1) Christmas went wonderfully for all of us, thanks for asking! We had a low key dinner with Mr. Lee for Steve's birthday, another one with him for Christmas Eve, and we spent the afternoon with my loud family on Christmas day. We had a lot of fun! There were a couple of disappointments, of course. Instead of show, it rained like we'd angered God somehow. I missed having brunch with a long lost friend because of his "family obligations" (whatever, man) and I still didn't get that Red Ryder Bolt Action BB Gun with a compass in the stock and the thing that tells time, but other than that, Christmas was very, very nice! I ate too much, though. It was glorious!
2) Ugh, so it's the new year already? Yikes. I wasn't prepared for this! Time went by insanely fast this past year, owing, I'm sure, to the fact that I suddenly became kinda, gainfully employed. This time last year, I was on my way home from an awesome mini vacation with some friends and wondering what I'd be in store for in the upcoming year. Lots of wonderful things happened, and some pretty bad stuff as well, but all in all I know I'm very blessed. Hopefully, this year will be just as good, if not better, for all of us! No biking accidents, surgeries, having to unexpectedly have a dog euthanized, or emergency house repairs that cost more than you can afford! Also, fingers crossed, I might just try to finally get the house reorganized at some point so that we don't look like a case study on an episode of Hoarders anymore, but I don't want to get crazy.
3) Speaking of the New Year... Tuesday I tried my hand at cooking pig face (or hog jowl if one must be pedantic about it), for the first time. It was always the men-folks in my family who cooked it when I was growing up, and I never really knew why until yesterday. It's dangerous and messy! I knew that it got smoky and very splattery, but I wasn't expecting the oily carnage that ensued. OK, maybe that's a wee bit exaggerated, but not by much. I kept the door to the garage open because I knew the smell of frying pork would fill up the house, and I was hoping not to saturate everything with it, but it only helped a little. If you are unfamiliar with hog jowl, it's like bacon on steroids (maybe literally, the way livestock is raised in this day and age) and as messy as it is to fry bacon on the stove, multiply that by 7. By the time I was done, the entire house smelled like grease, my kitchen was covered in a very thin film of oil, and I had multiple, minor splatter burns on my hand, arms and face. The pork was delicious, luckily, but I don't think it will be something I attempt again. Not only is it probably the absolute worst kind of food a person can eat, I can't get the smell out of the house and it's making me nauseated. Also, I forgot to move the clothes drying on the sweater rack in the hallway, and now I have to rewash them because they stink. I don't like anything that makes me have to rewash already clean laundry, so my first foray into salt pork will very probably be my last.
4) Last night was the first time I've slept in my own bed in weeks. No, Steve didn't kick me out or anything. We can blame this on our spoiled dog. Sometime after Thanksgiving but before the Christmas holidays, we felt it was finally time to remove Bear's kennel (sniff) from the living room. We'd left it up well beyond a reasonable amount of time, be we really needed the space since our house is still so crowded with out-of-place stuff. I thought that Butler would have trouble with the change, but he seemed to take it OK. Well, at least at first. A few nights later, I remember hearing him batting at his kennel door, but because he's done that on and off since Bear died, we ignored it. Later that day, I noticed that the carpet was wet under the door of the kennel. It wasn't pee, thank goodness, but it had to be drool, and Butler doesn't normally drool very much. The next morning, I got up to let him outside, and before I walked into the living room, I saw that he was standing up in his kennel and panting. Not only that, I saw that the entire front of his kennel was wet, and so was the floor outside of the kennel. Yuck! The only explanation I had was that he'd stood there at the door all night and panted and drooled. That meant he wasn't even sleeping a little bit at night anymore. Geez. So we started sleeping in the living room with him again, just like we did after Bear died, only this time he refused to stay in his kennel. Since then, I've slept on the couch in the same room as the dog so that he won't freak out about being alone at night. Steve slept in one of the chairs for a while, but he wound up hurting his back and has to sleep stretched out in the bed until he gets better. We even tried making Butler sleep in our room, but he stands at the door and scratches at it like we're keeping him hostage. Sigh.
It's not so bad, really. It's strange sleeping alone, of course. Our couch isn't uncomfortable. However, the occasional, unexpected press of a wet dog nose on the side of my face in the middle of the night is somewhat disconcerting.
I really, really hope the dog gets back to normal soon.