Saturday, December 28, 2013


Christmas Eve, while waiting for dinner to be ready at my sister's house, we were gathered around the table watching that Christmas classic, "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas."
Okay, I admit that this is NOT one of my favorite Christmas movies. I don't care for Jim Carrey at all, and I find Whoville quite bizarre. But I mention it because Kristen asked me - because I often call Gracie "Gracie Lou" - if I ever called her "Gracie Lou Who". I admit, I do like this name very much and henceforth she will often be called Gracie Lou Who. That's in addition to Scooby Doo, Lucy Lou and Lulu, all derived from nonsensical pet talk.
This past fall I got a new (thrift shop) couch. With my previous couch, Gracie was able to walk across the top of the couch. The first time my niece's boyfriend saw her do this, he exclaimed, "What is she, a mountain goat?"
Due to its curved shape, the back of this couch is a bit more difficult to navigate, but Gracie does manage to walk across it, and also to lie on its back, as you can see by this photo taken by Kristen on Tuesday.
Unbelievably, Gracie preferred sleeping on this perch, the dining room floor, my bed, or "her" chair, to sleeping on her brand new Christmas present, a beautiful big doggie bed with blue corduroy bottom and beige fleece top. As the old saying goes, you can lead a dog to her new bed, but you can't make her sleep on it.
Imagine my delight this evening when she went to her bed, sniffed it thoroughly, gingerly stepped into it, circled three time and snuggled down for a long winter's nap.
Merry Christmas, Gracie Lou Who.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Especially for you, Leanne, a green-robed Father Christmas
Two people in the past week have commented here to wonder where I am. I think they meant, "Are you still alive?"
I am still here. My surgery went very well and my recovery went smoothly. My surgeon was able to do everything laparoscopically. I can now bend over and kneel down without pain and nausea. I can even sneeze without pain again!
My deck is built, my roof has new shingles and gutters were finally installed. These (including the surgery) were my big projects for the year and they are all accomplished. Of course, now I'm planning projects for next year, mostly for the yard.
This may end up being my one and only Christmas post. A few months ago I had thought about not having Christmas at all. With Dan being gone, I know it will not be the same. He loved Christmas!
Kristen had even invited me out to stay with her in Virginia, thinking we would be less sad, but I told her that it will be sad anywhere we are, and I didn't want to board Gracie.
I finally decided to observe the holidays in the full-blown way I always have. I decided that to not celebrate this most wonderful time of the year would not be fair to Kristen or to my sister's family.
I did break down and buy an artificial tree after 40 years of buying real trees with Dan. Although I miss the evergreen scent, I don't have to deal with a dried-out tree and needles everywhere. The tree is pre-lit with tiny white lights, which is good, because the bubble lights Dan and I always used - as a tribute to our 1950s childhoods - were becoming harder and harder to find, and the ones we had mostly quit bubbling.
I also did not want to drag out the 30 years of ornaments we had accumulated since our house fire in 1982, so I bought ornaments reflecting my love of nature - birds, butterflies and dragonflies.
Thing have not all been hunky dory in the past few weeks. We had an ice storm two weeks ago and I fell and sprained my hand. At least I was not one of the many, many Bismarck residents who ended up in the emergency room with broken bones.
I have also had terrible trouble with my car not starting in this awful cold. But finally - after many dollars spent,  with new battery, engine heater fixed, new plugs and points, it is ready to withstand those -20 mornings we've already experienced this season.
Even after this horrible, horrible year of 2013, life is full of blessings, the main one right now being the fact that Kristen flies in Monday morning! I am warm and fed and loved and gainfully employed, and will soon be celebrating Christmas with my family.
So Best Solstice, Yule and Christmas Wishes to all of you and hopes for 2014 to be the best ever.