December in the PNW: Ordinary Times and Travels, post 1

I am preparing to leave in the morning for Christmas in the Pacific Northwest. I don’t have an aversion to spending holidays at home, really. Home is my favorite place to be, followed closely by any place where my family is located. Youngest daughter is in Seattle so that will be a good place to spend the last half of December. She and I can break in the “new to her” old Airstream that has recently joined her family and keep each other company over that time of year when no one wants to be alone.


I have a bit of trepidation, rather I should say my mom and the husband have a bit of trepidation, over what home will be like in my absence. They have both promised each other not to have to cook for anyone other than themselves and to eat when they want to eat. Even now they have gone off to Walmart and are probably abandoning my paleo diet regimen at McDonalds. Cooking is just too much work, but eating is simple, if you know what there is to eat. Anyway, for two weeks they are on their own.


I have not been to Seattle in winter that I can recall. Youngest daughter is sending me texts of the weather report and planning some yard work for me in between the rain and snow forecasts for the week – the whole week. I am getting out clothing that I have not worn since I lived in Wisconsin thirty years ago. I still have the stuff, yes I do. And the cool thing is that most of it is now back in style. Even though I have seen those temps in the 30’s and 40’s it’s still hard to sit here in 85 degree weather and think sweaters. I have snow boots. Oddly enough, I found them on sale here in Florida and couldn’t resist getting them because they fit me. I’m counting on them to keep my feet warm and dry when I tramp around in Schmitz Park, maybe with Charlie.

I say maybe, because I saw a picture of Charlie yesterday and he has no hair anymore.  Some over-zealous groomer practically shaved him and now he will be shivering, unless Grandma gets him a doggie coat. Poor thing.


And the question in my mind that I can’t wait to have answered is how on earth does all that Seattle traffic work in snow? Youngest daughter told me she decided to ignore “road closed” barriers during the last snowfall and practically slid all the way to her house. Evidently a lot of roads need to be closed when it’s slippery because they are almost too steep to negotiate when it’s dry – and I  know it to be so.

I need some accountability on this trip and will welcome it from anyone. Please make me feel really guilty if I don’t take my vitamins. Normally, they travel with me, and then they travel back home and I eventually eat them.  But because I’ve recently had a respiratory virus and don’t want it to relapse, I need to be especially diligent and eat them while I’m there in Seattle. I will be in an airplane (think virus capsule), sharing air with way too many people and it will be cold and wet when I arrive. I’m one of those people who would rather get the flu than get a flu shot, but to be clear, I’d rather not have either one. Here’s hoping…



Making Sense of Life

Sometimes it is just too hard to figure out what is happening in life.  It is hard to think of something to write, something that is a finished thought, when you get nowhere with thinking.  I have been on a very simple track of just doing what seems necessary and not a lot of questioning for weeks now.  And I still don’t feel anything worthwhile on the verge of appearing.  What I do know is that even in times like this, especially in times like this, a cute dog or cat is still undeniably cute.  That is why dog and cat videos abound in cyberspace.  We run to their cuteness like we run to comfort food.  Even better is having your own cute dog or cat in your house.

I have been thinking a lot about cute dogs since I am with two of them.  They belong to my daughter but they’ll settle for me when she’s not around.  How can a dog appear so content just lying in one place or another, most of the day, waiting for it’s person to move so it can follow? How can that be enough?

Appearances deceive… this is not a headless dog.

As I said, any person, even myself, can be adopted by a dog if they can be closely associated with food and petting. I have been here only a week and already this dog knows my patterns of sleeping, waking and taking walks, all of which he accompanies.  His name is Charlie and he “dogs” me all day except when my daughter takes him for a walk without me.  I get to observe a lot of his cuteness.

On a walk. He's trying to read my mind (and I his).
On a walk. He’s trying to read my mind (and I his).

Charlie looked like this when I first came.  He seemed to have a lot of fluffy hair. That changed when I got to take him for a session at the doggie spa.  He had “the works” and although he probably didn’t lose much weight, he looks a lot thinner now.  He was so hyped up when I came to get him, I could hardly make him sit still for a picture.  All the grooming girls said he was very cute – they noticed, and how could they not?

Thinner looking but still cute after his buzz cut.
Thinner looking but still cute after his buzz cut.

Like most dogs,he likes taking walks.  The first one we took together was a little ambitious for us both.  There was a lot of hill climbing and I had to lift him over some fallen trees.  But perhaps it bonded us that I was able to get us back home in one piece. He slept very well that night and so did I.  Over the 4th of July there were fireworks being set off all over the neighborhood.  Dogs, as a rule, do not like these loud noises but Charlie didn’t pay much attention to them.  I think he may have had a little anti-anxiety medicine to help him, still he went to bed and didn’t whine or be restless, and I would have expected some of that. His night cuteness is that he curls up in his bed on the floor and sleeps pretty much until I get up. He’s there a lot during the day too, just being cute.

Busy being cute...
Busy being cute…
And being cute some more....
And being cute some more….
Being cute in t he house,
Being cute in the house,
And being cute outside with the other family dog (he just can't help it)
And being cute outside with the other family dog (he just can’t help it)

I’m just sayin’ that this reliable cuteness seems like a gift from God when the rest of life is not making a lot of sense and is not being very reliable. I’m thankful for Charlie (and for cat videos – I watch them all).