Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter in Michigan

I was blowing the snow out of my mother's driveway with my little electric snowblower when I realized I am in love with my jacket! This humongous neon pink jacket has been my winter jacket for three winters now - and that's the first time I've kept a winter jacket for any length of time. I used to have lots of jackets, one for every outfit. Of course, that was back when I practically lived outdoors - when I was skiing every weekend, and also when I was giving riding lessons outdoors all winter - but I never had a great jacket like this one. I don't stay outside for hours on end like I used to, but when I have been outdoors with this jacket on I have never been cold. I can take the dogs outside for a 4AM nature call, zip myself into my jacket, throw up the hood and fasten it with the little toggles on elastics that seal my collar closed, and I can walk around with the dogs without really waking up. It's like being in a big roomy walking sleeping bag.

The jacket came with a funny little black hat that's probably made out of some space age kind of fleece because I've never been cold wearing it, and strangely, I haven't lost it either. The jacket has great pockets, two on the outside and two on the inside. When I bought the jacket, I thought I'd use one inside pocket for my cell phone, but I've decided to keep on storing the cell phone in my jeans pocket so I don't forget about it and leave it in my jacket. The left hand outside pocket holds my head lamp, a great little tool that I can wear over my black hat and under my hood when I walk Blue in the middle of the night - she's totally blind in the dark, but a little light gives her a little sight. I also use the headlamp at the farm - for checking in feed bags before I plunge my hand in (yes, I did once reach in without looking and encountered the soft fuzzy back of a mouse - in a building surrounded by two dozen cats!), for seeing in the indoor riding arena where I hay the horses while the florescent lights are trying to warm up enough to light up the building, and for holding the rooster at bay. I don't know if the rooster thinks I'm some kind of different animal with a really bright central eye, or what, but he hasn't attacked me since I've been wearing it - but I carry a rubber snow shovel into the chicken coop for protection anyway. My right hand pocket is for my little gloves, my city gloves. At the farm, I use leather work gloves (got the best ones ever for 7 bucks at a truck stop in New York) but they won't fit into my pockets. When I'm not snow-blowing or animal feeding, I don't really need gloves because my jacket has some great fleece cuffs inside the sleeves that I can tuck my hands up into and my hands never get cold. The jacket pockets are lined with the same great fleece, so I have an alternative place for my hands to stay warm.

I used to always wear sweaters or fleece pullovers under other jackets, but this great pink jacket doesn't need any help - I can go out to blow snow with just a cotton turtle neck under the jacket and be perfectly warm. Yes, I love my jacket. It's bright enough to make it easy to find me if I fall down in a snowbank, and warm enough I could probably survive in a snowbank all night.

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