The rocky beach

This beach was the first place we began to go when we moved here. I have the pictures: us in our sandals and work clothes, spattered with Kilz primer, looking exhausted but so delighted to be here. Saltwater! Mountains! Rainforest! We can pick around this beach and find crabs, snails, starfish, seaweed, oysters, and mussels.

Now that Mimi is in school we don’t go as often. I’m still happy every time we do, though.

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That, my friends, is a wild oyster.

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Hi crabbies.

Solstice

The winter solstice is coming on, so I made a visit to one of my very favorite places. I call it the “church in the woods,” though the placard says it’s only a theater. Whatever. I know it when I see it. It’s buried in an aspen forest on a very short bit of trail. The light in that forest is special, somehow. Golden. When you pass under that gate, you know you’re entering a different place.

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I didn’t have much patience for Solstice celebrating in the Midwest. I’ve said it somewhere recently, though I don’t remember where (maybe to Sparks) that back there, you have Christmas and then you have five more months of winter. Here, on the other hand, winter is all about light. At midsummer it blazes from full sunrise by 5am to lingering dust at 10pm. Then it slips away. Bit by bit. At midwinter it isn’t full light until after 8am, and dark around 4pm. Baby, you’d better believe the Solstice means something here, and it must mean even more in the higher latitudes my northern Europeans ancestors came from.

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So goodbye, Holly King. Hello, Oak King. Winter’s back will be broken by the end of January. We’ll plant radishes and lettuce in February.

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Christmasing

Oh dearie me. This year as soon as Thanksgiving was over, I hit the ground running: tree, cards, cookies, gifts, wrapping, mailing. I did this because someone at Pookie’s school district hates Christmas only slightly less than they hate parents, and decided the kids should be on winter break for a full week before Christmas. So I had to get the shopping and wrapping for her, at least, finished early.

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So I have Christmased hard, and I am FINISHED except for cooking Christmas dinner, and Pookie is on winter break right at this very moment. And I am coming down with my annual Christmas Plague, whoopie. Pookie had it last weekend–a fever and congestion on her snow day–and I’m sneezing and fighting it off for the third day in a row. Fingers crossed that I win!

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OMG this tree. Am I right?

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Christmas Pudding ❤

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Poulsbo: God Jul

There’s no shortage of cute little towns around here. Poulsbo is a Norwegian town on Liberty Bay (that’s on the east branch of Puget Sound) that was Norwegian speaking until WWII and is still really, really into the Norwegian thing. They call Liberty Bay “the fjord” and every December, they have a Viking celebration complete with guys dressed up in horned helmets and the St. Lucia bride.

Last year it was raining and we didn’t go. This year it wasn’t, and we did. Unfortunately they did NOT trot out the Viking longboat this year (whhyyyyy noooooot?!?!?!?!) but it was still a roaring good time. I like bonfires.

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We arrived early in the cutey historic downtown district to enjoy looking in the Christmas windows. Poulsbo is ALL about Christmas.

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Waitaminute. That’s not Norwegian. And I thought authentic haggis was banned in the US.

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This bakery is one of the highlights of any visit to Poulsbo, but it’s especially nice at Christmas.

And then there were Vikings. Torches aloft, they marched down the waterfront boardwalk and into the waterfront park, where they circled the firepit and recited the story of the year–the darkness, the coming light. Then they lit things up. Yay!

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And the St. Lucia bride showed up with helpers to hand out saffron buns. Just like Kirsten.

Snow day

It snowed real snow in the Pacific Northwest last night. About three inches where we are. I know that isn’t much–I lived in the Midwest for thirty years–but it really and truly blanketed the world, provided wonder and fun, and will obligingly be gone by tomorrow morning.

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See? Perfect snow.

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Pookie’s school was canceled, which turned out to be a-okay. The cold she’s been nursing all month turned into a fever by noon. I would have had to pick her up from school anyway. By the time she started to feel bad we had gotten our playing-in-the-snow finished, so we spent the rest of the day playing old computer games and watching movies. Really, a very nice day.

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