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Sunday, December 12, 2010

A White Christmas? Or Merely a Wet One?

Putting up my Christmas tree can be a challenge here. I have a lovely artificial tree that’s about 17 years old which I brought from America, but it’s too big to put up inside the house without blocking some luxury I’m loath to part with—such as access to the bathroom. So I compromised and put it out in the porch.

In truth, it's a little big for the porch as well. I had to buy a new topper because my old, faithful one was too tall. At least this year I got smart and skipped installing the lower branches on one side where it crushes up against the living room wall so it fits a lot better than it did last year. And no one's the wiser. (Well, except for anyone who might actually be reading this.)

In fact, it’s turned out to be a charming location because, from where it sits, my neighbors can see it through the glass doors when they pass by on their evening walks if they look beyond the garden gate, and I can see it because it’s on the other side of the living room window which looks directly onto the garden.

My dog, Tilly, seems to think it’s quite charming, too. Evenings she’s happy sitting beneath it on the red satin tree skirt looking out onto the road at the passing neighbors, ready to react if some presumptuous dog or cat prances by.

I do hope she doesn’t start thinking of it as indoor plumbing.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A New Look at Age

My friend and I are planning a mid-January, five- to six-week trip down to southernmost Portugal with the two dogs, Finlay and Tilly. (Finlay is Tilly’s brother.) We thought it would be nice to travel south, trading in temps of at or below freezing to ones more, well, if not summer-like, at least spring-like. 

It’s not easy to find places that take dogs, at least outside France. When she was researching places and sending out inquiry e-mails, Innis found one good possibility down in the Algarve, about 16 hours drive from where we are in the Loire-et-Indre region.

Innis told me she’d written to reassure the owner that we were just two middle-aged women with small dogs. I read that and I immediately bristled.  Middle-aged? I’m not middle-aged!  I’m…oh, wait. GULP. I’m 50.  Well, okay, I’m 50 but I’m not fifty!  And 50 is like the new 30, right?

Or maybe it just looks like 30 because I can’t seem to put my hands on those damned reading glasses I keep misplacing…