You’re also never fully dressed without eight pounds of clothing.

On Monday it warmed up all the way to minus 17, so I carpe diemed the hell out of that and took the dog for a walk. Poor fluffster, it’s been a while since he’s had a proper walk, and it probably will be a while before he gets a proper walk, because two minutes into it I started considering what kind of fashion statement wearing a balaclava would make. On the plus side, I wouldn’t feel like I would die by face-freezing; on the minus side, it would totally ruin my makeup. I eventually abandoned the idea; vanity, as usual, winning out over practicality.

The winter has been so long and so cold that I have entirely lost perspective about the weather. A few people have mentioned that it’s “March” and so it should be “springlike already” which filled me with bemusement. Isn’t March still winter? Isn’t it always this cold? I truly cannot remember what “other seasons” are like. It has come to the point that I apparently think, with all honesty, that it is always this cold and it will never get warm, forever and ever, amen. I met up with an elderly German man at the off-leash park, who told me that he has been in this city for fifty-eight years and he can only remember three other winters that were like this. Well, I guess that proves me wrong. I shall not cross the friendly elderly German man. I expect he knows what he’s about.

Someone just reminded me that Daylight Savings Time starts this weekend. I need offer no further comment.

Ah, but resistance is futile, isn’t it? We cannot change the weather and – unfortunately for all involved – we cannot change the mandate for Daylight Savings Time. No – really, we can’t. Lord knows I’ve tried, if complaining and rabble rousing on this blog counts as “trying”. ENOUGH OF THE BELLYACHING, as my long-suffering mother would say, possibly in response to some kind of teenage angst or similar, as I moped around the house in my Depeche Mode concert t-shirt.

There are some people who claim that winter is their very favourite season, and while I applaud anyone hardy enough to fully enjoy the season’s frigid splendors, I really have a hard time understanding. I want to understand, but I cannot. I understand fall lovers: the leaves and crisp air, the promise of Christmas around the corner. I understand spring lovers: the sprigs of green, the buds on the trees, the mild air and freshness. Of course I understand summer lovers, being one myself: the ease of getting dressed in the morning, the warmth and unscheduled days. However, I shall try to understand the winter people by remembering all the lovely things I enjoy about our 6-8-month-long winters. I toyed with the idea of making a Nicole’s Favourite Things post, but then I remembered that these things are not exactly my favourite. The Nicole’s Favourite Things posts cannot contain lies!

Nicole’s Not-Favourite-But-They’re-Okay Things, Frigid Winter Edition

1) Since it’s too cold for the kids to play outside, I haven’t been standing in the playground, shivering, for an hour after school.

2) Since it’s too cold to do much of anything, I am super productive in the housewifely arts. I am kicking ass and taking names, if by “kicking ass and taking names” you mean “accomplishing a lot of domestic tasks in record time”. Yesterday I had baked a banana bread and washed the floors before 8:00 am.

3) Inspired by Allison I tackled the boys’ sock/underwear/pajama drawers today. They haven’t closed properly in months. Mark’s drawer was more in need of reorganization than actual purging, but Jake’s was full of treasures: four newborn infant hats, a bib, socks that had a Transformers motif, circa 2010, two pairs of size five pajamas, and three pairs of Hot Wheels underwear, possibly from his kindergarten year. Tomorrow we tackle the t-shirt drawers!

4) Baking in this weather makes the house feel warm and cozy; it also smells terrific and as an added bonus, I can leave the oven door slightly ajar after the baked goods are done and warm my frozen purple hands over it, making me feel like Laura Ingalls coming in from twisting hay, but without the starvation and chamber pots. My hands are chapped just like hers, and I bought a pretty new fig-and-shea-butter cream for them. You all know how I love a new beauty product.

5) Aubergine is THE hot new colour this year, and although I don’t see myself wearing it, my hands are naturally on-trend!

6) I love the look of long sweaters, tall boots, and skinny jeans. Not only is it a saucy look, but long sweaters also nicely conceal the muffin top resultant from indulging in so much baking.

7) There’s no need to worry about sunscreen!

8) I do like a good bowl of soup, which I don’t bother with in the summer. Unless of course it’s a typical Calgary summer with chill temperatures. Soup: the all-season gustatory pleasure of my hometown.

9) Walking while wearing my heavy winter boots is akin to walking with 1980s-style ankle weights. It’s like I’m having a retro workout every day!

10) When the sun is out it’s actually really pretty. Not as pretty as, say, green grass and flowers, but pretty.


Barkley doesn’t mind the cold. He’s furry!

In the spirit of keeping one’s expectations low so one will not be disappointed, I’ve been avoiding the weather forecast. However, I keep hearing that warmer weather is coming “soon” and I’m holding on to that “soon” like it’s the key to the universe’s secrets. SOON. Soon it will get warmer. I don’t know what “soon” means but maybe if I channel my inner Wilson Phillips and my inner invincible summer, I can hold on for one more day. Don’t you know, don’t you know things can change, things can go my way if I HOOOOLLLLD on for ONE MORE DAY.


  1. I go through stages with winter, from liking it to tolerating it, to thinking it’s okay as long as they don’t cancel school again (we’re up to 9 school days missed so far), to thinking there is NOTHING okay about it. Everything about it is the opposite of okay. I got to the last stage this weekend, on hearing there was another storm coming. And it did come– 4 inches– and the kids were home Monday and Tuesday and I have no faith that it’s over, as desperately as I want it to be.


    At breakfast I decided I’d had enough. ENOUGH I SAY. I made a calorie-and-carb-laden breakfast of a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel because that’s what my feelings tasted like at 7:30AM. Then I turned my back on it for a minute – distracted with kid-related stuff – and when I came back the plate was empty. I had this horrible moment of dislocation & disorientation; like, I feared for my sanity because COULD I HAVE EATEN HALF A BAGEL AND NOT REMEMBER IT??? Good lord, I thought, no wonder I’ve gotten so fat this winter. Then I noticed the dog was licking his chops and realized that for the first time in his life, my dog had stolen human food.

    SEE? Even the labrador is eating his feelings today.

    Then at the bus stop my coffee actually froze, even though it was in an ostensible thermal cup. My nerve snapped with a dry dusty sound when I realized what had happened.

    Winter, you are ON NOTICE. UGH.

  3. I need to tackle Henry’s bureau. The other boys get pretty good turn-over because someone younger frequently needs their clothes, but the other day Henry’s sock had a hole in it and I noticed it was marked 4T in no-skid stuff on the bottom. (He’s almost 7.)

  4. I’ve given up trying to learn to embrace the winter outdoors. My world revolves around hot water bottles, extra sweaters, extra sleep and lots of food. And I don’t even feel bad that we don’t take advantage of the ‘warm’ days (oh, its going up to -12 today!) by sledding or skating or whatever after school. Lets just get home to that cup of hot chocolate. But I try to keep my wallowing spirits up by planning all our spring/summer activities. Campgrounds are being booked, summer camps registered, road trips being sussed out, hiking goals made. I am past the point of being able to remember what it feels like to be warm, but somewhere within I know that certainly in another two or three months, maybe the deep freeze will be over. Right?

  5. I know my weather situation is unlikely to garner a lot of sympathy because here in the Pac NW we remain firmly in the (above zero) double digits and mainly in the high 30s to low 40s all Winter, but the rain and gray are soul killers.

    It’s 12:17 p.m. as I type this and the sun has not appreciably lit up the sky today, the sky is completely gray and it’s pouring rain. Because it’s seldom really cold, outdoor sports still go on. Oldest has outdoor soccer practice 3x per week and games both weekend days. We all stand out there getting soaked pretending like it’s not total crap that soccer season even happens in this state outside of August – October. Other parents are suffering baseball and LAX season also pretending this is reasonable. Bah! The doctor routinely prescribes vitamin D pills to my kids because there is not enough sunlight and it’s unhealthy. Having lived here for 20+ years I find I can usually power through this until about June when I start to feel like I’m going to run away to a tropical island and live in a shack just to get some GD sunlight, to hell with work, school, a house, practicality.

    I’ve lived 44 years in the northern part of America and I am sick and tired of being cold or wet or cold and wet. I keep promising myself that sometime before I die, I’m going to live someplace warm and sunny. Winter. Bleh. (sorry, this turned into a manifesto, evidently I’ve either totally had it or shark week approaches – or both)

  6. I was about to chime in with whining about the weather, but then I read Maggie’s comment and actually, I do think that is worse. The Toronto-style winter of endless grey drizzly days is just so depressing. Here in Ottawa it is terribly cold but at least it’s sunny more often than not, and there’s tons of snow so if you do want to play outside you can.

    (Please do not interpret this comment in any way as an endorsement of winter, by far my least favourite month. I’m OVER IT.)

    My semi-tolerable things about winter: no bugs, the compost bin freezes so there’s no mushy smelly stuff in the bottom of it, and soup. That’s it.

  7. I agree with Lynn about Maggie – hugs and rubber boots to you, Maggie. It’s not even that I hate actual winter so much as how I always end up feeling by the end of winter. I’m okay with cold and this year has been more snow than ice, which I hate because I’m terrified of slipping, so that’s fine. I’m just such a palely loitering waste of skin by March. I had such a great day that day I cleaned out the tea towel drawer, and then I got sick and now I just want to go to bed early, get up late and nap right after breakfast.

    Oh, that was negative. I’m sorry. We’re going tubing tomorrow! Which my friend Julie frequently renders as “tubbing”. That’s fun! Woohoo!

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