Saturday, September 1, 2012

50 Years Ago Today

 
I awakened with a start at 6:15 a.m., startled by the pain in my back, the abdominal cramp, feeling slightly nauseous, and generally just miserable. Hobbling to the bathroom, I knew something was not normal, and decided to call my doctor who I am sure was thrilled to be jolted out of bed at 6:30 on a Saturday morning.  Dr. Anderman had made it clear from my first visit that I was the patient and he was the doctor who's advice was always to be faithfully followed.  It wasn't surprising then, when I complained that I couldn't possibly be in labor, I wasn't due for 3 more weeks, he simply said "Fine ... Come into the office later this morning, and I will see you then".
Very preggers me and the guy who helped!
Pacing the floor for a couple of hours I realized this strange cramping that was taking place was occurring with some sort of regularity, and thought perhaps I should keep track how much time elapsed between spasms. By mid-morning, hubby Paul thought it the better part of valor to put me in the car and take me to the doctor's office, silly me still insisting I must have the flu.

As my bulbous form was being helped out of the car, one foot in and one foot out, a flood of amniotic fluid gushed from within me like a dam had broken, soaking my clothes and filling my shoes! The doctors office, located in Beverly Hills was full of beautifully dressed and coiffed women awaiting their ob-gyn appointments and I didn't see a pregnant one in the bunch! Mercifully, prince charming led me to the receptionist, whispered "her water just broke" which must have been the magic password because the door opened and I was ushered immediately into an examining room and offered  towels for cleaning myself up.

A few minutes later a calm, cool, collected Dr. Anderman peeled off his rubber gloves and said to Paul, "Drive safely but go directly to the hospital. Don't go to your house for Barbara's bag, you can bring her things later. I will call them and tell them you are on your way". Prince Charming drove like a maniac on a road race the 20 or so minutes back to Culver City continuously asking if I was having another "pain" and how far they were apart. All's well that ends well.. and within 2 hours I held in my arms the most beautiful blessing God can bestow up on us, my beautiful, perfect, healthy baby. Our firstborn daughter had a little shock of blond hair, blue eyes, and the sweetest little rosebud mouth I had ever seen.
Carolyn's first formal portrait at 6 months
Fifty years is a long time, but passes in a flash. We don't see or feel the minutes and hours and days and months and years dissolve into a lifetime, until we pass a milestone like a child's 50th Birthday.
My daughter was a joy to behold as a baby, a laughing giggling toddler, with the biggest blue eyes I had ever seen. She was a loving helpful big sister as her youger sisters arrived, 2 and 7 years later, a smart student, and typical teenager. She is a talented artist, and succeeds at whatever challenge to which she applies her vast intelligence and skill set.
Carolyn with her loving JC in Hawaii. January 2012

Life has been full of ups and downs for this lovely lady, but to see her now, as a happy, accomplished woman, keeping step to her own drummer, fills my heart with pride for her. It is such a pleasure and privilege to know her now as not only my eldest daughter, but also my friend.
Happy Happy Birthday Carolyn!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Gardens-Peacefulness to Panic!

The Gig Harbor Garden Tour Association really outdid themselves this weekend, by presenting the most wonderful selection of gardens since this writer has been attending the tour, and by raising thousands of dollars for local literacy programs. What a pleasure and a privilege to be able to volunteer a few hours of one's time for such a worthy cause, and then to be rewarded by being given a ticket to tour all of the gardens on the tour.
These two volunteers are having fun checking tickets!
 This years garden collection included bountiful borders, sweeping views of Puget Sound, an elaborate estate, and a homestead farm. The gardener homeowners were as interesting and diverse as the gardens they tend,  and they seemed to be enjoying sharing their gardens as much as the visitors, who thronged non-stop for two solid days.
The sound of running water makes a garden feel anchored to the space.
What is it that attracts us to roam through anothers property? To explore every nook and cranny, gaze on plant combinations, ooh and ahh over flowerbeds and water features and peek into greenhouses? Is it an exhaulted form of voyerism for which we have permission? Is it self flaggelation knowing that our gardens aren't quite as beautiful or interesting? Setting off from my own home and garden the morning of the tour, I cast an approving eye over my puny plantings, while thinking things don't look too bad, considering where I started.  Returning home in the afternoon, I am as deflated as last weeks party balloon... I see weeds everywhere, flowers that need dead-heading, the lack of "bones" that give a garden structure, and a general accidental messiness rather than intended orderliness.
Just can't get gardening out of my head!
My crazy friend Denise was a docent at a very special garden on Sunday, and when I lamented the limited success of my own gardening efforts, she reminded me that garden tours are "research" which leads to finding solutions for our own shortcomings as gardeners.
What a classy potting bench! Built out of old fence wood!
In anycase, there are many worse ways to spend a couple of days than wandering around little snippets of paradise with an old friend. The gardens this year brought pleasure to the eye, peacefulness to the heart, and left my mind reeling.
Gardening connects us through our hearts.
Of course, some of the dreadful confusion and feelings of inadequacy can be salved by buying things, and the committee did an excellent job of supplying ample opportunity for that activity, also. There is nothing to raise the spirit like buying new plants- lots of plants, garden ornaments, tools, and even a pair of earrings... Well, afterall,  one does need to look her best when tending the garden!
Nothing like a few new plants to bring home as souveniers of the Garden Tour!
(No, I did't buy all of these... just a few of them)!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Eating Our Way Through France

Is food really a better quality here? Is it really fresher, cleaner, greener, healthier, more flavorful, more satisfying? Or is it just that we are on vacation, moving at a slower pace, living more in the moment, enjoying everything more and eating more mindfully?
Plentiful shellfish is so fresh, sweet and tastes of the sea

Visiting the open air markets and conversing with the vendors is a travel experience in itself. My French is so intolerable, they all immediately lapse int their best Frenglish... we get lots of laughs, and I always end up with a packet of something that will titillate my taste buds, put 2 more inches on my girth, but will be so memorable I'll be able to share stories about it for years to come.
Trout almondine with terrines of courgette and carrot
Cases overflowing with luscious cheeses, goat, sheep, oh, and of course cow. Soft bries, Camembert's, mar bier, cheese of the region, as the walnut of the Perigeux, and the basque sheep's milk cheese in the south. The charcuterie, smoked, fresh sausages, dried sausages of duck, pork and even fish!

We have cooked part of the time, and eaten out on a regular basis. When sightseeing, it is easy to fall into the easy pattern of the long, leisurely 2 hour French lunch. Everything stops at 12:30 when the shops and markets close, and restaurant tables fill up. Sandwich boards on the sidewalk advertise the plats du jour, or the menu specials. Prix fixe menus are the norm all over France, and offer the best value for the money. For a fixed price, nominally between 12 and 20 Euros, one gets a choice of appetizers, main course and dessert. Regional wines by the carafe are also offered at nominal prices, and always complement the meal.
A salad nicoise Dordogne style
I'd love to think that French women don't get fat because  all this food, laced with buttery sauces and accompanied by the best bread on the planet does not expand the waistline, but there must be another reason. I suspect it is because they do not eat croissants for every breakfast, enjoy buerre blanc drizzled over every piece of fish, and do not finish every meal with mousse chocolate. What I do know, is that portions are smaller, food is beautifully prepared and presented, and so wonderfully satisfying, that less truly is more. Sitting with a friend and taking two hours to enjoy lunch, or 3 hours for dinner is nearly unheard of where I live. The pace is relaxed and unhurried, people expect to enjoy their meals, do not eat in their cars or while walking down the street. Children leave school and go home for lunch, and shops while closed during lunch, reopen about 2:30 or 3:00 and stay open til about 7:00PM.

We will be home in a few days. I so hope we'll be able to bring a small bit of the flavor of this amazing flavorful country with us, and retain a little bit of the structured, unhurried lifestyle. I guess the only problem is that we don't have a boulangerie down on the corner!




























france,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time there were kings and queens and knights and ladies, and princes and princesses and Joan of Arc. There were kingdoms and serfdom's and Castles... Oh My!
Amboise in the Loire Valley built in the 15th and 16 Century and is the burial site of Leonardo daVinci
The Loire Valley, about a 2 hour drive from Paris boasts the largest number of Renaissance Chateaux in a concentrated area on earth. The area has such historical significance, it is designated  a world heritage site by UNESCO. Some of the buildings are so large, it is hard to grasp the immensity of them, and when wandering inside, it is easy to imagine the great halls and corridors and drawing rooms filled with royalty.

The entry court at Amboise
We visited about a half dozen chateaux during our week in the Loire, and each exhibits it's own personality as it also holds it's own place in history. Most of the chateau are  minimally furnished, some well known for their art collections, some for their tapestries, some for their famous inhabitants, and some for the sheer beauty of their architecture, and gardens.

Flower arrangements at Amboise and Chenonceau were breathtaking and creative.
 Historical names and dates and battles have always eluded me, and I can't remember the names of architectural elements, either. My personal enjoyment of the amazing structures is through the sheer joy of experiencing the beauty and magnitude of them,, and trying to imagine how the commoner would have felt, scraping a meager existence from the land, whilst observing, or in fact participating in the building of these opulent monoliths.
My favorite, Chenanceau,  “Château des Dames” was built in 1513 by Katherine Briçonnet, and successively embellished by Diane de Poitiers then Catherine de Medici. Chenonceau was protected from the hardship of the revolution by Madame Dupin. The events surrounding these ladies opportunities to exhibit this power and authority in the 16th century reads like a soap opera.


Travel is best experienced with good friends, and our trip has been superb. We met Rick and Judi and Dan at our most wonderful gite "La Roderie" near Tours, France, on May 5. Enjoying two cars, we are able  spread out and go different directions, according to interest. British expats Sylvia and Len joined us mid week, so one day 4 of us headed out to Villandry. Now THERE is a Chateau of notice!
The gardens of Villandry deserve a posting all their own!


I'll make note here that this would make a marvelous field trip for our garden club! There was the series of Love gardens, the herb garden, the poteger, espaliered apples and pears, flowers, a sun garden, an amazing maze, and a wonderful little garden shop! The icing on the cake? A little cafe on the terasse which served vegetables from the garden, comfits made from the fruits, salads with fresh cut lettuces!
A 6" poppy in the Villandry Sun Garden

So, once upon a time I dreamt of visiting buildings that rose from the earth a thousand years ago, of knights and ladies and princesses in castle towers.... and last week, I wandered into the past and expanded my understanding of kings and queens, and crowns and kingdoms..... and of Joan of Arc! 








Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Quietest Corner of France

Imagine a place of soft, rolling hills. A patchwork of fields  planted in glowing golden rape seed, some emerald green with spring wheat, others bark brown waiting for the new seeded sunflowers to sprout. And then there are the grapes. Acre upon acre of neat vineyards interspersed between the flatter fields, planted with perfectly manicured grapevines, pale spring green leaves reaching for the sun.

Imagine little towns with ancient church spires, bells that peal for 5 minutes at noon each day, to remind everyone that noon is here, that the market and shops will close and everyone will scurry home for lunch with their families, or meet friends in the local bistro or restaurant for a leisurely mid day visit and meal.


  Imagine not hearing ambulances, freeway traffic or  air traffic. We see the occasional contrail, and today a couple of low flying jets buzzed the rooftops, but the general silence is noticeable. We hear frogs, and birds, and the skies are a brilliant clear blue. Oh, and then of course there are tractors, and hedge cutters, their buzzing and whirring off in the distance, but of course only between 8AM and noon, 2 PM and 5PM. So very civilised.

Life moves so slowly here, and the culture is so carefully guarded, there is no trash along the roadsides, and the roofs are covered with tiles that have survived for centuries. When old tiles break, they are replaced by new ones that are identical in style, and the only way one can tell the difference between old and new is the color and  lack of lichen growth.

Towns host the centers of commerce, and are surrounded by villages and hamlets. Some villages have small shops and services, but hamlets are just little groups of houses. Our friends live near the village of Semoussac in the hamlet of La Roudrie, which sits right on top of a hill, surrounded by the most lovely hills and fields imaginable.
Our friends live in the cluster of buildings at top left of the picture

Today we went to the nearby town of Montendre and browsed the lovely market. Stalls filled with succulent sea foods, meats, flowers, vegetables, plants, clothing, notions and fabric, were so enticing and inviting. 
Head cheese anyone?
Life in the Charente-Maritime region of France is quiet, ordered, predictable and pleasant. The people here seem to follow the same traditions that have existed here for generations, and whether it will continue remains to be seen. The social structure seems to work, and if there is an undercurrent of discontent among the young and a quest for change, it certainly doesn't seem obvious on the surface, in this most quiet corner of France.






Monday, April 30, 2012

So Nice To Be Back

Saturday: Awakening at 2:30 am was to be expected as the body tries to reset its clock. The view from our upstairs window across the fields revealed the twinkling lights across the river Gironde through the crystal clear rain washed night. As much as I wanted to get up and read for awhile, my experience with jet lag has taught me to stick it out, go back to sleep, and force myself to stay flat until at least 6. I managed to even do better, and slept until 8! I actually felt normal until about 3:30 when the warm fire and quiet browsing thru photo albums brought on the most irresistible urge for a nap.

Visiting with old friends is like finding buried treasure. We have been friends with Len and Sylvia since the early 1980's when we met them while living in England. They have since retired in France, and although we only talk a couple of times each year on the phone and exchange Christmas letters, the ties that bind us are strong.

Dinner took us to a nearby village where the Brassiere filled our gastronomic needs. Owned and operated by another British ex-pat couple, the food was amazing and wonderful. My grilled jumbo prawn appetizer and salmon in lobster sauce main course was beyond compare.
View from the upstairs window
 Len and Sylvia have totally refurbished an early 19th century Charentais farmhouse, about 40 miles from Bordeaux, France. It is the most interesting and comfortable house I have ever slept in. They are part of a large British ex-pat community who have found life in the French countryside to be suitable to their personalities and outlooks on life.

Sunday: A stormy day spent inside just visiting and catching up on families, children, our changing lifestyle as we age, but mostly just enjoying each others company. The weather broke about sunset, so a walk outside for a breath of fresh air and a look at the the garden seemed appropriate.
The tallest rosemary I have ever seen

This area is not as far south as the Provence, but the chalky soils are well suited to growing grapes, so lots of Mediterranean plants do well here.  The rosemary plant pictured above is as tall as I am! Nestled at the corner of the front door is a sempervivum as big as a dinner plate! Although the weather has been cool and rainier than usual, the vegetable garden is getting a good start, and the roses are beginning to bloom.
 

Today brought clearer weather, and now that our minds are clear of the jet-lagged fog that had overtaken them, we were ready to go pick up our reserved car. It's a little diesel 4 door Ford Fiesta, stick shift which is common here, and Paul says it drives well. While in the larger town of Jonsac, we stopped at the super market to pick up some groceries and needed supplies. We found the most beautiful fresh crisp lettuces, for less than we would have to spend at home for lesser quality. Butter costs about the same, meat is more expensive, and cheese - OH! the Cheese! Who cares how much it costs, it is all so delicious. Our lunches here at home usually consist of a selection of 3 or 4 cheeses, a bit of pate (yesterday rabbit, today pork), some salad, a fresh baguette of course,  and a glass of wine. Vive la France! 

We last visited here the end of September 2007. Returning to this magnificent house and visiting with these old friends is such a privilege. The relaxed pace of the French country side is refreshing in this hustle-bustle world. Another friend commented in an email that this slower pace seemed to be agreeing with me. I think I would have to agree.  It's just so nice to be back!












Friday, April 27, 2012

A Bit o' Blarney!

Arriving Dublin at 8:15 AM, the mind says it's morning, but the body thinks its time for bed! We left springtime in Seattle, and arrived at the end of winter here. There is such a disconnect the first day or two of inter national travel. We didnt have to clear customs here, but did check in at Aer Lingus, got new boarding passes, breezed past passport check, and we're the only ones being checked thru security. We followed the signs to flight departures, and on the way discovered a huge marketplace with beautiful boutiques, gift shops, cafes, restaurants, and amenities for travelers. Imagine, at 9am, a place so brightly lit and filled with people, it feels like holiday season at the mall. There is a pennycandy shop, a Chocolate Lounge, an amazing gourmet natural foods cafe, a Kurt Geiger shoe store with stilettos reaching to the sky, and on and on. I cannot figure out how to transfer images from my iPad to this post, so it will go today without pictures. Later, when we are settled in at the Robinsons, near Bordeaux, France, I'll repost this with pictures.... We won't be making international phone calls, or texting due to the high cost of those connections. We would love to receive your emails at nlclayworks@gmail.com. It's always nice to hear from a friend. Until then....

Monday, February 20, 2012

One is Silver, the Other is Gold.

"Make New Friends but Keep the Old, One is Silver, the Other is Gold"

This little ditty from my Girl Scout days rings merrily through my mind as I think back over the activities of last few days. In October, 2010, I attended my 50 Year High School reunion, the joy of which put me back in touch with people I had always had affection for, but had not seen for half a century. Ellen and I were not close friends in high school, but did know one another, and have other mutual acquaintances. She has since become closer friends with an old friend of mine, and so the circle remains unbroken.
Dave, Diana, Ellen and Rex
I was so happy to see Diana at the reunion dinner because although we were friends in high school and had lived in the same neighborhood while we were raising our children, we hadn't kept in touch. She was always one of my favorite people and she hasn't changed a bit. Ellen and her hubby were sitting with Diana and Dave, and I, being alone, asked if I could join them. I remember seeing Ellen at our 30 year reunion, but didn't visit with her much, so it was good to catch up on our lives. How could we all be so close to 70?

Thanks to the miracle of the Internet, Ellen and I have kept in touch, and last November Paul and I linked up with Ellen and Rex at the Heard Museum, in Phoenix, where Rex is a docent. He graciously led us on a most interesting and comprehensive private tour of the Heard, which is a long standing venerable institution of Southwestern anthropology. (See "Giving Thanks" 11/23/11).

Ellen's close friend Cindy is working in the Tacoma area for a few months, and since February is such a beautiful time (tongue in cheek) to visit the Northwest, Cindy and I convinced Ellen she should run away from home for a few days and come and visit us. There is nothing like leaving the sunny, warm desert in winter and coming north for a dose of total hydration and grey sky therapy!

Ellen's flight arrived at 12:30 on Wednesday.. and we began our "non-stop, do -it-all, see-it-all" marathon, my part of which ran until Saturday afternoon, passing the baton to Cindy who will carry it, with Ellen until Ellen's return flight leaves on Monday!


From the airport we drove up through West Seattle and found the “West Seattle Fish House” -a little hole in the wall fish & chips place I had seen listed on Urban Spoon, which features to die for very lightly breaded non-greasy succulent fish and perhaps the best shrimp chowder I have ever tasted in my life.

We had a short wait for the Fauntleroy Ferry, were soon boarded, and on our way to Vashon Island. Driving the length of Vashon Island is always a pleasure any time of year, in any weather, and Wednesday afternoon was no exception.  We enjoyed a cup of coffee at the Luna Café which is the Vashon "Occupy" headquarters, and the bulletin board offered an immense amount of information regarding the struggles our 99% are facing.  Warm and re-caffeinated we discovered “Giraffe”, a most wonderfully stocked fair trade import shop. Laden with exotic purchases, and the sun quickly sinking toward the horizon, we hurried to the south end of the island and soon boarded the 5 o’clock ferry to Pt Defiance. Our timing was pretty good, as we were able to catch pictures of the Narrows Bridge in the setting sun from several vantage points around the 5 mile drive loop.
Ellen, outside Van Lierope Garden Market in Sumner.

Thursday found us off to Sumner in the late morning, where we made my obligatory visit to Van Lierope Garden Market along with the cute little shops on Main. On the way back toward Tacoma, we made a stop at Watsons Nursery for a light lunch, and to give my desert-dweller guest some exposure to a garden center par-excellence.
Watsons Nursery, a garrdeners delight and visual treat any time of year!

The Chihuly ceiling over the bridge
We spent the afternoon “doing Tacoma”, as Ellen wanted to soak up the eye candy sight of every bit of Chihuly glass she could find. Parking in the Washington State History Museum parking lot afforded us the luxury of hiking in a big circle, first across the Chihuly Bridge to the Museum of Glass, then back to drool over the Pendleton blankets in the Museum gift shop, into the beautifully restored Union Station (now a  federal courthouse), up the UW-Tacoma staircase to the UW library which houses the luscious orange Chihuly chandelier, and finally, down the alley and into the rear entrance of "The Harmon", a noted micro brewery where Ellen was introduced to “real beer”,  and trooper that she is, admitted  she liked the Brown’s Point Ale.
Inside Union Station looking out at the dockside lofts.


Friday we drove over to Lakewood to try and locate an apartment building Ellen lived in 40 years ago. We did find it,  and it is actually still standing- albeit a little worse for wear. We picked up a loaf of full grain German rye bread at Hess bakery, along with some wursts and pate for lunch yesterday. A drive back thru Steilacoom and along the water to Chambers Bay reminded my guest of how beautiful the Pac NW can be, even on a drippy, February day. A short stop at home affforded us an opportunity for a quick lunch before heading down to our little Harbor, visits to art galleries, and our wonderful new Historical Museum. When the museum closed at four, we met Paul and Ellen’s friend Cindy at Anthony’s for happy hour, gorging on Hawaiian ahi-nachos, artichoke crab dip and gin and tonics! Ellen accompanied her friend Cindy home that evening for a girls slumber party, and Paul and I vegged in front of the TV.
Cindy and Ellen backed by lovely Gig Harbor

Saturday at 10 am, Ellen, Cindy and another friend Diana from Seattle arrived for an all day girls “Clay Play-day” breaking only for a simple lunch of root soup, made from vegetables that had been languishing in my fridge. Beets gave it this breathtakingly beautiful gem-like ruby color, and seasoned with cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and garam masala, it was perfect for yesterdays cold, blustery wet weather. Our funny desert dweller said she didn’t think anyone would want to go anywhere or do anything while she was here because it was so rainy.. We just laughed at her and told her “Welcome to the Pac NW”!!!
Cindy, Myself and Cindy's friend Diana- taken with Ellens new iPhone- a little fuzzy, but you get the idea!.

Sharing ones home with a friend for a few days visit affords us the opportunity of getting to know one another in ways not possible during casual encounters at club meetings, lunches, or reunion dinners. Ellen is sweet, and funny, and a wonderful house guest. We got to know each other pretty well in our 3 + days together, and I look forward to a long and enduring friendship with her. She introduced me to her friend Cindy, and Cindy in turn, to her friend Diana. I'll see Diana and Cindy in a couple weeks to glaze all the lovely pottery pieces the three girls made yesterday, and then again when delivery day comes.  I can think of no greater pleasure than sharing my passion of pottery with others who are open to new experiences, and Ellen brought me that gift. Sometimes it is hard to kick start myself to get back into the studio this time of year, but I am so energized by the enthusiasm shown by this one old friend and two new friends, that tomorrow I will turn on the heat early in the morning, layer on some warm clothes and get myself busy.... and hum a little tune "Make new friends, but keep the old..."


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow My Goodness!

     For days the news channels and weather guys have been speculating. They have been warning us over and over and over again, getting us ready for an "extreme snow event". Everyone was psyched and hyped.. buying extra cans of tuna, checking their candle and lamp oil supplies, and preparing for the worst.
Snow falling on studio earlier this week
        We proceeded with our plans to have a midwinter dinner party, in spite of the warnings about freezing roads and possible blizzard conditions. Daughter # 2 sent a text mid-day to make sure her aging parents were safe and sound, and ready for the monster storm. I shared our dinner plans with her, to an immediate response of "does  anyone have 4 wheel drive"? and "don't let them drive if they drink alcohol"! I assured her that my friends are responsible adults, with many years of snow driving experience, and that just in case the storm moved in earlier than expected, I was prepared for overnight guests. My daughter is charming and has a big heart, so I accepted her concern with love and appreciation, but couldn't help but laugh when her final message to me, after receiving satisfactory answers to her queries, was "Okay.. I guess you are cleared for your party- have fun"!
     Although the roads were wet, the temperature was still at 34 degrees when our guests departed about 9:30, both due to the coming onslaught of nasty weather, and because we old folks just can't party as late as we used to!

     I have to admit, I take a rather cynical view of the hype the news channels use to warn us of impending possible disasters. My sense is that we are so bombarded by stimuli about everything, they don't think we are listening when they just say "get ready, there is a big storm coming". If the weather guys don't tell you how bad it MIGHT be.. they could be liable for lawsuits if it is really awful. If they tell you it will be terrible, and it isn't... oh well, no harm done, but if they don't warn you and you get into trouble, then you might blame them. When did we hand over the responsibility for our own well being and safety to the TV stations and the weather service?  And furthermore, how on earth did we all survive storms before we had weather satellites and the internet and news media to tell us a storm was coming? It might be that if you got up in the morning and there was a foot of snow on the ground, you might know there had been a storm, and then you might have to figure out what to do about it.
     Also of note here, is the fact that places in this country that live with real winter weather for months on end are scratching their heads and laughing at us about skidding off the road in a little dusting. We are all over the national news, as if snow is a major event, and of utmost importance in the big scheme of things.   It does give us a little comic relief from the focus on presidential candidate debates and the sorry state of the economy.

View from my office window (complete with reflection)

8 inches of snow this morning January 18, 2012
     Imagine my relief, when climbing out of bed this morning, I looked out to see a significant amount of snow had fallen overnight, and continued to do so until about noon. I was relieved for the weather folk because their prediction came through, relieved that the storm waited until my friends were safely home, and relieved that I have a good excuse to spend another day at home just reading, writing, splitting my time between my chair next to the fireplace and my computer.
 The beauty of winter
     In my imagination I spend long wintry days sorting photographs, catching up on correspondence, knitting slippers, planning the coming gardening season. The reality is much different. Hours are spent daydreaming, of things to come and far flung places to visit, and catching up with old friends on the phone. This week my daydreams are of France in the Springtime. The Loire, the Dordonge, Bordeaux and Giverney. The hours have flown by whilst hunting the cheapest airfares and the best priced and most nicely appointed gites... but more about that another time.