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Ah, winter. I love you. And sometimes you drive me insane.

I love wearing sweaters and scarves and getting all bundled up. I love the bite in the air and the lack of tourists coming through town. I love having the fire going and snuggling up with a book or a project. I love that my normally aloof cat is a bit cuddlier.

Things I don’t love:
Weather forecasts that do not deliver. I keep getting my hopes up for snow, but it has only snowed and stuck once. We had about a half inch, at night, that stuck. It was enough for me to play in and throw a snowball or two for the dog, but it was pretty much gone by morning.

Hello there!

Hello there!

My indoor plants (always a challenge for me to keep alive) are all looking sad. The only one that is not looking sad is the Sanseveria in the gecko tank. They haven’t managed to crush it (go, thick leaves, you can make it!), so it’s doing well. I like having plants in the house, but I don’t always make the best choices of types and locations, and I tend to subject them to benign neglect, especially in the winter.  None of them are dead yet, but winter is not yet done. The back yard, normally a haven of grass and garden, is dried up and brown-red. The red is from the soil here- with a rambunctious dog, the dead grass has no chance.

Speaking of the dog… “What have you got?!” has become the new question. Our mostly well-behaved puppy from the fall has become into a bored, curious puppy who is now tall enough and confident enough to explore tabletops and inside bags.

New stuffy, newish Nylabone, and part of an old toy.

New stuffy, newish Nylabone, and part of an old toy.

If I’m distracted (say, cooking dinner), Sugar ignores her toys, Kong, and Nylabone and looks for something new to chew. Yesterday, it was my phone. Fortunately, I caught her at it before any major damage was done. The day before that, it was pens. A little Sriracha on a pen, and she stopped. The day before that, it was my crochet. In the span of 10 minutes, while I was cooking dinner, she pulled out two different projects from two different bags and unraveled most of four skeins of yarn, wrapping them around the couch and coffee table and covering half the floor. Oh, Sugar. Hopefully, this little incident will keep me from being lazy and tucking my projects under the side table instead of putting them away.

Sugar wants to go outside and run, but the past few days have been unusually cold (for here) and she hasn’t wanted to play for long. Fetch down the hallway is just not the same. She has started turning parts of the toys inside out after unstuffing them.

These used to be an Egg Babies Turtle and a blue lion.

These used to be an Egg Babies Turtle and a blue lion.

Toys are lasting for fewer and fewer minutes, while the amount of time I spend crawling around the floor picking up stuffing is getting longer. As a side note: our vacuum, which normally handles dirt, ash, leaves, and pet hair with ease, doesn’t like toy stuffing. It took 30 minutes to clean out the 12 inches of stuffing/pet hair blend that was clogging the hose.

For me, this winter has been an unusual one. Winters in my part of California were full of green, growing things and rain mixed with stunning clear days. Before that, winters were snowmen and sledding and eating icicles off the house. This winter, my first in Arizona, is cold and dry.  The sun hits different parts of the canyon walls and brings out new colors. Flickers have moved into the tree behind our house, and the keel-tailed grackle that was gone for most of the summer and fall is back, making noises that confuse the dog every time. So far, winter here has meant organizing and planning the garden and waiting for spring, watching the colors change and the clouds full of snow go around our little town to the west and north, and hoping for slightly warmer weather to take the dog for a hike somewhere new. Or snow. I’d hike in the snow.

"Do you have to keep typing? I want to sleep. Or play."

“Do you have to keep typing? I want to sleep. Or play.”