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Shivers, Sun, and Shock

Now that central Wisconsin is already blanketed with six inches of snow, Christmas can’t be far away. This reminds me of last winter.

Mothers boiled water on the stove and then called their excited children to come watch. While the children held their breaths, moms tossed the water outside into the sub zero temperatures and watched the water vaporize into nothingness. Frosty experiments happened all over central Wisconsin as temperatures plunged and set records, making 2014 the coldest winter on record.

We even added the term "Polar Vortex" to our vocabulary.

You can understand why this shivering Wisconsin girl happily shed gloves, hat, and scarf for Christmas in San Diego. The weather was perfect: 70 degrees every day and not a cloud in the sky. I lifted my face toward the sun’s warmth and basked in the heat on my arms and neck. No Vitamin D capsules needed in San Diego! My seven days in the sun had to fortify me for January, February, and March back in the frozen tundra.

Warm sand soothed my feet, as I shed winter boots and walked barefoot on the beach. A tree loaded with bright yellow lemons and glossy green leaves delighted my winter weary spirit. Could it get more wonderful than this? But San Diego had more surprises.

My sister and I went to view the Christmas decorations at the famed Hotel del Coronado. Thousands of tiny white lights draped the turrets of the hotel and outlined the roof’s edges against the night sky. Even in December, hundreds of people strolled through the hotel’s wide open doors and boutiques, or sat in shirt sleeves on the veranda, enjoying the mild evening.

A group of revelers near the ocean drew our attention. As we approached them, I was shocked to see laughing men, women, and children wearing hats, scarves and mittens, and they were ice skating. Are you kidding me? Yes, a skating rink had been constructed, with a refrigeration system to maintain the ice.

A sign near the rink cheerfully announced “Skating by the Sea,” complete with hot chocolate and skates to rent for $8.

I watched in amazement then shook my head as we walked away."It must be true that humans always crave what they don’t have," I laughed. No ice skating for me; I would be back home to frigid temperatures soon enough.

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