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December 23, 2001: Eve eve

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We opened our stockings to each other this afternoon, sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace, in order to make the present-giving/getting last three days. We each have a small pile of new books to read now - he with his bag of licorice drops and his chocolate orange, and me with my Christmas box of dark chocolate covered espresso beans - when next we're home again to relax and enjoy them.

Everything is wrapped, and the gifts for Richard's family are already in the trunk, next to my Christmas stocking (fuzzy and red with a puff-paint name on the top). On the kitchen counter, sitting right next to my purse so I will be sure to remember them, are three plates full of cookies and fudge.

The coffee machine is in parts in the dishwasher, ready to bring to my parents' house Christmas day. They've got a smaller pot that simply can't handle the coffee-drinking needs of most of the offspring and their spouses, so we're bringing our cool 'grind-the-beans-splort-the-water' coffee maker over to make sure every stays at their caffeinated best.

After dinner tonight, I put together plates of goodies and we braved the cold and went knocking on doors, trying to deliver caloric good will to our neighbors. We only managed to find one set home, but that turned out rather well, as they invited us in and gave us a bag of homemade peanut brittle, and then we all sat around and chatted. We've only seen the wife a few times but the husband has been incredibly nice - watering the little trees for us when it was so hot this summer, or volunteering the use of his ladder when we were putting up our lights. I've felt incredibly guilty because I *know* he told us his name when we first met him, but neither of us could remember it and it had gotten to the point now where it would be really embarrassing to ask. So as we were walking back to our house, peanut brittle in hand, we both looked at each other. "Larry. It's Larry," we said nearly at the same time. We won't forget this time - I hope!

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