Chance of Snow

evergreens-and-snow

(source)

For the past 2 days,  Winter Advisory notices kept popping up on my phone. Generally, these notices mean nothing. Our house is 23 feet above sea level. We don’t get much snow. Oh, a dusting here and there, and the freak storm of 2008-2009. But generally, not a lot.

So I kind of ignored them. I told the kids there was a possibility of snow. But I didn’t hold out much hope. Cold rain? Sure, and lots of it.

But I was wrong.

Ruby came into our room as I was getting dressed.

“Mom, it’s snowing!” Excitement lit her face.

Downstairs, I found her peeking out the front window. She had wrapped herself in a blanket against the chill. The streetlight shone down on fluffy flakes as they drifted to the ground. Outside, a live snowglobe.

Ruby dove into her closet and pulled out a coat. She donned a zebra-print cap.

“I’m going for a walk. Want to come?”

We stepped outside. Pepper-car had her own cottony blanket. Jonathon’s car, too. All was silent, the world asleep. We made fresh tracks on the driveway and the road. Ruby poked her toe into a slushy puddle, a dirty wet donut hole surrounded by powdered sugar. We strolled down the block. No birds sang. Nothing stirred.

“Mom, what’s your favorite hot drink when you’ve been outside forever?”

We debated the merits of hot chocolate vs. cider vs. chai tea. The dawn had yet to come, but the snow cast its own glow. We passed one other walker near the creek.

“Hello,” he said. The snow makes everyone friendlier, I thought.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” I said, smiling.

He look at me like I was crazy and picked up his pace. I kept on smiling. We headed back to the house so I could get ready for work and Ruby could make snowballs.

I want to be in the moment and not miss a thing. Snow falling reminds me to stop and savor what is, now, because nothing lasts forever.

Happy Monday.

 

Coffee Perk

I ran outside in the drizzle, two damp miles.  I’m going to make this a cutback week.  I reached a mileage goal last week and my legs let me know:  “Enough!”  I plan to spend this week doing a lot of stretching after each run and fine-tuning my diet a bit.  More on that later.

We’re back to steady rain.  Yesterday’s is a good memory, smallish piles of it plowed into corners of parking lots and streets.  Church shrank to one service yesterday due to inclement weather. Several families couldn’t make it out of their driveways.  We have a few micro climates up here.  Our house sits at 23′ above sea level.  We get the least amount of snow, generally.  Hoodsport, Union and out that direction get twice as much, if not more, than we do.  It’s crazy.

I’ve been twitted for not writing about coffee much lately, which is in my blog’s tagline.  Apologies.  Which brings me to today’s topic. Say hello to my favorite kitchen appliance, Mr. Coffee.  Isn’t he a handsome devil?

However.  Despite Mister’s best efforts, I can’t seem to wake up today. I want to curl up with my good book and drink coffee all day.  In fact, I have a partial cup I’m nursing now.  I hope I don’t regret this at 2:00 a.m. when my brain is doing a whirling dervish impression.  My eyes sit at half-mast, my brain on low.  Coffee, why hast thou forsaken me?  Why don’t you rouse my sleeping synapses?  At least I’m not in TMI danger today.  Little to no human contact, thankyouverymuch.

Coffee, mysterious
Import from tropical lands
Banishing brain fog.

Wikipedia says:  Coffee is slightly acidic (pH 5.0–5.1) and can have a stimulating effect on humans because of its caffeine content. It is one of the most popular drinks in the world. It can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways. The effect of coffee on human health has been a subject of many studies; however, results have varied in terms of coffee’s relative benefit.The majority of recent research suggests that moderate coffee consumption is benign or mildly beneficial in healthy adults. However, coffee can worsen the symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, largely due to the caffeine and diterpenes it contains.

Well, I have no idea what diterpenes are but they sound like ancient Greeks to me.  Didn’t Diterpenes write The Iliad?

Raise your hand if you’re glad coffee is a legal substance.  Caffeine is a beautiful thing.

Later on, I had a revelation.  The rain ebbed and flowed. As I drove home from shopping, I saw the trees drip.  I passed the towering Douglas firs, standing tall and silent in the misty wet.  I smiled. The weather differs somewhat every day.  Shouldn’t I give myself the same freedom? This is home.  I will survive.  I can put up with a little temporary brain fog.  I will leave the calculus equations to others.  To quote Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Eve of Christmas

I am very, very tired.  And excited.  And busy.  I am drinking another cup of coffee as I type this.

It’s Christmas Eve.  Just about everyone has something to do today.  I did notice that my bank is closed.  Guess they don’t have much to do there.

Yesterday afternoon after church, we drove down to Oregon to visit my stepmom’s family.  We haven’t been together since Ruby was a baby, probably about a year old.  She’s 7 now and Zac is 13.  My step-uncle’s wife died back in September.  She was a feisty, funny lady, and short like me.  She will be missed.  It seemed a good time to get together again and circle the wagons, get caught up on each other’s lives.  There were a LOT of little girls, ranging in age from 2 to 11.  My brother’s boys, 1 and 3, joined in the merriment.  Zac was at the other end of the spectrum.  He filled the testosterone void of boys his age by playing on his iPhone.  We ate food and talked and laughed.  I feel a little sad that I only met everyone when I was 13, and Dad married Patty.  I wished I’d grown up knowing my uncles better.

Because I was so tired, I did manage to put my foot in my mouth most handily a couple of times .  Uncle Mike, who is only a handful of years older than I am, made sure I didn’t forget it.  At least it was a great laugh, even if it was at my expense.  Then, mercifully, we drove back home.

I managed to do food shopping today, if you can believe that.  I saw two friends at the store; we chatted briefly.  We are now stocked up.  Shelton has a winter storm warning on, starting early tomorrow morning.  Now, the warning I got on my phone last night said we were in for 5-10 inches.  What it failed to mention is that the snow level will lower to 500 feet.

Our house is at an elevation of 23 feet.  Yeah.  I wonder if we’ll get any snow.

I got up before everyone else this morning to sneak a short run in.  I want to honor my commitment to run a mile every day until New Year’s.  I peeked outside at the pre-dawn morning. It was dry.  Sure, the sidewalks and streets and ground was damp.  But no precipitation fell from the sky. Up here, a dry day is a good day.  Nobody will wear shorts (except Zac), mind you, but people will celebrate in small ways, like walking instead of driving around town. I left my music at home and packed only myself and my watch out into the neighborhood.

The air hovered just above freezing.  It was very quiet, like a holy hush froze the air.  Christmas lights illuminated several houses, glowing like jewels in the early morning.  No two were the same.  As the time clicked past 7 a.m., the sky started to lighten in the east.  Loose-fitting clouds revealed the morning.  Suddenly, I could see.  I wondered if the morning Jesus was born was like this:  so very dark, and then suddenly – light!  I’d been so caught up in the joyful busy-ness of the Christmas program at church and logistics, baking, cards, cleaning, and on and on that I lost sight of the miracle of morning and  a new day.

I find myself thinking about the year that’s almost gone and just being grateful. I truly love living here in this place.  I still have so, so much to do.  I know all my readers who are parents – also some non-parents – can relate to this.  Yet for this moment, the calm before the storm – possibly literally – there is peace.

Christmas Spirit

Snow.  A snow day on the last day of school before winter break.  Making cookies and anointing them with frosting plus millions of sprinkles alongside Ruby.  Delivering the cookies. Eating said cookies.  Running outside in the deep freeze, snow lingering on the ground. Putting money in the Salvation Army guy’s red kettle.  More snow mixed with rain. Eggnog.  Writing Christmas cards to family and friends far and near.  Zac trying to winnow out of us what his Christmas presents are.  Drinking REAL cocoa, made with unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar and hot milk.  Shopping for Christmas presents and finding just the “thing”.  Crunching a red-and-white striped candy cane.  Reading books in front of a blazing gas fireplace. The piney aroma of our gorgeous Douglas fir tree. “These are a few of my favorite Christmas-y things…”

Did I mention snow?

Suffice it to say I’m getting into the Christmas spirit; the anticipation builds.  I’m feeling the peace only Jesus can provide as the days get more hectic.  Only 6 more days. Hallelujah!

Magic Elixir

cinderella

Early this morning, it snowed.  Oh, just a dusting, but exciting to us.  We usually get our first snowfall around Thanksgiving, but our seasons have been delayed quite a bit this year.  Summer lingered (not unwelcome).  Fall lagged.  Winter, it seems, launched, and before the End of the World, too.

Much to Zac’s disappointment, school started on time.  Ruby, however, did not make it.  She had a fever and a sore throat accompanied by general lethargy.  We hung out and she watched TV shows.  I folded clothes.  We sat together and watched “Charlie Brown Christmas”.  That brought smiles.  She started “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”  I took her temp again – 101.8 degrees.  I caved and gave her some children’s advil.  Less than 10 minutes later, she asked for cereal, and ate two bowls.  She drank juice.  Halfway through the show, she lost interest and asked if she could take my phone and make videos, mostly starring the cats.  Ta-da!  Instant cure.  Now, it was a pajama party!

This is what happens.  You give our kids some medication and they feel better.  Fevers disappear, sore throats become manageable.  Lethargy evaporates. They tell jokes.  They play games on the computer and Skype with their friends.  They make ice cream cones out of paper and scotch tape.  Sometimes they even help you with chores!  They argue with you and pester napping felines.  The medication is a magic elixir.

Right now, Ruby is finding a TV show to watch.  Earlier, she asked to go to school.  Then she wanted to go out in the show and make a snowman.  See?  I hated to tamp down her enthusiasm, but she really is sick.  Truly.  She can’t go to school and participate in pajama day, no matter how great she currently feels.

But…in two to three hours, it will wear off.  Like Cinderella’s ballgown, carriage and white horses, the temporary spell will end.  She will get glassy-eyed and fatigued.  Her smiles will become fewer.  That’s when I’ll hold her, read to her and maybe rock her a little in the rocking chair.  Resistance is futile.  Her body needs time to heal, and rest.

I will still be here; I am not magic. And I will be here when she really is well.

Hello, Spring!

There’s a line from Groundhog Day that I think of today. Bill Murray’s character, Phil, encounters a large, well-dressed man on the stairs of his bed & breakfast as he’s heading downstairs to join the Groundhog Day festivities.

“Do you think it’ll be an early spring?” the large man queries.

“I’m predicting March 20”, Phil stammers.

“Hey!”, the large man bubbles, “I think that is the first day of spring!”

Yes. And it’s spring, the very first day of the season.  It’s 40 degrees and raining here.  Sometimes, a little snow gets mixed into the rain for good measure.  We’ve had over 17 inches of rain so far this year. I’m drinking tea.  The gas fireplace glows merrily.  Winter, thou lingerest!

I’m trying to be brave about it, but I am tired of winter. I am tired of Jonathon’s unemployment.  I am tired of being cold.  I want some sunshine and warmth. I’m wearing a shirt, a hoodie (hey, it’s the Northwest!), a vest, socks, jeans and slippers.  Clean slippers. If I get any colder, I’ll don a hat as well. I almost never drink tea except when I’m feeling sick or very cold.  Today, it’s the latter.  Coffee this time of day would have me bouncing off the walls and then cranky by the kids’ bedtime.  And very hungry.  Must be what it’s like to smoke marijuana, though I don’t know that firsthand.

I can think of nothing interesting to write about.  All my inspiration is dried up like a husk of a summer fruit. 

Tuesdays are my crazy days.  I have a standing appointment to run with a friend, prayer at church, and Lap Club.  Lap Club got cancelled.  The field is a flooded mess.  I appreciate the break, though the kids are sweet. They get in trouble for stopping to pick flowers while on the track.  After school, Jonathon has 4 lessons back-to-back this afternoon, so I clean in anticipation of that.  He pitches in a bit, too.

None of the cherry trees are blossoming.  It’s been too cold.  I saw them blooming in Seattle when I was up there 2 weeks ago.  I assume they’ve bloomed in Portland, too.  I’ve seen a few brave crocuses and daffodils popping up, but not many. Winter, it appears, has a stranglehold on a lot of things right now.

There’s an old Out of the Grey song, a husband and wife duo, called “Dreaming of April”. Can’t find it on youtube, but this one ( below) describes how I feel right now.  I have to keep believing and pressing on.  God’s preset seasons are working beneath the cold, damp earth to bring up the flowers. Winter can’t hold on forever.  I know he’s doing it for us, too.