Eric just called to tell me that our water has been shut off. There's a leak on our side, they said. We have to get a plumber. We don't know where this leak is, or whether they'll be able to turn on the water tonight if we do get a plumber in time. We were planning on having a New Year's party, but a party without water will be problematic.
Aside from that, the Christmas break has been lovely. The trip to Seattle was great; we met some online friends, I saw M for the first time in years and Eric met her for the first time ever, we ate lots, we saw family, we delivered presents, it snowed on Christmas for the third time in sixty years; good times all around. I also checked out an apartment rental brochure. Rent isn't too bad. We're thinking Lake City or Bremerton might be good places to try for if we're going to move to the Seattle area rather than Portland (or somewhere in between). Eric says it's starting to feel more familiar, which is a good step. And he enjoyed his two Jamba Juices very much.
When we got back, we exchanged presents with Eric's family, which was a bigger to-do since they like to give lots of presents. I got a rolling pin (good-bye wine bottle rolling pin), knitting needles, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, an "Ove-Glove," the non-indie Regina Spektor CD, and a greenhouse. A plastic greenhouse on wheels. I love it very much. I can't decide what to do with it, though--put it outside now and protect my strawberries and sage with it, or keep it inside for extra seed-starting room in February and March.
I gave Mom her quilt and she loved it, and Eric his astrolabe (from the Michigan Renaissance festival) and he loved that, and we gave Michelle The Daring Book for Girls and she loved that. We made friendship bracelets yesterday for her to give to her best friend. We still have a few presents to give out, but overall I think we've done very well on the gift-giving this year.
I spent an entire day in Seattle making Christmas cookies: honey-lemon cutouts, Christmas bells, gingerbread people, lemon bars, and fudge (well, James actually did that one, from a box kit). I intended to make plain chocolate chip as well, but got tired out. "Jenny always makes cookies like that," Bev commented at some point during the family party, and I was slightly concerned about being so predictable before realizing that was ludicrous since this was Christmas, wherein every little thing you do can become a tradition if you're not careful, and everyone loves the cookies. Mom requested a double batch of the bells, most of which James took home with him; Dad assisted in eliminating the cutouts with imperfect icing; Eric enjoyed making mutant gingerbread people (two heads, a peg leg and hook, a third arm, that kind of thing).
I think I need a different gingerbread recipe for next year, but otherwise I was quite pleased--even more so when Mom gave me the cookie cutters and her old Betty Crocker Cooky Book, which used to belong to Grandma, to take home with me. We're having Christmas here next year--Mom became mostly reconciled over our stay--so I'll be making the cookies here, plus Mom and Dad don't bake really anyway. They didn't even have a full set of measuring cups, and only one enormous mixing bowl.
Today I'm making cranberry-and-orange spiral cookies, for the party if we have water, for the mothers to buy the use of their bathroom if we don't. We're mostly ready for the party except for the water. I think we're ready for the new year, too.