Sunday, January 31, 2010


It’s a good thing that my occasional traveling companion is such a sketchy reader of Ocean (like a kid reading a boring book, he concentrates on the pictures) or else I’d have to write this story with greater caution.

As it is, I can say bluntly that the ride from Minneapolis to Madison today sucked.


But I wont apportion blame. It depends on your perspective: do you hate backseat drivers who tell you to slow it down just as you’re revving up to overtake the FedEx truck yet again? Or do you like going the speed limit or less and prefer to avoid the thrill of always driving at the cusp of tragedy?

We left Minnesota early. Ed drove, I worked. Until I could not be the quiet passenger anymore (less than an hour into the trip) and then I drove and Ed slept, read magazines and twiddled his thumbs.


It was that kind of a return.

But, I was on time for my shop duty and I had a handful of good customer conversations and I even enjoyed returning to the condo late at night and finding... nothing wrong at any front.

I miss thinking that life is funny.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

from Minnesota

It is inevitable that when you get together with a friend who has tracked your life for nearly 30 years, you’ll find yourself reminiscing.

It’s funny that one of the first recollections that came to mind during this spin through the past was of a time not so long ago, when she and I were in Normandy and we sat down to a late lunch at a café. I coaxed her into joining me in a little pitcher of rosé wine. For some reason, one that I will never understand, the wine hit us solid. Even a strong espresso could not (immediately) undo the buzz.

We went for a walk on the beach and we took pictures, and in that walk was the comfortable pleasure of being with a friend who would listen to anything you told her.

And here’s another flash: some five years earlier, she and I found ourselves in Brittany. Always happy to join me on a romp to this place or another, she took the leap and flew down to be with me to this God forsaken village, where even the closest bread bakery was miles away.

After an evening of the usual wonderful food, we drive back to the village. I park the rental car and we sit there under green willows in the silence of a country evening in France and I tell her all the ways I had messed up my life. Ever the good person, she listens as if I were recounting the days of the week, nothing more than that and then she says – well, I can see why that would have been a problem.

The world should be full of people like her.

I thought about all this in the morning as Ed and I made our way from the Residence Inn in Edina Minnesaota to the next door and adjacent Edinburgh Park. In the Twin Cities, most everything is reached by glassed passageways. To me, it all seems slightly bizarre and unreal. But I understand the premise: it's bitter cold outside.


The park is an indoor park, and there are tots playing inside and grownups swimming laps at the lap pool and I choose to run laps, just to see if I still can. (I haven’t jogged since September 11, 2001 as a result of a combination of knee issues and other distractions from that day onwards.)

I do 51 laps and that’s equal to three miles, the sign tells me, and then I have to stop so that I can meet up with my friend, but in the 51 laps I spend a lot of time thinking and remembering.

In the early afternoon I take my texts and notes to a Starbucks and I try so very hard to make progress on work, but a little Minnesota girl distracts me no end and I imagine again what it is like to have a child that tumbles and scrambles all over.


My friend’s daughter was once a tumbler and scrambler. I remember an afternoon two dozen years ago, in England, when my own girl watched in amazement as my friend’s little girl scampered into places with ten years' worth of grime and soot. She came out grinning and I had to think that maybe grime and soot had their beneficial uses.

And now here we are – my friend, her daughter and I, moving through grown up spaces in Minneapolis, as if it had always been thus. As if life never catapulted us forward, as if we lived just around the corner and dropped in for a quick walk through, as if...



We spend a good 36 minutes at the museum (The Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota) and I know this because we had no more quarters for the meter beyond that. It is a wonderful 36 minutes.




After, I note again that in Minnesota, life stays green in unusual ways. I order a lunch of eggs and greens and I driznk a Pellegrino, thinking that this is not the time and place for a risky lunchtime rosé.


Finally it is evening. Her girl stirs up a wickedly good dinner and Ed opens up the rosé wine that I had purchased for my friend back in France.


And then the night moves us forward and it's time for us to head out. Tomorrow morning Ed and I will drive back to Madison.

Friday, January 29, 2010

north and west

Like a child plucked out of a life of hardship and thrown into unknown riches, Ed investigates all that the suite offers. He doesn’t need nor want any of it, but he is delighted that $70 per night buys all this and breakfast too.

The man loves a good deal.

It has been a crazy ride up north, and I say crazy with a smirk, because the last time we drove north to St Paul Minnesota was exactly a year ago. It was the coldest day of the year then and it is the coldest day of the year today. It's as if I want another chance at frostbite.

We leave Madison after my class ends. Late afternoon. We're not two minutes into the trip when I ask that we stop. Coffee, okay?

Ridiculous, but no more so than when Ed speaks up. Custard?


She looks intimidated, I know. Something about Ed's height, or my camera, or maybe the way we banter about whether it should be a dish or a cone...

It’s about a five hour trip from Madison to St Paul. We fall into our usual routine: I start out driving. I get sleepy. Ed takes over. Which completely jolts me into wakefulness, as I feel I really have to keep an eye on the road, now that I am not driving.

The sun sets, the old snow glows, the trees throw shadows. The moon is out. Beautiful and perfect.


It's precisely at these moments of deep appreciation for the small details that you look up and notice police lights flashing.

You know why? – the officer asks us.
Clueless, I want to say.
When I stand in my car at the side of the road with lights flashing, the law says you, driving by, must move into the left lane.

It’s been a while since someone authoritatively glared down and told me what “the law says.” As always, it makes me cower. I want to say "yes sir." I want neither Ed nor I to go to jail. I remember why driving is frightening. Why I want fast speed train service to replace all highway traffic in the Midwest.

Though truthfully, not Ed, nor I knew this rule of the road. The officer didn’t believe our ignorance, I know, even as it is completely genuine. I did not explain to him that I am a mere immigrant and that Ed never really took a driver’s test (it’s a long story having to do with motorcycles).

$267 next time. A warning this time.

What does a warning mean? I ask Ed.
It means you get to drive away.
How lucky is that...

We arrive at my friend’s place in St Paul and it is as it always is – warm and wonderful, made even more wonderful by the presence of her daughter. It is one of those evenings when you want to jot down the details... Because surely this is better than evenings of putting down a dense text, reaching for Kashi's frozen Mayan bake and telling yourself -- they say on the box this is dinner.

Late, very late, we pull into the super discounted Residence Inn in Edina, where men wear sweats in the elevator so they can pick up their food orders at the front desk, where Ed does his delighted dance at the idea that we should have both a fridge, an oven and a dishwasher during our stay here. As if we’ll ever dirty a single plate this week-end. Still, $70 and clean dishes too. Amazing.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

by the lake

Outside my office, I listen to the conversation between my colleagues and a visiting scholar from South Africa. The visitor is traumatized by the blast of cold air that we’re experiencing this week.

February will be better, you’ll see – they tell her.

Will it? And is it a good idea to just wait for those better days? Because here, in the upper Midwest, those better days are too rare during the cold seasons.

And in any event, why would we, hearty Midwesterners complain? We, who can afford to pay our heating bills and whose jackets can ostensibly protect against –500 degrees (never to be tested, thank God).

I say to our visitor – you’ll talk about your visit for the rest of your life. We, on the other hand, we have to live with this many months each year.

Thinking of this again at the close of the day, I decide to walk home. An hour and a half should do it.


I haven’t walked this way since I locked away the bike for the season.

The path is empty now. The perfect coldest day of the year. 5 degrees F outside, last I checked.


I make sure the scarf leaves no space for the wind.

Beautiful. Yes, that. Worth remembering on those days when I shoot straight home on the bus.


My legs are so cold that I no longer feel their brush against the fabric of my pants. Not important. I think. Not important.

Still, I pick up the pace.

Did I say this? It really is a beautiful day.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I have not biked to work in 2010. I cannot take the cold, the sudden ice patch, the clumsiness of pedaling in many layers of wraps.

But with what consequence? I use the buses, I walk, I freeze in other ways.

And this makes me think, as I stumble along through this incredible semester of work and then more work, that perhaps I should not shy away from the really difficult. Perhaps in reaching for the (even more) ridiculously impossible, I’ll actually find that I have improved my days. Perhaps.

With that in mind, I’m packing my bags and leaving for St Paul this Friday. To see a friend who faces some tough times at the moment. If you had asked me last week if I could do this, I would have said – no. School work, shop work, the cold – no.

My new thinking is – maybe in some ways I need to gain perspective. Maybe work has to be placed in the context of life. And maybe life needs to take on the challenge of a very cold and very slippery winter.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

quiet space

A student finds a quiet corner in the hallway. Sunlight is streaming in but I doubt he notices. Computer, a coffee, music. Effective barriers.


For my own coffee break I stroll down to the lake. I don't walk this way much during the winter. Too cold. But today, finally, the sun's out. I look at the frozen ripples. Rough going for anyone wanting to skate across. No one does though. It's an empty sea of stillness.


The bus is crowded on the ride home. It always is in the early evening. People come to campus at various hours, but they all want to leave now. Who can blame them.

I sit behind a young man (young, by my estimation: a student type) and I notice that he is reading a long, handwritten letter. Who these days writes letters? By hand?

Just a quick glance tells me that it is indeed a letter. A love note. No, more of a note pleading for love written by a person in love.

He seems unmoved, though who can tell. I imagine her to be wanting so much to jolt him into whatever it is that she finds lacking. And I wonder if anyone has ever written a letter that had an impact, that shook someone into love, that cajoled and ultimately convinced another person to continue. Or return. Or respond in kind.

He stuffs it in his pack and gets off.

Meanwhile the old man next to me starts grunting. Or singing. Of sorts. I know now why this one seat next to him was still empty when I got on.

I don’t mind riding the bus. It’s good for me, it's good for my budget, the environment. But today, I miss having a car. A Smart car maybe, with comfy seats, streaks of sun poking through a sunroof, and without the disquieting presence of fellow travelers whose burdens and issues I cannot correct, repair or even make just a touch lighter.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lara’s theme

Hum it to yourself as you read. (It’s from Dr. Zhivago, at the point where he reaches his sweetie'e place, in the dead of a Siberian winter.)

I get off the bus halfway home, because I have a shopping list for Whole Foods. Mostly produce, and also a rotisserie chicken – a cheater’s fast way to make homemade chicken soup.

Wow. Two bag’s worth. Nothing fits in the backpack – too many textbooks there.

It’s cold. I hadn’t noticed that earlier, but now that I am walking into the evening wind, I feel the slap, right in the face. My eyes start to tear. Could it be that little ice particles are forming around the wet lashes? It feels awfully brittle up there...

I move forward.

Past one gas station, another. I have my camera, but I have no interest in stopping. And for what, anyway? So that you can see that I have both a Shell and a Mobil within walking distance of home?

I walk by Mr. Monetti’s tailor shop. I like passing his store. You always see either Mr. or Mrs. Monetti at the machines, repairing items of clothing that basically don’t look well on us. We give them to the Monettis in the hope that suddenly a transformation will take place and we’ll look fabulous. And if anyone can do it, they can, for the Monettis themselves look fabulous: he always wears pressed slacks and a pressed shirt, she looks like she is on her way to an opening night at the opera.

I hesitate. If I put my bags down, I may take out my camera and get a bad photo with reflections of traffic in their windows. Not worth it. I take a step forward. Oh-oh. The handle on the grocery bag tears. And now it’s like the old days: carrying the bags as if they were two naughty toddlers, as I grind my teeth, wanting to wipe the near frozen eyelids, but not having the hands to do it.

Life is so full of small challenges.

At home, I make soup. Madame Defarge knitted, the Monettis sew, I make soup. Chicken tortilla. Without the tortillas (I forgot to buy some).


Sunday, January 24, 2010

café bar

One good side to a busy schedule is that once you’ve stepped on the treadmill of the day, you don’t have to think about what’s next. And so there is no guilt. No wondering how you may have better spent, say, a week-end. It’s set for you. Like a child, you dutifully take on the next task and the next, as if a parental figure is pulling you along.

Hours pass. At some point you notice that the woman in the apartment across the lot – the woman who sits in the same spot by the window every single day until late at night – is not there anymore. You know then that it’s past midnight and that you must stop.


Earlier, on my way to the shop, I stop for a double shot at the café-bar just down the hill. I like to call it the café-bar even though, of course, in our usual segregation of drinking spaces, the coffee people are in one corner and the “other” drinkers are elsewhere. My double shot is of espresso and so I sit in my proper spot, watching employees take lunch breaks at the table next to mine. The bar corner is empty.


It is, I suppose, commendable that no one is out drinking at 2 in the afternoon, but I miss feeling the liveliness of a mixed crowd. In my state of utter busy-ness, I would enjoy seeing people who are less busy. Animated. Exchanging stories. It would remind me of better moments, when I actually do have choices: espresso, or a glass of wine? To write? Or to read? Or to hike and think idle thoughts?

The employees at the café-bar finish their lunch. It’s time for me to move on. I take a last swig of my double, pack my bag and head toward the shop.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


A wet, foggy January Saturday.

Hand picked by me for a brief excursion. Just outside city limits, to a place that is silent and beautiful. Saturday is far enough from Monday that I can ignore work demands. And the shop gave me the day off.

The air is dense with drizzle.

Want to go to Indian Lake anyway? Ed asks. He’s not typically bothered by weather. Any weather.
I agree.

The phone rings. I’m needed at the shop after all. But not until evening! We can still hike! I’ll weave school work magically between the hike and the shop and... oh! This was the day I was to make soup!

That’s fine, I’ll weave that in as well. Pay bills, hike, make soup, work, shop, eat soup, work – it can be done!

But the fog...

Eh, so it's wet. At least you can’t say that it’s too cold to go out.

We drive the familiar road north. How many times have I escaped to Indian Lake in my years in Madison? Maybe two dozen? More, I'm sure of it.

We miss the turn.

On a foggy day, the world seems different.


At Indian Lake now.


We take the long trail that circumnavigates the edge. It’s a lovely, forested walk.


The quiet is interrupted by a pair of disagreeable skiers. She’s having a hard time on the narrow trail and the hilly terrain. He shouts back at her, telling her what she’s doing wrong. She protests. He’s adamant: I’ll video record it and you’ll see for yourself! – he tells her.

I’m longing for the quiet. And I’m thinking, why is it that when someone is struggling, all that it triggers in another is the thought to find fault? You may say that the impulse is ultimately a generous one. He’s helping her in the long run. Tough love! But here, in the stillness of the forest, his advice seems cold and drizzled with criticism.


We wait until they pass. And then we wait some more. I want great distance between them and me, even as I feel there is a part of them in me, in all of us.

The trail continues. I glance back at Ed and see that he is well matched with the forest. He is white and gray and black, as if he was born of these winter woods. Tall, defiant, quiet.


There is a small rusted plaque by the trail. With a poem. Oh, sure, I remember. An ode to leisure.


I’m okay with that sentiment. I’m not a workaholic.

Except that this winter I am.


It's time to go home.


There, I make the soup (mushroom spinach)...


... after, I head out for the shop. I leave the text book open, ready for me when I get home.

Friday, January 22, 2010


An email landed in my inbox today. If you travel and if you make many of your arrangements through the Internet, you will get these occasionally – emails reminding you of your past inclinations. For example, I get a Joyeux Noel message from a place in France that I once wrote to asking for room rates. The rates were too high and I never went there, but each year, they send me greetings.

Today’s message was from Paul over at Ed and I had biked with Paul’s bikes once -- from one town to the next, with nothing but a change of clothing and a laptop strapped to the rear.

I wondered if I would ever do that again.

Walking home at night after closing the shop, I saw a woman unlock her bike. It’s cold, just at the wet freezing level that I find so disheartening. Warsaw weather. Does she bike by choice? Yes, in this town, it’s usually that.

At the shop, just before closing, I hear a customer ask me – aren’t you Nina Camic? It turns out that our paths had crossed before. Twenty-nine years ago. He had been my attorney then – (for a will? The purchase of that first home?) We talk now about law and about bike trips through France. He and his wife had done one. Their hills seemed steeper than my hills. But my load was bigger. For one thing, I pedaled with my laptop.

Earlier in the day I watched students play Frisbee outside my office window. They’re regulars. When I see them, I know it’s late afternoon and I know that I am at least one generation removed, as the very last thing I would want to do at the end of the day is to toss a plastic disc on Bascom Hill.

Especially in January.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I’m in a rush. I shove books, marked by pencils sticking out of them into my backpack. I stab myself by accident with a fine point.

Maybe that should be my wake up call. The moment that screams -- enough! You have got to slow down!

No, no wake up. I rub the spot on my hand and remember childhood days when we used to scare ourselves mad with pencil jabs. Ooooh, you’re gonna get led in your blood... you’ll DIE!!

I remember one sleepover night where my friend and I looked through the Medical Encyclopedia to find out if we would, indeed, die. The answer, I have to believe now wrongly interpreted, left us sobbing.

In these drab days of a pathetically unlovely January (Madison, you can disappoint!), I welcome signs of color. Not blood on a finger, no, not that. So what else is there? The one lonely food hut on Library Mall...


Africana! From a continent where the people wear clothes of searing colors and eat foods doused with exotic spices. Or something.

Later, I put on my blackest of black slacks, shirt, sweater and head for the little shop.

The walk adds no color. Of course it doesn’t.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Here’s the thing: work has to take precedence over all else in the next 9 weeks. It’s not only a priority, it is the top priority. My European leanings toward a more balanced life simply cannot find shelter on this side of the ocean.

What does this mean for Ocean? Well, given that I have no free time, none whatsoever, Ocean would have to retreat into an abyss of nothingness.

But that’s not going to happen.

What may happen is that on some days (today?) Ocean will be brief and to the point. A photo. Just one thought. Unelaborated. There you have it, there is my life, in that isolated snapshot of... a hunched soul, retreating home.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

on this date

She tells me that once, I called her an asshole. I think back. Maybe. Don’t be such an asshole! An uncontrolled moment. She can needle me with that memory, sure, but she knows better. I love her more than roses.


It’s the birthday of my younger one – she’s a quarter of a century old and it’s been a long long time since I have had the pleasure of being near enough to at least have a birthday moment with her. She has to make do with a phone call and my blog notes.

And they’re hasty at that. My semester starts today, her intersession is nearing an end – it’s the usual winter mix of stuff that comes down at this time of the year.

But she’s no wintry personality, no ice princess, no, not at all! So much love in that young little girl! (Oh! -- not so young today...)

I miss her.

Happy Birthday, you, with the delicate fabric of art and beauty and intellect. The commonplace things I share with you. The best parts are your own.

In other news:

Yes -- the Spring Semester begins today. The skies are blue, I noted that on my coffee break...


...and on my walk to the bus stop.

For me, it hardly matters. On that first day of a semester, regardless of what's outside, the Law School feels like the richest and most abundant of marketplaces, pulsating with energy. The time of year when no one can possibly feel tired. Yet.


Of course, it is nice to walk home in sunshine. To unzip the jacket and unwrap the scarf because it's just so warm in the sunny spaces. Yes, in Madison, in January. Twenty-five years ago on this day, when my daughter was born, the winds kicked in a blast of sub-zero weather.

Not today. No, not at all.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Well it’s about time! Morning mist burns away, the skies clear, my oh my, it is one gorgeous day!

Ed, we need to get out and go!
Where to?
No matter. Pick a destination! It’s winter’s best! The day you hope for on all other miserable days up here! We’re out!
Where to?
Let’s rent skis and do a long spin around Blue Mounds! Or let’s drive up to Bayfield and hike along Lake Superior!
Let’s go!

Maybe not. I have more than a fair share of work to do. We stay home.

In the afternoon, I can’t take it anymore. Ed, look at that sky – it’s deep blue! It’s been such a long time!

We do what I have done over the years when there has been no time to do much of anything: we head for Owen Woods. It’s a fine park just a quarter mile from here, and it has hiking trails and I know it inside out, and on a day like this, you can take a photo or two that really highlight how brilliant a Madison day can be, come January.



Except – the park is sort of small.


We hike every bit of trail, every loop, and I look at the time and note that only 45 minutes have come and gone since we set out.


Do you want to do it all over again, only in reverse? -- This from Ed. Things look different from the other side...


We climb into his rusty Geo with the pink stripes on the side and head back home. To work.

and so it continues

I am pretty adept at recognizing when something is killing me (my work habits right now) even as I am less adept at understanding how best to survive the circumstances.

The skies remain gray. I suggest to Ed that we get some outdoor movement going while the temps remain above insane levels. At the same time, I understand that I have no time to do anything right now. It is the way things are.

We go to Picnic Point because it’s close and it’s really quite the wonderful retreat: you walk to the tip of the point and back, and you never feel guilty for walking too little because that’s all there, is - take it or leave it: there and back.

A few dogs, walkers, fishermen.


But no sunshine. No brilliantly clear skies, no crisp air – none of that. Just a frozen scape.


And a familiar skyline. With the capitol there, if you know to look for it.


In the evening I am with my corner shop associates, at our store manager’s home for a celebration of the year gone by and, I suppose more importantly, of the one ahead.



These things stand out for me. Colors on a gray day. Everything else is a blur.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

missing blue

Mood dictates color preference. Such an obvious thing, so easily forgotten. In Mexico, aqua blues last week were a delight. Then, when we went inland, I could not get enough of crimson. A commenter noted after one Valladolid post that all my photos that day were yellow-themed. I never noticed! I was ablaze!

There are times and places where black and white feel poignant and just right. Sharp with contrast or muted in dreamy tones of gray. You can pick up the sultry romance of it -- the Parisian insinuations, the scorched Badlands of South Dakota...

But I have to say this: I have not seen any color since I stepped off the plane from Atlanta on Wednesday; my overall appreciation for black & white is waning.

It has to do with the mindset, of course.I get up at 5, hit the books and pause only to go with Ed to Woodman’s (Woodman’s!). I noticed that some of the trees have a delicate white coating of frozen mist. At another time I might regard that as actually quite pretty. Today, I see it for what it is: bare branches, failing to hide the strip mall (and another) behind.

Finally, around the bend, I see something worth pausing for: a tree, two trees actually, coated in white delicateness, with nothing but sky behind.


You’d think I’d find it just too perfect. Hell no! I think instead -- how dreary. Not a spot of color. Almost like Warsaw in December.


In that kind of a mood, you may as well retreat inside and resume working. Which I did.

Friday, January 15, 2010


There have been times when I have worried that I am without skills. I mean the kind of skills that allow you to build houses and make wheels that can propel something forward. Yes, I can cook and sew – real womanly tasks, aren’t they – but mostly, my life’s work has always been in moving words around on a piece of paper. (Or teaching others to do so.)

At no time am I more reminded of this than at the beginning of a new semester when I stay up late arranging new syllabi (there you have it – moving words around), leafing through texts, poring over sentences and then, in that final preparation, going to my office to purge scores of sheets of useless words – exams from past years, syllabi without a purpose.


But there’s the flip side to this: my training in word play makes me, like everyone with training in anything, anxious to use what I can to help those who might benefit from it. I’ve heard that doctors are feeling a need to be in Haiti to mend limbs and save lives right now. I cannot do that. But, believe it or not, I feel the same pull, even if all that I can even imagine providing are words. To describe, to help with the ordering of chaos, anything! Words can help, no?

No. Words are for the long haul. For governance, for art. They don’t replace limbs and stop infection. They don’t even provide water.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

leaving Mexico

Return travel is like clicking the switch on a measuring tape and watching it all roll back to its original position, except that it happens very very slowly.

And so yesterday’s return journey was a rerun of steps taken, except now we were going backwards. Slowly. The walk on Cozumel Island back to the ferry station, past the waterfront (am I truly leaving behind sunshine?)...



Then, boarding the ferry, hoping for calmer waters (and sun; come on, lay on the sun -- I need to staockpile).

The ferry ride to Playa del Carmen: first sunny (thanks!), lovely, warm, then, halfway through – windy, with sprinkles (oh well) and rougher waters...


From there, a bus ride to the airport, a flight to Atlanta (oh! one last look at the Mexican coast, just one more!)...


...a flight to Milwaukee (working all the hours of all the flying time and downtime and actually all the time now) and a bus ride to the distant parking lot, where we find Ed’s car. Dead as any battery would be, if subjected to neglect in the bitter cold.

He gives it a jolt with the help of the shuttle driver (does this happen often? yes...) and we make our way to Madison.

...where today the skies are gray, and I know that I should put a good spin on things – after all, it is in the thirties, which actually is not that far off from the Mexican sixties if you think about it, but still, I miss the sunshine, or even clouds that promise that any minute they will part and show me a smidgen of blue.

But, I live in Wisconsin and it is far far too early in the season to gripe about the weather.

Especially on a January day when the temperatures are, well, in heat wave range, by our standards.