Katy lies; you can see it in her eyes

In olden days, the twelve days of Christmas were likely to bring a standard human unmanageable herds of drummers, milkmaids, lords, rings, and the ever-present partridge. However, it's with tepid pleasure that I note that the holidays are becoming a bit more inventive in their 'gifting' this year.

The "twelve days of Christmas" now refers to the twelve days that my overly-adored Jetta spent at the dealer's, having innumerable tests run upon the suddenly-quirky engine. I strongly suspect the silly thing spent most of those days cozied up in the back of the repair shop, drinking spiked eggnog with distant relations, swapping owner stories, and totally living up the vacation.In the meantime, I got stuck with a crappy Audi A4. Older. Base model.

Pan-Holiday Extravaganza

Kat: "I think we're going to need a buffet table for all this food."

From a Saturday-night email dated mid-September of this year: "Our Recruitment office is doing really well. Normally, this is good, but come Christmastime, it's a royal financial pain in the tail to buy gifts for everyone in the group. Yeah, yeah, I know gift-giving is supposed to be a 'gift,' not a 'right,' but lots of things work out differently in theory than in practice… Would you be interested in drawing names for a Christmas exchange this year?"

You know your group of friends has expanded when you remember when planning for your yearly Christmas party once was "scrawl down a list of friends' names, email everyone to see if they're available next Saturday, and make something edible." Something edible, of course, meant "I'll figure out what I'm cooking sometime later." You know things have changed when this year's holiday party planning involves lunch with two other friends, details, and actual division of labor.

Fast-forward three months to what jokingly became known as the Pan-Holiday Extravaganza; too late for Christmas, too early for New Year's.

In the grand southern tradition, we gathered together and ate copious amounts of food. It could be said that geeks don't cook, and this would probably be a true statement if the geek in question was Jeremy (whose sworn duty for the PHE was to obtain carbonated drinkage), but the rest of us appear to have mastered the art of applying varying amounts of heat to tasty morsels of edible matter:

Roast turkey, ham, sweet potato casserole, corn, baked beans, green bean casserole, salad-of-doom, rosemary and garlic mashed potatoes, three kinds of freshly-baked bread, turtle cake, pumpkin cheesecake, turtle cheesecake, pecan pie...

Why, yes, we did explode. Whatever made you guess?

Last chance groceries in the Winn-Dixie saloon

Christmas Eve. The last thing standing between my current state of consciousness and Christmas morning was a few hours and a vast, primal craving for mint chocolate chip ice cream that felt more akin to heroin withdrawal than a mere, mortal craving.

I was drinking tea on the couch, doubled up on sugar and memories. I had the remote control. Jeff and I were browsing through the wan, unappealing TV listings. This was the night of endless nutcrackers and carols, and there was not even a hope of halfway-intriguing television between then and dawn on the twenty-sixth.

I was trying not to think of home, in the same desperation and utter lack of success that one might encounter while desperately attempting to avoid thinking of a white elephant after having one suggested in conversation.* * * * *

"If we stay up late enough we could watch the local meteorologists track Santa during the evening news."

The house with no cookies

Dear Santa,

Since you don't seem to have a claims or complaints department, it looks like I have to address this complaint directly to you. I realize that today is the 23rd of December, and that you're plenty busy putting together packages for all the good little kids, but given that I'm about to fall asleep where I sit, I don't think this complaint can wait much longer.

New holiday skin: 'sleigh bells'

I've promised for a couple of years now that I would someday do a holiday skin. 'Sleigh bells' is as close as I think you're going to get. Just a wee bit of holiday, and no pink (you're welcome, Geof).