Monday, December 20, 2010

Sun Today

kitchen at Tweets

There was a little. And we were aware all day of the solstice coming. I felt terrible mostly, headache from something or other, but at least there had been a good night's sleep, and things accomplished on Saturday. The holidays feel like homework I can never catch up on, then an obstacle race, then a long wait in the waiting room for next year. I don't know anyone who doesn't have some mixed feelings about the holidays, but opting out doesn't really happen either. I don't even want to opt out, but every year I do think about what will be most comfortable, and every year I take a guess, never sure. 

Still, there are only three more work days left, and then a few days of chaos, and then... time at home. For a little while there, I was cooking some, doing dishes, knew where things were in the kitchen, had clean laundry. But then there was the sinus infection and portrait class finals and clothes all over the spare room upstairs and the little room off the living room neglected, card table from Thanksgiving still up, and I have not even come close to doing my share of housework. I'm ready to look for curtains and replace the refrigerator, and at least sort clothes into piles. I'd like it if there was a day when I did all the cooking, washed all the dishes. Sometimes that feels good. The mini-farm taught me that.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Everything's fine once you get your crossover back

Outtake from final project for color portrait class

At some point this weekend, someone, Susan maybe, asked me what I needed to do when I got home on Sunday. I was thinking about the all-county Western Washington flood watch. The basement, the sump pump, the puddle that forms in our circular drive, the one that sits just on the other side of the fence from the greenhouse. Not to mention the photos on the wall at the coffee shop on the corner, the intersection of our road and Chuckanut Drive, completely submerged, the marquee changed to read "No wake zone." Not that there's anything I could do about it, but that's what I was thinking about.

I had gone to Seattle completely unprepared. I wore a long underwear shirt with dragonflies on it to the roller skating rink, a fur cape to dinner in the rain, suede boots all day both days and didn't have socks to wear roller skating (Jenn saved me with a pair she had in her car). I did have my knitting with me, and I worked on a hat while Jenn and I sat at her kitchen table, the night I stayed over at her place. We ate cereal and drank tea and talked about handwarmers and reading and which one of us had time for it and who did not, and it felt like a present to hear that she still wears the handwarmers I knit for her I don't even remember when. In the morning Freddy's little 4-year-old voice woke me up and I stayed in bed a little while listening to him and trying to commit the little things he said to memory. All that's with me now is the way he said he had gotten "soakin" the day before in the rain, and how he tricked me with the plastic poo he and his dad left in the room with his paintings for me to find. Tricky kid! Apparently he and Chris had been scheming all evening. 

It didn't matter, my unpreparedness. I went from one thing to the next, friend to friend, totally delighted to see every single one. I didn't care about my dirty hair or wet feet or anything else. The feeling of seeing everyone was the best thing. 

Even so, I wanted to get back to the valley. The Samish River, closest to our house, has gone up to 11 feet from 6, and is 7 feet from flood stage. Our road is closed just past Chuckanut, but it's not the way I need to go anyway. From inside the house you could hear the water streaming off the gutters after our movie ended. When I came home, though, the rain was gentle, and Tom and I went out in wellies and duck boots, did the usual backyard survey, feeling how soft the saturated ground has gotten, looking at the pond that has formed in the cow pasture, watched the trumpeter swans sail overhead and then glide in to the new water feature out there. If you look over our back fence just the right way, it looks like we have a view of a lake, or the ocean, or something much bigger than a puddle. It's pretty, and there is at least one bald eagle back in the biggest tree on the property, and I'm happy to be here, for however long I am. Sometimes it's obvious just how little that is up to me.

In Case You Were Wondering

The twins are on strike. They've chosen the Bob the Builder theme song as their anthem.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


At exit 212 on Monday, a coyote lingered in the median, so small he looked like a cat on first glance. The next day, an eagle tore apart its prey right there on the ball field at the corner of Chuckanut and Allen West. The hawks wait, on fence posts and guard rails, on snags and bare tree limbs, always. 

The other night, Tom sat on the edge of the bed playing guitar as I fell asleep. It was so pretty, a sound that equalled quietness by the sheer force of how gentle it was, in perfect harmony with rest.

A friend who I don't see often lost her husband yesterday, out of the blue. He was our age. When I called Karl to tell him, I couldn't help but cry. Who wouldn't? For some things, there is little consolation. He was a good person. Funny, and talented, and smart, the kind of man who looked at his wife with love and nearly always wore a smile.