Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Ye Olde New England Thanksgiving

In which our plucky heroine leaves everything till the last minute and then runs around like a madwoman for 24 hours.

6:00am: Wake up and realize that it's the day before Thanksgiving and everyone is coming to your house. You've not yet written out a menu, nor do you have many of the required ingredients already in your kitchen. Your darling husband's employer has offered to supply the turkey as a lovely Thanksgiving bonus, but it's not here yet and you have no idea if it will be large enough to feed everyone or if it's frozen solid. Consider selling children on the idea of "A Very Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" and simply serving toast and popcorn. Go back to sleep.
7:00am: Children wake you up jumping up and down squealing, "Tomorrow's Thanksgiving!" Consider selling children on the idea of "A Very Britney Spear's Thanksgiving," Cheetoes and Red Bull y'all. Must get coffee, stat.
7:15: First cup of coffee, brain cells reviving. Turn on morning news and watch touching piece about Thanksgiving dinners being prepared for our military. Consider joining military before next Thanksgiving.
7:30: Grab ye olde family recipe box and start writing out menu while various and sundry children file through the kitchen looking for breakfast. Pop Tarts and Lucky Charms all around. Wonder if this annual sugar binge is part of why your children enjoy Thanksgiving so much.
8:00am: Second cup of coffee. Realize that if you go to the grocery store now, you could probably beat the crowd and get back in time to have all the baking done before nightfall. Take shower first, Lord knows you won't get one tomorrow. Give children usual pre-shower instructions, "Knock if you need me. No fighting. I want everyone to still be alive when I get out."
8:45am: Put My Little Pony video on constant loop and leave eldest in charge. Get shopping done in record time and load groceries into car feeling pretty darn good. Receive cell phone call from eldest concerning the 2 year old, "ahh, she stripped down and took her dirty diaper off herself. She's running around the house now and she's a mess. What should I do?" Instruct eldest to deposit youngest into tub. Hurry home. Wonder what adopted Mom, Angelina, is doing for Thanksgiving? (Satay and Cristal in between mad boffing sessions in the pantry and text messages from Kofi Annan.)
9:15am: Clean youngest. Clean house. Clean out fridge to make room for what is hopefully a very large turkey. Phone call from hubby to say he's stopping by to drop off the bird. Employer doesn't disappoint. This thing is huge and frozen hard as a rock. Forget fridge, fill sink with cool water and set turkey in there. Children gather around sink to ooh and ahh. Four older children start swapping bad jokes about mom giving the bird swimming lessons so it won't drown in gravy. *badumpbump*
10:00am: Toffee time. The culinary highlight of the children's Thanksgiving every year, homemade, chocolate covered toffee. One by one each child stops by the kitchen to ask if they can taste test when it's done. Everyone gets a sample. One lovely assistant wisely suggests hiding toffee from Dad until tomorrow.
11:00am: Prepare crabmeat stuffed mushrooms and filling for little cheese, pastry puff thingies. Realize that this effort will be totally lost on children who abhor mushrooms.
12:00pm: Inhale lunch.
12:15pm: Cook pie crust and whip up pumpkin filling while it cools. Eldest comes in to see how things are moving along and lights up at sight of nearly completed pie. Remember why you do this.
1:30pm: Set pie in fridge to chill and clean kitchen. Give bird in sink fresh water.
2:30pm: Knit, knit, knit Greek Pullover. Aran weight Andean Silk on Size 8 Addi Turbo needles with an Interweave pattern. It doesn't get any better than this.
4:00pm: Watch Rachel Ray on Oprah while folding laundry. Wish you and family were having Thanksgiving at Rachel's place while Oprah mixes up pomegranate martinis and buys you a house.
5:00pm: Hubby arrives home, "What's for dinner?" Resist urge to strangle darling husband. Wrestle with large turkey instead. Mother-in-law arrives to drop off stuffing and roasting pan.
6:00pm: Fix sorry excuse for a dinner. Chicken nuggets and rice for kids, omelettes for self and spouse.
7:00pm: Help children get ready for bed.
8:00pm: Have embarassingly good time watching Kenny Chesney concert special even though he looks like your 8th grade math teacher when he takes that cowboy hat off. Knit.
9:00pm: Stuff bird. Realize you have no proper kitchen twine and truss turkey with some leftover Debbie Bliss Wool Cotton in ecru. Use aluminum foil to tuck bird in for the night, set him in preheated oven with timer set to go off in 8 hours. Hope for the best.
9:30am: Resist urge to knit just one more row. Get some sleep.
Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Strange Phenomena

So there I was. Minding my own business. Knitting up a test swatch of Andean Silk in the Pumpkin Patch colorway, because I'm thinking of using it for this. I was sitting in the waiting room, waiting for one of my lovely assistants. After I had knit up a few rows, a mother walked in with her young son. I'd say he was about 4. Mom kept walking into the office, but I looked up to find him frozen in his tracks, staring at me slack jawed and wide eyed, like he'd just stumbled across a dinosaur. A curious creature who makes things with her hands, two sticks and some string. I wasn't at all surprised, because this happens quite a bit when I knit in public. Usually the girls are a bit chattier. "Oooh, look." I'll hear them whisper to their mothers. "What's she doing?"

"She's knitting. Mommy used to knit." they say a little wistfully, watching me too now like they want to pry the needles out of my hands and have a go. Seeing if their hands still know what their minds have forgotten.

And then it happens. The little one has inched closer and closer to have a better view and there's that ball of yarn just sitting there all plush and fuzzy and colorful and the mesmerizing click, click, click of the needles and how can any curious little soul resist. The hands reach out tentatively to touch and mom panics. "No!" she scolds, "Don't Touch!"

"It's alright." I say, "I don't mind."

And it is alright, because they've grown up in a disposable world. Toys break the day after you buy them and Happy Meals don't make you happy and the sweater from the mall falls apart with the very first washing, but it doesn't really matter because the shops have a new style in fashion next week, so you'll need to buy a new one anyways. And sure it feels like plastic, but why would you invest in anything else when it's not going to be around long enough to hold any true value for you?

So, I tell them it's alright and I tell them what animal the yarn comes from. We talk about farming and shearing and spinning and dyeing and making sweaters by hand that actually feel good when you wear them and how I really don't know how long it takes me to make something because I just want to be in the moment and enjoy the softness of my yarn and the click, click, click of my own needles. And then they smile at me in recognition because we understand one another perfectly.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Baby Did A Bad, Bad Thing

I fell off the wagon. A big wagon full of yarn. It's all KnitPicks fault. Why do they have to be such enablers with their free shipping and their little knitable sample in the catalog. Why?!
You knew it had to happen. I've been on a yarn diet so long it hurts. Here I am after my bender. The blue lace weight is for that Karabella shawl I'll never finish and the red is for the IK Greek Pullover. I think the cream might be for that off the shoulder aran knit in the Cathay pattern book from Debbie Bliss, but fiddle di dee, I'll think on that tomorrow. Right now I just need to sleep it off.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Wake Me When It's Over

I've come down with a little something. It's not a cold or the flu. It's much worse. I've got Knitter's Ennui. I got it bad and that aint good. I think I just burnt myself out with a bazillion projects on the needles. One of which was the Erte Cloche pictured above. I knit it up in black KnitPicks Essential sock yarn with a little KnitPicks Sock Landscape in a contrast color. I'm pleased with how it came out, but I am having some floppy brim issues. I'm thinking of inserting a thin wire in the outer edge, but we'll see.

Or maybe it all started with Jury Duty. Normally I would look forward to a little time away from the house, but this was the equivalent of a five hour trip to the principal's office. First I had the difficult task of figuring out what knitting to bring and then making sure everything was on bamboo or plastic needles that wouldn't set off the metal detectors. After all my care and concern I was waved through security with barely a glance. We were quickly given multiple directions to the same jury holding room, which I think may be their ingenious way of weeding out bad prospects. We all scattered like hamsters in a maze and you know if you're too stupid to find your way to the correct room, they don't want you sitting on a jury anyway.

I was so busy watching instructional videos and waiting for orders that I found it impossible to concentrate on my knitting. I was trying some cablework for a cardigan and I was so afraid I'd be sent to the courtroom mid-row and lose my place on the chart, that I just couldn't do it. Fortunately they had a large bookshelf full of magazines, so I finally got to catch up with Kenny & Renee. I secretly love to read celebrity gossip rags, but there's a celebrity that lives part time in our area and once in a while I see her in the grocery store. It's important to protect her identity, so we'll call her, Sloopy Snolburg. Anyways, I live in fear that I'll be standing in the grocery line, discreetly slipping a copy of Star Magazine into my cart only to turn and find Sloopy behind me in line, glaring at me in disgust from behind her little tinted spectacles.

I was finally brought into one of the courtrooms, but my number wasn't called which was Very fortunate because as soon as I walked in there I broke out in a cold sweat and was suddenly overcome with the fear that I'd developed some kind of judicial Tourette's Syndrome. You know where I suddenly jump up and shout, "It was me! I did it! Whatever it is. I'm GUILTY!" Here's my little internal monologue as the judge was instructing us...

"Is the judge staring at me?
He is, he's staring right at me.
Why is he staring at me like that?
Oh, God. I'm not blinking.
Only guilty people don't blink. I have to blink,
but now I look like I'm thinking about blinking.
Why is he still talking straight to me?
Try and look attentive, not psycho.
Attentive not psycho."

and so on until they finally dismissed me. I can't imagine why.

Of course if they had clapped me in irons and put me on trial I would have the perfect defense. Remember the Karabela crocheted victorian shawl pattern? The one I fell in love with, even though I haven't crocheted in years and it's all done in barely there lace weight yarn? I figure my attorney could just whip that out as exhibit A, along with 2,000 yards of knotted, tear stained alpaca and announce to the jury that his client is clearly insane because she thought she could not only complete this project, but find someplace to wear it. Maybe grocery shopping with Sloopy? Posted by Picasa