Spring Break … or take to the woods

I understand that some need warmth and sunshine and beaches to recover from a long, hard winter. I am not one of those people. Coming from good Norwegian, Danish, and northern German (go Prussia?) stock, I love wool sweaters, socks, soups, hot drinks, and being cooped up. My propensity for staying in one place without getting cabin fever is renowned. All that being said, for me the ideal spring break looks like chilling out in the woods, in the snow, with two Bernese Mountain dogs.

Day 1: My good friend Jenny graciously tails me on the way to the house because the Ford Focus does not like unplowed dirt roads. We make it, but the dogs are a little wound up. I blame Jenny’s orange coat.

Day 2: It’s an early start, to say the least. But I’ll say more. 5 am and the sun is not yet shining, but pups are barking and so I roll out of bed. The younger of the two and my new best friend, Gus, promptly trots out, does his business and eagerly runs back inside. Buck, on the other hand, is an intrepid explorer. Charging forth into the fresh fallen snow, he sets his face like flint and hardens his heart to all of my sweet summons. I try everything. The only thing that seems to work is walking out to him and then turning and running back to the house shouting “c’mon Buck-Buck” in my cheeriest tones. Exhausted from running in snow boots and flannel pajamas (this is why you always wear flannel pajamas!), I tumble back into bed for another hour or two. The rest of the days continue much in this fashion.

On the reading front, I pledged to read 1,500 pages over break. So far I’m at 900 and change. I’ve read Maira Kalman’s book And the Pursuit of Happiness which at first glance seemed to be a brilliant choice for the classroom. But the whole book begins with Obama’s inauguration, and as beautiful as I think it is for a country with our history to have a black or bi-racial president, I know in my heart of hearts this will not go over well with the we-see-everything-in-black-and-white crowd that I hang out with 8-3 five days a week.


Book number next is entitled The Shopgirl. It was written in 1914. I now possess the 1916 edition, and it was a delight from start to finish. Seeing where a plot is headed from the first few pages can be a great comfort. It’s a fairly typical Cinderella story. The heroine, Winifred Child, reminds me of Elizabeth Bennett. As delightfully fluffy as the story is, a perceptive depiction of a confrontation between the hero and heroine leapt off the page. He finds her working in his father’s shop, something that is certainly beneath her. Neatly, she reminds him that the shop is full of human beings, and that no one seems to care if  the work is beneath them. Well done, Win, well done. Read it, if you can.

Book number three was a gift from Jenny. It’s Chesterton’s slim biography of St. Francis of Assisi. I’m underlining and tearing up while reading it, and those are the truest signs of a good book.

Lest you think I’ve been reading this whole time, I assure that I have been dedicated about watching TV. The Millionaire Matchmaker is a very sensible woman. And Rosie Pope of Pregnant with Heels likewise talks a lot of sense. And I’ve seen the commercial for The Host about a thousand times (only two more days until the premiere!). I don’t know what else I could gain by watching the movie (preview seems to give the entire story away), but it has grown on me. I’m thinking dollar theater in June.

On the eating front I’ve been living off of braised endives, tortellini with peas, greek yogurt, peanut butter cookies, and cherry crisp. A feast for the gods!

The week has been a mix of intense lethargy and quality television (disclaimer: it’s all quality to me!) and adrenalin pumping chases. One of Buck’s close calls happened this afternoon when ran up to the street. I was madly shouting “Get off the road” in my best Frodo voice while at the same time not spooking him. I ran up to him and grabbed his collar, but since he weighs more than me this is kind of a problem. Please picture tubby Gus in the background running from no one with a fleece soccer ball, squeaking it madly for no reason.

Enjoy the below photo of Gus. We hang on the couch watching the best Bravo has to offer.



4 thoughts on “Spring Break … or take to the woods

  1. I definitely laughed as much reading this as I did when you told it all to me a couple hours ago.

    And I want to squeeze fat Gus.

    AND I offer myself as dollar theatre date for The Host in June.

  2. I also wish I could read this again to laugh just as hard, but I have to board a plane. Now I will be chuckling all morning and my seatmates will have no idea why.

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