Uniqlo turtlenecks + ghosts + gnarled trees
May I recommend
It’s coooooooold in Ottawa these days. As I type this it’s -26C/-15F , with a windchill of -40C/-40F (samesies!)
I don’t actually mind being outdoors in this extreme cold (though I did complain a lot on my last walk with my sister. We kept having to stop because her tiny dog was losing its tiny boots and then putting its tiny paw up plaintively like a tiny little Ewok with big eyes and a tongue that sticks out permanently because of teeth issues…. Pepper! ) Anyway, normally I don’t mind walking in the cold. Get a good coat with a hood, wear mittens, NOT GLOVES, have a tuque that covers your ears, walk briskly, stop for NOTHING and you can get out there and enjoy the crisp air, feeling a smug sense of health and superiority.
Where I really struggle with the cold is in my own home, which is old and creaky and insulated but probably not enough. There are drafts and icy spots and my husband and I are cheap and refuse to turn the heat up… I also believe that keeping the heat low is better for the environment, so I feel guilty if I crank it, even though by eating meat and driving a car I’m being much more horrible to the planet. Hypocrisy! Willful blindspot!
Anyway, my house is chilly and I’m in it all the time and when it gets really cold, like now, I spend the day shivering. Obviously, I am wearing thick socks, lined sweatpants or leggings (never hard pants, never again) a turtleneck and a sweater. All components of this outfit are vital, but the one that is most important to me is the turtleneck.
I love turtlenecks. In the winter it is the only type of shirt I wear. I feel soothed having a sturdy piece of fabric crawling up my throat, ensuring that my neck and décolleté will never, ever be exposed to a stray breeze. That assurance allows me to go out into the world (or at least, to the desk in my home office) in comfort and confidence.
Anyway, given my longstanding love for the turtle, I consider myself an expert and I have found one that I truly love: The Uniqlo extra fine merino turtleneck sweater.
This fabric is nice and thin, but because it’s merino wool it keeps you warm. It comes in an array of fun colours. They go on sale all of the time. It WILL keep you cozy. Also, because it’s thin, you can throw a sweater over it if need be. Nothing better than sweattering a sweater, I always say. Finally, it may LOOK like a mock turtleneck in this picture, but don’t worry, it’s a real turtle. If there is one thing I cannot abide, it’s a mock goddamn turtle neck.
One caveat about the above, it’s not super soft. It has the tiniest element of stiffness to it. I don’t mind this, because I interpret that lack of gentleness as proof of the shirt’s sturdy ability to fight off the cold, but some might be disappointed. You have been warned!
What’s your stay-warm secret? Share in the comments below!
*Update from last week’s post - Mealime got in touch via Instagram and confirmed: it’s pronounced meal-lime. Phew.
*Programming Note: no newsletter next week. See you in February!
Ghosts, bear traps and sexy dreams
I’m doing research for my latest mystery novel, which will be partly set in my beloved Eastern Townships. It will hearken back to some of the antics of folk hero, Donald Morrison, aka the Megantic Outlaw. Anyway, I needed to figure out what 19th Century settler houses would have looked like and stumbled across this article, which was zero help for my question, but was obviously super interesting.
According to Owen, Troyer believed that his “insanely superstitious” tendencies—which, according to one source, extended to a fear of dark-eyed women—were warranted. “The old doctor,” he writes, “was terribly persecuted by these witches.” Ghost stories, of course, tend to encode a certain misogyny, and evil is often given the face and body of a sorceress—be it crone or beauty. I’m not sure which of these tropes was Jennie Elizabeth McMichael, one of the so-called witches, who lived right next door. The widow had been left to raise ten children. As she no doubt had to be, she was “of strong mind and great courage,” wrote Owen, and “to be considered a witch by the superstitious old doctor was highly amusing to her.” McMichael took to hiding in Troyer’s bushes, popping up to tease and taunt him, and cackling madly at the fright she caused.
We are all the gnarled trees - embrace it
This is a good article, which reminds me of my friend Wayne Ng’s book - FINDING THE WAY. The article talks about how we dismiss people we view as '“useless” and denigrate our own time spent “uselessly” but in fact that drifting, daydreaming, existing time is actually the whole purpose of life.
The point is that a tree, and by extension a human being, cannot be reduced to its usefulness. The gnarly tree simply is – in all its grandeur. Because it is not useful to others, it cannot come to grief, in this case, be chopped down and used for timber. And once Huizi stops his own focus on its usefulness, he might come to enjoy the tree after all, relaxing under the shade of its ample branches.
I sing this musical “sting” a lot. It just makes any announcement - “We’re out of milk”; “I’m going for a walk”; “I don’t like mock turtlenecks” — much more interesting. Don’t we all need a little more drama in our humdrum, housebound lives?
But since 1984, if you’ve heard a dun dun duuun vibrating from your television set, it’s likely it came from one specific source.
“It’s like having a Penguin Classic,” says 74-year-old composer Dick Walter, who has arranged music for programmes such as The Two Ronnies and The Morecambe & Wise Show. In 1983, recordings library KPM Music asked Walter to produce four vinyl albums of musical phrases known as The Editor’s Companion. With an orchestral lineup of around 35 to 40 people, Walter recorded hundreds of tracks over the course of 18 months, including chase music, sleighbells, and a four-second, three-beat sting called Shock Horror (A) that comprises the notes D#, C and F#.
The New York Times @nytimesYakei, a female macaque in a nature reserve in Japan, violently overthrew the alpha male of her troop to become its first female leader in the reserve’s 70-year history. She presides over 677 monkeys, but a messy love triangle could endanger her status. https://t.co/3sRa36vAHP https://t.co/Gooy6RxWJR
do that knight be squiring? @mind_probiotica shrimp? am i to accept, as god's own truth, that the sea's very own abominable and chittering roach, was the one who took wok into hand and fried this rice? https://t.co/Wet0K1eVXK
We’re all just going bonkers
Staying on theme, dogs in boots
A teensy bit ahead of my time, but it feels very familiar
Here for all weird British Royals genealogy content
90% of all “facts” I tell people have a similar origin
Goddamn it, I love these
Soothing Kevin Bacon and pygmy goat content
The smashed door is the clincher