Dream On

Day’s Verse:
Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
1 Peter 3:8-9ish

Maybe it’s a cop-out to talk about the weather, but I think people like talking about it in general because it’s a relevant shared experience: We can all relate to weather. It has a tangible effect on our lives. We all have opinions about weather. Oh, and of course when talking about weather we get to express an opinion, so there’s no right or wrong. It’d be absurd to say, “No, you’re wrong, a sunny day is no good.”

I mention this because our weather has turned extremely strange the last few days, to the point of absurdity. Several days we’ve run the gamut from snow and rain to sunny, clear skies. We’ve had windy days, mostly atypical for Seattle, where the wind tends to remain light; days that started at almost 50° and dropped to the 30s by evening. Usually around here looking out the window in the morning is a pretty good predictor of what the day’s weather will look like in general, but the last couple weeks, we’ve hovered on the cusp of spring, sometimes tipping towards warmer, springier days and then tipping back to the wind, rain, and cooler temperatures associated with winter.

All this variability, besides providing free entertainment, makes planning outdoor activities quite difficult. Yesterday I had an appointment at 9:00 am. At 8:00, the rain was coming down hard and wind tossed it everywhere — nasty. I dressed for that, but by the time I left for the appointment, the rain had started tapering off and I arrived at my appointment sweaty and overdressed. By afternoon, we’d had heavy hail, which then stuck around as the temperature dropped, and then it changed to rain/snow… but by the time Ian arrived home, about 4:30, the skies had cleared and sun shone cheerfully.

This is particularly aggravating to me for two reasons: First of all, tonight my team has its usual hill ride, which I will do if it’s not icy; otherwise, I’ll ride on my trainer during the day. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know what the weather will be tonight until we get to tonight. Second, and more important, I’m really hoping for clear weather for this training. So far the forecast for Thursday and Friday look tolerable — Thursday, downright pleasant; Friday, perhaps somewhat iffier, but still pretty decent — but the forecast could change a dozen times between now and then.

If hoping for good weather makes a difference, we’ll have clear skies and 50° days the rest of the week. Ha.

In which I, too, talk about the weather

Day’s Verse:
…all the underground springs erupted and all the windows of Heaven were thrown open. Rain poured for forty days and forty nights.
Genesis 7:12

Here’s the view out our bedroom window this morning.
2011-07-21 Weather
I’m not trying to jump on the “whining about Seattle’s pathetic summer weather” bandwagon because I’ve been riding that wagon in person for a while already now, if not on this blog. You can’t tell, but there are rain drops on the window. Frankly, it’s depressing. We don’t get much nice weather around here anyway, and all winter we console ourselves: “Yes, we’ve got 9 months of heavy overcast, minimal daylight, and frequent rain. But the summer makes up for it by being so pretty!”

Sadly, our hopes this summer have been deeply disappointed. We’ll get a day, or half a day, of summer-like weather — clouds, yes, but some blue sky, and temperatures in the mid-60s to mid-70s — but by the next day, it’s faded back to low 60s and drizzling. At first we thought, “Oh, this will pass and we’ll get some nice summery weather soon.” But as the weeks drag on with no change in sight, people are starting to get a little desperate. Last weekend we postponed our bike ride from Saturday to Sunday in the hopes of nicer weather, and instead got colder, rainier weather.

A KOMO news meteorologist wrote a blog post titled Seattle: Home of the 78-minute summer, and people went nuts talking about it. The Seattle Times even reported on the response to that post, it drew so much buzz. A week ago, Cliff Mass wrote a blog post titled This is getting bizarre, then followed it up with another post titled Why do we suffer? It’s not a good sign when meteorologists are at a loss to explain our pathetic weather. They are even having a hard time predicting what’s coming — many days will call for rain, and we’ll get a bit of sun; but then, too, days listed confidently as partly sunny turn out to be 60° and heavy drizzle.

I’m having a hard time believing that people in the midwest and on the East Coast are cooking in 100°+ temperatures. We haven’t seen a day above 80° all year, and only maybe one day legitimately in the 80s. At this point, I’m oscillating between feeling depressed and resigned about this weather pattern. All I’m really hoping for is a miraculous break on July 28, when we ride RAMROD. I’m riding it no matter what, but man… 150 miles up and down mountain passes in 60° rain isn’t my idea of fun.

Sigh. Maybe it’s time to think about a trip to somewhere east of here.

Numbers I’ve Never Seen Before

Day’s Verse:
Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life;
mock life and life will mock you.

Proverbs 9:12

…at least not when I’m standing on a bathroom scale. Here’s me on the scale in regular clothes before the backpack:
112 lbs

Here’s what Ian described as “heavy reading,” my backpacking backpack crammed full of 85 Traffic Skills 101 student manuals to deliver to the Bicycle Alliance:
Heavy reading

And here’s me on the scale wearing the backpack:

Gosh, I’ve never been anywhere near 150 lbs before! Ian was right, this is heavy reading! A little quick math indicated I was carrying just under 40% of my weight in that backpack. I mentally patted myself on the back at my clever solution for how to get 40 lbs of books to BAW without driving downtown. A backpacking backpack, I reasoned, is designed to carry heavy loads. Granted, this wasn’t food, water, clothes, tents, sleeping bags, etc., but what does the bag care?

Then I realized that carrying 40 lbs on my back really wasn’t a big deal at all. Parents carry their children in backpacks all the time, and don’t think of it as some extraordinary feat. But since I don’t have kids, I’ll just count it a success having eventually gotten the Traffic Skills 101 manuals to the Bike Alliance on a snowy day sans car or even bike. ‘Course, I spent 3.5 hours traveling for 2 hours at the Bike Alliance, thanks to the snow and buses with chains on that could, as a result, travel up to only 30 mph.

My gosh, the first class is THIS MONDAY. …It’s gonna be OK. It is. It is.

“Breezy”

Day’s Verse:
The great day of the LORD is near—
near and coming quickly.

Zephaniah 1:14a

The weather online says it’s “breezy” outside. When I came down this morning, our 6-chime windchimes had 2 chimes still attached. The strings holding the remaining 4 chimes had snapped*. I wouldn’t call that merely breezy. Or if it is, I don’t want to find out what they describe as “windy.”

Wind aside, Rachel and I are going to take a ferry ride across to Kingston for lunch today. She’s never taken a real, honest-to-goodness Washington State Ferry (the Alki shuttle doesn’t count) despite having lived here for years. For shame! How could you live here all these years and never see End 1 or End 2? Or lean into the wind on the front of the ferry and almost get lifted off your feet? Or see the other ferry going the other way and say, “There we are”? Yes, they’re a bit shabby and most have seen better days, but Washington State Ferries are an institution that I love almost as much as the mountains. At least if the state has budget problems, the mountains won’t get cut.

*In the interest of full disclosure, one of those chimes fell off a while ago. The other two have fallen within the last couple days.

Snow and Big Steps

Day’s Verse:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Philippians 2:3-4

This is my first workday after finishing AmeriCorps, and it looks like the perfect day not to go anywhere: All the buses are on a snow schedule, the Seattle Times is reporting on snow preparedness activities, and Weather Underground predicts — drumroll please — 1 to 3 inches of snow in our area today, with afternoon winds above 20 mph from the north-northwest (which is the direction I would be riding home in the afternoon). Yesterday Cliff Mass, a UW meteorologist, predicted very little snow for the Seattle region today, but even so, I’m happy not to commute in to the Bicycle Alliance today. Now, tomorrow looks sunny and cold, a perfect day to execute my plan to ride the entire length of the Burke-Gilman/Sammamish River Trail.

My plan for today? Dad and I are going to Darrington to hunt for a couple of wild Christmas trees. This is the first year Ian and I will have our own Christmas tree. Somehow it feels like a big step. We don’t have very many ornaments or Christmas decorations, and what we do have are mixed in with our parents’ Christmas stuff, but that’s OK. It’ll be more of a minimalist-themed tree this year.

Another big step moment was when I went out and put protective coverings over our faucets. It’s funny: owning and maintaining a home is full of all these small things, each of which reminds me that we are responsible for this building. It’s intimidating, and believe me, I’d be happy if somebody else raked the back yard or vacuumed occasionally; but generally I’ve been happy to do these things because this place is becoming home.

Helpful Weather Forecast

Day’s Verse:
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Matthew 8:27 (context)

The weather forecast for tonight:

Showers likely. Precipitation may mix with snow in heavier showers. Lows in the 30s. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph…except northwest wind north part.

I love how it says southwest winds, except for the northwest winds. How delightfully quirky! This means that I got a headwind as I rode south on the way in to work, and then I also get a headwind as I ride north on the way home from work.

This forecast also looks suspiciously wintry, considering it’s supposed to be April.

I can hardly wait!