A good year.

My sister is in South Africa with the baboons and our pup is in a kennel because the airline was being a pain in the a** about letting her fly, but Christmas is good this year. Our week was cut down to three days thanks to the travel-murdering blizzard on the east coast, so we condensed down to the essentials: unbelievably delicious lunch at Chez Panisse with the marvelous occasion of running into an old friend who turned out to be our waiter, brunch at an old favorite spot and a walk on the beach out at Stinson.

This morning we slept in a bit and made coffee before we opened presents. My sister's absense was palpable at that point -- it was always her up at the crack of dawn, frustrated at everyone else's inertia, irrepressibly excited about tearing open that first package. But it was slow and quiet and relaxed. We are enjoying each other's company. For the rest of the day we'll work in the kitchen putting together dinner for tonight. There will be cheese and cocktails before, the meal will be wonderful and we will all eat and drink just a little too much. I am so happy and so lucky.

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