Thursday, October 30, 2008

Frosted Flake

Do you know what I saw this morning covered the field behind our house?


Yes, I do believe the first frost has arrived. On a positive note, frost is a good thing. It signals the end of the growing season and freezes all of the sneezy things that make our allergies itch in the fall. On a negative note, it also signals the beginning of the end.

The end of daylight, the end of fall, the end of outdoor bike rides, the end of heading outdoors without a coat/gloves/hat/scarf.

Winter is on its way.

The other day the temperatures creeped above 50 degrees and I knew I had to get out and ride. The alternative was 2 hours in my basement. I also knew this might be my last chance to ride outside before my final races. I actually headed outside with my time trial bike. Flying over 20 mph through a bright yellow sugar maple grove. I knew rides like this would be few and far between. Life in darkness and cold for up to 5 months is about to begin.

But wait – by some rare, cosmically wrong but very much right mistake the forecast calls for a high of 69 degrees on Friday. 69 degrees! That means yet another ride outside! I am so excited. I don’t think I have ever ridden my TT bike outside this late in the year. It’s another new personal record. I love setting personal records!

Last night Chris told me soon enough we would be in San Diego. I had a major snap freak out. I spouted off anti-San-Diego rhetoric citing that we must end this escapism life we lead in winter. If we want to be somewhere warm we should just live somewhere warm and stop escaping away. What is the point of living somewhere if you always want to get away?

But this is where my job is, he said.


But he is right. We cannot live on love and bicycles while picking money off of the magical money tree. Or maybe we can. In that case, I’m willing to try. Who has the seeds to this tree? WHO? Exxon? Just kidding. There will be no politics here. Back to me. Until then we will continue to escape. At least that is what he said. And he will continue with or without me he says – he will board that plane to San Diego whether or not I am going along!

I have to be honest - it’s too hard to keep going away. Every time I travel somewhere warm and beautiful I want to stay. I tell him that my reentry back into this prison cell we call home in Illinois is just too hard. Don’t get me wrong – there are many beautiful things about Illinois. But living for 5 months of the year in darkness and cold is not right. It is not fun, it wears at you, it puts you on edge. You grow fat in both body and mind because of the bleak hopelessness of the season. Snow is beautiful for about 20 minutes. Then a car drives through it and turns it to black slush.

Winter is season of black slush.

No place is perfect. And no matter where you go your problems will travel with you. You cannot uproot yourself from your life. But sometimes I think it would be worth a try. What brought all of this out? Well, we were at Whole Foods the other night. The new mega big monster Whole Foods. We were like children walking through a decorated mall on way to see Santa. Our eyes grew big, our mouth opened wide. We walked towards the light…

the fresh fruit

Here’s what strikes me as bizarre – people in this world are willing to pay extra money for someone to cut their fruit and put it into a plastic container. What I’m saying is that someone will take the blueberries out of their plastic carton, maybe wash them for you and put them back into a different plastic carton next to a bunch of cut up pineapple and call it $6.61.


We wonder why the world is fat? Why spend $6.61 on fresh fruit when I just heard McDonald’s put a Double Cheeseburger with one slice less of cheese on their dollar menu? And for the record - I have serious concerns about paying someone to touch my fruit. Their hands, my fruit. NEVER! No matter how desperate I was.

Anyways, I was salivating like an unleashed Pavlovian dog at the sight of fresh pineapple. And it made me yearn for Hawaii. Or any warm island. Anywhere I could actually buy a pineapple for less than $6.61 and cut it on my own. Or papayas. Or mangoes, avocadoes, passionfruit.

Yes I know that bread on Hawaii is about $6.61 but I eat a lot more fruit than bread, folks.

I want to go back to Hawaii, I said.

The cure for that? Buy pre-sliced, plastic packaged pineapple. Eating it made me kind of sad but on a separate note the pineapple was worth every overpriced organic cent.

The next night we were eating dinner. We do a lot of eating as you can tell. I was getting something off the stove and put on oven mitts. What fun are these? I decided to pull out a little puppetry role playing from my psychology degree.

Chris played along.

On my right hand is Liz. On my left hand is Chris. Your turn, Chris – what does Liz say:

(I started moving my thumb up and down in the oven mitt to make it talk, Chris who I am convinced spent childhood without pretend play finally gets what I’m getting at and provides the voiceover for the oven mitt)

“My name is Liz and I don’t like living in Illinois.”

And Chris the oven mitt says “Well, neither do I but there is where my job is and I loooooooooove my job.”

(I was using my best puppet voice)

Liz the oven mitt chimes in – this time, no prompting for Chris:

“My name is Liz and I think people don't need jobs, they can just live off of love and pick from the magical money tree that grows in San Diego.”

*for the record I do think people need jobs but it helps if they are highly portable like my coaching business & furthermore please do not get the idea that Chris' job is the only job in this house that supports an expensive fresh fruit habit*

(mitts came off)

So the role playing didn’t go so well. I thought we could talk it out like grown adults while pretending we were oven mitts. I thought wrong but I think I may have just played with Chris in his first puppet show. That only took 35 years to get to.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this other than…to winter. Winter will soon be here. Maybe I should buy myself a giant sun lamp and sit under it with my small dog everyday staring at a picture of a warmer place. I’m also considering making myself very small to fit under the ottoman with Boss. Every morning when the heat kicks on I find him under there (there is a heat vent by the ottoman). I figure if I live on a diet of nothing but fresh fruit I will be very small in about a month.

I will also be very broke.

Until then I suppose I should book my ticket(s) to San Diego. Spend a weekend playing in the sun. But I have a feeling if I did ever move someone warm and sunny all of the time I would miss the cold. The change of the seasons, the colors of fall.

But I think I know the cure if I did – sit by a freezer and surround myself by construction barracades holding a STOP/SLOW sign that I turn over and over again, mumbling things to myself like "you should ride that bicycle on the sidewalk" like a real...flake.

Yes, I would be right at home then. For the next 5 months.

I love winter.


Kathy said...

Marcus is right with you. He'd move somewhere warm in a second if I'd let him.

Anonymous said...

I would miss you so just make sure you take me with you.

E.L.F. said...

K - if Jan knows you read my blog she'll write you up. Mom - how are you with dogs? Boss Boss will need a nanny.

Roo said...

Only one problem with San Diego. Since it never gets cold here, it's really hard to take a training break without feeling guilty for not being outside enjoying the weather. I know that's weird. When are you coming? We need a socal girls coffee meeting or something!

Jennifer Harrison said...

Yeah, but, who would I complain with then if you leave? I complained to Karyn and she moved to FL this year...! And, do not let Jerome see this - I swear, you and him are the same person. The ohter day - when it was snowing - he said, "give me 1 good reason we stay here in Illinois - Chicago has the highest tax rate in the country (sales) + the highest murder rate in the country...." I said, "Because of my family." He said, "that is not a good enough answer." I said, "Good, I see we have agreed and we will stay forever!" That is why we will be going to sunny Tucson very frequently!
Jen H.

Cat said...

come to california. contrary to popular belief, there are jobs here too.

IronMatron said...

You know how you wrote that fantastic post on the off season? On how we need to regroup and heal before we begin anew? Winter is the symbolic renewal/healing time. Without it, you would never hibernate and then emerge, and what's life if we can't emerge?

Furthermore, those of us in the north love our spring/summer/fall SO MUCH because we are forced to go into hiding for the winter. How awesome is it to see that first daffodil bloom in the spring? To wear shorts on a run for the first timein months? To feeling get outside to ride after months on the death trainer?

Training needs to be cyclical. The seasons are cyclical. We are cyclical. San Diego or Hawaii would make you flat. You'd never be able to emerge.
How's that for justification? :)

Iron Krista, "The Dog Mom" said...

You should TOTALLY come here :-) I was just on a conference call yesterday with people on the E. Coast.... they saw SNOW.

And then they asked how it was in AZ. I happened to be in my car, looked up at the temp & it was 88degs....

I do however, think you are going to have PERFECT weather on race day! Even the stupid wind is getting better!

GoBigGreen said...

The only place worse than IL in the winter is...MN in the winter. Then again we act as if the north woods is all that ( and actually it is, if you like to be sub zero and ski and lose your digits) so...the only reason i stay in MN is bc..of my family. When i moved back from sunny New Hampshire ( ha!) via not sunny Chicago ( really ) I vowed that in order to survive winter i had to take little breaks. As able.
Even tho it messes with things work and other those weekends or a bit longer are the key. And it isnt just about temperatures and mai tais near the pool. It is more about hitting terra firma and at least for me, the return, if even for 72 hours of sensory stimulation. Sounds/smells that are so frozen all winter suddenly return when you are in Mexico, San Diego, Tucson...or Houston!
Stay sane.
Now i have some candy corn to get thru :)

Anonymous said...

Nope-I lived in snowy Minnesota for many years, and although I LOVE MN, especially in summer, and my family is there, I now live in an area of Southern CA where the beach is 30 minutes away, and we really never break out the heavy coats. It was 90 degrees until this week, and now it's beautiful. I do NOT miss snow, unless I am going skiing on it. I get enough going back to MN for Christmas!


Charisa said...

I grew up in Chicago and then lived in CT for a while. I remember riding in March one year in CT and thinking I was in HEAVEN! I'm spoiled in San Diego now, but honestly I miss the cold. I miss Christmas in cold. I miss snow . . . So you are right - you hate it, but you would miss it!

Bob Mitera said...

It has been frosting for three weeks at my house! You aren't that much further south than I am.

You only live once. Move to where you will be happy (and/or warm). Family will come along. Either'll be happy.

I will never - ever - miss cold, changing seasons, etc. If I want to see snow...I can fly to it. Snow is only pretty the day it falls; only if you don't have to drive in it.

In my house you get to complain about ONE season - mine is winter. Bite me winter! Bring on your worst. I'll still be outside working out.

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Okay. Okay. Even though Nate and I don't have a place yet, you are always welcome. We're driving out on the 8th or 9th... and will be in town shortly thereafter. :) We ARE working with an agent, and will HOPEFULLY have something lined up. Mi casa es su casa. Or something like that.

And for the record - I miss fall. And I miss snow. And I miss the crisp air of new falling snow. And I miss sledding. And I miss snowball fights. And I miss skiing.


Alicia Parr said...

We've gotten frost the last couple mornings here in NC. That's way early. I mean, the trees are barely beginning to turn.

Kim said...

This post is very near and dear to my heart Liz. I guess because I am feeling EXACTLY what you just said about winter. I get that ansy feeling when I know we are heading into the darkness, and cold, and hats and scarfs and I give my husband "the batch" as he so affectionalty reffers to it about how I don't want to live in PA anymore and want to go where I can ride my bike all year long! THEN - (and I know because this little spat happens every year) he says "what about your family, what about our friends, our jobs are here (except now mine too is portable) and you would miss the seasons. I tell him I can come back and visit the seasons, that's when you visit the family! He's not buying it, and he never will, and we are living here until we are old and that is the end of story! So, take your trip, at least you get to do that and enjoy it for the rest of us! I'm going to visit Marit, she doesn't know it yet, but I totally am arriving on her doorstep with a bag full of cycling, running and swimming clothes & a toothbrush, that's it..say.. Feb.!!

Andrea said...

I have to show this to Paul because, after our visit last weekend, he is very interested in moving to Chicago! Ugh!

Once he reads this he may change his mind.

Molly said...

Awww. Now you know why I ended up back in California after stints in Chicago and DC. Even in Northern CA, our winter still allows for outdoor time without suffering. And we can drive to snow and the beach all in the same day!

Shawn and Tracy said...

"Winter is black slush" LOL!!! Hey can you send me some money tree seeds ;-)

Ulyana said...

wow, I love your blog!

I live in San Diego, and I am really, really, really, really craving winter. Maybe we could switch?

I miss rain so much, forget about snow. I am tired of sunshine (life is hard, I know). My get away is usually to the cold ends of the country every winter for my vacation!