Saturday, December 20, 2008


Snow! I've lived my whole life on the coast of British Columbia, and that means I am well accustomed to rain. We usually get snow only a few times a year, and normally it melts within one or two days of having fallen.  As a child, snow was exotic and had to be embraced immediately! There was no time to waste; we had to dig out the crazy carpets and toboggans and get sledding! Snowmen had to be built posthaste, as we knew by the next day (or two)  the snow would be gone, and our snowpeople reduced to shrunken, listing lumps of snow.

This year, for reasons unknown, I have really been craving some snow and my wish has been answered. It's been below zero (celsius) for the past week, which is unheard of here. Perhaps a dip below freezing for a day or two, but for more than a week? No. It snowed last week and shockingly, the snow is still on the ground. And it may snow more in the next few days! Right now it's -9 degrees (15 degrees fahrenheit) , and a mix of sun and clouds. We may get an additional 10 centimeters (5 inches) tomorrow, and it's supposed to snow on Tuesday and Wednesday as well. 

I love walking in the snow, and fortunately this year bought a pair of tall leather boots with flat, grippy soles so I'm able to get around without a lot of difficulty. Also, I live within easy transit, or longer walking distance of work. This really takes a lot of the stress out of the appearance of snow, as I don't need to drive.

The only downside to the snow is that it may impede our plans to travel to the island to see our families. We're scheduled to catch the ferry on Christmas Eve morning, so my fingers are crossed that the roads will be clear for our trip. 

I love the way my neighbourhood is transformed by the snow.

I love the look of my favorite garden in the snow.

I love the other sights around the city that are made special by the snow. 

O Christmas Tree

December is one of my favorite months of the year, and this year is no exception. One of the highlights of my Christmas season is decorating the tree. If I had my way, the tree would go up December 1. The way I see it, one of the perks of having a fake tree is that it won't dry out no matter how long it's up for. Mr Ripley, however, is of the school of thought that believes the tree should only be enjoyed for one or two short weeks each year. So, every year we have a, well, let's call it a discussion about when the tree should go up. The end result of our ongoing discussion was a compromise date of December 10.

We put on Christmas music, and usually have a friend (or 5) over to help us decorate the tree. 

As I  believe that the tree should be a collection of meaningful ornaments, and not a decorator's masterpiece,  my tree might be labelled tacky by some. Fair enough,  but I wouldn't have it any other way. This year, I purchased a large and a small glass acorn for the tree, as well as a glass pinecone, visible below. I'm beginning to think that my tree is inadvertently acquiring a woodland theme. 

The other ornament pictured above is the Ukrainian dough ornament my aunt gave me as a small child. I love unwrapping her each year and finding a place of honour for her on the tree. 

I also love this little reindeer, even though he wouldn't come into focus for me no matter how hard I tried.

My tree features red and gold, silver and gree, glass and metal and wood, all forming a cacophany of Christmas memories. For me, the end result is a harmony of Chrismases past and present. And this year, like every other year, I'll sit and gaze at the soft glow of the lights and have a cup of hot chocolate, or a glass of more a more adult kind of holiday cheer, and enjoy the season.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas is Coming!

December is here. I want to be knitting, cooking and listening to Christmas carols. My own academic work is finished for the term, but I'm teaching for another two weeks. But I am making some progress on some of these goals. I've been knitting on my interminable second Monkey, and making progress on the secret knitting project for Mr. Ripley. I'm about ready to start on the projects for my cousin as soon as I make the final hat pattern decision. 

Every year Mr. Ripley and I have a bit of a seasonal battle- a good-natured one of course. When will we decorate the tree? We have an artificial tree, a legacy of one of our first Christmases in Victoria when we couldn't have a real tree in our apartment building. For me, one of the chief benefits of an artificial tree is that it doesn't dry up, and thus can be up for a longer amount of time. I'd like to see the Christmas tree up on December 1. Mr. Ripley would prefer we wait until about December 20 to put up the tree, which is clearly way too late. And so we compromise. This year our negotiation resulted in an agreement on December 10 as the decorating day. This Wednesday night I'll be making a pot of chili and some avocado salsa, along with a pan of cornbread. We'll put on the carols, decorate the tree, and drink red wine. One of my good friends is coming over to help us. 

I can't wait!