I expect even pretty "bullseye" ice puddles — if there are any around — will disappear in our February thaw (if it really occurs). This photo was taken at the Volga River Recreation Area south of West Union, Iowa, on a snowless day, Feb. 4, 2006.  LISA BRAINARD/BLUFF COUNTRY READER<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->
I expect even pretty "bullseye" ice puddles — if there are any around — will disappear in our February thaw (if it really occurs). This photo was taken at the Volga River Recreation Area south of West Union, Iowa, on a snowless day, Feb. 4, 2006. LISA BRAINARD/BLUFF COUNTRY READER

Can it really be? I may have been mistaken at the time - like overly tired, or in the middle of answering a phone call - but I thought I heard "40" or at least "30s" in the weather forecast.

Well, at least I didn't fall over in shock since, I mean, it did hit me like a brick wall. (I thought I heard a lot of howls at the time, I'm guessing from others similarly experiencing unexpected joy and/or more brick wall collisions.)

If it indeed pans out, you just might be reading this from a chaise lounge in a sunny, secluded location that might even pop up to 50 if wind is nonexistent and sunshine reflects off white siding onto you. You're wearing a sweatshirt, shorts, boots and perhaps a stocking cap (after all, it is still winter) watching piles of snow melt beside you into big puddles. (Good thing you wore boots!)

So it goes as we see a hopefully none-too-brief glimpse of spring. We're tough Minnesotans. The shorts will come out!

My fingers are crossed that it's part of the early spring we all desire after this uber-cold winter. And, if you'll recall, you owe me a bit of gratitude. I pointed out in a recent column that I was getting snow/ski goggles to be able to keep my eyes and cheeks warm when attempting walking and other rehabilitative activities outside. Also, I noted the purchase might well trigger Murphy's Law; we'd get a thaw or an early spring and the goggles would not be needed yet this winter.

Yep, I bit the bullet, purchased the goggles - and voila! Winter takes a big turn for the better. I was really hesitant to make the purchase, but it's all been good.

Also, I can wear the goggles for protection from cool morning or evening rides on my recumbent trike. They fit over my glasses and even have a two-speed fan to help prevent fogging of both sets of lenses. (My glasses always fog up and drive me nuts.)

Another bonus this time of year I hadn't considered when purchasing the goggles is that I can walk about town (well, the in-town recreational trail in Preston) and look like I'm an Olympian.

OK, maybe I'm dreaming. While the use of a rollator-walker or cane, or the sight of my off-balance, limping hobble of a walk might simply identify me as an injured athlete flown home early from Sochi, Russia, my "Barney" outfit of green snowpants and purple-toned jacket - worn by exactly NO country's Olympic participants - would be a dead giveaway I'm an imposter.

(So please don't fawn and express remorse to me over unrealized pipe - make that half-pipe - dreams. It wasn't me. Nope, even if I am wearing goggles.)

If you spot me just smile, say hello, (try not to laugh too hard at my "Barney" look for the outdoors), and we can have a nice little chat. I might ask what you think of that photo of a bare-chested Russian leader Vladimir Putin on a horse showing up all over in the media.

For the record, I'm still gasping in horror, shaking my head "nooooooo!!!" So now it's come to this? Putting world leaders into Fabio-like, romance novel poses in public? I swear, I'm going to turn off the fan in my goggles and let them fog. I really don't want to see that!

Well, let's get back to you in your chaise lounge sitting outside during this February warm-up. Although I suppose you (and, yes, I) will probably still complain about the "mud season" to come, we better keep it under control.

Be thankful we're nearing - and possibly have even arrived (please, please, please) at spring. If not, you're buying the next pair of goggles - and soon!