A cousin shared photos of her family in Key West, Instagram images of their hair slicked back from recent swims in the blue ocean behind them. Northern family members and friends replied with hearts and smiley faces, wrapped our sweaters a little tighter around us and sent her private messages telling her to “just shut it.”

Not really, but some of us wanted to. Instead, I wished her to have a great time, asked her to keep sending photos and assured her we’d compare notes between Ohio and South Florida in mid-July. I am happy to know that, should My Steven and I dream of a warm-weather getaway, we have a friendly place to land.

This year, the Polar Vortex has divided into multiple antiheroes. Computer models suggest that we’re looking at deep cold well into February. The super villain actually split into triplets in 2018, but because that happened high above the heads of the most daredevil of airline pilots, the plot took a while to thicken. The groundhog had better be wearing a parka on Saturday.

I have found that, if you layer on a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, two fleece jackets and a windbreaker (all loose-fitting so that you have pockets of warm air between), add fleece-lined leggings, a balaclava and gloves, running on snow is a little like running on a warm sandy beach. Black ice can spoil the fantasy. But if your footing is sure and you make it back to the starting line in one piece, there may be hot chocolate. And who would want hot chocolate after working out on a warm sandy beach?

There is a stink beetle climbing on the window at the moment. It’s been there before. I admire its ability to avoid the cats who would bat it around the house before slowly dismembering its shield. As long as it stays put, it can ride out the winter with the rest of us who claim, our jaws firmly clenched to keep teeth from chattering, that we prefer a home base with four distinct seasons.