On the Feast of Stephen -- 12/26/01
Today is the Feast of St. Stephen... you know, when good old King Wenceslas looked out and saw the poor man gathering scraps of wood on a cold and snowy day.

It's also Boxing Day in the U.K. and Canada and Australia and New Zealand... So Happy Boxing Day to you all!

We had a quiet and happy Christmas... Nancy and I watched It's a Wonderful Life on television on Christmas Eve and then placed presents around the tree... The kids are not little ones any more -- Sean is 16 and Jennifer is 19 (yes, and Adam is 33... but he wasn't here this year because he and his wife are spending the holiday with her parents in upstate New York this year) and Nancy and I tried to keep things more low key this year, not needing mounds of presents to thrill small children... not that presents were skimpy... Sean's big presents were a new monitor and a new CD-burner for his computer (the existing ones were not longer functioning properly) and Jennfier's were the Lego Mindstorms Invention System and the video add-on component (what else would you get a computer science major who loves Legos? Now she can build and program Lego robots!). Jennifer got me a Sears Craftsman rechargeable drill set... something I've wanted for ages. I also got a VHS tape of A Summer Place... which those of you who are of my generation may remember this cinema soap opera (Troy Donahue, Sandra Dee, Richard Egan, Dorothy McGuire, Constance Ford, Arthur Kennedy... although, of course, as teenagers we only paid attention to Troy and Sandra)... the theme song was the number one hit of 1959... interestingly, the movie was based on a best-selling novel by Sloan Wilson (who also wrote The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit)... So I'm looking forward to popping this in the VCR some cold winter night soon, snuggling up with my sweetie on the couch and pretending that we're watching this in a drive-in on a summer night in 1959. Nancy and I had agreed that we would only get each other a few simple things... and I did that, just got her a book and a couple of music CDs... but I cheated a bit and also got her a nice gold necklace (but it's very pretty and she seemed pleased so I guess that's okay).

I had picked up a small turkey -- just under twelve pounds -- with the intent (at Nancy's urging) of cooking it for Christmas Eve. We were planning on eating at Nancy's mother's house on Christmas Day.... so Sunday night Nancy was talking with her mom about Christmas Day and apparently her mother was thinking of fixing a ham (which is not exactly one of Nancy's favorite meals) so I suggested that I could roast the Turkey on Christmas morning and we could bring it with us... and, while I was at it, I could bring dressing and gravy as well... On Monday, as I thought about it, I decided that there would be about a dozen people there and this small turkey would not feed all of them plus leave leftovers for next day eating (which I know that Nancy loves to have) so I went out and found another turkey of the same size. Christmas morning I popped both birds in the oven (they just fit) and fixed the dressing (Pepperidge Farm stuffing -- to which I added chopped up onion and celery and mushrooms) and gravy. When everything was ready we packed it up, along with a tray of Christmas cookies and a couple bottles of chardonay and off we went... Nancy's mom supplied mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce; and Nancy's sister made veggies. Oh yeah, for dessert there were two trays of cookies plus two pumpkin pies, two apple pies, and a chocolate pie.

Yes, we all had to stumble off for a walk around the neighborhood afterwards lest we all just fall asleep at the table...

We missed on having a White Christmas... (unlike upstate New York where Buffalo got more than two feet of snow yesterday!)... but we may be on our way to having an almost White Boxing Day... there was a barely visible dusting of snow and light flurries when I went out to get the newspaper just before dawn this morning and now (a bit past nine a.m.) there is a powdery confectioner's sugar coating of white on the lawns, although it does not seem to be snowing at the present time.

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