The homestretch: cookies, pizza, fish hospice.

The last week of school before winter break really snuck up on me. I guess I've been too busy to pay much attention, and in the past five days alone have enjoyed three events at the boys' school. While I've had every intention of making our annual holiday gifts for teachers and other loved and appreciated folks, it occurred to me yesterday that Christmas is NEXT week which means I need to have everything ready to hand out tomorrow! Thus began a terrific cookie-making production. Armed with my new press and the recipe for biscochitos that my friend Laura made and sent me last year (I immediately fell in love with these fabulous treats), I dove in. These shortbread-like cookies are really great in a reserved, worth-waiting-for way. They're not flashy, not in your face, but rather subtle and impossible to eat just one of.

Here's some cool background info on the biscochito that Laura sent me:

Biscochitos were introduced to Mexico by Spanish conquistadores in the sixteenth century. Mexican wedding cookies and Polvorones are other names for these tasty little treats. These cookies are enjoyed during such festive celebrations as weddings, christenings, and religious holidays. They are popular at Christmas too.

Because biscochitos were the original Mexican wedding cookie, they were cut into diamond shapes, as diamonds signified purity for weddings. Tradition has it that if you open a package of biscochitos and one is broken, that is the one that must be eaten first. When making biscochitos, the cookies can be cut into any shape but are often cut into the fleur-de-lis shape to represent their European heritage.

If only I'd had more time or my new press had a fleur-de-lis die.

Pizza, perhaps not surprisingly, was dinner last night. I swear, y'all need to get on board with these caramelized shallots. They are off-the-hook fabulous.

So, fish hospice. A few days back, we noticed that our oldest fish, Lightning Strike, was really looking long in the tooth. He'd gotten very fat and was basically in a holding pattern near the bottom of the tank. Because Tom likes to solve any- and everything via online research, he did just that and diagnosed Lightning Strike with dropsy, a fish disease that involves failing kidneys, water retention, bloating and, thus, dropping to the bottom.

Like a flash, Tom and the boys were at Pet Smart, buying antibiotic droplets. Once home, Tom removed L.S. to his own bucket -hospice- into which he squirted the recommended number of drops. Then, although according to Oliver, "the people at Pet Smawt did not tell Dad to put the drops in the akwawium," he did.

Lightning Strike seemed to be on borrowed time and over the next day, the water in the aquarium changed from clear to yellow to orange to dark purple. A grody scum started floating on top. Although T was working very late that night, I suggested that he make haste in investigating the oddly-hued tank. Once home, he immediately began siphoning out the bad water and cursing under his breath his overzealousness in dosing the regular water with those drops.

A few days later and the water is mostly clear, Lightning Strike is back in, and although I don't think he's out of the woods -he did swim nose first into the rock cave today- he definitely looks improved, svelte and, basically, not dead.

Who knew T was so committed to the fish?!