Hitting the High Points

Out of all the comments yesterday,  the best advice I heard was "don’t try to catch up" and you know what? I’m not. 

The whole point of the Christmas Spreadsheet was to make this last week before Christmas lovely. It wasn’t to get a lot done, or to make more cookies than I ever have before or to do anything like that at all.  It wasn’t volume based, it was sanity based.  The goal was to make the last few days before the holiday everything I love.  Cozy and warm, with time to enjoy the things that I do it all for.   Watching the power of the spreadsheet get trampled under the tiny and unmerciful feet of a noro virus (and yes, knitters should get to rename that) made me think, for just a few days (and they were slightly dark days) that now I wouldn’t be able to do those things I like. I would be back on the crazy train – and then it hit me.

I get to pick.  Not everything, I mean – I’ll still have to wrap gifts, but I can ask for help.  I still have to bake, but I can just do the part of the baking that’s fun.  There’s less time to knit, sure, but I can drop several projects because you know what? There’s a whole week left, and you guys are right. There’s no difference between December 25th and December 31st, especially for adults.  I’m going to keep trying to finish a few things for people I know will care (because they are young, or because they are just like that) and I’m going to recognize that this year, all this family has that’s different is less energy and ability – not less time.  I get to do what I want with the same amount of time.   So, the really cool extra things I was doing that were going to be amazing and everyone would love? They’re now 12th Night gifts.  It’s all going to be fine… it’s still going to be a lot of hustle, but we’ll be fine.

This being the theory, and armed with buckets hand sanitizer and no end of washing up – we went ahead with our annual gingerbread production.  Christmas wouldn’t have been the same without it, and I realized that when, on the day traditionally allotted for said cookie management I got a text from Sam at 8:30am that said "GINGERBREAD DAY!!!!!!!"
Note to self: This is important to the family.  Okay. Then we’re doing it. We did less than usual, but we still nailed it. 

We are strict gingerbread traditionalists around here – so we do all the classic Christmas shapes.  Stars, trees, reindeer, persons, Santa…

sharks (we had some very young helpers)


sheep – decorated like swatches…

and what would Christmas be without the mighty Canadian Gingerbread Moose, Lord of the cookies?

Today I’m using my limited energy to take Hank on our annual holiday excursion, and some other stuff won’t get done instead, but it won’t matter – because stuff like hanging with Hank? That was what the spreadsheet was for.   

Gifts for Knitters (I’m not trying to catch up here either. That way lies madness.)

A knitting bag. Knitters love knitting bags. Love them. Even if they have one, they would probably like another one,  and keep in mind that most knitters I know aren’t super interested in carrying two bags.  That means they’re probably going to want to use their knitting bag as a purse (or man-bag) and that therefore, the bag should be able to go anywhere a purse can, style wise, and should have room for their regular stuff (wallet, keys, etc. and there should be a separate compartment for keys, because getting your keys tangled in your yarn sucks.)  You can get almost any bag that doesn’t have velcro (velcro is, as I have said before, yarn’s natural enemy.) Here’s some suggestions.  I love the look of Offhand Designs – a cool vintage look, if that’s your sort of knitter. Namaste always ranks high. I’ve got a few, and these are quite purse-like, but a few of them also make pretty manly knitting totes, if your knitter happens to be that sort.  (The Boardwalk in particular, hasn’t a single emasculating feature, no matter how picky you are.) The Tom Bihn Swift is a classic, relaxed looking bag, and I always get compliments on my cork one.
Jordana Paige is always good, I have several of them, but my new favourite is the Cezanne.  It’s got all the cool features of all their knitting bags, including that they all look as chic as any purse, none of them are a dead giveaway as a knitting bag – but the Cezanne has the extra bonus of being a bag you can carry cross-body.  If your knitter is an urban knitter, and on and off the subway and through crowds and riding their bike, then that means that a bag that goes across you and doesn’t fall of your shoulder all the time is darned handy. Plus it comes in orange, which is a deeply personal perk. Your mileage may vary on that colour.

105 thoughts on “Hitting the High Points

  1. Sounds like a wise plan! Love the all the traditional Christmas cookie shapes, but you’re missing an important shape — the Christmas cat! I always make those!

  2. Enjoy your day with Hank – he will be too old for these outings one day.
    You have got it with the rearrangement of Christmas expectations. Go with it.

  3. Sounds like an excellent plan to focus on the fun stuff, and make use of the fact that people won’t mind gifts coming later! I think gingerbread sharks are very festive 🙂 shame there’s no christmas dinosaurs though..
    I just bought myself a namaste bag last week, and i’m loving it so far (aside from the difficulty in cycling with it..)
    Merry Christmas!

  4. Good job, you! And taking it easy is the right thing to do – don’t catch up. You’ll catch up eventually as you just continue to do what you do.
    Hope everyone is feeling well and doesn’t get the Ick That Could Have Destroyed Christmas.

  5. Very wise. Enjoy your family and your traditions, the important parts of the holidays.

  6. Yeah, that was some bad juju stomach-yuck that went around after Thanksgiving here. Rest up and feel better! (Also, hand sanitizer. Apparently, besides the low incubation time, the virus shedding continues for quite a while. Sneaky, sneaky noro.)

  7. I like your Christmas animals. I grew up in Nova Scotia, and our family has a tradition of Christmas Lobster Cookies. There’s no lobster in them. They are sugar cookies in lobster shapes, half of them decorated with red sugar/sprinkles (cooked lobsters), and the other half with green sugar/sprinkles (raw lobsters). People give me the weirdest looks when I explain this. It’s awesome.

  8. A most excellent decision. Family first. All that gifty stuff is secondary, especially for adults. Glad you’re out with Hank today. Hope you and he have a blast!

  9. Love the details on the Moose – especially the toenails! Our family makes cut-out cookies with some very close friends. Years ago the boys created the Christmas Fish cookie. It’s a tradition now and makes everyone smile.

  10. LOVE the moose cookie! And I am following your lead of “don’t try to catch up”. Our cookies are alpacas, yarn balls w needles and sheep 🙂

  11. Key words: “I can ask for help.”
    So many people can’t or won’t ask for (and graciously accept) help. Thank you for showing how to do it. Really.

  12. LOVE the sheep cookies. and the moose. Well done. We’re doing our traditional sugar cookies tonight and since my daughters are both artists with a rather left of center view of the world, these sometimes include mitten shaped cookies with “bites” taken out of them and other such frightening cookies. We love them. Other people thing we’re a little weird, but these are the things memories are made of – the moments between the mundane. Enjoy!

  13. You’re a trooper! Enjoy your day, pace yourself and have fun……….. that’s all that’s important! You are creating memories for Hank!

  14. Well done! Love that moose. And all the other shapes. I am not a gingerbread fan especially, but I love the idea of a family cookie day….

  15. Isn’t that the true spirit of Christmas…spending quality time with your loved ones?
    Now, if the loved ones also knit…

  16. Your cookies are really beautifully done and I was wondering if you would share the icing recipe? We love our Christmas cookies but have never been able to make them look as good as yours do. Merry Christmas!

  17. Thank you, Stephanie. Thank you for reminding me that doing the things I enjoy is the reason I do all the things.
    I owe you a huge debt of gratitude for the concept of “Keeper of Christmas”. In recent years, I’ve had a bit of grumbling under my breath that I seemed to be “presenting” Christmas to my family. I do the preparation, the shopping, the list making, the planning, the menus, the wrapping–yes, I have help, but I felt a bit like the Little Red Hen…I get help with the “fun” parts. Your post about the Keeper of Christmas has transformed this for me this year and all the years to come. I GET to do this. It is an honor I have earned and enjoy. It is a role I will now proudly serve. I perform this role with a crown on my head. Yes, an imaginary crown, but no less beautiful or sparkly. My crown happens to have diamonds and holly, but someone else’s might look like St. Lucia’s crown with candles and pine.
    I enjoy your books and blog because of the knitting content, but I am addicted to reading them and love them because of posts like these–the ones that make me think, and change my perspective and transform me.
    Thank you, dear Yarn Harlot. A Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  18. I have a torn meniscus and cannot do all that I want..mother of 7, 13 grand kids…and my physical therapist said what if you were like this for the rest of your life? Those things are lovely but do what you can and enjoy the time….and like you said pic the most important and let the rest take care of itself….

  19. One year, when my son was little and we were making gingerbread cookies together, he wanted to make gingerbread snakes. So of course I let him! Ok, now visualize gingerbread snakes made by a small person. Yup. Not as many takers for gingerbread cookies that year. But what a great memory…..

  20. Wonderful! I’m glad you’re feeling better AND not taking advantage of the feeling better (physically) in order to make yourself feel worse (mentally).

  21. Good call. Know how many handmade gifts I’m giving this year? One. That’s a personal low. But, it’s been a rough Fall for my family, and I could either turn it in to a miserable one for me or give lovingly chosen, highly personal store bought gifts. I went with the latter, making it possible for me to make cookies with my 2 year old and string lots of the lights she so loves. I don’t regret it.

  22. Although I am sincerely glad you are “letting go” of the “have to” and moving along with the “want to and enjoy to”; it only sounds to me like you are trying to out wit the Knitting Goddesses. With the attitude you have now, everything (well almost everything) will be finished on time! Sorry about the delay due to the virus (I agree, we should get to re-name it) and, if I don’t comment again in the next few days, Happy Holidays to you and all of yours, including The Blog.

  23. Good on you! Hope the shopping excursion with Hank was a blast. If it helps you feel as if you have company: my holiday cards are SO going to be 12th Night cards this year.

  24. Hurray for your moment of sanity! Bake what you like, play with who you want to and knit when you can! Stay healthy and happy!

  25. Lord Moose is awesome. I want to bite the antlers!
    I just got my new Cezanne. Not sure if I love it. It won’t carry everthing that the L.J. Kaelms carries. And, closure…it’s like tight jeans…I have to really push to get it closed. I know…don’t carry so much stuff..really??

  26. One or more persons in your family have extremely enviable icing skills. I am extremely envious. Also, the shark definitely wins.

  27. Glad you’re gradually bouncing back,, but wisely not too fast. As you say, Twelfth Night is all about gifts too and for some people it’s actually Christmas Day in any case. 🙂 The gingerbread looks fantastic and I’m planning to try some for the first time this year.

  28. Sounds eminently sensible and I hope your run-up to Christmas ends up hassle free.
    I sympathise – I went ice skating with my children on Sunday, fell and broke my wrist. Apart from the severe pain, the most irritating part is I can’t do any knitting… The days are very long.
    Happy Christmas!

  29. I am so glad you are feeling better. You have really put things into perspective for me this year. You are the keeper of Christmas, and as a new mom, I am realizing that I too can make our own traditions! I have always been a bah humbug, but not this year! I will perservier and make it wonderful. Thank you for putting me back to a good place for Christmas.

  30. So glad your tummy is back in its proper place. Please tell us how you decorate your cookies so beautifully. Is it beyond the reach of mere mortals or something relatively simple?

  31. I am also curious about your icing recipe. It looks great, and I can use all of the help I can get.

  32. Glad that you are better! Stomach bugs have a nasty way of popping up around this time, don’t they? Good for you for shifting the spreadsheet’s timeline and not driving yourself crazy to get it all done by 12/25. It will all be great, and next month no one will remember that not as many cookies were made anyway.

  33. Brilliant decision, Stephanie. All that’s going to happen is that Christmas will last longer, its proper 12 days, and maybe even a tad more. I always feel sad for people who take down their decorations a couple of days after the 25th. It’s only once a year, and it’s lovely to keep the spirit going until the light actually starts to change!
    Feel better, and thank you for everything you do for us.

  34. The holidays aren’t about being the best and doing the most – so I think your plan is just spiffy on the spot 🙂
    Your cookies look spectacular and I must say – the shark is probably my favorite…. because eh, who needs traditional shapes when you have sharks and seahorses!

  35. you need to get a set of ninja-bread cookie cutters…i saw them in a shop. I go for ginger-folk and Canadian Wildlife (moose, bears, deer, trout, loons, etc).

  36. Your cookies are spectacular. I am venturing into grandma and a 5 yr old make sugar cookies tomorrow. Totally looking forward to it. I’m so glad you readjusted your schedule/expectations for the holiday. Via the blog, I know enough about Joe and your girls at this point to know that they are glad too… Although I will say that it makes me think you aren’t entirely well yet. Keep your eye on your driven self as you continue to get better. Good luck!

  37. I fantasized about the orange Cezanne for many days, but in the end went for the Stone Gray. It came today and I Love It! A beautiful neutral olive-y gray, which will be great.
    I still might get the orange one, though, if I could possibly justify it!
    Cool moose! Cookies make everything better.

  38. I have had noro virus–it’s nasty. Take care and enjoy yourself. Happy Holidays from Wisconsin!

  39. Your cookies are wonderful. Glad to hear you are not doing the Christmas crazy. Enjoy the things you do……….

  40. Good for you! I just had a ten day flu (zero knitting or eating)and the effects are definitely still hanging around in a big way. Energy zilch.
    First step was notify family in U.S. that Christmas was happening in January this year (even if I had the energy I don’t trust either the Portuguese mail or the U.S. mail to get it right this late). Second was hand the two Christmas dinners over to my spouse and family. I’ll do the desserts. Period.
    After all that it was time for a nap.
    Your family also makes beautiful cookies!!! Can I come help next year?

  41. I love the look of Cezanne, but I haven’t bought any of her bags yet. I am one of those people who even with a good purse-like bag seems to be doomed to carry more than one. Currently it is a bag by Pansy Maiden (I have the smaller one, but I should have sprung for the larger one), which isn’t strictly a knitting bag, but had the great joy of being locally made. The other bag is a tote from a yarn store, which is definitely showing its age.

  42. You have just the right attitude! 🙂
    Also, another vote here for the Tom Bihn Swift. I just got a full-sized one after hemming and hawing for ages about my options…and the price. But seriously. Having nice tools, especially something you use as heavily as a knitting bag, really adds to my enjoyment of my hobby.
    In VERY short order I have become downright snobby about project bags. Nothing I find compares favorably to the yarn stuff sack.

  43. oh, DANG! Now I want gingerbread! Downside: I will have to make it. I don’t have many gingerbread cutters – gingerfolk, gingersanta, gingerangel, gingerrockinghorse. That’s about it. I want a moose. Badly. And gingersheep would be just plain nifty!
    Your health and sanity are more important than just about anything, and Christmas does indeed last for 12 days so theoretically you can stretch it out to Jan 6th. Better yet, if a bunch of your friends happened to be Ukrainian, or you could claim some Ukrainian blood in your background, Jan 6th is actually Ukrainian Christmas Eve according to the Gregorian Calendar, which would give you even more knitting time, not to mention a trip to the Boxing Day sales where you could really nail the remaining store-bought-type gifts.

  44. I think we would all do well to remember that Christmas actually starts on December 25 and goes to Jan 6 if you’re very secular…and Feb 2 for us more traditional types. Let’s not celebrate before the Christ child is even born. That’s like eating dinner before your guest arrives.
    I hope you take time to get well and then finish your projects over the next weeks and give them then. It’s still the Christmas season.

  45. hmmm … must be something in the air (sanity, perhaps?) because i’ve had a rough couple of weeks myself. found myself starting to panic a bit last weekend as i reviewed my lists and then realized that whatever i can get to is enough. more than enough. it’s plenty and plentiful and wonderful, because i will be surrounded by my near and dear ones, and we will and laugh and eat and love each other. and so i am reading your blog and doing a bit of unhurried knitting this evening, candles lit, tea steaming in the mug beside me. … enjoy! i plan to!

  46. Good for you! …and remember you can always have Dave (I mean Joe) cook the turkey! (Don’t know if you’re a Vinyl Cafe fan)

  47. You are a wise soul. 14 years ago today I was blessed with my 3rd granddaughter and my energy goes to making her day special. I knew she would be lost and forgotten in the madness we call Christmas. If, after making her day special, I have energy to spare I will make cookies, if not so be it, I’ll buy them…. The season is about loving and caring about others not trying to impress others. I admire your wisdom.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  48. Yay! So glad you are back on your feet. I too, love a crossbody bag, and especially one that has an adjustable strap, so thanks for the link.
    Your cookies look amazing, especially the shark. They will have that extra delicious something that only comes when you bake for the love, rather than the obligation of it. Enjoy.

  49. Tip from another knitting bag conoisseur:
    check out the offerings here:
    they are really cool in a william Gibson-ish kind of way, and seem to be durable enough to outlast the heat death of the universe. I saw some in a shop and was entirely smitten, if only I hadn’t loudly announced in public that I was going to spin and (Tunisian) crochet my own set of bags. So I’m maybe a twentieth through spinning a whole pound of 50/50 linen and silk and I feel like Sisyphus.

  50. Good on ya, to take a step back and prioritize. Hope your day with Hank was amazing.
    All of the moose in our Christmas collection are named Ray. Why? The latin in O Come, All Ye Faithful: Venite adoremus. Ray Moose.

  51. I hope you had a great day with Hank! And I also agree that things can wait. Enjoy your family and friends and traditions. They are what matters.
    If you have a minute, please check out http://www.yarnista.com today. She has set up a great way for knitters to support the people of Newtown.
    Merry Christmas!

  52. Zombie gingerbread cookies are the best. I had a dream about them. (no, really, I did. They had maple sugar sprinkled on top. I don’t think I’ve ever dreamed about cookies before, but this was a pretty awesome way to start.)

  53. That Cezanne in orange is stunning. From over here in NorCalifornia I’m very happy knowing you and your family are enjoying a lovely holiday season. Great gingerbread!!

  54. Love the cookies, and that Swift in Cork bag: uhmmm. Too late to ask for Christmas and because I am more the throw-in-anything-handy type and won’t get the real use out of it that I should, it will go have to go on the back burner until I can justify buying the thing for the sheer beauty of it. (You know that it will be burning a hole in my brain and that you are an enabler, don’t you Stephanie?) Have a relaxed and happy Christmas!

  55. I’m trying to make Christmas happen from hospital.its now 1am and I’m making lists in my head for others to do, wishing I was out there doing at least some of it. My boys are adults now but everyone likes to make it a special day. Hopefully Santa will have a big box of good health and a return to knitting.the gingerbread biscuits looked amazing. Merry Christmas to everyone and lots of happy knitting in 2013

  56. So glad you’re feeling better and having such a lovely time with your family. You’re absolutely right — it’s about people, not the calendar.
    My holidays spread out over several weeks. The Solstice, with its quiet and reflection, is just for me. I celebrate Christmas on December 25th with a few family members I travel to see; celebrate it again with many more when we get together a day or two later; and once (sometimes twice) more in January with rhe rest of the family when I get back home. Peace, love and joy are too expansive to be restricted to any single date.

  57. Wow, you guys get into some serious gingerbread decorating. Mine look nothing like that. Of course, mine are still beautiful because my granddaughters helped… and this year the 4 year old got her OWN rolling pin! 🙂
    I’m glad you’re feeling better. Enjoy your holidays!

  58. Moose with fabulous pedicure AND a cowl? Awesome. Wishing you and yours the happiest possible Christmas, enjoy the solstice.

  59. I must say, I love the seahorse the most. I desperately want some Hippocampus mittens.. ever since I first saw them on Ravelry I’ve lusted after them.

  60. I’m so glad you’re feeling more like yourself again and that you’re not beating yourself up mentally. That is not a good thing to do. I like your choice of bags listed, but my personal favorite is LeSportSac http://www.lesportsac.com/
    Funky colors, very lightweight and they stand by their product. I sent one back to them after about 5 years because the zipper “zipped apart” and they fixed it no charge! I can’t aruge with that kind of customer service ever.

  61. I have a cat cookie cutter, and this year it is my favorite. Only making sugar cookies this year, but everyone agreed they are the one kind we have to have.
    Genie- My crown is going to be the St. Lucia type! Thanks, I can see it right now!
    I just can’t get in the Christmas spirit this year. Mean-tongued teenage daughter haunts my house, and while I try to be understanding, it is hard. Counting my blessings, including wonderful friends and boyfriend and wonderful son (they turn out great someday, I know) but our tree has only one ornament, and will probably stay that way. Sigh.
    I finished my Christmas knitting the other day, and now I am lost. I would still be knitting, as I had planned mittens for everyone, but someone told me men don’t wear mittens. I showed them the pictures of the men in Maine wearing mittens in Robin Hansen’s books, but apparently men in Oregon are different. I did go on a fingerless knitting jag, but am done for now. Maybe something for me next.
    I, too, would love to hear your icing recipe!
    Vicki in Portland

  62. Good call on the remaining sane thing.
    And whoa! I am once again completely wowed by your gingerbread decorating team. Fantastic work.

  63. I think Noro (virus) is justly named, The person who has got it changes colour like Noro, does thick and thin like Noro (I will not get into that) sometimes breaks like Noro and gets some holes here and there, like Noro. No need to change the name, only when it is over and when you have got it, I prefer the wool to the virus. I think you are nearly up to being overworked, exhausted from all your classes and travelings, so more vulnerable tot viruses. You do exactly what is wise (and like grown-up a bit), taking a step back and enjoying what you can do at the moment. Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy! Clearly Christmas spirit has got up with you, must have been chasing you all over Canada and the US. Happy Christmas.

  64. Glad you are feeling better. The cookies are spectacular and I know you all had a great day baking them.
    Good gift suggestions. Santa brought me a mini-swift by Tom Binh, just in time for some holiday travel. I think I will love it.
    PS: A bout with the Noro Virus scuttled my 50th birthday celebration and spoiled a visit with my granddaughter (boo!) But I survived and have made up for it since. (who says 50 is a big deal anymore anyway). I’m thinking something that yucky should be called the Acrylic Virus or the just plain Nasty Virus …

  65. Beautiful cookies! They look yummy. Would you be willing to share the recipe? I have lots of gingerbread recipes, but none for rollout cookies.
    May you and your family and loved ones have a wonderful holiday!

  66. When my friend and I made Christmas gingerbread cookies with our kids, she had us take a familiar shape and frost it into something quite different. As that was 20 years ago, I can’t quite remember any of them specifically–but it was a lot of fun for all of us!

  67. **If I had a knitter in my life, I’d whip up a silk knitting bag on my sewing machine, with a pretty matching or contrast silk ribbon drawstring. Maybe if I was really ambitious I’d make more than one bag. Embroider it 2. But that’s only if I’m ambitious and I have time. Ok, my mom’s a knitter in my life, but she doesn’t really tote her projects around so I’m not sure a bag would be ideal for her.

  68. Throw that spreadsheet in the recycle bin. Accept that this happens every Christmas and just go ahead and have fun. Great gingerbread cookies!

  69. I forgot a suggestion for a bag too – check out Lantern Moon. I can’t live without my (red) Square Clip Bag. Love Love Love it

  70. A nurse told me you will pick up waaay more germs from the escalators hand rails,elevator buttons and tolley handles in shopping centres than you do in a hospital…..don’t touch them, or use hand sanitiser if you have to……yuk!
    Fresh fruit or vegie juice will help you feel better, hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas together.

  71. Harlot, I just found out I am expecting! What would it take to get a pattern for that awesome blanket you knitted either Lew or Marlowe? Or a discription of how to come up with a pattern? I’m not getting the mitered corners and how they connect together. I tried it once with a simple feather and fan, and where the corners join just looks wierd. (I’m not spelling Lew right but I am blaming that on morning sickness….at 3:15pm!)

  72. Although you may have initially felt detoured, you are taking the right path. Confession time – I covet your moose cookie cutter. Since last Christmas I have searched in vain to find one to equal the mighty Canadian moose. Guess I’ll have to make a trip to Canada!

  73. Always love the pics from cookie day at your house, glad to see you were feeling we’ll enough to do it! These are the important things in life….
    Lynda’s comment 12/18 7:33 reminded me of this week’s episode of Vinyl Cafe – a lovely story about Christmas and knitting! Available on the CBC website….

  74. I find it very amazing that the same two days you couldn’t knit, I was in the hospital covered in hives, not in the slightest bit interested in knitting either! That is just freaky.
    So glad we are both doing better, and that I have the right kind of needles now. I hate IVs!

  75. Glad to hear you’re feeling better, and are enjoying some Christmas activities.
    Still, you’ve got Moose, but vat about Squirrel? (said in a bad Russian accent)

  76. It takes a wise person to know when to say when. Good job, now I will try to be as wise. 🙂

  77. good choice – I hope you get to enjoy the fun things more – the cookies are fabulous and I hope you enjoyed your day with Hank.

  78. Great cookies! And thanks for all your wonderful posts – they always make me smile. Have a lovely and merry Christmas!

  79. LOVE
    If you hadn’t started to recover, I was going to suggest some kind of cork be employed…but yer better. Yay! So glad that you are NOT tryna catch up.
    And BTW – you might really enjoy looking at http://www.cakewrecks.com last few blog posts.
    Merry Christmas.

  80. If it makes you feel better, noroviruses are a family of viruses and the most common one (>90%) is Norwalk virus. I refuse to associate Noro with anything remotely gastrointestinal (OK, “yarn barf” sounds like it would be, but that’s different).

  81. Wise woman. I particularly liked the “less energy and less ability–not less time.” Nor any less love.
    And does that shark have a maple leaf on its tail? My compliments to the artist, I love it!

  82. The moose is wonderful! My boyfriend would love one of those (he’s Italian and enamored with all of the major “Canadian” symbols). I bought him a moose cookie cutter as a joke, but couldn’t quite envision the final product given that I don’t think they really make any comparable cookies there (perhaps in the north, but not in the central part). Your family’s decorating skills are excellent! PS I am still carrying the same project bag that my step-father brought back from the Caribbean for me when I was about 16 (I’m now in my 40s). You have introduced me to a new world!

  83. I know you don’t get one red cent from the products you recommend, so I have to regard your recommendation of the Jordana Page Cezanne as pure malice, designed to destroy my self image as a spiritual being floating above such sins as greed and covetousness, not to mention incipient poverty. Really, the best I can do is try to postpone the evil — after Christmas? Maybe there will be a gift check? And should it be black or scarlet (I’m thinking of it as scarlet, not orange, but suppose it’s my duty to go back to the website and double check. Triple, really.) Not the act of a friend, this…

  84. It’s so nice to hear that your cookie boy helped again this year. Your gingerbread looks delicious and the decorating is awesome! Is there any chance you could share the recipe with us? I have yet to find a good gingerbread cookie recipe and it’s one of my Christmas favourites.

  85. I’m just rolling out of bed today after 3 days of fighting the noro virus also to see that you have recovered. My family was so worried that Christmas would be cancelled, because I was not well, that they decided to “help”. I came downstairs to dirty laundry in piles all over the family room and empty food carryout containers all over the kitchen! Maybe I’ll go back upstairs and pretend to be sick before anyone notices.

  86. I’m curious – could you share your gingerbread recipe? I want to make it for the first time this year, and I’m not sure which recipe to choose.

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