December 2022 Recap

What do I want to remember about December? A freak snowstorm the first week. A lot of grey, rainy cold days which I spent counting down to the winter Solstice. I only went on two hikes this month:

12/6/2022 – Catherine Creek, WA –

We drove through the snowy Columbia River Gorge, and found the early snow at Catherine Creek.

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Ice on Rowland Lake

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Snow covered slopes on the Lower Trail

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We saw a fox run up the slope.

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Looking across the Columbia River to Oregon.

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Catherine Creek Waterfall

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Then we walked up to the snow-covered fairy pools,

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and looked across to the Arch.

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While eating lunch and warming up in the car, the sun came out, so we decided to walk the trail above the Arch.

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Bridge over the creek

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I saw a few predator birds in the tree tops – a hawk

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American kestrel

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Looking up toward Sunflower Hill

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We turned around at the top of the Arch, not having adequate footwear for deeper snow and ice.

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Eastward view

12/13/2022 – ¬†Portland Arboretum –

Another day, we found a slightly dry weather window, and took a 2.5 mile walk through part of the Portland Arboretum.

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We found the most color in the Holly Garden.

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Bare deciduous trees and grey skies.

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Mahonia in the Winter Garden

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Cedar

Meanwhile…

I took plenty of walks through the neighborhood looking for cheerful holiday decor.

I remember willing the Solstice and longer days to arrive. For a few days each year, the sun is so low, it shines through our front door windows onto the stairwell wall.

Later in the month, the east winds swept through and pounded our neighborhood, blowing down several very tall fir trees, including one across the street that we had been worried about for years. It fell on the neighbor’s house. Fortunately no one was in the room that was crushed at that moment. Then we watched the street drama of tree removal for several days, front row seat from our living room.

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December 22nd, tree down

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December 23rd – a thin layer of icy snow over everything…

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December 26th – first they removed the other standing tree,

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Then used a very tall crane to remove the fallen tree.

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Rainproofing the roof; reconstruction and repair will take a while….

Elsewhere in the neighborhood:

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Over in the park, Henry Huggins lost his shade tree,

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and the tall fir to the left of this nutcracker…

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blocked this street for a few weeks until it could be removed.

Fortunately, nobody was hurt an any of these local incidents.

What else…one son moved to Philadelphia at the beginning of the month and was not here for the holidays. We began to settle into our next phase of empty nesting, with no sign of any of the kids living here in the near future. We were glad to have our daughter home for the holidays. Luckily, she moved her flight up one day, and missed the travel craziness that happened this year. We were amazed that our other son arrived home from a business trip on a delayed flight from Denver, at 3 am on Christmas morning…for some reason not cancelled. We enjoyed setting up our tree, admiring the ornaments and the memories they bring; lighting Hanukkah candles, baking cookies, having a lovely Christmas dinner with some of our oldest friends.

Portland Art Museum – 12/28

My daughter and I went with friends to see a few of the current exhibits.

The golden brush strokes on this special exhibit Botticelli painting drew me in.

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Very different from the rectangular smudges on this Impressionism work, which I also loved.

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The Japanese woodblock prints of Mt Fuji were much more intricate and detailed, also beautiful!

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A large retrospective exhibit of the Native American artist, Oscar Howe, was so interesting. His style evolved from representational to fractured, and was very colorful. These paintings are both dancers, with one arm raised, and feathers hanging down. I loved them!

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Other December news:

An artist friend gave me a small painting of Mt Hood that we hung in our kitchen adjacent to one of my husbands’ photos of Mt Hood. We love the mountains!

I knit my way through the month, completing a few gifts, and finishing the year of gnomes.

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I made three of these Warm One Hats in Knit Picks Mighty Stitch yarn held double, as gifts for each of my kids.

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I made the 12th gnome, Gnova, by Sara Schira, for the December Year of Gnomes.

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I made three Little Tigers that have new homes.

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I continued knitting the Malabrigo Slip Stitch Blanket after all the gift knitting was done. This one is for me.

I plan to write one more post for 2022 – hopefully soon.

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