Monday, March 11, 2019

Morning may become Electra, but not me (sorry, Mr. O'Neill)

Welcome back to daylight saving time! And I mean that very sincerely. After all, it’s the mechanism that makes mornings a bit more bearable here on the eastern cusp of the Central time zone.

Sunrise, which announces itself through our south-facing bedroom window, has been creeping ever earlier since January. Last Saturday, it came at 6:11, but thankfully slipped back to 7:09 on Sunday.

The blazing Sun will again continue to wake us earlier each day from now until mid-June – and that’s OK, and as it should be. But being on the eastern edge of the time zone means that by then, which is to say June 13 and 14, the sun will be up at 5:14:40 a.m. Without daylight saving time, sunrise would be at 4:14, which even for a “morning” person is pretty early.

I’ve recently been working with a Scottsdale, Arizona-based company, which helps to put this whole switching back and forth thing in perspective. Except for the Navajo Nation, the state of Arizona does not observe daylight saving time. (For an interesting explanation of why, check out this ASU article; it boils down to avoiding the heat of the day). Suffice it to say, however, that even without making the switch to daylight saving time, the earliest that people in Scottsdale are awakened by the sun is 5:17:09 — which happens on June 11 — not quite as early as we in Chicagoland will be awakened two days later, when we will be spared the indignity of an ungodly early light of day only by the coming of DST.

I'm sure if I were a farmer, I'd have a different perspective. But I'm not, and I'm glad daylight saving time has once again arrived. (Wake me in an hour.)

Monday, February 11, 2019


Merriam-Webster doesn't address this term we so often employ at this time of year. But the Internet seems to think three R's is appropriate, so I'm going with that.

Well, it’s been cold here in Chicago – again! But that's no surprise.

When we moved here in 1983-1984, a friend in who grew up in Sterling, Ill., warned us that it was a lot like Pittsburgh only more severe. He was right.

The hot, muggy summers are a lot more so, as are the bone-chilling cold winters. So, this year’s polar vortex, for which one local TV station noted Chicago was the vortex, came as no surprise. Cold as can be and lovin’ it (more or less).

It all brings back memories of our earliest Chicago winters, when we had just moved here from the more temperate climate of Pittsburgh.

During the winter of 1983-1984, and the year after as well, I was making the 75-mile commute each day from Palatine to Braidwood with Jay Johnson. We would leave early in the morning to arrive at Braidwood by 7 a.m., then set out on our return about 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon. Working in a warehouse temporarily converted into office space, there were days we never saw the sun in that bleak midwinter.

Because of the extreme cold of 1984 and 1985, whoever’s turn it was to drive also ended up going out to start the car at lunch time, letting it run long enough to warm up and make sure things didn’t freeze up on us in the course of the day.

And so we revel, once again, in extremes, and anxiously await the spring thaw. Enough is enough; come on, spring!