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December 11, 2004: Tea tree day

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Today was the tea group's December meeting. Amusingly, it was at the same place I went with my sisters and my mom the day after Thanksgiving, so at least I was familiar with how to get there and what to do upon arrival pick out a tea, pick out a teacup and saucer, pick out and put on a fancy hat.

I am still feeling my way into this group. The friend who introduced me to them was unable to come so I felt a little bit lost sometimes during the tea. But they are all very nice women and we chatted a little about little things like kids and pets and decorating our houses for Christmas. I may not have any stories about my own kids to share but I can always draw on the cute things the niece/nephews have done. And it was rather interesting to hear at least one or two of the other women talking about their decorations, which included things I would not be caught dead displaying in my own front yard (Inflatable snowmen! Moving lighted deer!). However, in circumstances like this I keep my mouth shut and remind myself that everyone is entitled to their own idea of what is festive, and I am sure that a majority of those women would probably have their own thoughts on the fact that we have a stone dragon perched on our roof all year round.

The tea place provided us with a huge amount of food so much that I think most everyone ended up taking at least one of their scones home. I had peppermint tea this time because I am discovering that it is one of my favorite flavors of tea like drinking candy out of a cup when I stir in a sugar cube. One of the sandwiches we were given was an English chocolate sandwich, which was a little odd because one does not normally associate sandwich bread and chocolate filling together. In the spirit of the season they gave us tiny little gingerbread muffins dipped in white chocolate, with bits of candied ginger in the middle, and scones shaped like Christmas trees and filled with bits of cranberry, lemon, and mint so tiny that even I (as a confirmed dried fruit hater) could actually enjoy it.

After we drank copious amounts of tea and nibbled great piles of tea sandwiches and tea cakes, and somehow found room to stuff in tiny slices of dense chocolate cake drizzled with chocolate, we exchanged tea-related holiday gifts and talked about Christmas cookies and made tentative plans for the next tea in February, and wished each other happy holidays, and it was time to go home.

Time for phase two of the day. I was home long enough to change and check my email and poke at the cats and then we climbed into the car and headed down to Richard's parents house to help decorate their Christmas tree.

They had an old friend of his dad's there, who seemed to fit right into the family like he'd been there all his life. They also have a very new (three months old) Border collie puppy who was oh so very excited and bouncy. It is very hard to remain serious when a very wiggly Border collie puppy is trying desperately to herd you as you walk. It usually did not work (the herding, that is), so he usually ended up just trying to eat our shoelaces. He also did a lot of jumping and bouncing, all with mouth open and eyes wide. He was just adorable to watch and also a little exhausting all that energy!

We chatted and gave Richard's mom her birthday present (a copy of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, which I'd already read back when my boss got a copy and let me borrow his (because we are both grammar and punctuation nerds and he knew I would find it as amusing as he did). We ate dinner and then we decorated the tree. I took my customary spot behind the tree, in the corner, and people handed me random ornaments to hang (they have a LOT of ornaments) while the friend kept the puppy distracted with balls and toys and even his own hands to chew. And then we sat down to admire our work and eat creamy peppermint and chocolate chip experimental pie and I cheered on their cat as she poked carefully at a few branches (because she normally does not do cat-like things, like attack Christmas trees), and somehow, as things inevitably do, we ended up discussing computer stuff for a little while. Also there was some knitting talk because Richard's youngest sister has also been bitten by the yarn bug and has concocted a scarf that is quite possibly 20 feet long and over a foot wide, along with a selection of very soft and fuzzy hats. And then we realized that it was getting late, and so Richard and I hugged our goodbyes and gave the wiggly puppy one last pet, and came home.

This has been a Holidailies entry.

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