26 December 2008

Surprise Christmas Visitor

We had surprise Christmas visitors yesterday: a very plump suburban raccoon and his not-so-plump sidekick. We've seen the plump one before, but it has been quite a while, and he has never come out in the open like this before yesterday. He scurried up the tree and back down, across the thin fence with his partner, and then drank some melted snow on the neighbor's shed before disappearing. They were cute as could be and fairly entertaining for the 15 minutes that they spent in the yard but certainly not creatures we wanted to go out and cuddle.

Oh, for those of you who are curious, it is still snowing here despite the meteorologists' assurances of raining and snow melt. Perhaps we'll thaw over the weekend...?

25 December 2008

Merry Christmas!!

We wish you all a very merry Christmas full of love and laughter!

We're enjoying a quiet day together in Kirkland (Seattle area). The snow had turned to rain yesterday, but apparently went back to snow overnight because we woke up to several inches of fresh, puffy, white snow and a sky full of giant flakes. It's a beautiful white Christmas (and this wet snow is perfect for snowmen and snowballs). Other than that, we're going to enjoy my partially successful attempt at Grandma's tea ring (a McCamon family tradition) and some bubbly (a Sadlier family tradition) while we open gifts and watch the snow fall. Merry Christmas!

18 December 2008

Winter Wonderland

The Puget Sound area is in the midst of a burst of winter. For those who live in the midwest, northeast, Rockies, or Atlantic seaboard, this is just average winter weather. For the Pacific Northwest, this is a real weather event. [We hope our little feijoa tree can survive.] Our temperatures have been below freezing for a good five days now, and snow has appeared in the forecast for most of those days.

Today was the real weather event. At about 5am, the snow suddenly started coming down...and wow did it come down! We got several inches in an hour or so. Despite the forecast for snow and near white-out conditions, my 8:30am final exam was scheduled to go on like normal. I left at 6am, George went with me, and we arrived at school just shy of two hours later. The freeways were a mess, and side roads are even worse. I was glad to have plenty of snow-driving experience from growing up in Ohio...like when I nearly spun out on the I-405 to I-90 interchange at the top speed of 15 mph. George thought it was great adventure. (Check out the road conditions and snow-covered holly tree viewable from my craft room.)

Any time it snows, Seattle transplants (and most of my friends here are) begin the rant about Seattle and snow. Despite being a transplant myself, I have to come to Seattle's defense. Sure a inch or two of snow can stop this city (just the threat of that canceled school across the region yesterday), but we are not in Kansas anymore, Toto! Sure, drivers who aren't used to driving in snowy conditions are a hazard, but the hills and infrequency of snow really make this a different game than snow in many of our hometowns. Getting from point A to point B nearly always involves a hill in Seattle; getting around them can take a lot of time and planning. And, since it only snows a few days a year here, there is very limited equipment. And, let's remember that we usually get snow only after getting rain...which means ice under snow. If the road conditions I experienced this morning would have been in Ohio, it would have closed everything there, too. So, while I am as irritated as the next guy when the car in front of me puts on its brakes at the worst possible time, I can appreciate that life can't go on as normal when snow hits Seattle.

On the other hand, snow always brings out a little grump in me. After all, I love snow at ski resorts and on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but I moved from Ohio to avoid living in snow. When I moved here, I was told that it would only snow a dusting once every few years, but it has snowed a measurable amount every winter thus far. Ah well. Now that finals are over, the snow makes it easy to get in the holiday spirit. Did I mention that - as of right now - I am halfway through law school and on break? I'm not sure what to do with myself besides cuddle George and drink lots of hot tea.