1. Although this Christmas tree looks perfectly harmless, it was an experience from hell. I blame T., who really didn't want to get a tree and thus brought negative tree karma to the whole situation. We didn't have time until 3 days before Christmas to get the tree (my preference is to put it up in early December). When we got it home, we realized we had inadvertently tossed out our tree stand with last year's tree. We drove out in weather referred to in these parts as a "wintry mix," which sounds rather charming, but is actually a veiled way of saying that there is a sheet of ice on the roadway, to buy a really poor-quality stand.
2. There were multiple knitting incidents in the conservatory at Highland Park. Highly recommended.
3. There were multiple hand-knit gifts, partly as an outcome of aforementioned knitting incidents. I made the beret below for DD (Darling Daughter), which is the Raisin Beret. Fun pattern. T. made the matching seed stitch scarf. (Cute girl, too, right?) This picture is before the nose-piercing, which I think looks great on her. (Note to parents of teens--don't sweat the body art...there's a lot of other stuff to worry about when they're this age. Save your energy. You're going to need it.)
And I made this hat for DS, aptly named A Very Plain Hat (available to Ravelers here.) Again, a recommended pattern.
And there were creatures peeking out of stockings (again, available to Ravelers here.)
4. There was joy for all of us that DD got into her first choice college.
5. And joy for her upon reading her gift certificate for a brand new trumpet to take to college.
7. There was cross-country skiing at Salmon Hills Outdoor Adventure Center.
This picture is somewhat misleading. Although for much of the time Zoe did indeed trot along beside us, I was unable to get a picture of two of the most entertaining happenings. First, we were all trotting along...actually, Zoe was trotting, T. was gliding, and I was...plodding, but happily so. When along comes a man and his dog, engaged in something called Skijoring.Zoe, all 8 pounds of her, thought that this was her cue to race. She disappeared, and returned very shortly, having obviously been outstripped.
8. There was indeed indulgence. I must say that, besides stockings (which are events unto themselves, but contained mostly items that are edible, practical--think socks and underwear, or handmade), the gifts you see under the tree above are all that we had. But you already heard about DD's gift, and if you have a musician in the family, you know about the cost of instruments. And DS' big gift was similarly music-related. And mine...ah...also education-related...a Kindle. The plan is that it will make it much easier for me to read the many articles I need to read for my doctoral research, without needing to print them out and thus use tons of paper. But since I've been on a little break from school, I discovered that it's also very useful for downloading knitting patterns and keeping track of where I am and what modifications I've made.
And after some guilt...after all, I'm supposed to be about sustainability and simplicity, right?...I've decided to embrace the seasonal indulgence. And the book, The Battle for Christmas, helped me justify it, by talking about the history of Christmas as a traditional season of excess and partying. Since my idea of excess is generally a glass of wine once a month, the occasional specialty coffee, or watching The L Word at Equal Grounds, I've decided I can still live with myself.
9. And yet, there was simplicity, specifically, Epicurean Simplicity. A highly recommended book...author Stephanie Mills is to prose as Mary Oliver is to poetry. She would likely shudder at the very thought of a Kindle, but she is never holier-than-thou, recognizing that while it's important to live a life with the least environmental impacts as possible, we all make trade-offs.
10. And there were several lovely gatherings with dear friends, though I missed a rousing game of Bananagram because I was in bed (did I mention I was sick most of vacation?)?
All in all, though, I am remembering how very lucky I am, and hoping 2009 brings still more presence and grace into my life and into the world.