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counting my blessings...

The kids are in for the holidays, which is wonderful, even if they brought our semi-evil little grand-dog "Hank," who is an adorable, totally spoiled and sometimes rascal-minded chihuahua mix rescue who looks like a Dr. Seuss character (he's got as kind of ski-jump/drag-style rake--low in the front, high at the haunches) and can be a yapper on occasion. Like anytime I happen to wander through the room where he is holding court. He gets on fine with everybody else but, except for son Adam, doesn't take much to the male gender of the human species. I'm sure there are reasons in his dark, pre-rescue past, but it can get a little irritating when I saunter past on some important in-house errand (usually a trip to either the fridge or the john) and he immediately leaps into action, dogging (literally) my heels and barking like I'm waltzing off with the crown jewels. Or the last slice of pecan pie. Or whatever.
Once he even leaped up and nipped me on the ass. I am not kidding. It wasn't a hard bite, mind you. It was simply a "just so you know, Large, Clumsy Human, I can do this any damn time I want!" And he can, too. So he's got me thinking. And that's probably the whole idea. But he's pretty agreeable besides that, and I have no problem anymore stifling the urge to tie him up in a pillow case with a large, mean cat and lock them in a small, dark closet.
But I do fantasize about it...

Hank does get along well with our beloved "Buddy," who is 14 now, and giving Carol and me a sometimes harrowing Coming Attractions reel about the joys, challenges and unavoidable compromises of aging. But he's still a great guy and a superb pal and companion. Here's a wonderful pic of he and Hank running through our back yard from more summers ago than I care to think about:

The good news is that Hank comes with Adam and Tara, and having them around is the sappiest, smarmiest, most worthwhile feeling we know. Things feel complete, you know?

Plus it's holiday time, and that means lots and lots of family gatherings, and the friendship, food, camaraderie and sense of belonging to Something Bigger that goes along with it. So I just want to say "thanks," and I'm not even sure who I'm saying it to. But I can feel the gratitude, and sometimes it's downright overwhelming.

As Carol is always quick to remind me, I've been unbelievably lucky in that I've somehow managed--with her continuing and sometimes maybe even ill-advised belief and support--to live out my dreams and even have a bit of success at it. So again, a huge "Thank You" to all the people (probably includes you if you're reading this!) who have helped make that happen and to the sometimes blind-side opportunities and lucky turns of fate that have brought us to this time, place and season.

Not going to muck this up with my usual tales of personal adventures and derring-do or shameless commercial pitches. There was another REALLY nice review of the audiobook in the popular Italian sports/racing/classic/exoticar-oriented VELOCE TODAY web newsletter last week (thank YOU, Pete Vack!) complete with a wonderful cartoon by Helena Freilich and you can check it out here if you like:
Outside of that, let me just wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a rewarding, worthwhile and blessed New Year.

ps: OK, so I've been promising Carol a new camelhair coat for Christmas. And, OK, for her birthday, our anniversary and Valentines Day (all the same day, can you believe it?) before that. And I was really going to pull the trigger this time and take her out for a little camelhair coat shopping. But Holiday Stuff intervened and we just didn't manage to get around to it. And, I promise, we WILL get around to it next week. Really we will. But I wrapped this up for her in the meantime:

Catch the latest poop & pictures, the Jay Leno interview, Last Open Road swag & highly inappropriate attire from Finzio's Store and the lurid & occasionally embarrassing "ride with Burt" in-car racing videos on the hopefully now fully operational website at: