Worlds Collide in a Winter Wonderland

The last month or so have been an adventure.

Yes, sunny Florida girl, yours truly…was sent off to the “Great White North” for three weeks between December and January for new day job training. And by GWN, I mean Syracuse, New York. Okay, so I’m a Chicago transplant to Florida. You’d think that would mean I’m used to winters, right?

Wrong!

Jaunty Hat

Winter Selfie in Jaunty Hat

I haven’t lived in a state that has winter since 1999. I didn’t really even own a “real” coat anymore. My sister had to shop for one for me up in Chicago. Because, you know, Florida sells winter coats in the dead of summer, then gets rid of the inventory. True story.

So the first week up there I realized the weather was bi-polar. I arrived to 50 degree weather. The next morning it was in the 20’s. Here’s a picture of me in my jaunty winter hat.

Yes, that’s snow in the background. Not only did the weather drop 30 degrees overnight. It also snowed…but it was a light, slushy snow and the weather was back up into the 40’s the following day. Like I said. Bipolar weather.

Wegmans

Definitely NOT a Castle

But there were some good things about not being overly cold. It enabled us to explore.

And thus my first Wegmans experience was born. Sadly, apparently it was nothing like it should be. I was told Wegmans looks like a castle and is an amazing place to shop.

As a girl who has Publix supermarkets every couple of miles, I’m not easily impressed. I was told that this particular store was a bit old and not in a great neighborhood, so not to hold anything against the franchise. It was not a “true” Wegmans experience. The store was dingy, the employees weren’t overly helpful….so I’ll trust my friends and reserve judgement. Still, a cherry popped while in New York.

Rockin the Boys

Cowboy Plane Selfie

But despite the cold, both the final game of the season and the first playoff game for my ‘Boys were going on. That meant I wore my Cowboy love quite literally all over my body.

Of course, the first person to taunt me?

The TSA agent. Before I even left Sarasota.

When hubby asked how I responded to the “Go Lions!” taunt, I told him I kept my mouth shut.

Let’s be real for a second…. No matter how much one might love their home team, how likely is a person to respond with a return taunt when the person calling you out is the TSA agent at the gate of the airport? While you’re being patted down…

Even I’m not that brave. Not after a friend of mine practically got cavity searched for forgetting she had a bottled water in her carry on luggage. Nope.

Cold Selfie

Bundled Up Selfie

But finally, January came to Syracuse…and brought me back into the cold. This time, sis had come through with a cute winter coat and hand knit scarf. By then, I’d gotten smart enough to buy boots and gloves. At home, such articles are only purchased for fashion purposes.

These were meant to keep my feet warm and dry. Utilitarian. What a novel thought, right? Well, maybe if you’re from the south.

And I discovered that gloves have come a long way! Now they have these little spots on the finger tips that allow you to work digital devices like touch screens without taking the gloves off.

Who knew?

Well, I do now. And I own a pair. A girl’s gotta stay on the cutting edge of technology, don’tcha know.

WindySnow

This is both wind and snow

I confess. I watched my weather updates on my phone like a hawk. When I started seeing sub-zero temperatures I admit it. I got a bit whiny.

And what’s with these reports telling us what it “feels like” outside? They calculate in the wind, etc. Do they really think that telling me that 0 degrees is going to feel like -14 degrees is going to encourage me to step away from the warmth of my hotel room? Eek!

Windy, Snowy Selfie

Windy, Snowy Selfie

I was just relieved that the couple of feet they forecasted didn’t come while I was there! The wind was bad enough.

You see the picture on the side? My hair was blowing sideways, and so was the snow! Yes, I found a way to keep my ears warm…. Unfortunately, I also forgot my jaunty hat at home this trip.

Just a little hint? That face is not my happy face. It’s my “damn, this is cold” face.

If it weren’t for a friend asking me to take snow pictures of myself and the weather, there’s no way I would’ve been out of doors for more than the short time it took to get from indoors to the vehicle, and back inside.

And, believe it or not, despite having not driven in snow in about 20 years, I drove in this weather. Yeah, I’m feeling pretty proud of that, too.

But none of that compared to the coolest experience of the trip, ever!

It had everything to do with this guy….

Meeting my friend, author Mark Bialczak

Meeting my friend, author Mark Bialczak

My friend, fellow author and blogger, Mark Bialczak braved the freezing cold (and I mean freezing literally) to come out to meet me for dinner. First, if you haven’t met Mark yet, you should check him out HERE. He’s a fun, engaging blogger and an all around great guy.

Syracuse guide

He remembered I love my sports, and was generous enough to bring me a copy of his book, also now a memento of my 3 week stay in Syracuse, and autograph it for me! How cool was that? He even teased me a bit about the book not being about my Cowboys!

Even better, despite the fact that the only place we’d interacted was online via our blogs, it felt like meeting an old friend. We never ran out of things to talk about. There was no awkwardness. Just a lot of good conversation and fun!

Have you ever met any friends from online? What was your experience?

Winter Warm Up

All over my Facebook this morning where freezing cold pictures of snow covered yards, cars, lawn furniture…and even some pets and children frolicking in the white stuff. Brrrr! Do you know the last time I actually enjoyed winter weather?

Winter in Germany

Winter in Germany

Yeah, that’s me with my hands in the air. Many, MANY moons ago. In another country. I’m not without understanding of how winter works… I grew up in Chicago, for goodness sake. I’ve dealt with the wind coming off Lake Michigan. And I moved to Southwest Florida for a reason… So imagine my surprise when I prepared to take my beautiful dogs out for their morning constitutional only to find the temperature was in the 40’s. Yes, a mad scramble ensued to find things like fuzzy socks and sweatshirts. It’s nearly 2 pm here. How warm did it actually get?

So it's not as cold as where you are...don't judge me. I freeze easily.

So it’s not as cold as where you are…don’t judge me. I freeze easily.

To be clear, I left Chicago more than 10 years ago after 2 blizzards in a row. These days I tend to get a bit whiny and cranky when I’m cold. Unfortunately, today, I can’t even shove my ice cube feet under my hubby’s legs to warm them up (and shock his system) because he’s away at training.

So, since most of us agree that cold weather is no fun once you grow up (granted the degrees of cold we all handle is different), I thought I’d go to my happy places and bring you along…

Doesn’t that just call sun and surf to mind? It just so happens that one of my dear friends married a reggae singer named Jah Niceness (well, that’s his stage name) from Jamaica. So I actually know him personally. He’s one of the sweetest, mild mannered guys I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

This is him singing at another friend's going away party.

This is him singing at another friend’s going away party.

What else makes me think warmer climates? For the smart alecks that may have thought “how about ice cream?” or “what about a dip in the gulf or a pool?” You’re not funny…. But maybe pictures of those things may warm me…

Like snorkeling in the Bahamas...

Like snorkeling in the Bahamas…

Yeah, that water was nice and warm….

Eh… Who am I kidding? What I really need to do is get my juices going! In my universe we all know that’s an open ended prospect that can lead to a dance floor just as easily as a bedroom. 😉 Or it can mean writing all the things that get everyone else all warmed up…. Hmmm… Maybe it can mean all three. Bah! Who am I kidding? Of course it can!

So, when your weather outside is frightful…what do you do to feel warm? Feel free to be as clean or as dirty as you please…LOL!