Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Retrospective

Christmas is over. Whew! This is the first year I didn't decorate. It wasn't really a conscious decision not to, but more like a daunting chore looming over our heads. We kept putting it off until it was no longer feasible to do so. I'm not a scrooge by any means, but the thought of hauling down the boxes and boxes of Christmas crap, taking all day to put it up and then thinking about having to put it all away after it's all said and done was not appealing. I also didn't have to stare at each ornament wondering if I should put it away for my daughter to start her new life with.

We did make gingerbread cookies on Christmas Eve. I even made Chris help a little. You will see no deformed ones. We ate them all. Well, we eventually ate the good ones too. I used the recipe from my Fannie Farmer Baking Cookbook and they were so tender and yummy! This cookbook is one of my most loved cookbooks of all time!
We're makin' cookies up in hereSerious sprinklingDSC_0023
See the gingerbread man on the round glass plate with the very large, red sprinkled eye? That's Chris' contribution...a gingerbread man with pink-eye. If you look closely you will also see some cookies shaped like Texas. How many other states have cookie cutters?

Then there was the epic game of Risk. I have very little patience for long games but I loved that they were playing it in my home.
Fierce NegotiationsMake your move...

Christmas Day, we went to my sister's house where my 7 month old nephew was anxiously waiting for me. I am finally NOT SICK and can play with my little nephew!!! And yes, he is wearing the hat I made for him...see below.

Running? Let's just say that it takes a little more motivation to get outside in cold weather to run. Even with the perfect combination of clothes! But I don't like running on a treadmill, so it takes a little psyching myself up to get going.

Last but not least, I can show you what I have been knitting! I made a scarf and earwarmer set for my cousin, but I didn't get pictures of them before I gave them away. I was cutting it a bit close!

Ishbel by Ysolda Teague knit in Fearless Fibers laceweight merino yarn in the teal colorway. I made this for my mother and gave it to her Christmas Day. She loved it!

The shawl pin is from Nicholas and Felice and is gorgeous but I felt was a little large and heavy for this neckerchief sized shawl.

I finished my Mountain Form Slippers out of some Cascade 220 Superwash to keep my feet warm

Then I made a Cable and Seed Hat for my nephew out of some KnitPicks Swish Superwash. It used only a few yards short of the entire skein. The pattern doesn't have any identifying author/store on it. It took me about 2 days to make.

And...the last couple of days I have been working on the Urban Aran Cardigan that I am making out of Cascade Yarns Eco Wool in the Latte colorway. With all of the cables and this slightly bulkier yarn, it will be quite warm.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Here's Mud In Yer Eye!

...and on the floor, and on the patio, and mainly on the DOG!

For the most part, I love winter. I love wearing sweaters and hoodies, snuggling up under my down comforter, wearing my various hand-knitted items and drinking hot tea. A chilly breeze is invigorating, a flurry of snow and I feel like a kid again. I would enjoy these things a lot more if I didn't have a 70 pound MUDDY dog yelping and jumping to the back window begging to be in the house. The other problem is that once in the house, she keeps wanting to go outside again. You know...checking for squirrels, barking at boogey men and chasing flying birds is of utmost importance.

My dog is 13.5 years old and doesn't act a day over 8. She still runs muddy ruts to and from her water, to and from both sides of the gate. And when she runs, she doesn't just get her paws muddy, but her entire chassis. My brand new patio is now covered in muddy footprints. That patio furniture and grill I was dreaming about getting? Cross them off my list. The leisurely mornings reading and sipping tea on my back patio? That dream has drifted away like a puff of smoke.

Cleaning my dog requires me to heft her 70 pounds of squirming dog mass through my house to bathe her. A towel, you say? You may as well give me a moist towelette...a cotton is of no use. I spent the morning spreading wood chips over the muddy areas. I have never tried this before, but found the idea on an online forum. I am SO hoping this helps! A muddy buddy she is not right now...

Friday, December 4, 2009 Day!

They let me out of work early at 1pm. The roads are wet and snowing and the temp is supposed to make a quick dip below freezing to ice the roads nicely for us winter-illiterate Texans. The snow is beautiful floating down. I love the way snow dances on its way down not like the stoopid rain we usually have.

My daughter just got in her car to drive to her boyfriend's! ::strikes forehead with palm:: so I worry about her driving in this. Yes, by Canadian standards, Texans are winter wimps, but we don't have the de-icers like they do. We all act like igmos when the snow starts falling. We flap our arms and point to the sky and exclaim "look! snow!" (said in your best bubba voice) and just stand there and stare at it as if something strange like kittens or juiceboxes were falling from the sky.

So I'll take this early day off to work on some Christmas knitting...and to stare at the snow like an igmo...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Firsts and Lasts

As parents, we like to mark the "firsts": first words, first steps, first day of school... We take pictures, make scrapbooks, keep programs and save little souvenirs of the event. Our mental archive is full of these occasions for access later.

Things that are harder to identify are the "lasts". Some lasts are worthy of celebration: last diaper, last day at daycare, last carpool. Other lasts are harder to take and a little grieving process accompanies each. Parents of teenagers witness these lasts early on with exponential increase in the latter teen years: last time she lets me have a mommy kiss when dropping her off at school, last school project I helped her complete, last slumber party...

Many times, we don't recognize the lasts when they occur. In the same pair of pants it helps cushion our grief for its loss if we're not aware of it, and make us wish we had cherished it more when it was still here.

Where is all of this coming from? My daughter's boyfriend proposed to her Saturday night. They plan on getting married next August. She will be 20. I...will be having regularly scheduled nervous breakdowns until then. This is where the of "lasts" begins. Was it a surprise? No. They have been dating since she was 15. Through school changes, college, his bootcamp and going to school in Huntsville, nothing has drifted them apart. He's a good guy: a Marine, sweet, a Christian and absolutely adores her and her high-maintenance emotional ways. I truly love him like a son. BUT...and there is always a but...she is my
roommate and best friend and I'm having issues here. (gets up to get a hanky) I fully understand my charge as a parent is to raise her so she can make it in the world on her own. I GET IT. I'm all about that. But here I sit during the holidays realizing that it will be our LAST Christmas at home together. I GET that there will be other joyous events and holidays and this is BY FAR not the end...but I get to grieve, okay? I should warn you also, dear reader, that when I take down the tree and have to put her ornaments in a separate box, I will be a basket case. I WILL, however consciously cherish this Christmas as much as I did our first, but with a few more tears.