Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Week

A week ago I was on my way to South Dakota for family Christmas. We work around my sister's schedule and have Christmas whenever she can make it from Seattle.

I flew Southwest to Omaha, and then drove to Sioux Falls. The plane wasn't very full, and it was a 737 so I got a full three seats to myself. Here is my hand (working on a Christmas present) and my two empty seats. What luxury!

The second picture is of a water tower in North Sioux City, SD. Painted on it are the words "Gateway to South Dakota". Coming from St. Louis, home of the Gateway Arch, it is particularly ironic for me.

Upon arriving, I was greeted by everyone (my sister had arrived the day before) including the family dogs:

Those of you who know anything about dogs will recognize them as a Brittany Spaniel and a Japanese Chin. For reference, my sister is only a few inches over five feet. The aptly named Rex is a 65-pound Brittany, about 50% over the breed standard. I call him "The Shaquille O'Neil of Brittanys" because he's not overweight, he's just enormous. Missy, the little one, is about 10 pounds.

My sister has taken up knitting, and is doing a great job on a sweater for her husband. The Yarn Harlot would love that he suggested that if she didn't think it would be done in time for Christmas, perhaps she could make it a vest. We went to a new yarn shop in town, and she bought some supplies for her first pair of socks. Isn't that exciting? The shop wasn't terribly unique or filled with interesting yarns, but it was servicable.

Friday night we celebrated everyone's birthdays, considering we were all born within three weeks of Christmas. My parents gave me some pearl earrings, and my sister gave me the All-Clad frying pan I've been wanting for a few years now. I can't wait to make some fond and deglaze it!

Saturday was to be the Christmas celebration, and I still wasn't done with Dad's neckwarmer. I felt it would go quickly, but it didn't go quickly enough. My siblings and I went to see The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, which was beautiful. I very much enjoyed it. And I knit throughout. When back in the daylight, I had made a few mistakes, but they were easily fixed or ignored. We returned home and I retreated to the spare bedroom to finish it. I worked steadily until dinner was called, at which time I was half finished filling it with rice. The plan was to open presents after dinner, and as soon as I was done eating I excused myself with the excuse that I had "one more present to wrap". Which wasn't a lie; I just had to finish it before I could wrap it. It didn't take long to finish filling it, and I made it to the tree without anyone suspecting that I was up to something.

The finished neckwarmer:I used smaller needles than I did on mine, because it seemed to be stretching out a lot. Dad seemed as pleased as he ever was when in the past I gave him a gift set of peanuts; and by the next morning had already tried it out in the microwave. I don't know if it will help his headaches as it has mine, but you can't have too many warm things around in South Dakota. (It was very cold when I was there, and the Panta and Clapotis got good use.)

My father gave me this: (A portable jump starter, lights, air compressor and 12V power supply.)

...with strict instructions that I was not now to go about with a bad battery or leaking tires. And that I probably couldn't use it to power a nail gun. And it wouldn't be helpful when back-packing. Well, I car camp, and as the girls who went with me to Stitches will attest, an air compressor that can inflate an air mattress might come in handy. And it will be helpful in all manner of emergency; I could even run my cell phone off it with the 12V outlets.

Sunday, my sister returned to Seattle, and the day was otherwise uneventful. Monday I was on the road again back to St. Louis, where I was able to go home for about 45 minutes before heading out to a three hour dress rehearsal for the Bach Society.

Home. Sleep. Work. Home. And this was waiting for me, my Christmas present to myself, purchased from with a 50% off coupon:
Unfortunately, I had about an hour fifteen minutes to eat and get ready for the concert, so I didn't even open it until after the concert (which was excellent, thanks for asking.) I still haven't actually put yarn on it.

Sleep. Work. Target (for new nylons and a DVD player). Home. I got ready for the concert, and then got the DVD player hooked up as well as I could in my formal attire and high-heeled shoes. Not quite working, but close. Off to the concert. Taco Bell. Home. After reading the instruction manual, I figured out the hookups and I am now the proud owner/operator of a real DVD player, not just the one in my computer. Hauling it and the power supply across the room was getting old, and I couldn't use the internet whenever I wanted to watch a DVD. My videos got a lot more use. No more! Yippee!

We are now up to Thursday, on which I had no plans, except work. I got to go home, and stay there. I worked a bit on seaming a very old WIP, the cable-waist pullover, which has been a WIP since the beginning of my blog. I had abandoned seaming it early in the summer because it's alpaca and angora and it was making me sweat to work on it. No problem with that now. I had every intention of finishing it on Friday in time to wear it to my voice lesson. I woke up at 5am (!) and couldn't fall back asleep (probably too excited about a day off) and got up after 6am; made french toast with leftover brioche, finished one side seam, and promptly fell back asleep not to wake again until 12:30pm when I had to get ready to go. Oh well. The sweater was finished last night (ends and everything!) but when I tried it on, I didn't like it. So I washed it, and it is now drying:
There were some wonky tension bits (alpaca has no give) and the ribbing was just too tight. A harsher blocking was in order. Maybe some weight loss, too. Oops.

Today is Christmas Eve, and I am sitting around in my pajamas; tonight I will be going to my church and my friends' church. Tomorrow I am taking the train to Jefferson City again for Christmas with my best friend's family, then home again before 9 o'clock. Monday will be a most-blissful day without plans. None. Nada. No place to go, nobody to see. I can't wait.

This is my WIP list on my PDA. It doesn't include the ever-present pair of socks. It's been a long time since there hasn't been a scroll-bar on the right side. The "OH" by the hemp sweater means "on hold" so I don't feel bad about not working on it; it's a summer sweater. And the "TBF" after the keyhole sweater means "To Be Frogged". The Here-and-There scarf is from my Birthday Yarn from last year, so I'd really like to have it done by my birthday this year. Soon I'll just have to start something new!

(Unfortunately, my WIW "Works In Waiting" list is much longer.)


Emily said...

Merry Christmas, Beth! Have a wonderful weekend!

Gwen said...

I've missed you. You've been so busy lately. No news about KC yet. Have a great christmas. Tell Candace and John I said Hi.


Chris said...

Glad to hear you get a day to do nothing! I love those days.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Procrastiknitter said...

GLda to hear you had a nice time in SD, not many people do! LOL. (I used to leave near there a few years ago) Next time you come to Omaha for a flight, let me know and I"ll give you the directions to a yummy wonderful LYS called String of Purls. It's my favorite around here!

Dixie said...

Glad your Christmas holiday was nice. I saw the picture of that Brittany and shrieked. I had two of them when I lived in the States and just adored them both. One was a big guy too - we said he was "long legged".

I'm crazy about the color of that sweater!

Anonymous said...

Ha! My dad gave me the same kind of gift last year!!!