Greetings and welcome to Dinosaur Bear!
Tis’ the season in these parts.. and I guess in a fair number of parts. In light of that I’ll be focusing on the forthcoming holidays in this post – with an additional focus on a special first birthday in the Taco household.
If you are especially astute you’ll have noticed that I missed my Monday posting schedule this week. In fact, I’d reliably posted every Monday for 10 weeks straight, and that’s something I’m proud of (if not my fingers). Of course that likely isn’t going to continue due to issues of time and well, content. That said, I feel it’s important to acknowledge a long streak of a bloggy’ goodness. In celebration of that streak, let’s start with what Dinosaur Bear does best: talking about incredibly mundane things.
Now here I have to say that having a combination of a pig, polar bear, and multiple dinosaurs tends to make the day-to-day existence of life a bit more interesting.
They’ve also been maintaining contact with lots of their friends via a pen-pal network so large it trumps any letter writing group I’ve ever been a part of!
Between the letters and magical wizardry such as the internet the Boys have managed to stay connected to friends and family, even from so far away!
Now, this isn’t to say that everything is exciting. Indeed, we all still have our lazy days where we really just don’t want to get out of bed.
If it wasn’t obvious by now, the Taco household is coffee obsessed.
There have been many times where I’ve thought that the “Beer” category here on the blog should be swapped out for “Coffee,” but that would sort of be like having a category called “Everything” – or, in other words, quite useless. 🙂
Anyways, when we last spoke about daily life-things, as opposed to bombs and bears, I had mentioned the cornucopia of Thanksgiving leftovers we had. Turns out we still have some, or rather, we have gelatinous broth blubber.
Not the most exciting thing, but even now nearly a month later our turkey keeps on giving. While the exciting food of November is mostly gone, we have added a few more fun food items to our repertoire, including such delicacies as roasted spaghetti squash seeds.
These go particularly well with some of the various kinds of hummus we have been trying, for example: carrot.
In fact we’ve been having a lot of Pig Approved™ food lately, such as this yummy combo of asparagus, sweet potatoes, bell papers, veggie sausages, and hummus that SB combined with pita bread one night!
Another thing that we’ve been occupying our time with lately is candle-making. Well, that’s actually giving us far too much credit (though we did actually make candles once with Meem!). Rather we’ve been reforging (to use a “manly” Tristen word) our old candles into new ones.
The funny thing about that is that I’ve since learned a bit about remolding candles – namely that if you don’t cool them properly a massive sinkhole tends to form in the middle of the candle.
I’ve read about why this happens, but frankly for my neophyte candle “forging” self, the fix is a bit too complex. So we just have sinkhole candles. 😀 I figure it’s still better than wasting the excess wax from the old candles. Or, perhaps it isn’t science-based and is instead because I’m too inebriated from adult beverages while I play with molten wax?
Yes, joking about drinking while playing with fire aside, I got some of the Scotch that I spoke about last time!
Fun fact: I’ve held onto that Glencairn glass for 6 years and never had a use for it until now!
SB got it for me as a surprise. I was initially pretty hesitant to get a bottle due to cost, but I did some research online and found several “Scotch for Babbies” lists, then cross-referenced a large number of them to find 5 varieties of Scotch that were recommended on each list. Glenmorangie was one of them that appeared the most, so I added it to the top of my 5 Babby Scotch Whiskies.
Did I like it? Well, between Tristen and I the bottle is almost gone. So I am going to say that is a yes. I’ve not yet determined which variety of Scotch I’m going to try next, but given my affinity for this one I see this as the beginning of a long and expensive relationship between me and uisge-beatha na h-Alba. But, beer, have no fear, you are still my favorite. 😉
Here I would normally segue into a bit about how the alcohol is good for the winter cold (since I guess it will actually be winter once I post this). Turns out that this year I can’t really make any such claim. As I type this it is currently sunny and around 65 degrees outside. Not really the kind of December I’ve been used to for most of my life. It’s also still well.. green here. I mean don’t get me wrong, a lot of the trees, etc. have turned brown (such as the one in front of our apartment) and this whole area isn’t that green in the first place, but by and large things are still green (for here). I think part of the weirdness is that I can look out of my windows and see palm trees, talk about a change since last year. Speaking of palm trees, I’ve got to see them being maintained and this too is also kind of weird. I understand what they are doing to the top and middle parts of the trees especially when they look like this:
Yes, me being me I even looked up the explanation online and I still can’t entirely understand why you end up with that “fat” part at the bottom, though I did learn more about palm tree care in general, which I suppose is a good life skill to have?
While palm trees are definitely outside my knowledge zone, another plant we have all around us that I am much more comfortable with is the good ole’ cactus. Being that we (literally) live in a desert, this isn’t overly surprising. These bad boys are all over the place and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. One of my personal favorites is this little dude:
He just grows all out by himself because he doesn’t want to be bothered – and with big spikes spines like he has I doubt he gets disturbed too often. We also have slightly less hostile berry bushes which are still generating berries even into December (much to a certain polar bear’s great joy).
This is all to say that it’s been a very weird feeling to have the holidays be so close and yet to not feel like the holidays should be close, at all. Of course this is our new reality, so we’ll adjust, it’s just a very odd feeling at the moment! But, oddness or not, the holidays are almost here and so celebrate we shall!
Our holiday decorations have always been fairly low key. We have a Charlie Brown-sized tree, a Christmas cactus (not literally a Christmas cactus, but a cactus which serves as a Christmas tree), one strand of lights, and a few miscellaneous decorations. Most of this is because I am a Scrooge when it comes to holiday decorations (and proud of it). Still, that hasn’t stopped us from creating our own traditions from what we do have. For pretty much every year (except last year, which was due to extraneous circumstances) we do what most families do – which is the same thing over and over. 😀 One such tradition is the placement of the “Polar Peek Patrol” squad car we were gifted many years ago.
I think it’s technically an ornament, but given its weight and the small size of our tree we normally just sit it somewhere around the base of the tree. The Peek Patrol has a motion sensor and sets off its sirens when someone (Tristen) tries to get too close to the presents. In addition to the Polar Peek Patrol, there are other oddities in the ole’ Christmas box. One such acquisition is our pair of Christmas tree earmuffs.
In years past these normally served as our own odd version of a tree-topper, but these year they are keeping our sombrero warm.
These earmuffs are one of those weird things where when we got them we really considered just donating them, but fate intervened and now they have been a running part of our holiday decorations for several years. For the past five years our holiday decorations have also included Thomas (I-V).
Whether Thomas V enjoys the holiday festivities or merely goes along with them as part of his plan for world domination is unknown (though he does seem to like his hat and squirrel friends). Beyond motion sensing devices, decorate sombreros, and cap-wearing pumpkins, we also have more normal decorations such as stockings. We have.. a lot of stockings.
While it’s hard to see the larger one that Tristen is sitting on and to get the scale of the smaller ones, we have 8 stockings which range in size from roughly 4.5″ to 43.5″ long. Yep. Lots of different sized people in this house – from a tiny brachiosaurus baby to a full grown T-Rex. While those stockings are more on the decorative side of things, Tristen would be frustrated if I didn’t also share
my his collection of dinosaur-themed socks which also tend to get busted out around Christmas time.
Another decoration is Lucy’s psychiatric booth, complete with sound that never gets heard because this thing is a black vortex for batteries.
One new (and time-limited) decoration for this year is an actual living wreath that SB picked up from the farmer’s market.
The last time I had a living wreath was when I made one during my freshman or sophmore year of high-school when I was in a horticulture class. Believe it or not, to make an actual wreath was a fairly time consuming process, or maybe I just sucked at it, 50/50 chance. Anyways, we paid someone else for the trouble of making this wreath and its very nice. Each time you open the door you get a nice blast of pine-fresh scent. The only problem thus far has been keeping Valentino and Pig from eating various parts of it.
All and all that’s a pretty good run-down of our decorations. I like how it all came together this year.
Christmas lights are best enjoyed with some nog, and so far we’ve gone through two entire things of nog. This year we opted for something different and tried almond-based nog. The first one we tried was from Almond Breeze and it was almost indistinguishable from regular egg nog.
Beyond decorations, consuming liquid sugar-fat, and socks, the forthcoming holidays have also seen a slew of holiday cards both arriving to and being sent from the Taco household. Naturally the vast majority of these have been to/from the Boys as they are scores more popular than we are.
One of the pluses is that since the Boys have friends all over the world we get to learn about all sorts of holiday traditions – and even better, partake in their holiday treats! This year the star package came from one of the Boys’ friends in the Netherlands. This holiday package included all sorts of treats and information relating to the Dutch figure/celebration of Sinterklaas.
Although the package was technically for all of the Boys, Tristen was very quick to lay claim to the giant chocolate “T.”
The first thing we ate from the package were some homemade Taaitaai cookies, which are a traditional Dutch treat for Sinterklaas which are fairly akin to gingerbread.
The cookies are in the shape of Sinterklaas and have a very spiced and honey-like flavor to them. We thought we tasted a bit of licorice but found out that there was no licorice in them, but that instead the taste was coming from a blend of the spices. We were initially worried that the cookies would be stale since they’d come all the way from the Netherlands and U.S. Customs had clearly opened the package, but fortunately for us they were still very yummy! They paired especially well with coffee.
Another Boys-related bit of excitement in the lead up to the holidays was Broli’s first birthday! Yes, just over one year ago this little bitty brachiosaurus showed up in Reykjavík to live with us! There he became fast friends with Pigsten and quickly came to love all things green and vegetable. So, in celebration of his first birthday we treated him to a two-part celebration. The night before his birthday we had Brussels sprouts, veggie burgers, and avocados.
If you were curious what Broli is wearing, it’s a tiny little “#1” cape that I made for him to wear. Originally I was going to try for a hat, but he is just so teeny that even a cape was an exercise in dexterity. If you were especially watchful, you might have noticed his little cape appearing earlier in the post!
Broli’s after-dinner treat was a combination of some kruidnoten and a chocolate Euro coin (which coincidentally was for 1 Euro 🙂 ).
While Broli doesn’t seem to fully understand the concept of a birthday, he definitely understood that something was going on and that he was getting all sorts of happy things. So he definitely enjoyed himself.
Once Broli was a big-ole’ 1 year old it wasn’t too much longer before we hit the “critical mass” of the holiday season. While not usually one to go out and be overly festive (see Scrooge commentary above) SB did convince me to go out one evening and check out some Christmas lights around town. Tristen was quick to claim the co-pilot seat with me and also to make me share my coffee with him – because of course we had to get some coffee for our Christmas light hunt (but hey it was decaf). 😛
Essentially their entire property aside from the driveway was covered in lights or Christmas-themed inflatables. If you look really closely next to the front door you’ll even spot an inflatable dinosaur!
After that we headed to the central plaza to check out some of the lights and the large Christmas tree there.
The plaza was abuzz with people checking out the lights and visiting the nearby businesses (which include both a brewery and a comic book store), though not so abuzz that a certain T-Rex didn’t demand his own portrait with the tree. 🙂
It was a nice little outing with the family and was made even nicer by the fact that it wasn’t cold. Sure, the not-being-winter-like aspect of the holidays is weird, but I’m not saying that it doesn’t have its benefits especially when you want to walk around at night. 😀
When we got home we had some cinnamon rolls which was a good way of ending a nice night. Although I don’t have photos of the cinnamon rolls, later on that week we did (with his blessing) partake of Tristen’s giant “T” which turned out to be even bigger than we thought it would be. It was quite good.
That pretty much brings us up to the present. We now stand on the precipice of the holidays. We’re going to be staying home this year, so our holiday season currently looks like: time off together, Tristen’s birthday (not to be forgotten at risk of life and limb), and then a series of remote Christmases with the family. Like last year this is a little bit of an “unusual” holiday setup for us, but I don’t foresee it diminishing our holiday fun too much. 🙂
Barring unforeseen circumstances or productivity (both of which are always a possibility with the odd life of yours truly), I imagine that this will be Dinosaur Bear’s last post of 2018. Oh so much has changed since the first post of this year – and what a year it has been! SB and I frequently have moments where we forget that something we did – say, visiting Greenland – happened this year. Along with the (to us) unseasonable weather that probably plays into our disbelief that the holidays are almost upon us!
So, with that said, I’ll close by wishing all of you reading this Happy Holidays! I wish you the best in your end of the year celebrations and in the year to come. I also encourage you to be a Lawrence. A Lawrence hordes his nuts and gives no shits what other people think. Lawrence takes his work seriously and does his job well. Lawrence will be gorging on acorns during the holidays and Lawrence won’t care that Karen is judging him. Don’t be a Karen. Be a Lawrence.
Until next time,