Happy Christmas Eve pets. I’m writing this to you from my desk where I have a hot toddy with a good sized tot of whiskey in it, while I do my best not to be too disappointed. A few days ago, Kate came down with a cold, Carlos experienced “gastrointestinal distress” for 12 hours, and a decision was made, in the heat of battle, to move Christmas Eve from their house to ours. This was the smartest thing we thought, for the whole family to gather here. My house is technically a little tiny for that, but it had functioning adults in it, which was a huge plus. Fast forward to yesterday afternoon, when Joe goes down like a ton of bricks (distress courtesy of Carlos, no doubt) and a bad cold slammed into me along with the realization that I should snuggle fewer toddlers in the month of December. They’re cesspools of bacteria. (Three big cheers for our oldest daughter Amanda, who took charge completely, and while Joe was sick and I was out with my mother and sister – she went and got all the groceries that we needed. She’s amazing.) We both had a bad night, and I lay on the couch (I was going no where near Joe) and tried to sleep and worried about today. I was (and am) worried about being able to do anything – to really take part. I truly feel awful – and I’m not sure if I should go anywhere, I’m worried I’ll spread it around, and that’s a really craptastic Christmas gift, but at the same time, I’m a little broken hearted about the idea of working this hard to make Christmas nice, and then not reaping the rewards.
I got up when I heard Sam moving around, and got on with the plan to make her a special breakfast. I feel bad that she has to work on Christmas Eve, and wanted to do something nice for her. I had bought all the stuff, and I thought maybe if I faked it, if I pretended that everything was fine, pretty soon I would be.
It helped. It helped a lot, actually, and reminded me that although this isn’t the turn of events I would have picked, it’s only one day, and I have fun with my family all the time, and they’ll like their presents just the same, and was a nice firm smack right in my control freak nature, because the spreadsheet didn’t do anything about this – and what was supposed to be the nicest Christmas ever, is totally going to be whatever a virus decides, and there was no column for that. It’s disappointing, but true, and probably good for me to live with once in a while, right when I start feeling like I’ve got it all under control.
Katie called this morning and she felt much better and I felt so much worse, and we’ve shifted it back to her house – and that means I can opt in or out and the terrible pressure is off. I managed to get my share of the food cooked, the presents are wrapped, and I’ve taken nine pounds of cold meds (and the hot toddy) and in an hour I’ll make the call – see if I can get myself over there, even briefly. Whether I can or a can’t, one thing stays the same. It’s Christmas, and I’m very lucky, virus notwithstanding, and I know it.
What’s Luis hanging today?
Papa Noel! Finally… holy cats, the kid made it.
Gifts for Knitters, day 24.
It’s too late. If you haven’t got anything by now, the only thing you can do from here is try to please your knitter another way. I give you a rerun. I wrote this a few years ago, but it’s still darn true.
The Proper Way to Receive a Knitted Gift.
1. Open the gift, and immediately say something positive. (Suggestions are things like “Oh wow!” or “Oh my goodness!)
2. Hold up the item and smile broadly.
3. If you do not know what the item is, DO NOT SAY SO.
We understand that knitting can produce some unusual items, and that the nature of handmade objects can further complicate things. If, after admiring the item for some time you are still not sure what it is, say something like “This is beautiful. Oh my gosh. Can you show me how I should wear it? I want to do it justice.”
4. After admiring and identifying the item, RUB IT ON YOUR FACE, or at the very least, cuddle it against your neck while saying something positive, like “Mmmmmm”. Knitters love this. It’s because we’ve been worried that you wouldn’t like it, and knitting is a tactile thing. Lots of non-knitters find some textiles scratchy or uncomfortable, and we’re worried that will be you. Making immediate physical contact with the item reassures us.
5. Pronounce the item the best gift you have ever gotten. Kiss or hug the knitter, and show the item off to at least one other person over the course of the day.
6. Place item in a place of honour, and continue to admire it at intervals, remarking (see gift re: Respect above) that you can’t believe that a knitter thought you were worth that much time.
-Comment that it doesn’t fit. This is not something you discuss today. Maybe tomorrow. Or the day after. Or in a week. Not today. Your knitter has been busting a move for weeks or months for you. They probably finished a hat at 2am and are a little fragile. Save it.
-Similarly, do not say it is scratchy, or uncomfortable or not what you wanted. Despite what some other non-knitters may have you think, knitting is a super expensive gift – and if someone gave you a Ferrari, you wouldn’t pout and tell them you wanted it in blue.
Now go forth and love your knitter. They’re amazing.
Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Peace out. Be kind to each other. Stay calm.
I’ll see you on the other side.