Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In like a Lion, Now Out! Out like a Lamb!

Get lost, February. You are a terrible month. You are consistently dreary and tooth-achingly cold. You broke my auntie's hip with your icy streets. You are blustery, cruel, and so so tedious. I have no idea why we keep you around, like, ever.

Remember how I promised to do a 10K speed skating marathon? Well I registered for it during one of those winter weeks we have up here in Canukystan where it warms up enough to make snowballs and so that breathing in doesn't sear our lungs. That's when we all start remarking to each other how happy we are to see spring even though we should know better. Because BAM! We are so plunged into more weeks of crazy sub-zero frigidity and, haha! There's MONTHS of winter left.

It wears on a person that.

It is February and March with those false promises of warming and those pseudo-spring teasers interspersed with ass-breaking cold snaps and flu-seasons that just won't quit that really grind on us up here. It's the last two months of winter, in a country with six months of it, that really are the hardest.

Oh yes, while Egypt is using Facebook to foment a revolution, we Canadians are bitching about the weather and posting travel pics of our flabby white bodies in Mexico to plummet those of us without the means to fly out of this awful cold into deeper despair.

This is a very long way of coming around to say that I DID IT and it was really cold. I almost froze my braids off.

See? They are frosty braids. And there's a bit of perspiration on my chin that froze into sweatsicles.

As I was driving down into the river valley on the morning of the race, there were wind chill warnings on the radio of -35. And of course, I was all, "WHAT WAS I THINKING?"

I did my warm up laps holding my hand in front of my nose to keep it from, you know, snapping off.

And I didn't get to train nearly as much as I wanted to because of how I've been nursing at least one sick kid through a cold or flu since the beginning of time itself. So I didn't feel bad when that spandex-clad gaggle of very fast teen-aged boys sniggered at me for asking which direction the race would go, this way or that way?  They might have been sniggering at my ski goggles, anyway.

But I did it.

And of course, once you get moving as fast as you can, you stop feeling the cold and start feeling that burning sensation in your thighs and lungs.

And I'll do it again next year while February is causing me, my kids, my dog, and everyone else in this frozen wasteland we call our home and native land to start clawing at the walls.

Meanwhile we are missing mittens and he damnedest thing, there aren't any to be found in the stores. No. They are all full of sunhats and Easter dresses and SWIMWEAR. WTF??????

That always messes with my head the way the stores start selling spring stuff when it's 30 below with snowbanks up to our knuckles.

And yet, and yet... if I do the math, it's just under 10 weeks till the second week in May which is when the Almanac says is past the last frost date. Which means it's time to plant pepper seeds. Which takes the largest leap of faith when your window ledges are frosted up so's you can't see out of them.

And yet... and yet...


  1. In theory I think it's pretty neat that you can skate outside. In reality, I'm very happy that it's never possible to skate outside where I live. Your braids gave me the shivers. Good on you for making that skate.

  2. Yay! You did it :-)

    I can totally relate to your shopping frustration. My babies need bigger fleecy pants. Because, you know, they've grown since the beginning of fall when I bought them their original fleecy pants. But! Only shorts and cute khakis to be found now. Someday I'll figure out the formula to determine how many sizes to buy in advance, but not today.

  3. Look at you! You're gorgeous! I had pneumonia for most of February, plus the feverish hacking kids -- cannot agree more about just wiping the whole effing month out of the calendar. Plus I missed skating on the canal. Oh well. My daughter's birthday is in February and everyone loved the party. One day out of the whole bloody month -- we'll take it.

  4. @ Marilyn, I would miss winter so much if there wasn't ANY of it.

    @ Mama Mo, have you tried MEC?

    @ Bibliomama: you are so sweet. I can't believe I got a complement on a photo of me sporting frost whiskers!

  5. Never heard of MEC... I found them online, just now :-) I'm not sure what the exchange rate is, but I will keep it in mind for next winter's gear. Thanks!

  6. You rock! I've been wondering how the speed skating has been coming along. And in minus 35 temps no less. I think the coldest it's been in Ontario this year has been minus 25 and that's darn cold. Good for you!

  7. HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL that looks COLD!!! Dear Lord, where do you live? I just posted a couple days ago about how I am Canadian but I don't live in "real" Canada and now I feel very bad about complaining about our couple days of snow.

    Good for you for braving it and reaching a goal!! Nicely done.

  8. Betsy,
    I live in the same frozen wasteland you do, and we are all agreed that February is the absolute worst. No hope. "But spring is right around the corner, now. right?" we say to encourage each other while knowing there is still a long, cold haul of winter left...
    But anyways, glad to see the post, I've been wondering how you've been faring and how the skating was going. I always find your posts so encouraging and love to read them. Thanks!!

  9. I clearly need to get my own seeds started. Especially because our frost-free date here in the slightly less frigid part of the country is coming up in April.

    (I'm sorry if saying so is insufferably smug at this point.)

    Also? Go you! I am so impressed. I don't see myself skating that far even at a temperature-controlled indoor rink.


Tell Betsy...