Monday, December 21, 2015

Almost There!

In a few days the Big Day will be upon us. I would like to tell you that I have everything under control, that my larder is stocked, and the presents are wrapped and under the tree. The reality is that if my guests walked into this cottage right now I think they would call the public health department and have us condemned. Well, at least my mom would. The presents are wrapped, but there is no way we can put them under the tree. The cat would eat all the ribbon off, and the dogs would take care of what remained.

As far as the food is concerned, I am only halfway there. Tomorrow should finish the job, although I am more than a little concerned about where all the food is actually going to go since my fridge is already stuffed. The good news is that I have a wonderful neighbour who has agreed to let me put some of the overflow in her fridge. It all balances out, as another neighbour has her turkey in our freezer.

I will return in the New Year, but before I sign off I want to leave you with some Christmas shopping advice. If you find yourself at the grocery store with a cart piled high with food, it really isn't a good idea to plop a huge container (think Costco size!) of grape tomatoes on top of that stack of food. It's an even worse idea to reach over the top of that pile of food to grab the specialty cheese you have your eye on. If you do happen to have such a lapse, my next piece of advice is to stand still. Do not move. Failure to follow this advice will lead to the strange sensation of dozens of tomatoes popping under your shoes. At this point I have no other advice to offer, other than to maybe take a second, more competent adult shopping with you.

This Christmas picture of me was taken in 1959 (Call the Midwife era), which puts me right between the ages of Lucy and Ella.

And here I am with my brother, in what I'm guessing must have been 1965. I'm very happy that he'll be spending Christmas with our family this year, along with his daughter Danielle and my mom.

I hope that wherever you find yourself over the holidays that you have a wonderful time, and I'll touch in again in the New Year. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Clueless in Cultus

Sometimes I feel like I go through life knitting with just one needle. Or, roughly translated for you non-knitters out there, I'm not always the sharpest crayon in the box. For instance:

:: Until two weeks ago I had never heard of Adele. You might think I'm making this up, but it's true. Now that I know she's the world's most popular and apparently most talented female singer it occurs to me that I must have run across her name before. But I'm not much for following stories about celebrities, so I guess I never paid any attention. Not paying attention happens to be one of my specialties.

:: I had no clue I couldn't bring back a bottle of whisky from the US if I hadn't been out of the country for at least 48 hours. On previous day trips to Bellingham I've purchased wine and/or beer at Trader Joe's and brought it home without a problem. So last week when I was there and read in their Christmas flyer that they had a Trader Joe label single malt Scotch whisky that, if it had the label on from the distillery it came from, would be recognizable as a quality Scotch whisky, and was being sold for only $34.95, I figured I didn't have anything to lose. Wrong. It turns out that the import taxes on a bottle of whisky, no matter how great a deal it was, are $55.00. Luckily for me the nice gentleman in the customs office let me off with a warning. His words to me were, "I can see you're not a bad person." My reply was, "No, but I am a stupid one."

:: While I was at Trader Joe's I also bought some chestnuts. I love roasted chestnuts, but I've only ever eaten ones I've purchased from a street vendor. You know - the kind that get scooped out and put into a small bag and handed to you by a person who looks like they haven't washed their hands in the last 25 years. I'm thinking these aren't going to be quite the same. In fact, I have no clue how to roast them. If you have any experience or tips for cooking chestnuts please share in the comment section.

:: I was digging around in our crawlspace looking for Rebekah's baby book - the one where I recorded memorable things from her first year like when she started solids, when she got her first tooth, etc. I never did find it, and after giving it some serious thought realized she was the third child and actually, even if such a baby book exists, it's probably almost completely blank. But I did find Karsten's baby book, and was surprised when I opened it up and a bank book from 1982 (the old-fashioned kind that used to keep track of how much you had in your account) fell out. It was for a savings account in Chicago, opened my my brother on Karsten's first birthday. I have no memory of this gift. I phoned my brother. He has no memory of giving this gift. Not only that, when he contacted the bank it turns out that after three years they no longer keep accounts. So much for that $100.

:: I spotted this strange bird on my walk to Lindell Beach last week. I have no clue what it is. Is it a domestic bird? A wild one?

:: When I started Lucy's Christmas sweater I didn't take into account that it was going to need 30 eyes sewn on. The quest for buttons, and the application of those buttons after I finally found them, took more time than the actual knitting of the sweater.

:: I found a seasonal doormat at IKEA a couple weeks ago. Perhaps I should have looked a bit more closely before I purchased it.

:: And just so I don't leave you with the impression that there's a total vacuum between my ears, I do manage to get a few things right. Here's Ella, sporting the new hat I made for her. Ravelry details here.