Lovely Day

Just call me the crazy, flower-loving lady. That, or Queen of No, which I am also loving right now.

Milkshakes consumed today: 1

Answers to faux, fifth grade end-of-grade test I almost got wrong: 1

Perfect temperature outside right now: 68

Do not, I repeat, do not tell my children or my husband that I had a Goodberry’s chocolate milkshake for lunch today.

I do not advocate poor nutritional choices. But seriously. It is a big, puffy cloud day with a gentle breeze and bright sunshine, and I did not have time to create a nutritionally balanced salad with homemade salad dressing. Do not judge me.

I remember back when I was just out of college, and my good friend and her roommate decided to drive six hours and visit me over Labor Day weekend. The weather was just like today… for three days. If you have never been in Chapel Hill when the weather is perfect, you have not yet lived.

We spent the entire weekend outside, drinking margaritas on the deck at Pantana Bob’s, walking around campus, eating good food that I normally couldn’t afford…

And I wanted to say, a la Julie Andrews in Sound of Music, spinning around in a traditional German skirt thing, “Why yes, I have ordered up exactly the perfect weather for your visit. In fact, we Chapel Hillians live in relative perfection 364 days of the year.”

Those three days almost made up for the fact that I was living below poverty level in a brick apartment on the first floor with walls that had not yet been acquainted with insulation. And that the guy who lived above me owned both a waterbed and a shotgun. I didn’t know about that yet. More on that in a later post.

But I digress.

Today is the most gorgeous day. The lilies are blooming outside my office window, and the mockingbirds are fighting each other off as one after another tries to invade the Woodman turf. Our mockingbird is stronger than your mockingbird, dude.

This morning, I wrote an article and then spent an hour “helping” a few fifth graders with mock end-of-grade tests. We read passages about how to construct owl luminaries, why beekeeping is an interesting hobby and how Laura Ingalls Wilder used to respond to every fan letter she received.

I almost missed an answer. But ha! I had the answer key and quickly covered up my adult-ish erroneous response. I explained, in a responsible, teacher-y way, why “C” was in fact the right answer, even though, trust me, “A” would have worked just fine.

Then, I rushed to the library and had 15 minutes to grab “lunch.”

Let me tell you: sitting outside on a gorgeous day sipping gulping a chocolate milkshake may be one of those “what would you do on your last day on earth” things.

And then, because I was on such a sugar high, I didn’t even start crying when they told me my favorite contact lenses, the ones that it took five years for me to settle on because I have that annoying dry eye problem, aren’t being made anymore. And remember, I don’t really have any tears, so…

Better just to enjoy the perfect weather. I’m using all my karmic bank account to try to order up some perfect weather stuff for when my father-in-law and stepmother-in-law visit in June. If they’re lucky, they can join me at the outside seating at Goodberry’s.

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Like the Weather

Runners plan. God laughs.

Times I listened to the 10,000 Maniacs live version of “Like the Weather” to get in the mood for this post: 5

Layers I sometimes wear when running in the winter: 4

Layers I wear when running in the summer: 1/2

[First of all, isn’t this an awesome picture? My uber-scientist/manager/DIY extraordinaire husband is looking to illustrate life, if there are any jobs available out there. Then we could move to The Islands, mon, and I could run in more predictable (hot!) weather.]

The way I view weather is the same way I feel about most other things: it should work properly. You may be surprised to note that it doesn’t.

We live in a climate that has a distinct spring, summer, fall and winter. Problem is, the seasons themselves are moody.

I have been to four college graduations in May at my nearby alma mater, and they varied between me sweating in shorts and a tank top with graduation robes on top to me in a dress and light sweater sitting on bleachers wishing I had a fur coat and balaclava.

The first week in December has been, alternately, 80 degrees when my husband’s mom and sister came to visit from England one year (they sat out on the deck and tried to soak up all available rays of sun) and calamitous ice storms another year (I was in the hospital giving birth to our daughter and trying to stay warm while the generators fed electricity to those on life support).

Our winters are not the sort that my bloggy friends describe in eastern Europe or Canada where runners are forced inside to the dreadmill. Here, we don’t get feet of snow or sheets of ice on a regular basis. The streets and sidewalks are open and fuctional, and we are not allowed to whine (much) when faced with what could be.

The other day, my running partner and I watched the same weather forecast the rest of the city watched: the one that said showers should start around noon. As I drove my son to his orthodontist appointment at 8:15, it started pouring. And it didn’t stop. At 9:30, I checked the 40-degree temperature and pelting conditions and considered my running attire: capri pants? No. Leggings? Yes. Short-sleeved shirt chosen when the sun was out? No. Windbreaker/hopeful rain slicker? Yes. Beanie hat? Sure. Sunglasses? No point.

Even though the weather guy had been wrong, the rain at least remained consistent. And it turned out to be a pretty good run. For a Monday.

Back in January, we headed out for an epic 11-miler that had all the markings of a gorgeous spring day: bright sunshine, warmer temps and all the bulb flowers poking their heads out of the ground. We headed out as innocent as little Easter bunnies, smiling at God’s benevolence.

A couple of miles in, a breeze kicked up. An unexpected breeze. We had not planned for that breeze.

And then, the optimistic skies were replaced with fat gray clouds that seemed to hover over our (admittedly uninspired) route.

Then, rain.

Chewing my ShotBloks was like gumming wet jellybeans.

The rain was not a gentle mist, but pelting, thick drops that fell behind our sunglasses and saturated our now-squelchy shoes. When I got home, I had half a mind to throw some laundry detergent on my running tights and toss them out in the front yard. The washing machine couldn’t get them any wetter.

And don’t even get me started on early morning spring runs, when the air chills as you step outside, so you bundle up in warm layers, only to strip them off at the end of mile one.

Is weather truly the last frontier? The one thing we can’t control with apps and calendars and well-stocked handbags?

I, for one, will probably keep trying.

But after all we’ve been through, weather and I are like this. So close.

I guess you could say I’m grateful that after hours spent in climate-controlled conditions in front of a computer screen, real life and unexpected weather conditions continue to surprise me.