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Jan 15, 2019


We've lucked out this year (1). We're lucky because the winter has not been too hard. Yes we've had snow, and some freezing conditions, but it really hasn't been bad at all. I've been able to walk the dogs without falling on the ice, and my daughter has been able to practice her soccer moves on a more or less snow-free lawn. Everyone is back into a work or school routine, and Christmas seems like it was a long time ago. There are a few traces of decorations left around the house, but I'm not going to put them away for a few months. They keep a little bit of brightness and cheer in the house. Another thing that does, is the very colorful and very unusual present that Domini got this year. It's a snake, a corn snake to be exact(2). It's orange with yellow and white spots, only about 12 inches long, and is quite calm. Corn snakes are native to the U.S, and beneficial to humans as they eat rodents like rats and mice. They are not poisonous (of course I wouldn't buy my child a poisonous animal!), and they only get to a moderate length of 4-5 feet when they are adults. They kill their prey, which also includes frogs, birds, and bats, by constriction. As the snake is just a baby, we have to feed him tiny, newborn, bald mice which come frozen in a packet. Yes, I'm sorry, it sounds horrendous(3). I won't go into any more detail. But, you know, he has to eat something. Like other snakes, he can open his mouth up to a 150 degree angle in order to eat. I'm glad we don't do that! He also does it when he yawns, which is actually really cute. I suppose you can tell that I'm not scared of snakes. In fact, I've held him a couple of times and he felt very smooth, calm, and light. I held him close to my cheek, and I could feel his tiny tongue flickering in and out of his mouth as he smelled me. It wasn't creepy at all. Domini is very exact about looking after him, making sure that his environment is just right. Pets can be a great way to teach responsibility to kids as well. Beau is a very calming influence on Domini who she tends to be a bit hyper, so its good for her to handle a smooth, mesmerizing reptile,- her baby.

1. 'To luck out' is to be lucky or fortunate (an Americanism).

a. We lucked out; there were just enough tickets left for us.

b. He lucked out. He was late to the airport, but his plane was an hour delayed.

2. 'To be exact' is to be specific.

a. We live on Idaho street, the last house on the left to be exact.

b. He needs to take antibiotics for a couple of weeks, every day for 10 days to be exact.

3. 'Horrendous' is a great word that means 'awful'. It's used a lot in UK.

a. The film was horrendous: the story was weak, the dialogues were unrealistic, and the acting was bad.

b. Watching the snake eat is horrendous, unless you like that sort of thing.