Archive for the ‘christmas’ Category

So Much Freakin’ Knitting To Do…

December 15, 2009

… I mean, Merry Christmas!

Of course even though the recipient of the scarf has said that he’s fine with getting it after Christmas, I’m determined to finish it beforehand.  My strategy to get the knitting done is to invite people over to knit, and ‘watch’ tv I don’t care too much about (in this case, Lord of the Rings).

I have about 11 more hours of knitting to go.

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Knitting for Procrastinators

December 14, 2009

Last year I learned to knit.  I wanted to knit a baby blanket for my new niece, and there is a knitting group at work.  We meet every other week, and knit and gossip.  So the baby blanket was a bad idea, because it was taking forever before I’d see progress.  I never finished it; it’s still in my desk at work.  I could see I probably wasn’t going to finish, so I started on something easier – a scarf.  I ended up making something like 8 scarves and a couple of hats for Christmas.  Not bad at all!

This year I’ve discovered I make a lot more progress when I knit with others, because when it’s just up to me I procrastinate.  I was going to make a few scarves and a hat for coworkers this year.  I figured it would be a cinch after everything I made last year.  The mistake I made was I let the first person pick their own yarn and pattern.  I had a ton of yarn at work, opened the drawer, and told them to pick what they wanted.  Then I looked up free patterns on ravelry.com with that sort of yarn.  As my luck would have it, the chosen pattern wasn’t fast or easy.  Usually you can just straight knit a scarf, and it goes quickly because you don’t really have a pattern that you have to track.  Not this time.

For people unfamiliar with knitting, the smaller the number on the needles, the smaller the needle.  In the past, I’ve made scarves on size 35 needles.  We’re talking huge honking needles.  The needles for this scarf are 6.   Bigger needles make fatter knit.  When you combine the size of the needles and my tendency to procrastinate, it equals “OH CRAP!  THIS WILL NEVER BE DONE  BY CHRISTMAS”.

Tonight I got to it.  An online friend was knitting as well, so we checked on each other along the way.  Hubby timed me to see how long it took to do one row in the pattern.  Based on the time and approximate number of rows that still need to be done, I think this scarf will be completed in 2012.  OK, not really, but if I keep at it steadily it’s going to take another 8.5 hours.  Last year I could make at least two scarves and a hat in that time!

Lesson learned:  NEVER let the recipient pick out their own pattern & yarn.  Period.  Also, find more friend who knit!

Photographic Evidence — Heaven on Earth

December 11, 2009

We will be in the beautiful Virgin Islands within two weeks.  I needed to find a pic and post it to remind my body that it will be nice and warm soon.  It’s actually freezing here in NJ/NY.  I’m fighting off a cold, but better now than on vacation… and even then… I think having a cold in the VIs wouldn’t be much of a hardship.

Photographic Evidence – Ugly Present

December 8, 2009
As promised in the first entry, here is what the bike looked like wrapped up in its big box:
ugly-present

ugly on the outside

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

December 8, 2009

There are some Christmas traditions from my youth that I treasure. 

Cutting down our own Christmas tree.  We’d stomp around quite a bit, looking for the perfect tree.  Sometimes through the slush, sometimes through the snow.  Either way, but the end of the adventure our fingertips were numb and our noses were red.  But we were always smiling at the end of it.

Going to McDonalds after cutting down the tree.  We didn’t have a lot of money, so McDonalds was a treat.  We’d chomp happily on our burgers and fries while talking about the tree that was tied to the roof of the car; reliving the funny moments that happened just an hour beforehand.

Christmas Eve chili.  I’m not sure when this one started, but eventually we’d have chili ever night on Christmas Eve.  Not being a tomato fan, my mom would grind up the tomatoes for me so the chili was perfect.  Something about chili and Christmas Eve now just seems right.

Viewing Christmas lights on Christmas Eve.  After our chili, we’d get in the car and drive around looking at the lights on the houses and in front of City Hall and other Government buildings.  We’d pick out which ones we liked the most, while listening to Christmas Carols on the radio.

Now that I’m living close to the big city, a lot of these traditions are out the window.  We don’t have a car, but we had rented one to visit friends.  We decided after visiting them that we’d find our tree.  The first odd thing about getting a tree outside of a farm is that they sell them in parking lots.  It just seems wrong, but beggars can’t be choosers.  This particular parking lot had all the trees wrapped up in netting.  Clearly (to me, at least) that wasn’t going to work. 

“Why would someone buy those when they didn’t know what they looked like outside of the netting?!”, I asked my hubby all flabbergasted, “There could be gaping holes!”

I don’t think he ever answered, or if he did it was a monotoned “I don’t know”.  He just drove to the next location, the nursery.  I carefully looked at quite a few, trying to pick out the perfect tree.  Hubby just tagged along, clearly not that much of a fan of a) picking out trees, and b) hauling them up to our new apartment on the fourth floor.  Really, who could blame him?  But at this point he would be fighting Christmas tradition, and would be the loser in that fight.  He’s not stupid.  He just tagged along with semi-minimal grumbling.

I was so excited this year because we hadn’t gotten a bigger tree in ages, and we moved this year to a place with both the space and tall ceilings for a tall one.  Hubby was not so excited because, as stated above, he had to do the hauling.

We got to our condo, and hubby carried that big boy up to our landing like a trooper!  We found the tree stand and decided that we would keep the tree on the landing over night to get used to the indoor temp.  Success!  We had our tree, and it was tall, fat, and lovely.  Sort of like me, but I digress.

I was tired after the long day, and went to bed a little earlier than normal.  Hubby stayed up, playing video games.  I was juuuust starting to fall asleep when I heard a BOOM BOOM BOOM from the hallway.

Uh oh.

I heard the hub go to look to see what had happened.  Apparently the tree made a break for it and tried to end its life more quickly by jumping down the stairs.  Later hub told me that it was practically standing on its head, in the middle of the staircase.  And we won’t talk about how many pine needles were all over, or the fact that the top of the tree now is facing northwest as opposed to straight up. 

We have two obnoxious cats that haven’t been around a real tree since before they were rescued, and I’m sure that tree sensed that and tried to save itself from whatever evils these furry devils would bestow on it.  And believe you me, evil is an understatement sometimes with these maniacs.  It’s a good thing they’re cute.

Hub rescued the tree and last night we brought it inside.  It’s been a pain, especially for hub.  Needles are all over, he’s had to strap the tree to the wall, he’s gotten poked in the face/head/eye trying to get the tree straight in the holder, and he’s gotten sap on his hands.

No matter how much he tries to hide it, and he really doesn’t try all that much, hub just isn’t a fan of the tree tradition.

In some surprising news, however, the tree survived the first night with the cats.  The cats have hid under it, played around it, and chewed on a few branches BUT… they have not tried to climb it (yet).

Knock on tree wood.

Happy Holidailies

December 7, 2009

I decided to start a new blog when I joined Holidailies.  I’ve been wanting to get back into writing for a while, so this was a great excuse to do it.

The holidays are fast approaching, so today I took care of a good amount of shopping (online, of course).  What would I do without Amazon.com?  Probably have an ulcer, is my guess.  I love Amazon and wish lists.  Perfect for helping this season be a little less stressful.

Speaking of shopping, at work we did a program called Winter Wishes.  Basically, a child writes and asks for a gift and ‘Santa’ gets their request and fulfills it.  By the time I got to the conference room where they had all of the paperwork, there were only three wishes left.  One was for a gift certificate, which seemed suspect to me — what kid wants that?  It wasn’t even to a particular store.  Another was for a sweater for a teenager.  The third was for a bike for an 8 year old.  I had to pick up a wish for my boss, so he got the teenager and I got the kid who wanted a bike.  My child’s letter spoke of how he had changed his behavior, and that made me decide to do pick it.  Although now I realize he didn’t specifically say he changed it for the good, so I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt here.

I got back to my cube and started looking at Amazon.  I found a bike and ordered it, thinking it would take a while to get it.  I got it the next day!  How is that even possible?  I didn’t pay extra for shipping.  Santa must be working at Amazon, too.

The bike has been in my cube for two weeks and took up nearly 25% of the available space.  I had no idea how to wrap it.  I thought they made huge gift bags for that sort of thing, but I just couldn’t find any.  I ended up getting a few rolls of red paper at Target, and a big white bow.  Boy did this gift look like crap.  I’ll post the evidence tomorrow, since I took a pic.  I told myself this kid is getting two gifts this Christmas; the gift of a bike and the lesson of not judging a gift by its wrapping.

I only wish I could see his face when he opens that ugly sucker up.   Merry Christmas, Darius.