So I flew to Omaha, and then Mark flew there and joined me. We saw many people and did many things, and for most of them, I took no pictures. Sometimes I just get in an anti-picture mood, where I'm much more concerned with talking to the people I'm talking to than with preserving them for posterity.

If there was one thing that would jolt me out of an anti-picture mood, though, it would be a cute small person. If there were two things, however, evidently the second one would be Melissa Jacobberger. Who knew?

See, Melissa is someone I still haven't seen in years and years, like at least eight years, because Jim was a dork this year, but I get ahead of myself. Her big sister Kristy and I were friends in junior high and high school, but we haven't kept very good track of each other since then. However. I always liked Melissa, too, and I once told her that she was much cooler than her sister. (Note to other only children: do not inform the smaller sibling of a friend that he/she is cooler than said friend. Friend will be annoyed. Smaller sibling will tell approximately 30% of the world that you said so. Just a heads-up for you.) (She still was a pretty cool little kid, though, when she was 9ish and we were 12 or 13.)

Aaaanyway. Do you see why these picture pages (picture pages, time to do our picture pages...) take me awhile to do? So Melissa decided to take charge of my kindergarten best friend, Jim. Where by "take charge of," I mean "date," but, honestly, I said to Jim, "It sounds like you're not in charge here," and he said, "Not really," and I said something like, "That's quite a relief for all of us." Really. It is.

All of this is by way of saying: Melissa found the last picture of Jim I posted, and promptly laughed various body parts off. So Jim was to get a better picture this time.

Enter the cute small one. I had hung out a bit with Matt and Jen and (the cute small) Indigo the day before, and they were going to stop by and drop off a book or so for me. And then they ended up staying about an hour and a half, and it was muchly fun. So.

That's Jim, me, Matt, and Indy.

And this is Jim, me and Mark, Matt, Indy, and Jen. My folks were taking the pictures. They were pretty taken with this little girl. She whistles. She has that wispy fine blonde hair like I had, and big brown eyes like I had, and she has this triumphant little grin when she knows she's done something very cool. So, um, my folks were not the only ones taken with her.

Talking to Matt and to Jim was actually nothing at all like talking to them in high school. In both cases, it was better. With Jim, I already knew what it'd be like. Hadn't seen Matt in awhile, and while the e-mails were cool, some people are just less comfortable in person. But it worked quite well, never a dull moment etc.

Christmas Eve was a social whirl, because I'd gone out for coffee with Scott before all of the people pictured above came to my folks' house, and then there was that, and then Christmas Eve Day, which is for me and my daddy. We go shopping together for last-minute stocking-stuffer type stuff. For fun. And we get smoothies or yogurt or something nice, and we talk. There was plenty to talk about this year, of course. Then we went back to Grandma's for smorgasbord and presents.

One of the presents related to part of our afternoon conversation: phytoremediation. This is big-time nifty stuff, people, cleaning up water with plants that suck up particular substances naturally. And my dad gets to play with this nifty neat stuff. So we gave him a book about it, to help him play.

Grandma always gets Christmas decorations from her friend Jan.

And I got my chix0r shirt! Wooo! It's pale blue and fitted and pretty pretty. And did I say fitted? It is, to a degree that few of my T-shirts are. I'm quite thrilled with it.

Mark got his Perfect Pancake dealie. They were advertising it on TV, and we were laughing at it (my folks and me), but he wanted one, and so did Onie, so they each got one, and were happy. If I get oatmeal pancakes from it, I'll be happy.

For reasons still obscure to me, my mother received a miniature mitten with one of her sweaters. It was just included. And also confusing to me is the fact that, while my mother is very fond of formal, posed photography, she's always the one with the fun goofy pictures.

Note the adoring look: Mark has received boxer shorts with moose all over them. Awwww.

Want to hear more about his newly acquired moosebutt? Well, there won't be much on that, but there are more cool pictures further on.