Happy holidays, everyone. His Highness, my Imperial Teutonic Overlord, and I wish you a holiday season filled with peace, joy, fangs, fur, fat paws, the best of memories, endless laughter, good food, great health, and much love. May your new year be filled with the same.
Have you all been crazily busy with holiday and family festivities, whether Hanukkah, Christmas, or something else? On my end, I’m working through the details for the year-end summation and “Best Of” list, the writing of which, honestly, feels as though it’s never going to end. Never.Ever.Going.To.End. Part of it is my difficulty in summarizing — succinctly — 20+ fragrances, some of it is due to my obsessive-compulsive need to re-test all the fragrances on the list to figure out their precise rankings, trying to juggle all that with holiday planning, and then dealing with His Highness’ ongoing illness as well.
He’s always had three chronic health issues that have required a lot of time and expense to manage, but his hip dysplasia became so crippling and so awful towards the end of November that I thought I may have to put him down. You can probably imagine how well I mentally dealt with that, especially as my boy isn’t all that old (only 8.5 years old), so I’m grateful for these rather miraculous injections called Adequan that he’s now getting twice a week, each and every week, for the next 6 months. They have really helped, not only in returning the most basic mobility to him so that he can hold himself up to poo but also in giving him a new lease on life generally and not being crippled with agonizing, excruciating pain. They’re expensive, like $100 a shot, but His Hairy Germanness is worth every bit of it to me. Here are some photos of him on Friday, recuperating from his latest twice-weekly jab into the muscle, lounging on my bed, his paws going this way and that as he awaits his chest rubs, kisses, massage, and my worshipful adoration:
Bottom line, I’m working on the year-end summation and “Best Of” list, but it won’t be posted before Christmas as I had hoped and planned, and it’s due to a variety of factors. I would tell you to take it up with His Royal Fangness, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Even on a cocktail of pain sedatives, he can still be quite… erm… mouthy and opinionated. (German Shepherds are extremely vocal and talkative but, when you add ill health and grinding bone-on-bone pain to the mix, their “conversations” can sometimes be on the grumpy side.)
In terms of holiday plans, my family has apparently designated me as one of the chefs for the turkey this year, but I’m relieved that I’m not the sole chef as I had originally thought, nor that it will be a goose as I had mistakenly understood. (It takes time, work, and a lot of attention to cook a moist goose which is not dry but also has its fat fully rendered, so, thank god, that’s not in my future.) Truth be told, the thing I’m most excited about is the chestnut-fruit-sage-sausage stuffing (one of my personal specialities) and, above all else, the Sticky Toffee Pudding. I get the latter from Trader Joe’s, it’s only available once a year, it sells out quickly, and it’s one of my favourite things ever.
Before then, and during my seemingly interminable re-immersement into all the noteworthy fragrances that I’ve written about this year, I binged watched The Crown on Netflix (so damn good!), caught up on the Australian A Place To Call Home on Acorn and the newest season of Top Chef, and re-watched for the umpteenth time my beloved Black Hawk Down, The Birdcage (Robin Williams, you’re never forgotten), and When Trumpets Fade about the Battle of Hürtgen Forest in 1944, as well as parts of The Wire and Band of Brothers. (You have to do something while sniffing your arm for hours and days on end.) Several good Netflix finds amidst all the channel-surfing of the last four months: Mindhunter, Manhunt: Unabomber, and Wanted, the often hilarious black comedy/drama, Australian Netflix series which is a mix of Thelma and Louise and The Odd Couple.
So, what about all of you? What have you been up to lately, even before the holiday deluge? What presents are you most excited to give to a loved one? What holiday dish are you either in charge of or most looking forward to eating? If you’re celebrating alone, how are you indulging yourself?
If you are celebrating alone, I hope you will take a bit of time to pamper yourself and engage in self-care because the holiday season can be quite difficult on a lot of people, and you wouldn’t be alone if you felt that way. Sometimes, the emphasis on endless materialistic consumption and the ads blaring everywhere with a very canned, artificial, sanitized, and perfectionistic idea of holiday cheer can be quite depressing. Every year, I’m struck by this endless fight between expectation and reality, between Madison Avenue consumerism, aspirational artifice, and the less-than-ideal cold reality for those who don’t have a lot. No-one’s life can measure up to the ads. NO-ONE’S! So, if you are feeling alone and blue on Christmas day, write to me. I mean it. Time zone issues and my need for occasional sleep notwithstanding, I’ll respond as soon as I can. Everyone thinks that Christmas is the best and happiest time of year, but it isn’t for everyone. It can be the blackest time for some. So, if you’re feeling alone, demoralized, isolated, or desperate, reach out to someone, anyone, even if it’s just silly old me, okay?
Happy Holidays, everyone.