Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter, anyone?

Just in case there is anyone out there in the whole wide wet world who has not yet heard that Southern California is having a winter rain storm, I thought I'd let you all know that it has been raining here. It was raining when I drove to work this morning and there were accidents on the freeway because, frankly, Southern Californians don't know how to drive in the rain. When I left to run an errand this afternoon (read: go to the dentist), the water was pouring down, overflowing the eaves on the sides of the house and spewing into some large flower pots on my porch. The gutters had turned into rushing streams. You see, in Southern California it doesn't pay for the cities to build large drainage systems because rain happens so seldom (not like Portland where I grew up and it rains ALOT and the drains are designed to handle the amount of rain) so when it does rain, the system gets overloaded, but it's cheaper in the long run to repair any rain damage than to build larger, better drainage systems.

And it's cold. In the 40s and 50s cold. Our blueberry ranch friends registered 31F just before dawn yesterday morning! We are all whining and shivering and wearing heavy jackets, hats and mittens. And everyone who lives in 'a more northern climate' is making fun of us. I've heard there is snow in Washington and Oregon, and I've seen -20F listed as a temperature somewhere in Canada (you know who you are!), so why are we saying it's so cold? We're just not used to these temperatures. Our houses aren't insulated so well and neither are our bodies; most of us just wear shirt sleeves or light jackets all winter.

Thinking about relative temperatures reminded me of a story The Professor's mother told me. She moved with her husband and two sons (one of them being The Professor) from Central Iowa to Los Angeles in 1948. She had never lived anywhere except Iowa and Chicago and was used to those cold midwest winters. I think she quickly acclimated to the Southern California Mediterranean climate and never regretted the move west. She had a dear friend who lived in Chicago and the two of them wrote to each other every week. One year in the winter their letters crossed in the mail. Marian's letter stated, "The weather has been unseasonably warm this week. The temperature has gotten up to 50F!" My mother in law's letter waved to Marian's in the mailbags in Omaha. MIL's letter said, "The weather has been so cold this week! The temperature dropped to 50F!"

I baked Christmas sugar cookies yesterday which was quite nice as the oven heat warmed up the kitchen. This evening, Kiti made chocolate chip oatmeal cookies while I frosted my cookies. MMmmm--yummy and toasty warm again. I see why people cook soups, breads, casseroles in the winter--it keeps both the house and the body warm. Even a Southern California house where wimpy, warm weather loving people live.

18 comments:

Mary said...

Willow,

It is mighty cold here tonight. The temperature is -8 Celsius, which is 18 F. However, the wind makes it even colder. With windchill it is -15 Celsius, which is 5 F. To top it all off, we are getting a bit of snow.

Take care. I imagine that your rainy weather makes for a lot of dampness, which can give you a chill. I made homemade chicken soup tonight and it sure warms the insides.

Blessings,
Mary

Dorothy said...

This one makes me smile, Willow! I well remember the first time I experienced a Portland, OR winter. It was around 40 degrees and they were wearing hats and scarfs and mittens with their zipped-up-tight winter jackets. Coming from the colder clime of New York State, 40 degrees was a heat wave for winter and we took off those extras and unzipped our jackets!

Melanie said...

Aww Willow that made me laugh. We are having a mild 10C at the moment but at night we have dipped below freezing a couple of times. being on the coast any snow wont settle here but it will inland.

The thing I like about soups is that you keep your hands warm while stirring too. :-)

Knitting Linguist said...

Ah, yes. The relativity of weather :) It's been chilly here, too! And so wet (which I'm glad of). When we first moved to SoCal from the Bay Area, my older daughter spent the whole first winter refusing to wear a jacket -- it just never got cold enough for her to feel cold! All the other parents thought I was a terrible mom, but given that she'd been used to colder, damper winters, it just wasn't worth the battle...

Islandsparrow said...

You know what? I feel much colder when it is dark and rainy than when the snow is falling. I don't know why - we've discussed it around here trying to figure it out. Whether we dress more warmly or whether the snow insulates, we don't know. But it's very true.

ellen b. said...

Love your kind justification for us whimpy southern Californians! Dear even wore a coat yesterday and today (might be because he caught a cold at the conference...)

Rosehaven Cottage said...

It's quite chilly and wet here too but I don't think we're getting the brunt of the system like you guys are with all the rain. The temp right now is 39F and it's not budged over 40F all day. Fortunately, I was smart enough to put lights on the plumeria and shrimp plant last night. At least they're a bit warmer than the rest of the garden.

Cindy

Sara said...

I was cooking a pot of soup yesterday in the cold (50F) rainy weather! And I don't know why, but I am feeling colder here in the 50s than I was up north this weekend in the 30s and 40s. I guess I need to put on more layers!

Yolanda said...

Stay safe down there.I am watching the weather with bated breath today as I have to drive to work in it the next two days 40 miles each way .

Robin said...

One of my daughters went to school in San Diego and I was there one week when it poured. And houses slid down hills. It was something.

We are very cold here in Idaho. No snow but lots of wind and lots of cold.

It's a good day for chili and cornbread. And the oatmeal cookies sound wonderful too!

Flower said...

I can hear the weather outside where I am sitting! You can probably hear your weather as well!
The red wool hat came out several days ago. I just washed it in cold water...is that the right thing to do?

Pat said...

It has been unusual weather in many places.

We have had a good winter so far in NYC -- it has not been too cold or snowy, but January and February are always brutal here.

It's funny because I always say 50 degrees in October is cold while 50 degrees in March is warm! It depends on current perspective :-)

Hugs, Pat

M.Kate said...

Same here..it's raining everyday. Sunny and bright in the morning but showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon, but not cold or snowing. Happy baking Willow, do eat an extra slice on my behalf :D

Jules said...

I sympathize!!! If the temperature here drops 10 degrees I am grabbing a sweater!!!

Keep warm and dry!!!

nikkipolani said...

I work with an ex-Canadian who tries to suppress a smile when we all shiver and comment about the "freezing" weather :-) I love your story of the crossed-in-the-mail letters.

Kiti said...

I'm eating a steady diet of cookies to build up a layer of insulating blubber. It's hard work, but I'm willing to make the sacrifices.

Barbara said...

Thanks for thinking of me with the Christmas Spirit award Willow.

Now where are the photos of the pouring rain in Southern California. I n eed to see these!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

We used to visit Utah in the winter and trotted happily about in below freezing (dry) weather, yet when the Utah folks would visit us in Texas they would complain of the cold at barely under 60 degrees. The cold humid air and lack of household insulation just does one in. And a trip to beach side San Diego in winter makes me bundle up like crazy!

Love snowy days...hardly need a jacket at all!