Here’s to 2019! On behalf of everyone here at Stilettos, Stoli & Scribbles (and that includes the four-legged, furry ones), we wish all of you good health, prosperity and forgiveness of yourself when if you fall off the resolution wagon at some point before reaching your objective.

We are off to a good start here at SS&S — Winter’s Thaw is in the meticulous and capable hands of our editor, who is already sending back commentary¹. You may not know this, but I had committed to hit that milestone in early December, not early January. I really need to stop making big commitments for November/December. It’s the hardest time of year for me, for a lot of people in truth. I won’t blame the holidays — much — this time because, for the first time in my life, I took a very laid-back approach to Thanksgiving and Christmas, spending them at home with Fergus and lovely, mild socializing with friends.

Still, December was tough. Fergus got very, very sick early in the month — a week in the hospital on IVs, then surgery. He was pretty pitiful, but has recovered quickly and well. Thank you; I know you’re thinking good thoughts for my wee mannie.

Poor little tyke, still did his best to look adorable for pics.

He was healthy enough for a road trip I had planned for a long time: to show up early in the morning on December 15 to help lay wreaths at all the headstones in Arlington National Cemetery. This was my first time volunteering, so I learned a lot of hard lessons about preparation and logistics. It all came off, eventually, but I walked over six miles in a constant downpour with a dead cell phone and no solid plan for getting home (to my sister’s).

Last gasp from the cellphone was this pic as I and many thousands of volunteers head into ANC after clearing security.

Standing in a line that extended into the District of Columbia, with the last 5% battery life on my phone, I asked my sister to Uber to ANC when she arrived at Reagan National Airport late that morning. Neither of us knew when her flight would actually land or whether her ride could get to me (all access to ANC was barricaded against vehicles until almost noon). It all worked out in the end — my sister is heroic — but I was soaked to the skin from head to toes. And then, I was very, very sick for a week.

New Years I got to go back to ANC, in drier weather, and take a photo of the wreaths near My Darling Husband’s marker. ANC is beautiful year-round, but particularly so with wreaths as far as the eye can see and beyond.






But here’s what I really wanted to write about today — how I spent December 26! All of December 26. And a lot of December 27 … During Fergus’ sojourn in the hospital, his vet and I discussed the merits of taking Fergus off manufactured dog food and starting him on homemade … with customizable recipes and supplements obtained at a web site ( recommended by the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, which is located here and part of Virginia Tech. So, that’s what I did.

I got out my calculator and adjusted amounts in the recipe to make enough food to last Fergus for at least a week, I thought. Hey, the recipe said it was for a day of meals. So, times seven, right? Ha. It didn’t take me long to figure out this was going to make a lot more than seven days’ of meals for a little dog that weighs 15 pounds soaking wet.

~3 pounds of wild sockeye salmon

3 cups of brown rice, same quinoa, 14! scrambled eggs, big bag of spinach








chopped apple, green beans & carrots, pumpkin, a lot of bowls








… mixed together in (hopefully) the right proportions, then the fancy supplement mixed in … resulting in about a gallon and a half of food, majority frozen. I had a whole lot still, so I mixed the remaining ingredients together and puréed it into a batter …


Batter spread on a baking sheet and meticulously scored into little squares. I’m certifiably nuts.









Let’s see. Today is January 11. Fergus has been eating his new food and kibble for 16 days and I still have a freezer container with 1/3-1/2 gallon of food and half the kibble remaining. I believe that will easily last the rest of the month, which means my cost is about $2 a day for his food, or less. Not bad. The labor … that’s another question, but it will definitely be easier next time.

A typical meal for Fergus. MORE green beans and carrots, food and kibble croutons. He wolfs it down, twice a day.

Because I don’t trust the measurements the recipe provided (no kidding), I also have little confidence in the calories they say are provided in a day’s worth of food, so we are going by the what-do-we-weigh? method. Fergus actually lost a few ounces after two weeks on his new diet², so I’m not worried that he’s getting too much and don’t plan to skimp, for now. We’ll see what “we” weigh at the end of the month.

Fergus and I have been sharing an apple for a snack lately. He happily performs his tricks³ for a little chunk of apple!

¹ We are still hoping for a Spring 2019 launch, despite my laggardness. Is that a word?

² I should probably go on this diet … based on my weight using the what-do-we-weigh? method …

³ Rolling over, shaking hands and giving Mom a kiss — sometimes all three, if Mom holds out with the treat too long.