Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter Madness

Little Mechanics

Max Guns It

Thomas Loves Speed

We have more snow in Vermont than I think I've ever seen there. The banks are taller than the boys, which is useful when they are snowmobiling.

Kind of like giant bumpers.

I am reposting these, so that you can appreciate anew just how crazy these boys are. Not even three and I think they drive a snowmobile better than I could - except for the braking part, of course. And also so that Papa Gary can see just how crazy the twins are on the snowmobile.

How To Visit The Mini-Farm: Part m, Part t

Start by being two, and a twin. Wear the biggest pom-pom you can find. Don't bring directions, you don't need them. You're two. Let this be one of those places so familiar to you that you don't even know where it is, just what it's like. Be curious. Find out. Look in the barn, open cabinets, flush the toilet, see what happens. Look for animals, find only the dog. Be curious about her, but shy. Fall in love with the riding lawn mower. Point to things. Eat as many tangerines as your mom will let you. Hop on pop. Hug your aunt, she sounds like mom. Sleep in a tent (indoors) with a tiger (stuffed). Be adored. Wake before everyone else, open doors, peek inside. No one really minds. Wave goodbye when you leave, buckled into your carseat again. Forget your sippy cup. Make dad drive back. Drive away again. Grow up a little, not too much. 

Come back. Come back soon. You are missed. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Eagle Fest

The weekend has been too short. I haven't put together the new wardrobe I bought for the same room upstairs, the one that will allow me to move beyond boxes, get clothes off the floor, make weekday mornings easier, or set up the little bench with the baskets underneath it. I didn't make gougeres or fish tacos, or finish all the promotion and merit increase letters for work, and now I'm leaving sick Tom with nothing easy to make himself to eat (except frozen pizzas) while I go to Dad's for dinner, a trip that will be 5 hours at least because of the drive. I have to admit, I feel a little discouraged and behind. 

Which makes this the right time to remind myself that I did get to the grocery store and to think again about how yesterday afternoon, six bald eagles sailed and swooped over our back field while we stood there, amazed. They were so close, you could almost feel the weight in their bodies as their huge wings labored to lift them higher, then extended to stillness, coasting. I got a few rows done on our couch blanket, and made fresh-squeezed orange juice, and most everything else will have to wait.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Creede was the first place I ever really felt the weather intensely. I had to think about that a bit, before I typed it here. Growing up in Seattle, you do feel the weather. We have seasons, vivid memories of the occasional snow in the winter, streets closed, sledding, or summer t-shirt weather, the way there was still a chill in the morning when I went outside to ride my bike, probably the last days of me rising early on purpose, and of course there was always rain. We did feel the rain intensely, but in such a different way, and maybe the difference has something to do with the fact that it was more of a mood than a force.  

In the city, rain was something that, in a matter of minutes, you could get away from. Even if you get caught in a downpour on the way home from the bus, there are dry things at home, you can take your wet shoes off, towel off your hair and put your PJs on.

The rain is back, and my whole house has wet shoes it can't take off. There is a constant trickle through the basement and the sump pump goes off periodically all through the night. Thomas Road is closed again, and so is Allen West just past Chuckanut. The water in the fields reflects the moon at night, and it ripples in the wind, almost as though it had a tide, and maybe it does.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Three Years Ago

I didn't have a good camera. I didn't even know what a good camera was. I liked taking pictures, though, and when I look back now, there are still photos I like from back then. Like this one, frost on a few little tufts of grass next to the hot springs in Colorado where I spent a night with some of my favorite friends three years ago this January. The hot springs in the freezing night air, steam rising from them - heaven. Those friends, also heaven.

We picked words for the year while we were there in Colorado. What did I chose then... bravery, I think? It worked. It was a year when I needed it, and it came, just enough. I haven't picked a word for this year yet, I'm at a bit of a loss. Two weeks in and it's a mixed bag so far.

When Tom and I walked outside this afternoon, there were frogs croaking everywhere, and a bald eagle in the tree, and I spent a roll of film on him and Emmy and it was almost 50 degrees, I think, but more importantly, it was not raining. What do you call the pool of flood water that lives behind our field for these wet winter weeks? There is some word between pond and puddle for it. Sometimes, I just struggle for the words. Today I tried to write an email that felt important, and finally, after writing and deleting and cutting and pasting, going away from it, coming back, I just gave up.  It might be one of those situations where saying little is best, and at this point in my life, I can live with that. I'm better at that than I used to be. That was how I ended up outside with Tom and Emmy - I had been drafting that email, until all the rewrites made me realize I should go outside and walk around, and then see how I feel.

When I came back inside, I felt the same as I had before, at least about the original email to which I was trying to respond. Wounded, incredulous, disappointed. A little scornful. Still, calmer. Resigned. Tom made bread and I watched the Golden Globes and ate tamales for dinner and drank some fresh apple cider and did the dishes, a few at a time, never quite finishing the whole sinkful. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's Gone

Sunday there was snow all day. Kate and I had a trip planned, me heading south down the island to meet her in one of my favorite little towns anywhere, meeting up for coffee and lamb chops and yarn and books and girl talk. I was going to take the big camera and a million layers, including fingerless gloves for my hands which more and more turn white at the fingertips in the winter cold. But once the snow starts like it does, things get unpredictable, and venturing over a sky-high bridge at a place called Deception Pass starts to seem  more stupid than adventurous. So we called it off, and when it warmed up, I took a field trip over to Anacortes, up the snowy hill and off to the yarn store for supplies for a blanket for our new couch. I bought groceries, filled up the car with gas, felt all stocked up for more winter. On the way home, a huge fog bank had rolled in, and the sun was setting, and I kicked myself for having left all the cameras at home. I do that, all the time. Then I vow to never leave the camera at home, then I vow to be okay with letting things go. That day, it was just me, frozen fog, sunset, the whole valley spread out, fields and trumpeter swans and red-tailed hawks and the long roads that take us where we want to go, and on every one something to see. 

Sunday, January 09, 2011


Everyone has been fed crescent rolls and coffee, Emmy is napping on her blanket on the couch and Tom is fooling around on a guitar. Some of my time over the weekend needs to be just this. Calm. I have resolutions too, though, a need to get things done. Those sweaters in the messy spare bedroom aren't going to fold and organize themselves, and at some point we need to put up the hardware for the new curtains in the living room, and take down the Christmas tree. For Christmas, I gave away some things handknit by me, a hat for Dad, one for Tom's sister Jenny, then a few weeks later I finished Jessica's Lighter Lights Darker Darks hat, which turned out to be the red-tail hawk hat in the end. She wore it to the Longhorn for taco Tuesday and I loved looking at that hat on her so much that I vowed to knit more, and give away more. Time to learn honeycomb stitch for a navy alpaca scarf that will eventually makes it way to Maine.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Something New

The back porch finally defrosted the night before last. The last day of Jessica's visit, little snowy hailstones had fallen, covering it and sticking there, cemented by the cold nights. Inside, I wear a rotating selection of handknit hats, two layers of sweaters and there are two comforters on every bed. Every single day home over the holiday break was beautiful, rain, sleet or snow. We watched a redtail hawk catch something on the mole-infested croquet lawn (if only it had been the mole!) and the binoculars we got for Christmas were kept on a top shelf for easy access in case that bird which may or may not be an immature bald came back. Tom cooked good food and when I got really cold, I did dishes to warm up. The dining table is too close to the pellet stove to use it for heat, and anyway that funny noise it made last time we used it has made us wary. I know, time to go to the woodstove store and finally learn how to maintain the thing. In the mean time, I've been liking the bundling up, the fake suffering (oh no! it's a mere 64 degrees in the house!) and how nice it all makes a cup of hot tea seem.