Day 25 – World Series 2017

Yesterday evening I watched a lot of TV because it was too hot to do anything that required me to peel myself off the couch. Notably, I watched the second half of Game 1 of the World Series (I managed to nap through the first half) between the LA Dodgers and the Houston Astros. Luckily for my fair city, the Dodgers pulled off a win in this hellish heat wave. I actually went to a Dodger game with some co-workers back on September 25th. Ironically it was much cooler there a month ago than it is now (although today’s high was blessedly 10 deg cooler than yesterday). I’m definitely a baseball fan, but the reason my co-workers and I made the long trek up to Elysian Park, which took us about an hour and a half in rush hour traffic, was for Hello Kitty night. Not only did we get a cute Hello Kitty tote bag, but we also had seats in the all-you-can-eat section which offered unlimited hot dogs, drinks, and other ballpark snacks. My stomach didn’t thank me for eating all of that stuff, but watching the game was still a good time. And we saw a beautiful sunset too, as you can see in the above photo. So while I can’t say that I’m a huge Dodgers fan (or Angels either, while we’re at it), I’m rooting for them to win the World Series this year. If nothing else it will make for some entertaining television over the next week.

Regarding my breakfast today, I overslept this morning and didn’t have time to make anything before I left for work. I did manage to grab a banana on my way out the door (which I’m calling snack #1 of the day), but it wasn’t enough. So when our catered breakfast showed up at 6:30 AM my growling stomach caused me to be weak and take a breakfast sandwich. I intended to eat only the eggs, sausage, and cheese portion of the sandwich, but then I started on the buttery biscuit. It was mostly stress eating considering I had a backlog of work to do as soon as I arrived at 5 AM and no one to help me with it, but that’s no excuse for eating crappy food. Fortunately I got halfway through the biscuit, realized it wasn’t worth the calories, and threw out the rest. The good news is that the breakfast sandwich kept me full enough to avoid another snack before lunchtime. So maybe a small win? That’s how I’m thinking about it.

Today’s meals:
Snack #1 – Banana
Breakfast – Breakfast sandwich (1/2 biscuit, eggs, sausage, cheese)
Lunch – Turkey taco meat, roasted broccoli and carrots, and roasted diced sweet potato
Snack #2 – Banana with almond butter (my bananas are ripening so quickly in the heat)
Dinner – Salad with shredded chicken (I forgot the garlic when I made this batch), red onion, yellow bell pepper, nuts, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Day 24, briefly

It’s hot, y’all. Halloween is one week away and it feels like July. I ran a couple of errands after work and as I was driving home my car told me it was 106 deg outside. Holy crap. And let’s remember that I DON’T HAVE AIR CONDITIONING AT HOME! I am so over summer. It’s almost Halloween and it feels like an oven in Los Angeles. So wrong on so many levels. I went to boot camp yesterday and it was 86 deg inside the gym. Luckily it was a strength day rather than a cardio day so it wasn’t too terrible. Today’s classes were cancelled due to the heat, however, and going for a run was definitely out of the question. I’d have keeled over after a quarter mile. I wanted to take a walk around the neighborhood tonight, but it’s still so hot outside! I’m currently holed up inside my house with all of the windows closed, eating a salad (a cold dinner was really the only sane choice), and trying to not to move too much or I’ll start sweating. I’m also watching Game 1 of the World Series which broke a record for the hottest post season game ever with a temperature of 103 deg at Dodger Stadium for the first pitch. It’s supposed to be cooler tomorrow, but the definition of “cooler” is a high in the mid-90’s rather than triple digits. Sheesh. This is making me hate October!

Today’s meals:
Breakfast – Acorn squash casserole (with sausage and onion), cantaloupe (the only part of the catered breakfast I ate)
Snack #1 – Apple
Lunch – Carnitas, roasted broccoli and carrots, and roasted diced sweet potato
Snack #2 – Banana with almond butter
Dinner – Salad with shredded garlic chicken, red onion, red bell pepper, nuts, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Rain in Los Angeles

I went to work at 5 AM this morning to support an ongoing event. Due to a few issues that cropped up I was able to leave around 10 AM and have the rest of the day to myself. The weather forecast showed a storm approaching in the afternoon so I wanted to get a few things done before it started to rain. Also, I definitely needed to get my 5 mile run done if I wanted to avoid getting soaked. So after taking a couple of packages to the Post Office I went to the grocery store to pick up all of the necessary ingredients for tomorrow’s annual holiday potluck at work. I’d waited until the last minute to buy the milk, cream, etc. for the Crockpot hot chocolate I’m making for breakfast in the morning. Over the last few years it’s become one of my co-worker’s favorite things so I know they’ll drink it all very quickly tomorrow. For the lunch buffet I’m just making some cranberry barbeque meatballs, a recipe I haven’t made in over 8 years, because I already had all of the components and they don’t require much effort. My favorite kind of cooking!

When I went to the grocery store it was much busier than usual, especially for noon on a weekday. I’m not sure if the impending storm spurred people to run their errands early, like I did, but I had a decent wait in the checkout line. And then when I finally got to the cashier she told me that she had already asked to leave work early to avoid the rain. It’s just rain! It’s not as if snow is piling up everywhere, like it is in so many other parts of the country. Get a grip, Los Angeleans! We are definitely spoiled with the nearly perfect weather here in Southern California. That being said, I was determined to complete my required 5 mile run before the first of the raindrops fell. And I was mostly successful. It started drizzling on me during my last mile, but it wasn’t enough rain to cause any real problems. Thankfully I was back in my warm house before the precipitation became significant. Now I can only hope that it’s not raining too hard when I need to drag all of my potluck items in to work tomorrow morning. It’s my favorite day of the year and a little rain isn’t going to dampen my spirits!

Hoodie weather

Fall finally arrived in Southern California last Monday. November 2nd. (I guess this has been consistent over the last few years, but it’s way too late for my taste. Halloween should never be 90 deg like it was this year.) Towards the end of October the nights had been getting cooler, but the highs were still in the upper 80s. It was not pleasant. But shortly after November started the highs were in the lower 70s and it was glorious! I had forgotten what it was like to not have to change into shorts and a tank top immediately after getting home to avoid sweating in my work clothes. I even took a hoodie with me to Disneyland last night, and I’m so glad I did! It was actually chilly, especially after the sun went down. I met some friends for dinner in the park. Two of them are local, but the others are here from Oregon on vacation. (I first met the three ladies with me in the above photo on Craigslist many years ago. They are the best. How did I get so lucky to find such amazing friends online?) I couldn’t miss work since I just got back from Orlando on Monday night, but I left early and drove to Disneyland around 3 PM. We had so much fun. Dancing like idiots in the Tiki Room, scarfing down three baskets of fries at dinner, trying on stupid hats in the shops, and singing along with all the songs during the fireworks. I need more evenings like that. After such a scorching summer it felt incredible to be outside in long pants and a jacket and be comfortable. Actually, I was a little cold! It was 59 deg when I got back to my car to drive home. Hoodie weather is back! And I’m going to enjoy it as long as it lasts.

May Gray 2015

The above photo was taken after the Tinkerbell 10K at Disneyland on May 9th. See how overcast it was that day? It was glorious! Cloudy and cool – perfect running weather. The phenomenon known as “May Gray” really delivered this year. The whole month was spectacular. A few weeks ago the Timehop app on my phone reminded me that is was 100 degrees around this time last year (check out the shudder-inducing reminder here), but I loved every moment of May 2015. My sweaters, jackets, and sweatshirts got a lot of wear! Running was so enjoyable during the pleasant evenings and with a cool wind off the ocean. And the days I didn’t go running I walked around Seal Beach in the evenings to make the most of the amazing weather. We even got a good amount of rain in May! A friend of mine and I went to Disneyland on May 15th and it was pouring for the first few hours. We resorted to buying sweatshirts and ponchos in order to stay warm and dry that day. It’s so rare that we get any rain between April and October in the LA area, but it was very much appreciated during this drought. There were a couple of nights where I was awakened by storms, and I swore I heard hail one of those times. Pretty crazy. I knew the beautiful weather wouldn’t last so I spent as much time outside enjoying it before summer arrives. If the last two years are any indication, June through September are going to be uncomfortably warm. I’m definitely not looking forward to that, but luckily June has been lovely so far (“June Gloom” has been in effect in the mornings). We’ll see how long it lasts!

Spring weather

“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
-Attributed to Mark Twain, but not verified

A few years ago a friend of mine visited San Francisco and Los Angeles in June. I reminded her to bring a jacket because coming from Florida the last thing you think you’d need in the summer is a jacket of any kind. Proving my point, the one day I met her for lunch was chilly, overcast, and overall really dreary – typical for Los Angeles in June! After growing up where it’s extremely hot most of the year, I was thrilled to discover a milder climate when I moved to California. Unfortunately, it’s much hotter here now than when I first arrived fifteen years ago. We even had some days in the 90s this past January. Yes, January. That’s nuts! I live in a beach city and it should never get that hot here any time of the year. Fortunately we’ve been enjoying some spectacular spring weather this week. The highs have been in the upper 60s and low 70s, and it actually rained a little bit on Tuesday night. I loved being able to throw on a sweatshirt when I went to pick up dinner tonight. It’s too bad I’ve had to put in so many hours at work this week because it’s kept me from fully enjoying the beautiful weather. But walking out of work in the evening to a cool breeze is something I can’t get enough of. Based on the last few years these pleasant days won’t last. I’m not looking forward to summer. Hopefully May Gray and June Gloom (there’s actually a picture of the Seal Beach pier in that Wikipedia entry!) will help keep the temperatures down over the next couple of months. I’ve got a lot of running to do!

Story of a jacket

I went to New Zealand for the first time in June 2007. It was summer in the northern hemisphere, but winter south of the equator so a warm coat was an essential part of my wardrobe on that trip. It was also the rainy season in that part of the world. It rained every single day I was in New Zealand, which got to be pretty annoying by the end, although it made sure all of the tourist sites were nearly deserted. I wore my heavy wool peacoat everywhere I went (it’s in almost every photo) which helped with the cold, but didn’t do much to protect me from the rain. It absorbed a substantial amount of precipitation whenever I was outside and didn’t exactly smell like roses afterwards. As much as I loved my peacoat, after that trip I knew I needed to buy some kind of rain jacket for any future trips to potentially rainy locales.

Fast forward more than eight years…

This weekend started off with rain. It was crazy! I don’t think we’ve had any real precipitation in Los Angeles since February so the storm that rolled through on Friday night/Saturday morning was extremely beneficial. (And it stayed away until after the kids finished trick-or-treating so that was a bonus.) I hope we have a lot more storms this winter to bring us a deluge of much-needed rain. On my way to Disneyland yesterday morning and I stopped by McDonald’s for breakfast. (I know, it’s not grain-free, but Egg McMuffins are so tasty!) I thought the storm had cleared out for the day, but I knew it was still around when I got rained on walking back to my car. I had an umbrella in my bag, but that wouldn’t be ideal at Disneyland so I drove home and grabbed my Arc’teryx GORE-TEX rain jacket instead. I bought it at an REI sale back in 2009 in anticipation of an upcoming vacation. To be honest, I haven’t worn it very much since then, but it did come in handy once or twice in Hawaii. I guess a raincoat is something you want to have in your closet, but hope you don’t need. Although, I expect if I lived somewhere like Seattle it would have seen a lot more inclement weather. Even though I drove through some pretty substantial rain on the way to Anaheim, by the time I got there I was debating leaving the Arc’teryx jacket in the car. But when the sky opened up as soon as I got outside the parking structure I was glad decided to wear the rain jacket! Having that GORE-TEX layer was very helpful during my first hour at the parks. No soggy sweatshirt on a cold and rainy morning! It was lovely. So while it’s a piece of clothing I don’t wear much, I was very appreciative of my raincoat yesterday!

The heat is on

After a few unbelievably hot days this week (as evidence by the above photo) it’s actually very pleasant on this Saturday morning. What a relief! I reveled in the cool breeze as I walked over to McDonald’s to get breakfast. It was lovely. When I left work yesterday and checked the weather app on my phone I was thrilled to see that the temperature was only 82 degrees! Only? That’s still unusually hot for Los Angeles this time of year (10 deg warmer than the average), but after the week we’ve had it felt like heaven. No one appreciated temperatures in the 90s on Monday and Tuesday, but it was completely miserable when we saw triple digits on our thermometers on Wednesday and Thursday. That has never happened since I’ve lived in California. I still remember the first time I arrived in Seal Beach in 2000. It was late May, which if Florida had taught me anything, meant the long, hot summer was in full swing. But when I got out of the car I was greeted by a cool breeze that gave me goose bumps. What an incredible surprise! I loved Los Angeles from that moment on. Where else can summer actually be comfortable? This last week was quite the exception, though. It made me remember why I never went anywhere without a sun shade in my little Neon when I lived in Florida. They were absolutely essential if you wanted to be able to touch your steering wheel after the car had been sitting in the sun for a while. But I never needed one in California until last Wednesday. Luckily the heat wave is over for now, but if we have any more hot days like that I’ll have to break down a find a sun shade for my CR-V. I shudder to think what kind of a summer we have in store if this week was any indication!

Snow in DC

It snowed in DC again today, but luckily I can read about it from the much more pleasant climate of Southern California rather than deal with it in person. Let’s just say I wasn’t exactly prepared when the white stuff started falling from the sky the day after I arrived last week. The photo on the left was taken from my hotel window on Sunday night while the snow was falling, and the photo on the right was taken on Monday morning. I had to work late on Sunday night so I was dismayed to find about three inches of snow on my rental car when I left to drive to my hotel for the night. Earlier in the evening I’d gone out to pick up some pizzas for everyone and it was just starting to snow. It wasn’t a big deal at the time and I actually enjoyed it. Since I’ve never lived in a cold climate I think watching snow fall is really beautiful, but I don’t consider the aftermath of hours of snowfall. Since Budget hadn’t left a brush in my car I had to wipe off as much of the snow from the windshield and windows of my car using my hands that night. I had gloves, but my fingers still got really cold. My fingers hurt so much afterwards that I had trouble getting my credit card out of my wallet when I got to the hotel! The next morning was even worse. The hotel parking lot had been plowed, but my car had about eight inches of accumulated snow on it. Fun. There was no way I was going to try and clear that off with just my hands, especially since I hadn’t brought any shoes with me that were even remotely suitable for walking through snow. Instead I had the hotel shuttle drop me off at work, and a co-worker took me back that evening. I borrowed a broom from work to help dig my car out so I could go to the grocery store and get some much-needed food items that night. The roads were in good shape so driving was easy as soon as my car wasn’t a giant snowdrift. By the time I left DC six days later the snow was almost completely gone. Warmer temperatures and some rain took care of that. The locals told me that this winter had been brutal and they were really looking forward to spring. Too bad they got more snow today. Luckily I’m not there this time!