In case you haven’t heard: it is COLD in the Midwest this week. It is so cold that, here in Chicago, several businesses have chosen to close rather than make their employees go outside. Both my partner’s workplace and mine decided to do this yesterday and today. The actual temperature has been in the teens BELOW ZERO Fahrenheit, with the wind chill dipping as low as -50. That’s cold enough that exposed skin can wind up frost bitten in just five minutes.
All that to say, we’ve been hibernating the past couple of days. I’ve mostly been knitting and not getting much else done.
I knit about half a mitten on Wednesday.
I’m grateful for the extra days off, the working heat in our apartment, and the technology we have at our fingertips that allows us to check in on our people without going outside.
I’ve always liked winter. The past two, in all their polar vortexiness, were a bit rough, I’ll admit, and snow is less enjoyable when I have to walk through so much of it on my commute. But as someone who’s always been on the warm-blooded side of things, I always welcome the cooler temperatures, and snow is pretty, and the lights and various holiday decorations often make me smile.
So the fact that it’s been in the 50s Fahrenheit and raining the past couple of weeks is kind of throwing me for a loop. This winter is promising to be much like our first in Chicago – more rain than snow and much, much warmer than a Midwestern winter has any business being.
And then…and then there’s Christmas.
Christmas was, for most of my life, my favorite holiday. The lights, the evergreen everything, the baking, the general feelings of good cheer…I’ve always loved it.
But as I’ve taken steps back from the Christian faith of my upbringing, the holiday no longer holds much personal religious significance. And I am super not into the commercialized business of an American Christmas.
So I’m finding myself feeling a little weird this season, and I think it’s more than the unseasonably warm weather that’s causing it. I’m still exchanging gifts with a handful of people, and I’m enjoying the holiday cards we’re finding in our mailbox. I’m still enjoying the lights, and the evergreens, and I hope to get a little baking done at some point. The good cheer, in light of the current state of things in the United States (bad politics, police violence, denial of climate change, etc.), is a little harder, but I am trying to find hope and to be a little more patient with people. I’m just…not really sure what the purpose of the festivities is. Maybe there doesn’t need to be one aside from looking for a little light in this dark time of year. It’s just a new and still-strange perspective, I guess.
It’s finally sweater weather.
I’m not fond of the nigh-constant cloudiness at this time of year in the Midwest. But I love the chill in the air, because it’s an excuse to wear all the coziest things that I (who am a furnace, and, unless I’m sick, am pretty much never cold) don’t otherwise get to pull out of the closet very often.
My knitting lately has reflected the change in the weather. Last week, I finished my nephew’s Christmas sweater:
and a sweater for myself:
And then, despite the fact that I have at least a dozen projects in varying states of completion around the house and already have plans to start a baby blanket for the nephew’s birthday in March, I decided I needed to start another sweater. Out of some particularly gorgeous sock yarn that I inherited from our friend Audrey.
It’s going to take forever, because it’s working up at a super fine gauge and I have a short attention span for my knitting at the best of times. But for now, I’m excited about it.
It’s been a bit of an odd week so far (more on that below), and I completely forgot to write a blog last night. I’m writing this from my phone, so it might look a little strange. Anyway, here are a few tiny thoughts about the week.
- It’s getting colder. We haven’t seen snow yet beyond some light flurries, but while the week started off at a balmy almost-60° F, it’s been in the 30s since then. I don’t mind the cold, really, though it can make my commute rather unpleasant.
- I’m sick. Tuesday afternoon I left work early because I started feeling feverish (while I was inside, I felt like I was melting and freezing at the same time, and when I went outside where it actually was freezing, my body still felt like it was melting). Yesterday I stayed home and hung out on the couch for most of the day. I went to bed at 8 last night, fell asleep within 20 minutes (an extremely rare occurrence) and was out cold until just after 5 this morning. I’m feeling somewhat better (I’ll make it into work, at least), but I’m really looking forward to the weekend.