Monday, January 24, 2005

Adventures in Winter Weather

I stayed at work late on Friday, because I had something important to finish. I'm trying to apply for a fellowship at NIST, and for that you have to create a research proposal, so I was working on that until about 6 p.m. During that time I chatted a bit with Laura on Yahoo IM (yay for instant messaging!) and she told me about the lovely weather in the Bay area, which I have to confess made me quite jealous, because it is cold and miserable here. But, trying to put a positive spin on it, I realized that if the weather here were that nice, I might be outside appreciating it instead of inside getting my work done.

Sometimes, though, the bleak cold can make you want to stay at home and not get anything done. Running errands is a significant chore if it means you have to shovel the walk and thaw out the car. On Saturday I saw in the paper that there was going to be a big sale on some items I needed, so I decided that I shouldn't let the weather dictate my behavior. I got up early and went shopping. I got up about 7:00 (as usual) and moseyed out the door by eight. Then I scraped the car and shoveled the walk as the car warmed up. It was snowing and the street was not clear (which was surprising because I live on a main street). I drove quite slowly to the store, only sliding in the snow a couple of times, and impressing myself with the calmness with which I overcame the sliding. I actually enjoyed driving on the slippery streets, because it was physics in action, and as a former physicist, I really dig anything having to do with kinematics.

The problem was that visibility was quite low. We were actually having blizzard conditions, I learned once I started actually listening to the radio. It's not that it was snowing very hard (it wasn't). It's that the snow was being whipped around by high winds, spreading the snow into the air and reducing visibility. As I drove around, I discovered that there were times that I literally could not see the car in front of me, not to mention where I was going. Fortunately, this is my seventh winter in Champaign-Urbana, and I know where everything is. That and the grid-like layout of streets is handy. When in doubt, just go straight!

For those of you wondering at home, I needed to buy some shoes. I have two suits, one which I inherited from my advisor's secretary, and one which I bought myself, and I needed to buy shoes to match them. So I bought one pair of tan shoes and one pair of brown shoes for those. And I also got a pair of boots, because I'm tired of snow slipping into my shoes. Jeff teased me about buying three pairs of shoes in one day. While I was out, I also stopped by a grocery store that was having a one-day sale, and bought a box of clementines, and several other very cheap items from their circular. I happened to see Glen there too.

When I got home, it looked as if I hadn't shoveled before, so I shoveled again. When my officemate Hanna came to pick me up a couple hours later, it once again looked like I hadn't shoveled. I decided not to worry about shoveling again, until the next day when I had to go out again.

Hanna picked me up to buy some flowers for my advisor and his wife, who were to be hosting us and several other graduate students for dinner the next night. The flower shop was a marked contrast with the blowing snow outside. All the greenery and botanical beauty was a welcome relief from the cold, white outdoors. I definitely need occasional exposure to exquisite plant life like that in the winter. It makes me look forward to the spring even more. I hope these next couple of months rush by!


Anonymous said...

Hm. So the news that I saw snowdrops yesterday is only going to incite envy as well, i suppose... ;)

Oh, BTW, Scott says to tell you he can't understand why there isn't more math on this blog...


Laura said...

Here's some math.

Becca + lots of snow = COOLEST sister I have !

(sorry Rach, but, you know, crocuses! come on!)


Anonymous said...

The crocuses are NOT MY FAULT!