Today has been pretty ideal, so far. We woke up to find that yesterday's snow and sleet had frozen into an icy white sheet resting on car roofs and latticed among tree branches and fire escapes. I pulled on my long johns for the first time since Armenia. Feeling enough emotional strength to withstand a haircut, I ventured over to the Russian hair cutting place, and after it was done, the guy offered me a shot of vodka. I hadn't eaten anything, and it was 11:30 in the morning. "Yes, I'd love one," I said. It burned going down, and then he offered me a piece of chocolate as a chaser. I walked through a Christmas tree stand on my way home, smelling the pine and feeling a little dizzy and stumbling over the ice, and all was well.
When I came home L and I ventured back into the piercing cold. We stopped at the bookstore, where I bought a book to send to a friend and L gave them some of her homemade candy. We dropped off some books at the library and then meandered down to the Angelika to watch "Doubt." The popcorn and soda made a lovely brunch following my vodka and chocolate breakfast. And there is nothing I love more than spending a cold winter Saturday curled up at a matinee showing of a good movie. Sitting in the dark I had that great feeling of being a little cold, but a little warm; an awareness of all the layers you're wearing, and a sense that they are enough.
Afterwards we did a couple more errands (farmer's market, grocery store) and now we're back at home. L is bustling in the kitchen, making cookies I think, and I can hear Christmas carols coming from her ipod. I am sitting in the big blue armchair. I just finished reading the New York Times magazine. The cold evening is to my back, beyond the darkened windows, but in front of me is our little Christmas tree with its lights and our warm apartment. I just finished a Coke; soon there will be cookies. I have 200 pages left in the great book I'm reading. And my long johns are still keeping me warm. If this isn't happiness, I don't know what is.