conflicting schedules from a spate of travelling had pushed the annual year-end gift exchange well past the beginning of this year that even renaming it a new year exchange was pushing the notion of a new year some (the chinese one is almost upon us, it must be said.) but arrived we did at poach's for lunch, and drew in turn we did from a mystery heap of wrapped objects on the living room floor, all minus addy-in-the-windy-city.

the gift i chose for the girls this year was a set of four waterproof travel laundry bags with an exterior design of the world map on them: the oceans in teal and the continents golden-beige, plus a pair of translucent yellow vintage cat's-eye sunglasses to go with the travel theme (this went to poach.) the one i drew from the pile (su-lin's gift) turned out to be a japanese planter kit for wild strawberries -- it wouldn't grow in this climate, i suspect, even in an airconned room (we wouldn't keep the aircon on all day for ourselves, let alone a plant of uncertain fecundity), but it does come in a cute little red-glazed ceramic pot which i can always reuse as a pen holder if the seeds don't germinate -- or maybe grow some other less ambitious plant in it if i feel up to gardening: a herb for preference (one daydreams of a flourishing garden the extravagance of which would relate inversely to a supermarket herb bill -- but whose fingers are green and not wont to incidental mayhem? not mine.)

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