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Winter officially begins December 21, 12:11 PM, on the winter solstice. Baaaaahhh!  Winter has its own agenda and timeline, and those of us who live in winter climates can tell you winter is already here. The winds are roaring, morning temps are often in the 20s and a light snow lingers in the shady areas of my yard.

But I  have learned  more important indicators of winter’s arrival. First, I get a craving for a new pair of boots. Yes, I already have ten pairs, but each has a specific and important role: snow boots, deep snow boots, red snow boots that match my red snow jacket and red puffy vest, elegant tall boots I can wear to church, tall brown suede boots  that I wear with leggings, cowboy boots, short cowboy boots to wear under jeans, gray booties with fur trim,  tall rubberized rain boots, and muck boots for muddy garden work. One pair cannot substitute for the other, and I need each in my busy life.  This year, I am craving a pair of moto boots, something with buckles, zippers, and funk (simplifying, who me?). 

A pair of New Rock boots
The newest in ministerial fashion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another sure sign that winter is here: boxes of Kleenex. I stock up every fall, buying one for each room in the house, the car, and the van, along with some emergency boxes. I do not buy the generic boxes but splurge on the fancy designers packages that color coordinate with each room.  I also hoard packages of purse-size Kleenex and have them tucked into every nook and cranny: between sofa cushions, under the bed, in the glove box and -of course-in my purse(s). While filling the shopping cart with Kleenex, I also throw in some Day-Quil, Ny-Quil and Vicks. On the way home I get my flu shot. 

English: A small box of Kleenex.
English: A small box of Kleenex. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What other tell-tale signs of winter? I move my electric blanket setting to 8 out of 10, and I no longer mind sharing my bed with Tango. He sleeps at my feet and usually I push him off during the night. But that cozy fur ball is welcome at this time of year. I also crave anything made of sweat shirt fabric: pants, tops, bathrobe. I usually order sweats in bulk, online, say five tops and five bottoms. I wear them in the morning, evenings, in bed, when traveling and where ever I can get by in sweats. They are my winter staple. Sweatshirt robes can last years, and when I cannot find a new one, I sometimes must sew one up. I will not face a winter without a sweatshirt robe. The craving for warm slippers follows the sweats episode.  

Some others would claim that winter is surely here when they crave oatmeal and hot chocolate. Since I consume both all year, that is not a critical indicator for me. I know others who crave soup, but again, that is common fare for me. Of course, plenty of others know it is winter because they work hard outdoors all year and when they  go out in the morning to feed cows and other animals, it is just plain cold. 

Yup- those of us up in Wyoming and beyond do not need an arbitrary start date for winter. Heck, by the winter solstice, we have lived through blizzards, black ice, and winds that will tear off your clothes. By then, I have progressed through several boxes of Kleenex and over-slept more than once after pigging out on Ny-Quil. Furthermore, my sweats are starting to pill and look trashy from the coffee stains. But I am tough. Just about then, the seed catalogs start arriving and I begin dreaming about my garden.

English: Inti Raimi, the festival of winter so...
Raimi, the festival of winter solstice and the beginning of the year (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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