Saturday morning I hit the road to do my Christmas shopping. I started at Kohl's in Plano. There I found two key gifts. Next I went to Williams-Sonoma in Plano, where I found another key thing. I got out my map app to hunt for yet another store. I turned out that the store I hunted was in the same shopping center in which I was located. I walked over and found the store less busy than its outlet in Allen. I made a good purchase, and headed to lunch. Later I went to other stores--Big Lots for simple things, Dollar Tree for wrapping paper. I spent much of my day shopping. I was pleased that I encountered patience and courtesy among both customers and shopfolk.
In life, there are, among other categories, gift-wrappers and there are gift-baggers. I am in the latter category. But Saturday I determined to do the gift wrapping myself of the various presents I had procured. The first present ,a rectangular box, went fairly well. It went downhill from there. I wrapped a goodish few presents, and each had more canyons, unstraight pathways and stray paper than the one before. But I felt they showed heart, and heart matters.
Later, I walked in Glendover Park with Beatrice, who loved the pleasant weather. Later I walked in Green Park, where I saw lots of birds but nothing too unusual.
My wife and I set out to go to dinner. We noticed something wonderful. Our favorite neighborhood place, Holy Frijoles, had closed some months ago. We saw that dreaded landlord notice of a lock-out. But Saturday Holy Frijoeles was open again. It was a Christmas miracle. It turned out it had been closed only a month, and re-opened a couple of months ago. The folks who help us there were still there, and the man who often waits on us remembered my favorite order--chicken enchiladas verde. We were dellighted to find our old place open again.
Sunday morning I got up and walked on the Chisholm Trail near Christie Elementary in Plano. I saw my first Golden-Crowned Kinglet of the year. This brings my Collin County count up to 105 species. I do not think that I will reach the 110 species I reached last year. But we'll see. My wife went to church with me. I enjoyed singing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", We saw a member we know there who did not realize we remain members there. I like anonymity. It reminds me of living in southern California. The Reverend Todd Harris gave a sermon on exchanging chaos for peace.
In the afternoon, we drove to Plants and Planters in Richardson. We got there each year to get a Douglass Fir as our Christmas tree. We have never left it so late in the season to get a tree. There were but four trees left. We picked one, and found, to our delight, that the trees were on sale for half-price. The expert workers put the tree in my wife's trunk and secured it with rope. At home, I carried the tree and set it in the stand, with my wife providing capable field-general duties.
We decided to decorate the tree that night. I drove to Limestone Quarry Park in Frisco. I hoped to see an American Pipit, though I sometimes pride myself in not "twitching" to try to see any particular species. I saw a dozen or so species, but not the desired one. I was happy with the walk nonetheless.
I fell asleep Sunday night without doing much to help decorate the tree. I woke in the wee hours of the morning. I found my wife was on a very long holiday call with her youngest sister. They had a great time. I took the opportunity to get up and put some ornaments on the tree. I think this is the best Christmas tree we have ever had.
Today, Monday, I got up fairly eartly. I walked in Breckinridge Park, near my work. I liked the five American Goldfinches and the White-Breasted Nuthatch. I went to my office and worked on a single project for some hours. After work, I went for a mid-afternoon walk in Crowley Park in Richardson. I liked the Brown Creeper and the Downy Woodpecker, each of whom plied their trade on the same tree.
Tonight we met my brother and his wife and my nephew and his girlfriend at the Silver Fox in Richardson. We had a wonderful Christmas Eve meal together. I had a seared Chilean seabass. I usually avoid seabass, which is an over-fished species. But the game hen I wanted to order from the menu was not on offer. My meal was nonetheless very good.
We walked about the trip to Montreal my nephew and his girlfriend thsi Autumn. My nephew's old friend from high school lives up there, and organized a small-scale board games convention. They liked visiting there. I recalled to my nephew two parts of his childhood. Whenever I am on a given street in Plano [Independence Parkway], I see a sign for Anderson Elementary. When my nephew was about 5 (he is 25 now), I took him there to the playground. But we spent less time on the swings than on the ground. We found ammonite fossils in the gravel. Marine fossils are not unusual in our county, but to find them in the gravel was a novel thing. My wife and I recalled to him the time his mother brought he and his (now-late) older brother to see us in La Crescenta, California. I recalled us going to Disneyland, and how my nephew liked the teacups ride. I did not tell him, but remember, that everyone liked the Pirates of the Carribean ride.
After dinner, we went to my wife's car and unloaded the gifts we had gotten them. They, in turn, had given us gifts at the outset. They went off to my nephew's house to open gifts on Christmas Eve, as is my family's (vaguely German) tradition. We went home, where I am watching George C. Scott's turn as Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol" and enjoying a lovely Christmas Eve.
from Dreamwidth, because two posts of the same text are twice as nice