The weather here is perfect, and will be for the foreseeable future, apparently. 21 C, cloudless, windless. Trees are blooming early:*

And this is a pretty bad thing, actually. We’ve had almost no rain this winter, again. I heard a report of a grass fire (first one of the year) a few days ago, and this is awfully early to be having grass fires. We’ll be rationing water by April at this rate.

On the up side, it’s nice to have perfect weather for this, the first day of Visitor Season. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!

* This is a “tulip magnolia," because it looks like someone wired tulips onto a magnolia. I guess it was 4:50 on a Friday at the Office of Tree Naming when they came up with that one. I took this picture on the way back from lunch. Life's tough.

Guess what one of my New Year’s resolutions wasn’t? I’ll give you a hint; it rhymes with “fegular glogging.”*

So we went back up to the frozen North for the holidays, and managed to hit the window of bearable weather. It was -33 the night we arrived, but warmed up to -16 and stayed there, and stayed pretty clear, for our whole visit. The storms in Vancouver affected us hardly at all, and all in all it was as smooth a trip as one could ask for. I don’t mind winter at all when it knows its place.

Apparently also I am “turning into an American” according to R:tAG. On landing in Edmonton, normally right after Customs they have a place where you hand your checked-and-tagged-through luggage over to be put on your domestic flight. You have to go through security again, but at least you don’t have to check your luggage again. But when we were there, that place was closed and we were faced with having to wait in the blocks-long ticket line even though we had our boarding passes, luggage was tagged, etc. So I snuck under the cattle-chute railing thingys, found an unoccupied and helpful airline employee** and asked him (nicely!) if he could just take our tagged luggage and put it on the Magic Conveyor Belt, and he could and did. But apparently the Canadian thing to do would have been to unnecessarily wait for an hour in the queue, getting overheated (-er) and grumpy(-ier), until a different employee put our tagged luggage on the Magic Conveyor Belt. WhatEVer.

Anyway, it was fantastic to see friends and family again. Coming back during the holidays is hit-or-miss; on the one hand people are more likely to be busy and/or out of town and on the other hand people From Away are more likely to be in town. So we missed seeing some people, but had the delightful surprise of seeing others (Neuba, Mr. J., Baby Quinn, Furious B***, Ty, Bne) and of course the non-surprised delight of seeing the regular residents.

And because we R SMRT, we took some extra days off so as to be able to lounge idly around the house when we returned, which was also fantastic.

R:tAG got us one of these for Christmas,**** and I’ve got little baby plants already after starting them on Dec. 29. I should take a picture, shouldn’t I? They are very cute. After the herbs are done I think I’ll try the salad mix… for just the two of us that seems like it will keep us in salads for a while, and the lettuce shouldn’t bolt or wilt or get et by slugs like it does when I try to grow it outside.

EDITED TO ADD: A picture! The two pods to the far left (mint and parsley) still have their little domes on because they were late germinators and still need a bit of protection. Go team chive, though!

* Not that I make New Year’s resolutions anyway.

** I know!

*** Plus SO, with whom I am sad I didn’t get to spend more time because she seems awesometastic.

**** I was looking around that site, and the “Accessories” section is a hoot. Or am I the only one that finds the thought of a special apron to put on while you’re “tending your Aerogarden” pretty funny? It’s a mini hydroponic system about the size of a watermelon. You might as well have special protective garments for getting a can of Coke from a vending machine.


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