Day 12: Thermodynamics.

Dear friends,

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On the 12th day of this month of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the nuclear furnace that lives inside me.

At least that’s what Mr. Mom says — that I am a walking, talking thermodynamics experiment. At night, I radiate heat in bed like a glowing ember, which you might imagine makes snuggling with me a winning proposition for a man with long, frigid limbs like Mr. Mom.

It was a balmy 17 degrees during this morning’s run. No big in my book. Two layers on top and one on bottom and I’m good to go. I don’t break out the big guns of warmth (triple layers and a face mask) until much closer to zero.

The winter before I left Mayberry was an exceptionally cold one. After running through a week of sub-zero temps, I just happened to sleep in on the morning Mayberry set a state record cold temperature at -31 degrees. I’m still bemoaning the fact that I ran faithfully that frigid winter but can’t tell my grandkids I ran on the coldest day ever.

I’m not sure, but I think my Native American blood is particularly suited to cold weather. I like that explanation better than the layer of maternal blubber which I am also certain provides strong insulating properties.

By the way, after this morning’s run, I made an unexpected stop at a local coffee shop. I was the lone patron on this dark, cold morning and the college student/barista looked especially glad to see me. As I took off my hat and gloves and ordered my specialty latte, he noticed my cold weather gear and began telling me how cold he had felt this morning while scraping the frost off his windshield without gloves.

Three decades and several good jobs have separated me from my peanut-butter-and-ramen-noodles existence, so I offered the boy my gloves. (They’re black, unisex, and made by North Face, a leading outfitter.) He declined, and I said goodbye hoping I didn’t embarrass him. I just acutely remember my 20s and the perpetual feeling of being a day late and dollar short. I also remember the feeling of luxury and privilege that came with owning a home with a garage and saying goodbye forever to cold-weather windshield scrapings.

With gratitude {for warmth, in all forms},

Joan, who loves to reminds her children that when she lived in Boston she daily walked ONE MILE EACH WAY through heavy snow to the subway station

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Blessedly boring.

Dear friends,

I’ve been away for a while, transfixed by a life that is blessedly boring.

Last night I sat in my easy chair watching the storm coverage on cable. I had a computer on my lap and a dog wedged in beside me, as well as a blanket and a beverage and all the comforts of a working power grid and an intact roof.

Our cold and overcast Midwest weather seems like a gift by comparison.

I ran yesterday morning in humid, 29-degree weather and I won’t offer a single word of lament. Yes, it’s unseasonably chilly and yes, I’d prefer a little sunshine — but so what? I have a blanket and a dog and a computer on my lap. No one can complain about those conditions!

You know what I’ve been doing since we last chatted?

Nothing.

Really, nothing. I’ve napped — in between long, winter’s snoozes. I’ve read. I’ve cooked and eaten plenty. (Pioneer Woman’s salisbury steak is great, by the way.) I’m watching television and running and chatting with friends.

In other words, life is sedate. Easy. Relaxed.

Maybe that’s what autumn is meant to be?

I don’t know, but I know I’ll take it any day.

With gratitude {for my currently boring life},

Joan, who was about 30 before she learned the definition of a bore is not a boring person

The creek done rose.

Dear friends,

I don’t know about your place, but it’s been raining here.  We put the work week to bed with rain and we started the weekend with rain.

The clouds finally parted for a bit on Saturday and Mr. Mom and Parker took a walk in our woods. What is usually a trickling stream snaking through our acreage was a superhighway of rain waters. Take a look at the photo Mr. Mom took with his phone:

We’ve had just enough rain and sunshine in the last month to persuade our woods to show off its foliage in nearly neon colors.

See that trail that runs through the brush? That’s where Mr. Mom and Parker and their friends ride their motorcycles. You can’t tell very well from this photo, but Mr. Mom has worked hard to clear a labyrinth of trails through our property. Every weekend, there’s a group of somebodys riding out back, including a group of mountain bikers Mr. Mom befriended. I don’t know about the cyclists, but the motocross boys love to ride through the creek. So does Ed. (Well, he doesn’t ride; he runs, but I guess you knew that.)

I don’t run through the creek (guess you knew that too) but it might surprise you to hear I’ve been running cross country through our woods. It’s a nice change of pace from road running, sticker bushes notwithstanding. I’ve got two new scars on my right leg from a wayward thorn.

Heat hasn’t been an issue so far, but I was surprised the woods are about 10 degrees cooler than the road. Assuming it doesn’t get too buggy, I might find summer running relief on my own property.

One of our neighbors even likes to walk our trails with his Labrador Retriever. Best we can tell, Fruitcake (the Lab) really likes it, too.

Here’s a photo Parker snapped with his phone and tweeted. I was kind of stunned by its beauty when I saw it.

I’m an original prairie girl, so I’m surprised how much I enjoy having a tract of wooded land.  I didn’t realize I would find it so scenic. And I certainly didn’t realize the riders (and walkers) would flock here, but I’m more than happy to share our little garden spot with anybody who can enjoy it.

With gratitude {for a lovely place to call our own with all sorts of wooded nooks and crannies to explore},

Joan, who always thought all she needed was a cabin and a pinafore and she could be Laura Ingalls Wilder

He said. She said.

Dear friends,

It rained at our place yesterday. Big ol’ buckets of rain poured down for most of the day, including just as Mr. Mom and I were falling asleep. Under the steady drum of rain on our roof in a house that was dark and otherwise still, here’s the conversation we had.

Mr. Mom:  I forgot to tell you. When I was driving to Wichita earlier this week, I drove through the worst rain ever. I could barely see the road and had to slow way down. I’ve never driven through rain that hard.

Joan: That’s not true.

Mr. Mom: What do you mean?

Joan: It’s not the worst rain ever. I was with you when you drove through the worst rain ever — that night we drove from Tulsa to Nowata and I was so scared and made us pull over. Remember? It was raining so hard the water started pouring through the seals of the side windows.

Mr. Mom: That was a function of the windows in that crappy ol’ Ram Charger and the wind, not the rain.

Joan: Not true! When we pulled over, it was raining so hard we couldn’t even see our hood ornament — and the rain was so heavy that RAIN WAS POURING IN our windows.

Mr. Mom: <chuckling> Shut up!

Joan: No! You’re wrong, and you’re trying to blame the windows when in fact it was the heaviest rain you’ve ever been in.

Mr. Mom: <chuckling> Oh, so you’re saying the wind wasn’t a factor?

Joan: The wind WAS a factor.

<Pause>

Joan: But it was still the heaviest rain ever.

With gratitude {for a pillow partner that lets me win all the important arguments},

Joan, who is the Master of Trivial Pursuit in her own life