December 16, 2013

"Unsophisticated." That's what I accused them of being. The cookies were "used" I said. More precisely, they were used Christmas cookies. Here's what happened: We had company earlier in December. Just family. We knew they were coming so we baked some Christmas cookies; it was a little early, but close enough. So we had dinner (ravioli from a frozen package with homemade sauce, which my dad eyed with suspicion -- but that's a different story). After dinner we put out a nice Lenox Christmas plate, one with that handle that sticks up in the middle and actually bolts on through a hole in the china. Easy to pass. Elegant. With more cookies on it than we would eat, plenty of variety for everyone. (Never mind the giant gingerbread cookie on the plate; that, too, is a different story.) After a few minutes of leisurely conversation and cookie consumption we started to clear the table. I got out a clean Rubbermaid container and started taking the cookies off the Lenox plate and putting them into this fresh container. For this I got grief. I was apparently expected to sort the cookies back into their respective primary containers which housed the rest of the cookies, the ones that hadn't been presented at table for eating. Well, it seemed more proper to me to put the used cookies into a clean container. They could be presented at the next dessert occasion, augmented as needed with fresh cookies. An undistinguished mix of new and used, perfectly palatable, cookies. What do you do with used cookies?

Otherwise, we all still do what we've been doing lately: Caralyn is finishing high school and fielding offers from colleges and universities. She's a National Merit Scholarship Semi-finalist. She's also a world traveler. She spent a couple weeks in Germany as part of a soccer youth exchange program. A team of girls and one of boys from hereabouts went over and played and did a bunch of site seeing. She lived with a very nice German family. Next summer we will host a girl from Germany.

She also spent a week in New York City with Madelyn in June. Cousins Lisa and Joey were among those who helped tour them around Manhattan. They saw and did a lot and Caralyn fell in love with The City.

The rest of the time Madelyn is still holding down 3 jobs: 2 days per week in the doctor's office, which she thoroughly enjoys; one morning in Bruegger's Bagel Bakery, ditto; and occasional days as a substitute school nurse. She's also biking and running when she can -- various injuries have slowed her down, but she still gets it done. Similarly I've been hobbled some from my normal table tennis and volleyball routines. I have been playing "lefty" for a few weeks and getting a little better.

I haven't had any new stories published, but my previous one was collected into an actual print anthology called Rocket Dragons Ignite (Daily Science Fiction Year Two). I spent an awesome week at the Writing Excuses "Out of Excuses Workshop and Retreat" with 29 other students and 4 prominent genre authors.

Nathaniel is living in a fresh apartment in Auburn, doing one of those "Insanity" type workout regimens and selling Apple computer products. No matter how simple Apple makes them, the gadgets keep getting more complex. It's nice to have his insights available.

Simple or sophisticated, with family or with friends, I hope that you enjoy all that the season has to offer. Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays.

- Chip, Madelyn, Caralyn and Nathaniel, crpatton "at"