Thursday, December 18, 2008

Adventures in snow

A frigid wind is blasting the snow off the trees in Ballard this afternoon.

Before I forget, I want to write about how pretty it all was at 8:30 this morning when I shoved my purse in a backpack, put on a hooded down coat and fleece-lined boots, and tromped down from Sunset Hill into Ballard.

The air was still, and the snowflakes were big and slow and quiet. For several blocks, mine were the only foot prints -- though I did see tracks on my street that were either a galloping cat or a bunny rabbit. (More on cats later.)

Two golden retrievers with red collars came bounding around the corner, very cute until they ran up to me and tried to tug my sheepskin gloves off! The embarrassed owner came around the corner a minute later, and shooed them away.

I went down to Vera's (where I was to have met two friends, who cancelled because of they snow) and ordered breakfast. Only one cook had made it in to work, so they were considering closing up. A fellow with a huge backpack came in and, after the harried waitress dashed by, asked me how the food was. I said "good," and peered at him. He looked familiar.

"San Francisco?" he asked.

"Baggage claim!" I said.

He remembered my name, while all I remembered was that he plays banjo. Two years ago we'd met at baggage claim at the San Francisco airport, and discovered we knew the same folks in Bellingham, where he was then living. I'd planned to take a cab into the city, but he'd offered me a ride in his rental car. Which I gratefully accepted.

This morning he joined me at my table. We chatted about Obama and the news media, and I bought him breakfast in return for the ride two years ago. Turns out he's now living on a sailboat at Shilshole, working in Seattle, and spending weekends in Portland where his wife just got a job.

After breakfast I ran some errands, then hiked back to Sunset Hill. The weather was turning a bit nasty by then: Colder, and windy, and then the snow started in again.

I've put in a fairly good day's work today, and could have done even more except for the cats, who were massively bored. They went out in the snow, briefly, and then came in and demolished the house. Giving them catnip distracted them for a while, but led to a second, wilder, round of demolition. I dread being snowed in with them all weekend.

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