Good Grief, It’s Cold!

And it’s freakin’ May!

Thank goodness the lilies-of-the-valley are hardy. They’ve had to be this spring!

Thank goodness the lilies-of-the-valley are hardy. They’ve had to be this spring!

This spring we are getting a good look at little cold snaps that the old-timers (and gardeners) label “winter” … like:

Redbud winter
Dogwood winter
Blackberry winter
Locust winter

But wait! Here in Tennessee we’ve been through all four of those and are having yet a fifth. A friend of mine—a farmer’s wife—tells me this rare fifth spring winter is called—wait for it—

Cotton britches winter

Isn’t that fabulous? I’d never heard that phrase but a little bit of googling indicates that it is, in fact, a thing. The Tennessean tells us, “The cotton britches winter is … an old-fashioned term for the removal of the long underwear and the time for cotton pants.”

Now, if we have another cold snap after this one, it, too, has a name: Whippoorwill winter (late May, early June).

We shall see. Summer doesn’t officially arrive until June 20. 🙂

 

The Winter Blahs?

Winter in the South. Brrrrr.

Winter in the South. Brrrrr.

This article from my friend, author Amy Parker, made me laugh out loud! Who doesn’t have the winter blahs in mid-January?

I was born in March, when everything is bright and colorful and new, so dark and dreary and dead just go against my instincts. In the past, winter has often turned me into quite the bear—grumpy and lethargic, wishing for spring. But lately, I’ve learned a few tricks to make it through. Maybe they’ll help you too.

Me, I’m grateful for the respite from yardwork that winter brings, but I will confess that, like Amy, I don’t like a bulky winter coat or any kind of hat (“the hair! the hair!”) and almost always “run out of the house” without them …

Hubby, the outdoorsman, is always telling me to “just dress warmly,” which may seem like common sense to everyone else. But I confess: I hate bulky coats and maiming mittens and hair-messing hats, and often I run out of the house without them.

… which is why I’ve invested in fleece and/or down vests: warmth without the bulk.

Amy has seven great ideas for getting through the winter blahs without turning into a bear:

1. Buy winter clothes you love.
2. Sit by the fire.
3. Grow something.
4. Citrus up!
5. Step into the light.
6. Keep hot drinks handy.
7. Read a book.

This list is just the start. The article is delightful and has lots of good tips and links, so have a look and turn any grizzlies you know into teddy bears.

Getting Back to Normal

For us, for Gerry and I, “normal” is living not in the same city, not in the same time zone, not in the same country. Soon—and again, soon is relative; I mean a year from now—normal will be in the same house. We’ve started that process: we got married, we (I) filed the immigration petition.

But for now, my husband lives in Dublin. He gets up six hours before me and goes to work. He sends me email or posts something interesting to my Facebook page while I am still asleep. He gets home from work about the time I’m having lunch. He checks in, on Skype. “H’lo, missus,” he says.

This morning, he left me a photo he took on his way to work in Harolds Cross.

He walks along the Grand Canal for some distance. It’s pretty no matter what time of day. He’s on or very near the Portobello Bridge here. (Photo by Gerry.)

He walks along the Grand Canal for some distance. It’s pretty no matter what time of day. He’s on or very near the Portobello Bridge here. (Photo by Gerry.)

Then he walked further and turned around and took another photo. It was 7:30 in the morning when he took these. (Photo by Gerry.)

Then he walked further and turned around and took another photo. It was 7:30 in the morning when he took these. (Photo by Gerry.)

I am struck, of course, by how different 7:30 in the morning is in Dublin … from here in Tennessee, so much further down the globe. (It’s science, y’all.)

If I were commuting at 7:30am, this is what it would look like in November.

If I were commuting at 7:30am, this is what it would look like in November.

It’s a different sun, a different angle in November. But definitely lighter.

It’s a different sun, a different angle in November. But definitely lighter.

So we carry on, we, seven thousand miles apart, sharing our little moments. Beautiful, all of them.

What’s That You Say? A Polar Vortex?

In case you missed it, the United States has been in the middle of a cold snap. (The South, where I am, has thawed in recent days.)

They’re calling it a polar vortex, so naturally, I had to look it up. It’s nothing new, really, but folks are talking about it on NPR and all over the Interwebs.

It does bring out some interesting photos, however, and that’s what I wanted to share with you. These eerie photos of ice-encased lighthouses in Michigan, for example. I’m glad this gentleman makes the trek every year … so I don’t have to. 🙂

No, really. I do love to travel, but there are some experiences I don’t need to have. I watched a show on public television (longer ago than I care to say) that was about the polar ice caps. They’d cut holes in the ice and sent divers down below to film. The footage was spectacular—very blue. And it really gave you a sense of what a huge place this world is and how much we don’t know about it. How much we’ll never see. I remember being grateful that someone did this—made that dive—so I could see what it looked like and think about how lucky I was to live in this day and time.

It was also a little bit creepy and scary. You will never find me in the mood to swim under a polar ice cap. That’s a trip I will never take.

Niagara Falls is another question altogether. All the polar vortex excitement brought these photos out of the woodwork—OMG, Niagara Falls has FROZEN OVER!!!—and even though they were taken in 2011 (it happens fairly regularly, apparently), I enjoyed having a look. (And since we’re talking about it, here’s another interesting set of Niagara photos, from 1969 … when they turned it off.) And the falls are a place I’d like to visit sometime, too, though in milder weather.

Guess I’ll put it on the list. 🙂