26 December 2014

New Year's Knitting Plans

We arrived home from our Christmas trip this afternoon. For once, we had good fortune with the roads on the journey north and the journey south. The initial plan, to leave on Saturday, was scrapped in favour of leaving on Boxing Day because it was supposed to snow Saturday. I stress more about travel than I really need to, so I spent the ride home reminding poor J. to drive carefully. The litany makes me feel better and doesn't really bother him. We had an audiobook playing, which is what helps him on long drives. (Terry Pratchett's Raising Steam. One more CD left to finish!). And now we are home, and it's just the three of us again, which is pleasant. E., who had a lovely time at her grandparents', is now happily trying to draw on her piece of toast with the wrong end of a pen. She's glad to be out of the carseat.

As it is now officially After Christmas, I'm thinking about making knitting resolutions for the New Year. Several years ago, I knit a lot of socks. Then I had mostly hand-knit socks in my wardrobe with a few store-bought ones that were still good and headed off to knit other types of items. I still knit socks here and there, but not as many. Time has passed, the socks have been worn many times, and more than a couple pairs are starting to wear out. It's time to make more.

I have a lot of sock yarn, and a lot of sock patterns, so it's mostly a matter of choosing where to start. First things first: WIPs. One pair is suffering from Second Sock Syndrome, so it's time to give the poor thing its mate.

Afshari is from Hunter Hammersen's Silk Road Socks, which is just a fantastic book all around. I haven't gotten around to finishing the poor pair of socks yet. I ended up grabbing a blue yarn for this one, so mine looks similar to the one in the book, just in a different shade, and more solid. The pattern's nice because the cuff is interesting, but the foot is stockinette, so it's a relatively swift knit. Pictures when I remember to pull out the camera and take them.

Next on the list is a pair of socks that are simple enough to use one of the patterned yarns with. I have a few patterned yarns lurking around that need using up. Some are partial skeins that may go into something else (very stripy baby cardi?), but a couple are more than enough for a full pair. I'm currently torn between a stripy brown yarn that has been ripped out several times and a stripy green stretchy yarn that I've yet to knit with. I'm thinking of doing this pattern. The Vanilla Latte socks are simple and easy with a little bit of interest to keep me going.

And after that, one in a solid with a more complicated pattern. For fun. I have a couple in mind, but not sure which one I'm picking yet.

My other knitting resolutions consist of a sweater that needs a sleeve, a sleeve that needs the rest of the sweater, a hat that needs decreases, and a cardigan for E. Time for me to get knitting.

20 December 2014

sense of home

We leave for the in-laws' place in less than ten hours, and I can't go to sleep until I get the next load of laundry into the dryer. So I'm here. Trying to wind down at the end of a long day.

Part of me wants to just give up and go to sleep. The other part of me wants to enjoy the small amount of time I will get by myself in my own home before we head out.

I like spending time with family but after a couple days, I just want to go home. As welcoming as my in-laws are, and as lovely as their home is, there's something about sleeping in my own bed that makes coming home almost a relief.

 Funny how that is. I feel the same when we spend time with my family, and I'm far more comfortable in my parents' house because, years ago, I used to live there. But even then, it's not exactly home anymore and so returning to our place feels better.

And this musing on "home" is now over. Laundry in dryer, I'm off to bed. Happy Christmas.

12 December 2014

things to do, but distractions abound

Today I have to finish frantically cleaning up our home (kitchen counters, kitchen floor, vacuuming, tidying, bathroom, E.'s messy bedroom), hike over to the bank and the pharmacy, make cookie dough to freeze, pick up an assortment of vegetables to slice up, and probably buy paper towels. Yes, today is the annual Christmas Potluck, and there are people coming over tonight. I know these particular people don't care so much about how clean my house is, but I do, so it must be done. Oh, and I'm supposed to call and talk with a friend out in Ontario this afternoon, since she and I haven't talked in a while.

And I currently have a sleeping baby on my lap. She woke up earlier screaming about something (she can't articulate what her dreams are about so I have only speculation), and now doesn't really want to be set down, but doesn't want to wake up yet, either. So I have my computer and I have my tea, and, of course, I have E. (why didn't anyone tell me that this parenting thing meant alone time would be completely a thing of the past before it was too late? I tried taking a bath last night and E. decided she needed to come with, despite J. being there to entertain her, so I was sitting in the tub with a toddler banging on the door and trying to talk to me. Then she tried shoving me away from the sink when I was doing dishes).

I'm just resigning myself to being stuck here for the moment. She's only going to be this small for a short time, after all.

03 December 2014

December Traditions

It's December already and we've actually had a snowfall (it's southern BC, we don't get a lot of that). I took E. out in the snow while J. was putting the snow tires on our car. She was not entirely thrilled with the whole thing. Snow is cold and slippery. She can't go as fast as she wants, and she has the added indignity of being stuffed into a snowsuit. It may take a little while for her to come around.

I, on the other hand, love snow. Sure, it's cold and wet, but it's beautiful and it feels magical. We're spending Christmas up north with my in-laws this year, which pretty much guarantees a white Christmas (though that also means a sub-zero Christmas so we won't be out in the snow very much, especially with E.). We're starting to figure out Christmas presents. J.'s work Christmas party is this weekend, and the Christmas potluck we usually do is next weekend.

E. is fascinated by Christmas lights and wants to see them up close (which is why we don't have any up, otherwise she'd be climbing more things). She likes our tree, which is up well out of reach. She thinks the Nativity scene people are "dolls" and wants to play with them. They are also out of reach, because they are breakable. Next year at my parents', she can play with their Playmobil Nativity. I'm sure she'll be very excited about presents, though I think she'll still be more entranced by the paper than the toys. There's something very wonderful about watching a child discover Christmas, about figuring out which traditions we'll have for her, which parts of Christmas we want to impart to our daughter.

We don't do Santa. We don't do Elf on the Shelf (which is just plain creepy, I think). We won't be doing massive amounts of presents, because we simply don't have the money and don't think it's wise to culture those kinds of expectations. We decorate, but not a lot. A tiny tree, a few other ornaments here and there, a Nativity set I made in ceramics class when I was seventeen which consists of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in the manger.

I love Christmas movies, Christmas music. I don't play them all the time, but we do have them around. We have the grown-up movies, like The Family Stone and Love Actually, the classics like White Christmas and Holiday Inn, and some kid's ones, like the claymation Rudolph. At Christmas I pull out the Fred Penner Christmas album, followed by Pink Martini's Christmas album, and a few others that fall into the category of having at least a few different songs than the ones being played at the mall. I also get out a episode of This American Life. This segment in particular:

It appeals to both my cynicism about and my love of Christmas at the same time. We also listen to David Sedaris at Christmas time.

So far, our Christmas traditions reflect a blend of the religious and the secular, like a lot of people's do. Trees and Advent wreaths. Church services and presents. It's an odd balance some days. And some days it feels just right.