December in its Glory

Snow in the Fields

It snowed again today. Not much, but it was coming down. It felt more like the holidays. Of course, now that it is dark, I can hear the rain drumming on the deck. Rain. Perfect November night.

It was a cold one today. And yesterday. Windy. The wind was what made it feel cold. It was in the twenties today, so fairly typical of the month. But bitter with the breeze cutting through it all. I (finally) hammered in our snow stakes so the plow guy knows where the driveway is when the snow gets deep. Only a couple were trouble in the frozen ground. In most spots the frost isn’t that deep yet. If we do get a storm at least that will be done.

No running today. Or yesterday. An off week I guess. This head cold had me with a full head, pounding with sinus pressure. I registered for the marathon in Burlington on May 30. I should have time to be ready. I will get out there in the morning, in the dark, whatever the weather.

The kids got out into the field yesterday. They romped across the semi-snowiness. They were tuckered by the time they got back into the house. Made me proud.

Exploring the Frozen Wastes

Snow and Camera Practice

The forecast called for snow and we got it. It just came too late. It’s like this. I woke up at 5:30 and looked out the window. It was not snowing. “Oh well,” I said to myself. “No snow day today.” Then I suited up and strapped on my headlamp for an early morning run. By the time I got out there, about 5:50, it was snowing. At mile one it was snowing hard. At mile two it was snowing so hard I could see only about ten feet in front of me. After the turnaround point I was surprised to see, or not see, that my tracks had disappeared already. My thinking by the time I got home? It would be insanity not to have a snow day.

Alas, the decision had already been made. The school to which I was headed to day had decided by about 5:30. So instead of all of us staying home together–family time by the fire, baking cookies, playing outside, reading holiday stories–we all headed to four separate schools. Driving was iffy but we all made it to our respective centers of learning and back without any scratches. That works out better workwise–no work to make up–but a day at home, even if I were working at least part of it, would have been a gift with this head cold of mine.

We got a good deal of snow. Of course, it is now raining, but one can’t ask for too much now can one? On another note, check out these picks my daughter took this afternoon. Maybe you might say they look fuzzy or odd but I say she has a good eye.

Macro of Technology

Self Portrait with Dad

Snow on the Ground

This morning it was snowing. It was kind of a bummer of a morning to fail to rally to get up early for a run, but my head was squeaking from all the pressure in my sinuses. I stayed in bed. There was white stuff on the ground, so we were all happy to look out and see it in the morning light. My son was literally jumping up and down in front of the window shouting, “My dream came true! My dream came true! It snowed last night! It snowed!” He was happiest to see the new precipitation it seemed.

It was coming down hard for a while, especially when it came time to drive. That was a bit of a snow and slippery event. Here is a shot of the scene before we fired up the old automobile:

Finally, some snow on the ground

By the afternoon, it had cleared. In fact, it was a stunning day. Check out Camel’s Hump, all decked out in her December finest:

Perfect December Day

Tomorrow we are looking to get some more weather. Snow is predicted to fall overnight and make morning driving a little sketchy again. We shall see. I never want to get excited for the possibility of a storm. I have been disappointed too many times. At least here. When we lived in the mountains we had the opposite situation–we would get lots of snow when only a little was forecast. But one can’t have it all. We never had the view above when we lived up high. I do hope we get more snow tonight. I will try to keep my fingers crossed, even when I am awake in the wee hours blowing my nose. Ah, winter.

Stuffed

It started last night–a sniffle, a drip, a few sneezes. I knew it would be a tough night. It was not all that bad, however. The head cold had arrived.

It annoyed me all day. My head is more stuffed than a Thanksgiving turkey. And my nose is running longer than an ultramarathoner.

Tonight will truly be the one where I stay awake, littering the floor with tissues. Luckily I will not be visiting a school tomorrow, like I did today. I had to keep dashing off from my spot in the library to empty the old sinuses. I can snort away to my heart’s content tomorrow as I work (mostly) from home.

I did run this morning and that seemed to help. I hope to rise early and do that again tomorrow as well. It helps flush the green goo. At least, it did this morning, and I am more stuffed now than then.

Good stuff, eh? I am sure you will be staying tuned for more updates. To end on a better note, it snowed on and off all day. It hardly clung to the ground, but we have some white stuff coming down. Christmas may be white, after all. And by then, this head cold should be gone. Good riddance I say to that.

First Day of Winter

View on the way up Mount Philo

OK, it wasn’t actually the first day of winter, but the temperature hovered around freezing all day, so it felt like a winter day. A fire kept us warm while we busied ourselves with weekend projects and holiday wishes and food. I baked bread. I made a tofu pot pie (you need to try this if you never have–no scoffing from the meat and potatoes crowd). In the afternoon we went for a hike.

We hiked Mount Philo–easy for the kids, just the right distance. It was cold. We were dressed well but the wind bit. We all had a bit of a chill by the time we got back to the car. There was half an inch of snow on the lofty summit, enough to make it feel like winter really is thinking about hanging out for a while. Looking out over the Champlain Valley and across to New York, it looked like winter.

That was the boost I needed to put me in the holiday spirit. It is hard to celebrate the coming of winter when the temperature is 60 degrees. Warm bread on a cold day helps as well. Plus online shopping. Ho ho ho and all that. It will cold in the wee hours tomorrow when I rise for my morning running ritual. Get out there anyway, right? Brr. One more time–brr. Happy winter.

Chilly but Solid

I got in an eleven mile run today, as I had planned, and it went pretty well. I was a little slow in going, starting off with a ten-minute per mile pace. I was slogging. I was tired and a little hesitant. I have this itch in my calf–not quite sore, but a little stiff–that I wanted to make sure wasn’t going to turn into a full on injury. It didn’t.

I knew that if I could just get four miles into this run, I would settle in and feel good. And that is what happened. Four miles or about 40 minutes is the line for me where endorphins kick in and give the added boost that will get me there. It really is amazing how all of a sudden I just felt a lot better–faster, with more energy. It was the drugs I made myself. Home brew.

The air temperature was just above freezing. I started with gloves and shed them. I was dressed just right. I brought water but only drank some of it. I had a snack and it made it home. All was well, except I ran out of time.

My wife had an eye exam late in the morning. I needed to be back in time for her to be on time. A mile and a half from home I looked at my watch and realized that there was no way I could run fast enough to get back by the time she hoped to leave. Since she didn’t want to leave our children alone (smart woman, she) she was stuck until I made it back. I picked up the pace.

I ran fast, for me anyway, about 7 1/2 minute miles the rest of the way. That got me breathing hard. I had taken the precaution of carrying a cell phone in case my calf really did decide to give out half way. I didn’t want to be walking slowly and not dressed for it for several miles. So I texted her, still sucking wind and running hard. It was the first time I tried to text and run. I did it safely, I promise. All I said was, “Almost there.”

She and my son were waiting for me at the end of the driveway. She got the message. It wasn’t a big deal that she was a couple of minutes late. The eye doc was flexible. I sat with the kids, who had laid an early lunch spread on the table, sweaty and ready to take a break. After a while I took a shower and put on dry clothes. I got in 31 miles this week. Pretty good for where I am. Tomorrow off, then back at it at 5:30 AM on Monday.

December looks to be a good month.

No Snow For You!

Recently an article in the Burlington Free Press noted how “northern New England’s ski industry is viewing the upcoming season with optimism.” I guess they are looking more at weather as a determining factor to their success than at the “economy.” But the weather is looking a little warm lately. Often ski resorts try to open by Thanksgiving. That ain’t happenin’ round here. Apparently the latest first measurable snowfall in Burlington is December 7th. That was back in 1937. We may just set a new record this year. Whoo-hoo with no exclamation marks.

In the past century there have been only three years when the first measurable snow came in December (1915, 1937, 1948). Make that four by including 2009. We have certainly had rain lately. There is more snow falling on this blog than on Hinesburg. Ah well. It has made for some pleasurable running, and my son played outside all day today without worrying his mother about frostbite. Everything has a silver lining, eh?

Nonetheless, it would be good to see some snow. If it is going to be cold, it might as well be cold enough for snow. And if it’s cold enough for snow we might as well have snow. When the sky hints of snow the children are ready to bust out the sleds. Easy there, children. The ground needs to freeze for any snow to stick around. And it looks like that might not happen for a while. Keep those sleds in the garage, kids. Get out the bikes.

Tomorrow I plan to head out for a longish run, maybe eleven miles if I feel up to it again. It will be warm enough to run without a hat. Without gloves. With some skinny little layers. I certainly won’t be worrying about frostbite. And the soft ground is better for my body, what with all the steps that happen in eleven miles and all that.  Making lemonade, that’s what I’m doing. I know there are plenty of curmudgeons out there who love it when the weather is mild. To them I say, Florida awaits. December is here. Let it snow.

The weather gods, however, have not received the proper sacrifice yet. They wait for it, telling us with relish, “No snow for you!” Yes ma’am. I’ll be slaughtering a lamb some time this weekend.

Seriously Soggy

When I woke, too early to get up, I could hear the rain dripping off the eave onto the deck. It was coming down hard. It was too early to get up because I didn’t want to get up yet. I was tired. It was dark. It was raining. I could have stayed in bed. And I did for a while–until 5:30. Then I rose in the glow of the night light and dressed myself and headed downstairs.

I tied my running shoes, slipped on a windbreaker and a billed hat, strapped my headlamp in place and…headed to the kitchen to get some more water. Then I checked the temperature again. Then I had to get going. The clock was ticking. So I stepped outside and found that the rain had stopped. Well, it had almost stopped. It was spitting at me as I started getting a pace on and rolled down the driveway.

It held off for a while. I got almost three miles before it really started to rain again. The fog had gotten thick, so I had turned off my headlamp. There was enough light and enough open road that I could turn it back on if a car approached. My pants were nearly scared right off when I encountered a person, I think it was a man, at the end of his driveway. “Hello,” he said as I was just upon him. All I could muster in my startledness was a blurted “How’s it going?” as I trotted past.

And then the rain started in again, gently at first, but steady. Then it got serious. I was pretty much soaked by the time I got home. Dripping. It was fairly warm–about 45 degrees–so I wasn’t all that cold but I was chilly enough. As I walked back up the driveway I had a mini-fantasy that my wife had started a warm fire and brewed some coffee, that I did not have to go to work after all and that I could sit (in dry clothes) with a warm mug and a good book and listen to the rain while I read.

Didn’t happen. The sun did come out today, after a struggle. I felt happy to have gotten out there early, however. It was early, it was dark, it was chilly, and it was raining. “Get out there and run anyway,” I told myself. And I did. And tomorrow? I plan to do it again, whatever the weather.

Ah, December

It is finally cold. Waiting for the bus is a chilly experience. The puddles are skimmed with ice. The wind bites. I wear my orange knit hat out and about. The woodstove radiates.

Holiday music plays everywhere. Too much of it is twangy countrified versions of holiday classics.  Who needs that crap? I guess lots of people like it, however.  Who am I to judge poor taste?

Snow flurries keep spitting. One of these days we will get a full on storm with real snow. Ideally this happens before teh 25th. We celebrate that winter holiday in this house. And the solstice.  I have been rising early to run still. These days it is pretty dang dark when I do so. Porch lights are on and my headlamp gets as much a workout as I do. I might have to have a big old party to celebrate the solstice this year.

I have these slip-on boots from L.L. Bean that I wear in the winter pretty much every day. One of them has a big old tear in it.  I should have sent them back this summer but who remembers winter boots in the summer? I still should send them back. I bet they would replace them. They did rip unexpectedly. It’s not like a was jumping over a barbed wire fence or something. I noticed it walking down our driveway. Not a high impact activity. What will I do without my boots? I have missed them lately.

The year has just about wrapped up. I might start thinking about resolutions so I am prepared when January hits. Blog every day? Run a marathon? Read some book I have wanted to read? I’ll think about that later. I want to think about doing good deeds this month, and giving gifts to those I love, and baking desserts. Chocolate covered lemon cake anyone?

Now that would be the way to celebrate the season, baby.