Kristin Emery

Column Kristin Emery

Kristin Emery is a meteorologist at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, an O-R columnist and writer for Total Health magazine and other publications. Kristin is a Washington native, graduate of Washington High School and West Virginia University and works to fund her hobbies of travel, skiing, diving and golf.
17

Oct 2017

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It’s the fall when temperatures just won’t fall

It’s the autumn when temperatures won’t fall

Have you broken out your fall fashions yet? I haven’t either, and that’s probably because it has felt more like San Diego or Miami around here than what we’re used to in fall around Southwestern Pennsylvania. So much for kids playing in piles of leaves while you enjoy that piping hot pumpkin spice latte. The only thing piping hot around here has been the temperature lately.

And what’s happening with our fall colors? Leaves began turning on Labor Day, possibly because of the slightly cooler-than-average August temperatures and a summer that left us averaging six inches above normal yearly precipitation totals. Hopes were high for an early view of what promised to be vivid fall foliage. Then came a bone-dry September when we hit 90 degrees twice and saw nary a drop of rain. The first 10 days of October averaged more than eight degrees warmer than normal. Rain from Hurricane Nate finally brought some relief to crispy lawns, but leaves are still dry, and it seems they’re racing from green straight to brown and skipping those wonderful shades of rust, gold, red and orange.

People are confused, too, not knowing whether to run the air conditioning, the furnace or just leave the windows open all of the time. Hot, dry weather made us wish the pools were open in October instead of sitting idle all summer while it seemed as if the rain would never end and the sun would never shine again.

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03

Oct 2017

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Having a ‘Zip-a-dee-doo-dah’ great time

Having a ‘Zip-a-dee’ great time ziplining

It sounded like a good idea. In fact, it sounded like so much fun that I couldn’t wait to do it. Then, suddenly, I was perched on a tree stand strapped into a harness attached to a wire and facing the prospect of leaping off the edge. This suddenly seemed like a bad idea … a very bad idea. Why did I agree to go on a zipline, again? That’s right – it’s supposed to be fun!

I never used to think I had a fear of heights. The overwhelming feeling of panic and fear only set in for the first time when I had another bright idea to go bungee jumping. That was about 20 years ago when I was possibly braver and obviously less wise. It looked harmless enough from the ground, but it’s funny how your perspective changes once you’re up in the air. Everything seems very tiny below. I mustered my courage back then, closed my eyes and jumped, and actually wound up having a really good time bungee jumping. Would I do it again? Um … no. Once was enough – check that off the list.

Here I was again on the precipice of an exciting adventure on the Seven Springs Laurel Ridgeline Zipline Experience. My mind and mouth were writing checks that at that moment my guts were not ready to cash. My guides Justin and Michael were excellent instructors, taught me everything I needed to know to have a safe, fun experience, and also seemed as if they really, really loved their jobs. The Laurel Ridgeline tour covers the whole North Face side of Seven Springs, includes 10 ziplines (including one that is nearly 1,500 feet long, 150 feet high and takes you at speeds up to 50 mph) and even has two rope suspension bridges a la an Indiana Jones movie, plus a 40-foot rappel. This is a terrific idea for someone with a slight fear of heights!

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19

Sep 2017

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A trip postponed, a region devastated

We were supposed to be packing today. The list included scuba gear, sunglasses and flip-flops. When my friend suggested this trip back in March, we were all eager even though that nagging question kept popping up in the back of my mind. “Why would you want to travel that week? You realize it’s the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.” Yes, the dates worked well for all of us and, yes, the price was remarkably affordable. That’s because it is the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.

We were so excited as our trip approached. The rental home my friend found for us was beautiful: four bedrooms with a pool, hot tub and grill perched alongside a canal on peaceful Marathon Key. The week would be full of scuba diving plus fun, laughter and time with beloved friends. Then came Hurricane Irma.

I watched the forecasts and television coverage of Irma for hours, then days, praying that not only would those in her path remain safe, but somehow she would fizzle or take a turn to the west and spare the Florida Keys.

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05

Sep 2017

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Marking some not-so-wonderful milestones

Some not-so-wonderful milestones being marked

As you are reading this in your morning O-R, I imagine many of you are enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee and some breakfast. As I am writing this, I am enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee and no solid food for the day. No, I’m not trying one of those quick weight-loss cleanses that I hear friends try every so often. I have to think that if those really work, everyone would be swearing off solid food and walking around looking like Giselle Bundchen and her rail-thin supermodel colleagues.

The idea of me going without food for 24 hours is outright lunacy, and the reason behind doing this cleanse gave me an even better excuse to put off the whole thing as long as I could. Yes, you guessed it: I recently hit that magical milestone age when your doctor says you should have your first routine colonoscopy. I knew it was coming before he uttered that phrase. I had dealt with hitting the half-century mark pretty well overall, because I still think in my mind that I’m 25-years-old and always will be. My body just isn’t cooperating with what my mind knows is my real age. I remember watching the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes do their famous kick line in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV one year and my mom saying, “Boy, I wish I could still kick my leg up like that!” I was a bit perplexed because I thought, well, I can kick my legs up like that. I couldn’t imagine what she meant. After a few more decades of skiing and a monumentally stupid sprained ankle injury, I know exactly what mom meant. I watch little kids bound up steps two at a time and think, “Boy, I wish I could still do that!” I still could do that, but it might result in my winding up facedown or with swollen knees the next day.

To add insult to injury (to my pride), I’ve been suffering from episodes of insomnia in recent years, which have recently become more and more frequent. I chalked them up to stress and travel but realized the horrible truth when the insomnia brought along its awful buddy, the night sweats, a few weeks ago. Now, I am also overcome by hot flashes at any given moment during the day, which make me feel nauseous and ready to erupt like a volcano.

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