Yes, casting on before Christmas. Actually, none of my gifts this year were handmade. Mostly because most of my gifts were bought for Briton and Hannah, and they look on handknits the same way most people look on a beautifully wrapped boxed that turns out to contain underwear.
I am using knits in my 26 Acts campaign. So far, I've been leaving things on people's cars in parking lots, so that it will be both a true surprise and a real mystery. I haven't made an etsy sale this year, so I've got plenty of items from which to choose. The other day, when I had my car serviced, I left a cat I had made in the children's waiting room, with a note attached that said he could be taken home.
It's a cold, rainy Christmas Eve here, which makes huddling up inside with some knitting and "Mystery Science Theater 3000" just perfect. Hannah is working today --- when she's done, we're going to IHOP to eat, then our annual visit to a live Nativity scene. When we get home, we each open one gift, then watch "Muppet Christmas Carol." Traditions are rather soothing, don't you think?
So, Ann Curry began a "movement" on twitter: 26 Acts, where you are encouraged to do 26 random acts of kindness in honor of the 26 victims of the Newtown murders. I got to it sort of late, but am really enjoying coming up with ways to randomly surprise people. And I'm going to try to get to 27, as the shooter's mother was as much a victim as anyone at the school.
Things are proceeding well here for Christmas. For as long as I can remember, I've liked to wrap one present a day leading up to Christmas. It extends the spirit, and it's fun to watch the stack of gifts grow every day.
Hannah's new kitten is doing well. He was "in quarantine" for a week, so yesterday was the first day he was allowed to walk around in the house. He's very interested in Riley (the feeling isn't mutual), and is of great interest to Finn. Unfortunately, it's hard to get a clear picture of the little guy --- he's surprisingly fleet afoot. So here's one from when she got him. He hasn't changed that much:
I am knitting --- is anyone else? I'm working on a wrap/stole-type thing, probably for myself. I started a pair of wristers last night, but wasn't happy with how they were going, so unravelled. I'll pick another project tonight or tomorrow.
I am 52 years old, and have experienced my share of sadness. But what happened yesterday in Connecticut has me, for the first time ever, wondering about and questioning God.
It's been a long time since my two children were in Kindergarten. Those two first days, however, are very clear in my mind. After I left them in their classrooms and walked back to my car, I cried both times. They were so small, and they were setting out on such a big adventure. It never crossed my mind that, on any given day, I might not be able to pick them up in the line of cars, but would have to go to the medical examiner to retrieve them.
That someone the same age as my younger child could walk into a school and shoot 6 and 7 year-olds over and over again defies reason. That parents had to wait after getting that horrifying news, that those babies were still lying where they fell and they could not get to them, is something my heart cannot bear.
It struck me at some point over the weekend that most, if not all, of my headaches and knotted stomachs and a good deal of my depression has come from temporariness.
Since I last worked, in December, 2010, every aspect of my life has been unsettled. My mother's health. Her death, and having to deal with the estate. Being unable to find a job. Problems with my children's lives. Them moving out of the house, then in. Finances. All of these issues have been ongoing, without any ends in sight. I've been saying that it feels as though my life has flown apart into pieces, and those pieces are just circling my head. I can't catch any of them and put them to rest. Or think clearly enough for long enough to try and make sense of them. My life has been, still is, up in the air.
And although I still have no idea how to deal with all of it, it's comforting to understand it a little more.
This has been one of those days when you get loads accomplished, but by the end of it, all you want to do is find your most comfortable clothes, change into them, and collapse. Let Madeleine give you a visual primer: