Like Standing in a Refrigerator

The Lower 48 (also known as the Continental United States) has been in the grip of a polar vortex as of late, and this pocket of polar air has dipped down so far that it’s even affected us here in Florida.

Now, I know people like to poke fun at us for piling on the layers as soon as the thermometer dips below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and that when it drops below 40 we end up looking like Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant, but being that we don’t get so many cool or truly cold days here as the rest of the country does and also being that we tend to be so used to warm air and temperatures here, when the temperature does dip below 50 or so, we take our cool and cold weather pretty seriously.

This is about how heavily we dress when it gets below 50.

And we’ve had some pretty chilly days here since this polar vortex started diving down into the middle portion of the country. The temperatures have been subzero (Fahrenheit!) in many parts of the Midwest, especially in Chicago (which is, of course, exacerbated by all the wind). Up in northwest Indiana, where an uncle of mine and his wife (my aunt) and their kids (my cousins) live, it is just barely above zero Fahrenheit at the time of this post. Here it’s been much better compared to that part of the country, but it has still been pretty cold by Florida standards. The last few days have seen temperatures stay in the 40s and 50s, even in the daytime, when the average daytime high this time of year is normally around 70. Factor in the wind and it feels even colder. Our heater has been running, especially at night (when it’s dipped down into the 30s), although I’ve been wearing a long-sleeve shirt and workout pants to keep a bit warmer inside. I kid you not, going outside the last few days has been like standing in a refrigerator (which ours is typically kept to around 35-40 degrees or so to keep our food from spoiling). And I’ve pretty much only gone outside to let the dog out, take out the trash, and to go get groceries (which I did on Monday). My February Lady cardigan that I knit a few years ago has been getting a lot of game time lately, although I am wondering if I should knit a new one in a slightly smaller size as this “swingy lace cardigan made to fit a grown-ass woman” seems a little too big on this grown-ass woman. And I did screw up the button holes when I made this one, so it never stays buttoned because the button holes are too big.

This cold blast does seem to be coming to an end, though, at least here in Florida. The warmup will be taking place this weekend and by next week Florida will be back to its mild-ass weird and almost nonexistent winter self.

To those in much colder parts of the country, I do have this to say, in all sincerity: Stay warm, stay safe, and stay positive. It will eventually warm up where you are, too.

Hey (Twenty) Nineteen

I don’t really care much about Steely Dan except for maybe a couple of songs, but “Hey Nineteen” seems to work for the purposes of this post title, so I’m gonna stick with it.

So, this is my first post of 2019 and I’d like to welcome all of you along with me to the last year of the 2010s. Nothing major has gone on since the beginning of the year just ten days ago, just a couple of updates on the knitting and reading front. But, I also figured I’d try and list what things I’d like to see happen or I’d like to improve on over the course of this year. So, without further ado…

  • The Bambina Baby Blanket is coming along. I have the bottom and right-hand side edges of squares done as well as four full rows of squares. I am currently working on the fifth row of squares and have maybe three or four squares to do before finishing that row. I hope to have this row done by the weekend, and since I typically work on these squares in the mornings, I’d like to have the sixth row of squares done by the end of next week (at which point it’d be halfway done). Its recipient is still about a month and a half away from making her glorious arrival on this planet (I borrowed the phrase “glorious arrival” from Vince McMahon, by the way; he once used the phrase to refer to his birth while cutting a promo during an episode of WWE Raw on his birthday). I have my fingers crossed that the last stages of her pregnancy and delivery will go smoothly for my sister-in-law and the Bambina.
  • Reading on The Fountainhead is going well. I’m halfway through the novel both in pages read and parts finished (it’s written in four parts, and I’ve already finished two, getting ready to start on Part III). I hope to be able to write a comprehensive commentary/review on the novel once I finish it. Some of the commentary may end up being political in nature because of the influence that Ayn Rand ended up having on certain politicians here in the United States, but I can promise you any commentary I have on it will be my own take. But first I need to finish the novel, which is one of two I am currently reading. Yes, two. And like Ayn Rand, its author was also born in Russia.
  • The other novel I am currently reading is one that I have had on both my Book Bucket List and my regular Bucket List, and one that should be tackled by any serious reader at least once in their lives: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I’ve been reading it on my e-reader (thanks to Project Gutenberg, which has made the translation done by Aylmer and Louise Maude available as a free ebook) since New Year’s Day as part of a readalong being conducted on Instagram and Goodreads called “War and Peace 2019”. I’m using a different translation from the one recommended, and the book is split up differently as well. I’m six chapters into Book Two (out of 15 and two Epilogues). The goal of the readalong is to have the book done in about three months, which is roughly how long it took me to read Gone with the Wind (and that book seems just about as long as War and Peace). I’ve been reading a chapter or two at a time during the day and attempting to read The Fountainhead at night.

Now, what would I like to get out of my experiences in 2019?

  • I hope to get to spend plenty of time with both of my nieces this year, and I am so excited to get to meet The Bambina.
  • I hope to continue to grow more confident in my writing as my blog enters its third year of existence at the end of March and to continue to grow my following. As of this post, I have about 90 total followers, and I hope to reach 100 followers at some point this year.
  • I hope to continue to grow adventurous in my reading and trying to finish every book I start. I have not set a particular number of books to read as a goal; rather I want to read as much quality writing as possible.
  • If I manage to get through most of the ebooks in my collection (and don’t buy any more physical books this year), I will finally renew my library card and try to utilize it as much as I can.
  • I also would like to incorporate more crochet projects this year; I already have an idea for my niece R.A. once I finish the Bambina Baby Blanket. She will be turning three in June and I’m thinking of making her a Mermaid blanket, especially one she can grow into. I was also recently gifted a shawl pattern by a Ravelry friend who’d won a giveaway (but doesn’t really crochet) as a thank you for how much I’ve been keeping up on posting news and updates on the site’s Eurovision group. It has a really interesting shape for a crocheted shawl, and I’d love to get a chance to work this particular shawl for myself. I had a lot of fun with the Unicorn shawl I did in 2017, and I hope to have fun with this pattern, too. I’ll see about getting yarn for this one at the same time I get yarn for R.A.’s mermaid blanket, but that won’t be until the spring.

I realize that you just had to look at a lot of bullet points. I hope to go back to writing more essay-style posts soon.

And finally, here is the song I referenced in the title of this post, “Hey Nineteen” by Steely Dan. There’s no real reason I have this here other than the title.