Posts in "Winter"
Another Post About Weather
Another Post About Weather | Freckled Italian

So far, 2017 has been rainy and chilly in Silicon Valley. We finally turned on the heat in our townhouse on New Year's Eve--every new season I like to see how long I can go before I turn on the heat or AC, and because the weather here is so mild, we never actually turned on the little window unit that's in the corner of our dining room (central air is not really a thing here). In Minnesota, winter starts in September. In North Carolina, summer lasts until October. And here, in the Bay Area, the seasons seem separated only by ten or fifteen degrees, depending on the time of day.

Our heat is an old gas furnace that's on either side of a wall--one half is next to the bookcase and faces our living room, and the other half radiates heat into the dining room and kitchen. I kind of hated it at first, because it seemed clunky and I guess I'm kind of afraid of gas appliances, but now I love it--the way it smells, the sound it makes when it kicks on, how sitting on the couch next to it feels like being beside a fire. The heat wafts its way slowly upstairs, so in the morning I wake up and feel it right away as I turn the corner down the stairs to start the coffee.

The air here doesn't smell much like winter, maybe because we won't get snow, or maybe because the seasons don't really change the way they do back east. The mornings are cold, and so are the evenings, and the afternoons are bright and a bit warmer. Sure, the leaves fall off the trees at the end of autumn and things bloom in the spring, but there's a kind of neutrality to the seasons here that, much like my heater, I thought I'd hate but has turned out to be rather soothing.

Charlotte is currently hunkering down as they wait for the first snow of the year (something that doesn't always come around down south), and I know that as soon as my Instagram feed fills with flurries I'll feel pangs of jealousy, but for now I'm happy to spend my rainy winter days cuddled up with a cup of coffee and a long-sleeved tee shirt.

Lately (this week) Ender and I have gone out on rainy afternoon walks, which I love because no one else is out. Usually I would take him to the dog park to play with his pup friends, but everyone on this side of the country seems to stay home when it rains, so we have started to as well. I put on my hooded jacket and rain boots and we head to a different park close to our house to walk the loop until we're damp and rosy-cheeked. And then we head back to the house to wipe our feet at the door and carry on with our day, wondering if maybe the sun might come out tomorrow--because this is, after all, California.

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December Musings
December Musings | Freckled Italian

I'm sitting on my couch next to Ender, huddled together under the blanket that my friend Andy's dad gave me before I left for college. It's black and white with fringe around the edges and a Norfolk Southern train weaved into the center. "So you don't get cold," he said with what I'm pretty sure was a tear in his eye. It's been ten years and I still break it out every winter, because Jim Ed doesn't want me to be cold and you just gotta listen to Jim Ed.

Can you believe December is here already? I know we moved at the end of September but I still keep telling people we've been here a month, as if time stood still the moment we turned the key of our Silicon Valley townhouse. But the holidays are upon us and our tree is up, decorated with lights and ornaments (including several hilarious ones with baby pictures of me and my brother); and our stockings are hung not on the mantle (we don't have one of those), but along the edge of our staircase.

We're finding our routines--it takes time usually, so I've tried to be patient about it. Sneaking out of bed in the dark for an early barre class, coffee at the computer as I start my workday, a mid-morning break to take Ender to the dog park to play. I joined a book club and am reading again for the first time in too long (and stocking the bar with Baileys for next weekend, when I'm hosting). Thanksgiving in Half Moon Bay with my side of the family was exactly the low-key, relaxing, and fun first west coast holiday we needed to really start feeling at home here. It takes time usually, so I've tried to be patient about it.

California still feels like a different world sometimes. But December feels like an old friend.

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Recipe(ish): Cinnamon-Orange Simmer Pot

When it gets cold outside and the holidays are near, I love throwing some aromatics into a pot to make our whole apartment smell like heaven. You can make up your own or change the measurements however you like, but this is how I make mine:

Ingredients:

  • One or two clementine peels (you can use oranges if you have them)
  • A couple slices of lemon
  • One or two cinnamon sticks
  • A palm-full of whole cloves
  • Several cups of water (or more, depending on the pot you use) 

Instructions:

  1. Put all fruit and spices in a pot and add water. Turn stove to medium.
  2. Get it to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer. Leave as long as you like, refilling water as it evaporates. (I usually just have it going when I'm anywhere near the kitchen.) Don't forget about it!
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