Thursday, February 19, 2009

Must Haves: For a Minnesota Winter

14. Palm trees. When I see palm trees...truly no matter what time of year...I am instantly relaxed. From inside the pressurized cabin I can feel the stress leaving my body and the scowl leaving my face. Ahhhhh....palm trees mean there's an ocean nearby with it's salty breezes and lulling waves. Palm trees mean warmth and humidity, both of which are hard to come by in Minnesota in winter. Palm trees mean you aren't going to work the next day. Yeah, yeah I know that the descent into Riyadh International Airport brings palm trees into view but they do not indicate the presence of an ocean or humidity. I know. But let me have this one please. I didn't win enough (cough, any) money in Vegas last October to buy myself the diamond studded palm tree pendant I saw there, so I recall my memory of Punta Cana a year ago to bring me palm trees in winter.

15. Citrus. Clementines have kept me alive this winter. I've eaten so many of them I am becoming a clementine snob. Spain grows the finest. California is second. All others are crap. Fortunately just when the Spanish and California clementines are done, naval oranges and grapefruit step up to center stage - which is right now. Limes and lemons are also in my fruit bowl all the time. A little zest adds a new flavor dimension to any food any time of year, but it's really special in winter. I did a little experiment at work earlier in the winter. There were a lot of candy bowls around during the holiday season so I put a fruit bowl on my desk. Clementines and apples. The clementines were gone in a day and a half. The apples took three days. So it's not just me. Others feel the need to stave off winter scurvy with some fruit.

16. Color or Sparkle. I'm putting these together because they often come in the form of a fashion accessory, especially in the office setting. We wear a lot of black, gray, and brown in the winter, so it's fun to have a bright scarf, a big rhinestone broach, or funky socks to brighten the winter wardrobe. I bought a red boiled wool jacket this season. It's really red and the only reason I bought red is because the teal didn't come in my size. But I'm so happy with it. It's a snap of color that makes me happy and it's NOT A SWEATER! I can wear any broach on it too.

17. Winter beer. Some will disagree with me on this, but it's my blog so pbbtwwwsssttt..This one isn't so much a necessity as it is something that makes winter a great season. We've got some very talented brewers in the upper mid-west. And to bring in talent from other parts of the country we have some very fun to visit distributors. A-Mo and I are lucky to have so many friends who know their beer and who have inside connections in the beer world up here. Personally, I like beers from all seasons, but I prefer to drink beer in winter. Hand me a Hendrick's and tonic (with double lime) any summer day, but in February, make it a Surly please.

18. Alka Seltzer Plus Cold. The citrus flavor is my favorite. This stuff works. And it works right away. Confinement indoors + day care + an office full of people with kids in day care or school + anything touched by Joe & Joann Public = 6 months of germ warfare.

19. Immunity boosters. This is for avoiding #18, and because of #18. Store brands are less expensive and as far as I know just as effective as name brands like Airborne. None of them taste great so I find the "down the hatch" approach the best. And having to drink 4-6 ounces of water with each dose of #18 and #19 leads me to #20....

20. Water. Not only is there very little humidity in the air, but heaters in the car, office, home, skyways, etc. suck what little moisture is in your skin and eyeballs right out. We have small humidifiers in our bedrooms and we still battle bloody noses and ashy skin all winter. It's amazing how, during a winter thaw (which in these parts refers to 32F), I have great hair days and I can goa day without slathering lotion all over my body. I first crossed the border into Minnesota on September 30. Two weeks later it snowed. I didn't even own a winter coat yet. Because I moved here by myself in my car and I was trying hard to be safe and responsible I had a survival kit in my trunk - you know, flashlight, water bottles, crackers, blanket, etc. One day during that first winter I remembered that I had water in the trunk and I was thirsty. I had to laugh at myself on that one. Ice anyone?

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