December 25, 1997

Really busy day today. Lots of things to do and people to see and places to be. Almost too much so for me. But it was kinda fun, too. It all started with opening presents, as John's Mom and Dad were going to be over for breakfast, and John was fairly sure that since the Rostyki were having an all-over gift exchange instead of the usual everyone for everything kinda party that they would have opened their gifts beforehand.

So we got to rip open all the things that my Mom and Dad and Kathy had given us along with the random gift here and there from other people as well. John got me a slew of no-guilt items, things that I'd been agonizing over for the last several weeks, and he just decided to get most of them for me so that I wouldn't have any guilt about having them. *chuckle* He is a real sweety in that regard.

So I now have a really nice portable CD player with 10 second no-skip, a cool calendar, exactly the Calphalon omelet pan I wanted, and enough in gift certificates to Victoria's Secret that I just could go wild there. What with both John and my Mom collaborating on that. Mom and Dad also got me the *other* Calphalon pan I'd been lusting after, a huge model that has a waffle texture surface so it's really non-stick to most foods. I'm going to have to try it with the teriyaki salmon, as that stuff get sticky sometimes. It worked like a charm against potstickers. Kathy got me a copy of Neverwhere and a copy of Rent. I trust her judgement so far as which production of what musical to get a recording of, and as much as Cera has ranted about Rent, I thought I should check it out. Carl had bought me a really cool book by Sean Stewart named Resurrection Man. Tom Gryn got me a great CD. There were countless other Christmas cards.

Quite a cool set of gifts. Plenty to enjoy and work with for a while.

John's mom and dad arrived around 9:30 with a box of gifts. *laughter* They hadn't heard of John's assumptions, so had brought their wrapped gifts to open with us. Turned out that Walt and Cathie had sent their gifts for me along with them, so I got to open two more things! A box of butter shortbread, which they'd brought back from Scotland, I think, and they knew that I liked the stuff; and I danced with joy as I opened the second one, which was an apple/potato corer/peeler. It's such a funny contraption, that basically puts the apple on a screw, and gradually runs it against a cutting blade and a peeling blade so it all gets done at once.

I'd used theirs when we were in Albuquerque to help Cathie make an apple pie, and had been so amused by it that they decided to get me one for Christmas. Hoorah! So we cored and sliced an apple for breakfast and Isabel made me promise to bring it to do potatoes for the evening's supper, and so we did. They left around noon to get ready for the evening's festivities, as they were having 14 folks over for Christmas dinner.

We put Fezzik into the back of the Range Rover and went to Marymoore park and took him to the off-leash area. Where he did his usual romping about. There was a Newfoundland puppy, with funny feet, and whom had just had hip surgery for hip dysplaysia, but he was happy and bouncy and swarmed all over me. It's a very good things he knew nothing about leverage, so I shed him pretty easily, but he was really happy to find someone to play with. Fezzik didn't like him as much as the other dogs, mostly because the puppy was just all over him, quickly, when he was already tired from running around so much, so couldn't support the extra weight that easily. But he played for a while, and then went into the water.

I took a closer look at some of the labs. I've been thinking about getting a Lab for company for Fezzik. Still am, as they're good fetching dogs, pay better attention to their people, and since they're hunting dogs, they're bred to spend a lot of time very still and patiently waiting and then go for a quick burst of physical activity. So exercise for them is fifteen hard and fast minutes of playing catch with the ball being their life for a while. Fezzik loves chasing a lab that chases a ball, but the lab has got to not mind this huge dog trying to jump them all the time; and most of the labs we've met at the Park have been really good about that as well as good about warning him off if he's *too* rambunctious about it.

We'll see. It's not like having a puppy, to adopt an adult dog as we don't have to be home to feed it twice a day or something like that. And we'll have to be sure about housebreaking issues, but that should be okay. Fezzik was really good after a bit of crate training as a tiny puppy. It seems to work for most adult dogs as well. But that can be done at any time. So I think some more.

We got home around 3, lay about for a while and then went to Isabel and George's with the potato peeler. It was *fun* running a dozen potatos through the things, though it took off more skin than I usually do, it did the job fairly quickly with a little end cleanup afterwards.

David, Emily, and Yuri all showed up a little earlier, and so John and I gave them our presents for them, and they had fun opening them up. Yuri got a Lego kit, and after a while first hour as he tried to pummel John into playing with him, he finally opened the kit and started work on it with John 'helping'. John actually did very little, asking questions, as is his usual wont, rather than giving answers. So Yuri figured it out pretty well and didn't really want to come out to dinner when it happened, but did and sat, with ill-grace through the conversation after food.

He reminded me of me, a lot. *laughter* He really didn't want to be around everything, he wanted to concentrate on his Legos, and when he was allowed to go, he ran back to the Legos and worked like crazy. It was amazing to watch, as he has spatial relationships in his head the way John does. He can look at something on paper and spot the piece immediately and slap it on in the right orientation without having to look again. He didn't do any of it wrong. Yes. I'll admit, I took watching him as an excuse to get away from the rest of the party.

Not that the party was bad in any way. Everyone was having fun and it was really nice and a festive party. Also, it's really clear that all the families involved are very, very functional families that have raised cheerful extroverts who have no problems feeling easy with people and there were no exhausting background information pickups to be had. I guess I was just tired and tired of the efforts I had to go through to make polite conversation constantly when I could be watching a young boy's passion for Legos. Especially when everyone got involved in playing Simon Says...

*grin* Okay... so I ran away...

But it was okay, too. And we all headed home around 9pm or so and got to sleep early, which was nice, indeed.

© 1997 by Liralen Li

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