Rodeo Faux Snow, Or: Don’t Know From Cold Out, Ho, Ho, Ho!

7 Dec

I’m having a hard time taking very seriously the Christmas decorations in my ‘hood.

Evergreen on columnsHow is one supposed to feel the Greco-Roman New England Holiday Vibe, when one is wearing shorts and Ray Bans, and right across the street is this Sunshiny OZ Candy Land vibe:


Don’t get me wrong, I am the ONLY one wearing shorts. The natives have donned wool caps, scarves, down coats, and they shiver when they step inside the juice store: “OOOOH, it’s so cold out!” (59 degrees.) I give them a look. You don’t know what “cold out” is. Cold Out is 10 degrees below zero. Cold  Out is your blue fingers inside your gloves, scraping thick ice off of the windshield. For the tenth day in a row.  Cold Out is when you don’t even register cold, you  feel only pain–in your bone marrow. Cold Out is when even the dog won’t leave the house. 

People accustomed  to warm sunny days, and birds of paradise growing year-round in the front yard have a unique struggle getting into the Christmas spirit–with its North Pole associations, and older Pagan rituals celebrating evergreen and light during the season of cold darkness. The only cold darkness in Southern California is the air-conditioned broom closet at the plastic surgeon’s office. (Don’t ask how I know.)

Not until December 2nd did I feel the need to turn on the heat.  This is my furnace.


Yeah, it doesn’t look like much and it doesn’t do much either. Fortunately it doesn’t have to. I have yet to wear a coat, and all around my street  lawns are being mowed;  last week  the distinct smell of fertilizer floated in the winter air.

Those of us who know the meaning of Cold Out have to question the meaning of “Happy Holidays” in the land of  blue skies, temperate weather, and a notion of snow balls such as these: IMG_1495

(Beverly Wilshire in the background–the hotel in “Pretty Woman,” and where, rumor has it, Obama stays.)

Take a stroll with me, Dear Reader, down Rodeo Drive, where “Let it Snow, Let it Snow,” “Winter Wonderland,” and the like are piped in on speakers. Because there is no organic cold white stuff to be had, Beverly Hills does the best it can:




Snow is so pretty! As is Mrs. Claus:


And while you do see the occasional teenager wearing Ugg boots to protect herself from “the cold,”  most of the footwear demonstrates that Cold Out is really just a fashion statement.


No one in Ithaca is wearing these to the Green Star Co-op, methinks.

OK. I. Admit. It.

I miss the fluffy flakes in the air landing on eyelashes, coming inside from the bracing air to make a fire and drink hot chocolate, then waking to trees glistening in crystals, the ground covered in mounds of sugar. THAT is the Holiday Season.  I. Miss. It.  And this will NOT suffice:


Faux ice, faux snow being blown around with a fan. PUHlease.


Well, despite the beautiful weather,  this year Noah and I will read, as we have for almost two decades, Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales.


Snow figures large.

IMG_1521(1)“One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea town corner and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.”

(The man knew from a sentence.)

And I can’t remember whether it snowed for fifty two years or whether I exaggerate the weather of my past. I wonder whether these balmy and forgiving days are  some halcyon breeze  of a weathered yet hopeful imagination. . .

Enjoy what the season brings, Dear Reader.


8 Responses to “Rodeo Faux Snow, Or: Don’t Know From Cold Out, Ho, Ho, Ho!”

  1. kwasson2012 December 7, 2013 at 1:21 am #

    Reblogged this on lostandlaughinginla.


  2. elainemansfield December 7, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    Wearing my Timberland Hiking Boots to GreenStar. I’m not much interested in Christmas commerce, so I buy a few practical gifts such as work gloves and red amaryllis bulbs/ (You do remember that large red flowers are very practical in January in the Fingerlakes? Cuts down on therapy costs.). I don’t mind winter yet, but talk to me in March. Vic and I spent Christmas and New Year’s in Buddhist/Confucian/Taoist Taiwan one year. I wish Vic had taken more photos of the Christmas decorations in Chinese, but he was busy photographing Buddhas, people doing Tai Chi (how do you spell that?), and lotuses blooming in goldfish pools. Didn’t seem a bit like Christmas, but since I’m a Solstice woman, I loved it.


  3. maw14747 December 7, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    The ironies: Transplanted Urbana Califrnia girl, I’m reading this and laughing through the snow in Williamstown, MA. And yes, there is, ever since last night, just what your heart is secretly longing for – a dusting of sugar white snow until it disappears later today to reveal the dirt or asphalt underneath. Or turns into slush. Keep rocking these blogs, girl!


    • kwasson2012 December 8, 2013 at 1:00 am #

      You are a Solstice woman! Lotuses blooming in goldfish pools. I would like to see that sometime. . .


    • kwasson2012 December 8, 2013 at 1:01 am #

      “Dusting” is key. The motherload dump is too much work! Thanks for reading and replying!


  4. Robin Botie December 10, 2013 at 2:55 am #

    Reminds me of the years my family escaped to Florida for the holidays. I always knew that Xmas was not there, that we were missing all the cheer back home. But I’d love some sun and warmth right now in all this grey with the promise of another storm on the way. Great photos. Thanks for the memories. Enjoy.


    • kwasson2012 December 10, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

      Thanks for reading, Robin. My mom and I spent many holidays in Florida too! Nothing like a pink pelican with a string of lights around his neck to say Merry Christmas! xo ________________________________________


      • Robin Botie December 11, 2013 at 12:13 am #

        I actually miss those pink pelicans. Now there’s mostly huge inflatable Santas and reindeers. Humongous red inflated plastic and santa’s skin is pitifully pink with black swirly lines for beard-curls. Ick. A few plastic elves on the side. Give me back the plastic flamingoes. I’ll even embrace the shiny metal lawn balls. Remember them?


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