The 10 Degrees Of Rain In The PNW

The 10 Degrees Of Rain In The PNW

"Different terms for the crazy PNW weather, because 'rain' just doesnt cut it."
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As I write this, I am in beautiful San Diego, and when you think of California, you probably think of the hot sun. As I bask in the heat, I can't help but contrast it with the cold of home. And when I say cold, I mean rain. It rains so much in Washington State that we have more than a few terms for it. Yet, they just have one here in California... Rain. So, without further ado, here are the 10 most popular terms we use for rain in the PNW:

1. Overcast.

Now, you wouldn't think to use this one for rain, but we Pacific Northwesterners think of just that. To be overcast means the rain may or may not show up; Washington weather is fickle. In the morning it could be pouring down rain, but by the afternoon the sky could be clear and the sun could be out. Five minutes later, the sky is overcast again. It's always an adventure, I say.

2. Mist.

Now let me explain to those not from the PNW: mist feels like hardly anything. You feel a slight breeze that barely wets your skin, but it's so immensely different from our downpours that it needs its own term.

3. Drizzle.

The water is picking up a bit now, and tiny little drops fall on your head. It may mess up your hair a bit, but it doesn't do too much damage.

4. Sprinkle.

You can really feel the water now. The drops are slightly larger, but you still don't need to put up your hood up quite yet. If you see someone wearing a hood while it's sprinkling, they aren't from here.

5. Rain.

Now here is where we get to the point most people think about (except Californians, but I'll get to that). The water drops are a nice medium size. Put your hood on when the rain is at this stage, but don't open umbrellas. Umbrellas are another tell-tale sign you aren't from here.

6. Showers.

This means the water drops are a larger size, falling pretty quickly and there are a lot of them, like the stream of water when you take a shower. Hood up or not, you are getting wet. Umbrellas are encouraged at this point.

7. Pouring.

The water drops are the same size as showers, but they come down much faster. If you're outside, get inside quickly, unless being soaked all day is something you are into.

8. Monsoon.

This term isn't as common in the PNW, but it can still apply. When the winds are blowing while it's raining, we call it a monsoon. We can thank the many Native Americans who live here for that term.

9. Torrential downpour.

If it is a torrential downpour, just stay at home. If you must go out, don't do your hair or makeup, and wear a hat; you're bound to get soaked to the bone. This amount of rain is what Californians call rain.

10. Flood.

We use this term when it's raining so hard it is literally flooding. You may think this is an exaggeration, but it's not. We're in Washington.

So there you have it. Ten terms for the crazy PNW weather, because "rain" just doesn't cut it.


Cover Image Credit: www.weatherwizkids.com

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Not My Michigan

A Michigan student-athlete turned Registered Nurse on the Michigan Medicine contract negotiations in 2018.

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It's May 1st, 2016. I'm bright-eyed, eager, and graduating from the University of Michigan as a Nursing Student and Student-Athlete.

I am ready to take on the world the way that Michigan taught me how: fearlessly, compassionately, and wholeheartedly. I bleed blue. I know what it means to be a Wolverine and to represent the Michigan Difference in everything I do. I wear the block M on my School of Nursing scrubs and my Michigan Dance Team uniform well aware that it represents goodness, tradition, and excellence. I am determined. I am inspired. I am ready.

It's Monday, September 17th, 2018. What does Michigan mean to me now? I used to be so sure. Now, I simply don't know. So, what's the deal? How did my view on an institution become so indifferent in recent months?

I chose U of M to start my nursing career because it had the widely known reputation of putting its patients first, respecting its nurses, and providing the best care to patients in the state (5th in the country, to be exact). In my first year, as I was clumsily learning how to push patient stretchers, titrate intravenous vasopressors, and to communicate with the medical team, I proudly participated in our hospital's effort to achieve Magnet status.

When Nursing earned Magnet Status, an award given by the American Nurses' Credentialing Center and indicator of the strength and quality of Nursing at Michigan, I felt that same pride as I did in May of 2016.

I knew in my heart that I picked the best institution to develop my nursing practice and to give high quality, patient-centered care to anyone who walked, rolled, or was carried through the doors of Adult Emergency Services. The hospital's goals were aligned with mine and those around me. We put patients first, and more specifically, we put patients over profits.

I am lucky enough to work at a hospital that has been unionized for more than four decades. When I started working, the concept of a union was foreign to me. For those who may need a refresher, unions promote and protect the interests of all employees. They collectively bargain with employers to secure written agreements for employees regarding pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Collective bargaining agreements are legally enforceable contracts holding employers and employees to mutually agreed-to workplace rules and process to provide a fair and just workplace. The University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council, an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association, has been working diligently since January to bargain with the University of Michigan to protect me, the 5,700 nurses who work within the institution, and our patients. I'd like to think they're the good guys in this story.

Here's where things get sticky: David Spahlinger, president of our prestigious U of M health system, has publicly stated that Michigan is "committed to maintaining current staffing levels," but will not make this commitment in writing. Common sense is reflected in the most high-quality research on the topic of nurse-patient ratios and its direct effect on patient care.

Appropriate staffing allows me and my coworkers to give the quality of care that I know we have the ability to provide. High staffing levels are associated with reduced mortality, falls, medication errors, ulcers, restraint use and infections. Unregulated staffing is a significant barrier to nurses' abilities to provide optimal patient care and prevents Nursing at Michigan from providing what we know to be the Michigan Difference in healthcare.

UMPNC held voting on a work stoppage for unfair labor practices last week. Out of 4,000 votes cast by nurses at the U, 94% authorized a work stoppage in protest of the University's unfair labor practices. No date is set, but our elected nurse bargaining team now has the authority to call for action.

Thank you to Katie Oppenheim, who chairs our union, for reiterating in an article to the Detroit Free Press that a work stoppage is not our goal. "Our goal is a fair agreement which respects nurses and guarantees safe staffing. The university can remedy this situation immediately by stopping their unfair labor practices and bargaining in good faith."

I am proud to be a nurse and I hope that our efforts to keep Michigan a patients-over-profits institution are recognized at the community, state, and national level. Anne McGinity, David Spahlinger, and those who have the power to make Michigan the magical place I once thought it was, make like Nike and just do it. For the love of patients, nurses, and our great University. I know we are better than this.

(Stay Tuned, folks).

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Morning Workouts Are the Best Workouts

Prove me wrong.

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When I was a senior in high school, busy filling out all of the college applications and essays that came along with them, I received one prompt whose response has stuck with me to this day. It asked me to describe my most ideal day, and my immediate answer was one that began with an early morning workout.

Three years later, a junior in college, I'm trying to reinsert my early morning workouts into my life. It's definitely not easy, and there are plenty of mornings where I wake up and "accidentally" fall back asleep until well past the beginning of my CrossFit class. Each morning that I do this, I wake up (for the second time) with a regretful feeling in the pit of my stomach. To most people, this makes no sense. Even when I don't work out in the morning, I wake up at 7:30 a.m. and am usually very productive with my morning. This productivity is what drives my day; immediately getting up and getting going. However, there is no productivity that compares to a morning workout, especially with the intensity and community that CrossFit can often bring.

This little ode to workouts at dawn goes out to my original 5 a.m. workout crew, because they are still some of the most inspirational people I've ever met. Now that I'm down at school, if I work out early in the morning it's usually at 6:30 a.m. The similarity, however, between this 6:30 a.m. class and my original morning class at 5 a.m., is that it is dark when I arrive, and by the time I leave, the sun is beginning to rise or it has already risen.

This is one of the most special aspects of working out so early in the morning; you get to rise with the day itself. It is so easy to be tired and feel like you should be sleeping when it is still dark outside; that is how our bodies are wired. However, when you wake up while it is still dark, and work hard for an hour as the sun re-emerges from its slumber, it also ignites the start of your day.

I always say that the toughest part of working out at 5 a.m., or 6:30 a.m., or whenever it may be, is actually waking up and getting up. I set my alarms five minutes prior to when I need to get up and get ready for this exact reason. I need some buffer time to wrestle with myself over whether to actually begin preparing for the gym, and the best outcome is always when the gym wins over. I'm able to offset the battle a little bit by laying out my clothes ahead of time, so I just roll out of bed and jump into my clothes and get on my way. Once that first roll is complete, the rest is just continuing with what you know and letting muscle memory take over.

The best part of working out dark and early, comes afterward. Most people are not even awake, especially in college, and I've already completed one of the most important parts of my day. It is ticking a major box off for me, and it immediately gets me rolling into the rest of my day. There is no slowness or grogginess because I am able to jump right in, already having achieved so much. That's the thing about morning workouts; no matter how well or poorly you perform, you still did it. Right away, and you have already set the tone for an amazing day.

I was hesitant when I first began working out so early in the morning, whether it was before long days in high school and now long days in college. However, what truly kept me coming back every morning, and what still makes me get up at 4:18 a.m. even when I'm home during winter break, is the people I get to workout with at 5 a.m. These individuals are truly amazing people. Being a student is difficult, but ultimately if I need to nap or do a little less homework that day, then I have that option. However, the individuals in my morning workouts, especially those who are mothers and business owners, and doctors, and lawyers do not quite have that option. They work out early because that is their time to take and to make their own, and kickstart their day. It's amazing and it's something that is replicated through early morning workout classes everywhere. The go-getters get up and start their day with a win, every day.

Working out before dawn is not for everyone. Some people just can't be functional at that time, and for some individuals (and for me sometimes), it doesn't make sense because we go to bed too late and need proper sleep to function during the day. However, I think working out so early in the morning is something that everyone should try at least once in their lives. There is truly no better way to start the day than with a workout, than with grasping the potential of that day and of working toward goals first thing in the morning. You have the opportunity to start your day at the same time that the sun is starting its day, and only bright things are on the horizon.

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