Sunday, December 13, 2009

Winter in So Cal

Some of you may be asking, "Do they HAVE winter in Los Angeles?" Good question. I'm learning it comes in the form of a "rainy season." I thought I'd share some fun cultural differences for this Alaskan transplant in So Cal this winter.

Last week Monday they closed I-5 at our exit due to snow about 10 miles north. We live in Castaic a small town trucker stop. I happened to be driving home about 10 p.m. that night from a women's guest speaker deal at a friend's house. By that time there were 18 wheelers parked all along the shoulder of I-5 for about 5-7 miles down from our exit. It was NUTS! When I got off on my exit (the last exit open) there were hundreds of 18 wheelers parked EVERYWHERE. It was something out of a movie. Trucks were parked facing each other in all directions in the MIDDLE of the road! I could barely drive into our apartment parking lot. The next morning I got out just before they re-opened the highway and 200 + 18 wheelers made a mass exodus out of Castaic. Winter in Southern California.

A couple days later at work a co-worker came up to me in the lounge to show me a picture his son from San Fran emailed his I-phone. He was so excited to show me this picture saying, "Check out what my son emailed me this morning from San Fransico!" The look of surprise and confusion on my face caused him to respond, "I know, crazy! It was 40 degrees this morning in San Fran. Can you imagine?" My look of surprise and confusion came from processing that the temperature in his son's car said 40 degrees ABOVE zero and I wondered, "Is that cold?" I just nodded and said, "Wow!" Not for the reasons he thought I was saying wow. Winter in Southern California.

Another difference is the rain. The pull out snow plows, no lie, to "plow" the water on some parts of the interstates and highways so roads are not too slippery. Plow water?? Really? Hmmmm, and they are experiencing a deficit in the state budget? I can't imagine. Recess is indoor as well as lunch. All activities are outdoor in CA b/c 99% of school days are . . . sunny. Kids are wearing down coats and boots to school now. The funny part is by 3:00 p.m. when school gets out it is 60-70 degrees most days. I remember having outdoor recess in elementary school unless it was 10 below. If is was 9 below we went out, no if's, an's or but's about it! Winter in Southern California.

The sad part of it all? I've adjusted to southern weather being out of AK 3 years now (part of my time in South Carolina). The rainy days here DO feel cold to me and I even used my umbrella this weekend when it was sprinkling! I used to go running in shorts and a T-shirt in 50 degree rain in AK! I'm going to be in for a rude awakening next winter when we're back in Alaska!!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Christmas trees

notice the JD stocking under the bar area . . . thanks Burdine cousins, a perfect wedding gift!

a festive table runner for our coffee table

Mistletoe bears that we got on our honeymoon in Denali and the cinnamon pine cones

"O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches . . ."

Ben LOVES colored lights so they boarder the bar area and light most of our living room too, I love that he enjoys decorating :)

This past Saturday Ben and I went out and bought our first Christmas tree together. He was determined to get a real tree and the only option other than Home Depot was to drive north about an hour and cut one down in a "forested" area . . . desert. I was all for Home Depot easy out being that we're not in AK yet so we did it.

I have to say Home Depot's stock impressed me. This is one of the fullest live trees I've seen in a long time. It's a Douglas Fir . . . I highly recommend them if you're on the hunt for a good live tree. We got it early b/c Ben leaves for WA December 11th and I leave a week later when I finish work on the 19th so we wanted to be able to enjoy it awhile.

I've also been enjoying decorating the house with additional bits of holiday. I highly recommend adding cinnamon pine cones to your Christmas decor, they make your house smell festive and fresh!

Thanks mom and dad for the Christmas packages! They came ON Saturday while we were decorating, perfect timing. We hung both ornaments on our tree along with one we just got. The tree is a little sparse decoration but I've got 31 years of Hallmark ornaments waiting for us back in Alaska. Can't wait to see our tree all decked out next year!