overwinter.

[oh-ver-win-ter]

verb (used without object)

  1. to pass, spend, or survive the winter.

This guy doesn’t just pass, spend, or survive the winter; he thrives, rolls in it, gulps it up, and basks in it. We could all learn a thing or two from him. He never complains about the low temperature. He surveys his surroundings, wags his tail, and carries on, forcing a slow smile on my face full of cold rosy cheeks. Every walk is full of mystery and adventure and smells and his pep proves this.

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These were taken on March 17th. While Big Pal overwinters, Small Gal might be over winter. Isn’t it mind-boggling to think about how many tiny, intricate snowflakes made up this snowbank? I’m ready to be mind-boggled by wildflowers.

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yeasayer.

[yey-sey-er]

noun

  1. a person with an optimistic and confident outlook.
  2. a person who habitually agrees with or is submissive to others.

President’s Weekend has lasted all week in Ketchum–the weekend mentality, the smiles, countless families on vacation gathering to eat at the Pioneer.

After meeting an exceptional family from Seattle, I shook my head in disbelief as I said to my coworker, “Have you had outrageously kind people lately? These families are lovely.”

She said, “You always say that.”

“Oh, I do not!! Not when people are flailing their arms about while putting their jackets on, not even looking if I’m carrying hot plates full of Idaho spuds. Or when people have demanding tones. Or are demeaning!”

“Mmhmm,” she said as if she stopped listening before I said ‘not’.

I’m not being a delusional yeasayer, I’m just saying these people have looked me in the eye, told me how much they appreciate me, and have called me by name. I call that lovely. They are families who tell me all about their Sun Valley adventures, they smile so big as they toast each other, the youngest joining in with his milk. A dad the other night said, “Wow, Beth really made this night special for us! What do we say?” and the blonde little toddlers beamed and in unison said, “Thank you, Beth!”

The restaurant has been full of people who seem to really enjoy the people they’re sharing their table with and it’s made me into an occasional yeasayer, I reckon. This isn’t always the case. It’s near impossible to get out of an irritable mood if I go in with one. Blonde toddlers help.

I am sure you folks treat your servers well and make them into yeasayers, too, and I’m proud to know you. You never know what kind of experience they had before you showed up. I am sure you tip 20% because you know they’re working very hard and might have a big polar bear to feed. We thank you greatly. 

paralogize.

[puhraluh-jahyz]

verb (used without object), paralogized, paralogizing.
1. to draw conclusions that do not follow logically from a given set of assumptions.

 January and February have been chock of men on ski trips dropping in the saloon for Grand Teton session ales. Several nights ago, fifteen men gathered for their Superbowl and Ski weekend for the 20th year in a row. Two nights ago, five gathered for a 60th birthday. The birthday boy was embarrassed by the attention so I decided it’d be funny to put candles in everything. The brie appetizer, the lamb kabob, the appropriate mud pie. We sang “Happy Birthday” each time. I cheers-ed along with them with my water pitcher. They poured me a glass of their expensive wine. We took pictures together as if I was part of their group. Time passes quickly in these moments and it definitely does not feel like work.

Last night, a group of six large men gathered around a table meant for four. Shannon jokes but very seriously says, “Oh, a group of older men, we’ve got to make sure Beth gets that table.”

You can tell who the characters are before the drink orders are completed. Chris was the character last night. He introduced me the rest of the fellas and I made my best effort to remember names. I walked in the back to order drinks and I wrote the names down. I love the surprised look on people’s faces when you set their food down twenty minutes later and say, “Trent, can I bring you anything else?”

But when I returned with the wine, they had moved tables on me and had started singing “Beth” by Kiss.

Chris said, “Now you’ll for sure not know our names.” I named the distinctly looking Dave, Trent, and Chris and then guessed Mike wrongly twice.

“Well, who the hell is Mike?!”

They laughed. Mike raised his hand and said, “You’re a breath of fresh air.”

Dave chimed in, “You mean a Beth of fresh air.”

I smiled and poured the wine.

Michele spoke up, “Didn’t we see you on a dust jacket in the bookstore? You are THE Beth of fresh air, aren’t you?”

I looked at them in complete shock. Such paralogizing was going on that I was confused. They drew this conclusion in that very instant? They picked up my book and studied my photo where I’m not even looking at the camera and knew this was me?

“Well, I guess that is who I am. You saw the book? You’re joking with me.”

They knew an awfully lot about it and we chatted about how New Zealand would be an ideal place to retreat to if we get a Mad Max kind of situation on our hands. I jotted down a list of my favorite towns. They were my only table at the time, thank goodness.

An hour went by. They were eating their mud pie when my coworker said, “They really like you! I told them all about the book you wrote. They wanted to know all about it.”

So paralogizing it was not. Clever it was.

simpatico.

[sim-pah-ti-koh, –pat-i-]

adjective

  1. congenial or like-minded; likable.

“Good evening, gentlemen,” I say as I set sourdough bread down on the seemingly full table. “It looks like you are set on drinks?” I have three other new tables and am trying to remember the drink order from table 17. Table 14 needs bread. More water on table 18. Did I give the specials on 17 yet? Do we still have enough pork chops to present them as a special? Do we still have enough pork chops for me to have one for dinner?

“What is your name?” the fellow in blue asks. I snap out of my waitress trance. I hadn’t realized I neglected to do my usual introduction. I turn to the man in blue and look him in the eye and breathe a deep breath. Be present. Don’t forget the Tito’s soda with a lemon wedge for table 17. But be present.

“I’m Beth. What is your name?”

He laughs, “Are you serious?”

I assure him I am and learn his name is Rich. I quickly learn he is a feisty sarcastic man and he and his three friends are simpatico to the core. They make eye contact, call me by name, ask questions about my life, seem interested in the answers, and are extremely witty. They remind me of my poker pals back home and I’m instantly comfortable joking around with them.

Somehow we start talking about my book about making friends as an adult. They have a wealth of knowledge and snarky remarks. I wish I had time to write more of them down. Rich asks if I need an editor.

“Oh, are you an editor?”

“No.”

I give him my email address anyway.

“Send me an email and then I’ll have your email address. That is how that works,” I say.

“Oh, is it? Can you write that down for me?” he quips back.

They start to joke about ordering a mud pie to celebrate Rich’s recent Medicare eligibility. I laugh.

“Why is that funny?” he asks, as if he is offended.

“Because you look far too young to be on Medicare.”

“Oh, Beth, you’ve got this friend-making thing down.”

Simpatico folks make it awfully easy.

crepitate.

[krep-i-teyt]

verb (used without object), crepitated, crepitating.

  1. to make a crackling sound. 

A crepitating fire soothes and invigorates and mesmerizes. It is a night’s entertainment when I’m lucky. The crackle sound is so distinct and warming and goes perfectly next to a cup of tea and big fluffy polar bear. In Ketchum, Idaho, fireplaces are very common. There’s one at Java Coffee House, over-sized leather couches surround the fireplace at the Wine Company, the library’s is picturesque, and the grocery store has the biggest one of all. I love sitting still for long enough to notice the crepitated bliss. I love noticing others noticing the crepitating. The crackle is contagious.

The sound I just heard on a walk with Pal closely compares; it is snowing big fluffy flakes which are falling on several feet of snow already on the ground. It’s so quiet. All I can hear is each flake hitting my jacket. It’s like time is moving slower than usual. I don’t think it’s just Florida girls who are standing in the road in awe. In my experience of being here for a year and a half, Idahoans know they live in extreme beauty. They get it and savor it and they giggle on powder days. Idahoans are some of my favorite people in the whole world. They’re lovely.

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willowwacks.

[wil-oh-waks]
noun, New England.
1. a wooded, uninhabited area.
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Snowshoeing through the willowwacks can be enjoyable to the max–pack up a sack and don’t look back as you head to the willowwacks. It staves off anxiety attacks and limits chances of being surrounded by quacks. There’s not much the willowwacks lacks. These are facts and happiness hacks.

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sockeroo.

[sok-uhroo]

noun, plural sockeroos. Slang.

  1. a notable success.

What might be a notable success to me might not be a sockeroo to you or Sue or Aimee Lou. I think this is something to remember and to hold true. A sockeroo for you might mean a promotion at the job you’ve had for a few years or teaching your toddler the alphabet. And that is so incredibly awesome.

My sockeroo is not waking up to an alarm clock or sitting at a desk, but being surrounded by miles of wilderness with Pal, coming back into town and being around people and trying to make them feel cared for and special, paying attention and writing about things I find fascinating, and connecting with customers over their prime rib dinner.

I received a message not long ago that said, “Are you just out there enjoying yourself? You’re a smart girl, you must have goals.”

Yes, I have goals. They are being accomplished as rapidly as the snow is accumulating outside and there’s about four feet of the fluffy stuff right now. Today was a complete sockeroo for me. I hope yours was for you.

Here you'll find whimsical wonderments on dictionary.com's word of the day about traveling around the US and NZ, help exchange, meeting fascinating people, and now, my handsome polar bear, Pal.

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