It was 54 degrees in my bathroom this morning, which I concluded was too cold to shower. So I’m writing from under the covers while I wait for the bathroom heater to work its magic. 

Last night, Zelda’s shivering was so pronounced that she was making the bed vibrate. I tried to get her to snuggle with me, but she wouldn’t. Then I tried to cover her with blankets, but she moved away, back to her uncovered state at the end of the bed. 

What I did not do was get up and turn the heat on. My sleepy brain wondered why she was so cold, but I never woke up enough to think, “Hmm, could it be that you turned the heat off yesterday because it was such a gloriously beautiful day?” 

I did. Because it was.

Riley went swimming.

We took the dogs to Moonstone Beach. Suzanne went barefoot, Riley went swimming, and Zelda and I were at least warm enough to not wear our respective jackets. Moonstone is the local beach we go to least often, because it’s usually crowded, but on a Monday morning in December, it was mostly deserted — one family there with a dog, and one solo walker. So beautiful, though. Churning waves, blue sky, a light mist rising from the water and the sun actually warm on my skin. Not what I imagined December in northern California would be like.

Another view of the same beach, on the same day. Zelda did not get to go off-leash, because she is unreliable, but I did let go of the leash for a bit, when we were very far away from cars and parking lots and highways.

When we came home, I finished a cleaning project I’d undertaken first thing in the morning: organizing ALL the things. I moved into the tiny house in pieces, things drifting in from Serenity slowly. For a long time, I was pretending to myself that it was temporary, that I was going to be on my way again in the very near future. Arcata was where I was going to settle *when* I settled. Not now, not yet. 

Yes, now. Yes, yet. 

Things therefore needed places. Real homes, not just in bins randomly stuffed with whatever had wandered in together. The title to the van belonged with important paperwork, not sandpaper, and the sandpaper belonged with hardware supplies, not sidewalk chalk. (Why sandpaper and sidewalk chalk? Apparently when I rejoined the world of owning stuff, art projects were high on my list of reasons to accumulate clutter.) 

The nice thing about living in a tiny house, though, is that projects like “organize ALL the stuff” don’t actually take that long. When I think back to how long it took me to clean out my house before selling it (weeks, literally)… well, I have no regrets. By mid-afternoon, the tiny house was clean and organized, everything in a proper place. 

I feel like the only concession we’re making to the fact that it’s winter — well, apart from putting Christmas lights up, which I also did this weekend — is in the food we’re eating. I don’t have any lovely pictures, but I’ve made stuffed squash a couple of times, which is basically baked squash filled with a mix of sautéed things — most recently, chicken-apple sausage, leftover rice, mushroom, apple, parsley, & pecans — then topped with some cheese and baked a little more so the cheese melts. Oh, and then finished with cranberry sauce, which is absolutely necessary IMO. Yesterday’s dinner was also autumnal: carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, onion, broccoli, tossed with olive oil and dried herbs, then roasted in a pan with some sliced up chicken apple sausage. Super simple, again served with cranberry sauce. It felt hearty and healthy and filling and very, very wintery.

I guess the other concession to winter — although is it conceding, when you really have no choice? — is that by my standards it is really darn cold. Not freezing much, but I’m finding it hard to motivate myself to walk the dog when it’s 40 degrees outside. But it’s almost 11 now, warm inside, and warmer out, and Z and Riley would both probably like a walk. And the sun is shining so I should take advantage. This is supposed to be the rainy season — days of endless rain, I’ve been warned! — so it’s time to appreciate the sun while it’s here.