A happier birthday

Christmas birthday window

Christmas birthday

During the northeaster, I was not only cold, but seriously ill and bitterly regretting my procrastination over snow tires. In spite of hanging quilts at the windows, the only warm spot in the house was my bed by the stove, so I lay there, only getting up for work or to feed the child. In the middle of all this, my cat brought a Norway rat into the house and released it, unharmed. I did my best to harm it, failed, and went off to sleep at another house. I know that was stupid, but it was late at night, and I was sick, tired, and actually quite terrified. I came back the next morning with gloves and boots on, trapped it and herded it out the door. Why does my cat do this? (It was nonstop when I was pregnant.) Does she think I need more protein? A hobby? I’ll be delighted when she’s too old to catch anything. Even watching her nap is making me cross.

Lying still for a change gave me plenty of time to plan for the holidays. My daughter’s birthday is right before Christmas; there’s no time to swap decorations, so I steer away from red and green and try to come up with something that works for both. I redid the front window, and am experimenting with white LED lights veiled with white fiberfill, courtesy of Pinterest, which finally sent me something I liked, a picture of a cloud lantern. The Christmas tree, this year, is a cryptomeria japonica. It is an evergreen, but the one I bought looks like fragile green feathers. The lady who sold it to me was extremely stern, as if she doubted my ability to care for it – and she should. It’s down in the basement now, because I’m following her instructions very strictly. It can come inside for ten days, when it will be swathed in illuminated clouds and tiny ornaments, and then handed over to my former mother-in-law, who is a serious gardener. Even she hadn’t heard of cryptomeria, so she’s pretty excited.

Anyway, the birthday-of-the-glowing-clouds will feature lunch, cake, and a high-stakes game of hunt the thimble. Our cabin is perfect for hiding thimbles; the children will be totally enraged by the time I’m done with them. After that we’re going ice skating. Some of them can skate, and some of them are going to be hanging on to adults or the wall, but as Thurid says, everyone is happy on the ice.



E and mama skating

E and me skating

Today was the first day of winter. It doesn’t say that on the calendar, but the puddles in my driveway and the pond at Tree Frog Farm were frozen over: it’s winter. I lay in bed tonight watching the beginning of Fanny and Alexander, full of candles and ice and Christmas and sex and food and snow. Heaven. I shouldn’t love this time of year so much; I get colder than anyone I know, in spite of all my Saami genes. I sleep with three down comforters.

The picture above is of me and my daughter, skating away from Shanan :) Those blades on the ice are one of the best sounds in the world.