Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas and the Usual December Mayhem

Whew! Long time, no post. Bad Anna - I've been trying to do the blogging-type-thing more regularly, but the last few weeks have been chaotic. I've been working A Lot over the last few weeks, and when your work day is nine and a half hours long, and you only get to sit down for half an hour the whole time, you tend to come home too tired to even think straight, let alone write blog posts. Especially when you're having to deal with Christmas shoppers....

My own Christmas shopping was fairly limited. I don't tend to go into a mad gift frenzy this time of year. I tend to make things for most people, and only buy a few things for immediate family and sometimes close friends, which really doesn't take that long because I actually think about what I'm going to get them beforehand, rather than just aimlessly trawling the shops and getting depressed by the rampant consumerism and the stress all around. That sounds bitter, but it isn't really. I really like this time of year because I enjoy making people things and giving gifts - I really enjoy it. What makes me sad is the fact that so many people don't seem to enjoy it; they seem to get so bummed out by the feeling of obligation to get gifts for everyone that it sucks the joy out of the whole thing. That's one of the reasons that I like making things for people - I would much rather stay at home, relax, make up a few batches of biscuits to give to friends and enjoy the process of doing something for them than traipse sadly around department stores.

So, long story short, most friends and coworkers got baked goods this year. Though there was a little spot of Christmas knitting. I acquired a present or two for my brother, but by Christmas Eve there weren't that many presents for him under the (hastily erected) tree, and I thought I should rectify the situation. So I spent a rather delightful Christmas Eve night watching Watchmen, eating grilled cheese on toast and knitting a hat for the brother:

(I did have a picture of him wearing it, but he'd just gotten off of an international flight and I thought it would be uncharitable to post pictures of his jet-lagged self on the internet. Maybe later)

The info: Turn a Square by Jared Flood, knitted on 5.5mm double-pointed needles, out of a bit over half a ball of Rowan Pure Wool Aran, and scraps of Cleckheaton Merino Supreme and Bendigo Woollen Mills Rustic 12ply.

The commentary: This was a really great, simply pattern, and was wonderfully quick as well (I hurried it along a little by using heavier weight yarn than called for and casting on fewer stitches). Given my love of raglan style pullovers, I'm actually quite amazed that it took me this long to try the decrease style out in a hat, especially given the fact that I've in the past had quite a bit of trouble with crown shaping. At any rate, I'm definitely glad I did try it - I think I see more of these hats in my future...

The hat aside, the rest of Christmas was a good bit of fun. The aforementioned brother arrived back from Canada on Christmas morning, and bestowed some gifts that he'd acquired over there. My father was particularly enamoured with these slippers:

Not long after, we all sat down to a lovely lunch. Nowadays we don't really tend to do the Christmas roast - too often the Australian weather doesn't really lend itself to such a thing, and when there are only two carnivores in the family, there's not that much call for excessive amounts of meat anyway. So instead we were traditional in the Australian sense and had a barbeque! Behold, our fine spread:

Lamb skewers, roast potatoes, salad, and some lovely cheese and cornbread kebabs with grilled vegetables... Yum. For dessert, we had almond biscuits and ice-cream with this sauce. I have been eating the sauce leftovers today, scooped into my mouth with whole pecans. Yes, I know this will clog my arteries faster than you can say 'saturated fats' - don't care! So a good time was definitely had by all.

In other news, despite work grinding me into the ground, I have been doing some knitting. I have a nearly completed hat and a half completed cardigan on the needles - both my own designs. So stay tuned for those in the near future.

Lastly, on a sadder note, we unfortunately ended up celebrating Christmas with one less family member present than on the previous year. While he had battled on for quite some time, determined to keep sleeping all over my knitting and getting under my feet while I baked for as long as he possibly could, a little under two weeks ago Alex my poor old man cat was just not doing well, so I took him off for his final trip to the vet. We had hoped that he'd last long enough to see my brother at Christmas, but alas it was not to be, and in some ways it's probably better that way - it would possibly have been ever sadder for my brother to see him as he was by the end. I was a bit of a soggy mess at the time - the cat and I had been a duo ever since I was six years old - but really, it was a happy ending. He was nearly 20 years old - he'd had a long life, and a happy one, and he had a merciful end when it was time, with someone who loved him by his side: we should all be so lucky. I, umm, have something in my eyes.... so I'll just leave it at this: Goodbye old man cat - I'll never ever forget you.

So as not to end on such a maudlin note: I generally find the phrase 'Seasons Greetings' to be somewhat irritating, so I don't really want to employ it here, but to everyone who's celebrating at this time of year - for whatever occasion or reason - I hope you have a really wonderful time!


Erin said...

LOVE the hat and the slippers, nd I am so sorry about your cat. I have a 15 year old who is starting to do old cat things and I'm not looking forward to the day . . . Anyhow, Merry Christmas!

Abby said...

So sorry about Alex, even though you'd warned us.

I do love that hat. Utilitarian, yet stylish. I'm with you on the anti-obligation gifting too.

Lamb kabobs! I think I know what we're having for Easter.

Cadence said...

That is a lovely hat. It looks so warm and comfy! I'm very sorry to hear about Old Man Cat's passing. I had to let go of a dog a couple of years ago that we'd had since I was born, and it's never easy. But, I can tell that he had a very happy life with you, and was very, very loved.

I hope that you had a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! I look forward to your next post.

Best wishes!