Perhaps I should wait to write this post when we have lived in the Bay Area for exactly a year since we have yet to experience a full summer, but I think ten months is long enough to know that the weather patterns here are not defined by the traditional four seasons. It is almost unsettling for someone who grew up with the weather patterns more or less defining the passing of time to all of a sudden have these outward markers taken away.
For example, this spring we did not experience the usual "spring fever" of excitement that comes with the days FINALLY warming up after a long, cold winter. This is because we were bike riding and spending time outside at our parks in JANUARY. Jeremy noticed that he did not care as much about baseball season starting. Spring slipped up on us very gradually. Apparently, even for the Bay Area, we had an unusually mild, warm winter. I had roses blooming in February. In early March, the dogwoods and azaleas were in full bloom. It's June now, but it still feels like spring. We have days that are in the 60s-70s with nighttime temps in the 50s. There are still tons of flowers and trees in bloom that make it feel like spring. My hydrangea bushes are looking lovely now.
A "normal" winter around here is much milder than in Kentucky, but it's also supposed to be very rainy. I asked for rain boots this year for Christmas after hearing that sometimes it could rain two weeks in a row. I think I wore my rain boots three times all season. (Unfortunately, most of California is in a severe drought because of lack of winter rains and too little accumulation of snow in the Sierra icepack which melts during the warm weather providing fresh water to much of California.)
To make things even crazier, the temperatures vary greatly depending on if you're in San Francisco, on the peninsula, or further inland. The San Francisco fog cools things down a lot during the summer, but we hardly ever have fog in Alameda. Today I sat on the beach and it was blue skies and sunny in Alameda and there was miles of fog extending over SF. A few weeks ago Alameda had warmer than normal temps in the 80s. It was 90's further inland! Everyone has told me that if I start really craving a HOT summer, we just need to drive about 20 minutes further inland. We are planning to take the kids to a water park in Dublin soon.
In summary, our first "winter" was incredibly mild. It has felt spring-like here since February. Now it's June and I keep waiting to feel like it's summer, but it still feels like spring. I don't feel like signing my kids up for a pool membership when the temps aren't even in the 80s. (Seems like all the outdoor pools are heated here.) Fall kind of felt like fall as far as temperatures go, but the foliage was nowhere near as beautiful as back home. And it didn't get cooler until later. September and October are warm here. (September is often the warmest month.) If you come to visit us this summer, bring a light coat.
So, the big question is, do we like this mild, temperate weather or yearn for our normal four seasons? There are things I like about both climates, but if I had to pick one, I think I like the temperate weather better. There's no doubt that I missed the falls of back east, but I did not miss the winter. This past winter for most of the country was especially cold and brutal. It is wonderful to be able to take your kids outside to play all year round. I love being able to be active and outdoorsy all the time. So much of the summers in Kentucky are spent indoors because it is too hot and humid to be outdoors comfortably unless you're at a pool. July and August in KY gets so hot that you can just step outside and start to sweat! That very rarely happens here. But, I have thirty something years I have spent in KY experiencing all four seasons and it is very much a part of my DNA. It will be interesting to see if I start to miss it after we've lived here a few more years.