Snowy Sundays Are Hell

short story, The Devil, snow, Maine, humor, Modern Philosopher“I see from the paraphernalia in the foyer that you’ve been engaging in your favorite winter activity again,” The Devil taunted with a sly grin when he entered the living room.

As always he was sharply dressed in an impeccably tailored suit, but this week, his expensive loafers had been replaced by a pair of expensive snow boots.

My snow boots were among the “paraphernalia” currently littering my foyer.  I’m not a fan of shoveling snow, so when I’m done with the task, I tend to drop anything related to it right inside the door.  I find that makes it easier to forget about the nightmare that is snow removal.

“Well, someone had to clear the driveway, and the interns miraculously all call out sick whenever it snows,” I grumbled as I took a sip of my Snapple.

“I could have cleared it with one tap of my pitchfork if you’d waited for me to arrive,” Lucifer pointed out as he sat down on his end of the couch.

“One of the perks of being a Maine homeowner is getting to grumble about clearing the snow after a storm,” I informed my guest.  “I couldn’t pass up on that little bit of winter joy simply because you have an easier, magical way to complete the task.”

The Prince of Darkness gave me a look as he fished a bottle of Snapple out of the cooler.  “Someone clearly did not crush up his happy pills into his morning omelette.”

I shrugged.  “Sorry.  The first major snowfall of the season always sets off my Post Traumatic Snow Disorder.  I was hoping I’d handle it better and maybe build an army of waving snowman to welcome you when you arrived, but it was the same old reaction.”

short story, The Devil, snow, Maine, humor, Modern Philosopher“You can’t beat yourself up for not being a fan of forced manual labor,” Satan encouraged me with a genuine grin.  “I don’t like snow, either.  That’s why it has never snowed a single day in the history of Hell.”

“I thought it didn’t snow down there because it was so hot,” I mumbled.

“The sweltering conditions were a choice,” The Devil replied.  “Sure, severe heat is an excellent way to make the Damned suffer for all eternity, but frigid temperatures and constant snow and ice would have had the same effect.  I just prefer it to be warm, and I’m the only one with control of the thermostat.”

“But a ring of Hell in which people had to shovel snow for all eternity would be a pretty horrific punishment,” I suggested.

Lucifer shook his head emphatically.  “Never going to happen.  If someone wants to spend eternity clearing snow, I’ll send them to Maine.”

“You can’t equate Maine with Hell,” I argued and slammed my Snapple bottle down on the table in anger.  “Sure, it’s cold, snowy, desolate, the Governor is a madman, and there are apparently no available single women here, but that doesn’t make it Hell.  It just makes it something of a challenge.”

short story, The Devil, snow, Maine, humor, Modern Philosopher“If you finally found someone special to share your life at The House on the Hill, you could add a second set of hands to the snow removal process,” The Prince of Darkness offered with a devilish grin.  “You could even buy matching snow suits and shovels.”

“Don’t make me take you outside and test my theory that shoving your face into a snowbank would cause all the snow to melt,” I warned as I tossed an icy glare in my guest’s direction.

“I’m going to write off that comment to your Post Traumatic Snow Disorder,” Satan snickered as he eyed his pitchfork in the far corner.

He’d never get to it in time, though, if I wanted to grab him by the scruff of his neck and drag him out into the snow.

But a good host does not bury his guest in a snow drift.

No matter how annoying he might be.  Not this close to Christmas.

“I just hope this counts for everyone hoping for a white Christmas,” I steered the subject away from doing bodily harm.  “I’d rather it didn’t snow again this Holiday Season.”

The Devil laughed out loud and took a long sip of his Snapple.

“And since when do you ever get what you want for Christmas?” he challenged.

He had a point.  With my luck, I’d be digging out from under two feet of snow on Christmas morning.

Rather than dwell on the point and make my Sunday anymore depressing, I wandered out to the foyer to pick up my mess.

I took a peek out the front window.  It did look like the front of a Christmas card, so I guess snow wasn’t all that bad.  As long as I didn’t have to shovel it.

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I Want A New President For Christmas

Christmas, Santa Claus, Donald Trump, politics, humor, Modern PhilosopherDear Santa Claus,

I know I’m a little too old to be writing to you, and this never worked well when I was a kid, but I refuse to stop believing in the Magic of Christmas.

Plus, desperate times call for desperate measures.

You are probably too busy up at the North Pole to follow the everyday happenings of the United States Government, but you might have heard that things aren’t going too well down here at the moment.

While I’m aware that speaking poorly of others is a great way to land on the Naughty List, I just have to come out and say that our President is a horrible person, a complete failure, and I’m quite frankly surprised that his pants aren’t constantly on fire because he told a humongous lie about making America great again.

Look, I get that being the Leader of the Free World is a difficult and stressful job, but President Trump seems to go out of his way to hurt people, cause trouble, and then lie about what he’s done.

If you don’t believe me, just check his Twitter feed.  It’s like a running confession and manifesto of a man who could care less that you see him when he’s sleeping, and know when he’s awake.

Maybe you could check in with Robert Mueller, and he can give you some insight into his current investigation.  Perhaps Michael Flynn could help you decide whether the President has been naughty or nice all year.

Christmas, Santa Claus, Donald Trump, politics, humor, Modern PhilosopherThe bottom line is that America is nowhere close to being great again.

The only way President Trump could ever deliver on that campaign promise at this point is by resigning.  And he’s never going to do that because he’s having way too much fun telling the world how amazing he is at being President.

So this is where you come in, Santa.

I’ve never stopped believing in you and the idea of Christmas Magic.

Right now, our government is in total disarray.  Our elected officials can’t seem to pass any laws, and when they finally do, it’s something that only helps the rich.  Maybe they can’t get anything done because they’re too busy dealing with investigations into shady practices or sexual misconduct.

Whenever the President opens his mouth, he offends someone.  Quite often, he is speaking poorly of people who have the capacity to terrorize America, or rain down nuclear fire on our once great nation.

Is there any chance you can bring me a new President for Christmas?

I’ve been pretty good this year, and to further prove that point, I will unselfishly share my present with over 300 million of my fellow Americans.

Christmas, Santa Claus, Donald Trump, politics, humor, Modern PhilosopherSo what do you think, Santa?  I don’t want to play the guilt card, but I was raised Catholic, and guilt is my people’s thing.  You never exactly came through for me all those years when I wrote to you as a kid.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally appreciated all the socks and underwear you left for me under the tree, but I don’t recall ever asking for those things in my letters.

All I’m asking for this year is a new President.  It doesn’t have to be the most expensive one, or the most in demand one on the market.  Heck, it can even be a used one (President Obama???) or an almost used one (Bernie Sanders???).

Just as long as it isn’t President Trump.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read my letter.  In closing, I just want to add one final thought…

Help us, Saint Nicholas.  You are our only hope!

Merry Christmas!


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Bury My Head In Ice Cream

ice cream, poetry, stress, humor, Modern PhilosopherBeing of unsound mind

And extremely

Stressed body,

I hereby declare

That I wish

To be buried

In ice cream.

That might not be

A typical

Last request,

But at the moment,

It’s exactly

What I need.

Truth be told,


I could

Think of today,

When I was

Finally able

To clear

My cluttered mind

Of stressful thoughts,

Was going home

And burying

My head

In a giant bowl

Of ice cream.

Didn’t care

About the flavor.

There just needed

To be

An abundance.

To say

I was stressed,

Would be

Like Saying


Is a

Bad President.

When the dark clouds

Come for me,

And the storm

Prepares to strike,

Ice cream


My umbrella.

It might not

Be able

To stop the rain,

But it can keep

My head dry

While I eat.

Comfort food

Is a terror

On my waistline,

But tell that

To the vein


Like a

Time bomb

In my forehead.


My head

In ice cream


It explodes!

Ask not

What you

Can do

To make

It better.

Just ask

What toppings

I want

On my

Ice cream.



With stress


But my way,

Face first

Into a

Bottomless bowl

Of ice cream,

Is the right way.

Posted in Humor, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Caroling May Be Hazardous To Your Health

short story, The Devil, Christmas, Christmas Carolers, humor, Modern PhilosopherIt’s hard to ignore The Devil when I sense he’s up to no good.  And he was definitely up to something.

Over the past ten minutes, he’d been out to the front porch on six occasions.

When he returned this time, he was tucking a measuring tape into the jacket pocket of his impeccably tailored suit.  After which, he jotted down something on a tiny notepad, that he then slipped inside a pocket in his slacks.

“What exactly are you doing on my porch?” I finally asked.

One has to be careful about putting a guest armed with a mighty pitchfork on the spot, but enough was enough.

“Just something for Christmas,” Lucifer answered a little too quickly.  “Please don’t let my puttering around interrupt your writing.”

I took a sip of my Snapple and studied the being in the expensive suit and Santa hat, who was clearly trying to hide something from me.

“You’ve already put enough lights and decorations out there to make my front porch visible from space,” I quipped.  “What more could you be adding?”

The Prince of Darkness shrugged.  “Just a final touch to make it perfect.”

“But there’s barely enough room for me to move around out there when I need to come and go from the house,” I pressed because I wanted him to tell me what was really going on outside my door.

short story, The Devil, Christmas, Christmas Carolers, humor, Modern Philosopher“Good thing you’re still running then,” Satan replied with with a wink and devilish grin.  “The slimmer you get, the more decorations I can add.”

He studied the front windows and then quickly wrote down some additional notes on the pad he kept in his pocket.

“What are you writing?”  I figured I’d try a different approach and see if the witness would crack or trip up in his own web of lies.

“Just a list of Christmas gift ideas for my favorite blogger,” The Devil volunteered.  “You don’t happen to have any netting, do you?  If you don’t, it’s going on the list because everyone really should have some around the house.”

He looked at me expectantly, and multiple alarms went off in my head.  Finally, I knew what he was up to, and it was even worse than I’d feared.

“You’re building a trap for Christmas carolers!” I shouted accusingly as I sprung up off the couch.  “What have I told you every year around this time?  You can’t kill the Christmas carolers.  I have so few rules, but that one is non-negotiable.”

Lucifer looked at me like I was crazy.  “Trap?  For Christmas carolers?  Me?  Surely, you have me confused with someone else.”

“You have a tell when you’re lying.  You tap your pitchfork against your shoe,” I told him as I pointed to his expensive loafer and the pitchfork that was being tapped against it.

short story, The Devil, Christmas, Christmas Carolers, humor, Modern PhilosopherThe Prince of Darkness suddenly dropped his frightening weapon like it was burning his flawless skin.  “So that’s why you always beat me at poker!”

“We’ve never played poker,” I countered.  “And stop trying to change the subject.”

I sat back down on the couch and chugged the rest of my Snapple.  Standing up to Satan really left my throat parched.

“Fine.  You got me,” The Devil confessed.  “You know I hate carolers, but in my defense, it was going to be a no kill trap, and I planned to release them in the wild.  And by ‘in the wild’, I mean New Hampshire, or maybe even Vermont.”

He walked over to the couch and sat down in defeat.

I offered him a bottle of Snapple from the cooler, and he accepted it reluctantly.

“You told me last week that you love Christmas,” I reminded him.  “Why do you still have an issue with carolers?  All they’re trying to do is spread some Christmas joy.”

short story, The Devil, Christmas, Christmas Carolers, humor, Modern Philosopher“Most songs in a caroler’s playbook are of the religious variety,” Lucifer explained.   “That’s the part of the holiday I dislike.  If they sang about greed and commercialism, I’d be joining in as a sweet baritone.  But the only song about commercialism they ever sing is ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, and I absolutely loathe that one.”

“Me, too,” I nodded in agreement.

Did anyone actually like that song?  It’s so annoying.  And repetitive.  And overly obsessed with birds.

“Still, you can’t harm any carolers that come onto my porch.”

“Christmas is supposed to be about giving,” The Prince of Darkness grumbled.  “I don’t see why you can’t give me this one little thing.”

“Because Santa Claus would put me on the Naughty List if any harm were to come to carolers at The House on the Hill,” I answered decisively.

“I guess we’re going to have to agree to disagree on the proper way to handle the largest menace of the Christmas season,” Satan shot back at me.

“Sometimes, I think I’m looking at the largest menace of the Christmas season,” I replied as I stared at him and flashed an evil smile.

Merry Christmas, blogging, humor, Modern Philosopher“I’m going to head outside and maybe remove some giant hooks that I might have installed in the porch ceiling,” The Devil announced as he stood up, collected his pitchfork, and headed for the door.

I let out a long sigh of relief.

I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of Christmas carolers, either.  Strangers showing up at my door unannounced is unsettling.  Plus, I’m never sure if I’m supposed to give them something to thank them for a service I never requested.  But I’d never do a caroler harm because that’s just wrong, and I know Santa is watching…

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Santa Claus Deeply Disturbed By Length Of Naughty List

Christmas, Santa Claus, naughty list, Donald Trump, Republican Tax Bill, humor, satire, Modern PhilosopherAccording to multiple reports coming out of The North Pole, Modern Philosophers, Santa Claus was “deeply disturbed” by the length of the updated Naughty List presented to him by his Elves.

The same sources confirm that Old St. Nick, who is currently not at all jolly, has retreated to his personal residence to ponder how to handle the situation.

At the moment, toy production remains on schedule, but that could all change if the boss decides that Christmas should be canceled because the world has been overrun by Republicans…I mean…naughty types.

Luckily, I have access to Santa at his residence via Skype, and was able to get in touch with him to get some answers.  I also took the opportunity to plead with him to not punish the innocent for the crimes of The Electoral College.

“I thought 2017 couldn’t get any worse, Austin,” Santa declared in between bites of Christmas cookies, “but then that naughty Republican Tax Bill passed last night.  Not only do I have to put everyone who voted for the bill on the Naughty List, but I also need to add every fat cat billionaire who stands to benefit from it.  As far as I’m concerned, all the new tax breaks they will be getting can serve as their Christmas gifts for the rest of their lives.”

In all the years I’ve known Santa Claus, I’ve never seen him this stressed.  He was pounding cookies like they were candy, and chugging eggnog faster than a Republican can screw over a hardworking member of the working class.“Now we’ve got Michael Flynn confessing to lying to the FBI, which is going to blow open this whole Russian collusion fiasco,” Santa added with a heavy sigh.  “You know that guy is going to sing like a partridge in a pear tree just to save his own hide.  That means even more names for the Naughty List.”

Clearly the concept of seeing and knowing all was taking its toll on the man in red.

“The Naughty List has never been this long,” he told me as he wiped cookie crumbs out of his beard.  “Truth be told, it’s pretty much a list of every registered Republican in the United States, with a few bratty kids sprinkled in for color.  What is wrong with the Republicans?  Even the worst children know to be good this time of year so I’ll bring them presents, but it’s like the GOP is purposely doing things to upset me.”

I shared my theory that the Elephant Party was scurrying to get as much done as possible before everyone in the White House is arrested and/or thrown out of office.

That made Santa chuckle.  It wasn’t the kind of laugh that made his mighty belly shake like a bowl of jelly, but it was a start.

And it got him to lay off the cookies for a few minutes.

Christmas, humor, Santa Claus, Modern Philosopher“Of course, if it’s not Trump and his cronies, it’s the celebrity sex predators,” Santa growled once reality caught up with him again.  “Whenever I watch a movie or TV show now, I’m wondering if the next man to get outed is on the screen or in the credits.  I can’t even watch The Usual Suspects anymore, and that’s one of my all time favorite flicks.  What has gotten into rich, powerful white men lately?”

That’s easy, Santa.  Rich, powerful white men have become the usual suspects.  Does that mean Trump is Keyser Soze?  Nah.  He couldn’t pull of that elaborate of a con.

Then again, he did convince enough people to believe in his promises to make America great again to get him elected President.

I wonder how those folks are enjoying their border wall, the fall of ISIS, and the lovely new Republican Tax Bill that Santa Trump is putting under all their Christmas trees.

“I don’t know if I can survive three more Christmases of a Trump Presidency,” Santa confessed as he poured another glass of eggnog.

Well, maybe Robert Mueller will play Santa Claus and bring us the gift of indictments that will save us from four years of President Trump.

After all, it is Christmas, and you have to believe in the magic of the holiday.

Merry Christmas, blogging, humor, Modern PhilosopherIf you don’t, all the Republicans on the Naughty List will get what they want, and that simply wouldn’t be fair.

Santa Claus gave me his word that he wouldn’t let the actions of a few bad seeds (he might have said Republicans, but the Skype connection flickered ever so briefly at that exact moment) ruin Christmas for those of us who didn’t vote for Trump.

Keep the faith, Modern Philosophers.  Believe in the magic of Christmas, and send your wishes for a new President to Robert Mueller, care of the North Pole.  Santa Claus will make sure your letters get to him.

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Who’s The Stranger On Our Porch?

Christmas, Christmas lights, holiday spirit, humor, photography, Modern PhilosopherPay no mind to that stranger on your porch, Modern Philosophers.  It’s just me, and I’m totally harmless.

I’m merely posing for a picture with your Christmas lights, and I’ll vanish into the darkness just as soon as I snap a selfie that isn’t totally blurry…

Ever since I was a wee lad growing up on the mean streets of Brooklyn, I’ve been drawn to Christmas lights.

Something about the bright colors soothes my soul and fills me with the Christmas Spirit.  I’m drawn like a moth to the holiday flame.

Even as a kid, I’d wander the neighborhood to check out the lights.  My Dad always did a good job of decorating our house, but I wanted to see what else was out there.  I really loved the huge houses down on Shore Road because rich people had money to burn.

So many lights.  All those colors.

It was Christmas Heaven for a nerdy introvert.

Going out to admire the Christmas lights has never stopped being a favorite holiday activity.  Even in Southern California, where there was never snow on Christmas, there was always a multitude of beautiful lights.

Maine is no different.  Even though it isn’t even December yet, my neighbors have already been decking the halls with boughs of holly and tons of lights.

And now I’ve added to my tradition.

This year, I’ve started sneaking up to the lights and posing for selfies.  I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you…

Christmas, Christmas lights, holiday spirit, humor, photography, Modern PhilosopherChristmas, Christmas lights, holiday spirit, humor, photography, Modern PhilosopherThose were both taken at the same business a few blocks from The House on the Hill.  I’m not normally a fan of just white lights, but this display had a definite Winter Wonderland vibe to it, so it was cool.

Christmas, Christmas lights, holiday spirit, humor, photography, Modern PhilosopherChristmas, Christmas lights, holiday spirit, humor, photography, Modern PhilosopherThe photo on the left is from another business.

The one on the right, is of a jolly Santa Claus, who was so bright, he came out blurry.

Those old plastic lights remind me of Brooklyn.

I know that businesses want to light up the night to attract more customers, but I love that each evening when I go out for my walk, more houses have been decorated.

I can’t wait until entire streets are lit up as if to guide me safely on my meanderings, while also filling me with even more Christmas joy.

Christmas, Christmas lights, holiday spirit, humor, photography, Modern PhilosopherThese photos were taken on my block.

The one on the left is the home of my across the street neighbors.

Janine always does a great job of providing me with a lovely view from my front porch.

The photo on the right is of my next door neighbors’ house.  I’m hoping they put up some inflatable decorations, too, as they do on Halloween.

That would make for some awesome selfies!

Christmas, Christmas lights, holiday spirit, humor, photography, Modern PhilosopherI took this one during my run this morning.  I don’t usually break stride to mess with selfies, but this tree caught my attention and I had to have a pic.

In fact, I really wanted the tree, but I couldn’t figure out how to get it home.  I was sweaty and a bit tired after running three miles.

And I never run with my axe.  That’s too dangerous seeing as I’m a total klutz.

Christmas, Christmas lights, holiday spirit, humor, photography, Modern PhilosopherThis house is nearby, one block over from the senior housing.  It is definitely my favorite so far, and I feel like I’m drawn to it every night on my walk.

I can only imagine that their electric bill must be, but their donation to the electric company is totally appreciated because it makes the neighborhood look magical!

Christmas, Christmas lights, holiday spirit, humor, photography, Modern PhilosopherI wish the folks on the left had added a little more to their light show.

I like what they’ve done, but it totally leaves me wanting more.  Light it up!

The photo on the right isn’t the best because I had to sneak into a driveway between two well lit houses, and snap it quickly without disturbing any of the residents.  There is a huge plastic snowman behind me, but I couldn’t get close enough to make him clear enough to see.

Maybe next time.  I’ve still got a few weeks!

Christmas, Christmas lights, holiday spirit, humor, photography, Modern PhilosopherThis giant tree is in front of a house that is off of my usual walking route, but it called out to me from the distance, and I had to go take a selfie.

I mean, the tree is impossible to miss.  All those colors.  I love it!

Christmas, Christmas lights, holiday spirit, humor, photography, Modern PhilosopherI was able to get this snowman to pose with me.  He’s not as large as the earlier one in the driveway, but he’s a definite keeper.

I know there are more houses in the neighborhood that put out huge light displays, and I’m going to check them out this weekend.  If they are lit up and colorfully blazing, I promise more selfies.  I can’t wait!

Do you like to search out the Christmas lights in your neighborhood?  Which  photo in this post is your favorite?  Do you want me to show up on your porch and pose with your lights?

Posted in Christmas, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Arctic Adventure

running, fitness, health, winter, humor, Modern PhilosopherDr Jekyll has often told me, Modern Philosophers, that the best way to conquer my Post Traumatic Snow Disorder, is to go on little adventures to change my routine and shake those winter blues.

Not only will the break from the norm help me from falling into my usual pattern of doom and gloom, but it’s also difficult for Snow Miser to keep track of me if I mix things up a little and leave my comfort zone.

Anything that screws with Snow Miser is worth trying in my book.

I decided to heed the good doctor’s advice and venture out from the safety of The House on the Hill to go on an arctic adventure.

I mean, why not learn to enjoy the frigid weather, rather than shake and shiver at the mere thought of it?

Plus, I thought it would be cool to see some reindeer, penguins, and maybe even Santa Claus himself.

I know it’s Santa’s busy time of year, but he wears a FitBit, too, and he’s told me that he makes sure to get up and go outside every hour to get those 250 steps.

Today was the day for my journey.

After all, there’s no time like the present.

Plus, life has been a bit of a drag lately, and I needed a bit of living on the edge to get the circulation flowing again.

running, fitness, health, winter, humor, Modern PhilosopherHanging out on a chunk of ice and rapping with a polar bear was exactly what I needed.

So I woke up well before dawn, bundled up, and went out to grab life by the snowballs.

Of course, what I really mean, is that I went for a run on a morning that the mercury could not inch past 14 degrees.

But psyching myself up by pretending I was going on an epic arctic adventure was how I tricked myself into getting my ass out from under the from covers, and out into the bitterly cold and unforgiving morning.

As I’ve said frequently, it is my intention to keep up my running program through the winter.  With that in mind, I had to go for a run when it was only 14 degrees.  The logic being that if I wimped out on November 28, how in the world was I going to convince myself to hit the road on January 28?

By January 28, Snow Miser will have totally found his groove, and Maine will be nothing more than his personal snow globe.

It was actually 15 degrees when I got out of bed.  Snow Miser was clearly up to mischief by making it even colder by the time I walked out the front door.

Don’t fret.  I hadn’t completely lost my senses.

running, fitness, health, winter, humor, Modern Philosopher I bundled up with an extra layer, and decided to go with an alternate running route, specifically designed for adverse weather conditions.

I’ve come up with a mile long loop around the neighborhood with The House on the Hill at the center.

This way, I’m never more than three blocks from home, and can dash back to its heated confines in mere minutes should the weather ever freak the @#$% out.

Three miles is three miles no matter the path I take.  I just wanted to get out and get done.

Truth be told, it wasn’t that bad.  The bitter wind that has been whipping through the state for the past week was absent, so once I got my blood flowing, I was fine.

Yes, Modern Philosophers, it is possible to work up a sweat when the temperature is eighteen degrees below freezing.

The run was very empowering.  I was proud of myself for not letting the weather intimidate me, and I felt like a bad ass for being outside on a morning when no one else dared to mess with the conditions.

I ran at a steady pace, covered 3.2 miles in no time, and was enjoying a hot shower even before the polar bears had awakened from their slumber.

running, fitness, health, winter, humor, Modern PhilosopherI had to laugh because when I got home from work tonight, I realized I was way more bundled up to face 32 degrees, than I had been this morning when the temperature was less than half that.

I guess there’s just something about running that makes me feel more invincible.

Or as my friends like to say, maybe I’m just crazy for running so much and in such horrible weather.

I don’t care what the reason is.  I just know that I went on an arctic adventure and lived to blog about it!

Posted in Fitness, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments