Tick, tock!

Merry Christmas from my mom’s absurdly frisky doggies, Chloe, Eddie & Antonio:

Christmas Terriers

Christmas Terriers

I was hoping to get just one Christmas card-worthy shot, but they are such spazzes, it’s impossible to get the three of them pausing long enough for a single shot. I can’t believe two of them are seniors. Of the dozens I took, the first picture is the only one where at least one of them isn’t just a Santa-suited blur.

My parents’ house is a treat for animal lovers. In addition to the three terriers, they have 4 full-time cats (evil short-haired gray Dorian, sweet black long-hair old one-eyed Emil, dopey Siamese kitten Ducky, and excruciatingly fluffy saucer-eyed Manx kitten Minxy), plus another dozen regulars they feed, including one poor stray sap who is convinced he lives there and stubbornly resists getting thrown back outside several times a day.

My dad is recovering (sort of; mostly he’s just popping pills and whining and resisting his physical therapy) from knee surgery, so it was a quiet Christmas, without the usual house-hopping. We came up a day earlier than usual, so my dad invited their neighbors over for Christmas Eve dinner for a change (the Friedmans usually have them over on Christmas Eve), which was low-key and very nice. My dad claims he thought he’d be up and about when he made the plans and that he wasn’t deliberately burdening me with all the cooking–which also include all the shopping and grilling pork chops outside in the freezing pouring rain with no fracking lights–but I don’t entirely believe him. Luckily, they Friedmans are late eaters, like us, so it was a breeze. I think the whole mid-day holiday meal thing is barbaric, so I always get stressed and resentful preparing holiday meals with early birds chirping around me. Give me a fashionably late guest who likes a glass of wine and some cheese and conversation before a meal, and I’m happy as a clam.

(By the way, if you happen to live in northeast Houston, the stuffed pork chops we had were inSANE. They’re from an outstanding mom & pop meat market, which also offers turducken, whole boned stuffed chickens, marvelous steaks  and fantastic sausages. Like all mom & pops, they’ve got a challenge in the strip-mall generica of suburban Houston, so if you’re anywhere near, definitely make the trip out and give them your business. You will not be disappointed: Veron’s Cajun Meat Market. I meant to bring home some chops with me but forgot to grab them before I left, and I’ve been sulking all day about it.)

Holy shit, another year almost out the door!

I really want to show off my Christmas knits I haven’t shipped off to their new owners yet. I was scrambling to get out the door for the holidays (visited my folks in Houston), so I blew off Christmas shipping for my friends. I’m still not quite ready to pack it all up, but I want to show off some pretty and some handsome and some funny things I made, but I can’t yet, on the off chance they get spotted. It’s killing me. But In addition to the Items I Can Not Show, I also finished the lining for Ron’s Flocked Mittens (Hello Yarn Mitten School pattern), and a cabled hat made of Mister Shivers fleece and lined with cashmere for my dad.

Ron's Flocked Mittens: Fini!

Ron's Flocked Mittens: Fini!

Cashmere-lined Mr. Shivers cap for dad

Cashmere-lined Mr. Shivers cap for dad

My dad and Mr. Shivers have an adversarial relationship. That is, Mr. Shivers got a running start and knocked my dad down last year, and now my dad would like to roast him. I have to admit that was a roast-worthy act, though I did warn my dad not to turn his back on him, which certainly included not giving him a 50-yard running start towards the back of his knees. My dad wasn’t hurt or anything–the only reason squat little Mr. Shivers was able to topple him was the running start and his head being right at back-of-the knee level. But still. Very bad form. If he’d actually hurt Daddy, he would be going into some nice stew despite his gorgeous gray fleece. Luckily, my dad’s not decrepit or anything, and he was already in the queue for a couple of new knees, so it’s not like Mr. Shivers hurt anything that wasn’t already slated for the dust bin. So I get to keep him and his pretty fleece. And he’s been behaving pretty well this year. Maybe he’s mellowing with age. I hope so.

Anyway, I thought it would be funny to give my dad a hat made from his nemesis (I think my dad would have preferred a sheepskin jacket). But knitting for my dad means knowing that my hard work may very well go to waste because A) he lives in Houston and doesn’t have much occasion to wear warm knits; and B) he comes more from the crank-up-the-heat school than the put-on-a-sweater school. Plus my dad won’t wear anything that either his 20-something backup daughter Heidi or his friends tell him is cool. I don’t rate, apparently. My middle-aged dad has decided I’m impossibly square. Anyway, to increase the odds, I lined the whole center of it in cashmere so it’s super soft and extra warm. That way if he flirts with wearing it occasionally, he’ll realize it’s actually super toasty and luxe and maybe put it in permanent rotation. I made it nice and snug so it would be a good motorcycle hat or convertible hat, assuming he hasn’t lost interest in either of those things.

Ron, on the other hand, is great to knit for. He wears the shit out of everything I make him. Yay, Ron!

I just love the week between New Year & Christmas, don’t you? Everyone has abandoned the idea of getting any more work done for the rest of the year, and with the stress of Christmas shopping/travel behind  you, you can just relax and have a nice leisurely go at tying up this year’s loose ends and making next year’s big plans. Lovely!

I intend to pay a few bills with some holiday scratch, ship out orders, finish and pack up my straggling holiday presents, maybe try out that milk liqueur, finish up the last box of my 2011: The Year of the Brain calendars, obsess over next year’s Überlist, and forgive myself for my shortcomings on this year’s. I do have one onerous task, covering up some broken windows, hopefully without impaling myself on shards of glass. And I’ll probably wrap up just a couple more almost-done items from the 2010 Überlist, but that is it!

2011: The Year of the Brain datebooks

Then we’ll ring in the new year quietly with a little champagne and our traditional New Year’s feast of black-eyed peas with greens and cornbread, and hopefully the better part of the New Year’s Day in bed watching the Roku and shoveling junk food into our faces.

Then on January 2, New Year! Hurrah! And a good 3 weeks of Pollyanna-approved positive energy and fresh-year momentum to start 2011 off with a hyperproductive bang. Yippee! I so adore the turn of the calendar.

  • Denise W. says:

    love the hounds in their Santa suits with Mom….makes a good card anyway even if they are not standing still.

  • robynn says:

    I like my calendar, but it is strange that it seems to include birthdays and other data already for the entire year for people i do not know… just a thought to exclude that next time… just found it odd in an otherwise fun and useful item. thanks.

  • Nikol says:

    It’s a tradition with these calendars, which started in the 90s as something I made for myself and friends. Anyone can submit their personal dates, and they appear in all the calendars. I purge them every couple years and start over. You’re welcome to submit your own dates for next year’s (there’s an email address to use on the first page)!

  • grasshopper says:

    For your brewing, would you be interested in some 3 liter plastic kegs? Chris has upgraded to metal kegs, and he’s thinking about getting rid of the plastic ones.

    You need to come up and see his setup sometime. It’s getting pretty crazy. There may be a kegerator. :)

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