Where Do I Live Again?

The snow-covered Subaru logo on the front of my XV Crosstrek

Our winters here in Portland are generally mild, but this fall has packed a bit of a punch at the end. We got a little bit of snow on Thursday a week and a half ago, and thankfully since I have some flexibility with vacation time right now, I was able to take the day off and let our dog Ellie enjoy the snow. But then as so often happens in Portland, we got some freezing rain and suddenly everything is coated in ice and trees and branches started falling all around our old neighborhood. We lost power a few times on Friday but never for too long. While walking Ellie I noticed a tree had fallen on a lovely old Mercedes a couple of streets over, completely crushing the back.

In the wee hours of Saturday morning while we were asleep the power kicked off and we didn’t get it back until that evening. Sadly the house was at its coolest when we lost power since we let it cool down at night, so I piled on extra layers and a hat until we had heat again. The house never got that cold so we weren’t exactly suffering, it was only down to 57 when the electricity returned.

This past week we got more snow, not very much but it arrived right before the evening rush hour and made a mess of everything. Fortunately I had also taken that day off but my wife wasn’t so lucky, since the train she was going to take home got shut down when some switches froze, she ended up spending the night at work. It’s going to warm tomorrow and the remaining ice should be gone, which will make a certain dog (and her walker) very happy, even if it takes the snow with it.

That’s enough winter weather for me this year, and winter hasn’t officially started yet!

The Windswept Prairie

Our dog Ellie stands in the dog park on a windy and snowy day

When it became clear we were going to get a little bit of snow a week and a half ago, I took the day off work so I could take Ellie out to enjoy it. Normally on weekdays my wife walks her in the morning and I walk her in the evenings, but since I was home I took her on a long walk in the morning and then, when it started snowing, for another walk in the afternoon. I was hoping for large lazy flakes but instead we got a driving wind and biting snow. When we got to Irving Park, the wind had swept the sports fields mostly clear of snow, so I was relieved when we got up to the dog park that not all the snow had blown away.

I didn’t try for many pictures as the wind was blowing the snow almost horizontally and Ellie squinted to keep the small pellets from hitting her eyes. We continued on through the neighborhood where the trees and houses provided relief from the wind and she was delighted, giving me another long walk of an hour and a half after a similar walk in the morning (those are the longest she’s gone in her elderly years). She doesn’t normally do two long walks a day and was a little stiff-legged afterwards so in the evening I took her on a very short one just to make sure she could go to the bathroom if she needed to, besides which the ice was already starting to form, immediately eroding any desire on her part to walk further.

When we got back from the afternoon walk, I toweled off the melting snow and we climbed up into my love seat. She put her head in my lap as she sometimes does, hoping to extend our time together as much as possible before sleep separated us. Her fur was glistening from the melted snow and I wished I could get stuck in that moment for a little while, my sweet pup saying thank you for our day together, hoping to make it last.

She fell asleep almost immediately though, and soon all three cats joined her both in snuggling and in sleeping on me, and all was bliss except I found myself wishing I had thought to make some hot chocolate before the pets climbed all over me.

Our dog Ellie is about to fall asleep with her head in my lap

A Song of Ice and Fur

A close-up of snow on the fur of our black lab Ellie

I took Thursday off since there was a chance of snow and I wanted to let our aging pup enjoy some snow time. The temperature was supposed to rise in the evening so the snow wouldn’t last and I had to seize the moment. I was hoping for big softly falling flakes but there was a strong wind that made pictures difficult, so mostly we just walked around the neighborhood. I did get a few pictures in the dog park, such as this close-up of snow on the black fur of her back.

Thankfully she went on a really long walk in the afternoon snow after a really long walk in the morning, as the evening didn’t warm as expected and instead we got freezing rain. Ellie despises ice as much as she loves snow and refuses to go for even a short walk when it’s icy. At her age I wouldn’t have risked it anyway and I just made a path for her in the backyard, but it did amuse me for the next couple of days while the ice lasted, when I let her out to go to the bathroom, she quickly did her business and then made a beeline back to the door, just in case I was under the delusion I might get her out for a walk.