Posted by shana on Jun 21, 2009 in weather alert
I could see my breath on the way to work as late in the month as June 16th. For real. My buddy at work, Bea, she told she had never met anyone so obsessed with seeing their breath. I tried to explain that it was not the phenomenon of visible breath itself that attracted my attention so much what it indicated about the current weather situation – June 16, it’s cold out. See-your-breath cold out. I did talk about it a lot, I guess. I talked about it because it was interesting, because I like the weather, and because it was something to talk about. I sit chairside with people while their mouths go numb so we can drill their tooth out, we’ve got to talk about something neutral! But just because I talked about it a lot doesn’t mean I wanted it to end. And it certainly doesn’t mean I wanted it to get hot out.
Saturday, it finally felt like June here in Chicago. It was hot. Ice cream melted instantly. Eggs fried on the sidewalk. Mac and I took a walk to the bookstore, and the air was slow, sweaty, sticky, gross. I was slow, sweaty, sticky, gross. I turned to him and said, “ok, summer, we did it. I’m ready for winter now.”
Mac’s gaze remained steady on the hazy horizon. ”Nope,” he said, “I could go another week or so.”
Break out your sundresses, kids. It’s (finally… finally?) summer.
Posted by shana on Jun 6, 2009 in blog status
, weather alert
June 6, 2009.
Shana and Mac are at an art fair in Hyde Park.
It is so cold out that Shana can see her breath.
Also, the blog is back.
Posted by shana on Mar 29, 2009 in weather alert
Posted by shana on Mar 28, 2009 in weather alert
Posted by shana on Mar 27, 2009 in weather alert
Posted by shana on Mar 24, 2009 in weather alert
Rules are rules.
Posted by shana on Mar 23, 2009 in Monday Product Endorsement
Today, after just getting back from a lovely weekend in DC, where the weather’s not much warmer than here but warmer enough, and where the sun was sunning, and the flowering trees flowering (my favorite thing in the world)…
… AND with us having crossed that oh-so-certain but sometimes oh-so-far-away line that is March 21, I cannot help but endorse: Spring.
As if we have a choice, right? It’s not like you can choose Spring, so I don’t know that I can technically endorse it, but wow, I’m so ready I don’t even care. Our weekend in DC really got me in the mood – warm weather, birds chirping, daffodils, crocuses, tulips, farmer’s markets and flower stores, heavy coats and scarves left in the back of the car… man oh man, Mac even got a sunburn on the back of his neck Sunday afternoon! Here are some pictures from our completely lovely time at Frager’s Garden Center (those in DC should check it out, if you haven’t already) minus – don’t worry – any kind of photo documenting of the back of Mac’s neck:
Oooooh, you want it, don’t you? It’s sooo pretty. Right down the street from your house, don’t you want it?? Colors! More than just “dead grass green” and “dirty white” and “really dirty white”! Pink! Red! Blue! And that’s just the watering cans!!! Oooh, you can just taste it now, can’t you? Your mouth is watering now, isn’t it? Well, that’s weird of you, because you can’t eat watering cans.
At any rate, back here at home, crossing from March 20 to March 21 means that the days are now longer than the nights, and that we will, for the first time since we moved here in October, get sunlight in our north-facing windows (which far out number our other-ways-facing windows). Once it stops being so cloudy, the cats are going to love it. Cloudy and cold. And rainy. Once it starts actually feeling like Spring…
Here in the Midwest we know to be patient, and we know not to let little set-backs take our eyes off the prize of a yard full of daisies and falling asleep on a picnic blanket while reading a book out by the lake… technically, snowstorms are totally fair game through about the end of April, and technically, we’re not supposed to complain, because that’s what we signed up for when we move to the Midwest (or never moved away).
So I guess if I’m actually endorsing anything endorsable today, it would be hanging in there, though it’s 48 and raining right now, though even next week’s weather forecast – next week where we finally get to see April – only has highs in the low 40’s. Soon enough, soon enough, we’ll be dancing our way through our first farmer’s markets of the season, right here in Chicago, drinking our first iced lattes – outside with no gloves on – and popping our first allergy pills, but not minding one bit. Hang in there, everyone. The flowers are peeking up out of the ground already – grab your umbrella, your parka, and maybe your snow shovel, and see if I’m not right. Soon enough.
For the record, I am secondarily, but still very enthusiastically, endorsing “Frager’s Hardware,” “planting a flowering tree,” and “taking a vacation to a place you love to visit people you love where you’ve all got enough fun, free time to wander around together through a gardening store, reminiscing about all your favorite flowers-coming-up memories.” And allergy pills, I’m also endorsing allergy pills.
More news of our DC trip will be sprinkled throughout this week’s posts, I’m sure… we took a boatload of pictures, as would be expected. For the record, “Spring” and all things associated just barely won out today over the very strong candidate, “having your good friend Megan Woods bake your wedding cake.” Intrigued? That just might pop up on Wednesday… stay tuned.
Posted by shana on Mar 3, 2009 in Monday Product Endorsement
Yesterday was the first of March. March is the month of the year where the light part of the day finally gets longer than the dark part of the day. March is the month where crocuses start popping up through the ground, because March is the month where things melt. Finally.
Nevertheless, March was in like a… well, like a snowstorm in December. And I was out on my bike, of course, opening at the cafe and watching the sun rise through the gusting, blowing snow.
Which brings me to my Monday Endorsement: Up In Alaska: Jill’s Sub-Arctic Journal. Again, it’s not a product, but a blog, and a really super awesome blog at that. About a year ago, I happened to stumble across this blog, where a writer/extreme winter mountain biker named Jill was recounting her recent success on the Iditarod. That’s right, the 1100 mile dog sled race from Anchorage to Nome, recently featured in a rock-star documentary by the Discovery Channel (which I also endorse, but only indirectly in this post). But get this: if running a team of 16 dogs through interior Alaska isn’t crazy enough, there are people, like Jill, who bike it. And people, like her boyfriend Geoff, who run it. And others (whose blogs I don’t read) who ski it. There’s a finish line 350 miles along in McGrath, where most people call it a day (or five or seven days, more likely), and then there’s the finish line in Nome, yep, 1100 miles up the road, and every year a couple people bike, ski, or run all the way there. They call it the Alaska Ultra Sport.
Ever since reading her riveting account of her 2008 Iditarod run, I’ve been both anxiously awaiting the next Iditarod and also reading her blog every single day. She lives and trains in Juneau, where she bikes year round, even in the winter, particularly in the winter. She sometimes logs over a thousand training miles in a month! Yikes! And I thought the seven miles to my tutoring job got kinda long… most of all she takes breathtakingly stunning pictures and posts them almost every day:
exhibit A, courtesy of Jill's blog
The Alaska Ultra Sport finally kicked off yesterday, with much fanfare and about 8 inches of fresh powder, as I understand from the updates I’ve been reading eagerly, which is actually really not helpful when you’re on a bike.
If you, like me, think this is pretty much the coolest possible sport ever, way cooler than pro football and stuff, and you’d like to follow along with me and with all the other extreme winter mountain biking fans out there, you can check out their “latest news” page.
Very sadly, upon checking the latest news this evening, I learned that Jill, my winter biking hero and inspiration in the worlds of both cold weather bike rides and of blogging, stepped in some overflow water on the first night, got frostbite in her toes, and had to scratch out of the race. Ah! All the biking bloggers seem to agree that living to bike another day is smarter than pressing on because you’ve worked so hard to get there… but wow, what a bummer. I’ll continue to read her blog every day though, and her boyfriend Geoff’s blog (he’s an ultra marathon multi-champ, wow!) and I’ll continue riding through the cold, snowy, windy streets of Chicago on my own bike, but with a renewed thankfulness for the lack of open water for me to have to cross without the aid of a bridge.
Interestingly, and tangentially relatedly, one of the checkpoints along the trail, which seems to be exactly only that and nothing more, is Rohn. Yep, our cat was named after a checkpoint on the Iditarod trail (or more accurately, he was named after a kid who was named after the checkpoint on the Iditarod trail). Furtherly interestingly, Mac has just suggested that we move “Rohn” to his middle name and make his first name “Pepper” (very masculine) and his last name “Edwards” and then refer to him by his first and middle names and last initial. You do the math. That will be Mac’s contribution this evening. I don’t know that I endorse it.
Posted by shana on Feb 21, 2009 in biking
I have one rule about riding my bike in the winter:
When temps are below zero, take the bus.
Today I’ve decided to add a second:
When sustained winds are at 25mph with gusts up to 37, also then take the bus.
It’s kind of a bummer, because it would be a perfect day for the heated pants, which I haven’t had out in a while, AND I just finally installed my new side cages on my new rear rack:
which makes me look super spiffy, and gives my back a feeling of freedom that, when I get over the slight panic that I must’ve forgotten my backpack somewhere, is totally awesome.
That picture is from yesterday, when temps were about the same as they are today but it wasn’t snowing and the wind wasn’t blowing and my ride was very pleasant. I was almost late to work, however, because (I stopped frequently to take pictures, and) that stretch south of Fullerton has iced over again. I had hoped we were over this. Bummer.
This is around where I’d wiped out last week… you can see how this would be a potentially somewhat hazardous place to take a spill, and why I wasn’t keen on pushing my luck and riding through it again, and why I don’t want to be anywhere near this on a bike in 37mph gusts of wind.
In totally unrelated news, yesterday at work, an Irish woman named Patty (yep) came into the cafe and told us, among many other things, that martinis are like boobs – one’s not enough but three’s too many. She said she came up with that herself but she’s sure she’s not the first one to have said it. I didn’t know how she’d have taken it if I’d have replied, no… no, you might have been the first.
Posted by shana on Feb 12, 2009 in weather alert
I have a Chicago Tribune news feed on my home page, among other things. Yesterday, after a lovely bike ride home from work, I opened up my internt browser and saw the following headline:
There was, somewhat ironically, an actual article attached to that headline, instead of just a picture of the beach and a temp reading. But I didn’t read it. I don’t think whoever wrote that headline actually wanted us to.
Rohn also wanted to go outside and play.
Ah yes, it was beautiful. Shirt sleeves and warm breezes sitting by the lake at sunset…
We knew the weather gods were just teasing us. We knew it wouldn’t last. But wow, those 30mph rainy winds this morning sure hit hard.