January 18, 2005

-33

I got up this morning discovered that the house was a little nippy. We have our heat on a timer thing, so we save energy by having the heat down while we are in our cozy beds and then it comes on again before we get up. We had to spend the money for the one that turns the heat up on its own. If it is left to me to be the one who has to get up in the freezing cold house to turn up the heat...I will not get out of bed. I will want to...I will try to....but I will not. I will lie there feeling terrible about how it is that the children will be late for school again, but I will not be able to bring myself to put my feet outside of the bed. Do not suggest that Joe could get up. Joe is a Musician/record producer. I can count the number of times in our entire marriage that he has been up before me on one hand. The computer thermostat thing has saved my children from a less than punctual fate by pre-warming the house to a temperature I can emerge into.

So this morning the house seems a little nippy. I figured that I was just up before the heat, and tossed on an extra sweater. I put the coffee maker on, grabbed my coat and opened the door to go to the bakery down the street. (Forgot to buy bread for the school lunches last night. I know. Mother of the year award again). I opened the door, stepped outside and gasped. The air was so cold that it immediately froze all the hairs in my nose, I slammed the door shut and re-organized my thoughts.

Holy insert challenging expletive here How cold is it? I check the weather station. -33 (That's like -27F) Next thought....how badly do I need bread? Is there something else I could use in the place of bread? How bad a mother are you if you send your kids to school with a half a cracker and some pickles because it was cold out? (Kindly ignore the hypocrisy of me sending my children out into the bitter cold with a crappy lunch because I didn't want to go into the bitter cold.)

After searching the kitchen I decide there's absolutely nothing for it. I'm going to have to go out there. I get my coat, my hat, my scarf, my mittens and I put it all on, chug my coffee and bolt out the door. I run to the corner, dash and weave through traffic, and throw myself through the door of the bakery where I buy bread and a half a dozen bagels. I bought the bagels because they were still hot and I thought that if I clutched them to my chest and face all the way home I might stand a chance.

I dressed the kids for school like this.

Cold

You will note that the sun is shining brightly. This is a cruel joke that Canadian weather runs all the time. It's the only sun that we've seen in weeks, but it is so cold out that you would have to be a freaking moron to go for a walk. Instead the sunshine taunts us while we scurry from building to building...waiting for the the exact moment that the temperature rises enough that you could go out, then the sun will leave and it will probably rain until it's -33 again.

It turns out, now that it is mid-morning and the house is still nippy, that it is not that the furnace isn't fully on yet. The furnace is more than on. The furnace has not even been off for a moment. It is simply that we live in an old house with lots of drafts, have an old furnace, and are stupid enough to live in a god forsaken country that is -33. The furnace can't keep up.
(As an aside? So when the first people to come to Canada landed, I understand why they stayed. It was fall. The autumn is beautiful here, but after the first winter? Why would they stay? Why would you settle this place? Why wouldn't you get back on your boat the minute the ice broke and get the hell out of here! Why! I have a theory myself...I think they tried to leave. That they thought "holy crap. We have made a serious mistake. We should get right back on the boat to Ireland and forget we ever saw this place." and then they went to leave and discovered that some arse had burned the boats to keep warm. That's what I think. It's the only reasonable theory.)

I worked on the MSF mittens last night

Msf2

but this morning I've cast them aside and begun a pair of fuzzy feet knit from leftovers.

Ff

I understand that this is ridiculous. I have full comprehension of the nature of the mistake that I'm making. This is a classic Harlot error. I'm knitting something because my feet are cold. As long as it's -33 I will feel that I have a footwear emergency and continue knititng. Then, tomorrow or the next day it's going to warm up, and I'm going to forget what my feet felt like today and I'll put the fuzzy feet aside and knit some pretty mittens or a new sweater. (Did I tell you I'm thinking about a sweater?) The fuzzy feet will become yet another abandoned harlot project, until the next time it's -33.

The next time it's -33 I will do one of two things.

1. I will remember about these fuzzy feet and reclaim them from the knitting bin and keep working on them until it's not -33 again, repeating this process until I have a pair of fuzzy feet...sometime in 2006, right about the same time that I buy an new furnace.

or

2. In true Harlot form I will knit these fuzzy feet at the speed of light. I will be almost finished when Toronto experiences a freakish warm snap and I will lose my focus and the fuzzy feet end up stuffed into the knitting basket. Then, it will get appallingly cold again and I will think "Wow, I sure wish I had some fuzzy feet to keep me warm" and I will dig up some leftovers and cast on ANOTHER entirely different pair, having completely forgotten about the almost finished pair in the basket.
The pair in the basket will naturally be discovered when the weather warms again and I go to stuff the second pair into it. It's so predictable. The only question about this whole thing is, if I can see it coming, Why is it going to happen anyway?

Posted by Stephanie at January 18, 2005 12:07 PM
Comments

It is going to happen, Stephanie, my dear, because it is inevitable.

It always happens.

And if, by some remote and strangely wonderful stroke of luck ...

We'll be having snow-free, 18-degree winters in Toronto.

I shudder to think ... all by yourself you could upset the entire world's climate!

Posted by: Carol at January 18, 2005 12:11 PM

Well, at least you had the "taste of summer" last week. We had -30 and below for a freaking week here in Calgary. But the chinook is finally here. Yay. Bundle up, Canada.

Posted by: Belinda at January 18, 2005 12:14 PM

Yeah, it always works like that. I have a summer shawl, a hood, a hat, and red socks (like the Red Sox, get it?) in various stages of completion because of situations like that.

Posted by: Kat at January 18, 2005 12:16 PM

Well, in the midst of winter it's too cold to head back across the Atlantic, and come spring you're just too tired and don't have any food for the trip so you have to stay in Canada...

I typed the memoirs of a lady whose family settled on the western edge of the plains and she didn't mind winter so much. What she didn't like was the prairie fires in the summer!

I like neg 20F, all that crispness, feeling comfy in qiviuk mittens and tin pants, but around neg 25F I begin to lose my sense of humor. Though, for a hot bagel I could bundle up and run to the bakery. Do they serve coffee???

Posted by: Sylvia at January 18, 2005 12:26 PM

True confessions time. I gave my children $5 each to buy their lunches today, because I could not bring myself to go ouside on the lunch ingredient run that you so bravely undertook. You are a braver woman than I. Or you have more thrummed mitts.

Posted by: alison at January 18, 2005 12:28 PM

Wanna feel better about your mothering/lunch-packing skills? My daughter has not been given any bread in her school lunch this year. (Bread keeps coming back to us, either untouched or inwardly licked... ...ewww).

My pack-lunch-for-daughter routine includes 3 dried mango slices, one extra-large salty pretzle, and one pack of smofu (smoked tofu). That's it. Anything more comes back (with *WORDS*).

Feel like a better mother, yet?

Posted by: Dena Shunra at January 18, 2005 12:31 PM

New England is sunny and frosty, a mere -18F. As a Canadian I feel virtuous as I walk around in the cold. Remember, "There is no bad weather only bad clothing." I'm emptying the kitchen piggy bank today for MSF. It should be a good haul, he's 31 cm tall.

Posted by: Cyndy at January 18, 2005 12:31 PM

I'm in favor of the coffee makers that also turn on before you get out of bed. It doesn't make sense to get up unless the coffee is ready, does it?

Damn cold here too. But not Canada cold, thankfully.

I have a few ideas about why those people stayed in Canada after the first winter but ... I'll probably insult someone so I'll keep it to myself.

Posted by: Cassie at January 18, 2005 12:34 PM

Holy sheep shit-that's cold. Damn cold.

BRRRRRRRRRR!

Posted by: Teresa at January 18, 2005 12:35 PM

How does it rain when it is cold like that? Why doesn't it snow? Yikes... it's 80 degress (Farenheit) here in LA today. I just couldn't handle -33. Wow.

Posted by: Mary-Heather at January 18, 2005 12:39 PM

Yup. -27F. And my crazy Canuck friend in Edmonton chides me about my piddley -12F temps in Iowa. And still she tries to convince me to move up there. I better learn how to knit socks, I'm thinking.

Posted by: roggey at January 18, 2005 12:40 PM

I can only empathize with you. Calgary has only just come out of a cold freeze (last Friday -46 C with the wind chill). Keep warm and know that, eventually, it will warm up .... it's +8 C here today.
As for kids lunches, I took my 2 1/2 year olds lunch to work today because I didn't have time to make mine. Let's hope the nanny finds my children something to eat. How's that for being a mummy?

Posted by: Leanne at January 18, 2005 12:41 PM

After reading your post, I will not complain tomorrow morning when I have to go outside by -1C. Shame on me!
Why don't you move to the south of France?

Posted by: Mireille at January 18, 2005 12:42 PM

Even here in the Sun Parlour, the warmest part of Ontario, it's -27 with wind chill today. I take back what I said before about being too warm to wear thrums. I wish I had them now!

Posted by: jodi at January 18, 2005 12:48 PM

Guess I thought I only wanted to move to Canada. I'll stay put. It's 40 today. But, I could use some Fuzzy feet in the morning. Love the automatic thermostat and would never be without on.

Posted by: margene at January 18, 2005 12:49 PM

My daughter doesn't much like sandwiches for lunch either. I bought a little thermos (holds about enough for one lunch, has a wide mouth) and send hot food with her. at least twice a week she gets KD (well the Organic Loblaws version. Other days she get warmed over leftovers of last nights supper and sometimes, something we've cooked in advance precisely for the purpose.

Invest in caulking. Solving the drafts might go some way to warming the house up. My partner is English. He thinks this country is uninhabitable (though he will have cycled to work today in -41 with the windchill) but has come to value caulking (and classifies scarves as caulking for people).

Posted by: jo at January 18, 2005 12:50 PM

Stop working on those fuzzy feet for five minutes, check your knitting basket, then go back to them feeling happy knowing you aren't duplicating effort. ;)

Posted by: Andrea at January 18, 2005 12:53 PM

Today, shivering on the College streetcar (in Toronto), I looked out and saw a woman jogging, yes jogging, in the -33. She had some sort of balaclava-type thing that was completely covered with frost. Her eyelashes were also covered with tiny icicles, making her look like some albino Tammy Faye Bakker.

Crazy . . .

Posted by: Christie at January 18, 2005 12:55 PM

I love the cold-clime weather schizophrenia. I'm HAPPY its cloudy today - the temp climbed to 14F. After being -9F yesterday... all because the clouds trap the heat nicely.

Posted by: melissa at January 18, 2005 12:55 PM

I, here in Edmonton and also recovering from a freezing week, did a similar..."Oh it's cold, husband needs a another tuque". Did finish the tuque in time, only it's too small. Ripping and redoing will, as you predict, wait until the next cold snap! =) Nice thing about a cold snap like that is that the following days of -18 feels balmy!

Posted by: Heather at January 18, 2005 12:56 PM

We experience that wicked weather trick in Wisconsin, too, sunny & freezing, cloudy/rainy/sleety/icy/snowy crapola & "warm."

Thank you, thank you for your advice about my mitten the other day -- I blocked the bejeebers out of it and it worked! I really didn't think I'd get enough out of it. The other one was knit just plain wrong, so I'll have to fix, but there will be usable pair in the end!

Posted by: Vicki at January 18, 2005 12:57 PM

*sigh. I had a conversation this weekend that went something like this: "When was the last time you (sue) got up before me? Why is it always my duty to do this getting up thing before you? Will it ever change?" and then I got up. Again.

And in an interesting twist of fate getting up this morning at 5:15am to get her out of bed the weatherman said it was -1F when I got ready for work 3 hrs later it was -10F and sunny. Damn weatherman.

Check you bin for fuzzy feet now. Perhaps you haev a 1/2 knit pair and can just finish the 2nd one.

Posted by: anj at January 18, 2005 12:59 PM

Yeah, here in southern NH our winter had been pretty mild so far. Today? Friggin' COLD (I think it's 0F, with a windchill of about -10F or so) but as I learned from my years in Iowa City, it's all about the layers. If you have the right layers you can happily walk in -40F windchills.

Posted by: Melanie at January 18, 2005 1:03 PM

It was so cold here in Utah for a few days last winter that my furnace ran for almost 48 straight hours just to keep the temp inside the house at 64F.

Posted by: susan at January 18, 2005 1:09 PM

I am doing a variation of that myself. I only knit on my afghan when I am cold and in need of an afghan.

Posted by: Marlene at January 18, 2005 1:21 PM

I think people who have never lived somewhere where it becomes "too cold to snow" have missed out on the character-building experience that is.

What you need is some angora underwear. I'm not joking.

Really.

Posted by: Anne at January 18, 2005 1:31 PM

I think what you need to do is burrow into the stash for warmth. Think of it -- you can stuff balls of mohair inside your clothes as a sort of fluffy insulation, pile up skeins of handspun wool on the wall to ward off the drafts, tuck a hank or two inside your socks at night...

Posted by: Rana at January 18, 2005 1:33 PM

I have seriously been considering a move to Canada since our Nov "elections". However, this post has made me realize how truely wonderful 52F-California really is. Thank you, Stephanie ;)

Posted by: Jeni at January 18, 2005 1:38 PM

Oh Stephanie - You'll survive the cold! Why else was wool invented? If it never got cold, we'd never get to wear all our wonderful creations. Since I have the gear, I figure I have to use it... So I walked to work - about 35 minutes - and it's currently -28C. Besides, at these temperatures, I start more easily than my truck!

Posted by: Sarah at January 18, 2005 1:39 PM

-33. Ouch. Is that Celsius or Farenheight? Either way...

So, I'll just refer people here if they start complaining about them low temps here in Connecticut today, LOL...right now it's 11 deg F. High of 15, low of 5...so, really, it's nice & toasty out!

Posted by: Eklectika at January 18, 2005 1:40 PM

Oh duh - I just saw - Celsius...like I said, either way...

Posted by: Eklectika at January 18, 2005 1:41 PM

My ancestors moved to North Dakota in the early 1900's from Poland and Germany. That first winter must have been a shock to them also. I think they didn't leave because their feet were frozen to the ground when it got to 40 below (F), and they couldn't move because of the snow up to their butts. It tells you how bad things must have been where they all came from.

Posted by: Lorette at January 18, 2005 1:43 PM

You know it's cold when you get out of bed and one of the cats jumps into your warm spot and burrows under the covers. ( We got a new furnace last year and it still can't keep up. A large wood burning stove to huddle around is what's needed. And whatever you do - don't stop moving)

Posted by: Elizabeth at January 18, 2005 1:43 PM

I just love the idea of someone running down the street with hot bagels pressed to their face to try to keep it warm.

Posted by: Gina at January 18, 2005 1:44 PM

It's so bizarre. It's 54 here today. Farenheit. Above 0. Tomorrow it's supposed to be 55. I don't understand it.

I want those mittens so badly. Anyone else in any other place in North America needs them more than I do, obviously. Oh but I want them.

Posted by: Patti at January 18, 2005 1:47 PM

Wait a minute. You of all people should have a pair of felted clogs. How can you not? I've seen you knit many a pair (virtually, of course). I have only knit TWO pair, and one of them is MINE. I live in them. They are amazing. I absolutely adore how they mold precisely to MY feet. No one elses, mine. The other pair I knit was for Nate, and when he comes to bed with ice bricks for feet, and then tries to snuggle up to my very warm feet that have spent all day in felted clogs, he gets busted, because it's OBVIOUS that he is taking advantage of the fact that I wear MY slippers and he DOESN'T.
So, you need felted clogs, my dear. And I recommend knitting them out of Lamb's Pride, because the mohair makes them even more yummy.

Posted by: LauraA at January 18, 2005 1:48 PM

Years ago St. Paul Minnesota had a button reading "Forty Below Keeps Out the Riff-Raff"
(says the woman who cast on for felted clogs last night because her feet were cold...)

and "caulking for humans" is brilliant -- not that he's in any way wrong about this climate. I'd thought of it as Kalamazoo Syndrome (we're in a valley east of Lake Michigan which frequently has a thick grey comforter of clouds snugged over it; depressing as hell but not as painful as brilliant, figid sun, our alternative.) It is some selfish comfort to know Toronto suffers from a similar misery.

Posted by: rams at January 18, 2005 1:52 PM

I have a 15 min walk to the bus stop every morning, and up to 15 min to wait for the bus. I do have a car, but I'm doing the environmental thing and using public transit as a matter of choice (besides, you can't knit when you're driving a car, and my commute distance is about a sock a week).

So, I care a lot about the outside temperature, but I don't measure weather conditions by the thermometer. What counts is whether/how long I can take my mittens off in order knit at the bus stop. Today (-27ish in Ottawa), that was about 8 minutes, and I wouldn't even risk that if I didn't know that a nice warm bus was just about to arrive. You know it's cold when it's too darned cold to knit...

Posted by: Mairi at January 18, 2005 1:55 PM

I have only one word to say about winter cold: Winnipeg. Welcome to my life.

One of my friends told me yesterday that the reason people's legs get cold so quickly is because fat freezes. Now I'm not only frozen, I'm depressed.

Posted by: Alison C at January 18, 2005 1:57 PM

My husband, the amateur meteorologist and master of all things incredibly trivial, once gave me the scientific explanation as to why, in winter, clear, sunny days are colder and cloudy days are warmer.

His explanation sounded right and made a lot of sense, but, as is the case with so many of his nuggets of information, the details have left my brain. Rest assured, though, that this is not a Cruel Joke played by Canadian weather, it is in fact Scientific Logic. (Although perhaps they are the same thing.)

Small comfort, I know.

To quote a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon: "Doncha hate it when your boogers freeze?"

Posted by: Kathleen at January 18, 2005 2:08 PM

Thanks, Allison C. Now I'm depressed, too. I'm from Minneapolis, where the high for the last week has been something like 2F. My legs haven't been near warm in five days.

My dogs think this weather is great - when they bark the sound cuts right through the air and the snow is all crunchy. Yee ha.

Posted by: Kerry at January 18, 2005 2:19 PM

Steph (and those living in the Toronto area) you may find this interesting:
http://www.greensaver.org/services_home.asp
Greensaver does home audits to help you find where the worst leaks actually are. There are probably other companies out there with similar services, but this is the one that I know of.


They've also got a page of seasonal tips...
http://www.greensaver.org/seasonal_tips.asp
Little things like, "Keep light bulbs clean. Dirt can absorb as much as 50% of the light given off." and "Open your window coverings during the day to use the sun to help to warm rooms. At night, pull them closed to avoid the warmer air from the house escaping through your windows."

Posted by: emmajane at January 18, 2005 2:19 PM

I went to cast on a pair of fuzzy feet (having given mine to my sister who lives in a very drafty house) the other day when I was home sick from work and it was -34C and about to get colder (that's -34 before the windchill was factored in) in Calgary. I didn't have the yarn I thought I did so they did not get started. Now, I have the yarn and have the first one done, and we have a Chinook.

hmm...

Maybe I should start all of my next year's cold weather knitting now and we will have an early spring...

(I won't mention that my apartment is generally warm since I live right above the boiler room)

Posted by: Lori at January 18, 2005 2:21 PM

At the price of heat (gas) I turned my furnace down and this morning it was really nippy! I need one of those automatic thermostat thingys. This -33 temp is obscenely cold. I so need to learn how to knit socks. Any recommendations on an easy book to start me off? And what about round needles vs. the 4 needle knitting? It is about time I did something besides a scarf (mind they have come in handy and cozy).

Posted by: Cherish at January 18, 2005 2:23 PM

I started knitting a hat as a surprise for my boyfriend last week while it was still 40F out. Yesterday it dropped to 20F, and now it's just a matter of how fast can I knit the damn thing. So much for the surprise. (And yes, I know it's still 40 degrees warmer here than where you are, but 20 degrees colder is still 20 degrees colder.)

Don't worry about the fuzzy feet. We'll remind you next winter.

Posted by: Cathy at January 18, 2005 2:24 PM

Wow-
-33 is godforsaken cold..... I woke up this morning and took the dog out and it was 5 F with the windchill: 5 F in North carolina? I mean the one plus about living in the American South is the mild winters... but no- the dog started to shake and I can inside and put her dog sweater on her before we went back out.
Now I am frantically knitting her a cabled dog sweater. Don't feel bad about the fuzzy feet.
-Angela

Posted by: Angela at January 18, 2005 2:25 PM

This morning my daughter and I wore our hats, sweaters and neckwarmers over pjs. I even turned on the oven for a few minutes to warm up the kitchen. I was also wearing fingerless gloves and now she has commissioned a pair... red, black and pink!

My felted clogs are wearing quite thin on the bottom, so another pair is in the queue. Looks like Fuzzy Feet are faster, and I have loads of LP Worsted, hmmm...

As for lunches, my DD usually takes a butter sandwich and a cookie. That's it, that's all she'll eat. Pathetic, but easy.

BTW, it's my birthday (#47) -- thanks so much for making the last many months most enjoyable! As a gift to myself, I've ordered bookbookbook through Amazon. They say it should arrive around March 8 :-)

Posted by: tree at January 18, 2005 2:34 PM

cold...I live in Delaware well the winters are usually pretty mild. I say mild because anything above 30F is pretty mild compared to what we have had. Today is 16F with a wind chill of 2F. I know this is not as cold as in Canada and having spent 2 weeks in Montreal last year where one of the warmer days was 32F and the coldest was -20F in March... I know what cold is. And yes it is surprisingly VERY sunny out today. which warms up my den very nicely. but its still cold outside. i have fuzzy socks i knitted out of jiffy yarn cuz it was laying around and i wanted warm socks for when i go to the hospital in labor to have my baby- which will be sometime in the next month. but ive been wearing the socks for two days now. thank goodness for warm yarn:)

Posted by: Jackie at January 18, 2005 2:38 PM

Alison C., I hear ya. I'm from between Russell and Brandon, and this character-building, too-cold-to-snow stuff is weeks-on-end, indeed, punctuated only by some of Vicki's "cloudy/rainy/sleety/icy/snowy crapola".
Keep telling yourself, "No hurricanes. No tidal waves. No earthquakes..."

But-- FAT FREEZES?!? And here I thought it was insulation! *sob*

Posted by: Kathen at January 18, 2005 2:45 PM

You are once again the highlight of my day. And I've had an amazingly happy day so far! Someday my neurotic behavior will develop into something as beautiful as yours. Is it terrible that I strive for insanity? Hope the weather turns fast!!

Posted by: Vicki at January 18, 2005 2:53 PM

It's pretty cold her in GA (yes, a sauna compared to -33) but I thought, why don't I have warmer mittens? I need them. I'll get yarn and start them today! It'll work! It'll be great!

It got warmer this afternoon, and I've already lost interest. The mitten yarn laughs and taunts, however. Cheeky bastard.

Posted by: Jenny at January 18, 2005 2:54 PM

you forgot to tell them about how the snow 'crunches' under your feet while you walk..it is that cold.Now we know what our friends out west go thru every winter.

Posted by: cara at January 18, 2005 2:57 PM

"Crunches" I can take. "Squeaks" is what creeps me out.

Posted by: rams at January 18, 2005 3:06 PM

Two words for you: "bread machine". On your next gift-receiving occasion, suggest to *those who love you* (AKA *those for whom you pack lunches*) that they gift you with a bread machine. If you get one with a little timer, you can set it to be ready along with the coffee and the pre-warmed house. I sometimes have to make a second loaf later in the day, because the smell of fresh baking bread causes the morning loaf to evapourate instantaneously. "The Breadman" has books of recipes for all kinds of natural ingredients and various dietary issues. Your house will smell nostalgic.

And the really really REAL reason??? In the long run it's waaaay cheaper than "boughten" bread, so you have more money for yarn. Heh? Heh? Smart like a FOX, I tell you ...

Posted by: Lynneski at January 18, 2005 3:06 PM

Is it true if I wait to order the BookbookBook then YH will get more profit (instead of using Amazon or Indigo) and I'll be able to do it from this blog?

Posted by: Cherish at January 18, 2005 3:08 PM

!!!!!
It was 27F here today. That's a POSITIVE 27.

Yes, I was cold.

I'm a wimp.

I moved from Hawai'i to North Yorkshire.

My heat is on.

Stop looking at me like that.

Posted by: Nina at January 18, 2005 3:10 PM

Another meteorological phenomenon - in the morning, when the sun come up - it gets colder than the night time temperature - before it gets warmer. IF it's to get warmer at all. So this AM, according to Environment Canada - it was -41C in Ottawa with windchill (we always have to factor in windchill). And at that temperature, the two temperature scales are close at -42F. Even at that, CBC reported people skating on the canal. Anyhow, it's warmed up some to -33C.

I used to live in Winnipeg...and then in Yellowknife. And why the #$% did settlers stay up there? Oh yah, gold.

Today I'm wearing the Eddie Bauer "Superior Polar Parka", rated to -70F, or -57 C. It has a huge hood, to guard my face as well. So I'm good for a few more degrees, except for the other parts of me outside the parka.

Steph - your Fuzzy Feet = my kid silk haze beaded pullover. It's 90% complete, and I spend a few days before Christmas working on it, and then Christmas passes. For the last four years.

Posted by: Linda B. at January 18, 2005 3:14 PM

If thrummed socks do not yet exist, I think the Yarn Harlot should create some. Fluffy Fuzzy Feet. They'd be knitter's Uggs.

Btw, I think your temperature tolerance is a bit whack or something. Maybe amazing. My Californian self is in a down vest after a very hot shower. Maybe you could convince Hawaii to defect to Canada. Or knit a furnace cozy... I know people who get such cold weather incur additional costs like rusted out cars from salting the roads, two layers of insulation in their mud rooms, frozen toilets, and such. Maybe the Irish wives stayed because they realized it was an excellent way to get the husband to do home repairs or move to a new hut/shack/house every few years otherwise his manhood would freeze off.

Posted by: freecia at January 18, 2005 3:35 PM

Reading your post made me remember how lucky I am living in Finland. ;) OK, so it does get cold here too, but at least the indoors temperature hardly ever drops under 20 C with everyone having at least double glazed windows and so. (By the way this winter has been so warm at least here in southern Finland that it's getting eerie. We should have -20C at this time of the year, but it's been +3C or so.)

And the second thing... Free school lunch. Warm food, salad and bread. Every day. For everybody. Kids like to say the school food is icky, but in reality it's mostly OK.

If I HAD to move abroad, Canada would definitely be on the list. It's kind of like Finland, they say, just very, very much larger. :)

Posted by: Kristel at January 18, 2005 3:36 PM

I am sorry we sent you the weather from over here on the West Coast (well, BC interior). If it makes you feel any better, we had to cancel out vacation due to the highway being closed. 50cm of snow, extreme avalanche hazard. It was meant to be though, as we are all sick as dogs now,

Posted by: Throkmorton at January 18, 2005 3:49 PM

My stepson had a 4" wide hamburger on a 1" bisquit the other day. And liked it. Why?

I don't eat meat, therefore hamburgers, so why would I have hamburger buns? Crackers and pickles are really quite close to h'ors deurves. Tell the girls they're petit fours....

And I think you've just figured out why I have sixteen different sock toes lying around my house. I only want to knit them when my feet are cold. And who has a memory that long? (seriously, I want to know so I can worship them... if only I could remember why I admired them so much)

Posted by: Amie at January 18, 2005 3:55 PM

Cold. Ick. It's pretty cold here in CT, but no where near that. But yesterday, in Embarrass, Montana, it was -55 degrees. I saw it on the Today show this morning. Maybe it was -54. I'm too cold to remember clearly. When it is this cold, and we step out onto our front porch to leave in the morning, the wood cracks alarmingly. I prefer to think that this is because the wood is frozen, and not because I am enormously fat.

Who is "The Breadman" ? What are tin pants? I love the thrummed fuzzy feet idea intensely.

Posted by: JoAnne at January 18, 2005 4:01 PM

I have "start-up-itis" as well; I CONSTANTLY start sweaters when I am feeling chilly and abandon them the moment that it gets warm. The positive side of the pile of half-started (or half-finished) projects around the house is that I DO find them when the weather next strikes that mode and ultimately finish them. If I can find all the yarn. Of course, now there are lots of ziplock baggies with yarn AND projects in them all around the house.

Who else thinks that Steph should make a Shapely Tank next from some yummy silk blend that will do double duty as a winter layer and a summer shirt?
http://www.whiteliesdesigns.com/patterns/lpullovers/fbc.html

Because it WILL warm up. Promise.

Posted by: Laurie at January 18, 2005 4:18 PM

Stephanie - why are you knitting socks? Drop them immediately, and start on some covers for your water pipes.

Posted by: judith (the orig) at January 18, 2005 4:18 PM

Covers for the pipes. Would that be pIpe-cord?

Posted by: Judith in Ottawa at January 18, 2005 4:22 PM

Holy Crap! I'm cold for you. I must drink hot chocolate now!
:)

Posted by: sandy at January 18, 2005 4:39 PM

Alright Steph, I have had about enough of this. It's 8 degrees here today. The wind chill and all...yada, yada. So, I am driving along in the blinding sunshine thinking about the injustice of it all. See, I really need to get some sun in the winter, so I try to run outside every day. Did I run outside today? Ummm...nope, I haven't run in sunshine in weeks. Only clouds. When it is below twenty I get a bit less enthusiastic about seeing how long it takes until I have warmed up my feet, or more likely frostbitten the end of my nose. So today, while driving in that same sunshine that is mocking me, I am thinking, "I am going to write a post about the injustice of it all. The freezing weather keeping me out of the sun and on my treadmill, yet running out of doors when it is a whopping 28 degrees, but cloudy and threatening snow. Yep, that's my post." And then I think, "but Harlot still has it all over my woes. My guess is she is really freezing up in the sticks of Canada." So I am going over this whole thing in my mind when I get home and decide to check blogs while I am thawing and WHAT DO I FIND? YOU STOLE MY POST!!!!!! AND IT OF COURSE IS MORE DRAMATIC THAN MY POST WOULD HAVE BEEN BECAUSE IT IS SOOOOO MUCH COLDER! HRMPH!!!! Well, at least I had bread for sandwiches. ;)

Posted by: Teresa C at January 18, 2005 4:41 PM

On lunches: My kindergartener eats the nutritionally suspect meals provided by his NYC public school because his mother (that would be me) is too lame to make him lunch.

On cold: I grew up in the Adirondack Mtns. not far from the Canadian border, and every winter we'd make the national news (in the US, not in Canada) at least a few times because we'd be the coldest corner of the country. No big deal. Add enough layers and any fool can walk to school when it's -43 degrees Fahrenheit.

But that was then; now, when my adopted home of NYC is a comparatively balmy 15 degrees, I am nearly crippled. It feels too, too cruel...

...except I get to wear, all at the same time, every cottonpickin piece of handknit that I ever made or was given -- almost including washcloths, placemats, and seat cushions.

Posted by: Zachmami at January 18, 2005 4:42 PM

So tell me could you see ice crystals in the air while running to the bakery? I remember ice crystals, not snow, at 5:00 A.M. when I lived in Alaska. The mental picture of you running down the street with bagels on your face had me rolling.
BTW my almost 17 yr old thinks your cool and actually checks every day to see if you've posted.

Viki

Posted by: Viki Worley at January 18, 2005 4:47 PM

This is purely helpful advice from someone who not only knits, but works for the US EERE program - part of the US Department of Energy - regarding energy efficiency and your house. Do not buy a new furnace (yet) - look at upgrading the energy efficiency of your home. It's cheaper than a new furnace, and your new one will have to work just as hard as your old one if your house isn't more energy efficient. Here are some websites with helpful info: www.eere.energy.gov/consumerinfo/factsheets.html and http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/ and http://www.ase.org/content/news/detail/1828. Best wishes, Diana

Posted by: Diana Glassman at January 18, 2005 5:11 PM

Some of you want thrummed socks. Look here: . Haven't tried them yet, but my feet are telling me it would be a fine idea.

Posted by: Elizabeth at January 18, 2005 5:25 PM

Odd -- the URL fell right out. Look for a site called Knitting on the Net, then click Socks, if it doesn't come through this time:

http://www.knittingonthenet.com/patterns/socksthrum.htm

Posted by: Elizabeth at January 18, 2005 5:27 PM

Odd -- the URL fell right out. Look for a site called Knitting on the Net, then click Socks, if it doesn't come through this time:

http://www.knittingonthenet.com/patterns/socksthrum.htm

Posted by: Elizabeth at January 18, 2005 5:28 PM

Hans wants you to send about half of those negative degrees over here to Oslo. All we are getting is rain, and even the ice that was under the snow has melted. He wants to go skiing. At this time of year, he should be able to walk up to the top of the driveway and put on his skis.

I second that on the angora underwear. The only trouble with it is that it is too warm to wear indoors under normal circumstances.

Posted by: Elizabeth in Norway at January 18, 2005 6:19 PM

HArlot, did you check the bottom of your knitting basket?? May be the Fuzzy Feet you started during the last cold spell still dwell there.

Posted by: Monika at January 18, 2005 7:20 PM

Well okay, history is not exactly my strong point but I did live in Lousiana for quite some time. Err, didn't some folks trek down from Acadia (in Canada, yes?) to Louisiana thus becoming the infamous Cajuns? Perhaps those folks thought, "This winter is for the birds!" and headed WAY south to somewhere warmer. ;) The question is, what the heck was I thinking moving north?

Posted by: Julie at January 18, 2005 8:03 PM

Man, that always happens. For me, as soon as I even considered that I might want to take a stab at, you know, knitting a sweater, maybe a tiny one out of the leftover acrylic I have, just to practice...
it's 90 F outside. Okay, yeah, it's LA....but it's January!
But I am jealous of people who live in really cold places, because I love to wear layers and I feel like I shouldn't ever wear more than a sweatshirt and a t-shirt in CA, although it gets cold here sometimes as well...

Posted by: Klaus at January 18, 2005 8:16 PM


Steph... you can actually get a government tax credit (grant) for I think up to $1000 (canadian) if you get an engergy analysis done and then make some suggested improvements. I do have the info around the house here somewhere if you'd like it.

I just think its fun that we life in a country where it can be +40 Celsius in the summer and then down to -40 Celsius in the winter... what do they say about the spice of life?

Richard told me that the mean Canadian joke is: Com'on, the sun is shinning, let's go outside... com'on... it's so beautiful... no... you don't need the warm clothes today... (grin-grin)....

Thank's goodness that I have that sling for Huxley so and that mountain equipment coop coat in extralarge that fit during pregnancy and now with him in his snowsuit in the sling under my coat...

Posted by: minka at January 18, 2005 8:17 PM

Will you please get busy on those mittens. My hands are cold.

Posted by: Adelaide at January 18, 2005 8:24 PM

I am with you on the sun shining brightest on the coldest days. Everyone thinks we built our house with the sun room getting the winter sun for energy effeciency. NOT. It's so I can sit in there and knit and look at the bright sun, and bask in it and not have to freeze my patooties off going out in it.
When it hit minus 40 here north of Edmonton I refused to turn on the radio in case they told me the wind chill. Don't wanna know.
What freaks me in winter is when your eyes water and the water freezes on your cheekbones. Used to have that happen when I lived in Fort McMurray.
Why did people stay here? My paternal granny said it was warmer...what a scary thought since she lived near Winnipeg! My maternal great granny said it was colder, but she didn't have to work as hard. The men didn't say anything, just took another slug of homebrew...which brings me to the theory that the men stayed cause there weren't enough cops to inforce the law against making home brew, and the women couldn't leave without them.
Barb B.

Posted by: Barb Brown at January 18, 2005 8:33 PM

Is that a polar fleece hat on your daughter? I'm shocked!
I don't know how cold it was here this morning, but there was a mouse in the crock pot.
(not the crock piece, but the warming unit) We live next to an empty field, so we get mice every winter. I've now washed a mouse, smashed a mouse under a bin of yarn, baked a mouse, and now crocked a mouse. I thought today was going to be knitting day, but apparently, it is a beer drinking day. Leinenkugel's anybody?

Posted by: Michelene at January 18, 2005 9:24 PM

I was whinging about the weather yesterday but I think I prefer my +35 degrees C to your -33 any day!

When my Dad was choosing which country to emigrate to (from England) in 1974 he narrowed it down to 2 countries. Canada and Australia. He chose Aus becuase of the weather, lovely smart man ;-)

Posted by: Sarah, in sunny Australia at January 18, 2005 9:29 PM

Harlot, two words: school lunch.

Posted by: Gina at January 18, 2005 9:41 PM

"How", you may ask,"does a mouse get into a crock pot?" Simple--it dived off the breadmaker.

Posted by: Michelene at January 18, 2005 10:17 PM

Poor widdle mousie.
MY children would definitely NOT have gotten bread. Perhaps a stale tortilla. or the 5 year old WASA bread from the back of the pantry. The nearest store (thanks suburban sprawwwwwwwl) is a whole mile away and I'd be a fat icicle by the time I got there, never mind by the time I got back.
Your children should give you a medal for a fresh bagel.
Actually, if it were that cold here, it would be some sort of national emergency and no doubt they would close the schools.
Texans can be wussies, no matter what the native ones will tell you.

Posted by: Dana at January 18, 2005 10:54 PM

wow that's COLD! I live in WI and we havn't gotten even a mildly warm day in FOREVER!Despite the weather mans "warm weather is coming at the end of the week",is the end of the week ever gonna come???Because were going on day 20 I'm I'm so confuized that my calenders all screwed up.....
Reminds me of the comercial for the car with the weather man..... anyone know what I'm talking about????

Posted by: Hayley at January 18, 2005 10:55 PM

I'm a faithful follower of your blog, but I never really comment, but on those lunches: I believe I shall show this post to my mother to try and guilt her into making me lunch. I've gone this WHOLE SCHOOL YEAR with nothing better than a bag of Cheez-its. I've had the same ziploc of Cheerios last me for three weeks.

lucky kids. *mrphgrumble*

Posted by: Rebecca at January 18, 2005 11:36 PM

You know, after this last election, I had thoughts about moving far up North. Suffice it to say I have re-thought that option.

Posted by: Kathy at January 19, 2005 12:42 AM

-33? We are plus 34 at the moment in sunny Melbourne, Oz, and I am talking celcius here!
My team mate comes from Toronto. She said some of her friends in the Canada club moved back to Canada cos they were homesick. One winter later they were back in Australia.... LOL.
Come to (not terribly wintry) Melbourne. You'll never freeze bits off just by walking outside. We have lots of fleece too!

Posted by: Lynne S in sunny Melbourne at January 19, 2005 1:50 AM

I just want to thank you for your blog! I know it keeps me amused! And I'm trying to figure out how I can gripe about the 25F weather we've just gotten--after a lovely couple of weeks of 70F weather! I hope your fuzzy feet keep warm and happy!

Posted by: Cathy at January 19, 2005 6:56 AM

Chilly indeed. Here in London it was much the same yesterday. I didn't enjoy waiting (and waiting) for the bus.

Fat FREEZES!? shoot.

At least we're not flooding like our friends out west http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/01/18/bcrain050118.html

Jackie, remember that Montreal's weather represents all of Canada's weather just about as well as Washington represents all of Americas... I invite you to check out Whitehorse if you don't think it's that cold here!

Posted by: Valerie at January 19, 2005 8:21 AM

First time posting here. I guess I shouldn't complain about the cold here in the midhudson valley (NY). It's 2degrees F right now, up from 0,(yay). My furnace has been working alot too.

I love those mittens but I have 2 questions:
1. Who or what is MSF? and
2. Where can I get that pattern?

Jenny

Posted by: Jenny at January 19, 2005 8:55 AM

I understand the cold feet emergency. We wropped into the negatives this week and I immediately decided it was time for a new hat and scarf set (I haven't worn a hat in years!). At least I had the good sense to start the hat first, that might actually be done before the weather warms.

Posted by: Samantha at January 19, 2005 9:11 AM

It was -10 here in New Hampshire last night...and I wore my fuzzy feet. The mitten is just fantastic and so are you.

Posted by: Maureen at January 19, 2005 10:01 AM

it was 22F here last night, and i thought that was cold. how wrong i was. oh, btw - hubby referenced one of your essays the other day - full details in my most recent entry. *mwah*

Posted by: abby at January 19, 2005 10:03 AM

Sorry Steph, I beat you., On Monday here it was a -50 windchill, with an air temp of -40. It was colder here. I also went out with thrummed mitts, as well as a hat, a full Inuit parka (artic fox around the hood), long johns, knee highs, wool socks, and two shirts. The only thing I can't protect is my lungs. Darned asthma.

At any rate, I actually decided on sending a bee-you-tee-ful beaded flower bracelet as my prize for TSF (KWB). Could you e-mail me the address?

I did have to laugh though, I LOVE your quintessentially Canadian posts. They make my day bright, and make me even happier to be Canadian. Only WE can claim that -15C is "a little nippy".

Posted by: Karlie at January 19, 2005 11:56 AM

I thought it was cold here in Michigan!

Thought you might like to check out what fuzzyfeet look like after a few months of wear. I posted a photo of my well-worn pair on my blog today. Wearing them like slippers (i.e., to walk around the house) is not recommended! Better to put them on after settling on the couch or crawling into bed!

Posted by: Lynne at January 19, 2005 12:12 PM

Has anyone else blown soap bubbles when it's seriously sub-zero? The bubbles freeze and either form weird skins or shatter (it's gotta be pretty damn cold for them to shatter). Fun times!

Posted by: Melanie at January 19, 2005 12:29 PM

LOL, I know about knitting emergencies - yesterday I was walking up Bay Street (cold!!) thinking "I gotta make some long fingerless gloves to cover the gap between my mitts and my sweater cuff!!" But of course, today they aren't necessary.
The other thing I seriously contemplated was going into Fabricland and buying a few metres of fake fur, to wrap myself in for the walk home. Sigh.

Posted by: Patricia at January 19, 2005 2:53 PM

keep knitting!!! :) i just finished my 4th pair of fuzzy feet (finally some for me). they are so lovely. mmmmmmm. your feet will be happy.

Posted by: rebecca at January 19, 2005 8:52 PM

Speaking as someone raised in Edmonton, I have experienced cold. Living in FL now I get to laugh a lot at what people consider cold.

When the temperature threatens to drop into the 30's (<4C) they start talking about wind chill. I always liked the way they talked about wind in Edmonton - it takes X minutes to freeze exposed skin.

DH, originally from Barrie area wore the sweater I knit for him today since the temperature will only reach 63F (17C). I was just glad I got it done during what passes for winter here. Of course that means I have a bad case of startitis. What to knit - soakers for DS, socks, shawl, bag?

I also love how fashion goes out the window here when the temperature drops below 55F (13C). Everyone reaches into the deep, dark corners of their closet and finds the one warm garment they own. It can be quite entertaining if you have a chance to people watch.

The weathermen talk about snow showers around here. I personally have never seen a snow shower, maybe a flurry, but never a shower.

Enough babbling, knit on.

Posted by: Natasha at January 20, 2005 3:11 PM

I finally got the chance to check your blog this week, and had to laugh at your comment about sunny winter days in Canada. Reminded me of my first year of university, when one of the international students (from Kuwait, poor thing, she hadn't a CLUE what to expect with winter) who one February day saw that it was sunny out and therefore thought it was actually warm. IIRC, she went to go to lunch in jeans and a t-shirt.

Of course the cold weather is just more of an excuse to knit woolies to keep us warm (yeah, that's it...).

Posted by: Karen S. at January 23, 2005 12:24 PM