Raves and Faves 16

This willful, nutty, usually happy dog whose bark sounds like something you’d hear in a swamp at night. He likes a car ride almost more than pot roast leftovers. On this occasion, he was sulking because our errands were done, and it was time to go back in the house.


Kai, we’re done with our ride. Come out of the car! Now!

Ten minutes later:


I mean it, Kai!

♦ ♦ ♦

Christmas music. I love it through the month of December. Being forced to listen to it in stores before then makes me grind my teeth to a powder. I’m delighted with these new additions to the holiday playlist:

Wrapped in Red, by Kelly Clarkson

The Gift, by Karen Scott

Dreaming of a White Christmas, by Human Nature

PTXmas, by Pentatonix

Also well-loved:

Joy, by Steven Curtis Chapman

Bossa Nova Christmas, by Jack Jezzro

Christmas, by Francesca Battistelli

And so many more.

♦ ♦ ♦

Woodhouse Chocolate. It’s made in St. Helena, California, by a small, family-owned company, and it is divine. I love every flavor in every box that I’ve ever been lucky enough to taste, but I’m particularly partial to Woodhouse’s Quartre Epices, which is a rectangle of milk chocolate ganache spiced with black pepper, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Oh, yeah, and the Passion Fruit. And the Brown Butter Ganache and the Honey Butter Mousse and the Praline Noisette. I bought a traditional assortment for my husband’s recent birthday, hoping he’d share. He did, just another reason I love him.

♦ ♦ ♦



My family’s Advent candle holder features a nativity on the front. I like it a lot, even though I had to color in Joseph and Mary’s hair with a furniture scratch-cover pen to darken their original blond tresses.

What is the deal with making the Holy Family look Swedish?


That’s better.

♦ ♦ ♦

The Salvation Army bell ringer at Walmart yesterday. Oblivious to the fresh wave of icy rain coming down, he greeted all customers with a huge smile and a festive “Merry Christmas!” Coming and going, to people who put money in his kettle or who ignored it completely. So I wasn’t surprised as I left to see him hand his bell to a little boy for a turn at joyful noise-making after the child put his own donation in the kettle. Made the kid’s day. Made mine. Might even have made the child forget for a moment that he was tethered to a small oxygen tank on wheels. What child doesn’t love to ring a bell? Who isn’t blessed by witnessing an act of compassion? Or joy?

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