The Rain Man

My definition of perfect weather is sunny, light winds and 71 degrees. This happens a few days a year. But sometimes I consider a snowstorm almost perfect as well.

My first memories are about clouds and rain. Since I was around 5 years old, I have been fascinated by weather, and clouds became my passion early on. My interest gradually grew as the years went by, but there wasn’t any one weather event that sparked it. I have just always loved all kinds of weather.

The weather was very boring in southern California, but I didn’t really know any better while I was younger. After starting at the University of Oklahoma in 1980 and graduating in 1985 with my B.S. degree in meteorology, I learned how much more exciting the weather is in this part of the country. You get it all here, and this has now been my home since 1992.

I have had a few embarrassing and funny moments on the air. One time I was doing the weather with a chimpanzee and it started eating my microphone. It was pretty funny. Other embarrassing moments include getting bit by a dog (a Great Dane we were trying to adopt) while on the air interviewing the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City representative, and when I got stuck in my chair and did the weather while holding my chair in the air.

It is hard to believe that it has been a decade since I found out that I had extra-skeletal osteogenic sarcoma. I was able to overcome this rare form of [bone] cancer by surrounding myself with a tremendous support system. Kansas City viewers poured their hearts out to me as I went through treatments. My family and friends were there every step of the way as well. I was fortunate to have found the cancer early, but it was very aggressive, and I had aggressive chemotherapy. Being aggressive with treatments and having the support system is what helped me overcome that challenge.

I have a personal trainer. David Schlossman of Results Personal Training in Overland Park has been training me for more than three years now.

My mother taught me how to make Chicken Kiev when I was very young. It is really a gourmet dish that I make from scratch starting with boneless chicken breasts and then adding seasonings and butter. Then I seal it all in with flour, eggs and breadcrumbs, closing each chicken breast with toothpicks. If you do it right, the butter squirts out when you cut into the Chicken Kiev. And I also have a hot fudge recipe that I make in a double boiler. Both of these were my mom’s specialties. 

I like to think of myself as someone who “goes with the flow.” My late dog Windy, Stormy and Breezy have all developed an ability to go with flow after years of living with me.

I love rainy days, but for me it is tracking the rain on radar that is like watching a movie. I love it even when it is just a misty drizzle, but if it thunderstorms and become severe, then I have to be at work, and the fun ends. I love a good thunderstorm, but let’s keep the hail and tornadoes out of here.

words: Coco Owens

photos: Paul Versluis