I'm back. At least mostly back. I was down and out with the flu for a week, and then the rest of the family got it. We were in isolation for almost two weeks. That does not do my soul any good. I was getting all bummed out and bored from being coop up inside. I would make an awful hermit. All the other hermits would laugh at me for trying to talk to them. No one would show up for my hermit parties. I'm in a much better mood now and just in time for Christmas.

Every year I give my neighbours a little bag of treats. I'm not sure if it's wanted or appreciated. Regardless, I still want to give them a token of appreciation. I am grateful that they all seem fairly normal and they cause me very little stress. We do our obligatory chit chat across our lawns, and don't get too personal. I'm happy to bear it all with my friends but I am a little more reserved with my immediate residents.

We started a new tradition this year. The tradition is that Jess bakes the cookies for our neighbour gifts. He may not realize that this is the new tradition but I'm going to fly with it. He's perfected his shortbread recipe. And for a girl who doesn't really like shortbread, I've sure eaten a few.

Sea Salt and Pepper Shortbread

1 part sugar
2 parts butter
3 parts flour

All ratios are by weight. Cream butter and sugar. Mix in flour. Form dough into a log, and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove from fridge and cut log into discs. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and pepper. Place on a greased cookie tray and bake for 10 minutes at 350 F.

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