I have some dog pictures for you.christmas 044

First, here are the three dogs. They are all good friends now. They are teaching each other their favorite games.

We are all having a long weekend — we are all off till Wednesday, in fact. I’m preparing balanced meals and exercising, and have done some slight forays into cleaning up, but I am doing my best to keep festive.

My husband is not helping in this, frankly. His layoff is drawing to a close and we are suffering only slight financial twinges, so I would say that it is time to  “be merry; put sorrow away!” In the interests of doing so, here is William Billings’s christmas 020Judea,” which enjoins us to “Let us be merry, put sorrow away! Our savior Christ Jesus was born Christmas day!” This is very fun to sing, since the chorus goes twice as fast as the verse, which always sort of surprises people and makes them laugh.

 Not a good thing in choral performances, but great for casual singing.

Billings was a tanner in Colonial America, and he wrote a lot of cool choral music. This particular song is said to have encouraged the troops under Washington during that horrible Christmas at Valley Forge. Billings was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 1970, though he died in poverty at the age of 53, leaving five children to manage as best they could, so that induction two centuries later might not have cheered him any.

This is Spicer, stuffed into a dog sweater the girls bought for her. It might not have been bought with the intention of humiliating her, but it really did remind all the onlookers of the unwisdom of horizontal stripes on the plump.

After laughing at her for a while, they put the sweater on Toby. Toby is not plump, but the sweater wasn’t a real fashion triumph on him, either.christmas 022

While plying the Dark Art yesterday, I came upon something really sad.

One thing that you do, of course, is to look and see who came to your sites and why, and what they did in  the process. This involves looking at the screens other people were looking at, and seeing the words they typed into the search engines.

This can be very entertaining. The folks over at SEOMoz wrote a recap of theirs that had me sitting all by myself sniggering, hoping customers weren’t frightened by my doing so.

But yesterday it was sad. An unfamiliar screen came up. There are lots of unusual search engines out there, especially in other countries, and I am not bothered by that. I zoom right down the screen in search of the relevant terms. But with this one, it was soon borne in upon me that I wasn’t looking at a search engine. I was looking at  someone’s personal search log. You know how you can look at your history and see the last 300 things you searched for? That’s what it was.

Not very sad yet, you’re thinking. Mine only goes back a day or two, because I search for a lot of things, mostly for work, and it has searches like “Billings Judea” and “supersaturated solution” and “formation of diamonds lesson plan,” so there isn’t much emotional content there.

This person’s went back for several weeks. It had search terms like “is my husband cheating on me?” followed by 12searches for medications and “taking [medication] but still depressed.” It got worse. The searcher was using the search engine as though it were a counselor, or perhaps a Ouija board. I hope she had some actual humans to talk to in her life as well.

I moved away quickly, but it has stayed on my mind.

Here also is #2 son’s sweater. I have only a few inches to go on the second lengthened sleeve, so I am feeling pretty confident that he will have it for New Year’s. I am going to roast a turkey this weekend, and watch the Monk marathon, and knit.

I have changed the mantelpiece decorations to something more sedate than what we had last 12week, but there may not be any other preparation for New Year’s. The weather is mild enough for us to go out for the community celebration, but the boys have their own parties to go to and my husband is busy moping. 

I am thinking about my goals for next year, of course. I like, at this time of year, to contemplate how my goals for last year shaped up and decide on the new ones. This is a good thing to do while knitting. But don’t ask the internet, okay? It isn’t going to give you good advice.

And don’t knit dog sweaters, either. Dressed-up dogs are probably shoved into their lockers and otherwise mocked when they are out with other dogs.