Minnesota apologists will claim this is just a normal winter, like the kind we had when we were kids. But no. This extreme weather has all been occurring in a more condensed window. As a friend put it, “it’s like we get all of winter’s greatest hits in one week.” Extreme cold, ice storms, two blizzards and a snow emergency or two. We’ve already endured the 4th snowiest February on record and it’s only the 12th of the month. Minnesotans are complaining on social media about having nowhere else to put the snow when clearing sidewalks and driveways. And most of this snow came after the brutal cold snap that shut down all the schools for days. This winter has been a mix of hunkering down at home, then poking our heads out when it’s safe, to resupply. But life is more than just survival, even up here in the frozen North Star State. Thankfully I made it out for a friend’s birthday party Saturday night. Sure, I’ve enjoyed bands in a variety of venues but in a hockey arena? That was a first. Particularly the hockey arena across the street from the house I grew up, in the suburbs. That’s where I first strapped on my own ice skates at an early age, and on a regular basis (at one point I was able to skate backwards). It was a nostalgia filled evening and loads of fun. Especially seeing our friends’ bands play there. Including the birthday girl’s band, McVicker.