By Angela Noel Lawson
February 13, 2019
I grew up in California. Winter meant off-the-shoulder sweaters, jean shorts, and UGGs. But all that changed when I moved to Minnesota. So much so that I measure my years in the Midwest by the winters I’ve spent here. This will be my fifteenth.
The first freeze left me struggling to understand how to scrape the ice from my windshield. My boss at the time, a Canadian, told me to use the edge of my credit card to scrape my window. This was not great advice. But I’d never heard of a “scraper.” So that’s my bad.
It took me 12 winters to actually live in a home with a garage. I never fully appreciated the humble glory of parking beneath a roof until I moved here. Now I do.
I also learned that extreme cold causes cancelled school. My son was in kindergarten for the first “polar vortex” when temperatures dropped to -18F. Jackson struggled to understand that Mommy was on a conference call and couldn’t play just then. But even in those days I rejoiced in the fact that I worked at a company that allowed for remote work. This alone was and is something to be grateful for.
In the past few weeks the Midwest has experienced crazy cold temperatures. Here in Minneapolis we hit -28F, and that wasn’t counting the windchill. But Awesome Nugget posts aren’t about the hardships. They’re about the fun moments of surprise and delight that offer me a moment of pause. Being grateful for all the wonder and joy brought on by circumstance is one of the best parts of being a living, breathing human being.
So without further ado, here’s a few of the little moments I’ve noticed so far this winter.
- Skiing! Sure, I slid off a cliff one day and earned a couple of massive bruises. But so what? Skiing’s not easy. I’m not good at it. But it’s so much fun to be outdoors in the winter.
- Strange(r) encounter at Starbucks. On our ski days, we get up early to buy sandwiches and coffee. (You may recall this is the same thing we were doing on a different occasion–my bad behavior day. ) While we waited for our order, a woman with a worried expression noticed our ski gear. She broke the code of stranger silence to make sure we weren’t supposed to be passengers on the ski-school bus about to depart the parking lot. Clearly she didn’t have to care, but she did. And that’s just nice.
- Working from home. I am SO grateful that when school gets cancelled because of dangerously low temperatures, I can still work and accommodate a snow day (or three). Though I miss some things, like extra monitors, other adult humans, and the ready access to my file cabinet, I know it’s a privilege to have a WFH option.
- Jackson! Like many kiddos Jack was delighted to have three days off school. Luckily, he’s old enough now to understand that I can’t play games with him all day. Instead, he played video games, read, and built some Lego creations. Then, when I had a chance to break for lunch, he beat me at Yahtzee.
- Our neighbors. On the coldest evening of the 2019 polar vortex our neighbors asked us over for take-out Chinese food. The children cavorted in the basement. Someone brought over wine. And I had an enjoyable experience sipping apple brandy while we talked about politics, new restaurants, haircuts, skiing, and weather-stripping for new windows.
- Instant Pot. I love that thing! Nothing beats a fantastic bean soup on a cold night. If you don’t own an Instant Pot, you must get one. I might like this appliance more than I like chocolate cake.
- An “old guy” (his words) snowboarding. This dude had a beard worthy of Santa and there he was in line, waiting to shred on the slopes. The only thing he can’t do any more is the terrain park. “I broke my tailbone twice and I figured that was enough,” he said. Then he sat down on the chairlift and headed up the mountain.
- Art. My friend Erin Burton from Unbound Roots decided to make her gorgeous watercolors available for the rest of us. This woman has TALENT and HEART. If you love nature, you’ll instantly connect with her work.
- A surprising delight. My essay, The Problem with Pretty Girls and Princesses, was number 11 of the 15 most-read posts selected by the WordPress Discover Editors. Oh my. I’m so grateful readers connected with my words.
- Long, well-lived life. Two fantastic humans I knew and loved passed from this world. This is less-than-awesome in the sense that they left us, but truly awesome that they were here with us for so long. Carl and Ginny, you will forever be loved.
- Great co-workers. I have been so so so lucky to work with incredible people both at my old job and my new one. I am constantly inspired by them (you).
- Lunch with a wonderful, smart leader. Tracy Murphy made time to chat with me. Her commitment to mission and people is unparalleled.
- Getting groceries delivered. Is this a luxury on a sub-zero day or what? Yes, it costs a little bit more. But so worth it for some shopping trips. We used Shipt. Though there are many other companies serving different regions.
- A new baby niece!
- A nomination. A very lovely someone (you know who you are) nominated You are Awesome for the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards’ Best Personal Development Blog. Which is pretty cool. I hope you’ll consider voting for me when the virtual ballot box opens in April.
Your turn: So what’s been going on with you?