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  • katherine halligan

Updated: Feb 4

The inside of my freezer currently looks like Elsa took up residence and had a temper tantrum there. A really big tantrum.


The seal has failed, and while we await a replacement part (delayed, due to COVID), it is locked into a cycle of freeze-and-thaw-and-refreeze, resulting in beautiful, jagged ice formations that grow bigger by the hour. My children delight in opening the door, just to see what might be in store; there isn’t a lot to do these days since our schools are closed again (also due to COVID), so this is excellent entertainment.


In fact, so little happens these days (within the four walls of our home, if not at our nation’s Capitol building, where far too much has happened) that last night they shrieked with excitement at a strange light in the sky. “Mom, come fast!” they yelled. “There’s a rocket taking off in the sky and it’s coming towards us!” With my heart in my mouth, terrified that the Dictator-in-Chief had used the nuclear codes (which he still possesses, despite all evidence that he should not) to blow California off the map, I raced upstairs, thinking I could at least hold my children in my arms at the very end.


It was, in fact, an airplane, coming in for landing at Long Beach Airport.


Having gone from a flight landing every four minutes to almost no air traffic overhead, our skies look radically and apparently unrecognisably different these days — as does the entire landscape of the United States. Due, of course, to COVID. But due also to the evil lunacy of the soon-to-be-ex-President.


There was a different plane in the sky on Wednesday. It crashed into the Capitol building in a way foreign terrorists failed to do 19 years ago: it was a domestic airline called Trump Air (or perhaps it was a hot air balloon), and it was propelled by his lies and fuelled by his hatred. And on an existential level it was a far greater threat to our nation than what did happen on 9/11.


From airline disasters — both allegorical and real — to mini freezer dramas, there is a real mechanical failure afoot of late: so many parts of our democracy are broken. As we limp to the finish line of this horrific and devastating four years, I have thought often of Elsa over the past weeks (of course I have — haven’t you?), and the meaning of her words, “Let it go,” particularly as they pertain to our outgoing leader. He needs, of course, to let it go: he lost, fair and square, just like the other side sometimes loses. That is the nature of democracy, and however we might dislike the other side winning, we accept it and move on. We let it go, because we need to look ahead. Sometimes, things go wrong; sometimes there are hanging chads and sometimes corrupt, craven leaders who attempt to bend the outcome to their will. But if Al Gore managed to let it go, then surely this is what all must do who have lost. Let. It. Go.


And speaking of loss, there is another sort of letting go that too many are having to endure: the letting go of a loved one. Around the world, but especially in the US and especially in Los Angeles County — a mere 15 minutes from our doorstep — hospital resources from staff to ventilators have now become so scarce that they will soon have to start rationing care. LA has just appointed a triage team charged with making impossible decisions about how to mete out care: who might have the longest life left to live if they are administered to, and who might have less time or a lesser quality of life and therefore will be refused treatment, and then the families of those who lose that cruel game will be told that they have to let it go.


But Elsa isn’t talking about that sort of letting go, or about giving up, or about the letting go of the cataclysmically destructive anger that this week quite literally engulfed the nation’s Capitol (as opposed to the nation’s capital, which has been engulfed by similar if less overtly violent anger for four long years). Elsa is talking instead of letting go of the constraints that have held her back, about finding her freedom and coming into her own.


It’s her line “don’t hold it back anymore” that particularly chills my heart this week, as we look ahead to the remaining days in which the raging tyrant has no reason to hold back anymore. And it’s the prospect of his rage throwing out yet more deadly daggers of ice into the heart of the very nation, of the very people whom he is sworn to protect, that makes my blood run cold.


For those of you who don’t have two small daughters of a certain age and therefore haven’t watched Frozen dozens of times or had the soundtrack inserted into the CD player of the car permanently from 2014 to 2016, I should pause to explain that when Elsa becomes frightened and angry, her emotions manifest themselves as ice and snow. She conjures up a terrifying snow monster which scares off any who would attempt to approach her in her isolated ice castle, and accidentally shoots an enormous shard of ice into the heart of her sister who has come to save her.


Any comparisons with our frightened, angry leader, who conjured a monstrous mob this week and shot danger into the very heart of our nation, very definitely end there. Elsa is finally free to explore her strange powers, having been raised to hide them all her life in order to protect those around her, whereas you-know-who has been rewarded all his life for displaying his strange power very publicly and openly, whatever the cost to those around him. Shaped by grief and loss, Elsa is damaged, and the icy dark streak at her core is slightly sinister and sometimes cruel, but she ultimately redeems herself by saving her sister. Whereas it would seem that he-who-shall-not-be-named (forgive me for freely mixing my children’s entertainment references) is entirely cruel, sinister and untempered by any higher loyalties, entirely beyond redemption. Ultimately we love Elsa, in spite of all her faults and mistakes, in a way that we loathe the other one, because of all his heinous crimes.


In fact, so keen am I not to impugn Elsa’s good name and character by comparing her too closely with the villain of our piece, I will state it again: she is a good guy. He, on the other hand, is the arch enemy whose willingness to kill not only the heroine whom he professes to love but anyone who stands in his way, and whose treachery was far more frightening to our older child at the age of four than the more obviously scary snow monster. This is because our daughter knew that Elsa loved her sister Anna, while seeing very clearly that Hans, who had been given the care of the kingdom, was actually the greatest threat to that very kingdom he had sworn to protect; his breaking of the trust the people had placed in him was, for her, truly terrifying. (Ours is a preternaturally wise child. And the script writers of Frozen eerily prophetic — though the treachery of leaders is not entirely new in this world.)


I should also point out that as soon as Elsa realizes the extent of her powers she flees the kingdom to protect her people. Someone might do well to take a page from her playbook, though self-exile to the North Mountain is neither far enough nor punishment enough for him, nor is the threat that Hans faces — a trouncing from his 12 older brothers — even close to the harsh justice the traitor in our story deserves.


One of the many things that scare me right now is the fact that all the highly-deluded-but-supposedly-saner adults around him are frozen by their inability to stop the monster. And in the freeze-and-thaw-and-refreeze cycle of politics, they look ahead to their own fortunes, while only a brave few speak out decisively about fixing the seal before more damage is done. While we were able to rescue our groceries and transfer them to our garage freezer, there is no one to rescue America until the replacement part arrives, too many days from now; there is no backup place to hide until a functional repairman arrives to set things right.


Just as we’ve tried Vaseline and duct tape and other home remedies to patch things up for the interim so that our motor doesn’t burn out as it works overtime to do its job, there is talk of invoking the 25th amendment or impeachment as a stop-gap measure to keep things from getting worse, but these remedies are insufficient and slow; the motor might yet fail.


But I try to remind myself that while the motor may be working overtime, while it may be fragile and damaged, it is still functioning and intact; that, having feared for their lives in the afternoon, our elected leaders returned in the evening to continue their work of keeping democracy intact.


I remind myself that the gloves, like Elsa’s, are now off and we can no longer hide the truth about the problems in this country, where peaceful (Black) protestors are met with violent policing while violent (White) mobs are met with silent collusion from some law enforcement leaders and loud encouragement from far too many elected officials. But I remind myself also that once a wound is open to the air, it stops festering and starts to heal.


I remind myself of the line from Frozen I most often quote to my husband (we call it Wisdom By Disney, for there are a few such nuggets of truth amid the saccharine candy floss): there’s “no escape from the storm inside of me,” as Elsa sings. Before she is redeemed by her act of true love, she is tormented, but in the end she does escape the storm. I remind myself that this storm will pass; that we will escape the storm inside America, too, as the nation is redeemed by its act of true democracy.


That indeed — as we learn from the trolls in Frozen, who are decidedly good and entirely different from all the social media trolls and especially that most grotesque and terrible troll of all (who in fact has just been frozen himself — ha!) — “an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart”… and perhaps it can thaw a frozen, brittle, broken country too.


I remind myself that a fearless heroine and her sweet-but-slightly-bumbling male sidekick are on their way to the rescue, and that her bravery and his kindness will save the day.


(I’m not entirely sure who the talking reindeer represents here, but it might be our newly elected senators from Georgia who lift our brave heroes onto their backs to save them just in the nick of time from the ravening wolves — or it might be the people, every one of us, who helped them ride to victory. I’m also not sure who the loveable snowman might be, but perhaps it is our children, who have started to melt under the pressure of all of these misadventures, but who will — with the right conditions — recover sufficiently to make us laugh and give us warm hugs.)


I remind myself that we can all now begin to let go of what — and who — doesn’t serve us.


I remind myself that after the winter comes the spring.

  • katherine halligan

Updated: Jan 2

Well, the good news is that the puppy did not eat her poo.


She has eaten, among other things (despite our constant and exhausting vigilance), a spicy cinnamon candy, a tissue, a piece of aluminium foil, a feather, a spider, and (despite our constant and disgusting application of an apparently useless bitter-apple spray, which serves only to make us all retch and simultaneously to whet her appetite for whatever we’ve just sprayed) several samples of different kinds of furniture.


But — as yet (and I say that “yet” in a tiny little whisper because if she’s anything like my children, she will hear me and the minute I make a pronouncement about her development or behaviour, she will do the very opposite thing, and the gods will guffaw at my ensuing misery) — she has not eaten her poo.


So among the many things I am giving thanks for at the end of this insanely awful year, our puppy’s lack of coprophagia is definitely on the list, certainly in the top twenty. I am giving thanks for many other things, too, which I will enumerate in a moment, but first I would like to share with you What Happened Next.


Because the puppy not eating her poo was just about the only good thing that happened in the ensuing 24 hours after my last post (we also didn’t get COVID, nor did the roof cave in, but that was just about it on the good list).


Things got rather pooier in a less literal way.


In no particular order, our older daughter overdosed the puppy with vitamins (she lived — “she” meaning both the puppy and the child), our younger daughter decided to attend her class Zoom wearing no pants (by which I mean, for my UK friends, no trousers; at least she was wearing her knickers; and she lived too), the same younger child (still without pants) filled a sock with salt (we don’t know why), and the puppy discovered howling as a form of entertainment both before and after waking me up with her vomiting at 2:30am (was it the cinnamon candy, the spider, or the particular combination of the two that disagreed with her?).


And so the next morning I nearly reversed over a nun.


(You couldn’t make this up, and I promise you that I have not.)


Nun-spotting in a coastal southern-Californian megalopolis is quite unusual, but for it to happen the morning after I’d managed four hours of broken sleep was a confluence of all sorts of bad luck and prank-playing by the gods, who were by now in hysterics as they watched my day unfold.


But while they were rolling about up there, weeping with delirious laughter at the absurd horror of my situation, it seems they decided to spare that nun or else give her guardian angel a run for her money. The nun, like me, was on a mission of charity, buying gifts — we might safely extrapolate — for underprivileged children at Christmas (or we could avoid the cliche and credit her with more imagination and zest: perhaps instead she was planning a wild New Year’s Eve at the convent). So, thankfully for all of us but especially the nun, either the gods or that guardian angel (I’m getting a bit religious here, but that sometimes happens at this time of year) turned my head at the last second as she materialised at the corner of my vision, and so tragedy was averted.


In my defence she was moving fast (some might say supernaturally so): I’d already looked twice because I was tired and I don’t have a backing camera or any high-techery that beeps at me to prevent me reversing over the innocent, and she definitely wasn’t there… until she was. Luckily some primal (or angelic) instinct stayed me, pressed my foot to the brake with lightning speed, and the nun lived to die another day.


Lucky nun, and lucky me. Because there is no chance I would have passed one of those walk-the-line sort of drunk-driving tests, for in my exhaustion I was literally wobbling. So I’m not writing to you from the slammer, and she is off preparing for a wild night of can-can and bingo. We all win.


And so there’s another thing on the list of things for which I’m grateful (quite a long ways ahead of the puppy’s absence of coprophagia) as this year of years draws to a close.

On the subject of divine intervention, I am also grateful for my older daughter’s fast-acting calm presence, as she has pulled small but potentially life-threatening pieces of plastic film from the puppy’s mouth no less than four times. Given that we now sweep our floor at least three times daily as well as mop it once a day with bleach, we are not entirely sure where this is coming from (though our suspicions lie firmly with our younger child, who for all her many charms often reminds us of the charming Pigpen character from "Charlie Brown”, a walking mass of mess and chaos), but we are simply thankful that our puppy has her own guardian angel in the form of one of our children.


We are also thankful that our younger child has different gifts with the puppy, namely an extraordinary sixth sense around animals and ability to commune with and calm them; she is our very own puppy whisperer, who is able to read her moods and needs and make all our lives easier and better.


We are of course thankful for so much more than either of these puppy-related skills that have lately emerged in our two progeny: we are thankful for their artistic talents of both the two- and three-dimensional sort, for their intellect, their wit, their delightful senses of humour, their robust good health, their sweetness, their brightness, and their sparkle, all of which contribute to their amazing and unwitting ability to carry their parents through any low spot — and this year has been a low spot of epic proportions.


We are thankful for wake-up calls — whether at 2am by puppies or in parking lots by nuns — and for sleep, in whatever tiny dribbles we might achieve it. (For that almost-fateful night was hardly an isolated event; in fact, last night I netted a whopping 4.5 hours of sleep, and those extra 30 minutes have fuelled the writing of this very post, during which process — I am delighted to report — not a single nun was endangered. Safer at home, indeed.)


We are thankful for our little flying furball, for the way she makes us all laugh, the way she explodes with tail-wagging joy when she greets us in the morning and makes us all feel like The Best Humans Ever, the way she licks our faces off, the way she curls up in our laps, warm and fluffy and ridiculously adorable.


We are thankful that we have work, both of the cancer-curing, bacon-bringing sort that my husband has and the veganishly-poor-but-life-affirming sort that I have (for after a nine-month lull, things are quietly picking up again and I am happy to share that I now have another book deal in hand).


We are thankful that we are healthy, in this year when health and life are more precious and precarious than ever.


We are thankful that our friends and family — with one tragic exception, whose loss we mourn deeply — are alive and mostly well.


We are thankful that we have just three weeks to go until the giant shepherd’s crook of democracy appears in the wings to pull the Dictator-in-Chief (or DIC, for short) off the stage he has used and abused for four painful and terrible years. The end of the daily horror show is in sight, and the prospect of relief from the constant, umm, idiocy (I can’t say what I really mean to say, because I am a children’s author, but if I weren’t I might use one of my signature turns of phrase, which may or may not rhyme with “duck-jittery”; if you don’t know what I mean, share this with your friends during your virtual New Year’s Eve party and see if they can crack it) is knee-weakeningly immense. Whether he leaves the White House under his own angry steam or whether he has to be escorted from the premises, we are thankful for the prospect that he will no longer wield a terrifying degree of power, and that we will be led instead by a sane, kind adult, who will care for us with a unifying benevolence that is desperately needed more than any time since March 4, 1861, when Lincoln was first inaugurated. The States remain united, against all the odds in this oddest of years. (And although puppies and presidents produce poo — some rather a lot of it — if we’re lucky, no one will be eating it, which means we can simply quietly scoop it up and carry on with the better things in life.)


We are thankful that this pandemic has brought us closer and taught us more about the things that matter, that it has offered us so many silver linings in the forms of friendships rekindled, time to truly inhabit our home and make it our own, and presence with our children and with each other.


We are thankful for all of this and so much more.


We are thankful for what lies behind us, for the moment we are in, for the prospect of a brighter future.


We are thankful and we are hopeful; we are thankful that we can even be hopeful again.

I’ve shared what happened next, on one random day in my life, but now what happens next, in the randomness of all our lives? We don’t know, of course, because we don’t have 2020 hindsight.


Yet.


And on that “yet” hinges everything: whether the gods may yet laugh, or whether we may yet cry, the future lies just ahead of us. The “yet” will happen — and may it not be a hairy, scary yet-i like this year has been — and we will live it.


Because we survived 2020, and we are ready to live the next year, the next day, the next moment.


So here’s to the next, and here’s to you — because I am thankful for each and every one of you, too.


  • katherine halligan

When I was a child, one of my favourite things to do at our local county fair was to watch taffy being pulled. There was something absolutely mesmerising about watching the machine stretch that satiny, ridged mass over and over again, until finally it was just the right consistency for the taffy people to pull off little bite-sized morsels of sweetness, wrap them in paper, and present them to you. If you got the mixed bag, it was a lottery which flavour you got, and I liked almost all of them, so the surprise was part of the fun.

Writing can often be like one giant taffy pull. You have an idea, you stretch it and work it and do it over and over again, until it finally emerges into something digestible and delicious and sometimes surprising.

After nearly six weeks away from my blog — the reasons for which absence I shall share shortly — I have been desperate to get back to it. And so, last Friday, I did. I took an idea I’d had a while ago, and started… and then I couldn’t stop. Normally it takes me about an hour to write a typical blogpost. I then spend about another hour editing it, and that’s that. Job done. I don’t do it all at once, ever, because that’s not how my life works these days; instead I work in chunks of time that last anything from three to twenty minutes, and that’s probably just as well, because I might just carried away with myself otherwise.

So when I sat down the other day to write, when somehow the stars aligned to give me a full hour in one stretch, I wrote five posts in one. Then, knowing that this was not right — because although more may be more, you do have better things to do than sit down and read this to the exclusion of everything else — I attempted to unpick it all. But I found that I couldn’t, because — rather like sticky taffy — what should have been five separate posts were all completely stuck together into one giant sticky mass, and I couldn’t pull out a single piece without making the whole thing fall apart or become so hard and stiff that it no longer resembled the thing that it had set out to be. And so, for the first time since I started this whole blogging thing, I felt deeply discouraged.

But I’m never one to stay down for long, so after I shared the epic mess of taffy with my husband (who is always my first and best reader) and he concurred that more was too much, I started over. Over there on the sidelines I’m still involved in the great taffy pull, and will eventually manage to separate out little nuggets of the sweet stuff and present them to you, edible and neatly wrapped, and I hope those nuggets will be worth waiting for.

In the meantime, as I try to pick myself up again — because I was in pieces, even if my writing wasn’t — I thought about why it’s been hard to find a minute to write, and I wanted to share with you why.

By way of example, I offer you my morning, thus far.

Having been up three times in the night with our eight-week-old puppy who came to us three days ago, I crashed back to sleep after the 5am waking and snoozed through my alarm. I was awakened again at 6:40 by our younger child jumping on me to ask if the puppy was awake yet (she was not, and I insisted she stay that way), and as I drifted off again I suddenly jerked awake, remembering that it was our older daughter’s school picture day. She is ten, so this matters. It's her last elementary school photo, in the weirdest year possible, so I needed to help her get this right.

I leapt up, attempted to wake her, failed, attempted to wake my husband (who’d also overslept and whose help I needed to carry the puppy play pen and crate back downstairs for the daytime setup, and who also needed to report in for an early meeting with his new boss), started breakfast for children, forgot what I was doing, started breakfast for puppy, forgot what I was doing, almost put the puppy’s milk on the children’s oatmeal, fed the puppy, fed the children, forgot what I was doing, started to make coffee, helped the older one find a two-litre plastic bottle with which to make a rocket at school (we don’t drink soda so had to locate instead an empty rectangular lemonade bottle which is unlikely to make liftoff), sent the bigger one scurrying to get dressed, put the little one on puppy watch, forgot what I was doing again, had three bites of my own oatmeal, dashed upstairs to dress myself, and then entered my older daughter’s room to find her wailing, “Mom, I look like a poodle!”

Last night I’d spent precious minutes that I could have been sleeping twisting my daughter’s damp hair into pin curls, so she could achieve the lovely, fat corkscrew ringlets she likes to sport on special occasions and which stay in her thick, smooth hair better than anything a curling wand can do. But she’d forgotten — and I’d forgotten to remind her — that in the morning you just remove the pins and finger- comb it out. Unluckily for her, she’d found a hairbrush (not always easy in our house), and she brushed those curls.

So it’s entirely true: she did look just like a very cute and very distressed poodle. I took a deep breath, sent her looking for a spray bottle, which she couldn’t find (because it’s often hard to find anything at all in our house, from hairbrushes to spray bottles to children), damped it down with sprinkles of water, twizzled her hair back into less-frizzy-but-by-no-means-ideally-formed curls, helped her apply concealer to two minuscule spots (maskne is real), helped her brush the lint off her leggings (she’d turned it backwards, so was adding lint to her personage rather than removing it), found her a water bottle, sent her back upstairs for her forgotten vocabulary book (the same Wordly Wise curriculum I’d had in fifth grade, which brings me no end of nostalgic delight), found her some shoes that were comfortable enough to wear for launching rockets but stylish enough for picture day (even though no one will see her feet — but she’s ten, so this matters), sent her looking for a mask, checked that her alien story was in her backpack (it was, but her pencil case was not; this is what happens when I’m busy with a puppy and not there to supervise the packing of backpacks the night before), found the pencil case, got into the car and got her to school on time for her COVID questionnaire at the gate before the bell rang.

All in 49 minutes flat.

As you can imagine, one of my pandemic silver linings is that we only have to get to school two mornings a week, and they’re half days so no lunch-packing is involved (and I loathe lunch-packing), so I am thankful that it’s Tuesday (and the way this day is shaping up it will be Thursday by the time you read this) and we won’t have to repeat this exercise in barely contained madness for another six days. In truth, most of our mornings are far calmer and more organised, but throw an as-yet-unvaccinated puppy into the mix, along with picture day and rocket launching, and you have the perfect storm of a morning.

While I was gone on her school run, my husband (who was still home, which is another pandemic silver lining, though because he is on the team that developed a COVID test, he is an essential worker and normally goes into the office for some peace and quiet — but at least he is flexible in his whereabouts, which helps me no end) oversaw our younger daughter scooping puppy poops, which she does with marvellous enthusiasm. And so the school run was far less chaotic than it might have been had I also needed to get the younger one dressed and the puppy into her carrier, where presumably those poops would have occurred en route, making my morning rather more complicated and smelly.

But although the puppy finally slept after we dosed her with her probiotic (because even though she is three pounds soaking wet, she does not like it so it’s a team effort) and after some hilariously manic acrobatics which we all had to stop to watch, I was not able to sit down and write while enjoying my now slightly chilly coffee, because my newish job was just beginning: coaching our eight-year-old daughter through virtual school. That’s another story I need to untangle from the taffy pull before I can share it with you, but suffice to say I’m right back where I was in March.

In fact, just this very minute, I had to stop writing so that I could help her to fashion a dreidel out of household objects. I said no to the 13-minute online from-scratch tutorial and took the easy option, but that still involved finding a printable dreidel, printing it (but the printer ran out of paper so I had to go upstairs to reload it, and then the paper tray sort of broke so I had to sort of fix it), finding the scissors (I’ve shared before about her scissor fetish, so we hide them now — often so well the grownups can’t find them either), instructing her how to cut and fold her dreidel (while on the phone with the lovely people at the charity where we are adopting a family who somehow managed to email me a final reminder that gifts are due tomorrow, without ever having shared the information about the family we are adopting or any parameters for the gifts), then tape it together (and she also has a tape fetish so we also first had to find a roll she hasn’t used up, untangle it — because she has broken all but one tape dispenser — and peel the tape off of itself, which took a very long time, especially one-handed).

Then she had to stop to do a dance of joy.

Then the puppy woke up and tried to eat the tape that was stuck to my daughter’s hair and then she had to cuddle the puppy and so I found myself making the dreidel all on my own. (I was fine with that because I love playing dreidel; I was one of five or six Gentiles in my class all the way through elementary school, so I play a mean round of dreidel, know all the Hanukkah songs, and make excellent latkes.)

Then — of course! — we had to play the dreidel (for mini candy canes, even though I normally buy gelt at this time of year; it was a very fusion experience). Then we had to spell all the multi-syllabic words for her extremely elaborate essay about playing dreidel, and because she is upstairs using her sister’s desk and I am downstairs on puppy patrol, this means at least one of us has to use the stairs every time there’s a new word that stumps her (which is fine because then it’s spelling and PE all at once).

Then the latest spelling word utterly defeated her — as she announced, she’d had to fix 17 words 48 times — because her extensive vocabulary exceeds her ability to put it accurately into her expository writing, and her perfectionism means that she doesn’t want to see ANY squiggly red lines on her screen — another deeply annoying feature of digital learning, because when you write with an actual pencil on actual paper there are no squiggly red lines, just delightful kid spelling) and she needed a hug. (By this point, I did too.)

Then I sat down again to finish writing what I’d started working on at 8:30 when my daughter logged in for her morning check-in (which I’d also started yesterday, which I’d also started Friday, which I’d also started a dozen times in the last six weeks).

And so that is how I spent the first six hours of this morning.

Multiply everything that happened in those six hours by four (because my days rarely stop at bedtime, thanks to our older daughter’s sleep issues, which is also another story for another day — see how I get distracted?), and then again by the number of days since I last posted, which is 40, and you begin to see all the many thousands of things that have prevented me sitting down to post.

Plus deciding to pull our daughter out of school and educate her entirely virtually.

Plus an election of cataclysmic importance.

Plus Thanksgiving, plus our younger daughter’s eighth birthday the very next day.

Plus the puppy.

Plus, plus, plus.

Excuses, excuses.

So that, my friends, is why I haven’t posted a word in 40 days. If you’d wondered what had happened to me, now you know.

But I’m back on my game again, and I’ll be back with those little nuggets of taffy, just as soon as I figure out how to pull them apart from that big sticky mess of stories I wanted to tell you.

Except now we have more spelling to do and then we have to leave to pick up my older daughter and get there early enough to nab a good parking spot so I don’t have to get out of the car with the puppy and then I have to make lunch (both canine and human)…

And oh my goodness the puppy is awake and I think she is trying to eat her poo.

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