This Is the New Year


Happy 2014.

I woke this morning to the crying of a puppy who was in dire need of marking the New Year’s start by, well, marking, but once I left our bedroom I was greeted by the first rays of true dawn, and the intoxicating smell of nearly-cooked brisket (We marinated it in espresso and JD BBQ sauce, and it’s been in the oven at 225 since midnight (The coffee helps tenderize and provides a smokey undertone.).).

I spent yesterday feeling overwhelmed by having so much to do and learned several small lessons, the most important being that even when the Parking Goddess smiles upon you it is far wiser to avoid CostCo on New Year’s Eve.

Between cooking and chatting and shopping and wrangling dogs I wrote 5,000 words of a story. It’s just fanfic, but it made me happy to write it, and it was posted just after midnight, and I consider the fact that I greeted the new year at my keyboard in a happy, writing groove to be an incredibly auspicious sign.

Well, I would if I believed in signs.

Today, in just a few hours, we’re having friends come over to celebrate with us by sharing food and laughter. And possibly the champagne we never bothered to open last night, because by the time midnight rolled around we were exhausted, and couldn’t see the point in opening bubbly for three adults when one of them doesn’t even drink.

Instead, we toasted the arrival of 2014 with glasses of Mexican Coca-cola, and went to bed with smiles on our faces.

The puppy and the chihuahua have now finished outside, and the big dogs are having their morning romp. I’m going to go take a shower before I feed them.

Happy New Year.

Have a song to get you into the spirit of things, it’s a recent favorite of mine: “This Is the New Year” by Ian Axel:

Image Credit: Yulia Glam

Santa Claus Boogie

Santa on a Tractor

Tonight’s post is all about today’s Santa.

I bought this ornament a few years ago, after we spent a cold October weekend helping to pack up Fuzzy’s father’s farmhouse. At one point, all the combines and tractors were lined up, awaiting auction, and it was both so hopeful and so sad. To me, it spoke of the way rural small towns are disappearing, because family farms can’t compete with corporate factory farming, and the kids who grow up in those towns typically will do ANYTHING to get out.

If I’d had the cash, I’d have bought the farm, remodeled the house and barn, and turned it into a prairie writers’ retreat. After all, it was only half an hour from De Smet, the “Little Town on the Prairie” where the latter half of the Little House books take place.

Later that year, we took houseguests to the National Cowgirl Museum, and when I saw this ornament, I had to have it. It reminds me that behind my father-in-law’s gruff exterior there beats a truly good heart.

And while I have tractors on the brain, here’s a video to lighten the mood. It’s the “Santa Claus Boogie,” performed by – you guessed it – The Tractors:

Tuneful Tuesday: Time After Time

I was watching Julie & Julia again yesterday because I didn’t feel well and wanted something comforting to watch, and Meryl Streep does such a great job of playing Julie Powell’s version of Julia Child that the film is worth re-watching.

Also, I’ve been reading a memoir about a woman’s adventures with the different sweet shops in Paris (and New York) and since I couldn’t convince Fuzzy to go buy me a chocolate croissant, watching people enthuse about amazing food was almost as good.

(Fuzzy threatened to take away the book if I didn’t stop whining about croissants. Then he offered to get some from the grocery store. GROCERY STORE CROISSANTS? UGH!!!!!)

But then the soundtrack to the film captured my attention, and I realized that one of my favorite entries from the Great American Songbook is in it: “Time After Time.”

Shirley Bassey does not sing it in the movie.

But she did sing it.

And just as there’s no such thing as too much butter, there’s also no such thing as too much Bassey.


Summer Rain

I woke this morning to a sky that was just beginning to cloud over, and two dogs who were begging to dash outside for their morning business. They came in much sooner than I expected, and when I looked outside to see if there was an animal that might have scared them, I noticed fading rain drops on the porch and picnic table.

The sky, was still predominantly blue, however.

Ten minutes later, the blue had been replaced by thick grey, and thunder was rumbling in the distance. I love thunderstorms. They invigorate me more than even the best coffee sipped at the coolest cafe. I may be a fire-sign (Leo) but water is my element. I am LEO hear me…splash!

There’s something especially magical about a summer rainstorm. Even when you live in a place where it rains frequently, warm rain is special, and freeing in much the same way that running through sprinklers is. It touches the kernel of childhood innocence in all of us.

Rain and thunder, to me, are as musical and inspiring as any symphony, and as accessible as any pop song, but when you combine rain with music? Sheer brilliance.

Just watch: