At my old apartment complex, the mailboxes were located right below my balcony; all I had to do was walk downstairs and I was at them. At my new apartment complex, I have to walk past several buildings, around the pool, past the rental office . . . and then all the way back again, too. It's not a huge hike exactly, but it's a full five-minute walk, so if I were to come down with the flu or something, I doubt I'd be up to getting my mail by myself until I recovered. But when I'm not sick, and when the weather isn't too uncomfortable, it can be a surprisingly enjoyable walk.
We had an office Christmas party/gift exchange today. I brought homemade bread and gave away a novel (Armadillo by William Boyd). I received a set of four miniature crystal candy dishes, about half the size of ashtrays, so tiny that I can't imagine what I could possibly put in them that wouldn't fill them up with only three pieces of candy in each tray. The rules of the gift exchange were that we were all supposed to bring "re-gifted" items that we didn't want, though, so almost all the gifts were bizarre little things that it was difficult to imagine why anyone would want. Candy dishes were, on the whole, one of the better things I could have ended up with. I'm especially glad I'm not the one who ended up with the lime green stuffed alligator with orange hair and red lipstick and a pink bikini and a wind-up voice box that caused it to perform a rap song for us . . .
Quite a few people complimented me on my bread - far more people than I heard complimenting anybody else on their cooking. The bread was Mediterranean Herbed Bread, except with slightly different herbs in it than Betty Crocker's recipe called for, because I always change little things like that. The recipe is really fantastic no matter what herbs I put in it, but I think my yeast is nearing the end of its lifetime. The bread turned out okay, but I think, personally, that it was just a little more dense than it ideally ought to have been. Next time I make bread, it will need to be with new yeast.