Posts Tagged ‘clothing’

Something to look forward to.**

“It’s not spring yet.”

That’s what I wrote in response to an e-mail from an overenthusiastic mycologist acquaintance, whose message included photographs of young mushrooms that, he insisted, were signs of better weather to come.

That’s also why, despite numerous efforts to write here last week, I just couldn’t seem to produce a post. “I have nothing else to say about the seasons,” Anna told me last Monday and I knew just what she meant. It feels like it’s been winter forever and I’m burnt out on seasonal embrace. We should all just stay inside.

This past week, however, I did experience two important personal milestones on my emotional calendar. Despite the above statement, I’ve actually been running outside (giant piles of snow permitting) on and off all winter. Usually I wear a carefully constructed synthetic outfit that keeps me dry, warm, and aerodynamic. But one day last week, I realized with something like bemusement that it was actually warm enough to run in shorts.

I’m so good at layering that it’s possible I hadn’t felt fresh air on my skin since last October. Running down the Somerville streets last week with my knees exposed was, quite possibly, the most liberating experience I’ve had in months. There’s a song that’s been on the radio lately which goes, “Your winter is a prison.” Last week, I felt at least temporarily as if I had broken free.

And then on Saturday, walking outside my grandma’s apartment, I saw my first crocuses! It’s true that flowers come earlier to New York than they do to Boston. But, my flower discovery led to a revelation: it turns out that the spring equinox is only a week away.

Maybe there is something to write about after all.

Weather: a balmy 38 degrees and sunny.

Hannah: 6 out of 10 on the “can’t get out of bed” to “jumping  for joy” scale. Not happy about daylight saving.

Anna: last time I checked, 7 out of ten. Now she’s in minnesota, where it’s probably about 10 degrees outside and snowing.

**Image Credit to Patty Hankins **


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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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At the beginning of autumn, I get a strong urge to wear tweed, wool, and rich brown, camel, and burgundy knits. This means I start looking for that perfect sweater, overcoat, [insert your object of desire here] in every store I visit. I swoon over the equestrian-inspired ads of Ralph Lauren and Burberry, and covet the pieces in the fashion spreads of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

And then, after a few great buys, I find myself channeling Janny Cavilleri of Love Story fame.

Yes, it may be one of the corniest tearjerkers of all time, worthy of many witty retorts and critiques, but her character has also inspired countless fall wardrobes, especially here in New England. Including mine.

This is one of the joys of autumn for me. Mixing layers, styles, and fabrics means a better chance of dressing for exactly the right temperature. Too hot? Take off the belted sweater. Too cold? Put on your scarf. That way, when the temperature climbs to 70 degrees in October, like it did this week, it’s only a matter of shedding layers. It’s also a generally good practice for those of us whose thermoregulation is questionable at best.

There’s one day each fall, though, when last-minute outfit changes are not welcome: Halloween. For those of you who spent last October 31 in Boston, you may remember that it was unseasonably warm.

Given my autumnal love of wool and tweed, I decided that I would dress as Sherlock Holmes: wool pants, wool cape, leather shoes, and, of course, a canonical hat with ear flaps. And then my efforts were met by an October heat wave that prevented me from piling on my mysterious layers! Instead, I dressed as a rakish pirate. It turned out to be a well cobbled-together costume, but it lacked the inspiration of Sherlock.

So this year, I’ve chosen a costume that allows for better layering. I’ll be Catwoman, the badass superhero (no dainty whiskers for me!), who faces down criminals—and whatever temperature the Boston weather brings. And yes, that’s a challenge.

Weather: I haven’t  gone outside yet, but I see blue skies through my window!


Anna – 7 out of 10 on the “I’m so miserable I can’t get out of bed” to “jumping for joy” scale. It’s the weekend and I’m ready to channel a superhero!

Hannah – 6 out of 10. She thinks she may be getting sick.

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