Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It only took four-plus decades

I have this hate/hate relationship with winter.

Kenny Mackenzie once told me something that really helps during these winter months. He told me what he loved about winter: Coming home after school or work to a warm house, peeling off the wet, cold, clothes, and getting into warm, dry clothes. Growing up in So Cal, I didn't have that experience often enough to make it a powerful resource for me, but Kenny's description was so vivid (I can still hear his thick Scottish accent rolling the R's in warm and dry, and see him rubbing his hands together with a big smile on his face, eyes bright), that bringing that memory to mind always makes me feel toasty.

Which just goes to show you don't have to have the experience yourself. If you want to do something, find someone who's good at it and ask them how they do it. This works, whether it's becoming a morning person, loving exercise, or getting through winter without throwing yourself off one of the 12 beautiful bridges Portland conveniently supplies for such purposes.

I've found something else that helps me get through winter: hand lotion. Over my lifetime, I've tried just about every aloe, shea, cocoa, lanolin concoction out there. Vasoline with gloves. Mary Kay. Avon. Curel. Ecucerin. From 99 cents to 18.99, I've tried them. Don't email me your solutions. Maybe it works for you. For me, six weeks past Halloween, my hands feel like pet horny toads. (Pacific Northwesterners: Look it up. Adorable in a way only a desert-rat could love.)

So this year, I did what I always do. I got on the Internet. And bless those consumers at, they came through for me.

Corn Husker's Lotion. My grandmother kept a bottle of the stuff ("That's the ugliest bottle I've ever seen," said a friend) under the bathroom sink. I can't remember her ever slathering that goop on me. But boy, howdy, Corn Husker's Lotion did in three days what weeks and weeks and weeks of nothing else could.

It's cheap and ugly and my hands feel like a five-year-old's. I swear, I feel like I've found the fountain of youth.

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