A never-ending winter

It’s March…and, outside my window, it looks like January. Polar Vortex or no Polar Vortex, I’m starting to wonder if we’ve magically moved into the realm of Game of Thrones only, instead of ‘Winter is coming’, we have ‘Winter is never leaving’.

Here are a few reading pictures to fit the never-ending season. 🙂

(credit: quirk books.com)

(credit: quirk books.com)

(credit: npr.org)

(credit: npr.org)

On a positive note, the akitas love it. 🙂

Groundhogs and Spring

We had snow, but more of the white stuff has accumulated on the ground and even more is on the forecast. For variety, tomorrow’s weather includes a windchill. To add to our misery, the days are not only short, today the sun wasn’t able to make it through the clouds at all. At five in the afternoon, it’s pitch black outside and the sun doesn’t rise until well after 7am. Ew.

This feels like the longest winter in history. Did I really say I was waiting for snow at some point?

February is when Canadians start to feel an itch for Spring. After all those frozen, dark months of winter, they need to have some sort of hope that, one day, they will wake up and not see a frozen wasteland. They need to believe warmer weather is coming.

Good news. We have Groundhog Day.

As the story goes, this rodent (the groundhog) comes out of hibernation every year and reacts to his shadow. If he sees his shadow, he hides and there are at least 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, it means Spring is around the corner.

It’s absolute hogwash, of course. No rodent whose IQ is barely higher than their hibernating body temperature is able to predict the weather with any accuracy. Hogwash.

But the sad reality is that we’re so desperate for good news, we’ll cling to a rodent if that’s the only bit of hope around. After the never-ending length of this winter season, I’m willing to give Groundhog Willy a chance.

At least if he announces an early Spring.

One akita, two akitas…

It’s absolutely freezing outside. So cold that the snow has become dusty. It doesn’t stick to anything. So cold that when I walk outside, it feels like there’s no air. My lungs suck in and all they get is…a freezing nothing. It’s so cold that when I open the car door, the ominous creak I hear is the plastic bits warning me they’re not doing so well and, any time now, they’re going to snap in two.

In this weather, my hubby and I fear leaving our akita outside for longer than half an hour. I know, I know. She’s designed for winter, she loves the snow and she comes from the snowy mountains of Japan. Call it  projecting or good sense, but we just can’t leave her out for too long in this weather.

Whatever the reason, the unfortunate result is that Ms. Fuzzy Tail is in the house more and, since there’s nothing to do, she’s full of beans.

To get rid of those beans, she chases her turkey doll or her tail, she digs at Groucho the tree, dashes up and down the stairs, she digs into the boots drying by the entrance and begs for cheese. We accept those outbursts of energy that rearrange our furniture and rob Groucho of a few more leaves. We figure she’s doing her best to exercise. She certainly can’t use the elliptical. (I’d have a fit).

Still, there’s a limit.

Yesterday, at around 11pm, Ocean decided to jump on my bed because she thought I’d love to just go from deep sleep to fully awake in under a second. I woke in sheer terror until I saw her confused, brown eyes. Why was I upset? Didn’t I see that she was bored?

After I decided that a heart attack wasn’t imminent, I gave her some kisses while explaining to her firmly that there was to be no more jumping on any bed. She licked me and completely ignored everything I said or did except for the petting. Sigh. Why doesn’t she jump on my husband?, I thought.

I posed the question to my lovely man and he thought it through with that therapist head of his. “She needs a brother,” he replied with a whimsical smile.

Oh poop.

Bird seed wars

My husband has declared war on the woodpecker. I thought it’d be an easy win for him, he’s larger and has higher intelligence, but it hasn’t turned out that way. Birds are sneaky.

The entire issue started a couple of weeks ago when we noticed that the bird seed wasn’t just decreasing, it was disappearing at alarming rates. The level was dropping in front of our very eyes so quickly we feared there was a hole in the container.

I went out in the cold and inspected the container. Nope. No hole but the seed was all in piles under the feeder. One day of obsessive feeder-watching revealed the culprit: the woodpecker.

Turns out that colourful bird only eats one of the seeds in the entire mix. Since that seed is rare in the feed, he digs with his specially designed beak, throwing away the rest, unconcerned about waste. Once he finds the one he wants, he leaves.

Once my husband found out what was going on, he declared war. He muttered some dark curses and, while I replenished the feeder, he concocted a plan. His Napoleon-worthy strategy consisted of sneaking behind Groucho the tree until he spotted the woodpecker and then running out of the house like a mad person, shouting loud enough to wake up Tutankhamun. This not only scared the woodpecker, it also freaked out every other bird, our dog, myself and even Groucho the tree. But my lovely husband was convinced this was the way. Apparently, shouting British threats at the top of one’s lungs, is a certain way to ensure PTSD in birds.

It’s been two days of full out war and there are casualties. My husband has almost lost his slippers twice (they went flying into the snow when he ran out of the house), he almost fell on the ice and he stubbed his toe with the door.

The only one who seems to have come out of this unscathed is the woodpecker. He’s still in there, digging away at the seeds. In fact, I swear, I think he’s smiling.

Birds are cheeky.

(credit:airnavigationinstitute.blogspot.com)

(credit:airnavigationinstitute.blogspot.com)

Cabin fever

After two days trapped inside the house by wind chills of minus 40 and below, I think I’m starting to get cabin fever.

Cabin fever is an idiomatic term that describes what happens to those who are isolated or shut in a small space for an extended period of time. Symptoms include lack of sleep, irritability, cravings for sugar and the strong urge to go outdoors. If you’re Canadian, you’ve probably experienced this at least once in your life. Spaniards, on the other hand, have no idea what I’m talking about.

(credit:montrealgazette.com)

(credit:montrealgazette.com)

We’ve been under a Blizzard warning for two days now. It’s so cold outside, you get ‘brain freeze’ (aka ice-cream headache) instantly. Last night I got about 2 maybe 3 hours of sleep. I’ve been eating sugar and carbs nonstop.

Plus, I’ve been exhibiting some behaviours that are…erratic: Singing for no apparent reason (I can NOT hold a tune to save my life). Obsessively staring at the report on the weather site for signs of early spring. Policing how many seeds each bird takes at the bird feeder (the woodpecker is a hog). Trying to dance a waltz with my pooch Ocean (note to self: next time, lead).

If this cold weather holds, I might start speaking in tongues or arguing with the furniture. Neither option is particularly appealing. Time to take some drastic action.

I’m going to paint my toenails red and dance to some really loud music.

Ah, without Ocean.

(credit:myconfinedspace.com)

(credit:myconfinedspace.com)

Blizzard warning

So, we’re under a blizzard warning. No idea what that means, except…well, probably more snow. I promised pictures…

Ocean doesn't find the snow a deterrent. She just jumps into it.

Ocean doesn’t find the snow a deterrent. She just jumps into it.

IMG_0296

Our bush...slowly getting uncovered.

Our bush…slowly getting uncovered.

I thought here you could see just how much snow we've gotten.

I thought here you could see just how much snow we’ve gotten.

It seems we are still headed towards the worst part of the storm. More of the white stuff is promised tonight and tomorrow. Yeey.

Also, in order to not completely lose sight of the blog’s actual purpose, I will do a semi-respectable post tonight–not on snow.

Snow is coming.

We already had snow. Tons of it. Turns out Mother Nature didn’t think we had enough. Last night we got two feet more. Want proof?

Exhibit A: The bush that disappeared.

That was a bush. You can sort of still see it under the snow. Sort of.

That was a bush. You can sort of still see it under the snow. Sort of.

Exhibit B: Trees covered by the white stuff.

IMG_0282

Exhibit C: One crazy akita

She likes to shove her face into the snow. No idea why.

She likes to shove her face into the snow. No idea why.

Once she's covered in snow, Ocean likes to lay in the stuff...again, no idea why.

Once she’s covered in snow, Ocean likes to lay in the stuff…again, no idea why.

Oh, Guess what our forecast for tonight is? Massive snow storm.

Nice.

If it’s epic (by Canadian standards), I promise pictures.

Brr….it’s cold

The weather said it would be cold. Well, they weren’t kidding. It’s -13 C if you’re not in the wind and -27C if you are. Cold enough for even the hardiest Canadians.

It's one of those super clear, crisp days.

It’s one of those super clear, crisp days.

It’s cold out. It’s cold enough, when you breathe in, your nose sticks shut. Instead of just steaming out, your breath forms a cloud that immediately dissolves. The cold hits you and soaks into your clothes, skin and face immediately giving you a headache. I don’t know if these pictures give it justice…but trust me, you wouldn’t want to go skinny dipping in our river today…if it’s not frozen solid.

IMG_0252

 

 

 

 

The snow doesn’t just crunch. It’s frozen as well into tiny granules that fly away. It won’t even stick to itself. Not a good day to make a snowman.

Poor little birds are fluffing out their feathers trying to keep the warm air in.

Poor little birds are fluffing out their feathers trying to keep the warm air in.

 

 

The birds are eating like crazy. In this cold, they burn a lot more energy than normal and they’re mowing through our feed.

Fluffy Tail herself looking wistfully out the window.

Fluffy Tail herself looking wistfully out the window.

Ocean was set and determined to go outside today and I let her…for a little bit. I know akitas are designed for the cold, I know you can leave them out for the entire winter…I just worry. Plus, I like her with me. She’s got a busy schedule indoors keeping up with the birds and watching me write this post.

On gift-giving

I don’t like to give Christmas presents. I know that makes me sound like the Scrooge but I really don’t. I find it…well, silly.

Before you condemn me, imagine this, if you will. I’m at a store, smelling different creams, wondering if my friend (let’s call her Gwedoline because it’s a delicious name) will like coconut or prefer cucumber. I wrack my brain trying to think if she smells more like the tropics or a cool salad and finally make a decision and buy one of the creams. Meanwhile, Wendy (aka Gwendoline but she goes by Wendy for friends) is at another store, sniffing hand lotion and wondering if I prefer the one that smells like cinnamon (I don’t) or the one that smells like vanilla (I like unscented, Wendy! Unscented!). I’ve stood countless times in different stores buying stuff for friends wondering what scent they’d like or if they were scent-sensitive.

I do draw the line at kids. Kids need presents and they’re the exception to my no-gift rule. But adults? Hm…nope.

Instead of buying gifts, I like to choose a charity and donate the money I would have spent on gifts to it. Isn’t that an awesome idea? I choose my charities with care every year. I visit them and see what they do and ask questions and…then I give the money away and I feel all…., well, all Christmassy (not a word, I know). This year, I chose the Salvation Army.

I have told my grown up friends: don’t give me gifts. Don’t do it. Save your money. And, I go and do my own giving to the charity of that particular year and I simply love the idea.

So, what do you think? Am I missing out on a vital part of Christmas? Should I reconsider? Or is this a good idea?

By the way, we got more snow. Tons of it. I think Mother Nature’s lost it. If this keeps up, we might have to dig out the house. Yes, Fuzzy Tail is delighted.

IMG_0233 IMG_0234 IMG_0236 IMG_0237 IMG_0239

Ocean’s Christmas

It’s a winter wonderland out here.

IMG_0224We have trees and snow and more trees and…well, more snow. It’s Ocean’s favourite mix.

She doesn’t know it’s Christmas but she sure likes the toys she magically got and the snow everywhere in sight.

IMG_0220The only catch is that its minus 20. At that temperature, my face starts to freeze after a couple of minutes–and I haven’t even mentioned the windchill factor!

So, we’re staying indoors and so is Ocean. She doesn’t mind that much. Especially with her new toys.

IMG_0226

Please note that turkey. We thought it was particularly fitting during the holidays. Ocean thought so too, after she chewed it half to death.

IMG_0227

And there’s the lady of the hour, with her new favourite toy, a small ball she chases around the house, down the stairs and under beds…I know, she’s sadly neglected.