Best Christmas Ever!

The sun’s out the sun’s out the sun’s out. Melt thou most stubborn of snow, melt!

Merry Christmas! I’m feeling the good vibes now!



Aaand, kind friends offered to drive me to their house for Christmas dinner. Yum! (Sun and good food — what more does this girl need at the moment? Nothing!) (Oops, afterthought: Add a few holiday drinks to the mix and I’m set!)

A Merry Snowed-In Christmas

hollyberriesToday, I woke up in a better mood than I have in weeks. It’s a bouyancy out of nowhere, and I’m once again amazed by human resilience. There’s no reason for my mood, none whatsoever. It’s Christmas Eve and I’m snowed-in. We in my family won’t celebrate the holiday until this weekend — hopefully. I’ve been cooped up for 10 days, hiking to the grocery store, stewing in my juices.

You’d think given all this time, I’d have accomplished much writing. Hah!

Old-time Portlanders are talking about this snowfall as the worst winter in 40 years. All I know is that struggling through the snow, I meet up with fellow hikers who smile wide and offer benedictions like, Beautiful, isn’t it? even as they nearly fall on their bums. Smiles all around, shrugs, slips and slides — it’s a strange but welcome comraderie.

Today it must be 34 or 35 degrees — a step in the right direction — and when I opened the balcony window the lovely hush I’d gotten used to had disappeared, replaced by snap-crackle-popping, a most enlivening sound. Truth is, I’d never before heard the sound of a slow thaw. Ice and snow falling off the evergreens and telephone lines, snow pockmarked and slushy: unique to me.

It’s thawing out there; my heart is thawing out a little too. Time to ready myself for a bright, shiny New Year!

Though, more snow is supposed to be coming for us — one more bout before it lets us go. But I don’t care. Even if I’m snowed-in, it’s still Christmas, and Christmas was always one of the happiest times in my family. We did it BIG. Or rather, my father did it big and brought us along with him. The eight-foot tree with thousands of lights; the beautifully made nativity scene, hand-sculpted and -painted, the kind you don’t see anymore. Chipped as it was, I used to love playing with it as if it were a doll set. The multitudes of presents under the tree — too many really — maybe it was almost disgusting, but as I kid, what did I care?

I may be holed up, but it’s still Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

P.S. A few pet pictures, typical of the last 10 days.

Luna, the dog reminiscent of a cat, snuggling into the warmest spot next to my drying boots (in front of the space heater).


Trio, the cat reminiscent of a dog, playing in the snow.


Snow Day!

snowday1It doesn’t take much for this California girl to call it a snow day and hunker inside, happy as a kid on hookie day. It might surprise you to know that Portland doesn’t get much snow that sticks, much less accumulates. And I’ll be the first to claim that I can’t drive on days like this. I’m a wuss that way.

So, yippee! A snow day!

I get to sip the spiced cioccolata that I bought for my book group, postponed until next weekend, and nibble on the traditional Czech holiday cookies that I bought from a woman who’s a fabulous baker. Yippee!

I get to cuddle on the sofa and write Christmas cards while watching the BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries, the one with young Colin Firth rising out of the water in soaked white blouse. You must remember that — put Firth on the map in these here United States. And, yes, I own the DVDs…

I get to tramp to the grocery store in the hiking boots I rarely get a chance to use (and that I love!) and take a few pictures along the way.

snowday2I get to laugh at my dog when I eventually take her out on a pee break. She’s not going to be pleased.

It’s not as if I had an eventful day planned after my book group, but somehow it will be more fun writing my Christmas cards now. I call snow days one of life’s little pleasures.

Right now, though, I’m heading back to bed to read the latest novel with a spiced cioccolata mocha. Yippee!

Choosing to Believe

boysinsnow2-copy.jpgI spent most of today in bed reading and sleeping. I had a feeling that galavanting around in the snow yesterday with my much-adored nephews would send my head cold over the edge. I’d been maintaining a minimal head cold all week in an effort to shore up my energies for little Trevor and Andrew’s first visit to real live snow. Their first snowball fight, first snow angels, first snowman. We had a blast. This was also the first year they were old enough to fly up from California with my sister for the holidays.

Today I’m paying for all the fun, but I don’t mind. I choose to believe that my body is clearing itself of toxins just in time for the New Year. This choosing-to-believe bit is something I do with myself. It’s like Steve Martin wrote in a recent New Yorker essay:

Through the years, I have learned that there is no harm in charging oneself up with delusions between moments of valid inspiration.


Despite my kvetching on this blog, I’m actually an optimistic person. And besides, delusions are fun. For example, I experienced my first snowy Christmas this year — with actual falling snow! Firsts are good at any age, and I chose to believe that the snow was a good omen for 2008.

Especially for my writing. I’m full of plans for using my time more wisely, finishing my current novel, and traveling back to Ireland for research. A bright and shiny start to 2008! Delusions are great — charge myself up enough and the delusions will become moments of valid inspiration and action. Maybe this is what Steve Martin meant in his essay.