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Neglect is oft defined as not taking proper care for an object or a thing or, in my case, a blog. Mea culpa. It was a long, long winter; cold, dark, full of introspection and melancholy—a dangerous mixture.

Looking back, January, February, March and, yes, even April seem like a snowy blip. Yet I know, going through the motions of those weeks and months felt like a never-ending holding pattern. One day, rolling into the next, simply waiting… for the big thaw, the beginning of spring, of things to come alive after so many months dormant, snow-covered, frozen.

As is so often the case in these parts, spring took its sweet time arriving. And when it did, doing so suddenly in what I suspect was an afternoon in late May, it promptly retreated shortly thereafter, ushering in another cold spell before finally reemerging as summer in early June.

Mother Nature is clearly a sadist.

Truth be told, I accomplished very little of merit or note during my prolonged hibernation. Sure, I binged on Netflix, devouring entire television series. (Damages is brilliant, btw.) I cooked a fair bit, too; even hosted a multi-course dinner for family. Most of all, I just binged on news. (Note to self: big mistake.) And while it was anything but an uneventful start to the year all over the world, it was very much uneventful for me. Depressingly so.

I suspect what made the malaise that much worse was waiting for my job to start. I’d been notionally hired by a young chef/restauranteur to join the team of his new restaurant. The trouble: it was and remained under construction for the first four months of 2013. Sure, we had the occasional meeting; did what we could while the site was being finished; but, until the site was actually operational, it was quite difficult to do much at all.

And so I sat. And watched. And ate. And drank. And stewed—literally and figuratively.

Thankfully, by May I was able to start my job in earnest, even if the restaurant itself wasn’t yet open for business. And if by some twist of fate, summer emerged shortly thereafter. Even Mistress Nature can be kind sometimes, I guess.

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2011 is cold. Damn cold.

The mercury hit a new low yesterday: -31C.

I used to think a clear, blue sky in January — even if it meant blisteringly cold temperatures like the kind we experienced yesterday — was preferable to the damp and overcast days of places more humid, like Ottawa.

I was wrong. Dead wrong.

That it’s a dry cold doesn’t mean squat. Give me damp, cloudy and -10C any day of the week.

(I’d prefer +25C and sunny, but beggars can’t be choosers.)

Winter has arrived — with a vengeance.

In the space of 24 hours, Winnipeg went from being without snow to completely blanketed with the white junk. And I, for one, am not happy at all… especially when it looks like it’s here to stay.

Times like these, I find myself yearning for the beaches of Barcelona, Alicante or even Essaouira. Heck, I’d even take being poolside at the Doha Marriott. (It is, after all, +27C and sunny in the Gulf Sheikdom at the moment.)

Remind me again why I, and so many like me, continue to live in this frozen wasteland?

I’ve noticed a distressing trend this winter: where once the shovel was the plucky suburbanite’s best weapon against a snow-filled driveway, now it’s the leaf-blower.

I wish I were kidding.

Is this not yet another perfect example of our wretched excess, our lazy ways, our addiction to petroleum?

I don’t know, nor do I want to get all sanctimonious. I guess I just find it a little ridiculous. After all, shovels are cheap and the power required to push them free — if you’re the one doing the pushing.

Better still, I’ve always thought shovelling the driveway is a great way to get some fresh air and a little excercise during an otherwise sedentary, sheltered season.

My mistake.

I’ve previously mentioned the unseasonal November we were having in Winnipeg. So you know, it’s over.

It snowed yesterday, blanketing everything in a thick layer of the stuff. Today, the mercury has dropped to a crisp -8C. Winter is here – and it looks like she’s staying. Until June, no doubt.

So much for that.