Fortunately, there's not much for me to do except draft a blog update (or so I tell myself semi-guiltily).
First, the Knitting
Last night during a very small knit night, I cast on a Headigan using some pretty handspun handdyed yarn. Here's my progress so far (note: I now have another repeat done, so it's twice this size:
Porkchop gave the yarn to me for Christmas; she bought it on the Felt Studio etsy shop. The pattern and the yarn are a most perfect combination. (My only complaint is about the tagline on the webshop selling the Headigan pattern. It's something along the lines of, "Math is hard. Let's go shopping!" Hopefully that's a joke.)
I gave Beth her beanie Saturday night:
And, as luck would have it, Katie won the big pink pointy elf cap by having a large noggin:
I gave Katie a knitted neckwarmer, as well, but I forgot to take a photo of it! Darn! Also, I gave my sister a knitted headband/ear warmer for Christmas, but the photo isn't so great.
Lastly...the interlocking balloon pattern is still going well. I might finish it in January, but I'm eager to buy yarn and start on a Tilted Duster. My biggest wish was to finish my stinking Jaywalkers before the end of the year, but I noticed that instead of buying size 1 metal dpns, I actually bought size 0. I *thought* I was buying size 1s, so the sales clerk must have picked up the wrong set. I didn't check the set until last week, I bought them in November, and I no longer have a sales receipt. I don't know if I want to try to exchange them...seems like a hassle. But, they cost nearly $13, darn it!
Trips and Visits
On December 14, Porkchop arrived in STL, and we drove to CoMo for Katie's graduation. Yay! PhD!
Dinner and the ceremony were nice, but the best part was the reception Saturday morning at the Women's Center on campus. Katie read from her dissertation acknowledgements, and most of us teared up and cried at some point.
We hung out in the Women's Center for a good part of the afternoon and then had snacks at Uprise. Porkchop and I had to leave around 6:30 that evening because Porkchop was working the next day at the UPS Store. Unfortunately, we drove in on the tail end of the second snow, and it took us 4 hours to get home! Porkchop did a great job driving, and I did a good job clutching the passenger side door handle and braking with my imaginary brake.
More Visits with Katie and Beth
Katie and Beth were back in Missouri this past weekend for Christmas. We stole them away from Katie's brother's house and his Wii for dinner Saturday night at House of India. Katie and Beth also spent the night at our apartment, and then we dropped them off in Cape Girardeau at Katie's dad's house.
Yay for Katie and Beth time! We exchanged presents Saturday night, and then I re-taught Katie and Beth how to knit.
Since we all got up so early on Sunday, Porkchop and I made it into Jonesboro around 2:30. My mom was waiting and greeted us with home-made spiced pecans, a salmon ball, and other snack items. We, in turn, gave my family biscotti, chocolate-dipped pretzels, and a few magic bars (the rest went to Katie and Beth).
There was a lot of snacking for the next couple of days.
On Monday, Porkchop and I made a Christmas Eve dinner of my favorite cranberry-almond bulgur pilaf and this caramelized cranberry chicken. Yum! My mom provided dessert - gingerbread with whipped cream and an ice cream cake roll thing.
My family loves whipped cream....not that nasty spray can stuff, but the real deal made by beating cream. Here's my dad with his bowl of whipped cream:
Just kidding! That's a staged photo. Although, sometimes certain family members have been known to eat whipped cream alone (and one of those members might be me). But, in reality, my dad would be eating some whipped cream with a side of oatmeal or something like that (seriously). [Edited to add: My dad just found out that he needs cataract surgery ASAP. He isn't taking it so well. He was prepared for back surgery, not cataract surgery. Send the guy some love...he doesn't have any cilia in his nose, his vertebrae are crumbling, his hips are messed up, and now his eyes have to be replaced.]
This year, my dad asked me to taste test the whipped cream. I warned him that I like my whipped cream not-so-sweet and that he should probably ask my sister. But, since I thought the cream tasted just fine, he didn't add any more sugar. So, OF COURSE, the rest of my family nearly burned me at the stake as a heretic for approving such low-sugar whipped cream.
Here's how the conversation went:
Sister: Ugh, this whipped cream isn't sweet enough!!
Me: Well, I like it less sweet. Whipped cream is supposed to cut the sweetness of the dessert.
Sister: Needs. More. SUGAR!!!!
Brother: MORE SUGAR!! MORE SUGAR!!!
Sister: Don't trust Carrie, Dad. This needs more sugar.
After that, we opened presents. Porkchop was a great elf and finally got to open her Packers hat:
Besides everything from Porkchop, my favorite present is this:
This is one of the silver dollars that my grandpa gave my mom and her sister after he returned from harvesting wheat in Texas around 1950 (the coins were made in 1921). My mom said that he received the silver dollars in change while eating lunch at a cafe in Texas.
My mom had 3 such silver dollars, so she gave one to me, my sister, and my brother. We're fortunate that all 3 survived our collective childhood; I know that I played with those coins regularly as a kid.
It kind of makes me sad that my mom has given them to us.
On Christmas morning, I brought back a Freeman family tradition and made chocolate gravy and biscuits. Mmmmmm....
Porkchop decided we should make an impromptu stop at her parents, so we spent the night there Tuesday night and left early Wednesday morning. Porkchop's mom taught us how to play a new card game, 9-hole, and she made a super-yummy Snickers pie.
After breakfast at a Waffle House on Wednesday, Porkchop and I beat it back to St. Louis.
I'll write about holiday baking and post the recipe for magic bars because they are super yummy (and super easy).
Have a great Friday!