Archive for the ‘weather’ Category

Walking again

26 January 2014

I’ve started walking seriously again. You may remember that a couple of years ago I walked in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. You may even have donated. I am training for a different event this time, and I am NOT doing any fundraising. This is purely for fun.

I’m going to walk the Portland Half Marathon with my mother-in-law, Keiko. So by Sunday, October 5th, I need to have the speed and stamina to keep up with her. This is going to be a challenge. For the 3-Day, we had a rest stop every five miles and lunch and snacks and there was no need for speed. I just had to keep walking. The half marathon is going to be 13.1 miles without substantial rests, and I will be trying to keep up with Keiko. Here she is walking in last year’s half marathon, which she walked at just under 14 minutes/mile:


I’ve started training using the long park that runs along the power lines near our house. It is very hilly, and there are plenty of other walkers. Last week I did a “fast” 3 miles at 17 minutes/mile, and today I did a relaxed 4.4 miles at 19 minutes/mile. It has been beautiful and sunny (we are in a drought) and the walking has been lovely. When the hours of daylight increase more, I should be able to walk in the evenings as well as on the weekends. I am looking forward to that. Obviously taking a walk once per weekend is not going to cut it in terms of training.

The weather has really been incredibly lovely here in Oregon. I know much of the country has been experiencing the polar vortex, and my former school district has been having show days. I see lots of talk about that on facebook. However, the polar vortex has not affected the West Coast. It has instead been unseasonably dry, and there have been unusual winter wildfires in some parts of Oregon. But the weather means that on today’s walk, I got a glimpse of Mt. Hood:


Of course, just because it isn’t in the single digits, doesn’t mean it’s not chilly. The weather channel told me that it was 36° F when I started my walk, and in some places the sun was just starting to melt the frost that had lingered in the shade:


I hope you are keeping warm and cozy, and I hope you get sunny weather soon if you don’t have it right now!

For the birds

26 February 2010

So here I am at home, on the 5th snow day this month.  Our school district budgets only four snow days each year, so we will have to make this day up somewhere, either in June or over Spring Break.

I have been making use of the free time in various ways.  Yesterday I went grocery shopping at 6 AM.  The grocery store opens at 5 AM and I was up and dressed, so I went ahead and took care of the shopping at a time when there were very few other shoppers.  The aisles were full of employees, though, restocking shelves depleted, no doubt, by crowds the day before the storm.  Yesterday and today I am again keeping up with my AP Physics curriculum by meeting my class online using Elluminate.  I will also be holding my Science Bowl practice this afternoon online.

I’ve also been enjoying watching the birds.  I counted 36 grackles this morning before I had to give up due to them flying about, saw a European starling, and also gave up trying to count the song sparrows since they are all over the place and it is difficult to distinguish them from the other sparrows.  There were three cardinals, several mourning doves (though not the 16 I counted in our redbud tree a couple of weeks ago), juncos, and house sparrows.  I see a Carolina chickadee in the redbud now, waiting for a turn at the feeder.

Two weeks ago during our previous snow event, I participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count.  I dutifully counted the birds as best I could, but I have difficulty distinguishing song sparrows, house sparrows, and tree sparrows (if we even have those) from a distance, from above (since I watch mostly from my office window on the second floor), and while the birds are moving, which is most of the time.  I remember seeing one house finch, though!

Ooh, there’s a tufted titmouse!  I haven’t seen any woodpeckers at our feeder in a while, though I keep looking for them.  I wonder if buying the  different blend of seeds (with fewer sunflower seeds) has sent them looking elsewhere.

I’m definitely going to have to replenish the bird feeder today!

yeah, it’s snowing

19 December 2009

This is kindof random, but my thoughts are wandering this morning.  And, I’ve had a hard time focusing lately.  Mentally, not optically.

I have several errands to run this morning, in the midst of a major winter storm.  Oh well.  Unfortunately, the drivers around here are TERRIBLE in snow, and also unfortunately, I have been awake since before 5 AM because I am worried about getting all the things done that I need to get done.

Happily, I can amuse myself on the internets in the meanwhile, and also get the laundry started.

I like Elliot Abrams’ weather blog on  He used to do the weather for the local “all news” AM radio station here, and now he works for Accuweather on the Northeast USA.  He really enjoys his work, and it comes out in his writing.  Here’s an excerpt from his latest:

From the mountains North Carolina to parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, there will be a deep blanket of heavy snow. Near the snow rain line (eastern Virginia to the mouth of Delaware Bay) giant marshmallow snow globs will aggregate into a pasty plaster that can topple trees as if they were toothpicks and snap electric and telephone wires as if they were telephone and electric wires. Innocent snowflakes will turn to painfully stinging missiles darts and tacks, propelled by gusting gales that scream over the seas and roar through the woods. On the roads, slush mixes with salt and road grime to form a slithery sloppy slurry that defies the windshield wipers.

Maybe we won’t have school on Monday.  The prediction is for 12″ to 20″ (30 cm to 51 cm) of snow in this region.

On the annoying side, I can’t get my regular car, the Prius, into the driveway without overhanging the sidewalk.  I disconnected the transmission in the car I am converting to electric while the car was in “PARK” and now I can’t move it.  (One of several learning experiences I have had so far with this project.)  The engine is half-disassembled, there is no battery, and the car is still really heavy and the tires have a decent coefficient of friction with the ground.  But I will have to park the Prius in the driveway anyway, before the plows come by.  Here you can see the 7 AM situation:

snow so far, 7 AM

Some friends suggested that I ask the Car Talk guys how to move the immovable Honda farther up the driveway.  Their idea is beginning to sound more attractive, though mostly I think Tom and Ray will laugh at me a lot.

Again, sorry for the disjointed post, I’m going to stop now and go do laundry.  I hope you are in a situation where you can ENJOY the snow!

Cheer Up!

14 April 2009

There are lots of good things in the world, so despite the fact that I have grades due this week (and I’m not done grading, duh) and it is cold and rainy and I keep feeling chills and my lesson plans were made all topsy-turvy for a day (it’s only Tuesday, it’s only Tuesday, deep breath), THERE ARE REASONS TO SMILE AND BE HAPPY!

1) My highly intelligent husband who blew the GMAT exam out of the water last year was accepted into the graduate program of his choice, to start this fall.  And his work will pay for it!  Yay!  Plus he will still be earning a salary!  Double Yay!

2) I discovered yummy ice-cream sandwiches at the H-mart that contain vanilla ice cream and red bean paste (yum, red bean paste!) and while I don’t have any left the photo still makes me smile because they are shaped like FISH!


3) A friend of mine from college has the most amazing Easter resurrection video on her blog today, that DEFINITELY makes me smile!

4) There is more than enough chocolate, tea, and cheese in my house to get me through this week of getting grades completed.

5) Rainbows!  Rainbows are happy!


I’m sure there is more but I can’t think of what else will make me smile right now…I think it is time for some tea!  And then grading!

French toast, Japanese vocabulary

2 March 2009

We’re having another snow day today.  And it is still snowing.

This morning I made French toast for breakfast.  Where I live, every time there is a snow storm in the immediate forecast, people crowd into grocery stores en masse.  It’s amazing!  The joke is that everyone has to buy bread and milk and eggs before the snowstorm…but why?  Clearly the food of choice during a snowstorm is French toast!  So I made some this morning:


Mmmmmm, with New York grade A medium amber pure maple syrup from the Edwards’ farm.

I was going to just wait until it stops snowing to shovel, but the shoveling guy who has been here before came back asking another $10 to shovel.  I figure sure, and I will shovel again this afternoon (only it will be less work) once it’s over.  I’m a sucker for stimulating the economy these days.  Over the weekend I spent a bunch of money (well, less than $100) at, where you can buy all sorts of Japanese items.  I bought some flash cards for learning nouns and greetings, and some notebooks with red and green transparent overlays and some red and green pens and highlighters which are study aids.  You write your vocabulary words with red and green and then you can quiz yourself by blacking out either the English words or the Japanese words with the overlays.  The asian markets aren’t doing well either, and stimulating the world economy can only be good for our economy, right?

I’m up to lesson 15 in the My Japanese Coach program, and I can put together a few simple sentences.  I almost had the opportunity to practice when I was in Chicago–as I was going through security in O’Hare, there were a couple of Japanese women ahead of me.  They were having a lot of trouble understanding the TSA person’s instructions, particularly when the TSA person told them they had to have their boarding passes in their hands when they walked through the metal detector.  Luckily, I had my boarding pass in my hand, and I was able to point at it, helping the Japanese women understand what they needed.  At that point I could have said “Kyou wa getsuyoubi desu” or “Watashi wa onna no hito desu” but to say “Today is Monday” and “I am a woman” seemed pretty lame, so I kept quiet and just pointed at stuff.

By now I can tell you in Japanese that Buzz is a cat and Buzz isn’t energetic.  Here he is in a typical non-energetic pose:


Buzz-san wa genki dewa arimasen. Kare wa neko desu. Buzz-san wa doko desu ka?

One of these days I will figure out how to put the kiragana in on the computer, but for now all I can do is scan.

Keep warm!

What models can and cannot do

8 February 2009


Last week, 5.5 inches of snow fell on our back deck.  This was unexpected.  The computer models at accuweather had predicted a dusting of snow, or maybe 1-3 inches.  I told my students to expect a regular school day, I did not even think there would be a delay.  But as I worked into the night and looked out the window every so often, I saw a lovely picture developing.  The trees were getting that “frosted” look, the street unplowed.  I got out my “wet weather shoes” for Wednesday morning, and went to bed.


Happily, we had no school on Wednesday (I had a good nap, got some work done, shoveled in good time, wrote that “25 things” post).  Apparently a “freak band of snow” had settled across Southeastern PA overnight and we were in it.  Surprise!

Today, I put on my “wet wether shoes” to go to church this morning.  On this gorgeous, sunny warm day, the sidewalks and street gutters were running with water from the meltoff.  It had started yesterday, and finished today.  All gone.  no more snow.  And it should stay warm this week.  According to the models.

I could have sworn I smelled spring on the air as I walked from the train station to my church.

But the weather models are also predicting a temperature dive next weekend and possibly a stormy week following.  Great.  I am leaving for Chicago for the AAPT winter meeting/AAAS meeting on Friday, and I am counting on the planes being on schedule.  I’m returning Monday evening (President’s Day) and I plan on going to work Tuesday morning.  But aside from anticipating freezing my butt off in Chicago as I hustle between the two convention hotels (what happened to winter meetings in Orlando?  or New Orleans?  or San Diego?), I also know that weather models are notoriously changeable this far out (Punxatawney Phil aside) and there is no point in worrying about the weekend until I have to pack on Thursday night.

On the other hand, if we get some more of this, I won’t mind.  I like snow.


(Hey, this is my 100th blog post!  Yay!)


17 January 2009

As in much of the Northern USA, it is cold here too this weekend, though when I checked the thermometer when I got up today it read 10 degrees (F) which is not that cold compared to say, Maine or Vermont.  I told my students that they should go out at night when it is coldest and blow bubbles, to see if they could get them to freeze, another tip picked up from the prolific Swans on Tea.  I hope some of them got it to work!  There are some awesome photos of frozen bubbles (they look like moons from Saturn!) on the site Swans on Tea linked to.