Every night for the past week, after the television goes off and the bedroom is quiet, I hear it. A scratchy, scrabbly noise. Mice in the walls? Always on the far wall,  the outside wall. I hear it for just a few moments, then it’s gone. Is it the continued settling of the house? I want it to be the old house creaking. Our home is getting on in years. 

I should get up and investigate though I doubt I’d see anything. In any case, I don’t look. I don’t really want to know. It’s one more thing to deal with and I hate it. It means killing creatures who in their own habitat are harmless … but in my house, make a God awful mess. Don’t tell me about HavAHeart traps. Been there, done that. We’ve caught them, escorted them outside to the woods and seen them scamper right back in. They aren’t that smart. They don’t get the point.

So this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve been invaded, not by any means. No matter how much you seal the house, those little field mice creep in through the tiniest cracks. You wouldn’t believe anything larger than a bug could get in through such a small hole, but every year, when the temperature drops, mice decide our warm house is a better place than the cold out-of-doors. Who could blame them? I sympathize. I do. After all, I prefer the warm house, but it is our house. They are not invited.

MiceArrivingIf you’ve never been invaded by mice, you cannot imagine what a mess they make. They gnaw through plastic boxes that are supposed to protect your possessions from rodents. They leave their droppings everywhere and your house gets that “mousey” smell. Not a good smell. They get into your food cupboards, chew through boxes and bags. They eat your wiring (fire!!) and tear up your insulation. When they get into your car — how do they do that? — they eat the gaskets and the wires and everything else. They used to tear up the inside of my teepee, ripping open pillows to get at the stuffing which they used for nesting material. The bobcat did less damage.

So that noise … it could be mice. It has been, in the past.

We won’t use poison. Poison leaves them to die in the walls where they rot. Nasty. The terriers — especially Bonnie who is young enough so she ought to like hunting — should be taking care of this problem. For some reason, mice don’t attract her. She loves rats and will attack them vigorously (I’ve seen her do it). We have rats around here, but it’s  mice that set up housekeeping. Every year. Like clockwork.

And now, there’s that noise … again.


There are monuments and mountains, deserts and oceans, but the daily regular rising of our sun is true glory and grandeur, available to all of us,



I need my annual fix — a viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life, quickly followed by A Christmas Story.

It’s a Wonderful Life is my sentimental favorite, but A Christmas Story makes me smile. We laugh before they show the funny parts because we know what’s coming. Watching it is our family ritual.


The original narration by the story’s author, the inimitable Jean Shepherd, is a gem. It’s the story of Christmas seen through the eyes of Ralphie, a kid like me. A kid like you. I don’t care how many musicals they make. The original will always be better. Between Jean Shepherd and Darren McGavin, it doesn’t get better than that.


I’m not sure what my favorite scene is, but it may be when the neighbor’s pack of hounds gets the Christmas turkey. Or perhaps the lighting of the world’s ugliest lamp!

If by some stroke of ill luck you haven’t seen it, it plays on most cable channels sometime in December. Just in case we miss it, we have it — and all our favorite Christmas movies — on DVD. It was released last year on Blu-ray.

It is sometimes poignant, but it is never sappy. It succeeds in being nostalgic without sticky sweetness and funny without being annoying. It may be the best role of Darin McGavin’s career.


Biscuits have arrived. Bonnie getting ready. Note the giant jaws.

Biscuits have arrived. Bonnie getting ready. Note the giant jaws.

I can be accused of many things, but a lack of tenacity or determination? No way. I do not give up. I don’t give up even when it’s obvious I don’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell. I don’t give up when I’m bleeding on the floor and the referee is about to say 10. You get the idea. I’m tenacious. Stubborn to the point of stupid.

And so, displaying the gritty determination that has so irritated friends, colleagues and family members throughout the years, I set out to get some better pictures of our two terriers. And any other dog that might amble into the picture because around here, you just never know.

Nan has sniffed the biscuits. This also makes Garry happy.

Nan has sniffed the biscuits. This also makes Garry happy.

I did not get classic canine portraits, but these are the funniest pictures of dogs I’ve ever taken.  It’s also a great example of why I don’t put a lot of time into trying to get great shots of the furry family members. As a note, if I’d turned off the lamp, I wouldn’t have that bright flourescent yellow cast in the picture, but hey … given all the other issues, what’s a bit of yellow, huh?

Tired of being overlooked (and finished with HIS biscuit), Bishop joins the party.

Tired of being overlooked (and finished with HIS biscuit), Bishop joins the party.