Recently in Weather Category
It's hard to keep an ear to the ground when it's so darn cold out, so I'm trying out a new feature: a regular re-cap of interesting news items of city-wide, local and campus importance.
City news—Is it warm out here? Chicago weather will hit above-freezing this week for the first time since Christmas Day's unseasonable 43 degrees. Not exactly reason to break out a tank top, but maybe now my hands won't turn into icicles every time I fumble to retrieve my CTA card from inside my wallet.
South Side news—3 months after Chicago lost the Olympic bid, and still no word from the city on what will take the place of the Olympic Village in its massive reconstruction project at Michael Reese Hospital. I wrote this story for the Chicago News Coop last week, and my fingers really did turn into icicles when I attempted some man-on-the-street reporting up in Bronzeville.
Campus news—52nd Street has a new bakery, the Chicago Weekly reports. Sounds like a yummy way to keep warm (Note to self: don't write a blog post right after running across the snow-capped quadrangle to get to work.)
The Sustainability Council is sponsoring a free Winter Gardening Workshop on Tuesday in Swift Hall:
Julia Govis (Master Gardener/International Organic Farm Inspector) will demonstrate and explain ways in which you can grow your own organic meals indoors this winter. There will be a Q & A session after the demonstration and materials will be available to take away to try the techniques presented during the workshop at home.
A friend of mine once joked that you had better bring a contamination suit, signal flares and an armored bear or two back to Chicago with you for Winter Quarter—"You'll be happy to have the bear along when you still encounter those English majors getting their nic fix outside of Cobb," he said. He wears open-toed sandals year-round, which as far as I'm concerned discredits any advice he has to give about winter survival. But I'm clad in Gore Tex-equipped, North Face snow boots, and I've come up with five or so ideas for making winter easier on the student, (short of hibernating in a dorm room through January):
Shoes —a sturdy pair of heavy winter boots is essential this time of year (especially if you need to make a quick get away, what with all the armored bears around), and even more so if you plan to spend January frolicking through the snow than falling on
your ass the ice.
Fortunately, not all ice exists to trip you up—and though you probably won't be resorting to skating to class anytime soon (unless the alternating periods of warming and freezing get really extreme), there are several locations in Chicago designed just for such ice-friendly footwear: namely, Midway Rink, which is probably located just a few blocks away from where you live, and the Millennium Park Ice Rink, open through March 14.
Fitness—Speaking of exercise, Winter doesn’t have to be a bane for hardcore runners like myself; I take the sleet as an invitation to cross-train, which can sometimes mean pool workouts and yoga at Ratner, but also leaves a lot of room to go exploring indoors: the north and south sides both have fantastic rock climbing gyms, one at the Formula Fitness Club's Red-line/Division location. The other, ">Climb On, is right across the street from the Homewood Metra Station. Many Chicago gyms like FFC and Equinox offer free, week-long trial memberships with complementary group fitness classes. Nothing says Winter like aerobics classes that sound like they came from a cereal box ("Cardio Crunch" much?).
Transit —Winter can be a frightening time to be a biker or El commuter, and this year is no different. With more than 1000 employees scheduled for layoffs this February, and other CTA workers being fored to take up to 18 unpaid days off of work in early 2010, factor serious delays into your travel time. Biking is also an option, if you have the right mindset, equipment, and built-in wind resistance, as this Columbia College article suggests.
Food—For the first time this year, The Green City Market is open year round, and Jan. 16 is the next date. While you probably won’t find the summer’s gorgeous Sun Gold tomatoes, take advantage of the organic jarred jams, tomato preserves and all manner of berry compotes and nut butters to remind you of the fleeting taste of summer.
Arts—In the spirit of indoor exploring, many of Chicago's museums are attracting locals in the tourism off-season with a slew of free admission days, including the Art Institute and Shed Aquarium, though you may have to wait until February to take advantage of it. The most up-to-date list I've seen can be found here.
The article also mentions that CPS hasn't had an official snow day since 1999. I'm currently working at a high school in Little Village and I seem to recall a snow day two weeks ago, but perhaps it was specific to our campus and not a citywide closing.
Where did you grow up and what kind of weather-related closings did you enjoy as a kid? As a fifth grader in a suburb of Cleveland, I remember the absolutely holy feeling of having five snow days in a row cancel the first week of classes after winter break.
The Blog that Works is out of winter hibernation at just the wrong time-- today's subzero temperatures are making any activity that doesn't involve hot chocolate and my living room seem entirely unappealing. This morning my car refused to budge out of its iced-in parking spot, giving me a personal snow day and lots of time to think about how to get around without it. Here's a roundup of Chicago transit and winter news, brought to you by my temporary homeboundedness.
Hyde Park Progress considers the pros and cons of adopting various parking meter rate schemes. Chicagoist analyzes last year's big increase in CTA ridership, but a commenter suggests an alternative interpretation. The Tribune documents some clever techniques for maintaining a parking space-- if only they'd published yesterday, I might have made it out of Hyde Park today! A fourth-grader in Hammond fell victim to a triple-dog-dare and ended up with a tongue injury. The Chicago Foundation for Women is honoring an important anniversary this week with a spoken word event. And for a nice healthy dose of winter escapism, check out these nifty shots of fractal river deltas near the Mediterranean coast.