With Apologies to My Male Readership…

This is a re-post that seemed just perfect for a day when it’s cold even in Texas. The original ran on January 4, 2009. Enjoy!

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 openlyin 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 on the couch, 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. Judy, the lamazeeacher

    December 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Having been ignorant of this discomfort until today, I want to congratulate you on your ingenuity! Again you have made lemonade from lemonss (figuratively). Please do not take my mention of lemons in any way as a reference to your boobs!

  2. GENIUS!!! I have a bunch of these things floating around my house. I never use them in my pockets because I never keep my hands in my pockets long enough for them to be effective. But in my bra is PERFECT! I may even try it indoors on chilly days. Thanks for the great idea. 😀

  3. Brilliant!

  4. You could always try Lowe’s or Home Depot. Walmart may be cheaper, but they achieve that through nefarious means. Don’t feel like Walmart is your only option!

    P.S.- Love this. I don’t suffer that affliction, but my extremities get so cold that it becomes hard to knit.

  5. Funny, when I saw the subject of your post, I immediately thought to myself, hasn’t she heard of those hand and feet warmers? Maybe it is because I have a son and husband who are Eagle Scouts so we are never without those :) Glad you discovered those and they they work for you, lol!


  6. Perfect.. A great idea when we go camping~I dislike Walmart so I’ll ask the hubby when he heads to Home Depot~

  7. Absolutely brilliant!!! Forever in debt to you! I can see Victoria’s Secret running with this! Muwaaaahh!!

  8. This post is hilarious, and makes me feel so good! It’s like a conversation with your best friend. Thank you, Susan. Best holiday wishes, and I hope you are feeling better soon!

  9. While I never thought to put those in my bra, we do have quite a stash of them around the house. And just last week I saw some shaped like mini hot water bottles!

  10. Hummm, a friend of mine from chilly Cornwall England told me 30 + years ago while visiting to be wearing a wool t-shirt, I found the very thing at the Vermont Country Store -check out on line…. it worked well and absorbed well but I also found I’m not caught dead without a vest on from November – May. Ask Joelle-mom is always looking for yet another vest. The Hot fingers are wonderful and convenient but thought to add the above for regular use. Joelle and I made and gave away flannel pouches filled with ‘deer corn’ that you can microwave over and over to throw on our backs, necks, elbows whereever needed..Great gifts! I’m thinking about you getting better every day! Auto immune tried to take away my life for 24 years! Prednisone for most of those so I guess I can say I know how this all feels. Just keep writing, reading, and knitting. Marcia

  11. Never thought about this before… Thank you! All day yesterday if I felt cold I asked myself is it me or just my breasts!

  12. You can get them for less en masse at costco…

  13. Me, I am happy about the water bottle suggestion!! I sit on the north side of the building and we FREEZE at our desks. We are not supposed to have space heaters, though some do… and the idea of a water bottle, where I can dump the water into a container and reheat sounds perfect!! Of course, it’s my fingers that get so cold I cannot type but if I can tuck them under the bottle for a few minutes, I am sure that will help. Off to search for waterbottles.. on Amazon… which I will get to via your blog (somewhere somehow) so you get the kick back for, is it Heifer? Anyway, you know who they are and I know what they are… Happy New Year!

  14. I saw a show on the Discovery Channel, I think, years ago that showed how keeping your core warm would help keep you warmer in general. They put a special warming vest on a guy and had him sit in a cold room in shorts and a t-shirt and he was ok for longer than when he was bundled up.

    Also, I bought a box of those for my hubby one year for Christmas at a sporting goods store for when he goes skiing. Of course, that was also the year I bought him high quality skiing mittens and he didn’t need the hand warmers anymore.

    For anyone wondering, hot water bottles should be easy to find at your local pharmacy. I got one of those for hubby this year for Christmas. Now I get to knit it a cover!

  15. I have a better solution for you. Make small fabric sacks of what ever size you need- fill them with rice (uncooked) and sew them shut. Then microwave them as needed to use as heating pads. I’ve made tons of these for necks, eyes, backs, etc. They are inexpensive and reusable for years. Be sure to use cotton fabric( I use flannel).

  16. Oh my gosh! Such perfect timing. I was just talking to a friend about these (with the clicky metal disk that makes awesome crystal warmth) that we used as kids… AND THEY MAKE THEM BIG. In all different shapes.


    I haven’t tried this brand… but it sort of blew my mind. And seems perfect for breastwarming ;> (PS – that has a name, although I forget it. I totally got it when I was breastfeeding my midget over winter in new york. UGH. It hurt SO BADLY.)

  17. HA! Been using them since your ORIGINAL post!!!!! They are life savers if you have a child in marching band that competes in open highschool football stadiums in November with metal bleachers for 4-6 hour competitions…….put them in your socks, in your back pockets, in your bra, in your coat pockets, tucked in the small of your back……..

  18. Fabulous idea, thank you. I’m always cold.

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