Seems like we’ve jumped straight from scorching summer to winter’s chill without stopping for a few nice weeks of autumn. This morning when Richard went outside at 9, the thermometer read -6! Plants that I would normally be doing fall maintenance on over the next couple of weeks have already had a week of frost and winds have whisked away seeds I hadn’t gotten round to collecting yet, even breaking branches off younger trees. Plus, the bears are getting a head start, not only taking every last one of our apples earlier in the week, but breaking branches off the crabapple last night too. The birds are going crazy – I don’t think they expected this either. We were on the Coquihalla Thursday evening and there was already a dusting of white on the summits, with a few flakes falling as we drove. Time to unpack my scarves and winter sweaters! I marked my birthday Thursday with cards and cake at both my workplaces and a few phone calls, but the real celebration will be tonight, as we are expecting the arrival shortly of Dagny and Chris. Despite the frosty mornings it’s a beautiful weekend and we hope to take a walk along the salmon run at Adams River, which has become something of a birthday tradition. Richard is making his fabulous turkey for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow night, and something special for my birthday dinner tonight, so we’ll need a walk to work off full stomachs. Otherwise it will be a lazy weekend, as all of us are feeling drained, stressed, and in need of relaxation. We haven’t seen Chris and Dagny in quite a while, after the frequent visits for wedding prep were over, so I’m very happy they were able to make it here after all. Work has been crazy for both of us, and if I have to waste my time getting inadequately trained on one more unwieldy, poorly documented, badly designed piece of custom software I’m going to seriously consider applying to take over the damned IT department! Hmph. However, I think we’ve got a lot more job satisfaction overall than we had in our last positions, and our financial situation has definitely improved now that I’m earning a salary – part-time though it is for now – so I’m cautiously optimistic as I start a new year. If I can just get this house cleaned up, my garden set to rights, and my head back into novel-writing mode, I’ll be ready for the real winter weather to begin. On that note, must take my last birthday cake (almond flour pound cake in case you were wondering) out of the oven and get this place cleaned up for our guests! Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you have a lot to be thankful for.