Positive observations regarding the Negative 20 degree experience:

This weekend the radio man tells me it will “warm up to zero.”  In the MEANtime,  I’m trying to find some positive aspects about negative weather…

1. Sundogs. Even the word is fun.

2. “Pixie dust is flying everywhere!” Little glitter flecks (aka ice crystals) flit through the air like snowflakes, only a little more magical.

3. When you breathe out, you can see the glitter dancing in your breath.

4. And when you breathe in, you can feel the glitter dancing inside your nose and throat.  Ice crystals on their way inside feel a lot like ten thousand needles incessently pricking every internal milimeter of nostril surface area.

5.  But the breathing observations and nostril pain aren’t really relevant – because you can hardly breathe.  The air feels like a hold up – with a big steel gun barrel slammed right next to the temple screaming, “Give me all your air, or I’ll kill you.”  And it sucks all the air right out of you and you wonder if it’s gonna kill you anyway. (Sorry, that was kind of violent. But, that’s kind of how it is.)

5. Ice-scara coats, thickens, and elongates the lashes in a most intriguing way. Iced lashes are also kind of heavy.  It’s hard to keep your eyes open.  I wonder if you close your eyes, will the top and bottom lashes freeze together? Not something I’m going to be trying.

6. It’s eerie silent. You can’t talk.  You just can’t.  Because if you tried it you’d have to open your mouth and your poor teeth would fall right out.  And then you’d look like you’ve lived here all your life, in which case you’d be wearing a tee shirt in this kind of weather.

4. It’s also crazy loud.  Train whistles,  boots walking across the parking lot, a bird landing on a branch three blocks away – you can hear EVERYTHING.  You can literally feel the sound first in your ear and then it reverberates inside your head.  The closing of a car door echos for seconds – defined, precise, and loud.

5. Like spotlights signaling for Batman (because Bruce, we are in trouble), the auras of lights (be it street lights, headlights, or lit up signs on stores) shoot straight up into the sky.   I guess it’s an air density thing.   Instead of the “normal” 360 degree spectrum around the light source, the light photons line up in vertical beams blasting hundreds of feet towards the stars (I think they are desperate for a way out).

6. Speaking of stars, this morning I saw shooting stars around 10 am!  It’s clear as day (well, night).   Weather like this doesn’t allow for air particles to amass in any kind of cloud formation, so 20 below days can’t also be cloudy gray days.

7. “Wow. I have a lot of skin.”  Even under 17 layers of polypro, fleece, and down, it stings everywhere.

8. Shivercise!  Shivering burns 200 – 400 (depending on the source) calories an hour!

9. Icy roads aren’t an issue anymore.  It’s dry ice now, so just puffs of smoke.

10. I’m glad we live up in “the hills” which are about 10 to 15 degrees warmer than the low lying areas of Fairbanks.

11. And negative 20 still beats the promised negative 40 we still have to experience.

12. We have racked up HOURS of play time in front of the fire.  Thank GOD my sweet, generous, and thoughtful aunt Ronnie sent the most power packed play package EVER.  Because of her, we have weathered this freeze with crafts and puppet shows, books, and stickers, treasure hunts, and princess parties.  And I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it, because 1) we needed diversions; and 2) there is no way I am going to run to the store in this; and 3) we just feel so loved and touched by your thoughtfulness it makes me teary.

13. I would be in a world of hurt if it were not for my incredibly awesome support network.  Thank you friends. Thank you family.  Thank you Ronnie.  I mean it.

You are my lifeline,



10 responses to “Positive observations regarding the Negative 20 degree experience:

  1. Oh how your post brings back memories of growing up in Canada… I remember in high school (well, all through out my school days) of school being cancelled at -50C with the windchill… It was cancelled A.LOT! Try having to go outside & shovel the driveway in that weather… Unless you already have, I suggest you DO NOT!!! I Love reading your blog & your posts! Oh, and sundogs, I honestly saw one yesterday on my walk with the twins and I immediately thought of you! I should have taken a photo, but didn’t. You can do this, remember, it’s only temporary & not forever!! Xoxoxoxo

  2. Way to keep trying to look on the bright side friend! You know I’d trade this hot island for a cold day with you in a heartbeat!

  3. ….our most vivid memories are made from extraordinary experiences such as this. you will carry alaska with you forever in a “positive” way (trust me on this) …i am seriously jealous..

    • Thanks Ghee. I’ve actually thought a lot, “I can’t believe I EVER complained about Hawaii! …” and then wondered, will I ever look back and wondered if someday I will miss / wish for Fairbanks. We shall see!

  4. I’m so glad that the package arrived when it was needed. I think that I had more fun searching for items that I thought that you would enjoy, than you can every have with them. Too bad you can’t use the fairy wand to warm it up outside! Or maybe you can. Stay warm.

  5. Katie~the ice pixies ~ Oh how I loved looking at them from the inside out (although I’m sure they must be 10 times better in Alaska than Cleveland Ohio where I saw them)….the glistening ice can be oh so beautiful…that silence…eerily amazing – like a blanket over the world…. but girl….I’m with you…the frigid cold, never going to be warm again…oh where is the warmth weather is for the birds….or in your case…the penguins.

    Don your bathing suits, throw down some beach towels in front of the fire, pretend that is the sun warming your skin….close your eyes real tight (but not long enough for your lashes to freeze) and dream you are back in Hawaii ….if just for a little while….