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Cold weather: you are dead to me
January 25, 2006

In an effort to un-demonize winter for myself, I have been thinking about winters past and the glee brought with childhood. Before the scraping of the car windows, standing in the freezing cold, waiting for someone to open the door, and the slowness of a morning commute, there was the joy of discovery, the first time in real midwest snow, and the 6 layers I had to wear to even look outside. Here are 10 memories I have from the Winters of My Life:

1983: 4-5 years old: ski resort - probably SugarBowl.
I wanted so badly to slide dangerously down the hills with my aunt and uncle. They attempted to get me into some baby skis, but I refused to move without poles. My first skiing instruction (which lasted for all of 30 seconds); my first memory of snow.

1987: 8 years old: school: San Jose, California.
Standing under the eaves of Primary Plus waiting for the rain to stop so we could play wall-ball for recess. Thankful that the teachers didn't force us to stay inside and draw or something equally horrific.

1989: 10 years old: school: Applegate, California.
The half-year I attended the Live Oak Waldorf school was awesome, and included an extremely snowy winter. Power coated the mountains, and my class climbed up a hill next to the ampetheatre. I sat down on a plastic bag to keep from getting wet. Instead of staying in one place, I found myself sliding down the hill backwards at an incredible speed, my classmates yelling after me. The adventure ended with me at the bottom of the ampetheatre and a sprained wrist.

1990: 11 years old: Grandma's house: Gaylord, Michigan.
Oh holy crap for crap and jeebus and all things lovely, there is 6' of snow here. Failed attempts at sledding (too much snow!), and the first time on cross-country skis (I loved it, and didn't fall down, and got the poles!). Possibly the first time really enjoying snow. That same winter I fell down the stairs at my cousin's house, breaking my wrist, the beginning of a habit.

1991: 12 years old: home: Loomis (now Granite Bay), California.
It had gotten so cold that most everyone's pipes froze and burst in all sorts of inconvenient ways and places. While our parents were busy cleaning up, Courtney and I were kneeling by the pool, punching through the ice on top and creating thin swords with which to slash at each other. We shrieked as the ice shattered, throwing shards and water droplets into our faces.

1993: 14 years old: walking to the bus stop: Sunnyvale, California.
Rain. It hadn't stopped raining for days. I didn't carry an umbrella because that would have been so very uncool. My eyeliner doesn't run because I can't afford the real stuff - I used my dad's old greasestick pencils left over from his Navy days.

1994: 15 years old: walking to school: Boise, Idaho.
My first winter in Boise. I had never used a hairdryer, so I left the house with a mop of wet hair on my head. Halfway through my walk, I realized that my hair had fused into cold clumps. At first, I thought I had put too much gel on. Then I realized that my hair was in fact frozen. Embarassment.

1996: 17 years old: walking to the car from school, Boise, Idaho.
I left school early due to what would later be diagnosed as Bronchitis and Strep Throat. When I got to the car, it wouldn't start, the battery dead. I called my mom from the 8th St. Marketplace payphones (which no longer exist), and started walking towards the bus stop. On my way out of the building, I had to step up on a curb to keep from being run over by a guy in his Beemer. As my eyes were focused on the ground, I didn't see the treebranch I walked into, resulting in whiplash and a trip to the emergency room hours after the incident. The guy in the Beemer got out of his car and laughed at me.

1999: 20 years old: home: Downtown Boise, Idaho.
New Year's eve: We were excited to be going to the largest party any of us had gone to - the public fest in the heart of downtown. Kristen and Ryan came over, we drank a bottle of cheap blush, and left the building. As soon as we stepped outside, snow started falling, and we went right back to my apartment, grumbling, to grab coats and hats. Our outfits were ruined, but we had a great time milling about with a few thousand other people. Pressed against a building at Capital and Main, I heard fireworks erupt the sound of the New Year. I came home to a bathtub full of water, and a pantry stuffed with canned food and ramen. Just in case.

2001: 22 years old: driving to Sun Valley: just outside of Shoshone.
Ben's taking me to the Sun Valley lodge for the night, just as a fun mini-break. The highways are a sheet of ice, and we're following too closely behind another vehicle - or so I feel - which is 15 carlengths ahead. The car in front of us turns on the blinker and starts to slow down. Ben doesn't follow suit, and we're quickly coming upon the other vehicle. Ben hits the breaks, and we go twirling about on the ice like a skater sowcowing. When the vehicle comes to a stop, we're not in a ditch, but we're alive, so we continue on our way, another 50 miles to the lodge. Later that night, in the Lodge dining room, Ben asks me to marry him. I say yes.

Sorry to end on such a sappy note. But even writing this made me a little more lenient of the time left of winter.

Now, onto spring...