Her fingers draw the most beautiful patterns, but they're definitely of the don't-touch variety. Montreal hasn't gotten the recent snows that have hit the Atlantic coast, but it has been absolutely frigid here: -11 this morning, the kind of cold that prickles and then freezes the hairs in your nostrils when you go outside and take a breath. It's brilliantly sunny on the white snow, and makes me think of those fairy tales of alluringly beautiful but deadly Snow Queens.
We bundle up and dash from car to studio, studio to car, trying to avoid errands that require extra stops. Usually up early and quickly out of bed, we huddle under the duvet, making the warmth last as long as we can. I'm feeling especially sympathetic with our friends M. and E. who spent three weeks in L.A. over the holidays, house- and cat-sitting for a friend, but just flew back last night. What a shock!
Montreal isn't really back to work yet, though. I still can't get used to the cultural difference in attitudes toward work; here the emphasis is on family life and joie de vivre; back in the U.S. hardly anyone except school employees were off during the entire holiday week, not to mention several days after January 1st! But with Christmas and New Year's falling midweek this year, I guess a lot of businesses decided to just stay closed here until next Monday. In our studio building, it was absolutely dead during Christmas week, with a few people just starting to trickle back to their studios and businesses yesterday and today. I should try to learn from their example, but it's not so easy: I've got a painting to complete and send off to Iceland, an illustration to do for a friend, and a new CD that's just come out at Phoenicia, with lots of associated marketing to do. There's the year-end accounting, emails from clients, and several orders of supplies that needed to be placed. It will all get done, but this is the reality of self-employment, and actually I wouldn't have it any other way. Later in the winter we'll probably take some time off in a warmer place, but right now the afternoon sunshine is sending long rays treaming all the way across the studio, the cat's here at my side, the water's boiling for tea, and we're cozy and warm for another couple of hours, before that last dash across the parking lot, under the gaze of the Snow Queen.