Sunday, January 22, 2012


I was going to play it cool and skip the obligatory weather post, but Seattle's big storm of 2012 would not be denied. Check out the crazy weather this week in Western Washington:

Monday night/Tuesday morning - Trace to 2 inches of snow. Some schools closed. Seattle Public Schools had both a 2 hour delay in the morning and a 2 hour early dismissal. Steady superintendents stuck to a 2 hour delay. While the native Philly tough guy in me likes to get out in the snow, unfortunately a few inches and a lack of snowplows makes Seattle's hilly streets a better venue for sledding than driving.

Wednesday -  The Pineapple Express brought heavy precipitation to Western Washington. The heaviest snowfall - more than a foot - was in the Olympia area. My nine year old measured 5.5 inches on our deck. Nearly every school in NW Washington was closed for the rest of the week.

Thursday - About a third of an inch of freezing rain fell on top of the day old snow, leaving a thick layer of ice atop the snow. This one-two punch was too much to handle for the region's deciduous trees, leaving downed limbs everywhere. When whole trees snapped, the sound of a shotgun blast echoed through forested areas, disrupting the peace of the snow-cover. And that's not all that was disrupted, as 300,000 customers lost power. We lost power for 23 hours.

Friday - As temperatures gradually increased, the melt was on and the area braced for flooding. Still, there was enough unplowed snow in our neighborhood that I had to push my neighbor's car out of a snowbank (and I did - still have some muscles in my 40 year old body!).

Saturday - We again awoke to no power. A windstorm with gusts up to 45 miles per hour blew through over night, knocking out power for six hours. Mercifully, the sun came out later in the day and the roads are now mostly bare and dry.

Kudos - To the power crews out there dealing with this mess. The were out there during the ice storm and the wind storm. Also to the unfairly maligned U.S. Postal Service, which delivered close to on time every day through all of this.

Egg white, green pepper, ham, and mushroom scramble
Eating and Exercise

My eating was very uneven this week. I started an emphasis on natural foods this week as a part of the P.O.P. World Series. Some days I did great, but others I wavered. I'll accept about 90% of the blame, but I think circumstances played a role, too. My job this year demands a lot of me when there's snow in the forecast. I need to monitor weather forecasts late into the night and then get up at least a couple of hours earlier than normal to make adjustments for work. I'm just not a disciplined eater when I'm tired.

What I could have done better was be prepared with more whole foods on hand. We had times when we couldn't get to the store and it was way too easy to go with processed foods when the power was out. Preparation would have really helped.

For exercise, I got back in the swing of stair climbing this week. Monday, I went to the stairs behind a local elementary school and climbed 500. Now, last year I did 1311 in The Big Climb, but these 500 - my first since March - nearly did me in. My calves ached for days. But I got back on the horse and did 700 yesterday. Since it was a mess outside, I did those in my house. It was my first time climbing in my two-story house, but it worked great. And I passed the time listening to the crank powered radio I have on hand for power outages. Woohoo! Look for more stair climbing and another "announcement" soon. ;-)

UPDATE: On the Death of Joe Paterno

Those of you who have followed this blog know that I am a proud native of Pennsylvania and a big sports fan. It shouldn't be surprising that I have been a Penn State fan since I was very young. My brother is a Penn State grad and one of my treasured memories is flying to State College to watch a Penn State football game with him. I feel I have a little perspective on Joe Paterno that has not been expressed in the mainstream media that seems to exist to build people up so they can tear them down.

If you only know Joe Paterno from the recent scandal, please keep an open mind to his entire record and legacy. The child abuse perpetrated by a former Penn State assistant coach is horrible. Everybody agrees with that. My heart goes out to the victims. I wish Joe had done more and I wrote about it at the time. Paterno has said the same. But the facts are that Paterno reported what he heard to university officials, believing they had the "expertise" to handle the situation that he did not. His report went straight up the chain of command to the head of the university police. Simply put, they should have acted, period. I haven't worn my Penn State sweatshirt since the scandal broke. I am ashamed by how Penn State the institution failed to protect children. In retrospect, Joe should have done more, but that is only because the district attorney failed to act, the state child protection agency failed to act, the police - who had a wiretap on Sandusky and let him off with a verbal warning - failed to act, and administrators of The Second Mile charity - who knew about allegations for years - failed to act. That Paterno is the primary person who has been held accountable for not doing more is revisionist history in the moment.

What I want you to know about Joe Paterno is that Penn State was widely acknowledged to have the highest standards of conduct among major college football programs. Shortly after Paterno was fired, it was announced that Penn State tied Stanford for the highest graduation rate among major college football programs. And Penn State won the 2011 Academic Bowl Championship Series, in part because Penn State's football graduation rate showed no achievement gap between African American and white players. Paterno gave more than $4 million for the university library that bears his name, and even donated $100,000 after he was fired.

The memory I will take from the last time I saw Paterno, speaking to students on his lawn the night he was fired, was Joe saying, "Go home and study." I texted my brother at the time that maybe college football has passed Paterno by, because I can't think of a current college coach who would have chosen that message to send at that time. No man is perfect, but let's remember Joe in perspective. Rest in peace.


Jessica said...

I always have a tough time controlling my eating during winter storms. It just becomes a free for all for me. We have so few snow storms in Bama, it is not something I usually have to deal with, but I am aware of the issue, and if we are snowed in this year I hope that I can control myself. It is crazy...when it snows I start eating things I wouldn't even consider eating otherwise...and most is JUNK!

Michele said...

The pictures of the snow are incredible. Looks more like MN than WA. I can only imagine the havoc that took place with the icy, slushy and treacherous driving conditions, plus power outages.

You carry a great deal of responsibility so am not surprised that your eating was uneven. Hope you feel good about the weather calls you had to make and did not have to deal with any mishaps with vehicles or passengers.

May the jet stream head further north this week!

Tish said...

I vote you did great for being hit with all that weather and power outages. I'm particularly impressed with the stair climbing. Keep it up.

Caron said...

Good post. You covered a lot of things. My food choices when I'm stuck and have no electricity are usually limited to canned soup, tuna, crackers and peanut butter. That's not a good menu for even a couple of days. :(

Michele said...

I forgot to say thanks for your comments about Joe P. After the NFC championship I read them to my hubby. Much more to his legacy than the most recent issues which you articulate well.

Dr. Fat To Fit said...

Wow! That's a lot of snow. Great job on the stair climbing! I too and just disappointed and disillusioned about Paterno. I feel sorry for the boys whose lives were ruined. It's just sad, the whole thing. The football this weekend was good. Great games to watch, but I don't care for either team....oh well.
BTW I tagged you in my post today.

Bruce said...

After having one of the driest December's in history, we are finally starting to get some snow down here as well. Same storms I think, but there are coming in here just a bit warmer so it is rain mixed with snow.

Stress and tiredness are a big problem for me when it comes to eating. Sounds like you had both working against you so you did great to do as well as you did.

Thanks for the words about Peterno. He and Lavell Edwards were friends and both were great coaches that ran great programs that understood that it wasn't just about football. Let's hope the real culprits will get what they deserve.

Mer and Mo said...

Sometimes we just can't prepare for snow, snow, snow...but in light of it all you did get in your exercise and you are preparing for the next Big Climb!!

RIP Joe...


Christina said...

What a week! Geez, Alan, the weather sounds crazy there. We've just been having rain here in Cincinnati. We've had a tiny bit of snow and ice here, but it melts within 24 hours.

You are kicking some butt with your steps! 700? WOW. Your eating may have been affected by the weather and your work demands, but your exercising sure wasn't. Keep up the good work, Alan.