CHILLED TO THE BONE, CHILLED OUT

YES, MY AFFECTION FOR THESE TOWERS DOWNTOWN LIE WITH “YANKEE HOTEL FOXTROT,” BUT THE FALLING SNOW MADE THEM MORE MAGICAL. WALKING TO THE TRAIN TUESDAY NIGHT, I WAS THRILLED TO SEE SO MUCH OF THE WHITE STUFF FALLING FROM THE SKY.

Crap, it’s cold. Really, really cold. And why it feels that way, I’m not really sure.

Twenty-five degrees on a February night is pretty rare. We’ve already survived way-worse temperatures this winter … and we surely all dread the frigid ones to come. But man, there’s something in the air today that just won’t let me, or most people I saw, shake the chill.

Now granted, for some reason, we just can’t seem to get the temperature right at work, and there were moments I wondered if I would see my breath as I sat in front of my Mac this morning. I even called one of our always-prepared photographers, Natalie, to request feet- and hand-warmers I know she buys in bulk at Costco. When she got back from assignment and gave me enough to last a few days, I thought I heard angels singing. (Or maybe it was just a track off Yeasayer’s “Odd Blood” I had wafting from my tower.) Either way … a few shakes of a packet, and boy, what a huge difference.

It was no better on the train home from work, each time those doors opened … But I had aforementioned amazing album busting through my headphones and I never stopped moving the entire way. (I’m sure some people found me a bit weird, constantly tapping my feet from White Sox field to Uptown. But I have learned when you’re freezing, just move a little. It truly helps.)

Now, I am in my apartment … waiting for the radiators to kick into high gear. (That usually happens around 10 p.m., so close now.) But I know before I truly can get warm, the creature to my left eyeing my every move will want to be taken back outside one more time. Ah, the price you pay for pure love.

I know sometimes it can seem more painful than it really is, but I actually love winter. (Except for the ice, of course.)

I take in every snowflake I see. Four years on, each is still just as novel as the last. This week’s has been the best this winter so far … deep and beautiful. And to me, not a nuisance at all. It can slow you down a little, but good boots boost your confidence as you trudge through whatever is splattered across the sidewalks. (Now, watch me bust it when I take Huxley out in a minute.)

Yesterday was a perfect example of a magical winter day. I played hooky from work, wanting to soak up every second of the wonderland outside my window. The snow finally trickled to flurries mid-morning, and the pup and I played around for a while, as our courtyard had yet to be shovelled. By the time I left my house to head downtown to meet a friend for lunch, not a patch was to be found on the concrete. (I swear, I think fairies just show up sometimes.)

Despite the wind coming off the Chicago River, Michigan Avenue proved to be a nice walk after I deposited Christopher back at the Tribune building following a quick bite. The sun was shining, all the businesses had removed the accumulation in front of their store-fronts, fear of lawsuits surely speeding up the process. It wouldn’t have mattered though, as I had one destination in mind.

I said I wouldn’t do it this week, but I did end up at Reckless Records. Being so close (well, six or so blocks, anyway) to my favorite location on Madison, I couldn’t fight the draw. Two albums later, (Shame, shame on me … come on IRS, deposit that refund.) I happily walked to the Red Line, back home to enjoy another perfect winter day. (Even if the rest of it was spent cleaning, and later vegging out on Amy’s couch catching up on missed episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Big Bang Theory.”)

Truth be told, I guess I don’t mind so much living in an icebox. Now, if the heat would just come on.

THE SNOW WAS ALREADY PRETTY DEEP ONCE I GOT BACK TO UPTOWN, BUT THAT’S OK … I HAVE MY BOOTS, (AND LOTS OF KNEE-SOCKS TO PULL UP OVER MY LEGGINGS.) THE BEST $20 I EVER SPENT AT A ST. LOUIS WALMART.

THE DARLINGTON HOTEL AT THE CORNER OF LELAND AND RACINE IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE BUILDINGS ON MY STREET. IF FOR NOTHING ELSE, ITS AMAZING SIGNS AND THE INTERESTING CHARACTERS COMING IN AND OUT.

THE SNOW CONTINUED TO FALL STEADILY TUESDAY NIGHT AROUND UPTOWN, LEAVING US WITH INCHES AND INCHES OF THE WHITE STUFF, PLUS SOME BEAUTIFUL DRIFTS.

I ALWAYS FIND HUXLEY’S EYES A LITTLE CREEPY WHEN THE FLASH HITS THEM LIKE THIS, BUT I THINK IT ADDS TO THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN ASPECT OF IT ALL. AS YOU CAN SEE, HE HAD JUST ENJOYED ANOTHER TRIP OUTSIDE … A BIG FAN OF THE SNOW, THIS MISSISSIPPI-BORN BOY IS.

I LOVE THE COLOR OF THE SKY WHEN THERE IS A SNOWSTORM IN THE ATMOSPHERE. IT CAN GO TO GRAY TO WHITE AND BACK TO GRAY AGAIN … BUT SOMETIMES IT WILL SETTLE ON THIS AMAZING AMBER COLOR, WHICH IS TRULY MY FAVORITE.

WEDNESDAY MORNING SAW THE END OF THE DRIVING SNOW, BUT JUST THE BEGINNING OF A LOT OF CHAOS ON THE ROADS. THE CITY DOES A PRETTY DECENT JOB KEEPING ALL OF THE MAIN STREETS AND EXPRESSWAYS AS CLEAR AS POSSIBLE, SO THE SIDE STREETS ARE USUALLY PUT OFF UNTIL THE END OF THE STORM.

THANKFULLY MY STAIRS LEADING TO THE BACK PORCH ARE PRETTY PROTECTED, SO I NEVER HAVE TO DEAL WITH WHAT MY NEIGHBORS HAVE TO. NOPE, DON’T ENVY THEM AT ALL.

SNOW AND ICE SEEMINGLY COVER EVERYTHING FOR MONTHS IN CHICAGO, INCLUDING OUR BACK GATE. SOMETIMES I FIND MYSELF WALKING THROUGH GOLDEN HOUSE RESTAURANT NEXT DOOR BECAUSE BOTH THE GATE IS FROZEN, AS IS THE ALLEY I HAVE TO SKATE THROUGH TO GET BACK ON MY WAY TO THE FRONT OF MY BUILDING.

AS YOU CAN CLEARLY SEE, HUXLEY IS NOT AFRAID TO BE IN THE SNOW, BUT  HE’S GOT A BIT OF WINTER GEAR TO HELP KEEP HIM WARM. I’M NOT REALLY ONE TO DRESS UP MY ANIMALS, BUT THANKFULLY MY MOM IS. SHE ALWAYS BUYS HIM A WINTER COAT FOR CHRISTMAS, AND THIS YEAR HE GOT HAND-ME-DOWN SWEATERS FROM HIS AUNT GRETA AS WELL.

IF IT WEREN’T FOR THE SNOW EVERYWHERE, IT WOULD HAVE LOOKED LIKE SPRING BY MIDDAY WEDNESDAY. THE CLOUDS PARTED, THE SUN CAME OUT, AND IT MADE FOR A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN UPTOWN.

ADDING TO MY PERFECT DAY WAS THE ABILITY TO GET A PRETTY DECENT SHOT OF A BLANKETED GRACELAND CEMETARY FROM THE TRAIN. (USUALLY THEY COME OUT TOO BLURRY TO BE OF ANY SUBSTANCE.) THE SPRAWLING GROUND IS HOME TO MANY NOTABLE BODIES, INCLUDING THE FIRST MAYOR OF CHICAGO AND CHARLES DICKENS’ BROTHER AUGUSTUS.

ALTHOUGH THE STREETS AND SIDEWALKS DOWNTOWN WERE CLEAR, EVERY OTHER SURFACE (INCLUDING THE CTA BUSES) BARED TRACES OF THE TWO DAYS OF WICKED WEATHER.

THE VIEW ALONG THE CHICAGO RIVER WAS IDEALIC, EVEN IF THE WIND WAS A BIT BRUTAL. WITH THE AMOUNT OF SNOW ON THE GROUND, THE STAIRS REALLY HIGHLIGHT HOW DILIGENT CREWS WORK TO MAKE SURFACE AREAS SAFE FOR TRAVEL.

THESE PIGEONS FLOCKED (NO PUN INTENDED) TO ONE CLEAR SPOT ON A SIDEWALK ON WACKER THAT WAS OUT OF THE WAY OF FOOT TRAFFIC. DOZENS OF PEOPLE WALKED BY AS I STOOD AND SHOT THEM, AND NOT ONE OF THEM FLINCHED.

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2 thoughts on “CHILLED TO THE BONE, CHILLED OUT

    • Thank you. New to the whole blogging thing. Ha. Just feeling my way around. And yes, I hope warmth comes this weekend. Take care.

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