The Himalayan Sweetbox is in Bloom

Himalayan Sweetbox (Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis) is an evergreen shrub that grows with remarkably little assistance from us. The great thing about it is that it blooms in January, filling the air with a jasmine–like scent that is even nicer because it’s January. I have no idea what it’s trying to attract, but considering how healthy they are, they’re doing something right. Whenever a visitor calls, we always enjoy opening the door to find them trying to figure out where the aroma is coming from. I wish they could bottle it.

Kaja and Carol have arrived safely in Sydney. Today they wandered about the city, visiting the opera house and staring in wonder at drains. Apparently it is hot in Australia, which sounds quite delightful. Kaja has this fantasy about some day taking a winter vacation somewhere up north. She claims that the crowds will be gone. This, I explain, is because the cold has killed them all. Also? Bears. I know that we have absolutely no right to complain about cold, as apparently we were one of the few places in the United States not touched by the polar vortex, but complain I shall. In a uncharacteristic bout of festive feeling, Kaja bought a couple of palm trees in large pots and placed them in sentinel position outside our front door. Don’t get me wrong, I liked having them there, if only because they engendered happy feelings, and it seemed like we had a lot more pineapple and rum drinks as part of our postprandial routine than usual. (Possibly this was because Kaja has recently discovered a brand of rum called ‘The Kraken’ about which she has written several amusing little songs) However, despite the fact that we have a surprising number of palm trees littering our neighborhood, ours are drooping something fierce, and I suspect they are doomed to becoming festive mulch.

It is also the time of year when we must do business–like things. Part of me foolishly assumed that these would be part of the duties of our new business manager, but lo– here I am assembling 1099 lists and sorting receipts while she’s off buying a hat equipped with a flock of hanging corks.

For those of you who supported the Kickstarter campaign of the Rats of Mechanicsburg game, I’m told that things are going well. Yes, it’s a bit behind schedule, which has never, ever happened in the entire history of video games, but from what we’ve seen, it looks like it’ll be amazing. This last week they had Kaja and I record some voices for it. Kaja was Agatha, and for some reason, everyone insisted that I be the voice of Castle Heterodyne. We had a fun time, and by the end of it, the experiments weren’t frightened at all.