I'm going to miss the office Christmas party, since it's later this week and I'm sure not flying back, not for that alone. That's a little shame, I guess, sine the diversion from the usual routine is pretty neat plus it means for a half-week or more after there's no need to buy or bring lunch. You can go wholly on leftovers until someone declares --- before lunch --- that the lingering salads or whatnot have got too aged and throws them out, so they sit in the trash bin in the break room all day. I'd throw them out after the final lunch, but nobody asks me.
I got a fine replacement, though. bunny_hugger works occasionally at a bookstore, and their holiday party was Sunday evening, after the store closed. It was of the potluck style, and she brought malt cookies, based on a recipe from a reprinted Betty Crocker book of the 60s. She spent much of Sunday afternoon mixing and baking and doing those other food-prep things, including worrying about whether they were burned (a few did, and those are going to keep the squirrel population fed), but the tray full of cookies was ready just on the dot to go over to the store.
There's always something fun in getting into the back room of a store (larger than the whole bookstore I worked at back in the day) or after-hours, especially for something store-inappropriate like a party. There were only a few people around from the days when bunny_hugger worked there regularly, and we got seated at the far end of the table from them, but there were chances to mingle some and they're at least now vaguely aware that I'm a person who exists and sometimes can even work up his courage to say something before the conversation's moved far on.
They had raffles for prizes, something bunny_hugger had done well in in past years, and her party-going streak kept up this year: she won a free used book. There was apparently some lightly comic god overseeing the lucky draw this year, as the guy running the DVD section won a free DVD. When the next prize was announced to be any music CD, one person piped up about how it could be any one of the ten in stock (2008 was the last year that anyone bought a music CD in a store, so their shelving space has been dwindling); she won the prize.
Trivia: The first scan survey photographs of Mars by Mariner 4 came as 200 scan lines of 200 pixels each, in raw numbers. They were hand-colored in crayon to be presentable in ways the public could understand. Source: Voyager: Seeking Newer Worlds In The Third Great Age Of Discovery, Stephen J Pyne.
Currently Reading: Analog Science Fiction and Fact, January/February 2013, Editor Stanley Schmitt. And another story I was just about to post a YASID for --- one where the spoiled brat heiress uses the last gallons of gasoline on Earth for a road trip, and she matures over the trip by deciding to use her immense fortune to SPACE!, which is lucky as she was being observed by aliens who were going to bombard the Earth back to the late Cretacious if someone didn't SPACE! already --- gets identified. The essayist for one of those pieces about how to write fiction so you can get published in Analog was using his story as an example in establishing a sense of place.
PS: Lose the Change, featuring a little loose-change problem that's been solved excellently well, not by me.