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austin_dern

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Jan. 1st, 2012

On Christmas Day, we gathered everything up and drove to my sister-in-law's house. Actually, my father gathered everything up; he'd asked me to load everything before we went up, and I agreed to, which is why he went and did it himself. Between packages and foods being brought up we were packed just about to the gills in the car (we had to leave the yoga mat behind), so, good thing we didn't have an accident or I'd have had crock pot meatballs all over my sneakers.

My niece was delighted to see us all again, of course, and we did a lot of snacking, and for dinner eating, and for dessert eating even more. She had her rocking chair set up by the coffee table, right by the potato chips, and she announced that she liked hummus and guacamole but not to eat. She seems to have thought the invitation to have guacamole was related to her Whack-a-Mole game.

As present-giving goes, I think we did pretty well. My niece was delighted getting a Barbie's Dog Water Park, which offers things like a Dog Ferris Wheel and other stuff that promises to make playing with dolls and auxiliary dolls relatively more wet. My parents also gave her a Disney Princesses Sigh Play Tent, which they had thought --- and the box of which suggested --- was a reasonable size. It's actually about a 500-foot cube of thin fabric which pops into place when looked at severely. My niece loved it, though, when it was set up in the kitchen where it very nearly fit and continued to surprise everyone who stepped in and found the kitchen filled. She especially loved it when I started playing the hot new game of ``go to one opening and gasp in surprise as she pops her head out, then go to the other opening and gasp again when she pops her head out there, and repeat''. Based on how loud her reactions were, this was about the greatest game in the history of games ever.

I didn't stick perfectly to the Wish Lists of my family, since in some cases they were just too skimpy (my father had four items, one of which I knew my mother had bought, and two of which were drill bits), but I didn't hit too badly off, I think. I delighted my father with a book about the McKinley assassination, for example; one of the first things she noticed in it was that, apparently, McKinley used to live in the hotel where he and my brother stayed in Washington a few weeks ago, and his wife's favorite restaurant was one they happened to go to thanks to some iPhone-connected-app recommendations-from-people-in-the-area-you-don't-know tool. That really tickled him.

On a bit of a hunch I gave my brother the Six Million Dollar Man season one DVD set. This was modestly appreciated by him, but brought my sister-in-law to squealing joy. Now I know if I ever horrifically badly offend her, I just have to find a Steve Austin lunchbox and all will be forgiven. Also everybody was amused by the Lego Block Ice Cube Tray, although I have the feeling this is going to end up not being actually used. I can withstand that.

Gifts to me came out rather nicely, too, mostly in books and DVDs. My brother and father also gave me a mathematics-puzzles calendar, that one where each day is covered with a complicated formula which, evaluated, produces the given date. My parents also gave me a nice-looking sweater which turned out to be slightly too large; unfortunately, on trying to exchange it, the store turned out to have no medium sweaters left except ones in a hideous Rotting Pea Soup color. I think I'll put up with the slight-too-largeness; that seems forgivable in sweaters.

Although my father bundled up and took with us the gifts I'd got for my other brother, his girlfriend, and their daughter, they just came right back down unopened since none of them were there. They're to be around the next weekend, as in, soon.

Trivia: Alternate New Year's dates have included 25 March, Christmas Day, Easter Day, or 24 or 29 September. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards.

Currently Reading: Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, December 2011, Editor Sheila Williams.

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