One degree F

That was the temperature when I got up this morning. The horse trough heater seems to be working, heating my kettle o' fish (if these koi are alive in the spring I will be amazed.) One degree doesn't seem to bother Chicagoans..there isn't much snow and the roads are so salty, ice can't get a foothold, so they are bare and dry, and busy with morning traffic. Schoolchildren wait for the bus inside a local mom's van, though, parked at the side of the road.

I had to go walk down to the mailbox to mail a letter, a distance of about 200 feet from the door, and I had clogs, wool socks, long underwear, jeans, a t-shirt, a fleece hoodie, a Costco "pelt" (basically a polyester leopard skin lined with goretex and a zipper up the front), sheepskin gloves and a batik sarong wrapped around my head and neck, (since I was only going to the mailbox, I could look insane). I still got ice crystals on my eyelashes.

A good thing about Chicago is that you can find cold weather clothes all winter. In LA, where I grew up, if you wanted long underwear you had to go to the sporting goods store, in November only, and look in the ski section. And even then all that was usually left was sizes intended either for tiny Asian women or big Samoan guys. Here you can get gloves at 7-11 and the gas station, and long underwear at the grocery store. But I am still not a Midwesterner--when I was emptying my garbage the other day, dressed like I was going to climb K2, my neighbor Ed, 75 years old and mostly bald, was out in just his cotton sweater, sorting his recycling. He did say "Cold, yah?" before he went back to leisurely digging through his box of cans.

The cats think it is too cold to go out--they were squabbling so much over who got to sit on the stool, I had to put up a second window seat.