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December 16, 2001: Who are we going to be today?

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We went to lunch with my parents in a little local restaurant. There is a waitress there who knows us all by name. She and my dad tease mercilessly back and forth, with my mom offering encouragement all the while. It's obvious she's well loved by the other regular patrons there, by the way she's greeted.

There's something homey and comforting about being recognized as a 'regular'. Even the folks at the local Starbucks know us by sight, if not by name, and the name thing is really our fault. They've started asking for names to put on the coffee cups as they call out the order, and so we've taken it upon ourselves to give them different names each time (I think my favorite set so far was 'Thing1' and 'Thing2'). This is becoming more of a challenge, however. Either we need to go to Starbucks less often, or give up and give our real names one of these days.

I did the second round of holiday baking this afternoon. Richard was roped into helping (although I think he enjoyed it) and got to roll sticky chocolate goo into truffles coated in cocoa powder, while I dropped globs of chocolate dough onto baking pans and slid them into the oven. There is the lingering aroma of chocolate and sweetness in the air now, and my need to bake is satiated for at least a few more days. At least one pan of fudge and two more varieties of cookies (the most time-intensive ones, of course) remain to be made. There are Christmas cards still to mail, and one final present left to complete, but overall, I feel as if this year I'm actually on track. It's nice to not feel rushed; to feel as if I have time to do all the things I want and need to do. I wonder how long it is going to take before I finally get used to this feeling.

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