Friday, August 27, 2004

Winter in August (darn near)

About 1:00 am today, it started raining - loud enough to wake me up. Although I imagine I was a bit attuned to the sound last night, having left my car outside (usually it lives in the garage, but my husband has started work on a shed he is building as a garage annex, and I thought it might be uninhabitable) and not wanting to have it hailed on. It's still raining, 12 hours later. Probably a fairly normal occurrence in many parts of the country; almost unheard of here. I'm not sure I like it much.

On August 27th, at 1:30 pm local time, it is 50 degrees out according to the handy Desktop Weather thingie from I had the heat on in my car at lunch. I saw people at work today wearing coats. In August! Something has gone sadly awry. It's supposed to snow at the Continental Divide this afternoon/evening. In August!

The whole summer here has been cooler and wetter than usual - good for ending our drought, but unsettling. I bought some Halloween-themed decorations at the local Ross-Dress-For-Less this past week, and was a little startled to realize that we really couldn't use them for another 2 months. I've begun planning for the autumn and winter holidays already - what to eat on Thanksgiving, Christmas present lists, stuff like that. Normally, I'm not moved to do any of that planning until it really is Fall (which doesn't occur for another month, almost - not that you could tell...). I keep thinking that I've forgotten to stock up on fake fire logs (the ones made out of sawdust and paraffin) - until I look at the calendar.

I am still wearing sandals to work, sans socks. Part of the reason behind that is that I have large feet (10-1/2, which is not officially a size that women's shoes come in), and my lovely Birkenstocks are much more comfortable than anything else I own, and part of it is because my employer has instituted a new dress code requiring that we abstain from denim except on Fridays and Birkenstocks are my way of subtly protesting. But I may have to abandon my protest sooner than I planned, if it continues to be this cold.

Good sleeping weather, though. We swapped the quilt for the duvet about a week ago. That had a little to do with one of the cats (I won't go into details), but it's been cold enough that the duvet's down filling feels mighty good at night.

The only thing that is really worrying me is, what's it going to be like when Winter really does come? Maybe I'd better get those logs now after all...

Thursday, August 05, 2004


Wow - I just realized that school starts in 12 days. How did that happen? Didn't the summer really just get started? Last time I looked, I was still reveling in having the sun rise before I do, and all of a sudden, we're out buying school supplies and school clothes.

The latter of which is finally getting a bit easier, thank heaven. For the past few years, since my daughter stopped accepting the wardrobe I chose for her at face value, buying clothes has been an occasion to be dreaded. My desire to dress her decently conflicted violently with her desire to fit in with how all her friends dressed (which, in my perhaps too often and too forcibly stated opinion, was like miniature prostitutes). Worse yet, it was very hard to find anything I considered "decent" in the stores. Our compromise has been the standard jeans-and-logo-t-shirt uniform. Not optimum, since it involves paying to advertise something, but better than all that exposed skin.

This year, the weekly fashion section has been running articles praising the return of the preppy look - interviews with Lily Pulitzer, and pictures of teenagers in polo shirts with the collars up. My joy was unrestrained - looking like her friends will now involve looking somewhat like she's in transit between the golf course and the tennis courts, and I can deal with that. Never mind that her polo shirts button to the navel and require a coordinated camisole under them in order to preserve decency. Both her father and I were able to shop for clothes with her this summer, without a single shouting match - how cool is that? Freaked her out no end, too, as we were going through the racks with enthusiasm, offering to buy her various garments.

I think I missed out on the school supply shopping trip this year, and that might be all for the best. I'm fairly sure that I inherited the "school supply" gene from both parents, and the sight of tidy stacks of notebooks and boxes of unsharpened pencils and the like starts my heart beating a bit faster. When I was in school, I'd buy my supplies the moment they showed up in the stores, and reorganize them on my desk each day until I actually had to use them. My husband has the school supply gene too, but he isn't quite as susceptible as I am, so it's generally slightly cheaper if he participates in that sort of shopping. In me, the gene leads to spending like a drunken sailor on not only school supplies, but office supplies of any sort, hardware, kitchen gadgets, craft stuff, and sewing notions. You should see my collection of multicolored 4x6 index cards, and the tiny pens that are worn on the second finger rather like a ring (The idea is that you can keep them on your finger when typing, and that they'll be right there handy should you need to write something down on paper. They don't really work, but they're pretty cool, nonetheless.)

In case it isn't obvious, I really loved school. I've been out of college 21 years (yeouch! has it really been THAT long?), and I still miss it. At the beginning of each school year, I would plunge into my homework with enthusiasm, although I regret to say the enthusiasm didn't always make it through the year. I wish I could spend large parts of my days now just absorbing knowledge. That might account for my willingness to watch The History Channel at nearly any hour (which my daughter deplores, I might add). Occasionally, I'll run across the scent of dying weeds on an early fall morning and it transports me directly to the middle of the walk to school, and I could nearly weep. It probably doesn't help that my current office is only about 500 yards from my old elementary school, and within walking distance of two childhood homes and two other schools I attended; the drive to work each morning is a parade of nostalgia.

Well, gosh - time flies (my daughter could say "tempus fugit", since she's been taking Latin, which is the "cool" foreign language at her school, but she probably wouldn't). Wish I'd been having more fun this summer.

Does anyone else get all misty-eyed remembering the smell of freshly-produced, still-damp dittos?