seats really are a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Of course, a brand new winter handknit also takes the edge of things very nicely :)

marycatharine said...

Sorrels, wool, winter tires and the ability to embrace layering are my winter necessities. I'm also a fan of the remote car starter, homemade soup, hot water bottles and cozy blankets. I like winter or I'd have never moved so far north, although snow in May and June always makes me a bit cranky :)

Carrie#K said...

Oh darn, the mix went silent when I went to comments. I'll get it back in a sec....

LOVE your winter mug! And winter, even if my mother says I would hate shoveling snow. The only time I lived in a cold climate, I wore stuff from the army/navy store and I was TOASTY. Attractive and stylish too, I'm sure. :)

Sharon said...

I love winter too. I grew up in San Diego and knew that monochromatic weather wasn't my gig. I'm miserable now that we haven't had any winter in at least a month. It also scares me because we should be shoveling snow right now.

Gigi said...

Jodi, your lovely ice skating memories remind me of the movie "Blizzard". Have you seen it? I loved to skate when I was young and always wished we lived somewhere cold enough for ice skating. Wonder if I'm too old to learn now ;)?

Katie M. said...

I love winter, too! Your tips are great -- I have to admit to feeling rather smug now that winter is here in Nashville: cold-weather layering skills undiluted, I managed to be *too* warm.
Also, Alice the cat gives a big thumbs up (if only she had them) to down throws.
Super pretty mug!

Chris said...

I made felted replacement liners for a friend's choppers and he was SO happy - apparently it made them even warmer.

Caroline said...

I grew up in California, but I went to college in Nebraska and for a couple of years after. I didn't mind the snow at all, especially since I rarely had to drive in it living on campus. I didn't, however, appreciate when it wouldn't get above zero sometimes for weeks at a time. I'll bet I would have been happier if I'd had your survival list:)

Caffeine Girl said...

I love your winter mix and tips. I have to add that taking up cross country skiing can turn a person into snow lover!

Chris said...

The Decemberists cover REM. :)

Stephanie said...

Great suggestions! I think you are right that people hate winter when they aren't properly prepared for it. I live in Cleveland and we've had a very cold and snowy winter, so you need to be prepared here too. Now we are going to be flooded with all the melting snow from these warm temps!
-Stephanie (sjn821 on Ravelry)