2015 in review (CONTAINS PUPPY)

So there’s things you can put in your year-end holiday card letter and things you can’t (given the mailing list) – and things you forget to include and things that happen juuuust after you mail the damn things – and there’s only so much room if, like me, you insist on taping the letter to the inside of your card.

So here’s an expanded version of my holiday letter – this time, with PUPPY!

MATT: Continued to work full time as a machinist while also operating his small business, Northman Logging, on the weekends. Logging was as dry as the weather this summer but when the traditionally crappy fall weather hit and windstorms started doing the work for him, the phone starting ringing off the hook and the new glut of jobs (scheduled out into March, last I heard) should just about make up for the dry spell. We’ve had several discussions about when and how he will go full time.

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He bought a new crummy (crew truck) this year, named Jayne Cobb, and traded our infamous old tractor, Art Lawn, for a gas-powered welder. (Art went to a very good home where, within a month, he had been completely torn apart, cleaned, repainted, and put back together. He gets a lot more work and play at his new home.) Matt plans on spending all his downtime during the winter welding on his growing collection of equipment. (And he’s finally on Facebook!)

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Matt’s go-to self-loader piles on the logs for a trip to the mill.

AMANDA: I achieved a life goal this year by independently publishing a novel: a coming-of-age story called Ellipsis. It’s available from Amazon (hint, hint). I am also hammering away on my next book, a paranormal buddy comedy called Ghost Story. I won NaNoWriMo again this year (for the first time since 2013, when I banged out what became Ellipsis).

 

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I read more than 100 books. I started learning Spanish (Duolingo says I now understand 47% of all Spanish). I became a “flexitarian.” I moved my blog from Blogspot to WordPress and finally got my own URL. I started tweeting (@SterlingFink) – but I am still not on Facebook.

TOGETHER: We went to Lake Crescent again for our 8th anniversary. We appear to have adopted a stray ginger rabbit (Mrs. Weasley) who has set up housekeeping under our chicken coop, and a chubby gray tomcat who has sought the protection of our tiny but fearsome female cat, the Boll Weevil.

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Mrs. Weasley.

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Chubbs.

And then, just after the last of the holiday cards were mailed, we got a puppy!

(This is the important part.)

We had been hemming and hawing about this for a long time. I feel about puppies the way most women my age feel about human babies (and I feel about human babies the way most people feel about TSA screening – the process is interminably long, far and away too complicated, humiliating, expensive, invasive, public, and surely must be doable in some much easier, less punishing method) but we got burned pretty badly by our last attempt to dog: Diggity.

 

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Diggity was the wrong dog at the wrong time. She needed a home stat (she was kindof sortof notreally (totally) stolen liberated from an abusive owner and was, therefore, a hot dog, hence the name) and we should have used our brains and fostered her until we could find her an appropriate home – because we were not an appropriate home. We were both working, we knew a combined total of nothing about dog training, we were too broke for vet visits, we had no fence, and we are not the kind of people who can handle a high-strung adolescent working dog because we are lazy fucks. Her stay with us ended in screaming and tears and mutilated chickens and a Craiglist post that rehomed her to some nice folks with sheep and the patience of saints.

This time around everything lined up like planets in an orrery: I am “working from home” (lol,working!), we have some money in savings and a little more income than last time, we have a fence, I have watched every Zak George training video like 80 times, we had an extra paycheck in December, thanks to the Seahawks newfound popularity the event unofficially known as “puppypalooza” at the shelter was attended by just us and one other couple (and we already had our paperwork done so we got cutsies, neener neener), and we found the right dog.

Geordi’s mom was surrendered to the shelter when she was pregnant, so he and his littermates were born there. They were also microchipped, neutered, and given all the shots they could have at their age (a little over two months when we adopted). Mom was a Dutch Shepherd/Labrador cross but nobody saw Dad. If I had seen only Geordi’s siblings – smallish, pointyish, brown/black brindled, long-haired, and generally very Dutch Shepherdy – I wouldn’t have the slightest clue what his dad was. But Geordi was the odd guy out in the litter: half again as big as his biggest brother, fawn and blue brindled, short-haired, pointy-tailed and snub-nosed. Dad was totally a pit bull.

Not only was Geordi far and away the best-looking puppy available that fateful morning, but he was the chillest. His brothers and sisters were all barking shrilly and nonstop. Several had slamdanced in poop just minutes before the facility opened and had been hastily washed, which only added to their hysteria. Geordi sat calmly in his crate, not gnawing on the bars or shredding his potty pad, silently watching us. When we were driving home later and discussing his name this moment was the one that clinched it for us: he’s smart, he has beautiful eyes, and when everyone around him is going berserk he’s cool as a cucumber. Geordi LaForge.

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Geordi helping me read.

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Post-breakfast nap.

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Settling in for a post-post-breakfast nap.

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He sleeps a lot. A. LOT.

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And sometimes he falls asleep in the middle of getting a tummy rub.

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. . . But he is a puppy.

Stay tuned for my annual reading roundup. This year I set a personal record!

— Amanda

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