(CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE
AND SEE THE SNOW FALLING)
It's not fit weather for man or beast here in Bismarck. It's fit only for Golden Retrievers, who love snow. The dog in the above photo is another Bismarck Golden, not my Penny, but it could very well be her, because it looks so much like her. However, Penny would have a red ball in her mouth. But no matter what Golden Retriever you would be looking at, they would be looking back and saying, "What's the matter with you? Why aren't you playing with me???"
A week or so ago, Bismarck broke the record for the most snowfall in December since 1916. Overnight, we broke the record for the most snowfall in ANY MONTH, EVER. As of this morning, we have now received 33 inches of snow this month.
That amount does not include the snow from the blizzard that walloped us in November.
This morning I had to say goodbye to my daughter, who left for balmy (relatively speaking) Washington, DC. She was happy to leave. Not that she didn't have a great time here, but she had enough of our weather before her first full day had ended. It didn't help that I got stuck in my driveway yesterday and she had to help shovel out and push the car.
So she went joyfully home to her boyfriend and her kitties and I am left with the prospects of: missing her, bleak and empty January, Arctic blasts, still more snow, short days and long nights, post-holiday letdown, being broke, high fuel bills, aches and pains, etc. etc. It's a recipe for depression if I've ever seen one.
But I am not going to let myself succumb. Instead, I am going to beat my blues by traveling around the world! In fact, I have already taken a quick trip to the Isle of Guernsey in the English Channel. My guides to the island, who introduced me to all the delightful inhabitants, were Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. With their help, I learned all about the members of "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society."
Right now I'm in gloriously warm and sunny California. Dean Koontz, bless his heart, treated me to a visit to the home of heart transplant recipient Ryan Perry. I'm helping Ryan solve the mystery of why he's being tormented by nightmares and receiving strange gifts and messages that say "Your Heart Belongs to Me."
After my return from California, I'll be going to Nantucket. I've always wanted to visit this charming island 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. However, I'll be there under very strange circumstances indeed. It seems as if a truly odd event has occurred which has propelled the entire world - except the island of Nantucket - into 1250 B.C. The sea captain for this adventure is S. M. Stirling and this voyage to the "Island in the Sea of Time" is the first of three trips I'll be taking with him. My husband is already onboard and he says it is a very exciting, though extremely dangerous ride.
Later, I'll come forward in time to 1930s Manhattan's Upper East Side, where Lily Koppel will introduce me to brilliant, precocious and headstrong teenager Florence Wolfson and her "Red Leather Diary". Later we'll fly to present-day Florida , where Florence now lives.
From Florida I'll be going to rural Wisconsin with David Wroblewski. He'll be taking me to meet a mute boy and his beloved dogs to hear his tale, "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle".
To round off my January travels, I'll be doing two things I've never done: visiting Africa and flying in a small plane. I'll be going "West With the Night" with 1930s African bush pilot Beryl Markham. I've been told I'll meet some of the same people I met when I visited Karin Blixen (Isak Dinesen) in Kenya in "Out of Africa."
That should take me into February, and by then we should have longer, warmer, sunnier days here. And if not, then I'm getting into Anne Easter Smith's time machine and going back to the 15th-century court of King Richard III of England to view "A Rose for the Crown".
I completely forgot to add that I have also planned a return trip to Norway in January. I'm going back to visit an old friend, "Kristin Lavransdatter". My guide once again to the Gudbrandsdal valley of medieval Norway is Sigrid Undset. This time, she will be taking along my entire book club! I am particularly fond of visiting here, for this is where my grandmother grew up.