Category Archives: Personal

Spring Break 2020 – Day 28

The latest lessons with my software lessons. The changes are a bit stark that I am doing so I have a good reference on what they do when I am working with them in the future. I do like what the results were in the flower though.

My project today was to clear 1 garden area to plant some of the irises in I had brought from a friend’s house yesterday. I wound up clearing four areas. Not looking forward to how my shoulders are going to feel tomorrow, but am looking forward to seeing the flowers bloom.

Plants in the ground, all tucked in and ready to shoot into life. We have no idea what color any of these are going to be. So, it will be like Nature’s present as they bloom and unwrap.

And the other areas that were planted before are coming along just fine. I even have some tulips about to burst forth that got planted last year. It will be nice to have colors in my yard again. I let it go for far too long. I forgot how much I love working in the garden.

And the highlight is the tulip about to burst forth next to my Dancers to the End of Love sculpture. I think it is and may always be one of my favorite pieces of art I have.

Spring Break 2020 – Day 25

The day began with breakfast. Not so very interesting. Oatmeal, banana, and a boiled egg. *sigh* Then I did a couple lessons on photo editing. The second was color pop in black and white and the results are above. I think I did pretty good on this one. I am slowly starting to understand how the controls work and how to manipulate things. This is one lesson that I can see me using often. I love photos where they are monotone with just one item left in color.

I realized that I forgot to give treats to my feathered buddies. When I went out though, there was only one there. Greedy little bastard took every single one for himself. He’s a cutie, isn’t he?

And Her Little Self thinks she should be a part of everything. Here she is trying to tell me how to edit my post before moving to the other side to hope for a portion of my dinner. Yes, she was able to talk me into sharing.

Jay Butt!!!

And last night I ground up some graphite and charcoal to try playing with reverse drawing. This is the first attempt. I think its kinda cool but I definitely need a lot more practice with this medium and probably need to grind the powders up a bit more than I have. And once this lockdown is over, maybe invest in some from the art store that is ground super fine. We shall see when that time comes.

Well, I think that is it for the day, other than I did get my hammock chair put up today and will try and enjoy some of the sunshine just relaxing in it before it turns again. Its still Spring here. The sunshine is a temporary thing in the Spring.

Spring Break 2020 – Day 24

I didn’t get a post done yesterday, so I shall catch up with a double day entry. I made a double batch of Vile Brew yesterday. You know the horseradish is good when your eyes are watering and the inside of your nose feels like you inhaled fire. The house still reeks of it today. Yummm! I think I found another name for it that I may start labelling it with. HellFire Brew!

Made the mistake of walking out the door before breakfast this morning and my stellars started screaming at me. So, I had to turn around and go back in to get them their peanuts. Didn’t think to grab the camera, but I do need to do that in the next few days. They so love their treats!

God some more work done on the garden today. I started moving the border out to make it bigger and dropped in the plants I got from the nursery yesterday. 6 of them came from the sad plant rack. One of my favorite places to get plants. I rarely lose one of them. And these all looked like they had enough life that they will save. I still have two more plants to get in the ground, which I will do in the next few days.

I also put a few herbs in planters out front. I got hover-buzzed by one of the male Anna’s because I was in the way of his feeder. What is it with the ungrateful birds today? Yelling at me and buzzing me. Plllttthhhzzz!

And the editor says it is time to go for now as she needs to be brushed and petted. So, till the next time!

spring break 2020 – day 22

Worked with the perfect mask tool today. Got all the way through the lesson and then realized I had done something dumb because when I pushed the “finish” on it, it went black. So, I stormed off in a huff, stamped my foot a couple of times and then realized that really hurts! When I returned from my walk, I tried it again and got it right. Okay, the masking needs some work and it could be this was the wrong technique for trees like are in the picture. But, I got the principle and learned a lot.

It does make it easier to get yourself out for walks when you have views like this!

The first flowers of Spring are out. It took a great deal of self restraint. Yes, I do possess some of that. Not much, but a little. But, I didn’t set the fairies free from that one. Tis fine. There was a breeze this afternoon and I have confidence that they were freed by the kiss of the winds.

This is my neighbor’s dog. She doesn’t think her dog photographs well. I completely disagree. Don’t you? On my way back, we ganged up on her husband about the joys of misbehaving. I don’t think he realized what a bad influence he had living so close. hehehehe

The end of the day was finishing up restringing these. One was sent to me for restringing, but when I pulled mine out to use as a reference, I noticed it had a break as well. So, I had to do both of them. Luckily, I had 2 cords and didn’t lose one in the process. I have a few friends out there that know what these truly are and what it takes to make one, Each is unique to the person it is for. And there are only a handful of them. But, I don’t think I have ever shared pics of these two.

That about covers today, other than I am still waiting to get approved for unemployment. I have my stock partially chopped for a new batch of “Vile Brew”, but I need to go into town for a few more ingredients. The local herb store can’t let me inside, but she is putting my order together and will place it outside the door when I tell her I am on my way and she has an honor box for the cost. I so love living somewhere that there are such things as honor boxes!

Till tomorrow.

spring break 2020 – day 21

Today, I was playing with the Color Range and Luminosity Masks in the software. The first photo is the original, the second one is applying a gradient mask to certain colors in the photo and the third one is replacing the sky.

I am partial to the as taken version, however, it was great learning what I could do with the tools. I doubt I will use them to the extreme these examples are done in, but I can see how I can use them for minor corrections and adjustments. Fun! Fun! Mostly its not so hard to keep from getting bored when you are housebound.

And here is the spice cabinet from yesterday. And yes, they are alphabetized as much as possible. Not the blends. But, I did make one of my own to add. A Baharat spice I had a recipe for. Gonna try it on some baked chicken sometime in the next few days.

On to the garage. They can oft be scary places with strange spills and buildups. I, however, was prepared and did have on my handy dandy medium level work gloves. I did forget to wear a head covering, but my spell wishes that creatures which belong in the out should not hitch a ride in my hair into the in seemed to work as I returned to the house without any new friends. Cassie said she would have liked one or two though and could I go back out and bring her one. Such a silly floof!

Well, as you can see in the pictures above, I did get some arranging done on some of the shelves. I also discovered that I do, in fact, have an extra jug of white vinegar, so that is no longer an active search at the store. Still need the rubbing alcohol, bleach and hydrogen peroxide.

And above is much of the stuff that needs to be rehomed through local thrift stores, if they ever reopen. There are some exceptions, such as Cassie’s poopie dirt, my mat cutter and the things further back. But, all in all, I would say it was a job well done today and it will take at least 2 trips to clear all the offerings from the garage.

I didn’t intend to do any organizing in the bookshelves, but decided to pull out some magazines I didn’t see any need to keep around. In the midst of pulling them out, I found a book of writing I didn’t remember existed. There were only a few things in it, but one was something I had written on the 10th anniversary of my father’s death. I think that was the first time his death truly hit me. And it hit me like a sledgehammer. I remember having to leave work that day because I needed to be alone. I went to the local park and after having a good cry, I wrote this. Funny that I didn’t remember I had written something that day. But, seeing it, I remember it.

Ten Years After

It’s been ten years today you’ve been gone from me. I have little to remember you by save one small picture and a few small mementos. I wonder what you would think of me now, your youngest one with the rebel spirit and eyes of fire matched only by yours. Would you praise or condemn me for what has come of my life? I have made many mistakes, severe ones as in all I do in life.

I wish you could have found a way, a reason to have stayed around just a little while longer. You left me when i needed you most. I wonder, would I have made those same mistakes if you had not left?

My children shall never know you, and for that especially I grieve. They will know only what is said of you. the beauty and darkness of you can never be taught to them.

You made me who and what I am. If you can look upon me and mine, I hope that you do so with gladness in your heart. I know I never said it often enough, but I love you and hope that whatever god there is up there granted yo forgiveness and allowed you to enter that part of the netherworld I feel you to deserve to be in.

October 15, 1990

Well, that about covers it for this day. Tomorrow is another day and another chance to find hidden and forgotten treasures. Or maybe make more to be found at the next Spring Break.

Spring break 2020 – day 20

I actually started the day organizing the smaller spice cupboard, but I seem to have accidentally deleted the picture from it. In lieu of the missing picture, I have substituted my favorite stump just past the end of the street. Pretty cool, isn’t it?

I went through a couple lessons on my photo software (didn’t use the cool effects on these. Will get to those on another day) Then I went for a neighborhood walk. The cherry trees are in bloom. And luckily, I don’t have to go into Seattle to see them. We have plenty of them around here! Pretty, aren’t they?

There are also a couple of people who have been going for walks. The lady carries a walking stick with a net bag of big jingle bells. She wants to get the people in the neighborhood to join her and this is her way of retaliating because she was told we won’t post it on the website. She complained about it to me today, telling me that the secretary turned her down. Told her I knew that. I told her that if she said yes, I still say no and I am the one that takes care of the site. She wanted to know why. I told her because it was stupid and I have already lost access to the parks, I wasn’t going to let her cost me my neighborhood walk. I’m thinking she doesn’t much like me anymore. ūüôā

The robins are out foraging. People are digging for gardens, grubs are easing pickings. And look! One of my neighbors down the street has a bat house. I am soooo jealous!

Oh, the lady in the above paragraph was complaining about one of the neighbors up in the area from these pictures. Seems they told her it was a private road and they shouldn’t be up there. Funny, they never complain to me. Many of them come out to visit, from a distance. And the guy with the bat house asked me to tell him when I get my own up.

And I live for the views along the walk!

This is the lodge at the end of the road. It’s called the Rainbow Lodge. Truly, that is its name. Their website says you have to book the whole lodge and its for spiritual retreats.

And this is my favorite tree on the walk. Cool tree, huh?

Mustn’t touch! Stinging nettle. I am a bit sensitive to these plants. Touched one with my thumb and felt like I had a blister on it for 3 days.

Just a weed, but isn’t it cool the way they wrapped around each other? It must be love and they are certainly not observing the 6 ft. rule.

More views. Pretty up here, isn’t it?

A Pacman cloud! How cool is this?

And now we are back to the homestead. And the flowers that are blooming here. As you can see, I also have a cherry in bloom. It’s only a mock cherry tree. They castrated it or something. I have two of them. One white and one pink. They bloom, but no cherries.

And the garden that is my main project for this year. There is still a lot of cleaning to do in it. Unfortunately, I am waiting to see what comes up first. I forgot where I planted things last year. There wasn’t much, but a few things. And there is my wonderful garden dancers sculpture! And yes, they are anatomically correct.

And the amazing dandelion root I pulled up. I am quite impressed!!

And when it is time, this it what it looks like inside of my bed. I thought that scarves would be much more interesting than blackout curtains and I can still have my windows open to hear the birds outside.

Well, Cassiekins is hiding somewhere so she gets to miss out on this one. She’s probably in the bedroom since I turned on the mattress warmer and lights. She wants her bedtime treats.

Till tomorrow!

Nano Recovery

Winner-2014-Web-BannerSome insanity overtook me and I decided to enlist in the Nano madness for the first time ever.  For those not aware of it, its Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month where you commit to writing 50,000 words in the month of November.

I chose to engage in it because I have had a book idea brewing and thought it would give me the kick in the pants I needed to make a serious dent in it. ¬†And I am very proud to say that I did indeed meet the 50,000 word count. ¬†*Bells and whistles off in the background* ¬†The task took me away from many things and I pretty much spent all my extra time plugging away at the keyboard. ¬†I got none of the books I had read reviewed, haven’t gone through the photos in my camera and haven’t drawn anything. ¬†But, I got the 50K!

That said, I am such a very long way from saying that I have a “novel”. ¬†I have the foundation of one. ¬†But, as in most things in my life, I seem to have bitten of a rather large bite on mine. ¬†I have decided that before I consider plowing forward, I need to take a step back on the book and lay a bit more groundwork and decide what needs expanding and what needs some culling. ¬†So, I will probably become a quiet subject for a while.

But, its over!  I did it!  And in the few days since, I have gotten a couple of reviews written on books I read during November.  And I plan on going through the camera this weekend.  The swans and snow geese are in and I have gotten the first batch  of pictures taken of them!  Oh, and the snow is filling up the mountains!  Very pretty!  Which caused me to sing a little ditty on the way home while waiting for a friend to pick the phone back up.  Little Christmas trees in the snow on the side of the road, covered with Christmas snow in the afternoon sun.

What a joy to live where there are seasons.  And thankfully, the rain has taken a short break giving the roads a chance to dry out  bit.

Jule of the Night

phoenix-free-out-of-fire-the-234929A light dimmed from this world today. The touch of his grace was only felt by a small circle of people, but all who felt it will carry the spark of his touch forever.

I remember the first time I met our Jules. In truth, I was not prepared for what I saw when I walked into that room for the first time. As I looked on his form lying on the bed, the mom in me crumpled into the chair by him and wanted to cry. I reached out a hand shakily not sure how or if I should touch this fragile boy. The tears were welling in my eyes and a tightness wrapped my throat. Then, he opened his eyes and looked at me and it all vanished. I felt calm and all the sadness, the tightness was just . . . gone. And a voice, or a knowledge, in my head, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs okay . . . I‚Äôm okay‚ÄĚ And he smiled at me. I‚Äôm not sure how long I spent with him that first time. I‚Äôm not even sure what happened or what we did. Only that he bonded with me that day and became my friend. He showed me that he was happy; that his life was not how it appeared and I smiled.

Outside, the world turns and often becomes crazy, sending us spiraling in a thousand different directions that often cause us to lose our original path. Hate often seems to be the rule of the day, then the week, then more and our paths become even more obscured. We don’t have, find, make time for our friends. We don’t have, find, make time for ourselves. We fracture. We don’t know what it all means.

I have a sister of the heart who has lost far too many close to her recently. My heart cries for all the losses she has had. It seems there is no reason, that it is too much. She will bring life from her loss.  She has told me that she is making a garden of remembrance.  The seed each placed in her will be shared with the ground and sprout with the beauty of their shared love and memories.  From the darkness, she will bring light and life.

It is so sad when we have to say goodbye to one we loved, one that touched our soul. But sometimes we must. Sometimes we must with more than one. There will always be a missing in our hearts for those that move on. I don’t even try to think that I have answers as to why. But, sometimes it reminds us that life is short. That life is precious. What and who is really important. Sometimes we forget these things.

My little friend has moved on. My heart is sad and the world a little less bright with his passing. But, I hold close the gift he shared with me the first time I met him. Life is a gift and full of joy. It needn’t be the life you expect or that others expect. He loved his life in his little universe. His smile, his laugh, could brighten your darkest hour. I shall miss hearing his laughter and seeing his smile. I shall miss his blowing kisses. But, I am also happy that he has begun a new journey. I smile that he chose his own moment and didn’t allow anyone else to choose it for him. I am sure he danced the Maypole just before he slipped past the veil and can hear him blowing raspberries at all who witnessed as he did his dance. ¬†He planted a star in my breast with his beauty and I am so grateful to be one of the lucky few to have been part of his circle.

And to you, dear Jules –

And as you make your final pass from this realm, my friend, I pray a few gifts for you for your journey. May you run across the beach and feel the sand between your toes and the waves lap the tops of your feet. May you find enough speed to feel the air whip your hair, fill your lungs and light your feet from the ground. May you hear music that fills your soul and spins your body in a dance of the spirit. And may you dive through a blazing sunset on your way out and and into the Beltane fires to rise with the wings of a Phoenix. Oh, and may your laughter be so joyous that it touches every soul on this earth. And may you find your every heart’s desire on the journey before you.

Goodbye my friend. And thank you. You were loved.

Island Home November 1, 2013

Its a very strange notion to look around yourself and realize that this is ‚Äúyour‚ÄĚ home. It took well over 50 years for me to get to this point, a point I really never saw myself getting to. But, I am here and this morning I made my very first payment. Only 359 more to go! And the big question is, will I live to see the last payment made??? I do hope so.

IMG_1971All new house stories should begin at the beginning and when you were first introduced. ¬†Granted, it wasn’t what I had in my mind as the choice of homes I thought to ever see myself into. ¬†But, as you walk through the front door, the very first room is big and roomy and lots of windows all around it.
IMG_1972Though I think I would have preferred if this window had been facing toward the backyard instead of the front yard.  But, it would still do.
IMG_1968Love all the black built ins in the kitchen.  And quite a nice amount of room in the kitchen.  Lots of cupboards, storage, and even an island in the center.
IMG_1969Not a “wood” stove, but a propane one to look like a wood stove. ¬†I suppose its safer and maybe even more economical. ¬†I will still have to get myself at least a firepit to put up in the back yard so I can have the flamage thing when I need it. ¬†Plus, it will save on the trash take away if I can burn much of it.
IMG_1970Beautiful built in china cabinet.  Somehow, I have a feeling what will soon be inhabiting the cabinet is nothing like it has held in the past!
IMG_1966The back porch.  I can see that I shall be spending much time out here once I am settled and the weather allows!
IMG_1992Well, I have been in my new home for a month and a half now. I suppose the first couple weeks almost don’t count, as it felt like I was living in a storage unit. All the furniture plus the boxes in the house on the first weekend. The second weekend, in came all the books and things I was able to do without till moving day.
When the second load came it, it pretty much filled the rather large living room here. Cassie wasn’t quite sure whether to be disturbed by the box maze in there or if she had just gotten a giant new playground.She was trying to convince me that she was certain that this box contained her favorite toys.  I think it maybe had a jar of catnip in it.  I suppose that qualifies.
IMG_1983Day two of the box load.  Nice dent made in it.  Cassie thinks I am going to chase her through the box maze.
Another day of unpacking and the box count is way down. ¬†Bookshelves are beginning to fill up. ¬†Even though I realize how much I have¬†gotten done, it still seems like there is so very much left to do. ¬†And work keeps calling me which is seriously slowing down the unpacking process. ¬†I have a feeling I won’t be able to get out and do the exploring I wanted to on my time off.
IMG_1996Shelves are almost filled up! ¬†And I look at the stack of boxes in the center of the room and realize what a large number of boxes that is! ¬†Woot! ¬†Course, I still have to come back later and put them in order. ¬†In my rush to get things unpacked, and clear the boxes, I just started stuffing books onto shelves. ¬†That’s okay. ¬†It will give me a chance to inventory them as I go. ¬†There’s been a lot of movement in what is there, so what I
IMG_1985The kitchen is also starting to take shape.  It seems to be going back and forth between a state of mess and a state of coolness.  This is obviously one of the mess moments.  But, fear not.  All the things laying on the counters will find at least a temporary home behind a cupboard door or on a shelf.
RABBIT!!! ¬†The squirrels were hiding at the moment so we must accept the rabbit substitute for the “squirrel” Intermission. ¬†Actually, this shot was taken before I moved in. ¬†But, it is still cool. ¬†The rabbit just froze. ¬†I guess it thought if it didn’t move, I could see it. ¬†It was actually quite amusing, as it allowed me to continue to take shot after shot of it.
IMG_1986Little by little, things are falling into place. ¬†The cabinet is filling. ¬†The Ladies and their menageries need at least a temporary home. ¬†The ones that don’t play will with others have found their own places in other areas. ¬†So, there is harmony and the house now has its guardians. ¬†The gardens will get their own in time.
The den.  Early stages.  This is the comfort room.  Right next to the kitchen.IMG_1984
IMG_1988The studio.  Early stages.  Well, at least the drawing desk and lamp are in place.  We still need to find all the tools and colors and such.
IMG_1990I have a place to sleep too.
IMG_2004The studio is taking more shape.  Books are finding their way in and in somewhat appropriate shelves and such.
IMG_2005And I even have my window seat in there with a reading/drawing/coloring lamp.  And this window looks out over the back yard where the squirrels and rabbits play.  The squirrels keep digging back there, so I think my yard is full of buried squirrel treasure.
IMG_1997Such a pretty back yard it is too.  Deep breaths.  Yes, I think it is a bit of a magical place.
IMG_1998Cloud gazing and sipping a cup of coffee.
IMG_1999Pretty clouds.  Even better than squirrels.
IMG_2007See?  The kitchen has been cleared!  I think I forgot how much cooking stuff I had.  Its been stored in a storage room for over 5 years.  Time to get it back to work.
 IMG_2013And there is Missy Herself Princess Foof!  How did I wind up with such a creature?  Ah well, she does provide much amusement!
IMG_2045Spider! ¬†And no, its not the Zombie Demon Spider from the Bowels of Hell that would NOT die. ¬†This is one of my friends and guardian spiders. ¬†They seem to be forming a fringe around the perimeter of the house. ¬†This one did the excited bouncy dance when I approached with my camera. ¬†“Here!” he bounced!!
And what is a home without tools?  Found this lovely piece at a thrift store for a song!!!
IMG_2057House unpacked.  Finally got a sunny day on the weekend, so its time to put the watersealer on the front porch.  I figured the best way to get this done so I liked it was to do it myself.  Took me a few hours and was quite the workout!!!  But, I think it came out quite lovely.
IMG_2056See?  Lovely!
IMG_2055Welcome to my new home!!
IMG_2054And then there was another of those wonderful thrift store finds.  And yes, its an excellent tool.  But, it was just irresistible with the bonus uses it is capable of!!!
And this one needs to stay as a larger size.  It only has a couple of leaves left on it right now.  I suppose that shall have to be in a new post.  But, this is one of the lovely little trees I inherited with my property.


I moved to Seattle about 3 1/2 years ago.  From the moment I left California, I felt like a prisoner must feel when the doors of the prison have been thrown open after decades of incarceration.  The first rest stop that I pulled into showed me once again that I had crossed into a new country.  No longer were there chained fences keeping you from the lands beyond.  Each of these areas was like a mini hiking area, gentle trails to wander and stretch your legs and admire the trees.  Oh, and we must not forget the free coffee!  Every rest stop from Oregon onward had a small trailer that served free coffee to all that visited.  Mostly, it was manned by Military Vets, though sometimes, other organizations.

When I first came into sight of Seattle, I think it was instant love!¬† It was a big city in every sense of the word.¬† Tall glistening skyscrapers, houses and apartments along every turn and hillside.¬† And yet, it wasn’t the same as any city I had ever seen.¬† For though there were skyscrapers and tall buildings in abundance, it was not a complete concrete jungle.¬† For along with the expanses of concrete, they made room for the trees.

Having spent over 3 decades trapped in the land of Summer/not Summer, or Southern California, I had little memory of what true seasons were when I first moved to Washington.¬† I had experienced them in my life.¬† But, I was a child then and a very young child when I had been migrated from Washington.¬†¬† Though I went through high school in Southern California and into my adulthood and the raising two children till maturity, the state nor the climate ever felt like home to me.¬† The only times that I every felt truly at peace down there was on the rare occasion that I was able to wander the mountain terrain.¬† That is, when it wasn’t shut down due to the annual fire season.¬† I’m not sure if there is any old growth forests down there.¬† On the times that I was able to take treks on the trails, I don’t believe I ever saw a truly old growth tree.

Seasons don’t really change there.¬† Not in any sense that one can call a true season.¬† There’s a slight shift in the air around Halloween and the temperatures begin to drop a bit.¬† Cold is considered 60 degrees or lower.¬† Rarely does it even hit the 40 degree mark.¬† The trees are bared most by the Santa Ana wind conditions coming through and with near hurricane velocity, strip them in a matter of hours.¬† These can be expected to be followed by a rise in temperature of up to 30 degrees.¬† So, you can be at 50 degrees on one day and stripping to tank top and shorts to survive the 80+ degrees the following day.¬† So, when I got up here, I was very much looking forward to my first real winter since I was a small child.

They tell you to be careful what you wish for, and my life has always tended to play itself out in extremes.¬† I should have expected that in this, it wouldn’t be any different.¬† The day that the first snow fell, I was just ecstatic!¬† I stomped all over in it and stood outside with my arms outstretched, head tipped back and let the flakes cascade down all over my face.¬† There is nothing quite like the first snow kisses of the year.¬† And I have received many a strange look from people, even those here, when I speak of snow kisses.¬† But, I know of no other way to describe the experience.¬† The tiny ice flakes when they meet the skin of your face and sending this feathery cold touch upon it.¬† Its almost too faint to feel, a touch that is almost not a touch.¬† Like when someone reaches to touch you gently and comes within a hair’s breath away from actual contact.¬† But, unlike the warm of the fingers, there is the whisper of the cold.

The first snow did not last long and was just enough to touch my heart with the wonder of it.¬† But, then came the siege!¬† The extremes once again did not let me down.¬† My first winter here offered the harshest snowfall that had been seen here in 30 years!¬† I was lucky in that my new job had one of the other employees play chauffeur to me during this week.¬† And even with the large 4-wheel drive truck he had, we still found ourselves not risking the roads on a couple of the days.¬† Which gave me the time to truly enjoy the wonder of watching my tree studded environment transform into a magical winter wonderland.¬† I took a lot of pictures of the snow around my home.¬† And they are quite pretty even though I didn’t have much of a camera at the time.

The trees were just magnificent with their blankets and pillows of snow upon their branches.  One of the amazing things about this area is the variety of trees, many of which are evergreen so they stay green all year round.  This grants you a starkly contrasting landscape of the snow casings of the branches of the barren trees mixed with the stretching tiered branches of the evergreens bowing under the weight of the snow building ever thicker upon them.  And my apartment gave me the perfect vantage point to observe it.  I am at the top of a hill a number of miles outside of the main city.  My window looks down on the hills below and there are trees as far as the eye can see.

Even in the darkest of night, there is a glow to the horizon when it has snowed.¬† It takes only the barest hint of light to illuminate the icy crystals.¬† The air takes on a misty haze, as if it is frozen mid-air.¬† The clouds are different as well.¬† They’re whiter than the rain clouds and seem to be lighter.¬† Suspended icy mists careening across the heavens.

I was told that the first year, I would probably have a hard time keeping warm, not being used to such temperatures.¬† That was very much an understatement!¬† I also learned that first year that a fireplace is not a very good source of heat in such weather.¬† I suppose if you have a wood burning stove type, that might be different.¬† But, you have to open a portal into your home to let the smoke out.¬† Which means that it will also let the cold come in.¬† And when the temperatures drop to the 20’s and teens, you want to keep it out as much as you can.

Though, I did learn another lesson during this first winter.  The danger of driving during a snow flurry.  They are amazing sights to look on through the windshield of your car.  And if you are not careful, they can mesmerize you and draw you in to them.  You look into this swirling spiral of snowflakes, ever changing and seeming to beckon you to come deeper.  Its an enchanting temptation that you need to quickly learn to resist.  Its much better to pull your car to the side of the road and watch for a while!

Many worried that such an extreme introduction to winter would have sent me scurrying back to the warm southern regions from whence I came.  But, as great of an adjustment it was that first winter, it affirmed that I had made the right choice.  I had finally found my way home and this was where I was meant to be.

I’m in the middle of my 4th winter here now.¬† None has come close to the extreme of the first and last year had only a momentary tease of snow.¬† We had a nice share again this year.¬† Not as much as the forecaster predicted, but they are never ones that can be relied on to speak with accuracy.¬† We did get enough to keep most of the city home for a couple of days.¬† And it was just as glorious as that first year.¬† I have learned that most here don’t like the snow.¬† Unless they make an effort to find it in the mountains.¬† But, it doesn’t fall here as it does in other parts of the country.¬† We may have a couple of days of being housebound by it, but not much more than that.¬† And it makes the air so very clean and season it with a crispness that cold alone cannot.¬† Its a time of fun and curling up by the window with a cup of hot cocoa and a children’s movie marathon.¬† Its bundling up in the heavy jacket and knit hat and gloves and going outside to play like a child.¬† And its a joy to watch the home trapped neighbors surrender to nature’s short incarceration and abandon themselves to making the best of it and taking their sleds and snowboards to the nearest hill to careen down, then return to stud the walks with snowpeople to guard the night hours.