Only 135 days until summer

Yes, I am counting. The snow has stopped and the drizzly, cold rain has returned, which is actually an improvement.

It’s also a mere 42 days until the spring equinox, when we switch back to Daylight Saving Time and I no longer have to endure getting up in the dark to go to work and coming back home in the dark, with actual daylight reserved for when I’m working and mostly indoors. Tech support doesn’t require a lot of going outside.

I find myself utterly uninspired when it comes to writing on the blog lately, but I figure if I start writing I will hopefully get past the hump and start producing utter gems. Utter Gems is also the name of my Talking Heads cover band.

Five things I like about winter

The first day of winter is 10 days away, December 21st. This is the shortest day of the year, with approximately 30 minutes of daylight. The bears are warm in their caves, while humans are in full thrall of the whole holiday thing, crushing against each other in malls for last-minute gifts and possibly some nice frozen yogurt at the food court.

I generally don’t like winter because I am not a big fan of the cold and dark. But in the spirit of being positive, here are five things I do like about winter:

  • If it’s officially winter, we’re less than one season away from spring and t-shirt weather
  • A little snow looks pretty and gives the world a fleeting peaceful quality
  • You can skate outdoors if it gets cold enough
  • No need to run the air conditioner
  • Risk of a sunburn drops dramatically

Hmm, that’s not really a great list. Let me try a few more:

  • A warm mug of hot chocolate can hit the spot
  • Running a base heater to warm your toes is far more satisfying than it ought to be
  • Watching TV under a thick blanket is nice and relaxing

The obvious theme here seems to be, “Winter is cold, the fun is in finding ways to stay warm.” Some people will argue that it’s easier to get warm than to keep cool, that putting on a sweater will warm you up on a cold day, but taking it off on a hot day may not do much to cool you off on a hot day. This is perhaps true, but given how hot it generally gets here (note to historians reading this in the far future: in late 2019 the metro Vancouver area is not yet a tropical paradise), I don’t find it a big deal to keep from profusely sweating during the summer. And removing layers is somehow better than piling more on.

Anyway, that’s the best I can come up with. To stay positive, we are only 192 days away from summer. Yay!

The heat is on

Specifically, the space heater. Yes, even though it’s still September and less than a week since summer officially ended, I’ve pulled out the space heater and aimed it at my feet because it’s a bit chilly in here.

When I was heading back home around 6 p.m. it actually felt downright cold. I wasn’t even wearing shorts. Right now my watch is telling me it’s 8ºC outside. I just checked and apparently the average low for today is 10ºC , so this isn’t as outrageous as I thought, but still. I think the change from summer to fall hits harder than any other seasonal shift, because it feels so abrupt. One day I’m wearing t-shirts and shorts and people are complaining about how hot it is, then the next day I’m curling up by a space heater and the shorts have returned to the dresser for the next six months.

Okay, my feet are now too warm and the space heater is off. Maybe I just need to put on an itchy wool sweater or something. I promise my next post will not be about the weather. Almost guaranteed!

Fall on me (2019)

Today is the first day of fall.

It was unseasonably cool and rained.

I do not approve.

Tomorrow is forecast to be 18 and partly sunny. This I approve.

That is all.

I lied, one more thing: 252 days until Summer 2020. Yay!

I wore my shorts today

Wearing shorts is not exactly unusual in the summer. I’ve been wearing them most days, though recently the weather has taken on a more fall-like aspect, leading me to occasionally wear horrible long pants.

But today the temperature climbed close to 20 degrees and the sun came out, so the shorts went on. It was nice. Being the second to last day of summer, and with rain forecast for tomorrow (update: It is very much raining on the last official day of summer), this is likely the last time I’ll wear shorts for summer 2019 and thus it shall be recorded here.

Summer 2019 was a bit odd. After two consecutive years of the worst forest fires ever, accompanied by weeks of haze hanging over the city due to the ever-present fires (see the yellow-tinged look to every photo I took on Barnston Island for evidence), this year I never even saw the FIRE DANGER signs go up at Burnaby Lake or the Brunette River, the first time this hasn’t happened since I moved to New West in 2011.

One of the reasons we opted for a mid-July vacation instead of late August was to reduce the chance of hitting a fire ban, because camping without campfires is sad and unCanadian. But the fire ban never came.

While we did have some hotter days, they were fewer in number and we never really had a hot stretch where everyone lamented how hot it was and wouldn’t it be nice if it cooled down and rained a little–at which point people would effortlessly switch to griping about the rainy, non-summer-like weather.

Running-wise it was great. I never encountered more than a few sprinkles on my runs and most of the time it was surprisingly comfortable for jogging, with a nice balance between warmth and humidity. I saw very few instances of dry mouth and nearly every time it was humid (sweat city) it was offset by temperatures being lower. And not having to run with fine particulate smoke hanging in the air was nice, too.

And yet I still lament in a small way the lack of a “traditional” summer where it gets hot and sticky (and stinky) and people complain about the heat. Because as horrible as it might be for running, as bad as it may be for the skin, and as terrible it might be with the greater risks to our forests burning, that feels like summer.

With the leaves turning and fall officially started tomorrow, I’m already thinking about winter. The long term forecast seems to be suggesting it will be milder and maybe wetter? I don’t think anyone really knows, given the climate upheaval we are clearly in the middle of. I’m just hoping there’s no snowpocalypse to match 2016-17.

But before the snow, there is still some time for more possible wearing of shorts before it gets a little too chilly to be a reasonable thing to do. Checking the 10 day forecast, the best opportunity appears to be…this Tuesday, with a forecast of mostly cloudy and a high of 18. After that we are definitely in more “people will start looking at you funny” territory.

Haiku for August 2019

Some sun and some cloud
Warm and sometimes also wet
August you snooze me

August was a strange month in how mild it was. We had some hot days, but only a few. We had some rain, but only a little. We had days of cloud, days of sun and most of the time it felt like summer, but it never felt like summer summer, almost as if the real summer weather was always waiting just around the corner.

On the plus side, the occasional soggy weather meant no big forest fires and the pall of smoke that would blanket the skies here for weeks on end never materialized. This was a bonus for air quality, general pleasantness and my running.

So August was kind of boring, weather-wise, but a good kind of boring, especially compared to the heat-blasted hellscape that was so much the rest of the world during summer 2019.

The lack of fire danger

It was cloudy this morning and now a light misty rain is drizzling. Given that we only have a few weeks of potentially hot weather left in the summer, and the forecast has dotted more potential rain on some of these days, it looks like the chance of seeing those FIRE DANGER signs go up is pretty much nil. This is the first time I can recall it never drying out enough to have a fire ban go in effect.

This is good news for trees and stuff. And we’ve still had plenty of sun, so I can’t really complain. It feels weird, though, especially with so many other places broiling all summer under record high temperatures.

Come to think of it, we broke some more records, too, so we haven’t entirely escaped the steady march of global warming, it’s just being sneaky around here this summer.

As we gird for a slippery, wet fall, I wonder what winter will be like. Then I remember it’s still August and to stop being silly.

The strange inconvenience of summer weather

It is raining today.

That’s fine. It’s dry enough that a little rain is good. It makes the grass grow and all that.

Summer rain is kind of weird, though. While it is cooler than normal, it’s not actually cool—it’s 17C right now, which is t-shirt weather. But if you go outside wearing a t-shirt you will come out looking like an entrant in a wet t-shirt contest. Which is handy if you are actually on your way to a wet t-shirt contest. It’s otherwise less desirable.

However, if you wear a jacket…well, it’s too warm to wear a jacket. So you can keep dry, but get all sweaty and gross instead.

Basically, summer and rain don’t really fit together well. Science has obviously failed us here, as there’s no super-light fabric that can deflect raindrops. This is also why I don’t wear a jacket when I run in the rain, even in the winter when it’s actually cold.

The solution, then, is to stay inside and play video games or watch something on one of the five thousand streaming services now available. Hold on, I’ve just received an update—make that 6,000.

The last day of spring, 2019 edition

It is currently 16C, a little cooler than would be seasonal. It’s partly cloudy, but no serious threat of precipitation yet–that is saved for the weekend, according to the forecast.

The last few months have been a time of certain small triumphs and a lot of ennui. My writing has withered and I’m trying to decide how much I care. I’m not taking part in July’s Camp NaNoWriMo because part of the month I will be on vacation, when my writing is meant to wither. As I type this, the sun is angling to poke through the clouds and I think of how spring has been pretty decent overall, weather-wise. So that’s good, if you ignore the thawing permafrost up north and the steady march onward of climate doom. It doesn’t help that Canadians keep electing not only conservative governments, but breathtakingly ignorant ones in particular.

Anyway, here’s to summer–officially starting tomorrow–being better. It’s my favorite season and I look forward to soaking up some rays and reveling in the warm days ahead. Which are currently not in the long range forecast. But still.

Spring 2019: Now with extra spring

As I type this it is currently 15°C and sunny. The temperature is higher than the seasonal norm and the season–officially Spring as of today–has debuted in spectacular fashion. After a good six weeks of below seasonal temperatures in the last month and a half of winter, this is welcome indeed.

Flowers are flowering, trees are budding and people are already getting sun burns. It’s great.

Cooler, more seasonal temperatures and showers are forecast for next week, but for now we bask in the glory of an early spring, the restorative powers of the sun providing an extra boost to the trials of a typical work day.

Today I did not wear my winter coat

Today was the first day this year I did not wear my winter jacket to work. It was 21ºC when I got home, according to Weather Underground.

It was nice.