Archive for November, 2010

This morning, I woke up to heavy rain. “Thank goodness,” I thought, “I’m working from home today.”

Most people only have the morning house-to-car dash when it’s raining, followed by the car-to-office dash. Since I take the commuter rail to work, I typically start my rainy days with the I’ve-resigned-myself-to-getting-wet-and-can’t-miss-the-train rush to the station. That’s followed by a slightly more relaxed I’m-already-wet-oh-well amble from my destination to my office. At a minimum, I spend 40 minutes each day walking outside. So when it rains, or snows, or sleets, I feel it.

There have been lessons along the way. Like two Junes ago when it rained the whole month and I, not having rain boots, wore (and destroyed) several pairs of flats. Solution: rain boots. Or when, a year later, thinking I had conquered the rain with my trusty rubber boots, splashed through a deep puddle to find my toes drowning in chilly water. Upon further inspection, I discovered a massive crack along the rubber sole. Solution: duct tape.

Then there was the red raincoat disaster. I had planned to meet my father for brunch in a nearby square, only to wake up to a squall. Armed with my red raincoat and travel umbrella, I set off on the twenty-minute walk. By the time I arrived, the rain had soaked through every layer of my clothing. As I peeled off my rain jacket, I heard a gasp from my father’s direction. Turns out, the red dye from my raincoat had decided to run away with the rain, all over my brand new white (now pink) sweater.

There are times when I wished I had a car. But then again, I wouldn’t have nearly as many weather-related disaster stories to tell.

Weather: Rain earlier in the day, then some sun.


Anna – 6 out of 10 on the “so miserable I can’t get out of bed” to “jumping for joy” scale. She’s tired.

Hannah – 6 out of 10. She’s also tired.


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Altogether Novemberish

“Here I sit, altogether Novemberish, a damn’d mélange of Fretfulness & melancholy; not enough of the one to rouse me to passion; nor of the other to repose me in torpor; my soul flouncing and fluttering around her tenement, like a wild Finch caught amid the horrors of winter newly thrust into a cage.”

– Robert Burns, 1793

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This just in from my favorite science blog: “snot is mostly comprised of mucous secreted by the inflamed tissues of the nose, and dead neutrophils that swarmed in kamikazi-style to gobble up whatever bacteria or virus they could find.”

Sad but true: in the past seven days the temperature has dropped from an appalling seventy degrees to an equally appalling thirty-two. With the temperature drop has come a corresponding drop in physical well-being. I spent the whole weekend sneezing (although it didn’t keep me from loving Halloween) and Anna’s voice has been reduced to a croak. Flu season has begun.

Cold & flu season is exciting because it’s an opportunity to talk about the immune system, which I studied for The Emotional Calendar and which is actually really neat. Kevin – an immunologist, science blogger, and (full disclosure) friend – explains it better than I ever could here: it’s all T-Cells and Macrophages and suicide cells and other cool stuff.

But it’s hard to get excited about immunology when it’s 3 am, your head hurts, and you can’t breathe through your nose. November is the ugliest phase of fall. The leaves are off the trees, the sky is gray, it’s cold out, and everyone is sick. October may be a good month to channel Love Story – in November it’s all about fleeces, the world’s ugliest sweater. And of course there is the heavy anticipation of impending doom – by which I mean the rapid approach of the holiday the season.

November is a good month to stay inside and focus on something small and cozy. Like cellular biology, perhaps?

Weather: cold and cloudy. 43 degrees.

Hannah: cold and cloudy but no longer sneezing, thank you. 5 out of 10 on the “I’m so miserable I can’t get out of bed” to “jumping for joy” scale.
Anna: 7. She already voted and two people want to be her roommate!

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