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Posts Tagged ‘rain’

Bikers in Austin. I am almost this cool.

You are not going to believe what is happening in Austin today. I am sitting in the library by the window, my hands wrapped around a warm cup of coffee, and I am watching the rain drops fall from the trees.

That’s right. It’s been raining for two days now and the world could not be a better place. Life in Austin is looking up.

It’s true that the rain was a bit inconvenient. For example: last night was national “look at the moon night” and when I dragged some new friends over to the lake, we discovered that for the first time in two months, it was cloudy. For the first time in two months, I should say, there was no moon.

And it’s true that I showed up to several important meetings with mud sprayed up my back and my clothes dripping wet, something that used to be standard fare but that hasn’t happened in a long time now. Today was the first opportunity in months for me to perform my “superwoman” transformation, from mud-splattered bicyclist to professional young adult.

(The texans, I should say, were impressed.)

But what the rain lacks in convenience it makes up for in general good will. Biking to campus yesterday, I started thinking that my soul responds to rain just the way a plant does. The grim is washed away, and I can stand up straight again.

I know you’ve been flooded for weeks in New England, and I know that excessive rain leads to mildew and disaffection. But after two months of sun, I’m embracing this chance to curl up in an armchair with a hot beverage and a good book.

Because by next week, it’s sure to be back in the 90s again.

Weather:
70 degrees and cloudy in Austin. 75 degrees and clear in Somerville.

Mood:
Hannah: 8 out of 10. If I wasn’t so overloaded with work I’d probably be jumping with joy.

*Photo credit to rkphoto.com

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100 Percent Hot*

It’s pouring rain outside of my window and I finally feel like I’ve come home.

I was in Europe for two months. Two months always goes faster than you think it will: I could swear it was only a few weeks ago that I packed up my bags and walked through security at Logan Airport. But when I left the blossoms had just come out on the trees and it was still cold enough to wear sweaters in the morning.

Apparently a lot changed in my absence, because on Wednesday I stepped out of the airconditioning and found myself in the middle of a heat wave. The temperature peaked at 98 this week, according to my household thermometer. (That’s 36 in celsius!) For the last two days all I’ve done is sit on the couch in a stupor, reading Gary Shteyngart or staring off into space. I don’t know whether it was the heat wave or the jet lag that did me in, but I’ve hardly been able to move, never mind speak in complete sentences or write coherent statements. The Emotional Calendar has all kinds of tips for managing jet leg, but I was too hot and tired to do any of them. “I should have stayed in Barcelona,” I moaned several times a day.

Then this morning I woke up at 5:30 (that’s 11:30 Barcelona time!), just in time to hear the first drops of rain against the windows. Minutes later we were in the midst of a full-fledged thunder storm. Lightning flashed, water poured in through the wide-open windows (I took a break from writing this to run around shutting them) and the temperature dropped to 70 degrees. Finally, I’m glad to be home.

Weather: 70 degrees and raining
Mood:
Hannah: 8 out of 10.
Anna: in Beijing!

*Image courtesy of weather.com

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Me as a teenager

Me as a teenager, probably attempting a physics problem.

When I was a teenager I was completely obsessed with the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which was published by MTV press and featured its own early ’90s mix-tape. As a matter of fact, I was so obsessed that in the early days of Napster, before it occurred to me that what I was doing might be illegal, I went ahead and made my own version of Charlie’s mix-cd.

All of the songs on that mix-cd hold a special place in my heart, a place they share with angst-ridden poems about open windows and dustbins and heartbreak, things I understood much better then than I do now. One song in particular has always been able to lift my spirits. It’s U2’s MLK, and it goes:

Sleep, sleep tonight, and let your dreams be realized
If the thundercloud passes rain, so let it rain, rain on him.

Of course, in my teenage mind I changed that line to “rain on me,” and during The Summer of the Perks of being a Wallflower Mix CD I would listen to that song every time it rained. To this day, warm, rainy weather like the kind we’re having right now reminds me of lazy teenage summers in my hometown, listening to U2 on my discman and walking in the rain. And it reminds me of the vague hopes that accompanied being in high school, when my dreams were far too ephemeral to ever be realized.

Or if U2’s not for you, you can always listen to Bob Dylan instead.

[we’ve come  a long way since Napster. you’ll have to follow the link to hear the song.]

Weather:
60 degrees and misty.

Moods:
Hannah: 6 out of 10 on the “can’t get out of bed” to “jumping for joy” scale. Excited to go running in the rain later.
Anna: In Utah! Where it’s 45 degrees with a chance of snow later in the day. [Edit: Anna says she’s a 7 – beautiful mountain views.]

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Julia is a  colleague who is home from her first semester in college. She shared her thoughts about bad weather everywhere with us.

“This Is Nothing.”

That’s what I’ve been saying to my mom since I’ve been home from college. Trust me, Massachusetts’s blustery winds have nothing on Ohio’s howling gales.

Oberlin College (which is also Hannah’s alma mater, by the way) is situated smack dab in the middle of “The Snowbelt,” which stretches from upstate New York to Wisconsin. In terms of extreme weather — blizzards, floods and tornadoes — Ohio has seen it all.  From November to April it’s as if the Arctic Tundra has been temporarily relocated to the Midwest.

Since September, I experienced a host of tempestuous conditions — sudden heat spells, torrential downpours and harsh snowfall — all of them usually occurring within a short period of time. On top of all my schoolwork, this unpredictable weather has been a lot for me to handle.  After one particularly violent wintry day, I exasperatedly asked my hall-mate, an Ohio native, “Is it ALWAYS like this?!”

Being at home has been a nice break from unpredictable weather — up until last weekend, when a surprise cold snap rolled in and ruined my mood. It was too cold to go out and do anything, like explore the city. On top of that, I had a terrible cold that zapped me of energy.

This week, I’m still sick and growing ever more frustrated by this frosty weather. Sure, snow is pretty when it’s softly falling on cedars, but during blizzard conditions I can’t stand it. I have no desire to sit by my window and stare contemplatively into the wintry white abyss.  All I can do is curl up into a ball and wish it were spring.

If I’m trying to get somewhere in the snow, like to work so I can write this blog post, I hate the snow even more. I don’t know how to drive so I rely on public transit to get me everywhere. But in inclement weather, trains and buses are almost always hopelessly delayed and I am left in the cold, aggravated and waiting for them to arrive.

This severe weather will only worsen when I return to school in two weeks. I’m excited to start new classes and see my friends, but now more than ever part of me is wishing I went to school in California. At least there I wouldn’t be freezing from November to April.

Weather
Overcast with lots of slush on the ground.

Mood
Julia: 5/10. Could be better, could be worse… still wishing it were Spring.

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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.

Mood:

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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One glance at my mood rating over the past few posts, and it’s obvious that, perhaps, I’m (momentarily) regretting signing up for 3 committees, 2 subcommittees, and a myriad of other engagements this year!

It would be one thing if I were just going to meetings after work. That would be manageable. My plummeting mood, though, was not caused by meeting overload, but by the fact I had so many meetings while continuing to search for a new roommate. The joys of roommatehood and Craigslist…

So far, the search has lasted three weeks. The first batch of candidates seemed fun, friendly, and responsible, but alas, 75 percent of them weren’t even able to move this month! Terrible luck. During the second go-around, there were also some strong candidates, but nothing worked out. At some point, I realized the chances of getting someone in for a November 1 start were slim to none. And that’s when my stress peaked and I started to panic.

I thrive on a good dose of stress, but once I go over my personal stress threshold, I feel terrible. I still do what I need to do, but everything becomes a chore. I shed my optimistic tendencies and morph into a seemingly-eternal pessimist.

This past weekend, when I realized I would have to scrap my November 1 roommate timeline, I ventured out to run an errand and, of course!, got pelted with raindrops. Even the sky was gloomy!

During a separate super stressed out moment, I went for a walk and—instead of gray skies—witnessed the most vibrant sunset I’ve seen in months. My optimism increased, and I paused to think about how strongly my mood is tied to the weather.

For me, at least, the weather seems to impact my emotional state when I’m already experiencing a more extreme mood. If I’m closer to my default state of general contentedness, weather seems to influence it less. I’m not sure if this is typical, so I’d be curious to know, how do you think weather affects your mood?

Weather: Overcast with a strong breeze. Rain earlier in the day.

Mood:

Anna – 7 out of 10 on the “so miserable I can’t get out of bed” scale. Things are looking up since I accepted the fact a roommate by Nov. 1 is a pipe dream. Something about reframing…

Hannah – 7 out of 10. She’s lonely at the office. Does someone want to throw pebbles at her window and cheer her up?

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