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December 25th, 2005

Merry Christmas, 2005...

I got up at 9:00, showered, loaded the car with gifts, and headed out to Greenville by about 9:40. The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh.

The ride to Greenville was uneventful. I listened to a couple of NPR Most e-Mailed Stories podcasts on the way.



I was the first to arrive at Vivian's and Jeff's, and had them open one of their gifts from me before the others arrived -- for two reasons:
  1. It was something she could use for dinner, and

  2. It wouldn't look like Vivian was the favored family member, which she is.
They opened a box from Replacements Limited with, from their crystal pattern:

Salt & Pepper Shakers
28-oz Pitcher
Iced Tea Glass
Iced Tea Glass

Also in the box, was an Oval Vegetable Bowl (OV9, 9 1/2-inch) from their china pattern.

Vivian squealed with delight at the items, and Jeff thanked me for always adding to their china and crystal patterns so he won't have to.



Mom and dad arrived next, and we had about a half-hour of socializing before Meagan (my niece), Chris (her husband), and Nicholas (their baby, my great nephew!), and Michael (my nephew) arrived.

Nicholas was absolutely adorable, and very entertaining. He was intrigued with Vivian's and Jeff's 22-pound cat, Smokey, who was not nearly as enamored with him, as evidenced by the constant hissing.



We had an absolutely delicious meal. Vivian outdid herself, as usual, which we all appreciate.

Every year (for both Thanksgiving and Christmas), she makes the napkin rings (a la some Martha Stewart-type decorating idea), and in addition to the napkin rings for Christmas, she had those "popper things" you usually get a New Year's parties that you pull each end apart and the open with a pop to reveal a (or some) trinket(s) inside. These are what I'm talking about:


Hers had Christmas paper covering them with patterns such as red and white stripes and candy canes. Inside, they contained various things such as a little tiny pen in the shape of a small jet, a stamp ring, hair crunchies, and a whistle.

Each of them also contained a paper crown, and a trivia question and/or joke in three different languages: English, French, and Spanish.



Vivian and I started the dishes; she washed and I dried. About halfway through, Jeff took over washing so that Vivian could set the food out for folks to fill plastic containers with to take home with them.

I prepared myself a full container of ham, since there was more than enough leftover, and I paid for it. :)



After the dishes, we opened presents, and instead of the one-by-one, oooh and ahh, round-robin we usually do, we just had a free-for-all opening, with two exceptions of gifts from me that mom and dad and Vivian and Jeff had to open at the same time, since they were the same gifts.

Everyone seemed pleased with their treasures. I know I was, since I gave a list, and got stuff exactly from it.



The kids left shortly after that, passing on dessert, as they wanted to get back to Jacksonville to a later night's eating commitment, I believe they had. Goodbyes and hugs all around.

The rest of us had dessert: Vivian and I had pecan pie, mom and dad had pumpkin pie, and Jeff passed.

Mom and dad left shortly after that as dad didn't want to be driving home in the dark.

I left not too long after that. I was driving into the sunset, which is normally annoying, but there was enough cloud cover that it wasn't ever directly in my eyes.

In fact, the sun was doing some amazing things behind the clouds, and I stopped along the way to snap a couple of pictures. I have little confidence they will convey the beauty I witnessed, though.

I arrived back in Raleigh at just after 5:00, and promptly lied down for a nap. Robert arrived at about 5:30, and promptly joined me in the nap.



We got up at about 7:15, and left for CCs at about 7:45. Dancing was once again pretty lame there; I just don't enjoy it. It's way too hot in there, and no one really seems interested in the lessons Carl provides. I really don't want to go back next week, and plan not to.

At around 10:20, Robert and I left to go to Flex for Karaoke, but it just wasn't-a-working there for me, and we left in less than 5 minutes.

At home, we showered and worked on the crossword puzzle from this week's Independent. Very challenging. Good fun.

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