Winter in Minnesota is long…roughly 6 months long. Now that I’m experiencing my second winter, I’ve learned my relationship/attitude changes depending on which month it is. November and December…..I love winter. I appreciate the snow and the cold leading up to Christmas. Honestly, it is magical to have snow at Christmas time, even for this California girl. January, my brain is still accepting of Winter. January is typically Minnesota’s coldest month. Last year, (my first winter here) we had a polar vortex. If you don’t know that that means, its basically where the temperature becomes -30 degrees and when you add the wind chill it feels like -60 degrees. (Oh boy!) This year has been relatively mild. We’ve had a few days of -10, but mostly we’ve had 20’s and 30’s for temps. I can tell I’m adjusted to the temp because I now think 38 degrees is a “warm day.” February …. well let’s just say last February was the snowiest month in state history since 1865. Wowsers! This February, I’m going to be holding my breath to make it through the month without 39.5” of snow again. When March rolls around, that’s when I get stir crazy and I’m ready for Spring. Spring in the Bay Area is beautiful and flowers start to bloom in the beginning of March. I now know why Minnesotans go some place warm over their kids spring break…..they need sun and warmth to make it to May. The month of April is a crap shoot. Sometimes you start getting signs of Spring and sometimes you get a mid April snow storm. Light levels are also different in Minnesota. During the Summer, it is full on Sunny until 9:30 at night. During the winter, its grey and dark. Being someone who is affected by the constant grey skies, I’ve had to learn some strategies to cope when the Winter feels long.
1.) I had my house painted in brighter colors and I removed the awful beige wallpaper in my house. Beige is not my friend. I started buying everything in happy shades of yellow including the yarn I’m using to knit a scarf.
2.) I took up a few more indoor hobbies that keep me from going crazy: knitting, constant audiobooks, podcasts, physical books and writing. And of course, my Pittie Princess Serena is there to cuddle me every step of the way.
3.) I literally suit up myself and my dog and go out anyways. Layers are the key out here even for my Pitbull. (Pitbulls are all muscle and no fur, fluff or extra padding to make them warm. Plus my dog believes she’s meant to wear clothes.) My favorite brands of clothing made for Pitties are Tooth and Honey, Fit 4 A Pit, Darren & Phillip, and Paws and Whiskers Farm. And to protect my dogs paws from the cold I use Musher’s Paw Wax. It’s a life savor for my dog who doesn’t tolerate shoes super well. Amazingly, my dog enjoys the snow. Mostly because she wants to eat it.
4.) I decided to plan a trip to some place warmer each spring. Even if it’s to visit my parents & sister in California. Having the small time away goes along ways to helping me stay sane when it’s grey outside.
Now that it’s the start of the new year and a new decade, I’m looking forward to developing my routines living in Minnesota. It may be my adopted home, but I already feel like I’m a local. Long winters and all, moving here was the best decision I’ve ever made.