Warning: Use of undefined constant ’header_id’ - assumed '’header_id’' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/customer/www/hotspur.us/public_html/wp-content/plugins/image-rotator/header-image-rotator.php on line 31
Hotspur.us » 2015 » November

Archive for November, 2015

Oh Christmas Tree, Your Glaring Brightness Amazes Me!

Having participated in two Thanksgiving dinners – oh yes, two; because Go Big or Go Home! – Chad and I waddled back into the house and set about making our house look like Christmas threw up all over it! Hooray!

Now the thing about Christmas decorating at our house is, never clean prior to decorating. Because we basically drag up a bunch of dusty bins of decorations and move furniture and generally tear the house up in the process of making it pretty. Oh sure, I’ll vacuum the tops of the doors once I’m up there on the step ladder hanging swags, but we always start with a less than sparkling clean canvas!

This year we decided to deal with the fiasco of the main tree lights once and for all. Several years ago we got this lovely, rather tall, pre-lit tree at a florist after Christmas. We were in Palmyra. It was so large that we could not fit it in our vehicle. So we paid for it and had Dad Matlick bring it in for us in a larger vehicle.

The first year, as we were taking our pre-party photos, I noticed a sizeable hunk of lights were out. Hmmm, no big deal. We just posed to block that section. Year two, more lights went out. We filled in the blank temporarily with an extra strand or two of lights. Finally we said many bad words and after Christmas Chad cut all those lights off the damn tree. The following year we put on the 10,000 LED lights. It looked lovely. And bright. At the end of the season, we decided to put the tree away with the lights on it. Which would have been fine, except the tree is four parts and wouldn’t you know it, the lights didn’t break nicely at each section. We made due and it worked out alright. Until finally, last year I had had enough. When it came time to take the tree down, I pulled off all the lights and declared that next  year (currently THIS year) we would put the lights on properly and afix them and then screw you, Christmas tree lights you would no longer suck the fun out of tree decorating.

Funny, last year 10,000 lights was plenty. But somehow we came up short this time around.

So, here we are. Three days and 12,000 lights later, the tree is a decently bright beacon in our living room. We even went and got a lovely lighted star for the top. Look at us being right proper grownups.

That being said, neither of us were in the mood to start decorating the beast. So I put up the ferret & cat Christmas tree first. It’s much smaller and much easier and then I could say, why yes, we do have a tree up and decorated.

Finally, with no other choice if we wanted a properly decorated tree in our living room, we got to work.  That’s one bin or ornaments up and barely making a dent. But quite frankly, that’s when we ran out of enthusiasm on day one of ornament time.

Day two of ornament time and we got the second bin of ornaments up on the tree. It was looking better, but by no means completely. And again, we lost interest. So much so, I forgot to even get a photo. But that’s OK, because when it was done, after bin number three, I did get photos. Not to brag, but it looks pretty darn amazing!

In addition to upgrading the big tree’s lighting situation, we also upped our game on the mantle. It’s a shame that it is in the living room, because it’s not quite the focal point I’d always hoped for. I finally put names on the pets’ stockings and then added some fabric. So it’s really very voluptuously Victorian over-the-top in such a lovely way. It makes me squeal when I gaze upon it.

So there we are. Almost nearly done with the decorating. Still a few bits and pieces here and there.

chris on November 30th 2015 in Family


“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

And so it is with us; we had begun to bandy about the idea of finding a friend for Kimi, when this little hungry, wet tortie found Chad.

This sweet little kitten with impeccable timing showed up on brew day. By happenstance right on the heels of several conversations revolving around Kimi needing someone she could chase who wasn’t terrified of her.

Poor Duncan & Fionnlaugh were scared of their kitty sister and wanted no part in being chased. So clearly the answer to this problem was to find a kitten. 

After spending a few days in the kitten containment unit (aka the ferrets’ playpen) and having her first check up, it’s now time to set about integrating our new little tortie girl into the fold.

And so we introduce Nyx, named after the Greek goddess of the night, as the newest member of the Matlick household.


Here’s some bonus kitty belly rubs – Chad


chris on November 15th 2015 in Animals, Family

Farewell Shadowfax

It is with a very heavy heart that we bid farewell to our big girl, Shadowfax. The Princess. Weasel Alpha. The Big Weasel.


Two and half years ago, after our ferret room had been empty far too long, we took a trip to Hide-e-Hole ferret shelter. We came home with three ferrets. Shadowfax was The Boss. She was all muscle, all brain and a little OCD. She was in her new home maybe 15 minutes before she nearly made it over the ferret room’s Dutch door. That was our preview to life with Shadowfax.  Constantly being outsmarted and surprised by what she managed.

The dresser they all loved to sleep in? Yeah, she slept in the 2nd drawer up, because she could. That about gave me a stroke when I couldn’t find her anywhere and in desperation pulled the next drawer open. There she was. “Hi, Mom.” How? How indeed. She’d pushed the second drawer out while standing on the back of the first drawer and then climbed on up. Honest to goodness. That girl.

Our Big Girl loved mousecicles. There was a particular way in which she and Duncan would have them. First Shadowfax would take take the one she wanted. Then after eating the best part first (I’ll spare you the details) she would put the rest of hers in a corner. And then she’d take Duncan’s, whether he was done or not, and place it along side hers.

Shadowfax also had a better sense of time than I ever will. If it was closing in on dinner time, she would go to the kitchen and lay on my feet. If that didn’t work, she’d put her cold little nose up my pant leg. And if that didn’t work, she’d stand on her hind legs and put her front foot on my leg.

If I picked her up, she’d use me a launchpad to try to reach the counter top to get her dinner herself. And if I thought I’d be clever and hold the bag of mousecicles up above her head, that didn’t work out so well. For a little short legged critter, she had a heck of a vertical jump! Chasing her through the house as she ran with her stolen mousecicle was part and parcel of life with her.

One morning I was running late. I walked into the kitchen…to find her on the kitchen table, previously potted plant and soil all over the table and her standing smack in the middle of it staring me down. As far as she was concerned, I needed to get it together! Breakfast was late and that was unacceptable!

Life with Shadowfax was never predictable. One evening I went to their room and the louvered doors to the washer and dryer had been left open a crack. And there she was, standing just where they opened. I called to her. She usually would come right away. But nope, not having any of it that night. So I went to pick her up and she backed up. Which is when I saw what she was guarding….a former mouse, now headless. Oh yes, she’d caught herself dinner. Delightful. I scooped her up and called in Chad to dispose of the remains.

Shadowfax was just over four years old when she came home with us. After a while, Big Weasel developed a bump on the top of her noggin. It was a bone growth; it looked like the nubbin of a unicorn horn. That wasn’t a problem. A cyst formed on top of the bump and that’s what eventually took our little one from us. We thought she’d be with us at least four years, if not longer. It was a terrible shock to lose her at six-and-a-half years old. Our Princess drifted off in her sleep as she lay by my side.  We buried her in the shade of the trees, near a creek, on Chad’s family’s land. Godspeed Big Girl, it won’t be the same here without out you.

chris on November 8th 2015 in Animals, Family, Uncategorized