It's after noon and I'm writing from my favorite spot: in bed, sandwiched between a napping Charlie and Daisy. The three of us are all still a little damp from the showers we took in an attempt to get out the smell of smoke from last night's fire. I am avoiding getting out of bed to pack, mainly because I know that as soon as I pull out my suitcase Daisy will follow me around for the rest of the day with a worried look in her eyes and perked ears.

Translation: "Am I coming with you?"

I hate that we have to leave her for two weeks. Since we adopted Daisy about three years ago, we have always been inseparable, but especially since we moved to Red Lake, it's unusual for us to not spend 24 hours a day together. It's been a difficult year and a half adjusting to life here, and it's only made it more apparent how important this fluff ball is to me. So, while I am very excited to hop on a plane to Palm Springs tomorrow, I am also feeling a bit sad. 

The temperature has dropped considerably in the last week (it's about 5 degrees F now) so lately I've been content with nesting at home. We decided not to get a tree this year since we will be gone for so long, but I still hung lights and dressed our fiddle leaf tree with some silver tinsel while playing our Engelbert Humperdinck Christmas record. The ornaments I made last year from dried oranges are hanging from the light fixture above the table. Two red glass Christmas trees sit below.

Though sometimes cold weather makes me crave comfort food like Shepherd's Pie and Italian Wedding Soup, lately my taste buds have been calling for bright, flavorful meals. We have a freezer full of salmon from our fishing trip in Haida Gwaii that I've been using in all sorts of unique recipes. Recently I slow roasted a large filet with orange, lemon, fennel, and chiles. It fell apart as I took it out of the pan, but it turned into a beautiful mess topped with baby dill. My latest fish experiment involves pickling red cabbage with vinegar and all sorts of delicious spices (mustard seed, coriander seed, cloves, peppercorns, ginger, and allspice). This will ultimately find its way on top of beer-battered fish tacos.

Life has been slow and simple lately. Hours spent in the kitchen, walks out onto frozen Howey Bay with Daisy, lavender bubble baths with candles, nights in watching movies (the documentary Banksy Does New York that was just added to Netflix is so good). So I'm ready for the next two weeks. We will emerge from the bush and enter into normal society once again. Stores, restaurants, movie theatres, crowds, traffic. All of it. After a week in Palm Springs we are road tripping up the coast then cutting inland to Reno and ultimately Lake Tahoe for our New Year's tradition: SnowGlobe Music Festival with my favorite people in the world. I can't believe its been a year. But I'll save my reflection for a later date.

Merry Christmas, friends.