is winter fun?

Most of you who know me or my work know that I try to look on the bright side of life, and make the best of any situation I am in. That is my nature.

However, I am unable to find the bright side in the winter weather we are experiencing here in Manitoba during the wicked winter of 2013-2014. The month of December was so cold that it has been recorded as the second coldest winter since 1893. Manitoba is experiencing its coldest winter in 64 years, and therefore the coldest winter of my life. It’s not all in my mind. It is COLD and we are buried deeply in snow.


This is the snow covering the furniture on the deck outside my office. There is even more snow since this photo was taken in December, 2013.

I’m sure we’re not alone in our weather woes, as it appears that only British Columbia has experienced a better than usual winter. Every other Canadian province has experienced a severe winter this past few months, whether it be from excessive cold, blizzards, amount of snow, ice-storms, or wind gales in Atlantic Canada. Some of those, such as the ice-storm in Toronto this winter were so severe that people lost their lives, and many were without heat or electrical power for weeks during unseasonably cold weather. Many parts of the US have also experienced extreme weather during the winter of 2013-2014. I am incredibly grateful that our heat and power have held out, as we couldn’t stay in our home without it.

The polar vortex that has been hanging over the Prairies has kept temperatures low and winds high, making already cold temperatures feel much colder than they are reading on the thermometer. There were times over the past two months that our temperatures were in the range of -40 to -50 (in both Celsius and Fahrenheit) with the windchill factored in, registering colder than on the planet Mars!

Usually I manage to get away during the winter, if even for a short while. That helps ease the pain of winter, and later this month, I shall be attending the Hawaii Chocolate Festival and related events, so by the time I get home, March will be on the horizon, and the spring thaw hopefully not too far behind.

Just to prove I’m not a sissy and have at times, enjoyed participating in winter events, here are the links to three winter festivals I have previously attended and written about:

Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg

The Trappers Festival in The Pas

And a story about snowmobiling and attending the Quebec Winter Carnaval.

Now it’s your turn. How has winter been in your neck of the woods? Have you had anything exceptionally good or bad happen over the course of the winter? What’s been the winter highlight (or low-light) for you, no matter where you are?

Thanks for listening to my rant. Please join me back here for the next new post. I promise to be in better spirits as spring inches near.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

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49 Responses

  1. I’m with you Doreen in disliking winter, although I shouldn’t complain with this years UK weather, at least in our part of England, as it’s been quite mild, if a bit wet. I dislike cold weather intensely, I find cold very painful.

    On the other hand I love hot weather. The heat can be uncomfortable, but to me it’s not painful like cold. I was in Death Valley about 18 months ago and it was 47°C, where the heat wraps itself around you like a warm hug.

    I know heat can be as deadly as cold, but given the choice I’d far rather be uncomfortably hot than painfully cold.

    • Doreen

      I’m with you, Roy, and if this was to be my last Manitoba winter, I would be a very happy girl. I do love the heat, and like you, it rarely gets TOO hot for me! Except when our chocolate melts, right?
      Doreen recently posted…is winter fun?My Profile

  2. Sherryl Perry

    I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself this winter because it’s been brutally cold here in Massachusetts too. (Well, brutal to me anyways.) I’m sure it would feel balmy to you as we’ve hit 50 yesterday. Still, I’ve had enough of these cold winters with wind chills in the negatives.

    I think we could both use a cup of hot chocolate!
    Sherryl Perry recently posted…Do You Comment for Backlinks on DoFollow Enabled CommentLuv Blogs?My Profile

  3. Susan Cooper

    It would appear that you have been getting slammed with ice, snow and cold. I remember those super cold winter days when we lived back East in the US and we lost power and our pipes froze. It was NOT fun.

    The fact is, we have been suffering the worst drought in over two centuries in CA with the previous year being way lower then it needed to be. What that means is we are running out of much needed water. 30% of the world’s food comes from this region, so the impact could be huge if we don’t get rain soon and allot of it. We are praying.
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Art of Wine LabelsMy Profile

  4. Donna Janke says:

    Hi Doreen,

    I’ve seen the photos, heard the news, and talked to friends and family in my home province of Manitoba. It is indeed a brutal winter. I’m glad to be spending winter away from that in Mesa, Arizona. January in this area has experienced above normal temperatures. Rain is needed, but conditions are not as severe as in California.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Writing Tenses: Past and PresentMy Profile

  5. How fortunate you are to be in Arizona, Donna. Enjoy!
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…chocolate inspired artMy Profile

  6. Catarina says:

    Also hate cold winters. But in Sweden so far this year it has mainly been fine. We just had snow storms and bitter cold but now it’s raining and the snow is almost gone. Feel sorry for you in North America that have such a cold winter this year. Prefer the heat on the Arabian peninsula to bitter cold.

    • Doreen

      I’m with you, Catarina! I’ve been in Dubai and the UAE when the temps were about +50C and definitely prefer that to -50!

      Glad to hear Sweden has had a tolerable winter. Cheers!

  7. Cheryl

    We are also experiencing a worse than normal winter. Between the frigid temperatures and all the ice along with the snow it has been brutal. The groundhog says 6 more weeks of winter. Big sigh….
    Cheryl recently posted…United Plant SaversMy Profile

  8. Charleston SC has been experiencing record low temps and we had snow last week…not at all common. It’s my second winter here and have to admit that I really do dislike the cold intensely!!!! Last winter I barely wore a coat…this winter, I can’t seem to get warm. Bring on Spring…please!
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) recently posted…ASK DON’T TELL…WHERE’S THE JUSTICE?My Profile

    • Doreen

      Hi hear you, Jacquie! Although I was born in the land of ice and snow, it has never felt good or natural to me. I long for the days when I will never seen another snowflake.

  9. A.K.Andrew

    I do feel for everyone who has been dealing with bitter cold, arctic like temperatures this year. California is in opposite, in that we are facing the biggest drought in 500 years. We had a spit of rain yesterday, but that is the 4th day it has rained since I moved here in July!!!. Our high pressure stuck over the Pacific is what is affecting the weather in the Midwest. But here now the reservoirs are all but empty, farmers can’t plant as there is no rain, and coho salmon is in danger of extinction. So it’s the long haul for California. I think everyone feels a bit guilty enjoying the mild weather because its having such a negative impact. Keep warm Doreen, your positivity is still glimmering through in your post, though I can see how tough it all is. Be well. :-)
    A.K.Andrew recently posted…Scrivener: The Essential Writing Tool For Any ScribblerMy Profile

    • Doreen

      Thanks so much for your comment, A.K. It’s always great to hear from you.

      Yes, it’s amazing how critical the situation has become in CA. Reg and I were in Las Vegas a few years ago and had noticed how low the water at the Hoover Dam is. It was alarming! And the water there, provides hydro electric power to CA, so you folks are getting a double whammy! Not enough rain to plant crops, and a growing concern over lack of hydro electric power and potable water for drinking. Who said climate change is a myth???

  10. Doreen, you are such an upbeat person, that I’m sure you even have a smile on your face when you’re complaining about the cold. This winter HAS been colder than it has been in many years–record-setting as you pointed out. I think that’s why we’re finding it a little harder to cope.

    Time does have a way of moving forward–and fast–so this will be soon a memory. Until then, we can keep warm with some nice hot chocolate or cocoa (or something stronger.)


    • Doreen

      Hi Christine and thanks for your comment.

      I try to remain upbeat during winter, but I did find this year exceptionally hard. I know I’ll feel better by the end of the month, after our brief escape from the cold.

      Yes, hot chocolate is a godsend. And other favourite libations as well! :-)

  11. Wow, my heart goes out to you Doreen. I would not survive in that kind of winter. If you need a break, come on down to New Mexico. We have a high of 48 today, and I was complaining of the cold…until now.
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  12. Shelley says:

    Can I say that I LOVE winter? OK maybe love is a strong word. But I learned to completely appreciate winter when I lived in Vancouver. Now I’m not bashing the west (it’s lovely on the coast), but the weather out there just doesn’t vary much from season to season. I missed the blue skies, the sunshine, and the huge variations in weather from season to season. I came back to Manitoba with a smile on my face. I happen to think that we live in one of the coolest places on earth (and not just temperature-wise). My favourite winter accessory? My woodstove! A girl’s best friend, I figure. And lots of wool for when I wander around outside in the cold and snow. And chocolate treats. Hang in there! Spring will come, it always does…

  13. I love your spirit, Shelley! You are a true Prairie girl. And a self-reliant one at that! Thanks for joining the discussion. :-)
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…chocolate inspired artMy Profile

  14. Jeri

    It’s been an adjustment being back in Idaho. The Boise area always gets inversions, and nearly a month went by without the sun coming out. It was easy to get spoiled living in Charlotte for two winters. I’ve never been a winter person.
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  15. Jason B

    I couldn’t make it in a Canadian winter. We are actually having winter this year in Atlanta. We’ve had snow and everything. I’m not a fan of it at all.
    Jason B recently posted…10 HBCU’S To ConsiderMy Profile

    • Doreen

      Hi Jason: I could handle a winter like you get. Cold, but not frigid. Snow, but not six feet of it. And I’m sure yours doesn’t last 5 months. Our winters usually last from early November thru to the end of March. Sometimes, longer. I don’t think the ice on Lake Winnipeg melted until late May/early June last year. Now that’s winter!

  16. Christine says:

    I can see why this winter is getting you down, it sounds so extreme! The picture of the outdoor furniture really illustrates your point.
    The Hawaii Chocolate Festival sounds like the perfect remedy to such harsh weather conditions! I hope you have a great time, and warm up. Keep telling yourself that spring is only around the corner! :)
    Christine recently posted…Three Years of TravelMy Profile

    • Doreen

      Thanks, Christine. I really am looking forward to this trip, and to getting away from the cold – if only for a brief while. I hope you are right, and that spring is indeed drawing near. I think just about everybody in my neck of the woods is seriously tiring of what we have had to endure.
      Doreen recently posted…is winter fun?My Profile

  17. I feel a little guilty. After the snowiest December in a long while, we left Philadelphia on January 7th and headed for a month of travel in Southeast Asia. It seems that our Philly friends and family have had one snow/ice storm after another since we left. Today is the last day of our SE Asia travels (nice and hot here in Singapore), but we are heading for Honolulu, Hawaii tomorrow where my husband will be doing a 3 month sabbatical. I hear it has been raining more than usual there, but I am expecting zero to no sympathy from any Philadelphians.
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  18. Doreen — the image in your post is quite artful, but not necessarily from your point of view, I’m sure. We’ve had a rough winter here on the east coast of the U.S. But as I live in NYC I’m not quite as affected. The snow plows are out immediately and rarely are we stuck inside for more than a day. More problematic, especially today, are ice storms. It can make walking treacherous, and we’re a city of walkers. I envy your trip to Hawaii where I hope you find sunshine and warmth!
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    • Doreen

      Hi Jeannette and thanks for your comment.

      Yes, I’ve been in NYC during a snowstorm. You folks really do know how to clean it up quickly! My husband and I were shocked at how quickly the snow was removed from the streets to allow the vehicular traffic to go through, but also how quickly they cleaned the sidewalks so that pedestrians could safely make their way around. My hometown of Winnipeg could really learn a lot from the way NYC deals with the snow!

  19. Kire Sdyor says:

    Hawaii Chocolate Festival? I am so jealous, as I sit here waiting for my boots to dry out in order to continue to move the foot of snow that fell today. I had an idea today. Instead of an oil pipeline, why don’t we have a water pipeline that takes everyone’s snow and moves it to California and Texas?

  20. Michael says:

    We are currently in Toronto so know about the cold weather. Nicole hates it, but I’m ok with it. Being from Australia we have never been through something like this, but looking out and seeing snow is exciting for me. I’m like a kid!
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  21. Bindhurani says:

    Winter with this bone chilling cold… This winter is not that fun anymore. Just the snow and the not much windchill… I will enjoy it. Right now, i would love to have a hot chocolate and to stare at the whiteness outside with the heater blasting.
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  22. My friends keep reminding me that spring is a mere six weeks away. I keep wondering if they are living in the same place that I am. Mind you, we will embrace the steaming heat of the summer as if we were born for the frigid temperatures of the winter. If we couldn’t complain about the weather, we wouldn’t be Canadian.
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  23. Well, winter is what separates Canadians from other people. We gripe and moan, but somehow muddle through it. This one’s been a beast, even in Toronto. I visited my local Winners to replace a pair of gloves, and they were sold out! Thanks goodness for hot chocolates, it’s how I like to reward myself on those particularly bitter days when staying home is not an option. We’ll make it to spring, yet!
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  24. Thanks to Bindhu, Debra, and Krystyna for your comments. We Canadians are indeed a hearty bunch! Here’s hoping that the end (of winter) is indeed in sight!
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…chocolate inspired artMy Profile

  25. Grace says:

    Wow, I was thinking that my winter here in New Hampshire was bad, but you have it far worse! Come on Spring…In the mean time, enjoy Hawaii

  26. Adrienne says:

    Hi Doreen,

    I live in Texas, Houston to be exact, so I really don’t live in the part that gets snow but we’ve had two freezes this winter ourselves and at this very moment it’s in the 30’s and not getting much warmer today. This is extremely unusual for us and we don’t like it at all.

    Listening to the news last night we’re expecting three more cold fronts this month alone so it’s been an unusually cold winter for everyone. Ready for it to be over that’s for sure.

    Glad you’re able to stay in and warm.

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  27. Pat Amsden

    I actually live in Victoria, BC and I’m guessing you don’t want to hear about the GASP 1/2 inch of snow on the ground this morning. Fortunately it’s gone now and it was sunny this afternoon. You can always take another look at It’s a Chocolate, Chocolate World (for research purposes) and pretend you’re here!
    Pat Amsden recently posted…The Writing ProcessMy Profile

    • Shocking to hear you had some snow, Pat! I’m glad for you folks that you’ve had a fab winter as I know that many years it’s nothing but rain and gray. As much as I hate winter, I’m not sure if I could go more than. Few days w/o sunshine. If I ever move, it will have to be to a warmer place with lots of sunshine.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…chocolate inspired artMy Profile

  28. Love the shot…Great idea.

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