Monday, December 31, 2007

The End Of The Year

I should do one of those recaps of what I knit this year, or something, but I haven't even wrapped up Christmas yet, so we may have to recap 2007 in 2008! I will say that this year was about a hundred times better than 2006 was, even with a few little bumps in the road, so I'm happy to talk about it in a few days. (Unlike last year, when 2006 was never to be spoken of again once midnight came.)

So let me do this thing in as few words as possible, since you no doubt have much to do on this lovely New Year's Eve. (For the record, here it's raining and yucky, but the temperature is said to be dropping into the low 30s tonight and tomorrow! WHEEEE!!!)

First of all, I got to have dinner in Charlotte with Cristi, Aimee, and Stacey on Thursday:


I know this photo is really dark and awful, but I promise that really is Cristi, Aimee, and Stacey. We had a blast - giggled a lot, talked a lot, and discussed much knitting and blogging while Travis....well, I don't know what he was doing, actually. We also found out there was an amusing photo in the men's room, so we all filed in to have our picture taken with it. (Of course mine didn't come out.) Fortunately, we were not escorted from the premises for loitering in the men's bathroom with a camera.

So, Christmas. Visiting with my parents was amazing. There was food EVERYwhere - plates of cookies on every flat surface, much to the dogs' joy. (It felt like we spent the whole week prying things out of their jaws.) The most effort I put into self-maintenance on any given day was to shower. I wore little makeup and made no effort with my hair whatsoever. It was fantastic. I wore the same three shirts for the entire trip (thank God for visiting the parents, where laundry facilities are close at hand. Travis, having packed 14 shirts - I'm not kidding - has also learned that lesson, I hope.) We ate and ate and ate, and watched movies, and Travis played a little too much Guitar Hero. (His mom got him that game and me Dance Dance Revolution, so of course the xBox had to come with us. At least I can pretend my game is exercise.)

The only slight glitch in the trip was with our Segway tour plan. We had reservations for 2:00 on the day after Christmas, but when we showed up, one of the Segways was dead. We waited about an hour for it to charge, at which point we were told it usually takes eight hours. Hrmph. My parents and Travis were being pretty nice about the whole thing - so of course I took it upon myself to ask the guy point-blank about his piss-poor planning. (He was a little at a loss on that one.) So that element of our Christmas present was foiled - but we'll just have to do it next time we're up there!

The weather was beautiful while we were there, for the most part, and wonderfully cool. It also snowed the night after Christmas, so we woke up to a snowy scene on the 26th. Mom was thrilled - she really wanted snow for Christmas.

There are some Christmas morning pictures I just have to share. Please excuse my jammies and headband - I told you, very little effort in my appearance. I was on vacation, okay? ;-)

What technology?

Travis got the headset he wanted for his xBox - and my dad...well, he's showing you his idea of a headset!

About that hat that Ken is wearing:

Pops' hat

I spun some wool/llama blend up a while ago and knit it into this hat. I couldn't have been more thrilled with how it came out, though I did end up frogging the whole thing at one point. The pattern I was using called for stockinette ear flaps, and for some reason I didn't allow myself to give the pattern much thought - of course the earflaps ended up looking like curly little Yoda ears. So I ripped back and knit the earflaps in garter stitch, using the pattern as a guideline rather than as a hard-and-fast thing. I knit the whole thing on the car ride up there and had it finished by Columbia, SC - thank goodness, since it was right about then that we lost the light.

But. It wasn't the only hat that he got.

Great look, huh?

I'll give you a moment to soak this all in.

Is that thing hideous or what? You gotta know my dad. He loves doing these mountain-man kinds of retreats and things, where he goes and lives in a canvas tent with no heat for a week, eating strange kinds of jerky, wearing buckskin, and spitting into a fire with other like-minded crazy people individuals. It's the height of good times for him, and it makes for interesting knit projects for me. (Like the earflap hat.) It also makes for great fun scouring antique shops for more and more ridiculous authentic items for him. Well, Mom wins - she found this godawful hat...I know it's not the most respectable item in the world, a dead animal hat, but the thing's probably at least as old as my dad. And I'm sorry, but the feet dangling over his ears? I could have piddled laughing.

One of my favourite gifts?

Christmas diamonds

These were loose stones that my dad picked up in Israel years and years and years ago, when he was living there. He had seven of them, and he was saving them for....who knows. He was saving them. He took them this year and had them set - a pair of earrings each for my mom, my stepsister, and me, plus a single stud for him. (He got his ear pierced at one of his mountain man events a few years ago. It's safer than a ritual bloodletting, I suppose, but still I wish he could have had it done someplace a little more sanitary.) These are EXTREMELY special to me, because I know he was holding on to these for just the right time/person/place.

But that's not all! Dudes, besides the sewing machine and the diamond earrings, there was another surprise.

Mom and Dad and the "Manifold"

Mom had Travis bring this box down from upstairs for Ken. Apparently he had her buy some manifold thingie he needed for his '41 Chevy. He opened the box, very excited, with me snap-snapping away. He opened the box and asked, "What the hell is this? A linotype machine?" Not knowing that a manifold looks nothing like a linotype machine, I didn't even crane my neck to get a look, and Ken pulled the item from the box. I'm surprised I didn't drop dead on the spot - because what DOES look like a linotype machine??


A Strauch Petite drumcarder!!!! I've never been so giddily surprised - and I'm HARD to surprise. Apparently Travis and Ken went in together on this with their earnings at SAFF (they've been holding onto this secret for a WHILE). This secret went all the way to the top - Mr. Strauch himself sold it to them, and he and his wife told me when I went on Sunday to talk to them about buying one that they were out and backordered and probably wouldn't have any until after Christmas, but that I could place an order and they'd fill it in the new year (because they knew I was getting one for Christmas.) Sweet Mr. Strauch - I stalked the guy from Rhinebeck to SAFF and then continued to do so after SAFF - I'll have to shoot him an email. Sneaky bugger.


Look at me. I'm such a goober. I think this pretty much solidifies the completion of my descent into fibery madness. This photo shows textbook mania. Wait, no. What I did next, upon discovering that I had no fiber to card, as I'd decided to leave the wheel and fiber at home - THAT is textbook mania:

Bye bye, arctic fox!

Well, it USED to be a funny hat. (No, I didn't. One of Mom's friends stash-dove and provided me with a huge garbage bag full of fiber to play with. On Christmas morning. I love her.)

I started playing with some fiber remnants as soon as I got home. I've already started a collection, of which this is my favourite, I think:


So the shop will also carry hancarded batts from time to time, when I'm not busy trying to cram animal carcasses in the carder just to see how it handles them.

So there you have it - I am truly and completely spoiled stinking rotten. There will be no topping this Christmas - relaxing vacation, loving family, special sentimental gifts that gave my tearducts a workout, snow, and a mind-blowing surprise! (And with any luck, today? A Wii.)

There are a lot of great pictures from Christmas that I didn't post in this photoset - including some lovely ones of me in my jammies, the dogs in the snow, Bitty's Christmas dress - I'm sorry, but she's cute! - and more glimpses of my parents' cat trying to shoot our dogs dead with eye lasers.

Happy New Year!!! (Also, this was not a short post. I accept that, and I'm sorry.)