The Perfect Day . . .

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Did you grow up where the winters are frigid, the snow falls sideways, and the local weather forecasters’ voices rise in excitement when they discuss the next storm?

If not, I pity you. Really—you just don’t know about the perfect day.

Ask anyone who was once a 10-year-old in the northern United States—the absolute perfect day is a snow day.

The uninitiated may not even know the concept. A snow day, my friends, is a day when you thought you had to go to school, take the math quiz, hand in your spelling homework, and eat congealed Spanish rice in the cafeteria, but, instead . . . you get to stay home!

Snow days are free days. Days that come out of nowhere, where all the normal rules are suspended.

No school. No backpack full of books, no standing in sub-zero temps, waiting for the school bus to come.

A day full of empty hours to fill with laziness, with daytime TV, a foray outside to make snow angels, hot chocolate waiting when you get back in. Maybe your mom turns on the oven—it helps keep the house warm, after all—and bakes cookies.

The decision about when to declare a snow day was always made by a grownup and grownups, it seems, are hesitant to give in to the weather. Have they forgotten how happy a snow day made them, all those years ago, when they were little?

When I was a kid, the grownup who made the snow day decisions for our rural school district was none other than  . . . my father. He was the head bus driver and business manger of the school, and we lived as far from the school as anyone in the district. We also lived way up on a hill. The feeling was that, if Don Sanger could make it to school, anyone else could.

And Don Sanger always thought he could make it to school. He was not one to let a few feet of snow slow him down!

It was a heavy burden to bear. My sister and I would plead and beg for him to call a snow day. He’d go out to check the conditions and we would wait, hardly breathing, for him to come back, even though we knew what he was going to say.

No big deal. No snow day needed.

Then we’d all manage to get to school and our friends would harass us . . . why couldn’t we have convinced out father to be more reasonable, to give us kids a perfect day?

It seems that schools are much more likely to bow to the weather these days, much more willing to err on the side of safety and tell people to stay home. I wonder if the kids appreciate snow as much as we did, when they get so many of them?

The funny thing is that, once you’ve known the joy of snow days, that feeling seems never to leave you.

I’ve been retired, lo, these many years and, thinking logically, every day is a snow day now. My days are always my own. I never have to eat cafeteria Spanish rice again. Snow days should have no meaning for me.

But then comes a day like today, where all the local schools have cancelled classes because it snowed and the winds are going to gust 40 miles an hour, and the windchill factor is going to be something like 40-below-zero Fahrenheit.

In my heart, this is still the perfect day. I have an ironclad excuse not to go anywhere, not to the post office, not to the assisted living center where my mom lives, not to the store, or the dump.

And, in staying home, I will feel free, even freer than usual, to do *exactly* as I please. The “shoulds” of vacuuming or listing new items on Etsy will be put aside because it’s a snow day! I’ll read for pleasure, I’ll nap, I’ll turn my hands to whatever I choose at the moment.

Maybe we’ll go out and shovel snow. Maybe we’ll come in to hot chocolate. Maybe I’ll turn on the oven and bake cookies . . . it’ll help keep the house warm, after all.

Don Sanger’s little girl loves a snow day . . .

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The Wind She Blow . . .

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The wind she blow on Lak’ Champlain

By’m’by she blow some more.

You’ll never drown on Lak’ Champlain . . .

So long as you stay on shore.

–(to be spoken with a laconic and wry French-Canadian accent)

It’s inevitable.

Whenever the wind blows strong at our house on Lake Champlain, someone recites this old folk rhyme.

Take yesterday, for instance. Most of the rest of the United States was basking in spring warmth, enjoying outdoor activities, and doing garden chores.

On Lake Champlain, we were watching, in awe, as the waves crashed on the seawall and ice built up on . . . everything.

At least it wasn’t snow . . .

Just Another Blogger . . .

IMG_0008_2Just another set of photos, from just another winter-weary blogger.

There’s No Fireside . . .

IMG_3764“Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin.”

The first time we went to Ireland, on our honeymoon, we bought this plaque with Gaelic words that translate to say, “There is no fireside like your own fireside.”

It was a sentimental and appropriate choice for newly-wed introverts, ready to commence sharing a fireside and both believing that home is the best place to be.

The plaque sits by our fireside, bearing testament to a continued love of home, now, twenty-five years later.

I always like being home, coming home, having a place that is “HOME” to me.

But never do I appreciate my own fireside more than days like today.

See the "feels like" temp in the bottom left corner? That -30 Celsius

See the “feels like” temp in the bottom left corner? That -30 Celsius

We’ve seen snowier and we’ve seen colder. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that the snow is “falling” sideways today and we can’t see a boundary between lake and shore and sky. It’s a day where photos in full color are simply shades of gray.IMG_4317 IMG_4296

We’ll have to go out later and clear some of that snow but, for now, the fireside is the place to be, for folks and for critters.

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It’s a day when the weather can be used as a excuse for doing what we please, or not doing much at all, a grownup’s version of a snow day, off from school.

It’s a day to stay home, at the best fireside–our own.

Florida . . . Yes!

If you live in the northern hemisphere, you might need a break. I know I did.

At our house, right now, it’s 15 degrees Fahrenheit (about minus 9 Celsius), with a forecast of colder temps and heavy snow in the next few days.

But that’s okay. Because I just had my mid-winter break in Florida and filled up on sun and sea, good food and beautiful sights. Even better, we had 12 days of time with family and dear friends. So, in spite of the weather outside, my inside feels warm and cozy. Maybe these photos can warm you up, too!

Florida can be annoying. Too many people are loving it to death. We all want what Florida has to give and we all want it in the same three-month period. That makes for hellish traffic, ugly strips of chain stores, and garish tackiness.

And yet . . .

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Florida still retains its considerable charms.

Amazing wildlife. We didn’t see dolphins this year but we saw lots of birds! (Click on any photo for the details)

Lots of vintage linens! I found a lot to love in the historical village on Sanibel Island and in the town of Arcadia, where there are dozens of vintage/antique shops in a two-block area.

Sun. Sand. Glittering turquoise water. Flowers everywhere. The beaches on the Gulf Coast, on Sanibel and Gasparilla Islands and at Longboat Key, offer miles of aimless walking, with nothing more important than looking for shells.

The perfect antidote to winter.

Miles of perfection

Miles of perfection