Victoria’s real secret.

A question for the rest of you suffering through this cold snap: Do you wear long underwear? I do. I’ll show it to anyone who asks, too. My January/February life got measurably better when I came to terms with winter and started wearing long underwear.

I used to own a red wool/flannel union suit from L.L. Bean (in fact, it could be this one), until I washed it wrong and it lost its shape. I liked it because you could throw it on with a pair of jeans on a Saturday and, theoretically at least, go out and run errands. If you got too hot, you could unbutton a few buttons at the top, for that Northern Exposure Vixen look. Yes, it was utterly unfashionable and fairly ridiculous, but man oh man, it did the job. I bought it after a winter trip to the Upper Peninsula, where everyone has one or two.

Of course, today we have miracle fabrics, and I have graduated to Patagonia Capilene separates, medium-weight. I wear them — bottoms mostly — anytime the temperature dips into the teens. Dog-walking is misery without them; going out in jeans alone exposes half your body to the elements with only a thin layer of denim between them. We top-load our winter dressing because, as we’re reminded by helpful newspaper tip boxes every year, you lose heat through your head. OK, so wear a hat. But don’t forget your butt, either.

I bought Kate a pair for last Christmas. To date, she has worn them only on her head, for laughs. She’d rather die that put such a thing on her body.

I should probably have waited another 20 years. That’s how long it took me to come around.

One more tip: Lands End, L.L. Bean and lots of other mail-order houses offer flannel- and fleece-lined jeans and chinos this time of year. They are…heavenly.

This concludes today’s edition of Too Much Information.

Day two of the no-school freeze-out. Hey, that’s OK — I have nothing important to do, just report a story and get into my essay-writing head for something that’s long overdue. And someone’s calling for a get-acquainted professional chat, so I have to sound wise and with-it and all the rest. That should be easy to do with squealing cabin-feverish children stampeding through the house.

Something else I’d really like to do this week, while conditions are right: Go for a walk on the lake. Nothing crazy or stupid, just a little shoreline amble to see the majesty of winter whipping through the Great Lakes. With subzero temperatures at night and nothing above the mid-20s forecast for the rest of the week, conditions should be ideal. If I fall through a soft spot and die, please don’t read this at my funeral.


Of course it’s cold, but be strong: You could live in Washington D.C. Everything’s relative — nothing like a few subzero days to make 20 degrees feel positively Floridian — but man, getta loada this:

The National Weather Service said today could be the coldest day in Washington since Jan. 10, 2004, when the mercury dipped to 8, which was the chilliest reading in the past decade. Such conditions can cause frostbite and hypothermia, forecasters said.

Well, yes, I guess that’s true. But wearing clothing (see above) can be really effective against such threats. Read the story, anyway; the word “cold” or “coldest” appears 14 times, mostly in quotes where people express the idea that it is, indeed, cold outside. This is why reporters hate to write weather stories.

Zero-gravity catfight! What happens when two astronauts vie for the romantic attention of a third? Me-ow!

Posted at 10:45 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

19 responses to “Victoria’s real secret.”

  1. Connie said on February 6, 2007 at 11:00 am

    If you were a true Michigander you would be wearing red flannel long johns from Cedar Springs.

    It is still below zero around here, and my office has not gone above 64 degrees in two days, currently is 60. If feet could shiver……. I thought I might ask one of the managers who covets my windows to trade offices for the day.

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  2. James said on February 6, 2007 at 11:17 am

    I thought you were going to “out” Victoria’s Secret for what it really is; a corporation out of Columbus, Ohio.

    I always thing it’s a hoot when people think there’s some connection to London, or that it’s somehow more sophisticated… when in fact, it’s a company based in the Buckeye State.

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  3. Danny said on February 6, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Nancy, my favorite part of the story:

    Nowak — who was a mission specialist on a Space Shuttle Discovery flight last summer — was wearing a trench coat and wig and had a knife, BB pistol, and latex gloves in her car, reports show. They also found diapers, which Nowak said she used so she wouldn’t have to stop on the 1,000-mile drive. Reports show that after U.S. Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman’s flight arrived, Nowak followed her to the airport’s Blue Lot for long-term parking, tried to get into Shipman’s car and then doused her with pepper spray.

    Diapers AND a wig and a knife and a BB pistol?!?! Even Jack Bauer thinks this is a little overboard.

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  4. brian stouder said on February 6, 2007 at 11:31 am

    I thought the most striking thing about the astronaut story was that she wore a diaper for her auto-odyssey from Houston to Orlando – the same that astronauts wear for launch and for re-entry, so as to be able to continue working even if nature calls.

    Why would she do that? Why would wizzing on yourself while whizzing down I-10 ever sound like a good plan?

    Surely she had to stop for gasoline at least several times…

    Her insanity defense will surely prevail, as no married man – and no woman of any sort – on her jury who has ever taken a road trip get will think she was sane. (which begs the question – who at Houston is in charge of screening these people?)

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  5. mouse's moom said on February 6, 2007 at 11:32 am

    I walk a lot in several areas of Michigan including the UP. I wear a lot of layers but they don’t include long underwear any more. I discovered I liked tights better, usually under cotton spandex leggings. I’m good down to about 5 degrees with that combination, with a bunch of other stuff on top including an indestructable 10-year-old Columbia jacket. If it gets any colder, I have some very unfashionable snowpants.

    My kids have flown the coop but I’m sympathetic about the two day school holiday, which A2 has also had. It’s cold but not impossible. Yesterday morning I talked to several middle school girls who hadn’t heard the news and were standing in front of the neighborhood elementary school freezing while waiting for a middle school bus that wasn’t coming. They were not dressed for the weather. Typical for middle school students. Just try to get them to dress sensibly.

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  6. Dorothy said on February 6, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Menopause has become an issue for me – therefore a big no thanks to the long undies. If I need layers on my legs I do what mouse’s moom does and I wear tights. I’m grateful almost every day that I’m not living in the north when the weather is like it is this week. High temps here have been in the 30’s, and there are still idiots wearing shorts. ADULT idiots! Some guy in the grocery store this past Saturday, and this morning I saw a FedEx delivery guy in the doctor’s office wearing them, too.

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  7. 4dbirds said on February 6, 2007 at 11:49 am

    I do live in the DC area and yes it is “cold”. Last night hubby put plastic around our sliding glass door. The house was considerably warmer this morning.

    What I don’t get about space girl is how do you get to be 43 years old, married, the mother of 3, work a demanding dream job and then lose your mind over a MAN? I mean I don’t get it. After seeing a picture of the guy I REALLY don’t get it.

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  8. nancy said on February 6, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    The last time I bought anything from The Limited, Vicki’s corporate sugar daddy, they handed me my purchase in a bag that said “The Limited” and underneath this, “Paris London New York.”

    I guess that sounds classier than “Gahanna New Albany Columbus.”

    My sister did some work for The Limited. She said at their corporate headquarters they have cafeterias scattered around the building, each oriented to a different branch of the company — Limited, Abercrombie & Fitch (before it was spun off), Lane Bryant, etc. The walls in each were decorated with poster-size blowups of the current advertising images.

    Of course, the men on her team always wanted to eat in the Victoria’s Secret cafeteria.

    As for girls and their clothing issues, I will never forget how many college students I saw walking around Ann Arbor, in temperatures not quite this cold but damn close, wearing flip-flops. One was sitting next to me in an undergrad writing class, and I asked her about it. She said, “Well, my dorm is really hot.” Apparently it never occurred to her that it might be colder outside. I wonder what affirmative-action program got her into UM. Probably a legacy.

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  9. LA mary said on February 6, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    I know there was a Law and Order episode involving a woman wearing a diaper, a wig and sunglasses. Maybe a year ago? I think it was on the SVU edition.

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  10. ashley said on February 6, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    It’s supposed to hit 66 here today, 70 tomorrow.

    But then, we have no infrastructure…

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  11. Marcia said on February 6, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Columbus Children’s Hospital is being renamed Nationwide Children’s after accepting some mega-donation.

    My favorite (not) renaming, though, is the Abercrombie & Fitch Emergency Department.

    Not that this is relevant to the original post. But I can’t see the name Abercrombie & Fitch without thinking of how much I hate this.

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  12. LA mary said on February 6, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    It was 79 here yesterday, which is unseasonable.

    But really nice.

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  13. Marcia said on February 6, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    I hate you, LA mary.

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  14. Mindy said on February 6, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    I recall a Telling Tales column about flannel lined jeans from L.L. Bean. The author wrote about standing by the dryer and yelling at it to hurry up, already!

    Got my first union suit when I was eighteen. Wore it at every opportunity until it fell apart. And I recall wearing it while watching Diana marry Charles, looking at all that yardage she was dragging and then to the faded red dust rag I had on. Nice to know that I wasn’t the only one who pulled on a pair of jeans over a union suit to dash out somewhere for a quick errand.

    Since I no longer have a union suit kind of body, these days cold weather has me reaching for the Cuddl Duds. Not as comfy but less bulky. Which is good because I already have too much of my own bulk.

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  15. Bob said on February 6, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    “Abercrombie & Fitch Emergency Department!!” Ha!!

    Offering succor to the critically fashion-challenged and unpretty.

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  16. Joe Kobiela said on February 6, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    I ran 5 miles this morning. It was -6 when I left the house. I wore tights with lined wind pants, 3-poly pro lined shirts and a lined wind jacket heavy gloves and a sock hat, I can honestly say I was not cold. Infact I was just right. I was pretty frosted over when I got home but it felt great.

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  17. Mary O said on February 7, 2007 at 7:57 am

    We just got the call at 4:45 a.m. that they are closing schools in Montgomery County, Maryland (just outside of DC) today on account of an inch of snow. Greetings from Wussy-town.

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  18. Danny said on February 7, 2007 at 10:59 am

    Mary, having grown up in Bawl’more, I can relate. To my friends from colder states, I always explain that we have four seasons in Maryland, but we just are serious enough about snow removal, hence the snow days. My friends from Ashland, WI, on the edge of Lake Superior, probably got taken to school on Snow Cats, if required.

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  19. LA mary said on February 7, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    I remember one particularly big snowstorm in Denver created huge drifts in inconvenient places. I opened the door of my brother’s second floor condo and had about eight feet of snow fall into the foyer. The next day was was trying to walk across campus at DU and fell into a drift deeper than I was tall, which convinced me to limit my class attendance that day to classes in the closer in buildings. So much for statistics class. I called my boss at the NYT (not Molly) and left her a message saying I would not be coming in that day. She quoted me in the article she wrote about that snowstorm. My slacker ways were immortalized in the NYT.

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