Just back from walking The Hound through a misty rain...

Like many up here, I am a refugee from The Craziness That Is California. But unlike some, my main motivation to go north was not the traffic, the hectic lifestyle, the conspicuous consumption and lack of time (though those were strong motivators).

Nope - tops on the list was ... Actual weather.

Long-time Californians (like my parents) mostly love the fact that the weather is insanely predicatable. Sun? Yup. Seventy degrees in April? You betcha - bring it on. A few puffy clouds? Cause for some concern.

But up here at the corner where the Strait of Juan de Fuca turns into Puget Sound, we get all sorts flyin' through: wild windstorms tearing out our back fences, fog rolling up the street in June, rain overnight turning into sweet, dewy mornings... it's rarely the same from one day to the next, and I like that.

I find it keeps me more connected with the natural world because I have to acknowledge what the outside is doing, particularly first thing in the morning when I head out to walk His Nibs. After the easy days of summer (all three of them!), I look forward to the daily question: what to put on to walk the dog?

Summer is easy: shorts, maybe a long-sleeved T-shirt if it's before 8 a.m. Flip flops or Keens, no socks.

Come September, I get to wear my favorite outfits: shorts with sweaters.

Right now, as the slide into fall reaches peak velocity, so do the daily wardrobe changes. We go from shorts to pants, no socks to socks, sweaters to fleecy jackets...

and then the accessories (joy for all knitters!) start to emerge.

One day might be Shorts-with-fleecy-jacket-no-scarf, the next Pants-with-light-sweater-under-rain-jacket-and-little-scarf.

It's the progression of accessories that amuses me: scarf but no hat, then scarf and hat but no gloves, later scarf and gloves but no jacket... And yet, our winters are never so harsh that it becomes truly critical what you put on to go outside. (Trust me- I know from critical! The first winter I spent in Iowa featured wind-chill warnings of -80ºF, with radio broadcasts warning people not to wait outside for buses for more than a few minutes at a time. Now that's bloody cold.) Up here in the Pacific Northwest's 'modified Mediterranean' climate, we may get some snow, but it usually only lasts for a day or two - and we're laid-back enough up here that we usually just take the day off and tuck in.

So we watch the weather, but mostly with a sartorial eye: what to wear?

Today featured a light rain jacket over a cashmere sweater, wool pants and a wee Twist Wrap scarf of my own design. But I look forward to the first day that I need to add a knitted hat to the mix, and then the gloves... then, come January, I'll dig the boiled-wool Swiss coat out of the back of the closet, pair it with a jaunty fringed scarf from my sister-in-law, and head out, pulling on the fingerless gloves that let me manage biscuits more easily.

See you out there!