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cold weather
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I'm sitting here at my computer desk, wool scarf wrapped snugly around my neck, body cocooned in a lap quilt re-interpreted as a muumuu, looking very stylish indeed as I clutch a mug of hot chocolate in my left hand and type, slowly, inaccurately, with my right. It's a mere 58F in my house, if even, and I think I'm about to lose feeling in my nose.

Nobody believes me when I tell them that Tucson, in winter, feels cold. This may be my fault: for a good two-thirds of the year, maybe more, you'll find me whining frequently, vociferously, about how it's too freaking hot for any human being to be expected to function normally, comfortably, out here in the desert. 

Then November arrives. And suddenly one day, I find myself cozying up in sweaters and fuzzy slippers, where a mere week before, seemingly, my wardrobe had consisted solely of permutations on the tank-top and skirt theme. 

It's getting cold 'round these parts. Put away the fans and the grill; stock up on wood for the fireplace. And when it comes to playing bartender, well, it's now officially far too chilly to be freezing my poor fingers off with an ice-cold shaker full of some margarita concoction; no, it's spiked coffee and other hot drinks that are meant for this time of year. Grip a mug between the hands and let the steam warm your face. Sip slowly; feel the heat spread like a flush through your chest, sink into your belly. Ahhhh just the antidote for those winter blues.

hot drink tips
First and foremost: there's nothing like a burnt tongue to ruin a perfectly fine libation. Heat your liquids to just below boiling too hot and you'll surely end up scalding your mouth, throat, esophagus - not fun. 

Since once of the true joys of a hot drink comes from clutching the nice, warm vessel that contains it, it's a good idea to pre-heat your glass/mug by filling it with hot water, then emptying it once the glass is good and toasty. Use any heat-proof drinking vessel you like - a thick-walled Irish coffee glass, which has a handle and a short stem, looks mighty pretty, but your favorite mug will do just fine as well.

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