Poundcakes & Selfish Neighbors

2005 will go down as the year my neighbors turned on me.  It used to be during the holidays we would all wave at each other as we got in our cars each morning and call out "Merry Christmas!" if we passed on the street.  That's it.  Nothing more, nothing less.  This year, the bastards showed up at my home with homebaked goods, fresh fruit, and wrapped gifts.  I don't know that I'll be able to forgive them.

Of course, my anger is just a cover for my deep embarrassment.  They caught me unprepared.  I long to be one of those women who has a stash of pre-wrapped gifts at the ready for the spur-of-the-moment gift exchange but it hasn't happened yet.  However, my embarrassment this year might motivate me for the next.

The first to show up were our new neighbors, bearing the scrumptious and beautifully decorated chocolate-dipped apples I mentioned before.  And, they included some kitty yum-yums for our cats. "Well, they're new.  They just don't know the rules," I comforted myself.

Then our neighbors up the street showed up with a lemon poundcake and later that afternoon our next door neighbor--a single dad and cop--dropped by with the homemade poundcake he had found time to make for us.  Aaaugh!

From there it was like a bad dream.  Each time the doorbell rang, Blair and I shrank further and further into the couch.  How could we have been so shortsighted not to have gifts prepared?  How inherently selfish are we?  Suffice it to say, we felt absolutely terrible as we stuffed poundcake and milk down our throats.

The final blow came when our dear friends up the street stopped by with homemade walnut fudge and the most adorable Christmas tree ornament in the shape of a cat face I have ever seen.  So not only did they bring gifts, they put some thought into a gift that would really please us.  Can you believe the nerve of some people?

So I know now what I'm up against for next year.  It's a good thing too.  Given my lack of cooking skills, it will probably take me the full 365 days to learn to bake a decent poundcake.