Man, where does the time go? A week later, I am still with the zombies, still without a financial planner. The pasta sauce is gone, as are the decadent chocolate chip cookies. Christmas looms in and out of my conscience, a pirate ship chasing me through a fog bank. I'll forget about it for a bit, then remember and panic-shop, then drift into regular work and family mode, then spot it again, nearer now, its guns run out and its crew ready to board. I spent yesterday afternoon at the Eaton Centre with most of Toronto, and my two girls. Imo and Thea are fond of picking out presents for other people. A generous trait, and useful for me since I have no talent that way. Thea will say something like, This candle would be perfect for Aunt Julie, and I'll say, Really? How do you know? And she'll say, I just do. Aunt Julie, if you are reading this, better prepare for warm, waxy, Christmas-type light and scent. I was able to offer some input into my son Sam's present because he told me, very clearly, what he doesn't want. A coat, he said. If you get me another horrible coat I may explode. See, I got him a motorcycle jacket for his birthday. Something like the one in the picture there, only more retro. I thought (and still do think; and what's more one of Sam's room mates agrees with me. Thank you, Dean) that the jacket was funky and stylish, capable of being worn both straight and as an ironic gesture. Sam disagreed. Violently. Sam, if you are reading this, don't panic. No coats were purchased in the making of this Christmas. At least, not yet. (Sam and I have an odd gift-giving relationship. Some years ago, old enough to understand my taste in music and to have developed one of his own, he bought me an Eagles cd. Thanks! I said. You hate the Eagles, don't you, Dad, he said. Yes! I said. He smiled.) I don't know who is going to help me shop for the girls. The boys have no talent for other people's desires. I may have to fall back on the icons of femininity: flowers and chocolate, silk and sunshine and love. Of course there is always technology. Nothing says I love you like an i-phone. And you can use it to order flowers.