Tag Archives: cold

Chilly Appreciation

Liar!

Liar!

See what my iPhone 5S’ weather app showed this morning?

Reality

Reality

Compare that to what it really looked like outside. Although it did rain last night and early this morning, I didn’t see any snowflakes at our house. Plus it had stopped even drizzling by the time I took the weather app screenshot.

When it’s cold and windy, as it is right now (30 degrees but feels like 17 degrees), I always think we might as well have some snow to remind us that it truly is winter. It makes for such a great photo op!

Yikes!

No thanks!

But then I’m reminded that I experienced enough snow and frigid temperatures during my 30 years in the Chicago area to last a lifetime.

Right now I’m appreciative of our “milder” Houston winter, with or without snow!

Frosty Photography and Disc Golf

The Mister putts uphill.

The Mister putts uphill.

Last Saturday was a bone-chilling kind of day. It was 34 degrees with a blustery 16 mph north wind. Add Houston’s traditional humidity (the dampness made it feel even worse) and gray skies, and it led to one conclusion: Stay inside all day (well, after my early, icy-cold four-mile jog/walk, of course).

The disc saw Steve’s mean face and knew it had to be in the basket.

The disc saw Steve’s mean face and knew it better land in the tray.

So, naturally, when the Mister got a text from our pal Eric telling him that some of the usual suspects were playing disc golf at Community Park, he was rarin’ to go. Say what? Why not be smart and stay warm?

Blame it on his Nike FuelBand. The Mister wanted to get his 10,000 steps in, and this seemed like a fun way to do it. Where “fun” equals “frozen fingers and toes.”

Eric lasers in his putt.

Eric lasers in his putt.

I didn’t quite have in my 10K steps on my FuelBand, so I figured, what the heck? I joined the gang of six for the final half-dozen or so of the 18 holes (I was smart enough to wait until they were almost done, of course) and snapped photos with my little Nikon 1 V1 (30-110mm lens) until it literally froze at the penultimate hole (I had to pop the battery out and back in to get it to work again).

Michelle throws from an awkward position.

Michelle throws from an awkward position.

Those steps were frigid ones, especially after my sneakers got wet. Man, it was cold! I was wearing my warmest coat (my older son’s letterman jacket), earwarmer, and mitten-gloves to no avail. I hated that wind chill when I lived in Chicago, and I especially despise it now. We have to endure some of the worst summers on the planet (which extend into spring and fall); it doesn’t seem fair that we should have to deal with cold, too.

Mother Nature? Let’s talk!

Blake shows great form on his upshot.

Blake shows great form on his upshot.

Despite feeling that I was part of the idiots parade, it was nice being out with pals and surrounded by such pretty greenery. The park features lots of pine trees and bushes. Those make for great photo backgrounds.

Jeff floats his disc through the air.

Jeff floats his disc through the air.

When all was said and done, the disc golfers seemed glad that they had played. I guess it’s never too cold to throw.

But my Nikon 1 thinks it can be too cold to shoot pics!

What Do I Miss Most?

Today’s weather in Chicago . . . brrrrr!

Today’s weather in Chicago . . . ugh!

I’m in the Chicago area until Sunday visiting my beloved mother. As a bonus, it’s her younger sister’s BIG birthday tomorrow, and my cousins are having a party for her. I’m thrilled that I get to help my wonderful Aunt Sandy celebrate!

That being said . . . goodness sakes, it’s flippin’ cold here in mid-March! I haven’t lived in these parts in almost 30 years, and I forgot how much I hate when the temps fall so low amid Chicago’s notorious bracing breeze. But not for long.

Those freezing feelings came rushing back to me as soon as I stepped outside at O’Hare Airport last Wednesday afternoon. The 20-mph north wind hit me square in the face, making the 28-degree temperature feel downright frosty. Brrrrrr!

This is what I left behind.

This is what I left behind . . . love!

Meanwhile, this is what I left behind in Houston. What a lovely spring break week it’s been . . . there. Lows in the 50s, highs in the 70s and low 80s. Ahhhhh!

Of course, I also left behind my sons and the Mister, trading one family for another. I miss my trio a lot . . . as well as those mild Houston temperatures.

When I return home and step off the plane Sunday afternoon, I’ll be greeted by a warm 81 degrees. Plus I’ll eventually get to see my guys, including my older son before he returns to UTSA to finish his spring semester.

Win win!!

Simple Equation

Frosty grass this morning in my backyard

Frost + 30 degrees

Frosty leaf

multiplied by living in Houston

More frosty grass

= 1 unhappy camper!

Even more frosty grass!

Where oh where is our mild late fall? Please return as soon as possible!

Chillin’

Cool baby, cool!

I’m in Chicago for a long weekend to see my family and attend my high school reunion. Guess what I’m enjoying the most right now?

The cool temperatures!

The first thing I did when I stepped out of the terminal at O’Hare Airport to wait for my mom and aunt (her twin sister, who also is visiting) to pick me up was to put on my jacket. It was about 30 degrees cooler than our steamy Houston temps. I love it!

I have only one wish: That I could bring the coolness back with me to Houston when I fly home Sunday afternoon. At least I’ll have that reminder that fall really is around the corner . . . at least up north.

It’s Never Too Cold for Shorts

My younger son is about to head out the door to catch the bus.

You might not be able to tell from this photo, but, baby, it’s cold outside! As my younger son walked down our sidewalk to the end of the block to catch the high school bus this morning, it was a frigid (for the Houston area) 26 degrees.

At least he wore his hoodie!

Wimps, Whiners, and Weenies, Oh My!

The weekly Houston weather forecast

This has been a brutal winter in the Houston area, and I’ve hated it. Hate, hate, hate the cold! Hate, hate, hate the north winds! Wind chill is for northerners, not southerners!

The weekly Chicago weather forecast

I lived in the Chicago area for the first 30 years of my life, and I had to put up with the cold and wind chill, not to mention the ice and snow. That’s just part of the Midwestern winter package. I didn’t like it, but I accepted it, because, hey, it’s cold up north!

But now I’ve lived in the south for the last 26 years, and mild winters are the best part of the weather experience (which almost make up for our sometimes unbearable summers). I’ve loved our temperate southeast Texas climate. I look forward to those nice temps while sweating through the summer and early fall.

But this year something has changed. For the worse! It seems that the Houston area has been mired in damp, chilly weather this entire winter . . . and it’s not about to end any time soon.

According to the “Houston Chronicle’s” science writer, Eric Berger, I’m not imagining things. Here’s what he had to say in his blog:

Consider last February in Houston, when 21 of the month’s 28 days had high temperatures of 70 degrees or above, and there was not one night of freezing temperatures. On three days temperatures topped out in the 80s.

Contrast that with this February, when we’ve had just one—just one!—day when temperatures reached 70 degrees. And so far there have been four freezes.

For people who know Houston weather, this winter has felt really cold.

The #2 son (second from the left) and his teammates keep warm at last night’s track meet.

My friends and family from up north have scoffed at our cold-weather complaints on Facebook. They think we’re just wimps, whiners, and weenies. Hey, I’m not arguing! Yes, we are! Of course, they’d feel the same way during August here.

It all means that, like it or not, we’ve had to adapt and pull on our warmer clothes . . . lots of them! Take last night’s high school junior varsity track meet. As I said in Tuesday’s blog post, I would learn from freezing at the first meet and dress more warmly. Which I did! I layered my warm Cuddl Duds under my sweatpants and sweatshirt. Added my warmest jacket, complete with a stylish hood, and I felt pretty toasty once the sun went down.

Except for my hands. I can’t use gloves when I shoot, so I mostly suffered in silence. Except when someone came close enough. Then I complained. A lot.

Tori stays warmer than her teammates.

Meanwhile, our athletes tried to stay as warm as possible before having to brave the wind-chilled 40ish temps in their shorts and singlets.

Jasmine rocks the Bratz girls blanket.

At least the kids were on the move, which helped them keep warmer.

Terry keeps his ears warm as he watches through the fence.

The parents were mostly huddled together along the fence . . .

Jimmy and Karen join the Mister on the cold bleachers.

. . . or on those frosty cold aluminum bleachers. Doesn’t the Mister look thrilled? I didn’t dare attempt a thought bubble!

Unfortunately for us, the track meet dragged on and on and on, because there were 13 teams. With all those freshmen boys and junior varsity girls and boys, that made for at least five heats for most of the events. And we had to stay until the end, because our #2 son was running in the 4 x 400-meter relay . . . the very last race. Weren’t we lucky? No, we didn’t think so either.

The meet wasn’t over until almost 10 p.m. On a school night!

By the end of the evening . . .

. . . we all felt like curling up in a blanket in the fetal position! Whining all the way!!

Baby, It’s Been Cold Outside!

Icicles form on the side of our pool’s waterfall.

Something came to visit last Wednesday that was not welcome in the Houston area: The great freeze of 2010.

Here in south Texas, we start shivering when the temperatures dip into the 40s. We may have immigrated here from up north (as I did from Chicago), but the second we stepped foot in the land of warmth, we got rid of heavy coats, boots, and scarves. We replaced them with shorts, short-sleeve t-shirts, and sandals, and that’s what we like wearing year ’round.

Freezing temps: Go back north where you belong!

Sidebar: I read somewhere that to Houston’s list of the official seasons of Summer and Not Summer that we added another this past weekend: Emphatically Not Summer!

The #2 son watches the Mister expertly tape a spigot.

Oh, we’ve had our temperature dips from time to time, but not on an extended basis like from early last week until today (it was 25 degrees this morning). I remember one December day years ago when we ran the car’s heater in the morning when we left to visit relatives and used the air conditioning in the afternoon on the way home.

This freeze, which saw us experience a low temp of a frigid 19 degrees Saturday morning, had everyone scrambling for supplies and protective measures. The Mister used his well-honed wrapping skills to insulate and tape up the three outside spigots.

Sidebar: I wish we had remembered to turn off the sprinkler system at the outside valve. That pipe popped, but it was easy to turn off, and it didn’t affect our inside water. Thankfully!

The #2 son smiles even though he's very cold.

The #2 son was enlisted into helping Dad duty. The #1 son was lucky . . . he was at work until 9 p.m., long after the preparations had been done.

It’s hard to get good help these days!

Our two biggest concerns were our outside pipes (hence the wrapping of the spigots) and our front landscaping, which still is fairly new. We know that conventional wisdom says to cover plants that might perish, so out came our collection of sheets. By looking at the photo above, you can reach two conclusions.

First, the Mister and #2 did a shoddy job covering up all the plants.

Second, we have a hard time letting go of kids’ sheets. Guilty as charged!

Sidebar: On my pillow, I use the pillowcase from the Power Rangers sheets, which were from the Time Force era. What can I say, I love sleeping with the Power Rangers! I just feel so safe. I also sleep with a Pokemon blanket, but maybe we should just leave that one for the therapist’s couch.

Sidebar II: If I said that having Pikachu as one of the characters on the Pokemon covering made it an electric blanket, would any of my readers get it?

More sheets, more gaps

Our landscaping sure has looked colorful! Fortunately, the freeze is history, and the sheets will be in the laundry room before long. I’m sure our neighbors will be thankful!

Watch your step!

Despite previous frozen mornings over the past 24 years that I’ve lived in the Houston area, I’ve rarely seen ice. Yet there it was on the sidewalk as I jogged yesterday morning; of course, I just had to gingerly check it out to see if it was slippery. It was. Glad the ice was few and far between, though.

A drop forms from an icicle on our waterfall.

As much as I hated the cold (and, believe me, I do really hate when it gets so frigid), I did enjoy photographically (of course!) what it caused. Like this icicle. Water had overflowed from our pool’s waterfall, which runs constantly when the air temperature is below 32 degrees. Which means it was on most of the weekend.

The freeze had left some cool (pun intended!), dripping icicles for me to photograph with my Nikon 105mm lens. The challenge? Could I freeze a drop in mid-air?

The drop drops!

I could! And it only took, oh, 157 now-deleted shots with my Nikon dSLR.

And then I ran back inside to warm up!