Archive for December, 2012

I stopped dreaming of a white Christmas in 2008. I must have been super bad that year because instead of coal in my stocking I got my own personal glacier.  Mr. K was out of town on business just before Christmas, and we got a few inches of snow. Then, the wind started to blow. Hard.

It was the kind of wind that makes you wonder if a house can blow down even if you don’t live in hurricane country. We didn’t lose power, but we awoke to a snow drift  that formed a solid wall across the driveway. It was nearly 5 feet high and at least 10 feet from the house side to the street. My neighbor got one too.  The rest of the neighborhood was pretty clear. It was just so bizarre. People out walking their dogs stopped to take a picture. Cars slowed down to stare.


It would have been nice to just get out the sled and enjoy our new private sledding hill, except that I was to pick up Mr. K from the airport that afternoon.  Out came the snow shovel and to work I went.

After about 45 minutes of sweaty digging, I had scarcely made a dent in the thing.  From over the top of the remaining heap I could see cars slowing a bit to yell helpful things like, “That’s quite a drift ya’ got there!”  Would it be so bad if my husband had to take a taxi home from the airport? I wanted to cry.

By and by, a woman in a minivan pulled to a stop in front of Mount Kuni, rolled down her window and apologetically explained that she had two teenage boys in the back seat who would help me but they wanted payment.  Oh glory be. Name your price!  They dashed home for more snow shovels.

Hours later, we three had created Kuni Pass. All was well.  Here I am the following morning, December 23, 2008, on my way out for a morning run:


(Oh my goodness! Do you see Santa’s reindeer in the sky behind me?  Ok, yeah. Those are my neighbor’s xmas lights.)

Ever since that day, I always think twice before wishing for a white Christmas.  But maybe, just a little?

That is the Seattle forecast, and we are up in the foothills at higher elevation!

Dear Santa, I have been very good this year and I would like you to please bring me my own Bobcat.

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Just a minute, let me get my head out of this paper bag.  OK. I think I’m done hyperventilating.

I have a YouTube video!  My deepest thanks go to my clever and creative daughter, who did the filming and spent hours with the somewhat frustrating iMovie while trying not to use bad words in front of her mother.  I don’t know how I could have done it without you, Helen!

If it seems like I’m making a fuss over one humble little production, let me just explain that I have enormous anxiety about being filmed (or photographed for that matter) while I am playing. It took me a year of standing on the threshold before I finally got the nerve for this.  Fortunately, I don’t think it will be a whole year before I repeat the feat.



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I got it into my head to make some homemade holiday gifts this year.  Not a complete DIY-Fest, but just a few “supplemental” gifts.  I cannot say what they are just yet, since a few of my readers are on Santa’s list.

But let me just say this: there always seems to be a significant gap between the quality and classiness of the imagined gift…


…and the actual end product.


Parents, I would like to urge you to think good and hard about encouraging youngsters to make handmade gifts. Some of us never get it out of our heads that we can produce a treasured object, and even decades later we are foisting our hand-mades on friends, family, our favorite cashier at the grocery store, the UPS man…


It’s all harmless, I know. But it’s quite time consuming. The time-spent-to-quality-achieved-ratio is way out of whack. And worst of all, we never learn from the past. We go on crafting gifts year after year, leaving a trail of dreadful projects in our wake as we cling to our belief that the next one is really going to shine.

I think the real trouble is The Gift Balance phenomenon.  Even if you are giving a gift that will not be reciprocated, there is a certain equality involved. “You were kind to me this year, so I made you this lovely cake.”  It’s a nobler version of “we’re even.”  A citizen’s take on the Naughty And Nice List.

The problem is that the things I make that are really worth having (i.e. hand-knits) take hours and hours to create.  A pair of socks takes about 25-35 hours, for example. If I stuck to the sure winner, not only would it be impossible to get through my gift list, but my gifts would be overqualified for the job in most cases.


“Just buy something!” …I know. I assure you I’m not being cheap. My time is my most precious asset.  Unfortunately the training of early childhood, which maintains that homemade gifts contain more love, is deeply ingrained in my holiday consciousness.

Friends, please accept (and forgive) my wonky gifts. Go ahead and throw them away when I’m not looking. But don’t discard the wrapping: my deepest regard and warm wishes for a happy holiday.


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