Who Invited the Dinosaur?

Christmas was shaping up to be a peaceful and joyous celebration, pretty much.

Kids were well behaved, mostly.

The collective pack of dogs was well behaved, mostly.

It was basically just right.

And then someone let the dinosaur in…

It was surprising for some of us.

It was death defying for others of us.

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There were tears, of laughter.

And Christmas was never the same again, but in a good way.

Happy Holidays!

May all your celebrations be dinosaur infested and full of laughter!

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How To Eat a Prick-Headed Monkey

My brother Tyler is going to demonstrate how to properly eat a prick-headed monkey. But first a few prick-headed monkey facts.

-First off, nobody knows why they are called that. They are three cornered pies filled with currents and citron, there are absolutely no monkeys involved.

-Second, nobody in our family that isn’t a direct blood decedent of Gramps actually likes these. There are those that will eat them, but nobody else loves them.

-Third, those of us who love them really love them.

-Fourth, we only make them at Christmas time.

The first thing to do when eating a prick-headed moneky is to find other prick-headed monkey lovers to eat one with you. Three people is the optimal number though two works as well. This is important because the first key to proper prick-headed monkey consumption is to con someone else into cutting it. I divide and you decide has never been more important than in prick-headed monkey division. The pies are nominally triangular in shape and must always be divided into three pieces (I don’t know, it’s tradition, just go with it okay?).

In this instance my mom divided, now she’s pretty good at prick-headed monkey division ( This is a skill, you try dividing a lumpy triangle into three equal parts, it’s not as easy as it seems.) but there was still a large piece. Tyler and I thumb wrestled for it. My brother has thumbs like a gorilla- he won. You can see him here with his rightfully gained largest piece.

This is of course exactly why you want three people to eat it with. Tyler would have had no fun gloating over the largest piece without the other two of us there. This is also the time to take pictures to send to those family members who aren’t able to join in the feast so that you can hold it over their head that you are eating fresh out of the oven prick-headed monkeys and they are not.

Sorry Uncle Jim, we know you are recovering from heart surgery and that’s why you couldn’t be around but there is actually no one else in the world who would want to eat these so these pictures were for you. Notice how Tyler is gazing fondly at his biggest piece before he takes a bite.

In the following picture you can see how Tyler is clearly enjoying his own piece while at the same time mocking ours. Because dough balls.

If the person who made the prick-headed monkey did a good job the filling will be all the way to the corner. If not, the corner will be nothing but a dough ball. To finish off the proper way to consume a prick-headed monkey you must stay on alert for dough balls in the corners. Then, if you made them, you should deny their existence and attempt to prove that you had a current in the very furthest corner of your piece. If someone else made them however it’s best to claim that your corner was nothing but a dough ball and completely terrible.

Even with a dough ball there are those of us who know that prick-headed monkeys are never terrible and, like Tyler in the picture above, we are already plotting our next piece.

Learning to Love Halloween

Here in Wisconsin with Halloween falling at the end of October, last night’s evening of trick or treating in the 50’s was down right balmy. In this fine state, it’s good to be a gorilla for Halloween, a full-sized bag of M&M’s would work nicely or if you dressed as the Abominable Snowman in his best rain gear, you’d be set for a night out trick or treating in Wisconsin – no matter what.

Of course, my girls have never wanted to be any of these things.Clara, Jane, Ivy and Storm

Which means that every year, (in the last frantic hour of leaving the house cause that’s how we do things around here) I’m promoting layers under costumes and (on exceptionally cold years) jackets over them. Last year, I gave up, threw my hands in the air and John and I just showed all the concerned parents that we did, in fact, have warm clothing and shoes for our poorly clad children… whenever they were ready for it.Jane and Ivy

This year, they did better (perhaps last year’s cold toe memories did some good?) and when I talked up the benefits of layers under costumes, I was at least partially heard, some layers were added but, of course, not quite as many as were recommended…

And so, last night, while following chilly children down the sidewalk, I decided I had it all wrong. I’ve always hated Halloween (except for those tiny Milky Way bars) but I should love it. Because Halloween is the ultimate “I told you so” holiday for mothers. Not that I would stoop so low as to look my darling, freezing children with their shivering buckets of candy in the eye and actually form the worlds “I told you so.” (I mean, I do want them to share those tiny candy bars.) But I do believe at least one “Cold? Reeeaaally?! Huh.” may have escaped me.Jane

Eventually Glinda the Good Witch and I retired to the warmth of the truck, (those of us who live in the country have to drive into town to go trick or treating) which may have been because she was cold, though I suspect that was only a ruse (that girl is Elsa through and through and the cold has never bothered her anyway) and that the real issue was the miniature zombies in the dark. Tiny people dressed as zombies are terrible, please don’t let anyone convince you otherwise, and I was happy to sit in the warm truck with her away from those little, creepy, candy collectors.Jane

Now, I’m sure you are concerned about my mini candy bar collection with one kid out of the trick or treating. Thankfully our Wicked Witch of the West was not so wicked after all. She, the shyest of all, spent all night asking if she could take a piece of candy for her little sister and returned to the truck with an overflowing bucket for the good witch. And, luckily for me, her little sister is very good at sharing.Clara

This morning I’m thinking that Jane’s got the right idea. Next year I’m going to promote a Tinker Bell costume and make sure to casually mention that no one will ever know who she is if she wears a jacket over the top of it. Of course then the many suggested layers will be refused and when she inevitably becomes chilly I’ll still be able to roll my eyes in the dark, think a satisfying, “I told you so” and hide in a nice warm truck. As long as her sisters continue to be so generous we will even have a nice stash of Milky Ways at the end of the evening.

Perhaps I could learn to love this holiday after all.

Empty Shells for Mothers Day

Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be all be flowers and chocolate…shotgun shells

…it can also include hundreds of spent shotgun shells!

My mom and I were able to spend the day together alternating shooting sporting clays with eating ice cream, it was a great day even if our roses wilted a bit by the time we were done! Did you celebrate Mother’s Day? If so, I hope you had as much fun as we did, no matter what your day was filled with! 

 

Merry Christmas

The Bee Carol

by Carol Ann Duffyblack and white bee hives

Silently on Christmas Eve,
the turn of midnight’s key;
all the garden locked in ice —
a silver frieze —
except the winter cluster of the bees.

Flightless now and shivering,
around their Queen they cling;
every bee a gift of heat;
she will not freeze
within the winter cluster of the bees.

Bring me for my Christmas gift
a single golden jar;
let me taste the sweetness there,
but honey leave
to feed the winter cluster of the bees.

Come with me on Christmas Eve
to see the silent hive —
trembling stars cloistered above —
and then believe,
bless the winter cluster of the bees.black and white bee hives

Merry Christmas and a special thank you to Annette for sending us this poem!