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Lilyana gets a llama and other adventures

The clouds are coming! The clouds are coming! I can’t help it, I’m a Northwest child when it comes to storms and their cozy quotient.

A surge of electricity courses through when it connects that I’ve a valid excuse for not going anywhere. It reminds of when I was a kid and not too sick, but ill enough to stay home with the entire day before me to read books and make up things.

I know this may sound strange coming from a bird who generally likes to fly, but I’m an introvert at the heart of things. Not shy, just comfortable spending time alone slaving away writing (and reading) books, cleaning out closets, and stitching llamas and things.

I’m leaning into winter, especially this one. You read it correctly. I’ve several projects all in a row, and I’m hunker-prepared. With a vaccine appearing on the horizon and numbers looking ugly, it’s a cue to get some isolationist tendencies scratched. It’s the same contented feeling I enjoyed when I was writing my novel. Writers are notorious loners. More on that later.

My woodpile is stacked, baking supplies and hot chocolate mixes pulsate in the cupboard, and do I have books? I amass books like a seamstress does fabric. I’m not sure where they all alight from, but I seem to have a flock of them building most everywhere.

Then there’s Lilyana’s llama. Lily’s my 11-year-old double great niece who lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

A year ago during a visit, the two of us came up with the smashing plan of becoming pen pals. Through the grapevine I discovered she’d seen and been impressed with a cross-stitch project I’d made years ago for my brother. I’d hung up my Aida cloth and DMC floss years ago. I can’t even recall the last project, but I remember how satisfying it was to methodically work, watching the design emerge one small X at a time. Lily told her mother she wanted one, and that was all the spark I needed. When I asked my sister Nancy, Lily’s great grandma, what types of things she liked, llamas appeared on the list, so I went on the hunt for the perfect one.

I found her on Etsy, downloaded the pattern, and then reached back into a stuffed-away box of floss and paraphernalia, extracting the stuff of contentment on a winter’s night.

The next major effort is to dive into my sequel novel to “Stone Revival,” which I plan to publish by spring. “Stone Uprising” requires a magnum of research, an extended vacation, which will find me hunting in such diverse places as England and Las Vegas, New Mexico online and in books. Who says we can’t travel? When a writer or reader becomes one with a good story, transport happens.

I’m hoping everyone will feel hopeful about spending (even) more time at home and not in groups. I realize the situation is a bigger hurdle for extroverts, who get their charge from people. I’m sharing a view from the other side of the mountain. I’ll get outside for walks and hikes.

As for our beloved local businesses, my plan is to support them by investing the money I would have spent during sane times and buy gift cards/certificates. Then, when we can all come out and play, I’ll have all these great experiences with which to celebrate emancipation. That’s the plan, anyway.

I heartily recommend bird watching. Not chickens, though, because they are daredevils where traffic is concerned. I have strategically placed feeders and a bird bath just outside my living room window. Watching the little feather bombs do their thing adds a sense of peace and a daily connection with nature — a sure perspective stabilizer for me.

I’m interested to hear what kinds of projects you’re all working on with these weeks of opportunity ahead. Send me pictures and updates, and if it’s not too humiliating, I’ll send photos of Lily’s llama as she appears.

Hang tight. The vaccine is coming! The vaccine is coming!

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com. Purchase her book, “Trips & Tangents: 101 Favorite Southern Oregon Journal Columns” wherever books are sold.