My first clue was when I felt compelled to close the bedroom window. The second clue was when I woke up three hours later to put another sheet on the bed. The final clue was going to warm up the car and having to scrape all the windows twice, then sitting in the car for way longer than usual before driving with vision. That, and observing an alarmingly low temperature on the dashboard, convinced me to forego my usual outdoor walk, so I headed for my church.

I remember “walking in the church” with my husband during the winter, when it was too cold for our favorite walk in the park. After he passed, some of the parishioners walked with me.

When I returned home to have a hearty breakfast, somehow the usual blueberries and cottage cheese seemed meager for a beneath-freezing morning. I defrosted some shrimps and scallops and served them with spicy remoulade.

Since I was on a run by that point, I checked my balconing container gardens to discover more than half of the flowers appeared to have perished in the frost. I made a note of which flowers survived so I could focus on that breed for next year.

Several hours and several tasks later, I made a stop for lunch at the Ripe Tomato Deli on the Litchfield and Torrington line. I knew for the frigid weather, there was only one choice to get a warming meal – their award-winning chili. When I was asked what extras I wanted on the chili, the obvious reply was “everything you’ve got!’ I would rate the chili as two alarm, but once I got home, I kicked it up a notch with my own seasoning to three alarm.

On the way home I decided to get a hot black coffee followed by a wonderful Irish topper liqueur made in County Cork. My ancestors come from County Cavan, but I’m sure it’s all good. I’m now prepared with three alarm chili and Irish warmth – bring on the winter!

Connecticut Media Group