Posts Tagged ‘cold’

‎It’s cold here. So cold that it’s all people are talking about and that’s saying something considering the wide range of other topics at our disposal. So cold that a coworker of mine sent me an email this afternoon of a screen shot taken from the Weather Network website; it warned of a “life threatening” wind chill for later tonight.

That’s cold.

It’s the kind of cold that forces you to throw fashion out the window and slap together the warmest outfits possible. It doesn’t matter if things match; it doesn’t matter if they look like something from your grandmother’s closet. ‎If they are warm, you will get your fair share of envious glances from strangers passing you in the street.

And it was on a day similar to this last winter that I ended up with my hat. My ridiculous, silly, unflattering and yet (in my opinion)n completely adorable, hat.

I bought it at the grocery store which was probably my first mistake. There are some fairly fabulous ‎fashion finds to be found at the grocery store but this was not one of them. Add to that the fact that it was on the discount rack, proof that it had already been passed over by pretty much everyone, and you get the idea. It originally caught my eye for my daughter. It’s the kind of thing that a 9 year old can wear and look adorable; or a 36 year old can wear and look like an ironic fashionista at best, or a pathetic hipster at worst.

But I bought it. I bought two actually, one for each of us. That caused my daughter to employ her newly ‎discovered eye roll and to make me promise we would never wear them in public at the same time. Ah the unspoken joys of motherhood.

I wore it a couple of times last winter and then stuffed it in the back of the closet to be discovered again a few weeks ago. It made me smile to see it there on the shelf and I pulled it down and have been wearing it ever since.

It’s a wool toque, bright fuschia in colour, not offensive so much as overwhelming. But the cherry on top so to speak is that it has a huge pom pom on top, so big that it kind of flips and flops around when I walk.

I am not prone to acts of ridiculousness. I generally do things that make sense and are expected and my wardrobe basically reflects that. I’m not someone who normally wears fuschia toques with huge pom poms. It really isn’t me.

Or it never used to be, but for now I really don’t care. I love it. I love colour and the fact that I don’t have anything else in my wardrobe that is pink, and probably never will. I love that it covers my ears to keep me warm and also releases fuschia wool puffs all over the place, sticking to my jacket and scarf and clothing. I love that it cost me a grand total of $2.87.

But most of all, I love the pom pom.

I love the fact that it is bigger than my fist and is so soft I sometimes rub it ‎on my cheek when I think (hope) no one is looking. I love that I can feel it bobbing up and down when I walk and that basically it looks like a huge polka dot on top of my head.

And you know I feel about polka dots.

When I catch sight of myself in the mirror, I fully comprehend the ridiculousness of the hat and how ridiculous I look in it, but for some reason I don’t care. Maybe it’s a sign of middle age? Maybe it’s the same phenomenon that started the whole Red Hat society? I never understood before but I’m slowly getting on board.

So tonight ‎when it’s -25 and I’m walking through the parking lot, my ears will be warm(ish) and there will be a smile (probably frozen) on my face.

Because there, perched on my head will be my fuschia toque with the pom pom dancing away on the top.

‎A little bit of awesome to warm up a very cold day.

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Prompt 3

We missed the bus.

We thought we had it all planned out but the movie ran longer than we thought.  I think it was a triple feature but which movies they were, I couldn’t tell you, that information lost after so many years.  I seem to remember that the theatre always played triple-features and they were somehow related to each other.  Three movies with Brad Pitt or three movies about high school or three movies with the word “Light” in the title.  It didn’t really matter, as long as they had something in common, they would play the three together.

The theatre is called the Mayfair and I’m pretty sure it’s still there.  Every time we go back to Ottawa to visit we take a drive down Bank Street and see it there, looking just as it did all those years ago, at least from the outside.

The listings for the movies used to be printed on coloured pieces of paper and would be tacked up in the common areas in residence.  It was before you could check movie listings online.  It was before smart phones and all of that.  We barely had email back then.  I know, I’m just realizing exactly how old I actually am.  A quick search online confirms that yes, the Mayfair is still there and now it has a website with all of the listings.  Of course it does.  It actually makes me a little sad to think about now.  Like the kids sitting in residence thinking about going to see a show at the Mayfair are missing out on something by just looking it up online.  It really was much better when you all had to gather around the piece of paper tacked to the board in Rez Commons.  Things are always better back in the day.

I don’t remember what the movies were, I don’t remember why we decided to go that particular night, I don’t remember if I had popcorn although, let’s be perfectly honest, I don’t know that I’ve ever been to a movie and not had popcorn.  I vaguely remember who I went with, not because I have a specific memory of it, but more because I spent almost every minute of my first year of university with the same group of people so I will assume we were at the movie together: my roommate and the two girls who lived next door to us.  An unlikely foursome brought together from four different cities in four different provinces.  About as far apart as four people could be, brought as close together as four people could be.  It was one of those amazing phenomenons whereby had we met under any other circumstances we probably wouldn’t have been friends but we were thrown together, all new to a  city, new to the idea of university, new to just about everything and we bonded quickly, tightly and for eight months we did almost everything together.  Like going to the movies that night.

The Mayfair is technically close enough to the university to walk to, and in the warmer weather we usually did walk, but in Ottawa in the winter, you don’t walk anywhere.  We took the bus, the good old #7 bus that took us pretty much anywhere we wanted to go and then brought us home again when we were done.  Except when we forget to double-check the schedule and we missed the last bus.

I don’t remember the circumstances surrounding realizing we missed the bus or making the heart-wrenching decision that we were going to have to hoof it on foot, but I do remember the cold.

I have never been that cold in my life.  Within three minutes of starting out on our way, I couldn’t feel my thighs, so cold was the wind biting into my jeans.  We tried to talk to take our minds off the cold but our teeth were chattering so hard that soon talking became impossible so we just kept making noises, any kind of noises to keep our lips moving so they didn’t freeze in place.  Having spent the first 17 years of my life in a much more moderate climate I had never felt this kind of cold before.  People warned me, tried to prepare me for what I was going to experience, but until that night I had no idea.

We walked as fast as we possibly could, counting the blocks as we passed by them.  We reached the dingy pizza place that marked the halfway point and kept on walking.  My feet were now frozen and it was like dragging two blocks along behind me.  Why had we decide to go to a movie anyway?  Who’s idea was this?  Next time anyone suggests going outside in the winter I’m going to say ‘no way’ and stay inside where it’s warm!

The funny thing is though, when I think back to that night and the bone-jarring cold, the other most distinct memory I have is how much fun it was.  It was an adventure.  I was there with the three people who had, in such a short time, become my whole world and we were having the time of our lives.  That year is still one of the best I have ever had and that night was just one adventure in a year filled with so many new experiences that I can’t even remember all of them.

But I will never forget missing that bus, and walking home in the cold, so cold that I honestly thought we weren’t going to make it, and yet also feeling so lit up inside.  Like suddenly realizing I was exactly where I was supposed to be, becoming the person I was always supposed to become.

Maybe missing the bus wasn’t so bad after all.

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It’s early, very early. It’s Saturday and I’m up and out of the house earlier than on a weekday. There’s something inherently wrong with that statement.

The alarm went off at 5:33am although, truth be told, I was already awake. Sleeping in seems to be a figment of my younger days, like touching my toes or staying up past 11pm. I can’t seem to sleep in, even on the days my schedule allows for it, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to bitch about having to get up.

I crept out of the room as quietly as I could and snuck down the hallway to‎ where I had left my clothes the night before. This kind of thing takes planning. A quick brush of the teeth was all the grooming required. Where I was going, that kind of thing doesn’t matter.

My daughter jumped out of bed much quicker than I did, thankfully. If she didn’t want to get up this would be even more difficult.

Standing in the soft glow of the kitchen light I got her a glass of milk and started to get her dressed. The fact that my kitchen floor is covered with hockey equipment at 5:40am no longer seems strange to me.

As I help her into her chest protector it hits me that this is one of those moments. One of those things that I have done a dozen times already and will probably do a hundred times more, and yet I wonder if someday I will forget. Someday maybe this will just be a distant memory, a punchline for a dinner party story. Remember when we used to get up so early for hockey practice? Ouch, wasn’t that painful?

But I won’t remember that it was also kind of special. The silence of the morning broken only by whispers. The well choreographed dance, each of us knowing our moves and what comes next.

A quick inventory at the door confirms we have everything. Don’t forget my stick Mom, she calls as she heads out the door. Right, don’t forget the stick. And don’t forget the travel mug filled ‎with hot tea, as crucial to me as the stick is to her.

The streets are quiet. We pass house after house, each more dark than the next. I think of the two we left sleeping at home. I turn the radio up a little louder, I hear soft humming from the back seat. She informs me that she’s not tired. I smile.

And now here I sit, watching her on the ice. I don’t know where she gets the energy to do this so early in the morning. All I have to do is sit here and that is difficult enough. I sip my tea, I fix my blankets, I say good morning to the other bleary-eyes parents as they arrive. I feel like part of a secret club. She’s only fallen once so far. I can’t believe the improvement. She tries so hard and it’s paying off. I could learn a few things from her about perseverance.

The cold is starting to reach my bones now. No matter how many layers I wear or how many blankets I bring it’s always cold. I finish my tea, I look down on the ice and see her smiling at me.

I don’t wave because I know she would roll her eyes at me.

Maybe she won’t remember these mornings either. But I will try. And I will try to remind her when it was her and I and the darkness of the streetlights and our cold noses and early morning hugs.

These are the moments to remember.

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I wish you could see it. I’m passing by the lake and it’s the most amazing sight.

It’s so cold out that the top of the water is still. Not solid, just so still that you have to look very closely to see if it’s moving.

On a regular day the water goes on as far as I can see but today there is a wall. A wall of clouds just at the horizon, so low they seem to be sitting on the water.

I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable meteorological explanation for this. It probably has a big name and I’m sure I could Google it, but I’m not going to.

Instead I choose to believe that the clouds came down low in the sky for a look at the water and got too close. Now they’re frozen there, like a tongue to a metal pole.

It’s really that cold out.

I don’t know why the idea of the frozen clouds makes me smile. I should probably feel bad for them being stuck there, but I don’t.

Instead I’m thankful for their beauty, for igniting this story in my head. It seems like a long time since I’ve felt ignited by anything and it feels good.

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