Let me remind you here of my Technology Shopping Plan. It has unaccountably not been put into widespread use since I proposed it last year, so I sallied forth with trepidation to do this year’s electronic shopping.

Oh, I am so much better this year than last year. I knew not merely the approximate generic terms for the items I intended to buy, but the precise brand names as well. I was able to recognize the correct division of the store, identify the item, and carry it confidently back to the check-out line within about three minutes.

Flushed with triumph, I went home instead of going to do the fact-checking I should have done. Oh, well. The trouble is, when you have a long list of things to do, and one of them is “knit, while reading, in the comfort of your own home,” that one tends to be more appealing than the others. So I made good progress on bawk the eighth — this is “rain” Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks.

The Da Vinci Code has turned out to be an enjoyable read. It is a thriller, and the puzzles are fun to work out. I am mostly getting them before the protagonists, which I think is a dramatic device. That way, we have some pages of urging them, “Come on! You must see that it’s — ” I won’t give anything away, though. I understand that there is an illustrated version available. If you were going to buy a copy, it is probably worth getting that one. Even if you are fairly familiar with the art of the period, it is hard to visualize with the level of detail you will want. #2 son, who is leaning toward becoming an itinerant art historian rather than a wandering folklorist, helped me out, but pictures would have been good.

I received a package from my sister in New Zealand, as well as one from the nice people at Sunnyland. The box from New Zealand inspired me to complete the Christmas decorating and put the gifts under the tree. The box from Sunnyland, being filled with fresh nuts and glace apricots, inspired me to bake Danish Almond Crisps and Cranberry Pecan Swirls. They have joined all the other cookies in the freezer, awaiting their opportunity to come out and bring joy to someone at Christmas. Well, probably not. They are inanimate, after all. But it is nice to see all those containers in the freezer, and know that putting the annual cookie boxes together will be simple and fun.

The box from New Zealand had been packed with newspaper, so I had the opportunity to read the foreign ads. I mean, foreign news is easy to come by nowadays, but I can hardly ever see ads asking if I want to make more money from my sheep right next to the holiday shopping stuff.

Sighkey, also a New Zealander, told me that this amazing song, “Snoopy’s Christmas,” is among the most popular Christmas songs there. It took a while to begin the music on my computer, but it is worth the wait. There are dog pictures and flashing lights to amuse you while it loads. It is by The Royal Guardsmen, who I figured must be Brits, but no, they were a garage band from Florida. It is our American Snoopy from Peanuts that they are talking about. Here are the guitar chords.

I had never heard of this song, but it was the US #2 record in January of 1967 (I was alive at the time — I don’t know how I missed it), and #8 in the UK. The band split up after just a couple of years, but the song has apparently continued its popularity while I have been oblivious to it.

Today, after church, I will be going to the gym with a crowd of teenage boys. That should be a new and fun experience. And then I will tackle the remains of my to-do list. Of course, “knit Christmas presents” is still on the list.