melaniesuzanne: (Autumn)
...then I'm going to act like it's autumn. I have swapped out my typical capris/crops for actual (slightly too big) jeans and added a scarf to the ensemble. Oh, how I love scarf weather.

Perhaps I'll take the bike out for spin after work. I really should start bike commuting again, but I've gotten spooked about playing in morning rush hour traffic for some odd reason. I'm not sure if it's my worry about my depleted stamina or what, but I'm afraid. Of course, the way to overcome my fear is to face it head on, and yet... I'll prep my bike tonight and see how I feel in the morning.

Things at home are as peaceful as can be expected. We are rarely in the house at the same time and that seems to be for the best. My friends have kept me busy over the past week with a trip to the Prince William County Fair, a sushi dinner, and a home-cooked meal. Every one of you are precious to me. I'm not sure what's going on this weekend; maybe I'll go to the zoo or explore Skyline Drive or any other number of low-cost adventures.
melaniesuzanne: (Merry Ratmas!)
But it's starting to look like a white Christmas... just like the ones I've never known. The flakes have gotten significantly larger in the last thirty minutes from when I first noticed a flurry and the Weather Channel is predicting up to an inch west of DC. I'm keeping my toes crossed!

And if I'm too busy with family tomorrow, I wish you a very happy and blessed Christmas and much love to you and yours.
melaniesuzanne: (Default)
Saturday was my fortieth birthday and it was a busy, busy. I slept in, of course, and after dismantling the cemetery in the yard, I jumped on my bike and rode west. My plan was to ride forty miles for my fortieth year. I fell short by three and a half miles, unfortunately. But! I made a quick grocery stop on the way home and rode with fully loaded grocery panniers for the last couple of miles. That's got to count for something.

I was pretty tired when I got home but I eventually rallied enough to make a Seven (minus one) Layer Dip for [livejournal.com profile] flonzy and [livejournal.com profile] azpapillion's party. I rushed through my shower and ironing of my costume and took my time applying the sugar skull makeup. It took a full hour and because I am a doofus, I forgot to take photos. Bah.

The party itself was a TON of fun. Nearly everyone was in costume and looked fantastic. Flonzy spent all day slow roasting ribs and the BBQ was to. die. for. The side dishes were yummy and the cake that [livejournal.com profile] carthew made for me received rave reviews for both looks and taste.

Cake! )

Sunday wasn't a good day. The pain that I'd been experiencing last week abated some on Saturday and came back with a vengeance Sunday morning. I woke up just after 3am and spent the next four hours crying on the sofa. It got so bad at 7am that I woke Scott -- who wasn't wearing his hearing aids and was on another floor -- with my sobbing. He bundled me up and took me to the ER where I got an antibiotic and a shot of dilaudid. I finally slept comfortably and he took a woozy me home. Mid-afternoon the pain was back and the prescribed percocet didn't touch it. We went back to the ER where another doctor ordered a CT which showed nothing physically wrong. I spent the rest of the day alternately wincing and crying. Good times.

Monday and Tuesday was the storm. I worked from home -- mostly because I wasn't going to drive on percocet -- and Scott was chased out of his office early afternoon on Monday. The power never flickered but the wind was pretty frightening. On Tuesday afternoon, I saw a neurologist who ran an EEG and a nerve test. Aside from a little carpal tunnel in my right wrist -- which I developed in my 20s -- the nerves seemed okay. He suggested I see an orthodontist to rule out my teeth causing the pain.

Wednesday was my day off. I set the ghosts back out in the yard and tree, added a few new elements, and carved pumpkins. Trick-or-treating started just after 6pm and wrapped up at 8:15pm. It was a really light night. Normally we have trick-or-treaters knocking on the door until almost 10pm. I was happy, though, to turn out the light at 9 and slip into PJs for a couple of hours before bed.

Today I'm back in the office and looking fabulous because this happened. )

And I love it!
melaniesuzanne: (skyclad by Coop)
Frankenstorm is on its way and the right side of my face hurts so badly that I only managed to cat nap with an ice pack on my face, two Tylenol PM, and four Advil. Good times. Other storm-related unhappiness is that I will dismantle and stow away the graveyard and ghosts lest they blow away and create hazards for other people. The one year that I decorate well in advance of Halloween... Ah well. The Halloween weather forecast has gone from dry and sunny to rainy and windy.

Poop.

Saw "Sinister" last night. I alternated between boredom and tension. At one point, I even pulled out my phone to check Fandango to see how long the movie was supposed to be. The jump scares were cheap, the characters were stupid, and the lighting was atrocious. I'm pretty sure that the lighting was supposed to be "atmospheric", but the darkness was annoying and distracting. I should have sneaked out of the auditorium and into "Paranormal Activity 4".

Happily, I am working a half day due to a mid-afternoon hair appointment and getting a jump start on my birthday weekend. Tomorrow is the big four-oh and I've got a lot of celebrating planned. Tonight, I'm heading over to [livejournal.com profile] carthew's house to play sous chef as she prepares my birthday cake. Tomorrow, I make the final tweaks to my costume for [livejournal.com profile] flonzy and [livejournal.com profile] azpapillion's Halloween/Birthday party. I may also jump on a bike and take a forty mile ride if my sinus stops hurting long enough for me to stop feeling like I'll pass out.

Oh, and Scott did get me the Lego Haunted House. It hasn't arrived yet, but he did order it. Yay!
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: rat)
I hit the trail thirty minutes later than usual because 1) I stayed up too late reading and wasn't ready to bounce out of bed the third time my alarm went off [I am way too fond of the snooze button] and 2) it took a while for me dig out my cold weather gear and suit up for the commute. I'm good with a light cardigan, scarf, and gloves in the 40s, but once the mercury dips into the 30s, I want my helmuffs, arm warmers, and at least a windbreaker. After bundling up and ensuring that I had all the needed bits and bobs, I took off for work.

As I pulled my bike over the curb separating the neighborhood street and small hill to the W&OD trail, two lightly bundled cyclists in heavily laden bicycles cruised by in my planned direction. I overtook them after half a mile and realized they were on a bike tour. The fully loaded panniers and bedroll each had attached to their rear racks gave it away. I called out for them to enjoy their trip and the woman of the couple assured me, "Oh, we are!"

More joggers were out than I normally see in the morning and fewer commuters/trainers. I'm sure that was due to the lateness of my ride. I was surprised that traffic on Waxpool was lighter at 8:50 than 8:20. It certainly feels heavier when I'm in the car. Crossing two traffic lanes to get into the left turn lane for the campus was a breeze. It was also nice not having to fight for a parking space what with several parking lots and access to one of the garages being closed off for repaving and repair. One of the many perks of riding on two wheels.
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: rat)
Another glorious commute. Oncoming cyclists and pedestrians returned my "good morning"s and Bike-to-Work guy -- I wish I could remember his name! Dave? Doug? Craig? -- hailed me as we crossed Ruritan Circle in opposite directions. Maybe tomorrow I'll holler out "I'm sorry, I've forgotten your name!" Too many syllables, probably.

I remembered to wear wool gloves this morning and my fingers didn't freeze. My chambray shirt, cotton tank, jeans, and boots kept me comfy without overheating me. I'm still working on keeping my speed down when riding Beatrix to work. As I sloooowly approached a jogger, I thought to myself that I could've blown past him on Lily. But Beatrix deserves a gentler pace. I do wish I'd caught up to the cyclist at Waxpool and Smiths Switch, though. I just missed the light.

Traffic was again gentle on the two lane surface road section of my commute and heavy but considerate on the four lane section. I've been too chicken to dive into the left turn lane into the campus ahead of cars and have instead turned right onto a dead end and then dashed across all four lanes when there's a break in traffic, which is something I've rarely done on Lily or Circe. I guess the less aggressive posture of Beatrix makes my riding in traffic less aggressive.

Something else I've been doing is whipping off my helmet once I enter the campus so that my hair will dry some while I still have a bit of a breeze before parking in the garage. So far, so good, and I feel like a rebel. Rawr.
melaniesuzanne: (Old Spice: Horse)
I'm a little high on life this morning. It's a welcome change from how I've been feeling over the past month or so. Here are the good things from this morning's commute:



  • The weather! Blue skies with wispy clouds, bright sunshine, and a temperature of 55F when I left the house.
  • Polite cyclists! Every person who rode around me called "on your left!" as they approached. Plus, a guy I met at the Sterling Bike to Work stop in May waved and yelled "Hi, Melanie!" as we passed in opposite directions. Luckily, I was smiling as we approached each other and he won't think I was a jerk for not yelling "hi" back. I was too surprised and he was already too far behind me to have heard a reply. See Melanie rationalize. Rationalize, Melanie, rationalize.
  • My new pedals. Last month, the delightful Dottie of Let's Go Ride a Bike reviewed Dimension Curved Pedals and has been very happy with their grippiness when she wears heels while riding. The stock pedals that came with Beatrix the C8 are slippery as all get out if I wear anything other than sneakers. I swapped out the pedals yesterday and enjoyed a slip-free ride in my heels today.
  • My outfit. Sleeveless purple with cream polka dots knee-length, A-line dress; gold chain and big honking pearls necklace; dark red, faux gator Mary-jane heels. Oh, and a thigh-length, cream, open-weave cardigan for when I cool off and start freezing because of the AC vent blowing on my neck and shoulders.
  • My make-up. Benefit They're Real mascara and Too Faced Vanilla Glow (because I am glow-in-the-dark pale) Beauty Balm. I have searched high and low for a mascara that a) doesn't smudge because of my oily eyelids, and b) doesn't flake into my eyeballs. This is my Holy Grail mascara. It survived last week's humidity and this morning's commute like a champ. The BB is great because it didn't smear and run despite my sweaty, sweaty face.
  • And last, but certainly not least, Beatrix the Public Bikes C8. She is finally set up so that function is just as beautiful as form. Granted, I had to change out a lot of stock parts to get to that point, but I can now ride like a lady when the inspiration strikes.


I hope that you have as wonderful a day as my morning has been.
melaniesuzanne: (Autumn)
I am not a fan of summer. Oh sure, I enjoy the things that I can comfortably do in the summer such as swim in lakes and outdoor pools and... well, that's about it for things that I feel can only be done in the summer. Go to the beach? I prefer the uncrowded nature of the off-season. Camping? Give me cool weather for that. Bike riding? I am a cold weather cyclist because I hate being a sweaty mess. (Granted, I'm still a sweaty mess in the cool/cold, but it's more tolerable.)

Despite her many faults, I love the south so very much. But I do not like her summers. It hurts my heart to say this, but I may need to move further north. Or maybe into the mountains. Come on cooler weather!
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
The incredible humidity over the past couple of days has provided spectacularly foggy mornings. Visibility in my neighborhood wasn't too bad but the W&OD was completely shrouded in the white gloom. Can gloom be white? Maybe it was more of a dingy white; that's kind of gloomy, I guess. I couldn't see pedestrians until I was almost on top of them and other cyclists were dim shapes as we approached each other. Even my usual landmarks were hard to see. )

Where's the golf course?
Where's the golf course?

Believe it or not, I spotted a couple of golfers passing by on a cart. I hope they counted the fog as a substantial handicap.

Despite my fear of arachnids, I love the artistry of (small) spiderwebs. After snapping the golf course photo, I noticed this peculiar web amongst the flora. I couldn't get the right angle to actually show the funnel; it kept appearing as the black dot in the center of the web. You'll have to trust me that the web is funnel-shaped.

Funnel web
Funnel web!

My ride through the fog made me feel like I was in a horror movie or a fairy tale. I suppose that when you don't Disney-fy fairy tales, though, they're one and the same. Thankfully, my trusty steed carried me through to the sunny path to the campus.

Pea Soup

Jan. 24th, 2012 03:51 pm
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
This morning's commute was super foggy. The picture above is from the least foggy portion of my ride, perhaps because the heat rising off the parkway warmed the air enough to burn away the murk. I'm not sure if that's even how fog works, but it sounds good to me. Happily, other cyclists were lit up so we could see each other on the trail. Also happily was that both I and the backhoe driving down the trail(!!) were both lit up enough to spot each other before something ugly and perhaps painful could happen. The ninja jogger near the center of the photo, not so much with the being lit up. Maybe just lit.

Foggy W&OD trail at Loudoun County Parkway.
Foggy W&OD trail at Loudoun County Parkway.


I braved the chilly fog so as to enjoy the glorious afternoon and evening promised by prognosticators. They've delivered on the afternoon beauty; let's see how the evening commute goes. Even if it's chilly, Scott will be meeting me along the route and that always makes the trip fun.

View from my cube.
View from my cube.

Wow.

Jan. 19th, 2012 09:48 am
melaniesuzanne: (Default)
The wind died down a bit for last night's ride home, but the temperature dropped as well. I've gotten too used to the temp still being warm despite the sun's departure and that bit me in the ass last night. My windbreaker and mid-weight shirt were fine in the morning sunshine, but not so fine in the night's chill. Add in that my ski gloves were still damp from the morning ride because my glove liners were in Hubbyfink's backpack from our trip to the ER last week and it wasn't an entirely pleasant ride home. I actually wore my scarf for the entire ride which is a first. I'm usually shedding and unzipping layers as I travel.

However. After reading this post from a bike commuter in Edmonton, Alberta, I shan't complain too loudly. When I saw the picture, I thought, oh, what a pretty white scarf and then I read that the white fluff was her frozen hair. Yikes!

The upside of commuting when it's really cold is that I don't have to scrape ice off my windshield. So, that's something...

Oof.

Jan. 18th, 2012 10:02 am
melaniesuzanne: (Default)
The morning temperature wasn't too bad as I've figured out how to layer when it's in the 30s, but the 25mph wind roaring up and across the trail was HORRIFIC. In the places where the trees typically provide a windbreak, they were instead wind tunnels. I felt like I was being push up the downhills. No coasting on this morning's five mile trip. Oof.

Here's hoping the wind dies down for the return trip home, eh?

In other news, I purchased my first pair of reading glasses last night. I was browsing the catfood aisle, checking ingredients on a can of food and realized that I could not read the tiny print. I sighed, carried the can over to the pharmacy, and tested different strengths of reading glasses. My self-prescribed strength is +1.25. According to my mother -- who I teased pretty badly whenever she handed something over for me to read to her -- that's nothing, but she still laughed at me after accepting my apology for the above-mentioned teasing. As I noted elsenet, the last time I wore glasses was the last time I wore braces. All I need is a permed mullet (and drop 100 pounds) and I'll look like my junior high self.
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
This morning's commute was pretty easy even with the "wooden" (I suspect Trex or somesuch) bridge being covered with crunchy ice. I followed Rootchopper's advice to "stay loose" and crossed the bridge without incident. I'm sad that my helmuffs don't work as well under my Bern helmet, but my wool cap works just fine and keeps my sweaty hair covered during the walk from garage to cube. Happily, the fog was merely damp and not of the frozen variety.

Got buzzed by a cement truck who passed me on a blind corner and then made a right turn directly in front of me. Couldn't wait the few seconds for me to pass your turn, dude? Thankfully, there were no cars (or people) coming around that curve.

I discovered that the MapMyRide app was shorting my commute distance by two-tenths of a mile. Yeah, that doesn't seem like much at first, but it does add up. I've recalculated my commute mileages and have added five miles to my end-year total. Whoo hoo! (Shush. I've got a mileage goal I'm working toward [and am not going to hit, darnit!])

So anyway, here are my 2011 stats. I'm looking forward to comparing them to the end of 2012. I'm sure these don't match up with any of the lovely bike bloggers I follow, but there's nothing wrong with that. (It's not a competition. It's not a competition. It's not a competition.)

CC the Schwinn
May: 22.99
June: 14.58
July: 3.54

Rose
July: 47.33
Aug: 53.81
Sep: 105.67
Oct: 229.37
Nov: 159.65
Dec: 160.36

Rose total: 756.19
All total: 797.3
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
On Sunday the Bike Me DC meet-up group convened on the Vienna branch of Spokes, Etc for a "Winter Cycling" seminar. The staff went over the usual information of which clothes and accessories will keep a cyclist warm, plus the idea of layering so one can cool off as the exertion increases the body temperature. They also covered winter bike maintenance. I hadn't thought to check the brake pads for bits of gravel and other detritus which gets washed up/blown onto the road and/or trail. They covered lights (of both the "see" and "be seen" varieties) and reflective items. I didn't feel comfortable piping up with ideas for cheaper alternatives for clothing and accessories during the seminar itself, but Hubbyfink sent a couple of non-standard-sized cyclist women in my direction for info on the products I use and where to purchase them (Novara vented windbreaker and Canari padded cycling shorts for instance...). I'm all for supporting my local bike shop(s), and trust me I do buy lots of bits and bobs whenever I succumb to bike hypochondria, but sometimes they don't offer the larger-sized cyclist the gear she wants and/or needs.

Read more... )

In other news, it's been snowing off and on this afternoon and it's been more on for the past half hour or so. The grass and cars have a decent covering and the parking lot is wet. The deeply closeted daredevil side of me wishes I'd been feeling well enough to bike in the cold air this morning so that I could feel all bad@ss on the commute home.
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
The 'fink and I hit the trail on New Year's Day to return a few items to Tarzhay. The weather was sunny and warm when we left and I wore fingerless gloves and left the windbreaker at home. Hubbyfink runs colder than I do and wore more (and warmer) layers, but was still comfy on the ride over. When we got rolling, I had a ball updating him on how fast my cycling computer said we were going. I'm thrilled to bits that I'm a lot faster than I thought I was.

The trail wasn't choked with people, but there were more than the usual number of winter folks enjoying the mild weather. We got to the shopping center without issue, returned items, and then purchased a few more. We left the store and noticed the sky had clouded, the wind had picked up, and it was starting to drizzle. Hubbyfink suggested we seek refuge at Eastern Mountain Sports so he could browse sale items. He wound up not buying a thing while I picked up four pair (buy three, get one free!) of Smartwool snowboarding socks (because thick wool socks are a winter cyclist's best friend) and a Bern helmet. I've been lusting after the women's Berkeley model, but every one I tried at REI hurt my head. The men's Brentwood, on the other hand, fit beautifully and I walked out with the matte red with black visor version.

When we left EMS, I definitely regretted leaving my windbreaker and full finger gloves at home. The rain was heavier and with all the car traffic, Hubbyfink and I put our headlights on blink mode. I had to tell him to put the light on steady when we hit the trail, though. Blinky lights on a MUP are unnecessary and rude, I think.

The rain starting pounding down after we crossed 28 and we passed a few other cold and wet cyclists. Hubbyfink asked if we could skip our planned ride to the recycling center. Oh my, yes, that was off the table. And, of course, after warm showers and dry clothes, the sun came back out. Unfortunately, I'd broken a spoke somewhere along the way home and I wasn't going to ride anywhere until that got fixed (which it was yesterday when my bike shop was again open).
melaniesuzanne: (Default)
Good gracious, the wind was high this morning. It felt like there was a head-wind in every direction -- although, I can't vouch for the east because that's the one direction I don't travel on the morning commute. I couldn't coast much. Even down the Rte 28 overpass which normally lets me build up enough speed to coast 1/3 of a mile... nothing: I was at a near standstill at the bottom of the hill. I struggled all the way to the campus and I haven't felt so physically exhausted since my first few rides back in May.

I got pelted in a shower of pine needles while exiting my neighborhood. That was a new experience. Sunglasses as eye-protection, for the win. Also? The fingerless arm warmers kept my forearms comfy and cozy in the wind chill. I'm still looking for leg/knee warmer with good reviews. I may just break down and pull out the long-johns for wearing under jeans. If nothing else, I won't need to run the space heater under my desk all day.

In other news, Tuesday night the 'fink and I took Delta to the dealership for her 20k check-up and minor repairs such as the sometimes-functional vanity light on the driver's side and the jammed volume knob on the stereo. The service guy chuckled when I told him those items desperately needed repair. But hey, everything's still under warranty so I might as well fix the annoyances before they cost me money. They needed to keep the truck an extra day since they didn't have replacement visors on hand and we went back last night to retrieve her. The Prius' visor won't stay up and the service guy thought there was a recall on that. And so we decided to leave Hubbyfink's car for repair today. Good thing I've been pretending we're a one vehicle household (well, and that I have the ability to pretend such a thing).

No deer sightings last night -- mostly because I worked from home since it was cold AND wet -- but Hubbyfink spotted a skunk trundling across Davis as we drove home from an impromptu shopping trip. Happily, we missed the critter. Funny, I've never seen one alive in the wild before. They're kind of cute when they aren't dead and stinky.
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
Swinging by my polling place on the way to work added two miles and 15 minutes to my commute. I got to park my bike right next to the entrance to the polling place which allowed me to completely miss the gauntlet of candidates and/or their volunteers waving papers in my face. Score!

The trail is pretty empty of commuters between 8:20 and 8:40. I don't know if it was lateness of the morning rush or if the other folks are using cars now that it's getting dark so early and getting colder in the mornings and after the sun goes down.

I don't mind the cold; although, I need to add arm and knee warmers on the mornings I don't wear a jacket (yes, yes, the jacket doesn't help the knees). My shirt today has 3/4-length sleeves and my lower arms got a little windburned. My knees get the brunt of the cold air in either jeans or leggings, and I want to be good to my knees because, as the song goes, I'll miss them when they're gone. I had to remove my scarf when I voted, and I tucked the warm gloves in my pannier when I stopped at the light for Waxpool. In the Too Much Information column, I need to start wearing a workout bra for the commute because wearing a damp-from-sweat bra throughout the workday sucks.

I haven't ridden in the cold and wet and I most likely won't. But maybe I'll try it once, just to see. Sometimes I'm too curious for my own good (or Hubbyfink's comfort).
melaniesuzanne: (Default)
I lie in bed at night, listening to every rumble of the jets arriving and departing Dulles, wondering if the low rumble isn't actually a jet and waiting for the bed and bedroom furniture to shake. I think the quake affected me more deeply than I originally thought.

Hurricane? Too far away from the coast, and too high on a hill, to worry about flooding. The worst I should fret about is losing a shingle. I'll most likely spend Sunday ironing Pennsic clothes and putting the craft room back in order.
melaniesuzanne: (Spring)
Still feeling pretty high on life. Been kicking @ss at work today and impressing the heck out of Bossman. The cherry on the cupcake of my week is having tomorrow off so I can retrieve [livejournal.com profile] zipmeister and boyfriend from the airport for a fun-filled long weekend.

This is the anniversary of Basil's death, right down to the hour as I'm typing. I felt fairly down about that earlier this week when I remembered his last good day before his quick decline. Today, though, I simply treasure the time I was allowed to share with that special and oh so fluffy creature. And today, I am blessed to have two loving and healthy oh so fluffy creatures who make me laugh every day and make my life that much more enjoyable.

Yesterday afternoon's weather was so beautiful, I would have been ashamed not to get outside and enjoy it. I took a quick walk up and over the Sully Road bridge and back home. There were scads of bikers and walkers and runners out. I even saw one guy jogging with his toddler daughter sitting on his shoulders; that's pretty freaking hardcore. I noticed a pathway from the trail into the Dominion Station neighborhood for the first time. It looked so inviting with flowering trees, almost like a secret pathway to a secret garden.

I'm so happy that it is finally spring. As an extra special bonus, my allergies haven't kicked in yet. *knocks wood* My JC consultant says that the multivitamins are good at keeping allergy symptoms at bay. I think it's more likely that I started my Zyrtec regimen at the right time. But it could be both; who knows? Whatever it is, I'll take it.
melaniesuzanne: (Spring)
What a glorious day. It looked kind of dicey this morning with the overcast skies, but now the sun has burned off many of the clouds and it's absolutely gorgeous out there. I left the windows at home cracked for the kitties so they could get their fill of smell-o-vision while the gorgeous weather holds. I hope that Hubbyfink is able to leave work early so he can spend some quality time rollerblading on the bike trail. I'm looking forward to quality time on the trail tomorrow and Sunday.

Hubbyfink talked me into leaving work a little early yesterday and we walked most of my 5k route through the neighborhood. We cut the trip short due to darkness, but still got in a fairly good walk. He was impressed with my jogging pace. I guess I was describing it as much slower than it actually is. One of these days I'll actually be able to sustain that pace for more than a few minutes at a time. When we got to the end of our street, I challenged Hubbyfink to a race home. I ran full bore, and so did he for a moment. He slackened his pace to match mine, teasing me about running like a girl and since he was within reach I punched him repeatedly in the shoulder while hollering, "Of course I run like a girl. I am a girl!". All of this while still running, mind. He let me win. One of these days, though... I'll win on my own.

It amuses me to see the ever shrinking piles of snow in the shady spots of the campus. These drifts are surrounded by crunchy brown leaves. Symbols of two, two, two seasons in one! One of the peonies at home is starting to poke branches up through the dirt. In a few more weeks, the tulips and daffodils and lone hyacinth should make their appearances. One of these years I'll remember to plant springtime bulbs in the autumn to ensure more tulips and hyacinths in our garden.

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