It's cold out there! Colder than Alaska, colder than Antarctica. And it's going to get even colder. And there will be snow. Chiberia is back. Remember?
Yes, warmer days are coming, but in the meantime, how do we survive this deep freeze?
Drinking and brooding were Mike Royko's favorite ways of getting through a Chicago winter. But there are better ways to deal with winter in Chiberia---
Be prepared--Stock up on food for you and your pets. Milk, oatmeal, dog food, cat food, etc. Clementines and potatoes are in season, now. If you have outside faucets, they will need some kind of insulating protection. There's a use for those tattered sweaters. They kept you warm, now they can keep the pipes from freezing.
Plan where you are going, and what you need to do. Keep track of keys, gloves, etc.
If you are driving, please be aware that stray animals may be seeking warmth in your car engine. Knock on the hood, make noise to alert them. Even if it is a short commute or errands, it's a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your car. Make sure your phone is charged. Drive slowly and allow space between vehicles. Pay attention, and allow extra travel time.
If you are walking, here's a post for you.
Wear layers. Yes, the lighter the better for layering. Merino wool is light and warm. Cashmere is also warm, light and very soft. You don't need to spend big money. You can find these things at charity shops and thrift stores, as well.
Here is a post on Chiberian chic that may inspire you. Don't forget a hat, a scarf or two and gloves or mittens. I would suggest carrying spares of these in case you lose them, or if you meet someone who really needs them. Yes, this is reality. You want to stay warm and dry. It can be a matter of life and death.
Moisturize! Again, this doesn't have to be expensive. Oils are your allies now--jojoba, avocado, olive oil and hemp oil are all good. Some people prefer coconut oil. These oils are also helpful if you, like me, have high-static hair from all those wool layers.
Humidify! Winter air is very dry. This is one reason for the high static hair and paper cuts. If you don't have a humidifier, pots of boiling water can add moisture to dry indoor air.
Keep warm! Think stews, chili, soups of all kinds. Lentils and split peas are inexpensive, and they can cook in an hour or so. These are the dal of India. You may think of split-pea soup with ham or bacon, but did you know that split peas and rice is called kitchri in Trinidad? Here is a recipe.
Speaking of India and Trinidad, think of the colors there--the reds and pinks, greens, oranges and turquoise blue! Colors can be very effective in counteracting the cold and gray days.
Think of others! Leave food out for the birds and squirrels. If you have pets, limit their time outside, or keep them inside. If you have kids, make sure they are bundled up. Think of your neighbors-- Are they all right? Do they need help with the snow? If you see anyone who may need help, please call 311. You could save a life.
Think positive! Remember, we are all in this together. That's the Chiberian spirit!
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