Another throwback snow day

We got one day of snow in 2013. I took the day off and the dogs and I visited Rob at work for a snowy walk. Later, Rob’s mom asked if Leo likes the snow as much as Isis did. Nope. Wonder why that is, what made Isis love the snow so much she had to put a paw in every inch of it.

In remembrance of that brief moment of snow the Friday before Christmas, I give you the scene from Bark and Lunge where Isis first sees snow:

first snow

We woke the next day, delighted to see a layer of white coating our backyard. Our first snow in the new house.

Isis’s initial steps in the snow were tentative. Where did the grass go? With just a few more steps, she decided she liked it and pounced in the snow, mouthing and play-bowing to it.

Rob dressed Isis in the coat he’d bought her during his shopping spree: light brown faux suede with a shearling lining. I looked at the two of them and wondered whether Rob realized that he had picked out a miniature dog version of his own coat.

matching coats

The snow stayed on the ground all weekend, and the temperature dropped so the roads were icy by Monday morning. The news people kept saying, “If you don’t have to leave the house, don’t.” Had I still worked as a newspaper reporter, I would have been expected not only to leave the house, but to experience the inconvenience and hazards of the bad weather so I could write about them. Lucky for me, I didn’t work for a newspaper anymore.

I sat at the kitchen table in my pajamas and watched the weather reports in a loop on Northwest Cable News. Isis still cried every time I left the room without her, so I never even took a shower. She poked around my feet, then napped on the plush tan bed in her crate while I repeatedly clicked “check mail” on my laptop.

When the sun came out, I slipped my boots and parka over my pajamas and snapped a leash on Isis. She waded beside me through snow as high as her fuzzy black belly. Nosing the terrain, she dusted her muskrat face with white flakes, her oversized pointed ears as long as her muzzle.

We walked around the side of the house to the front yard where Isis sat down in the snow and assessed her surroundings. The neighbors, college kids who rented the house next door, had built an igloo. A blue sky framed our plowed street, nearly devoid of cars, and Rob’s tire tracks had carved trails in the layer of snow covering our long driveway shaded by a canopy of cedar branches. A creek ran along the other side of our house, where icicles formed underneath blackberry brambles. I walked Isis up the stone steps to our front porch, past our little garden with a heavenly bamboo plant bent in half from the weight of the snow.

“This is a magical place where we live,” I told Isis.

licking snow

Throwback Snow Day

I don’t know what the rule is for Throwback Thursday, how old the photos have to be. Two years doesn’t seem very old, but when you’re dying to play in the snow, it feels like ages ago. Best I can remember, January 2012 was the last time we had any snow worth playing in.

This is what I’ve been fantasizing about lately:

snow faves (29)


snow faves (20)

snow faves (22)

It’s warming up this week, too, so there’s no snow in our immediate future.

Last year’s tulips

I try not to be like everyone else, but it’s April and this week’s Photo Challenge is Color. What’s a girl to do?


I intended to hit the tulip fields today and take close-ups of individual tulips in different colors, then run them in a circle gallery like the above. But it’s so cold and windy, and I already was chilled to the bone from my earlier assignment. I didn’t feel like getting out of the car.

I decided to use last year’s pics instead. This year’s crop isn’t in full glory yet anyway. If this challenge were next week, I’d probably tell you a different story.

Happy Spring!

Who hates the snow? Honestly!

Every year, when snow is in the forecast, I hear murmurings (and read them on The Facebook and The Twitter) of “Oh, no, it’s going to snow. Oh, I hope it doesn’t snow!”

I always think, “Seriously? I loooove the snow. How can you not love snow?” Saying you hate snow is like saying you hate sunshine or rainbows. Maybe you hate driving in it, or you hate having to shovel the driveway, but those are just the effects of the snow, not the fault of those frosty diamonds from heaven. Same as, maybe I hate it when it’s really, really hot out, but I wouldn’t say, “I hate sunshine.”

Today is my fourth day at home with the doggies, with 7-plus inches of snow in places. It’s a brisk 25 degrees outside. While I’m looking forward to it warming up tomorrow, I will miss the glorious sparkling snow when it’s gone. We’ve been taking magical daily walks through the white woods. Moonlight reflecting off the snow-covered backyard makes it bright enough to play out there after dark.

On my walk today, I thought of my childhood in Los Angeles. My family had a cabin in Lake Arrowhead, and relatives in snowy places like Indiana and Michigan, so snow wasn’t a complete novelty. It was a source of entertainment we sought out deliberately. We all have fond memories of the Thanksgiving it snowed in Lake Arrowhead. What I don’t get is, when do children make the transition from “Yay! Snow! No school!” to “I hate snow”? Maybe those people grew up in places where it snowed in the late fall and the ground stayed iced-over until spring. Maybe they had parents who grumbled all the time about snow tires and chains and black ice.

I still take childlike delight in seeing those fluffy flakes fall and am thrilled when it’s cold enough for the snow to cover everything. But then, I’m lucky to be able to hunker down and wait at home until the roads defrost. I don’t have to go anywhere. Rob, on the other hand, has to work. He hasn’t been able to enjoy this snow at all during daylight hours, and I think it’s going to wash away by the weekend.

So, if you do have to drive the icy roads, or walk knee deep through the snow in frigid temperatures, and you hate snow … I am sorry. I hope you can find something to enjoy about the weather. Hot cocoa, perhaps?

Trapped at my house with my two best friends

Seems like lots of people already are having cabin fever thanks to Snowpocalypse 2012: Pacific Northwest. Not me. Remember, I spent two straight weeks in a chair without going farther than 20 steps out the back door. We had Christmas lights on the front of the house for more than a week before I even saw them.

I’ve been waiting eagerly for snow for months and I’m so happy that my trip to Hawaii last week didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of this weather.

Here’s where I was a week ago:

I’m not sure when exactly I became one of those ladies who can’t travel because she doesn’t want to be away from her dogs, but I had a hard time leaving them for a whole week. Rob’s parents usually dogsit, but since they were the ones taking us on this trip, that wasn’t possible. I kept telling myself I was being irrational. Like, would I REALLY rather stay in freezing, gray Washington and go to work instead of spend a week in Waikiki? No, of course not, but it took me a full day of vacation before I could let myself relax completely, give in to paradise. And oh, my, was it a wonderful trip. We all got along so well and it was absolutely worth leaving my doggies for seven days, although really, I think we should give some thought to going to a beach resort that accepts German shepherds.

Rob took these pictures the day we left and I looked at them longingly every day:

After we got back last week, I worked from home for a few days, went into the office Friday, had yesterday off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And now…Snowmageddon! Mind you, I have my computer at home and I can get as much done here as I would if I braved the icy roads, so technically, I’m still working. Everyone else in the universe is playing. Snow Day!

Also, I have a new camera, so it’s actually my JOB to learn how to use it by taking these pictures:

Felt + Snow = Bad

The chronicles of inappropriate footwear continue.

A few years ago, when I was shopping for the waders and boots I need for my job taking pictures while waist deep in rivers, I was under the impression I wanted felt-soled boots, to keep my feet from slipping on wet rocks. I have since recognized that rubber soles would be better in sandy marine environments, but most of my work is done in rivers.

I was a little nervous about today’s excursion because it was supposed to be 32 degrees and perhaps snowing. Last night, I laid out my fleece long underwear, sweats and wool socks to wear under the waders. I set out my North Face winter jacket. Yep, it’s time.

I also packed some snacks for Leo, who would wait in the car during my river walk. And made sure my memory card was in my camera and that my camera battery was charged and inside the camera. (Because one time I discovered after getting on a boat that I left the camera battery in the charger.)

But I forgot to bring my North Face jacket.

I worried nearly the whole way upriver that I would freeze to death, but actually, that wasn’t the problem. I was perfectly comfortable with a raincoat over a fleece jacket. The problem was the snow speckled on the creekside grass.

We didn’t spend as much time walking in the river channel as on the snowy grass. Within 10 steps, I had a thick accumulation of snow on my felt sole. My companion said, “Felts are the worst.”

Really? I thought I was supposed to have felts!

It was rough going, walking on frozen “rocker soles.” Like, if Lady Gaga wore fishing boots and then attached a rounded sole made of ice. That’s what these felt like.