ellestra: (tiger)
So it has started. The spring is truly here and I'm hanging by a thread. The first hit is always the hardest. This sudden switch from being normal person who can go for long walks and even run to someone who gets sore muscles after walking up few flights of stairs too fast (or at least without panting). I knew it's getting really bad. At first the spring comes gradually and I almost imperceptibly get worse but then comes a tipping point and I crash. And by crash I mean I wasn't present for most of Monday. I woke up at 9:30 only because a phone call (I usually wake up by myself - no alarms needed). I tried to get up and go to work but I could barely keep my head up to write an email that I won't make it. And then I went back to bed and when I woke up again it was late afternoon. And normally I can't even fall asleep during the day.

I have 1-2 days like that every spring. They mean that my symptoms are about to get worse. I wake up in a world where it's harder to breathe and I remember why asthma sucks. And why the spring, especially here, is so awful, especially on beautiful days like today. It's easy to forget in good seasons. So I hope you enjoy your warm, sunny days while I dream of rain. And autumn.
ellestra: (sunrise)
So the spring finally came - it's over 20 and is to be above 25 for the next two days. Nature is catching up on all that delayed blooming so now that the snow and cold is gone it seems like everyday something new is flowering. Even the broken branches are blooming. So while I'll go looking for capris and t-shirt to wear tomorrow you can watch this

And this was the sunset today:
ellestra: (lightning)
The last few days were very warm and it turned into full blown spring in less then a week. Everything is blooming and what isn't is green with new leaves. The weather is perfect - 25-28oC during the day and cool nights. It's just makes you wish you could stay outside and do something. But if you me that's really hard to do. Pollen is everywhere. Both the one that makes life annoying to everyone and the one that makes allergies make my life miserable.

Everything is covered by yellow pine pollen it changed the colour of streets, cars and creates a little dust storms with every gust of wind. It sticks to every surface. Even though the nights are perfect for sleeping with open windows you cannot as it will get everywhere and on everything. When they finally painted my walls last week the smell was so horrible it made me nauseous and I had to keep everything open for couple of days and then vacuumed on Saturday and the bin was all yellow inside. And that was before it got really bad. Now you get all dusty just by walking outside.

But even worse is the stuff that can't be seen. The one that makes my lungs contract, my nasal tracts swell and my eyes water. The ones that Makes it hard to breathe even though I'm so full of drugs my muscles get all stiff and contracted. The funny thing about all of this - if I don't take drugs my muscles hurt from oxygen deprivation lactate build-up but if I take the drugs it makes them prone to cramps and leads to my back and neck feeling permanently stiff. Yay, spring.

Luckily it's raining now - washing away the pine pollen and removing it and all the other stuff from air. We can even have thunderstorms too tonight and I would be very happy but I wanted to see the lunar eclipse and there is no chance for that now. Not with that cloud cover.

This is how pretty it looks now - look at the redbuds and cherry trees. Even wisteria started blooming in just last 2 days.

And this is what I blame for the state of my asthma right now - it's almost like birch and I'm sure similarly allergenic.
ellestra: (telamon)
Here it's basically summer or at least Polish summer - around 30o and very green - since oppressive heat and humidity are little late this year. But back home it's still spring and my favourite part of it - azalea blooming season. My family, after many, many pleas, finally sent me the pictures of my azaleas and rhododendrons and they are exactly as I always wanted them to be - full of flowers and very colourful:

Edit: I'm only semi-concious this week so I keep forgetting to switch to public after I finish editing. YAY hey fever XP
ellestra: (sunrise)
Today was finally the kind of day we should heave this time of year. It was sunny and 25C. I saw people swimming in the pool so the season can be called officially open. My parent skyped me happy that it finally got warm in Poland too. Just a week ago - on Easter Sunday they had a big snowstorm. Everything covered with at least 20cm of snow turning world into Winter Wonderland. Just on the wrong Holidays (people were making snow Easter bunnies and even, in some cases, decorating spruces all over again in their back yards - just adding eggs this time).

This is one of the photos he send me:

And then it snowed some more. Luckily it ended just for this weekend and my parents say it was sunny and warm (up to +10 in the sun) and it finally felt like spring.

Here it's been like spring for a while now. At least as far as plat blooming is concerned. And of course weather is sunny much more often than in Poland. However it was also unseasonably cold this year (March was colder then January). Even this Thursday was rainy and barley reaching 5C. But this weekend was very nice and in forecast prognoses 27-28C on Tuesday and Wednesday so our first heat wave is almost here.

The nice weather meant I spent the weekend doing things outside. I went to the botanical garden to look at blooms and take photos and then I re-potted the flowers. I went for a long walk today. Of course asthma doesn't like that so now all my muscles hurt as if I was actually exercising. My doctor would not be happy but I can't take any more drugs. I try to navigate a middle road between asthma and the side effects.

Still I'm sure that at least some of you this will make feel jealous:
ellestra: (sunrise)
It finally got warm here. Just in time for holidays (in US Monday isn't a day off but at least here Friday is). It was warm and sunny today. I was even running around in just a t-shirt and it was just a little cool. It supposed to be even warmer in next 3 days (22C on Monday) although, in March tradition, it is to rain on Sunday. Even long term prognosis looks good (just one day of cold rain on Tuesday) but if we get cold rain it probably means another round of snow up North.

The March was colder then January here. In Poland (and rest of northern Europe) it is still winter. The snow melted on Christmas but they are having White Holidays on Easter. A week ago it was -15 at night. Today it snowed again. I would wish everyone spring for Easter but all is there in forecast is more snow and snow/rain mix with temperatures barely above 0 during day. So I just wish for the Jetstream to finally move and let the warm air in.

ellestra: (lightning)
We started having moments of good weather. Previous weekend. This Saturday. Today. Sunny and warm. Very warm even. And then it gets cold again. Today it was 19oC, tomorrow 13 and on Thursday just 7 and -4 at night. Of course compared to home this is spring in full bloom. Poland is still covered in snow and there is -11 in the forecast for Saturday night. All everyone does when I talk to them is complaining about winter and why the spring hasn't come yet. And not just in Poland but even in here as both places have unseasonably cold weather for the season. But at least here it looks like spring as everything is blooming, including the trees so my asthma is going crazy and that drives my doctor to overdrive because she cannot stop hearing weezing in my lungs.

It was only 4oC during the day yesterday. And cloudy with drizzle and wind. One good thing about it was that was the day I got my got my follow up on asthma and an ophthalmologist visit. And the cloudy weather weather helped with the diluted irises (although my vision was still crazy blurry - I couldn't see my own signature but waiting for it to go away gave me time to listen to Neverwhere). The oral steroids they gave me for the lung inflammation caused some weird things to my vision (I got a little problem with focusing - seems to happen slower then it should). After hour and half of questions and tests I learned I have a good sight, my eyes are in very good condition but the steroids can cause redistribution of liquid in the eye that can lead to swelling of the lens and focusing problems. Just another fun addition to the asthma related problems. It's supposed to go away after I stop taking prednisone (it is already little better as I'm tapering off the drug). So fun. Tomorrow, another follow-up.
ellestra: (telamon)
Yesterday it was +16 and sunny. Today it snowed the whole day. It was still too warm for the snow to last so it turned to water as soon as it touched anything but after several hours of this the grass and roofs were covered with a little batches of white. But it's only supposed to get below freezing late at night today so even though it's going to get quite cold (-6) all that will be left tomorrow is ice. Still being hit with snow, even instantly melting one, beats drizzle.

This strange cycling of (very) warm and cold weather leads to sights like this with a lot of trees blooming already (this is magnolia) being suddenly covered with snow (or ice). I'm just afraid that all the flowers will die during this two cold nights before it gets warmer again on Monday.

ellestra: (sunrise)
When I cam back from Poland it was just a few degrees more here and the air was chilly and felt colder then it was. I spent last weekend home to make sure my laryngitis goes away and when I emerged on Monday the weather started changing. It started getting warmer and warmer and it got to +18 and sunny. Then it rained on Friday. This weekend was hot and humid. Temperature was 23 in shade during the day and due to clouds and humidity didn't drop below 15 at night. Even now, at almost midnight, it is 19C outside.

If not for short days and bare trees you could almost think summer is starting. Certainly all the people in shorts and t-shirts and flip flops behaved like it is.

It is unusually warm even for here and with rain and warmth plants are starting the spring already. I;ve seen first daffodils, magnolia's flower buds are almost ready to open. I've been putting a lot of photos here lately but part of me still cannot believe I was among snow and cold and now I have this outside:

You can see even plants are confused. The pink flowers are normal this time of year - they always bloom very early but rhododendron shouldn't start for months. It may prove deadly for those flowers as it's supposed to get colder again with temperatures dropping below freezing at night at the end of the week. And a lot of rain this week.

Meanwhile back in Poland they are having a picture perfect winter with a lot of snow and temperatures just below 0 that keep it from melting but don't feel too cold. That was what I really wanted.

EDIT: It's still so warm in my apartment I had to open windows and the balcony door to cool it down and I will leave to open for the night.
ellestra: (lightning)
It rained since yesterday night and then sun came out for couple of hours in late afternoon. But it didn't last as the clouds came back darker and thicker and then hail started falling from the sky. Pieces of ice bounced from balcony into my room and the knocking of hail on the wood was accompanied by car alarms. Then it turned into a rain the you could hardly see the world through. We had several cycles of less and more intense rain since then.

Night is already noticeably colder than it was for at least two weeks and the forecast says it will be even colder with more spring like temperatures coming this week (even 4C at night). Still today's weather made me feel it's summer already even more. This is how summer is in Poland - heat wave ending in intense storm with sudden temperature change after. And flash floods. Hail sometimes too.

The thing that reminds me it's still spring are the small, bright green leaves and pollen. The one that makes it hard to breathe and that yellow thing in the photo. That's pine pollen - about a day/day and half worth. Yesterday, before the rain, I was causing dust storm walking through grass because there is so much of it. Pine forrests back home are bad enough but here it's even worse. It sticks to everything - cars, roads, windows so no spring cleaning for now. Good thing about it is that, since it's so big and sticky, it doesn't cause allergies. The thing that  makes me sick now is most likely oak - I look at it's catkins with hatred.
ellestra: (sunrise)
I've been talking about how warm it's been and how crazy the spring blooming is and it's time for some evidence. I finally took the photos out of the camera. This weekend was a good day because it's been raining during the night lately and my symptoms abated a little. The clouds today also meant it was only 25 and not over 30 (in the sun) as it's been lately and heat also makes it harder for me. And it was hot at the end of this week. I switched form heating to cooling on my AC and yesterday there were people swimming in the pool. It's just middle of the March and we already have summer. You could be completely fooled if not for the leaves still being just a green haze.

New leaves

Flowering quince and forsythia

Continue picspam with magnolias, redbuds and jessamine )
ellestra: (telamon)
There is a new batch of trees flowering outside and the weather is nice. This incredibly beautiful spring means one thing. I can't breathe. There are pink and white trees all over the place and their smell is suffocating. My muscles are sore as if I spent hours exercising not just been walking around. I wake up short of breath and tired. And changing for Daylights Saving Time hasn't helped. So instead of enjoying the sun and 20-something temperatures I dream of beautiful world of ice and bottled air:

Fishing under ice from Juuso Mettälä on Vimeo.

ellestra: (lightning)
Saturday was sunny and warm. Actually for this time of year it was hot - over 20oC in the sun with just slight cold wind - no more than short sleeve required. It was hard not to enjoy this and all the bikers, joggers and dog walkers certainly did. Signs of spring were everywhere and it was hard to believe in the forecast. And the forecast said that the rain will come and the temperatures on Sunday will never raise from what they'd dropped to during night.

It all came true. It was barely above zero during the day with cold rain. And then even harder to believe thing happened. It got even colder during the night and rain turned into snow. It snowed for the first time this winter. In mid-February.

It was kind of shocking (even with all the forecasts agreeing it would happen). This winter has been so warm that anything below 10oC seems cold even to me. And then we go from +20 to snow in little over 24 hours.

It's all gone now. The cold weather gone almost as quickly as it came (today was sunny and over 10 10oC and it's going to get warmer everyday till it's back to above 20 by the end of the week). All I have left is photos.

More under the cut )
ellestra: (sunrise)
I told you how warm winter has been here. Now I'm going to show you the effects.

Magnolias has been blooming for a month now and they don't look like they are going to stop anytime soon. Some kind of early blooming fruit trees - that bloomed at least a month later last year. Forsythias and daffodils. All the early spring flowers. Already here.

Today was cold (for this winter here) - only 13C but tomorrow it's supposed to be 17 again.

Of course it can still change. After all it's still February and one never knows. It was super warm winter in Europe too until it suddenly got super cold. My family complains about the cold but it's not all that unusual for Poland. Just sudden. What really makes an impression is seeing palms under snow. Split under snow is so weird - much weirder then here despite being further north. What is so surprising is not the snow and cold. Last to winters had enough of that. It's the sudden change in weather. Poland had temperatures mostly above freezing for most of winter and then it suddenly got to -15 to -20 during day. It's also how far south and how long it lasts. Seeing Rome or even Algiers under snow makes this weather as weird as mine.

This is the climate change - extremes become more extreme.

Bonus - today's sunset:
ellestra: (sunrise)
Today January ends and I can't stop feeling surprised it haven't ended long time ago. We've been talking with my friends here for weeks about how hard it is to remember it's still January when it's sunny and +20 outside. I keep thinking it must be March already. Temperatures drop below zero only on some nights. We didn't have a really cold day since the beginning of the month. Only a few days had temperatures blow 5. Many were above 15. Last Saturday and today were above 20. There's a feeling of wrongness when you see people walking around in shorts and flip-flops in January. Tomorrow's forecast +22C.

It's been a warm December and a very warm January and the spring is already visible everywhere. I see blooming trees and flowers and know there are other, less visible but more insidious, things spreading pollen and making me sick. My asthma sure thinks spring started in December. The warmth is nice and I enjoy eating outside and walking around in just a t-shirt but I wish I didn't feel like I was beaten up. And the drugs I take for it have side effects that makes it worse. It's like all my muscles have extra tension in them. But without them breathing is hard.

I also understood were the nightmare stories come from. Waking up with your lungs cramped and hurting I wish there was someone to blame too.

Meantime in Poland there's a real winter finally with temperatures down to -15 during daytime. I bet nothing is pollinating. and I'm one of those lucky people whose asthma doesn't get worse from cold. I don't like temperatures below -10 because my eyes water and inside of the nose sticks together but I'd still prefer it to allergy. I'd rather be there glued to radiator.

I dream of perfect world were spring an breathing are not mutually exclusive.
ellestra: (lightning)
Just a week ago the weather was summer like. Sunny and very warm. There were people sunbathing in swimming suits around the pool. Then the temperature started to drop and it got cold. Really cold. The skies have been clouded for three days - the longest I've seen here I think. It was barely over 10C on Saturday but it got even colder on Sunday as it was just 3 degrees above zero during the day. I think it was warmer in Warsaw and March is rather cold there this year. When I was leaving for work today there was ice on the ground and tiny hail was falling from the sky.  At least it only rained at night.

On the other hand this reminded me of home as such changes of weather are perfectly normal for Poland. Especially this time of year. From summer straight back to winter. We even have sayings about that.

There is a good side to this. I feel much better. My asthma subsided as rained washed pollen from the air.  I said to everyone I'm happy it's going to rain a lot this week. I just wish it wasn't so cold. I may like cold better then heat but I still prefer warm. luckily tomorrow will get a nice warm and sunny day. Then rain and cold is coming back. I'm not sure what I want more.

Spring makes me feel at war with myself. I enjoy the views of pretty flowers, warm but not to hot weather and blue skies but they make me feel so bad I long for rain and the perfect, steady and depressing drizzle that lets me breathe.

Ambivalence. My word for spring.
ellestra: (sunrise)
My parents are complaining about the weather in Poland. This was a very harsh and long winter and it's still not quite over yet. There was just a light snow and minus temperatures at morning. This time of year and late autumn (especially November) are the moments when I really enjoy the fact I moved south. It was almost like summer in the past couple of days. It was sunny and hot (28o) in last couple of days. But it was not a humid heat of summer here. It was dry, with colder night and slight wind. Otherwise known a s perfect weather. If I could choose it would stay like that whole summer. Just without the blooming trees as they cause my asthma to go to overdrive. I'm barley able to walk for a short time before being out of breath even though I'm on the meds. Unfortunately. this is much worse here then in Poland and reminds me onec again that I love spring best on pictures. But pictures are sure pretty:


Flowering quince and pieris

More flower photos... )

Today it's cloudy and (relatively) cold but I'm sure it won't last long. I'm as always at this time of year I'm hoping for rain.
ellestra: (sunrise)
It was 22 oC and mostly sunny today and the spring here becomes more and more visible. It was much colder for the most of the week and it rained yesterday but the weather is nice again. The first trees are abloom, the first flowers are out and the birds are mating like crazy. It feel so strange when I Skype home and my parents show me snow and complain about cold (they say it was -20 at nigh - brrr). We live in different seasons and I keep forgetting that this is still February and snow and cold weather are perfectly normal. At least back up North. The feeling as last year is amplified by the day length - it gets dark well after 6 - so my sense of the seasons fools me into believing it's end of March.

And to taunt all you living up North here's picspam:

Rest of the picspam )

I'm used to trees blooming after the spring flowers like crocuses. However, I find it funny that, although daffodils are very popular, crocuses I've only seen in botanic garden. There is plenty of the trees that bloom very early. Many people say they are actually very late this year and the truth is some of them I saw blooming in January last year. But this was a very cold winter by local standards.

It is spring now and to all of you who still have winter I hope you'll get one soon. Maybe the photos will do for now.
ellestra: (sunrise)
The spring is here. Or more precisely that time before spring that's no longer winter but not a full blown spring either. We have a name for it in Polish - przedwiośnie. The weather randomly changes from cold to warm to cold again and from rain to sunny to snow. The trees are still bare but at every turn one can spot this:

Saw thistle

New leaves

And as all this seems early to me so do the horrible effects it has on me. I'm tired and sleepy. My muscles hurt even though I didn't do anything to warrant this. And breathing is hard. This moment is when I hate it most. I got used to not being sick. It was fine I could do exercises and enjoy walks outside. I'll get used to being sick in few weeks but now I'm so tired and the drugs are not enough and it just hurts all the time. It looks so pretty but I hate spring. I do say it every year, don't I?
ellestra: (Default)
It suddenly got warm. After 2 months of often bitter cold and sometimes snow summer struck. Just last Wednesday it was barley above 0 and drizzle was coming from the sky the whole day. We were celebrating my friends birthday and the four of us Polish girls agreed this was exactly  like the worst November weather back home. Then it started to get warmer day by day. Friday was nice. Yesterday was warm. Today was hot. It was 17C in the shade and 25 in the sun. Yesterday I walked just in a long sleeved blouse and I though it was nice. Today I went for a walk in a short sleeve t-shirt and summer shoes and I was overheating. I wished I've chosen to wear shorts like so many other people on the streets.

As much as I enjoyed today's weather, Spring has certain disadvantages for me. I clearly saw today first signs of new season. The buds are starting to sprout and my symptoms clearly tell me something already started to pollinate. My nose is starting to run and my eyes are getting puffy in the morning and it reminded me that I need to start taking my ant-asthma meds. I was not prepared on starting them already - I keep forgetting Spring comes earlier here.The problems with highly evolved attack system that has nothing to fight - it finds enemies even were there are none.

BTW Do you want to see evolution in real time? Use the BoxCar 2D - Genetic Algorithm Car Evolution Using Box2D Physics and in a little while you can get a working car from some triangles and circles. At the beginnings the shapes are pretty random but they are selected for best functionality for riding the 2D landscape and they get better and more efficient with each generation. Just let it go for few hours. (Artificial) Natural Selection FTW.

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