It's that season again, where the social invitations begin to pile up. Yesterday the Phactors & F1 went tree shopping and then some cooking. First was an ecological openhouse immediately followed by a student pot-luck Christmas party complete with ugly Christmas sweater competition. There was a spirited contest but it was for 2nd place because who can beat a green sweater embroidered with a sasquatch wearing a red bikini? Today begins the Martha Stewart transformation of the abode, and also is a very nice dinner party for which we made some spicy marinated shrimp which are presently residing in two mason jars in the fridge. Later this week we have at least three social engagements in a tight sequence. Oh to be so loved! And you get lots of nice snacks. When oh when will TPP get time to bake cookies? And then he is reminded that he is retired and can bake cookies anytime, and yes, that's much more fun than final exams, whether taking them or giving and grading them. So when do you blog? When Mrs. Phactor is running errands and TPP is supposed to be doing this or that. So best keep this short. Grinches seem to get burned out by socializing, but in general it's rather fun to chat with people not frequently seen and to meet a few new people and try to remember their names (not one of TPP's strong suits unless its Latin). People are a bit subdued because of recent event, crappy politics, and all but glad for some distraction.