Tuesday, February 3, 2015


It snowed ALL DAY yesterday. There's a pile of it in front of our building that's taller than I am.

It's 5 degrees right now. My living room is so drafty that I gave up and went back under the covers. Toffee is curled up at my feet, Harris is wandering about, and Lion is curled up next to me so I can pet him conveniently. He purrs loudly and "makes biscuits" with his big front paws. He's the only cat of mine who understands a hand signal: he knows that if I wave my fingers at him, he'll get petted if he comes to me. And he usually does.

I am going to have to reset my pedometer to "0" yet again one of these days weeks since I'm clearly incapable of resuming my once-solid, four-year walking routine in this weather. Ten thousand daily steps can only happen when most of them aren't on slippery sidewalks. I used to get lots of my steps by jogging barefoot in place in my apartment but that's hard on my legs and feet.

I am supposed to go to a meeting in the South End this afternoon; I'll need to bundle up. Wool socks and shearling boots work well, but I lost my new gloves last week. I've been doing without recently, in vague hopes that my freezing hands will inspire my brain to remember where I left them. That's not working, so I will resort to my ratty old gloves.

It's so cold that the MBTA has announced that riders should avoid using almost all of the subway lines today. Last night, commuters were forced to walk because trains and trolleys were simply not coming. This is the time of year when even die-hard walkers want to ride the T. This is exactly the wrong time for an epic system fail. (And don't tell me that hosting the Olympics here will improve public transit. My eye.) So, all over Boston, lots of people are staying home today because getting to work or to school is next to impossible.

My favorite technique for walking any distance in single-digit temperatures is to duck into shops about every block or so to warm up. This means adding more travel time on top of the extra time allotted for walking slowly on slippery sidewalks. Even Proper Bostonians have to reduce their usual brisk pace to prevent sprained ankles and broken bones. I try to warm up in shops I like along with every bakery on my route, but sometimes I don't have so many options. Last week I went into a liquor store in Charlestown. I don't drink so I checked out the supply of bitters. I have yet to go into a nail salon to get warm, but it could happen.

I think I might try those rubber "trax" with metal cleats that slip on over the soles of boots. The hardware store was out of my size or I'd have gotten some last week. But I'm afraid: I know I'll forget I have them on and either ruin someone's wooden floor or wipe out on the slick marble of some store I dash into to warm up. My in-and-out walking style isn't suited to them. They are also not meant for walking on dry, clear sidewalks — and we do have some of those, even on days like today, thanks to the efforts of good neighbors who care about the rest of us.

I think I'll just see if I can reschedule that meeting...


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