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Holiday Report

Our Christmas Eve party was a success, with Shelly cooking up about 15 dishes in the appetizer and dessert categories. The house was fully done up with icicle lights, tinsel garlands, holly and other greenery, and a small tree.

The media table was filled with enough items to elicit several "Wow, this is part of the swap?!" and "How many can I take with me?" comments, and so was judged a success. Folks brought more than they took away, but everyone seemed pleased. I wound up delighted with a copy of Pajitnov's Pandora's Box and some books I was interested in: Gentian, Rosemary, and Juniper by Pamela Dean, Pavane by Keith Roberts, a Disinformation interview title (motto= "You Are Being Lied To"), and Zulu Heart alternate history by Steven Barnes.

We played some XBox games (Crimson Skies and Soul Calibur), and I kicked butt at the dogfighting. Steven's cousin David revealed his Soul Calibur mastery, smacking down all comers. The turnout was very good, and things didn't wind down until midnight. I was so keyed up, I actually stayed up for a little while reading Pavane.

Yesterday, we opened some gifts in the morning, and I was pleased with the number of books, the fantastic hat, and a colorful scarf that has instantly become my new favorite. Shelly got a couple of console games (Dance Dance Revolution and the karaoke mixer), and I gave her some gold earrings she had been pining for. Even the dog got a few snacky treats.

But the real standout gift was the third section of the Baur family history, a book my father wrote and printed in a rather limited edition and titled "Chapter III". This volume covers the post-war period of college in Germany and emigration to the US, and ends around 1962. It has scanned and embedded pictures and maps. Mind you, the last installment arrived in 1993 or 1994, so this is a rare treat. The section headers include "How to Win a Nobel Prize."

After noon, we went to Kate and Jeff's for a very fine holiday dinner. The juiciest turkey I've ever had, an enormous salmon, far more than the usual trimmings, and two desserts for a table of 14 or so. I don't know how they do it, but they pull it off year after year. A terrific Christmas day. More details available from the host on Grubb Street. </ljcut>

I'm now ready to crawl into a cave and not speak to people for a couple of days.

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