Le Sigh. I love Holidays.  Not fake holidays, like Halloween or Valentine’s day, where you still have to go to work.  No, I love real holidays, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and the 4th of July when you don’t have to go to work.  In terms of work, though the greatest of these is Thanksgiving.  Because every year, Thanksgiving comes with a 4-day weekend, which are seriously the best. 

This year for Thanksgiving was a little strange, but enjoyable, nonetheless.  I had Thanksgiving dinner with my friend, Melissa and a bunch of people from her Choral Conducting program at the University of Washington.  I had never met any of them before, but they were a fun bunch, the food was good, and I made a particularly stunning caramel apple pie (if I say so myself.)

On Friday, I actually ventured out to the mall to do a bit of shopping, wander around and enjoy the hustle and bustle, and to see a movie for which I’ve been waiting for months.  The mall was packed, which was to be expected, but I got my Bath and Body Works pine-scented candles (my yearly tradition), my Auntie Anne’s pretzel with caramel sauce, and I got to see The Muppets.

The Muppets was fantastic.  It’s the best Muppet movie since Jim Henson passed away.  The voices are a little “off,” which is to be expected since Jim Henson and Richard Hunt passed away, and Frank Oz doesn’t want anything to do with the Muppets anymore.  (For shame, Frank.  For shame.)  But it captures the spirit of the Muppets so thoroughly and completely.  The music is ludicrously catchy. And I am not ashamed to admit it:  When they recreate the opening to the Muppet Show with all of the original puppets, I got a little choked up. It was a brilliant, heartfelt, un-ironic, funny, charming, uplifting movie from beginning to end.  Grade: A.

Also on Friday, I ended up cooking the 20 lb. turkey that I purchased but that I didn’t make for Thanksgiving.  It was quite yummy. And I will be eating it for the next two weeks.  Because a 20 pound turkey for a single person and a couple of ravenous dogs can go quite a long way.  I’ve got another day or two of turkey sandwiches in me, then I’m going to make a big pot of turkey noodle soup.

Saturday consisted of two things: Assassin’s Creed: Revolutions and Arthur Christmas.  The first is a video game that I’ve had for a couple of weeks but haven’t been able to play very much.  The second is the new animated movie that came out.  Arthur Christmas is another really delightful little Christmas movie.  It was done by Aardman Animation (the same studio that brought you Chicken Run and Wallace and Grommit).  The computer animation is fantastic, the story is perfect for getting into the Holiday spirit, and Bill Nighy’s portrayal of Grandsanta was hysterical.  Really fun movie, and it will get put into my Holiday movie rotation.  Grade: B+

Today, the majority of the day was spent on Assassin’s Creed.  And I’m dreading having to return to work tomorrow.  Christmas feels so very far away right now.

However, the real excitement in my life over the last nearly two weeks has been the (temporary) addition of a new member of my family: Jasper the Dog.

Jasper’s owner watched Luke for me a couple of months ago when I drove down to Utah to visit in September, so I owed her a favor, and offered to watch Jasper for her while he was out of town.  Jasper is a 1.5 years old, and is some sort of Terrier/Chihuahua Mix.  He’s very affectionate, wicked smart, and has been a holy terror for the last week and a half that he’s been at my place.  He was rescued about two months ago, and has a few abandonment issues.  It started out with he and Luke the Dog™ not getting alone very well.  Well, to be more accurate, he was afraid of Luke and would snap at him if Luke got too close.  Luke was fine with Jasper.  Eventually, they got over it, and now they’re good friends, and like playing together.

20111121_074817Jasper is a very demanding dog, though.  He gets jealous easily.  If I wanted to pet Luke, Jasper would get in between Luke and I.  If I sat down anywhere, Jasper climbs on top of me, whether I want him to or not.  He demands to be picked up all the time, which I will only do when I want to.  And, for the five or six days he was here, he was afraid of everything and everyone.  He would walk very timidly behind me when we were out walking, and Luke would walk in front of me, pulling, so I ended up looking like a drunk showgirl trying to do a sideways showgirl walk with a broken high heel. 

The bigger problems, though, were Jasper’s attitude.  Jasper peed or pooped in my apartment 12 times in 7 days.  He chewed through both Luke’s leash and his own leash.  He ripped a hole in my bedspread.  He climbed up on the table and shredded one of my bamboo placemats.  He would go into my closet, grab my socks out of the hamper, and carry them all over the apartment.  I eventually had to crate him whenever I left the apartment for more than about 5 minutes.

As I mentioned, he’s very, very smart.  When properly motivated, he would pick up obedience commands in a matter of seconds.  But he’s uber-stubborn.  When he wants something, he will completely disregard you.  I don’t allow my dog in the kitchen when I’m cooking, and Jasper would sit at the entry to the kitchen until I turned my back for one second, and then he’d run in and try to get into the garbage, or jump up and get something off of the counter.

Despite all of that, though, Jasper is a real sweetie.  He obviously loves being around people once he trusts them.  He loves to cuddle in a way that Luke never did.  He actually likes sleeping under the covers of the bed, which was really nice on those cold nights.  He was like a furry hot water bottle.  Except for the time he decided he needed to warm up his nose by sticking it down my butt crack at 3AM.  I tell you what: if you are the kind of person who has a hard time getting up in the morning, you should invent an alarm clock that will simulate a cold, wet dog nose in your butt crack.  That will wake you right up.

In the last week, he’s really come out of his shell, playing with other dogs in the complex, interacting with all of the office staff and regulars.  He does a better job of playing fetch than does my Golden Retriever.  And, like Luke, he eats like a fiend.  But getting any work done with him around is very difficult.  He’s like most of the MDT people I knew in college: he insists on being the center of attention all the time, and if he’s not, he’ll pee on your bed. Again.

So, Jasper goes back home tomorrow, and I will get to finish the sewing project I’ve been working on, and Luke can go back to sleeping on the bed without worrying about getting kicked off by a dog 1/10th his size.  It’ll be weird only having one dog in the house again.  But, I do think that this cured me of the craving I’ve been having to get another puppy anytime in the near future. One dog is enough for me for now.

Well, I hope all of my reader(s) had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and you’re all giving your Pandora Christmas Music stations a workout.  Speaking of, if you need an expertly chosen Christmas music station, you can find my Christmas music station here: http://www.pandora.com/#!/stations/edit/341352601847510870