Wow. Time flies when you're trying to chip ice off the sidewalk.
I had a nice post all written about Christmas, but so much of it seems not newsworthy anymore. We've been busy contra dancing, and I have sworn off casting on new knitting until the first day of spring, which isn't too bad. There's enough projects in progress that I can entertain myself very happily.
I put a quilt on the Fool's grandmother's quilt frame and am hand quilting on it now. I don't think I'll ever become a hand quilter. It's nice work, and I enjoy it, because it's different for me, but I think this one quilt will be enough.
It was a good Christmas in many ways, a bit of a rarity for me. I always seem to be longing for childhood Christmases I will never get back, with family who are no longer with me, and no one really to even help me reminisce. This year, the Fool and I made a sincere effort to clear out the clutter of the holidays early and spend time doing things with Jamie and each other. We did pretty well (despite knitting a pair of socks in three days before Christmas, but that's the Fool's story to tell.)
One night, he and Jamie walked around a local shopping mall, admiring all the lights and trees, until the giant tree started blaring out Mannheim Steamroller's "Carol of the Bells," and flashing lights, which the Fool found menacing and alarming and caused them both to beat a hasty retreat to the Barnes and Noble for a restorative drink and some quality time with the train table in the kids' section. (Jamie has acquired a serious train table habit - I've started marking their locations in my head - one at the Barnes and Noble, one at the library, etc.) Now, the Fool calls the band the Anaheim Scrambler (which I think is a breakfast entree somewhere we've eaten) and spent the rest of the holidays avoiding large trees.
We went to church on Christmas Eve with his mom and brother and Jamie, who was really well-behaved and didn't complain at all about having to sit still for 45 minutes. (I was a little worried, because we are Unchurched Heathens, and Jamie hasn't had a lot of practice behaving in church. By "a lot," I mean, "any.") The best part was when we were all singing Hark the Herald Angels or something like that, and the organist pulled out all the bass stops for the last verse and Jamie absolutely went nuts, grinning and giggling and waving his hands.
We also baked a lot. A. Lot. I got the King Arthur Flour Cookie Cookbook from the library and tried a bunch of new recipes in there. The spice cookies were a hit - tasty, easy to roll out and fun to decorate. The Fool made the first batch and after I somewhat testily said, "The cookie cutters are out, just use whatever you want!" produced a bunch of "BOO" cookies from our Halloween selection of cutters. (I counted. We have more Halloween cookie cutters than Christmas ones. I had to make crescent moons and oak leaves and call them solstice cookies.) Snarkily, he said it was a tradition among the Methodists to jump out at each other during the Christmas season and shout "Boo! Christ is born!"
So keep that in mind if you want to liven up the holidays next year. I see it as being one of those universal faith traditions. Shout "boo!" and the holiday greeting of your choice.
Finally, the three of us went to Brookfield Zoo to enjoy the holiday lights and the late hours and see the animals in the winter. We visited the egrets, the otters, the wombats, the fruit bats, the polar bears, and the farm animals. A problem in relying on books to educate yourself about farm animals is that you don't get a good sense of scale. We plopped him down in front of the cow's pen and said, "look, Jamie, a cow! Cows say 'moo!'" and he just stared with his mouth open, like someone had just smacked him in the head. We think he had no idea how big cows really are.
The slide toward spring is beginning, though, and I'm glad of it. This year, we're going to make it to Maryland Sheep and Wool for sure. The Cosmic Otters have already turned down gigs for that weekend, so it's officially on the household calendar.