Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Very Merry

This Christmas, as always, my family spoiled everyone else and was absolutely thrilled to be spoiled themselves. And the best gift of all was the gift of each other and always working so well together to make each other merry. A great deal of food was consumed and it was all that lovely food stuff you don't buy (or make) under ordinary circumstances for ordinary eating days. Summer sausage and specialty cheeses, plates of assorted crackers, delicate cookies, big hearty breakfasts, bowls of candy, platters of fruit, sirloin steak deep fried individually in fondue hot oil, fresh breads. And to go along with all those delectable treats and eats, smiles and laughter and hugs. (I was thinking why shouldn't we treat ourselves to these goodies more than just on Christmas? Aren't we worth the indulgence more often? We work hard for a living and we should enjoy the fruits of our labor more often. Reward ourselves doing what we do every day and for being the good people that we are!) We have our lazy traditions, we have our hectic, crazy traditions. Hopefully we not only preserve old, but also create new traditions. Dad and I go shopping Christmas Eve to finish his gift purchases. We've done this since I was a child. Hopefully we will do this when I, too, am retired. We make several stops, have discussions of optimal stocking stuffers, and engage in the same argument every year. Don't ask, that is between the two of us, and it's always in jest and lighthearted and ends in belly laughs. It's our tradition and darnit, we will keep the fight going. Mom and I prepare cold salads to be eaten with the fondue and all sit around and share stories of Xmas Eves past and enjoy the feast. We usually follow with games and laughter. There is always laughter when the family is together. We've added members to the family and still the traditions and laughter continue and grow. I look forward to many years of traditions with these people. I look forward to bringing in new traditions. There were a few traditions of Christmases past that were missed this year, but they will be included the next, I'm sure. I would like to start a new tradition for my family. Knitted socks. My Mom, Dad and brother were finally (FINALLY) the recipients of knitted socks from me. It felt so good knitting them, knowing that they would finally be receiving the one knitted gift that they've asked for all these years. It felt so good, I forgot I don't like to knit socks. So, knitted socks...find your way into our traditions! The young one was a challenge to buy for this year. He's at an age where toys are no longer important, but what he is interested in is way too expensive. Based on his expressions, I think we got it right! The 26th everyone went home and I was left reflecting on how hectic and nutty the pre-Christmas days are. All the planning and shopping and knitting and shopping and planning and knitting and shopping and cleaning. Add to all of the family stuff the fact that I teach and need to do all those classroom Christmasy things as well. There is planning and shopping and executing for that as well. And then, suddenly, in 24 hours, it is over and won't happen again for 364 days. I was left in the house with glitter covering everything, tiny bits of paper floating about, snow tracked floors, beds to be made, gifts to be designated new spots, decorations to be dismantled and the echoes of the laughter and lovely that was my family at Christmas. Almost makes me wish it came more than once a year. (It's a used riding lawn mower, but he was thrilled to pieces! I was heartbroken that he couldn't get on it and ride, as it is the middle of winter in Illinois. ) So I'm thinking that maybe we spoil each other more often. Set out platters of fruit on an ordinary work night and indulge in a game of Farkle or Yahtzee. Knit someone a pair of socks and give it to them in a lovely package for no reason other than I love them. Buy a more expensive bottle of wine and turn the lights out in the living room and enjoy the falling snow. The year has not yet turned, but I do believe that this will be my resolution. To have a very merry ordinary day/week/month/year/life!

To all of my family and friends: thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for the warmth the very thought of you creates in me. Thank you for the love and the laughter. It's been a good year, but let's make next one a merry year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Visions of Sugar Plums...

A new Christmas gift to self! A KIP bag (knitting in progress) from Etsy shop Ruddawg http://www.etsy.com/shop/ruddawg?ref=top_trail that is absolutely adorable!

(If you are family, stop reading now and return to blog AFTER Christmas!). I have been doing deadline knitting, deadline knitting, deadline knitting for months now; well officially for over a month as I began November 1st. Not a big fan of deadline knitting, but it is self-created/self-imposed! I want to cast on a pretty small thing deserving of this girly and fabulous bag, but alas, I currently am knitting camouflage (yes, that's right, camouflage!) socks for dad and brother. That makes a total of four socks I have to make. Am finishing the third now. Row after tedious row of camouflage. The socks are being made identically so that there is no whining from the boys that the other got a better pair. If I were making different socks with different yarns and different patterns, perhaps I would not feel that I am slogging along. Camouflage yarn does not belong in this fabulous bag. After Christmas, I will cast on for a girly little object that will be fittingly worked in my bag. Until then, I will admire the hot pink details and satiny flourescent orange drawstring and flirty love birds and dream of exactly what projects are deserving of this KIP bag.

We are hosting Christmas at our house this year. I have grand plans, my friends, to make Christmas wonderful for all. Just ordered a load of Nestle Lion Bars from http://www.britishsupplies.com/ British chocolates are far superior to American. They contain more milk and less wax and are heavenly and divine! My parents and I discovered Lion Bars on a trip to London many years ago. Lion Bars will roar in the stockings this year! I've ordered from this company before and they are wonderful. I'm a bit worried about Christmas delivery, as I ordered just yesterday and not sure if this close to Christmas will delay my product delivery, but we'll see. If they're not here for stockings, I can eat them all myself after everyone departs!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The First Snow!

The boy who rarely sees morning before 10:00-11:00a.m. on weekends, was up at 7:30a.m. to play in the snow! It began last night, and continued through the night, so we rose to beautiful landscape this morning. As promised, I sat and knit and watched the snow. One Christmas present finished! Need to cast on for the next before I head to the basketball tournament this afternoon. Did I say what an aggressive player the boy has become this year? He has turned into a very good ball player!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Knitting is in my Forecast!

We have anywhere from 3-5 or 6-8 inches of snow forecasted for our area this evening. Snow should begin falling around 9:00p.m. and continue overnight. The disparity in the accumulated amount is due to the fact that we are on the border of the weather band producing the heavy amounts. Morning will tell. I must say that I am excited about the first snowfall! This week when temperatures took a turn for the cold, I was none to happy. We had a very mild fall and truly enjoyed the slow departure of my summer. I bemoaned the fact that I could no longer sit outside or walk to the post office (or do recess or bus duty) without bundling up. Was thinking "Yuck" with a capital "Y" about the arrival of winter. BUT...now there is the pretty stuff coming! Love the pretty stuff. I am anticipating the beauty out the windows of the living and dining room as I knit, knit, knit happily in the winter.
Of course, I'm under deadline knitting right now, which has me contemplating "cheating" on my knitting. I am one of those monogamous knitters. I love starting and finishing a product. Seeing a product through all its stages. I believe I am a process knitter; not a product knitter. It's not that I'm dying and/or impatient for the product, it's that I enjoy the process as it evolves into a product. But, lately I find myself daydreaming of other products. Almost convinced myself to cast on a different project the last few nights. "you know, I've been wanting to make myself mittens for years now...the weather is getting cold...wouldn't it be nice to go out in new handknit mittens? Plus, I've never made mittens before. What a fun, new project that would be. I'd be learning something new; I love learning new things, after all, I'm a teacher!" These thoughts bounce around in my head as I sit and work on Xmas project knitting. Several people are getting the same item and this particular item is two items (yes, socks, hopefully they won't read my blog or figure it out if they do). Not even different patterns. Not even different yarns. I never thought I'd say it, but...I know why knitters cheat!
This Thanksgiving, the adults got together for our feast and our annual photo. We were all bummed the boy wasn't with us, but we're going to try to photoshop him in. Thus far, this is what we have:
This last one will be the annual Christmas card. The first one was a fun attempt! Loads of fun was had posing for photos. Mom wanted us all on the floor, but a few were taken standing...