With Apologies to My Male Readership…

Last September I had the good fortune to sit next to a woman named Nancy Aronie at an animal communication workshop I was attending. I say good fortune because Nancy is an absolutely fabulous woman. She’s a wonderful writer and gives a very famous workshop on the Vineyard called Writing from the Heart.  Everyone at the workshop we were attending had to go around the room and introduce themselves and Nancy laughed deeply and wept openly in the same sentence. She is brilliant, and brimming over with life, and, lucky for me, she is freezing all the time.

Lucky for me, because the other reason I was so fortunate to be sitting next to Nancy was that she brought a hot water bottle with her to the workshop. Turns out she takes it everywhere she goes to keep her warm. During a break in the morning session Nancy refilled her water bottle from the tea kettle. At first I thought the whole thing was kind of bizarre, but when she stuck it in between us I was instantly converted. “You’ll have to get one,” Nancy said. To which I replied,  “Nancy, I am 38-years-old. I cannot start carrying a hot water bottle around with me.” 
Which turned out to be totally untrue. Even as I write this I have my trusty hot water bottle by my side, keeping me toasty. Oh, I don’t carry it around with me. Not out of the house anyway. Unless I’m going up to Patrick’s parent’s house across the street. Or for a long car ride. Or to the movies. Not that we ever go to the movies, but if we did, I’d take my hot water bottle with me.
The only problem with the hot water bottle is that I can’t take it with me when I’m doing chores outside cause you have to hold it. I actually considered getting one of those baby slings to hold it in place against my chest while I’m feeding or working the livestock but it seemed kind of impractical.
The thing is, I am cold all the time. Well, not all the time. I’m warmish from May through September. But winters in the Northeast kick my ass. I hate being cold, and as a result, I dread doing all of the everyday tasks that I so enjoy doing when it’s warm.
And, if I may be frank with you, (and I think I can speak frankly with you) the worst thing in the world is when my breasts get cold. It’s beyond uncomfortable- it’s painful. And, short of taking a hot shower, I find it very, very difficult to recover from cold breasts.
Until today that is. Today, I came up with the idea for which I will become famous. Forget the whole “started the first Fiber CSA” business. If and when my obit appears in the New York Times, it will be because of the discovery I made at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 4th.
And it never would have occurred to me to share this particular piece of awesome if Patrick, upon hearing the news of my miraculous invention, hadn’t groaned and said “I can’t wait the hear what the blog readers think of this!” That’s when I realized it would be wrong for me to keep this discovery to myself. As wrong as wrong can be.
I was getting ready to go out and work sheep and goats with Patrick and Erin this afternoon. “Working” livestock means trimming hooves, worming and delousing all the animals in a particular pen and it. takes. for. ever. Like hours. Outside. In the cold.  As usual, I was dragging my feet and stalling because I was already cold, and I really didn’t want my boobs to get any colder or more painful. So right before I left the house, I grabbed two of those “Hot Hands” hand warmers from the kitchen drawer. You know, those little packets that you shake up to cause some kind of chemical reaction and then stick in your gloves? Only I stuck them in my bra. And it was magic, my friends.
I worked outside for two hours without getting cold. At all. I don’t think it’s overstating it to say that this may very well have changed my life. 
I think ya’ll know me well enough to know that I don’t regularly talk about my breasts in public, and I truly hope I haven’t offended anyone with my immodesty, but if even one of you suffers from the distress of cold breasts and is helped by my discovery, it will all be worth it.
We happened to have bought a whole passel of hand warmers for our Solstice party, and I think they cost around $2 a dozen at Walmart. Of course it means having to step foot in Walmart- an errand I put right up there with being water boarded- but believe me my friends, it will be worth it.


  1. Excellent idea – thanks for sharing it! You may like these if you're going to be going through a lot of the hand warmers:

    I got a few for my parents for Christmas, and they absolutely love them!

  2. Indeed! This will be an awesome trick to remember the next time I head to the Northeast. Being in CA for so long has really thinned my blood!

    Captcha is hersax. Hmmm.

  3. Re the the Lee Valley reference above–Lee Valley is having a free shipping promo, but it ends today–I guess at midnight.

  4. Oh goodness I’m crying I’m laughing so hard! I’m glad you found something to help, and I do indeed expect to see this far and away in the future on your tombstone!

    “Here lies Susie the Shepherd who, through the grace of her body and quickness of her mind saved millions of women from hypothermic breasts.”

  5. Jane in Maryland

    January 4, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    My favorite part about this post is not the brilliance of the idea (!) but the labels after it: “goats, hoof trimming, sheep tips, weather.” I imagine if you also added “how to keep your breasts warm in the winter” it would get blocked by certain software.
    I will re-read this one on days when my desk job is annoying the #$%@ out of me. I will imagine hand warmers for my brain.

  6. oh that is really great! i am ALWAYS cold, and i’m *from* the hudson valley. being constantly cold is the worst ever; it really makes my back and shoulders cramp. i also use a hot water bottle, but had no defense while outdoors (i ride a bike everywhere and that gets chilly), so thanks for the tip; i’m definitely trying those out for cycling

  7. lol, that is a great idea although even though i am always cold as well i cannot remember my breasts ever being cold. Lol, and they are decent sized to where i would imagine they would if they could! I like the small fabric baggie of flax and lavendar to microwave idea! (like a large flatish tea bag!) but then that’s the eco part of me! And i’m like you with the hot water bottle, hubby picks on me but he’d rather me put my cold toes on that vs him! smile

  8. Knitting Painter Woman

    January 5, 2009 at 1:03 am

    You go girl! And I doubt the apology to male readers was necessary. The men I know would love to think about breast warming… of any sort. The hoof trimming might leave them cold, though. I’ll remember the hot water bottle idea if/when we move to the frozen North.

  9. The hand warmers were my best friend while the power was out. It sure does lift your spirits to be able to get warm. I used them again for xmas shopping in Boston on a day when the wind chills were well below zero and I was impressed with just how much nicer warm pockets made me feel. The rice/flax ones are great but they are better for shorter periods, an hour or two.

  10. Motorcyclist (and snowboarders) use heated clothing, either battery or plugged into the vehicle.

    Last year for xmas, hubby bought me lithium-rechargable heated gloves, and I’m in heaven riding my Honda Rebel in the cold.

    I think your solution is brilliant. If Mama isn’t happy, no one is happy!

  11. Love the idea but I’m concerned about having that harsh chemical right on your breasts. Are you using anything to cover the warmers or are they in direct contact with your skin? I’m always really parinoid about that sort of business! Perhaps you should make some kind of holder for the warmers to create a little barrier, just to be safe.

  12. I’ll buy them when someone makes them Mentholatum scented, so I can have warm boobies and help my chest congestion at the same time.

  13. This is such a hilariously awesome post. I just might have to try out this idea :)

  14. Here’s another possibility–you know those Camelback water packs that cyclists wear? basically a flexible water bottle, on your back… What if you filled it with hot water? And I wonder whether you could wear it in the front?

    Just a thought! Keep warm!

  15. Okay, this is just brilliant. I don’t even have any breasts to speak of, but what’s there is always cold – along with my nose.

    Just brilliant.

  16. Just make sure you have a layer of something between you and the heaters, I have had friends who do outdoor role playing events, and ren faires get chem burns from the more overzealous ones, and you don’t realize it until afterwards because you are so cold! But yes, hand warmers = boob warmers :)

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