Thursday, April 30, 2009

Watering In.

6:45 in the evening and the hose smell of the little sprinkler running on the new ten thousand petunias. Has it rained? It has not rained. It rains no more here forever. But it's deeply green everywhere, altogether green—we're waiting on nothing else to green over. We are headed hard for summer, even if today's excellent temps say otherwise.

Will it rain? It may. It may rain any of the next few days. Or it may rain none of those. Drought's not far from here and may be creeping back Guilfordward. Clouds, though: we had clouds, which was at least of visual interest, a kind of looming question mark all day, a sort of half-hearted wondering at what had gone wrong with the light, whether we'd turned the dimmer down too far.

I can hear the ballgame from this front porch.

Petunias. Haven't had a sun garden in years.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Front Porch.

My brother, in town for the procreation in-law jubilee, said we'd given something up leaving the old house, that the old front porch was an odd growth of a thing, but better than what we had here. And in ways, he was right—there was not much better than sitting up under that huge Japanese magnolia and listening, hopefully, to the dogs not bark across the street.

And I do miss that porch, miss that I made it, miss that it turned out to be such a glorious monstrosity. But the view from here—the neighbor's magnolia, the dogwood over here on our side, the streetlight I ought to hate but that instead reminds me comfortingly of Carr Street, the easy frequent sounds of trains, the front-porchiness of this porch—the view from here, tonight, with rain off to our north and west and breeze coming in strangely from the east and south, a little springtime gin in a glass and a squeeze of lime, the dog set up on the front porch steps just yes exactly as she used to back at the white house (930? 933? it was one of those) in the bad old days, or even the days before the bad old days—the view from here is fine, thank you.

Some kind of weather is afoot. We have busted ourselves free of last weekend's doldrumed days. I am trying and trying to figure out what writing a different book might be supposed to feel like. Cannot under any circumstance no how complain. I think I just now heard thunder out of that distant little storm. This is a fine breeze we've got going out here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Playing Hooky.

Today is No Class Day out there at J. Crew U. — they shut the whole thing down for a day-long celebration of student and faculty research, but only of a certain kind: the poets get told their poems aren't researchy enough, and could they please include in their presentations what a sonnet is, please. The dancers get asked to dance, and then, besides having been adorable and bendy, explain what they were up to and what dance is for in the first place. And in our department, the Department of Vampires, Wizards, and Bridget Jones Studies, the faculty research presentation this morning is focusing on something like how awesome that movie starring Nicholas Cage where he's made of fire and rides a motorcycle is. So ANYLF decided to stay home and measure barometric pressure. Expect a fifteen-minute PowerPoint presentation at next year's J. Crew Uboree.

But if — if — one can get out of one's head for one wee moment, and if one can drag one's head to the place where the INCESSANT ENDLESS HIGH-DECIBEL MOCKINGBIRDING is a soothing beautiful sign of the circle of life and renewal of seasons, then one can sit on one's porch in the sunny breezy sixties and think to oneself, So I work at a puppet show. It's Tuesday. I'm sitting on my porch and thinking about the weather.

Monday, April 27, 2009

No Sleep.

The baby's out and gone, the pack-and-play packed-and-played, but there is no sleep for the forecast team here at ANYLF. Our clocks are all bent and damaged. Twelve-hour days more the norm than not this upcoming week out at J. Crew U., though yours truly is damn near giddy at the prospect of a stolen workless Tuesday tomorrow. Might not any of it matter if the resident mockingbird here at 709 -- technically, he's resident on the electric transformer hung off the phone pole out front of 709, or he's resident at the tip top of said phone pole -- won't matter if he doesn't start to calm down by some small measure about his mockingbirdness. He's got announcements, and they begin well before sunrise. Well before. Height of phone pole roughly analogous to height of bedroom window next to the Official 2009 ANYLF SleepCenter.

Does one want a baby? One does, if one thinks to oneself, Do you know what would really brighten this place up? Rice cakes, in small, gummed pieces, everywhere.

ANYLF FastCast for your Monday morning: Hot. Not deeply humid, and so quite livable morning and evening, but that two-o'clock hour has the past few days been something to behold. Big dome of high pressure settled in and holding a storm back well off to our west, and that'll be the norm for the next few days. Temps might moderate a smidge. The ten-day has us back down into the upper seventies by the weekend, perhaps, so what we'll do is bake to cinders the late-blooming white azaleas, just for sport, and then we'll gentle ourselves and aim for normal. Probably will have been better than a full week without rain by the next time we see it. That's not a pattern that makes the garden grow.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Melvillian Loomings.

Comes this morning in a festival of excellent timing the brother, the sister-in-law, the baby. To the house. At this point in the semester. What could go wrong?

Weather: So good it makes me want to chase white whales, though there is out there the possibility of ninety degrees Saturday or Sunday, which could sour the hunt. The brother, the sister-in-law, and the baby leave Sunday morning. Maybe sooner, if, say, the baby bangs something denty into the new bookshelves. Or if, say—oh, this cannot be a productive game.

Fires in South Carolina and no rain in the forecast until Thursday. Birds woke me up somewhere in the five-o'clock hour. There is not enough coffee in the world for what comes next.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Archangelic Forecast.

Somehow crawling locally forecastward has of late been difficult, though not for lack of weather: Yesterday's scuttling ragged storm remnants made for quite the show out in 27244, where it seems I now nearly live. It is that time in the semester, though.

Today may well have been the last flannel-shirted day, but we're not quite ready to call it here at Official ANYLF Set-In Spring HQ. There's a feeling among the staff that there may be yet a post-azaleal low-clouded misty day out there in front of us wherein all is plenty green, but wherein one could drink more coffee and more, shuck on a flannel, huddle on the porch in the wet with a copy of some book you've been meaning and meaning to get at but haven't yet.

You think azaleal isn't a word? Today was the last day of Moby-Dick out there at J. Crew U., and I had the distinct pleasure of discussing the adjective archangelic. Those kids are plenty mad at me. The white whale doesn't turn up until give or take page 600. They'd been, I think, expecting something a little sooner.

Tomorrow: warmer. Weekend: warmer still. The plot of a story that came through workshop this week: NBA superstar has singer-songwriter heart of gold beneath gruff athletic exterior. Today's use of colons at ANYLF: excessive.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Maybe Overnight?

I guess the WeatherDeck actually got wet sometime late this afternoon, but I'm not sure that this counts as real rain, and I know it doesn't count as storms. There is a little something trailing back off to our west, but it's still by and large in Alabama, so: We'll say a rumble of thunder overnight might not be the single most surprising thing you've ever heard, but don't bet heavy on it, either. If you've got new plants in the ground, you may yet have to water this week. If you didn't water last week and damn near killed your potted pansies, well, that's OK, too: We're coming up on May, people. It may be time to change those things out.

Azaleas in full show all over here in 27401, and everywhere else in the nearby ANYLF metro area. We're right genteel up on the Piedmont these days. Birds everywhere, everywhere, and carpenter bees, too. Busy time of year. Late April. How lovely. Now if I could just get out from under the weight of the sacks of exams, of the hundreds of pages of Moby-Dick I've assigned. I am in all relevant weather-related ways right now a complete and utter fool. Other ways, too, I bet.

Eighties coming late week. Sixties before that. A little something for everyone. We here at the forecast aim to please.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Outside, Outside.

The weather stops for no man, but I owe the book by Monday, so let's have a gentleperson's agreement, shall we, Weatherheads? Today, when it is so cripplingly beautiful that even the runt of the finch litter, Matthew (we named them), has fledged, let's say that you should be outside, determining the forecast on your own. Foreseeable difficulties: you may get a sunburn; you may have to turn your chair into or away from the glare, depending; you may have to drink coffee and a cold beer, possibly in quicker succession than is advisable.

Tomorrow there will be storms. Probably. If there are, then we here at ANYLF will do our damned level best to speak about them, perhaps even before they arrive. For now, though, friends and fans of deadline, back to the grindstone.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Better Today.

Sun. One fledged finch. Three left in the nest. Sixties. Frost warning, but nobody believes that. Or: those that do know that it's better to take your chances with the blooming transplanted azalea rather than drape a Barbie blanket across all them blooms. Hard week, hard semester, but one has to look at spring and not complain. More another time, friends and fans of weather, OK? I think the good weather's coming. I do.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

So Tired.

Of: Kids not respecting the game.

Something I've always liked about the sort of long-toothed baseball guys, frowning down at certain of the upstarts: They don't respect the game, they say. Meaning: Kids don't know what matters about the game, don't know how to put a knee down, don't know when or why to put a glove in the dirt. Meaning: Kids think they're bigger than the game.

There is the occasional child in my office mewling and keening on about how desperately s/he wants to go to grad school, about how badly s/he wants to be a poet. Not near enough hand-wringing about poetry itself, though, friends and fans of the game. What irks me, finally: kids want to be poets, don't give any damn at all about wanting to know poetry.

Most irksome: Remember well my own laziness at that age, know well the selfsame egomaniacal laziness lurking at the edges of my life right even now today.

Not everybody who stops by is keening and mewling in irksome ways. But enough are. Enough are.

Weather News: Cold and gray out there off and on all day. Hard to say what it'll be tomorrow. Right now, it's dark. We'll know more, I bet, when it isn't. Finch News: Finches front left look right about ready to fledge. Finches front right still actually eggs. Hard to reckon the finch calendar. Seems like there are at least two good answers.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oscar Season.

Chilly. Gray. Blooming. Friday and Saturday look like the days you want. Hang on until then. It'll be worth it. It will, it will. Until Friday and Saturday: Coffee, with whatever you need in the bottom of it. Dogs. Hats. Those things don't go in the bottom of coffee, but you know where we're headed with this. Don't you? Maybe you don't. Wear the clothes you want to wear, and keep your shit together. For fuck's sake do not watch this new Robert Downey Jr./Jaime Foxx movie about blind cello playing. That thing can only be uplifting.

Sorry, kiddies, for all the potty-mouthing. Sometimes when mommies and daddies see the cello movie preview one too many times, and when spring's been holding out on us, we lose our tempers a wee wee bit.

April is the cruelest month.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rain, Perhaps.

Looks like we can't quite decide what we want the weather to look like—we say rain, but then all we get all day is low cloud cover and that damp air that says it's raining somewhere, just not here. Late evening: decide to mow the lawn, and then it spits on you the whole time, even though none of that shows up on radar. Oh, spring. Long sleeves and a watchcap. Azaleas all up and down the block in full bloom. Here's what I can nearly promise: Sun and warmth by the end of the week. In the meantime: Best to keep all your boots by all the doors. No real way of telling what we might see next.

SPC teased the flu-ridden forecast, lamenting her inability this past week to log on and see what the weather had been like the day before. Here, then, for Mr. And Mrs. America and all the ships at sea: We were gray and chilly all day, with some late-day drizzle, and showers picking up in your evening and overnight hours. This is the Carolina spring. There are other versions, too, but this is one.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Dress.

We've put on our Easter dress here at ANYLF, and we're running the hallways in our sock feet, even though our mom is yelling at us that if we're not careful we'll probably ruin it, that good girls don't run around in their new Easter dresses. And then she's also saying, when she thinks we're out of earshot, Harold, I told you this is what would happen if we let her have that entire chocolate bunny before church.

But there's precious little to do on a day like today except to run the hallways—or, better yet, to go run in the grass, even though we're bound to fall down and get grass stains on our knees. It's crisp out there, and cool, coffee weather for the grownups, a sure and certain springtime. Maybe if we leave them alone, if we don't ask them for much, if we sort of keep to ourselves off to the side over here, they'll let us play.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Braves Win.

We came through fine and fine, which is less than can be said for locales west of the mountains and south of those same mountains. A seasonally forgotten quirk of living here, in the near-shadow of the mountains: Big lines of storms coming from way due west rarely have time to regain their same brutal intensity after they cross the mountains. Bad for Nashville and Knoxville. Good, I guess, for us and ours. Plenty of rain. A little thunder and lightning. Not much wind, and no hail.

It did hail on the Atlanta Braves, who were five runs, fourteen hits, no errors, to the Nationals' four runs, fourteen hits, no errors. Ten innings. Another bullpen collapse. Blame the nickel-sized hail that fell on them mid-game, I guess, but if there's one thing my late-night/early-morning half-fevered coughing jag taught me, it was these two things: (1) do not get the flu, and (2) no sense getting excited about the Braves in a division this competitive if the pen can't even hold the Nats in your home opener. I've seen the closer pitch twice so far this year, once in Philly and once at zero-dark-thirty last night, and while some of his stuff is fancy-fancy, he makes me nervous, like I want to sit him down and ask him if he's OK, if maybe he wants to talk about his girlfriend, or whether or not his dogs are fully up on their shots, or if the thunderstorms scared him.

They scared the dog. She was under the kitchen table at noon. We have never had a kitchen table before. This is helping the dog in her barometric duties. And me in mine. No dog under the table today. No storms.

Typical April forecast upcoming: Days like this, where you'll want both short and long sleeves, depending, and then also days like yesterday. Don't look here for any kind of guarantee about which day will be which, except this: Yesterday was not such a good day to go to the ballpark. Today is better. That's about all. Less forecast. More outside. More porch. The flu, friends and fans of respiratory health, it keeps you from the porch.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Storms.

OK, people. We here at ANYLF missed the freeze, or we partially missed it—I have a fever dream of wrapping AMR's peonies with a Barbie blanket, and as much, friends and fans of euphemism, as I'd like for that to be one, conditions have not allowed—but we are back, the entirety of the crackerjack FirstCast Forecast Team, The One You Know You Can Trust. We are all of us back from the flu, or mostly so. There is a lingering cough. There is also, ah this:

Thanks, Weather Underground. Thanks also weather itself (located here for the sane among you, and here for the jackshit crazies) for giving us such a fine day to come back to. I sadly end-of-flu-slept through what looks like it was one hell of a porch morning, but there will be others, presumably, unless we are wiped clean from the face of the earth not by the first round, the round that's bearing down now on The Wilkesboros, as the local fancies like to say, but by what could be a second round, way back there in Nashville. For those of you scoring at home, ANYLF Global Firstcast Headquarters is located approximately one-and-one-half frozen peas west of Raleigh on the above map, unless you click on it, in which case let's say a dime.

This will be our first storm here at 709. How to know where to look: Walk to the kitchen window, lean forward, peer to the right. Better: Step out to the back porch and stand there with your cup of coffee and see if you've rid enough of the flu to smell it coming.

'Tis the season, I reckon. The newsies have it that they took it on the chin in Arkansas last night. Time to start keeping a slightly closer eye on the sky out there, everybody. Good luck in Arkansas, good luck in Nashville, in The Wilkesboros, in all the 274XXs, and everywhere else in the Forecast Area. It's April. It has been for several days. This is what that means.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Heal Thyself.

Oh, friends and fans of the semi-mild flu, save yourselves. Or just take a lot of Day and Nyquil. Dosage information? We don't need no stinking dosage information. Just make it stop.

And it may be all the acetaminophen (try to spell that without your store-brand day-time sinus congestion & pain box nearby) coursing through what remains of my veins, but I'm feeling better, well enough, anyway, to make some kind of attempt at the forecast here: It's so damn beautiful out there I cannot even take it. It's so beautiful that I think I'm feeling better. I's homicidally beautiful out there. And the azaleas, they come on, and the dogwoods, they survived FreezeFest '09.

We're pushing the upper sixties out there, and the windows-down ride back home on US 70 shows even the oaks starting to do something, bloom, I imagine, since it's a little too soon for leaves. Soon the maple whirligigs. Soon the baby birds. Soon the weekly mowing, though judging from the conditions here at 709, we may have already passed that point.

A little something dropping in tomorrow night, and marginally cooler behind that. But, but and but: this here may just turn out to be flu-curing weather. I was down and down until that truck ride home.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tender Plants.

From our pals over there at the NWS/Raleigh:



So: Sheets over the azaleas, but a new hope for the dogwood out front: it may just come through this thing. We shall see.

Mainly cloudy and chilly out there. Mainly flu-ridden in here, which accounts for the spotty freezecasting of late. Still: The weather stops for no man. Good luck out there, those of you with agricultural interests. Those of you with no interest in agriculture whatsoever have no reason to be reading this, but good luck to you, as well.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Freeze Coming?

Hate to say it, but things look bad. Here's the NWS:


Not everybody's saying freeze just yet, but it has been one of those things where just about every time you check, the numbers get lower, so. Get the sheets ready, people. Those azaleas won't cover themselves.

Oh: Four runs, eight hits, no errors for the Braves. One run, four hits, no errors for the Phillies. Baseball's back.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Early Game.

Windows down and dog riding shotgun first to the bank and then to the market this morning, and there was that cool on the breeze, a sort of serious, abiding cool, and I knew I knew it, knew that smell, but couldn't quite place it until we turned some corner and the wind blew through the car just right and then there it was: Little League baseball, 9:00 game, long sleeves under your uniform shirt. We were the A's, I think, that year, the one I've got in mind, and this was before uniform hat technology got all fancy, or I played in a less fancy Little League, or something, but our hats were green foam up front and white mesh in the back, and they had iron-on velveteen yellow letter As on them. That hat is, I believe, still on the top shelf of my old closet back in 30328. We'll go on and say that was also the year I hit my one and only home run, as well as the year in practice when I caught a towering pop-up with my eye. Stood under it and watched it all the way in.

More about baseball later, I suppose, since the Braves open against the Phillies Sunday night. For now: seventy today, seventy-five tomorrow. Even in the face of all that, the FreezeWatch keeps on keeping on.

It's not even noon. Time for more coffee, a few projects, the middle of the day. Warming up out there. Not gonna need those long sleeves all day, I don't think.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Big Rain.

Let's just cover the basics for now: Huge storm. Big as pretty much the whole Southeast. Rain off and on all day, rain tonight, maybe some storms overnight, and then some rain tomorrow. Tomorrow afternoon, though: Sun and seventies. They think. And just in case they're wrong, they want to pretty much give us sun and seventies Saturday and Sunday, too.

Oh, and this: The ANYLF Late Freeze Watch 2009 is on. NOAA wants 32 degrees Tuesday night. And the damn dogwood will, of course, be in full bloom.

Oh, and this: We are, for now, out of drought.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fool's Fog.

One of the new barometers over here: Can you see the steeple? In this fog—a huge, dampening fog of the sort I've only really ever seen driving over mountains in NC or TN, or at least that's how I've got it remembered—you cannot. You can see where the lights on top of the church gym think it probably ought to be, and if you hold one eye closed you can decide you can see what would, if it were a real belfry, be the belfry light, but as ANYLF-caliber measuring systems go, this is a desteepled fog.

This is the kind of fog where you tug your boots back on and go stand on the front walk and watch the porch lights blocks down soften themselves into blurs. This is the kind of fog where if you had sleeping kids upstairs, you'd go and wake them up to show them: Look, you'd say, this is fog. This is what the fancies mean when they say that. Now go back to sleep and stop asking for glasses of milk, please.

I'd take a picture, but it wouldn't matter. Here's how it is: The dogwood out front is barely blooming, most of the petals still green, and some just white—but they're all of them full of water, of fog, collecting what's there to be collected, which is, this first night of April, plenty.