Monthly Archives: December 2008

Tue 30 Dec 08

How to stay warm on a chilly winter day. Step 1: Put on a stocking cap and wrap yourself in a blanket. Step 2: Ask your husband to throw a pile of piping warm clothes (fresh from the dyer) on top of you. Step 3: Wait for your goofy dog to plop down on top of the warm pile of clothes on top of you to take a nap.

This didn’t last too long though due to all the face smothering and all. Seriously, the thermostat was set for 65; I don’t know what the big deal was. I remember loving to open my dorm windows at Calvin in the middle of winter as the snow wafted through the mesh. I guess girls don’t get into that sort of thing.

Actually the weather’s been much nicer here lately. Near record lows replaced by sunny skies and that wet fluffy snow that’s good for snowball packing. Mary and I have been enjoying the few extra days off from work for the holidays. We went to a fun, laid-back Christmas party with Mary’s boss’s family on Christmas, but have otherwise been laying low. I’ve been catching up on my book reading and trying to work my shoulder back into shape at the gym. Mary’s been watching library movies and also making good use of her new gym membership. Can’t complain about back-to-back four day weekends. Especially when the next holiday day off isn’t for another five months.

Just took this picture (a couple hours after the one above). Weirdo.

Thu 25 Dec 08

Trammell was plenty content to have sunshine, soft snow, and a raggedy tennis ball on Christmas morning. And really, what more does anyone really need?

Taylor wanted to wish everyone a very merry and mellow Christmas. But then she got a little frustrated with the whole business of trying to type sans opposable thumbs. So here’s her recorded message of Christmas peace and good will to all (26 seconds, streaming mp3):


Merry Christmas!


I took Trammell and Taylor for a run through the sagebrush of Cowiche Canyon this afternoon. We had the park largely to ourselves (we went at about noon when most potential visitors were probably sitting down to Christmas dinner), though there were plenty of dog paw prints for sniffing. Sunny skies, but, unlike the last winter run, Mt Adams was obscured by clouds in the distance.

Sun 21 Dec 08

First decent snowfall of the year: probably six inches last night. Lots of neighbors out shoveling driveways, at least fifty kids careening down the steep hill at the park behind our house, and teenagers a-plenty doing donuts in the adjacent unplowed school parking lot (first weekend of Christmas break).

The cold hasn’t been quite so biting and really, when you’re focused on the fun of the snow you don’t notice the temperature anyway. I’m curious how much snow we end up with this year. Last year we had 29 inches for the season and people around here marveled about how abnormally high that was (the two previous years were both about eight inches each for the entire winter).

I got up at seven this morning to shovel the driveway (one of the few chores I never mind doing), then Mary and I ran the dogs through dog-chest-high snow at the park. Predictably, they were amusingly enthusiastic bounding about.

It’s been over four weeks now since the injury, but I think my shoulder is finally starting to heal (after a couple of early setbacks when I stupidly tried to wrestle on it during wrestling practice). I can do limited range of motion tasks without any pain, but motions where I have to reach up and vertical/back aren’t much better at all (like throwing a football or reaching into the back seat of my car while driving). At the gym I started carefully doing pull-ups and other lat exercises again with an occasional twinge, but any sort of bench press or dip is out of the question. Maybe in a couple more weeks.

Tue 16 Dec 08

I think we broke 20 degrees this afternoon. If nothing else it definitely felt warmer with blues skies and full sun. I usually take breaks throughout the day at work and go walk a lap or two around the cemetery down the street. Today I walked hunched down inside my coat collar with cheeks stinging in the light wind and the weather got me thinking about those frigid Michigan days when temps were hovering right around freezing and the wind was crashing in from the west.

Waves are up, take a sick day, let’s go surfing!. In hindsight it does seem a little insane, hurtling yourself into near freezing water in the dead of winter, but I also know that if I lived in GR right now I’d be checking the weather report daily, waiting for the next good westerly. Makes my twenty degree walk in full sun today not feel so chilly. Click the link above for a couple more pictures and the brief write-up of the frozen-head surf session from 2006.

Sun 14 Dec 08

Holy smokes it’s cold. The closest we came to breaking 20 degrees today was around midnight last night when the temperature hit 19.9. It only dropped from there. We tried to run the dogs at around noon and were defeated after about ten minutes by temps in the teens and a sharp wind to match. I’m reminded again of how much I hate the cold. These kind of temperatures are crippling to any sort of attempt at outdoor fun.

Mary and I have talked somewhat about our plans post-Yakima (maybe in ’09, maybe later) and a return to Grand Rapids tends to pop up as one potential destination. But as I was chipping the ice and snow from my windshield this afternoon on my way to go work out at the gym I kept thinking about how nice it would be to live somewhere a little more temperate. At least the sun should be out again here tomorrow. Even the dogs were bundling up. See?