Good Things Just Keep Comin’ Our Way

Friday afternoon, December 23rd, Brian commented that he had “just a tickle annoyance” in his throat. I probably repeated, “Are you sure you’re not feeling sick?” two dozen times, worrying that yet again we would be ill over our vacation. No, he wasn’t getting sick, he assured me repeatedly. Saturday morning, December 24th, I rolled over, smiling, ready to announce that there was just one more day until my sister and her family would open the huge box full of glitter and presents we sent, but before I could get beyond my smile, he said, “I think I might be getting sick.”

Do you ever want to face-palm another person or is that just me?

So, of course, I got sick the day after Christmas. We had prepared the best meal in years, grilled beef tenderloin with salt and pepper, glazed carrots, sage stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers, brie stuffed mushrooms, and pecan pie. It was the best meal in years because it was just a couple weeks before Christmas when we finally decided to buy an oven thermometer and realized the reason everything had been burning was because our oven was ONE HUNDRED DEGREES HOTTER! than whatever we set it to be, which explains why I couldn’t season a cast iron pan without massive amounts of smoke. Alas, most of the leftovers ended up in the garbage because neither of us had an appetite.

I’m only just now getting my voice back, and coughing has finally stopped ripping my ribs from my body. It’s been a rough couple weeks, but it’s looking up. Tomorrow we’re going replicate some of our Christmas dinner and start the year off right, albeit a bit late.

Glitter Box Recipe:

1 can spray adhesive
1 bottle Elmer’s Glitter Glue (regular Elmer’s glue is fine) – optional
4 (or more, depending on how much you want) tubes glitter (used here: red, green, gold, and silver)
1 roll packing tape
1 box large enough to fit any gifts, plus room for packing peanuts
1 garbage bag
enough packing peanuts to fill every void

Carefully tape all open seams (sides/corners too!) with good packing tape. Trace amounts of glitter will escape the box and adhere to the tape; using a solid color tape will provide a bigger surprise. Make sure whatever tape you use is of good tackiness. You don’t want it to release at all, revealing and/or wasting your glitter.

Spray one panel of your box at a time with the spray adhesive. Immediately sprinkle with some of each color glitter. Continue until all panels, including the inside of the top panels, are completely coated in glitter.

Using the Elmer’s Glitter Glue, draw or write images, messages, etc., then immediately sprinkle with glitter. Knock any extra glitter off writings/drawings into the box. Allow glue to set.

Place packing peanuts into a garbage bag, sprinkle with remaining glitter, twist shut, and shake, shake, shake, shake.

Pour a layer of packing peanuts into the bottom of the box. Top with presents, layering packing peanuts if there are multiple items. Add remaining packing peanuts! (Try not to put TOO many packing peanuts in the bag that you can’t use them all. Most of the glitter will be at the bottom, so you’ll want to be able to dump all that inside your box.

Seal up, ship, and prepare for retaliation.

Note: Please, protect your gifts! Glitter has a way of invading every crevice. Securely wrap anything that may be harmed by the glitter with baggies or cling wrap or whatever you have that will make sure your prank doesn’t end with your PlayStation 4 Virtual Reality gift not working because glitter has made its way to the innards.

Title From:
Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Christmas
by Duck Dynasty Cast

The Snow Beneath My Boots Would Glitter and Squeak

This picture is old. It was taken behind our farmhouse in Iowa after a blizzard. It may feel over-exposed, but it’s not. That’s exactly how everything looked. The world was so incredibly white it was difficult to look at for any length of time.

The world is white again, though not to that extent, which I had never seen before and haven’t experienced since. The snow right now is squeaky, compressing down into ice with each step, making every path treacherous. The temperatures are missing. As I sit sipping my iced coffee (What is wrong with me—hot chocolate in the summer and iced coffee in the winter?), it’s 2°F, which is quite a bit nicer than the -11°F it started out as this morning. These aren’t windchills I’m talking about either.

Going outside is dreadful. I haven’t wished for thermal underwear or snow pants since I was eight, but these days I’d trade every pair of shoes I own for some proper blizzard gear.

Title From:
Montana
by Dave Stamey

Breathe Some Air That’s Never Been Breathed

We spent some time this weekend sitting out in the pasture. It’s the first time I’ve put my butt on the bare ground since we had to slide down a rocky ledge while geocaching in Connecticut. The number and size of spiders and insects that scurry through the fields here is somewhat disturbing. I’ve seen at least two cat-faced spiders, there are yooge funnel webs leading to deep, scary tunnels in the ground, where Shelob’s cousins live, and just last week I was stung on the finger by something that injected a venom that caused pain to my elbow for, like, at least an hour — it was touch and go there for a while. Fortunately, nights have been chilly, so many of the crawlies are gone.

Levee has been packing on a bit of weight over the last few years. Until the cattle panels go up this spring, she can’t run free for hours on end like she could before. She has play time every evening, but she doesn’t get as much movement during the day as she should, would, and will. The weather was perfect, so while we enjoyed plucking at the grass, the dogs got to run wild, chasing each other, snatching their favorite pink waffle ball whenever the other would drop it. Exercise is good for the soul, they say, and also for that pesky neck flab.

I used that time to practice a bit with my camera, which you can see was quite helpful.

Title From:
Don’t Tell Me
by R.W. Hampton

Life’s No Fun Without a Good Scare


I finally charged my camera battery for the first time since the end of 2015. The last photographs I had taken are of a snow storm on January 4th. I wasn’t sure what all would be on the card, and I didn’t want to see Reyka’s face, so I avoided touching the camera altogether. Luckily, there were only pictures of our Christmas tree, the storm, and some flatbread we had made for dinner.

I seem to have forgotten how to take a good picture. Everything I attempted tonight came out wrong. I’m apologize. I need to start taking more again and perhaps not in the evening when things get grainy.

Wicket is growing fast. Brian built her a little temporary corral using some of our cattle panels, so she has a confined area in which to pee and poop without feeling vulnerable and frightened by the yips and howls of coyotes in the night, and so she doesn’t get carried away chasing leaves across the county. I already notice a huge change in her weight as I lug her outside every morning. Lug her I must, as well, since she’s a chaser and Muggabee’s a runner. They will likely never be buddies. C’est la vie.

She will have a buddy in Levee though, who has become so much more patient with her. There is a lot more playing than growling now, even though instances like the one pictured here are frequent. I’m sure there are some who feel we should intervene, but it’s not our place to determine the pack status between them, and no one is being hurt, despite Wicket’s sharp cries to the contrary whenever Levee decides she’s had enough lip biting. Babies will be babies. KnowwhatI’msayin’?

I can’t believe we’re already into November. I had been counting down the days to Halloween since July, and now suddenly we’re past it all. I didn’t even set Tommy out this year.

Let me find a picture of Tommy for you.

Here he is. See him there? We adopted him from Spirit Halloween in October 2010.

Now that Halloween has come and gone, it feels like Christmas is nearly over. Never mind my idiosyncrasies. This time of the year is my favorite, and I wish it could last as long as the rest of the year. Summers, on the other hand, I wish would pass as quickly as they did when I was in school.

Title From:
This Is Halloween
by Danny Elfman

Sweeter Than Heaven

At my feet, curled in a loose ball, lies a puppy named Wicket. She’s been with us since Sunday. It hasn’t been the easiest transition for Levee, who seems to enjoy her and the company she promises, but is also not fond of having her dangle from her face like a pig wattle. We’re giving her (Levee) space and the freedom to growl and snarl as needed. There have been a few snaps, followed by yips, but no harm has been done. I’m confident they’ll sort things out in a few weeks.

Progress on our home has, of course, stalled. It’s difficult to do much with such a little one running between your feet the moment you stop walking. This weekend I plan to put the second coat of paint on the living room. Then we’ll be able to move everything back in and supply the puppy with an ample amount of chewing material.

Note: I haven’t charged my camera battery since September 2015, so I don’t have any proper pictures of her yet. Enjoy these iPhone photos in the meantime.

Title From:
Drumming Song
by Florence + the Machine