Easy as 1,2,4.

This year my good buddy Lene gave me one of her standard gifts.

It’s a schedule. A pre-Christmas run-up organizational schedule. (This is one of the ways that we have discovered that Lene’s natural and incredible proclivity for running other peoples lives can be used for good.) Everyone has a talent, and Lene’s may be that she can, given a spread sheet, 15 minutes and a list of your commitments, whip up a schedule that will tell you, down to the very minute what you should be doing in order to have complete success (If not free will). This would normally bug the snot out of me. I would resist the schedule. I would lose it, or cram it in my purse or wander around making changes to it with a black pen while muttering almost unintelligibly, “Nobody tells me what to do. I do what I want.” Not this time of year. This time of year I find it extraordinarily comforting to have it all arranged. I don’t have to wonder how I will finish on time…I just look at my list.

Wrap 30 minutes. Cookies 1 hour. Knit sock 1.5 hours.

Lene is so gifted at this that if I follow the schedule she makes for me, if I suspend all independent thought, if I simply do as I am told unquestioningly and without suspicion….I will finish everything. It will all be done. This makes me mighty fond of the schedule.

This years schedule is a little tight though, and Lene? I’m going to need to make a few changes to it to make it work.

1. I started socks C (I noticed there was no time for winding yarn on the schedule, so I did that instead of wrapping gifts. The children can wrap the presents with tin foil in two seconds. It’ll be festive.) but I had a bit of a gauge accident on the bus and had to pull back the whole sock the size of the Hindenburg’s obese older brother and start again.


(Somebody will ask. Two Sheep Yarns. Yum.)

I’m only just noticing that there is no room for knitterly error on the schedule. It only works if I make absolutely no mistakes. This may be some pressure, but I’m sure I can adapt.

2. Clearly, responding to the pressure I have lost my ability to count. (This could have been what went wrong with the sock.) Lucky for me, the people who read this blog are smarter than I am and Edith caught my mistake in the hat pattern from yesterday. The cast on is 86 stitches, not the 88 that I carefully counted (twice) noted and wrote down so that other people close to the edge could start to knit a hat this close to Christmas only to discover that the Yarn Harlot has led them down the path to disaster. (I imagine the mail I got on that one wouldn’t be too friendly either…) Lene? I went back and fixed it on yesterday’s entry but that took an extra five minutes that was supposed to be for shopping…so then I missed the bus and that took 30 minutes more. I’ve changed knitting Socks A to knitting Socks C because my hands were to cold from being outside for that long to knit tiny needles on the bus. This change should still work, since I’ll swap Socks A for an hour of mittens on Friday.

3. There may have been a minor Christmas cookie incident. I was making meringues. That went fine, and according to schedule I baked them, turned off the oven and left them in there to dry. (There is really very little victory in life that I enjoy more than being on schedule.) I worked on Socks A,


just like the schedule said. Then I worked on some wrapping and the cleaning and put in a load of laundry and turned on the oven to preheat it for the gingerbread and knit on Socks B before realizing I was ahead for a minute or two and deciding that there was enough room in the schedule to break loose and call my mother. It took me a little longer than usual to find the phone because of all the smoke…so I wasn’t sure that I would…be….going to…..Smoke?

Damn. For the love of O(*&*^%$!@!!! just whack me with a metal spatula until this is over.


Immolated. A fiery meringue inferno of festive disaster. (Seen here in the backyard in the snow, melted in their tragic blackness to the parchment they were so tenderly placed on. Throwing them in the snow was the fastest way I could think of to get the smoke to stop.) I forgot they were still in the oven.

When I opened the oven the smoke was released so quickly that all of the smoke detectors went off and I had to go off schedule for another 15 minutes to run between all of the detectors in the house fanning them with a hand towel with a snowman on it to get them to stop.

After carefully assessing the time lost, I have decided in my infinite wisdom, on the best and perhaps only way to deal with the problem. I sorted out how to replace the meringues, move the knitting time the meringues take to replace by giving up an hour of sleep and moving the shopping for wrapping paper over to the evening when Joe can do it if I change his time to help me wrap until the morning and get the kids to decorate cookies tomorrow instead of tonight when the cookies are in the oven and switch mitten knitting for sock knitting so that we can still go to the Christmas party tomorrow night and I was starting to feel better…and then Lene? Then it came to me….

*&^%$# the stinking meringues.

I think I’m adapting to the changes in the schedule pretty well.

105 thoughts on “Easy as 1,2,4.

  1. My offer to go to the coping store for you still stands. I’m guessing time for that isn’t specifically noted in your schedule.
    And dude, pass the offer along to Joe, ‘kay? Coz I’ve got this feeling he might need it too…

  2. Oh, what mental health! What perspective! What non-attachment to egg whites and sugar!
    Are you sure it’s really December 22nd?
    Knit on…

  3. I thought I was having a bad day until I read today’s entry. After a chuckle or two, my day is wonderful!!!! Did I mention that my Christmas knitting was finished back in September ….

  4. What you said to the meringues? I said to the navy blue thrummed mitts. My nephew said they were girly. I could have fought him and discussed the problems of gender sterotyping, and the fact that I know of a very manly boy who loves pink dragon mittens, but then decided that I could gain sleep by this. Sleep won – the girly mittens are out.
    Lene? we need to talk – early next December. I will need help, I can tell already.

  5. Still, only fair to gift backatcha, at least by alluding to the time I fought tooth and nail, with fire extinguisher and salt, all because I could not bear to call the fire department unless ABsolutely necessary to confess my housekeeping had caught fire.

  6. Wow I am in the top 10 of posting this time. Well remember schedules are made to be mended switch and completly forgotten all together. Do what you can and they will still love you regardless. And the burned things you pulled out of the oven the squirrels may like them and stay away from your wool next year.

  7. A very merry christmas to you and yours, Harlot! May Lene’s schedule provide you with sanity at this time of year, and provide for enough “space” that you will enjoy the holidays. πŸ™‚

  8. Burnt meringues would also make a good threat to put in naughty little one’s stockings…”kid, you even made Mrs. Claus angry with that behavior!”

  9. That picture of the meringues is actually beautiful! You should frame it and give it as a gift instead of the cookies.

  10. Too funny! I made meringues last night! (except mine were white)(But I have made the”black” ones before too) πŸ˜‰

  11. Clarelight – I love it! Steph can just dump all the meringues in the family stockings and insist that everyone got coal this year.

  12. Isn’t it time those girls take over the cookie baking?!? Or would that result in another time consuming faning of the smoke detectors? Wise is the Harlot with a schedule and the gumption to stick to it as best she can! πŸ˜€ Merriest of Christmas’. πŸ˜€

  13. Awww, sorry about the meringues, Stephanie. I’ve dont’ that too, forgotten to check the oven before turning it on.
    Usually it results in a burnt pizza box.

  14. when i read the yarn harlot; the first thing i do is page down to look at the pretty pictures first. so today i did that and wondered why she had labrador puppies … or are those bunnies??? or what the heck ???

  15. You need some elves. Lots of elves. Then you could just sit and knit and give orders.
    p.s. I hate meringues. Even the white ones. So I think you feel perfectly justified crossing them off your schedule.

  16. Bummer about the meringues, dude. Yesterday, I made candy cane cookies. You know the ones? Where you dye half the dough red and leave the other plain and roll them into skinny snakes and the roll (or ply if you’re a spinner) the snakes together to make candy canes? Yeah, I made those. And then put them in a tin. Turned to put the tin on the table and dropped the whole thing. Shattered all the candy cane cookies all over the kitchen floor. But the dog was happy. I’m not making more candy cane cookies.

  17. Dear Steph,
    I first read your blog about this time last year. I clearly remember a very pleased Uncle wearing one mitten. And dancing, there was definitely dancing. So here’s my suggestion: Create a new dance for the family, but it can only be performed if you have received one sock/mitten for Christmas. You see, this way, everyone will want to have received only one mateless sock/mitten (with the obligatory promise that its mate is on the way.) Those that got two socks – well, they’re just outta luck. They’ll be sitting against the wall, pouring more screech into the nog, muttering “Sure, finish my socks by the 25th. Hmf.” So, this may mean rearranging the schedule again, but I think it will have more wiggle room if the knitting time for each set is now cut in half and you get those 2 seconds to peek into the oven before you turn it on. (I blame the schedule – not you!) I happen to know from experience that Canadians like to receive one sock. It’s true – someone told me that once. (And her husband thinks I’m nuts, but so be it.) Have a wonderful holiday and please post pictures of the One Sock Sock Hop you’ll be having on the day.

  18. Once again I am laughing out loud. My god this story cheered me up, if only because about a million ants found my apparently non-ant-proof cookie tin with the 6 dozen shortbread cookies I lovingly squeezed out of my cookie press for gifts, and had a massive ant rave last weekend. I was so furious that I heaved the entire tin out into the backyard in the pouring rain, and then sat down to cry a little. My 3-year old son asked why I was crying–I told him–and he said so reasonably, We can always make more cookies. Hmmm. Later we saw that a very fat (gray) squirrel and some birds were enjoying the cookies. But I am not going to make another batch. I think the kharma indicates that shortbread is out this year.

  19. Merengue diahhrea. Lovely.
    Screw the baking. I *KNOW* it’s a tradition. When I presented this theory (the “screw” theory, not the “tradition” one)to my family, the 8-yr old said, “That’s ok, Mom. Santa can have cheese and crackers this year.” DUDE is my savior.

  20. I thought I was the only person who did things like this. Glad to know someone else on the planet ignited some cookies at the absolutely wrong time.

  21. Christmas won’t fall apart if there aren’t meringues, will it? Joe could pick up meringues as well as wrapping paper and you’d have more time for knitting πŸ™‚

  22. Mmmm, but they look so tasty laying there in the snow. Are you SURE they can’t be salvaged? I’m thinking of Halloween next year and how they might look like, uh, well, you know. They’d be neat yard art, IF you get my drift.

  23. I liked the image of “A fiery meringue inferno of festive disaster.”…
    Somewhat (but only slightly) off-topic… can someone (anyone?) clarify what IT stands for? My friend and I have been discussing this, and generally have the impression that it is not a Good Thing, that it involves Trauma and Emotional Collapse and similar Disasters, but does it actually stand for something specific???
    Thanks for clarifying…!

  24. I wonder how much Lene would charge me for a spiffy schedule, and if she could call and remind me to stick to it. And clean out my closets, too. I suppose that would be asking too much, though. That’s why my closets haven’t been cleaned out since 1997.

  25. I have learned through bitter experience *never* to leave anything in the oven, even when I am SURE I will remember that something is there. Without fail I forget and set something on fire. Now, fire is entertaining and wonderful, but not in my oven when I have to clean everything up and rid the house of @#$% smoke, hence the no things left in the oven rule.
    Hoping this is the worst of your Pre-Christmas snags!

  26. I’m laughing so hard I almost cried. So very funny! Plus, you certainly should hand over cookie making, at age 8 I made my first cake all by myself, so I’m sure they can handle a few simple shortbread recipes. And shortbread is the BEST.

  27. re: the ill-fated meringues – for those people that were looking forward to the light (and somewhat chewy) cookie, I reccomend a bag of marshmallows, presented with the following poem.
    Santa checked his list not once, but twice.
    He found you’ve been naughty not nice.
    Since coal is so expensive, Here’s the scoop.
    He’s filled your stocking with Snowman poop!!!
    I echo your (intial – up there at the top) thoughts on scheduling and hope that all the rearranging works out. (if nothing else it’s certainly made my one scarf in progress look like small potatoes…)
    can you share the recipe for gingerbread? (after the holidays, after!)

  28. I laugh because I can sympathize.
    I had made Puppy Chow (recipe here: http://www.herald-journal.com/recipes/misc/pupchow.html) and because it has chocolate in it I was keeping the big plastic bowl of it in the oven so the cat couldn’t get into it. Which was a pretty good idea until the Boyfriend decided to broil some fish for dinner and began to preheat the oven.
    Plastic smoke? Yeah, it stinks to high heaven.
    This incident also taught us that we did not, in fact, own a fire extinguisher. So the Boyfriend and I got the distinct pleasure of calling the fire department, wrangling a frantic cat into the carrier, and sitting outside (to escape the stinky smoke) while our neighbors peeked out their windows at us.
    So yes, I know your pain. At least you didn’t have to face the dozen emergency workers who came to put out the fire in your oven.
    They played “guess what these dumb*sses set on fire.” Their guess was chocolate and oatmeal. Close enough.

  29. Hey, Steph,
    If you want to ship those cookies, I have a use for them.
    My 5yo has been trying to commit suicide by annoying his older brother into killing him. After many threats to talk to Santa, the response was “Go ahead and call him!”
    I caught Santa in the hall outside the Christmas concert yesterday and spoke to him. He, in turn, lectured the 5yo about being nice to his brother and threatened coal in the stocking.
    This morning, getting ready for school, the 5yo decided to respond getting beaten in the boot race by throwing said boots at his brother and breaking my glass Santa.
    I need coal… if you don’t want to ship them, I guess I could recreate your experiment and make my own…

  30. Thanks for the plug, Stephanie!
    I hestitate to note that I have some trepidation about that yarn being used for socks. It flunks 4 of the 5 criteria that are critical for successful sock yarns (http://www.twosheep.com/blog/?p=350), and I admit I planned that blend with “manly sweaters” in mind. But at the same time, I’m sure you will overcome all hurdles! Happy knitting! Have a great holiday!

  31. Well crap. Stupid oven – why the heck don’t they have fail safes on ovens? They shouldn’t turn on if there’s something in the bleeping oven. The schedule sounds like a good idea, but it seems like it might be a tad bit stressful. Good luck.

  32. Love the reindeer poops, and I can identify with the schedule “fixing”. It usually happens because I make a list of twenty things that each thak 30 minutes, and really truly think that I can finish the whole list in one evening (after dinner and bathing the baby). Really and for true.
    And to the person who asked, I believe IT is the state of screech-, caffeine-, and sugar-induced hysteria that happens when we realize we have 50 hours’ worth of knitting to complete in 12 hours, with no time for bathroom breaks or sleep.

  33. Glad to know that other people spend time frantically fanning the smoke detector with towels.
    Sorry about the meringues. My solution was to not even attempt xmas baking this year.

  34. My daughter informed us at 9:30 last night that it was our turn to bake for Thursday Snack Sale. I couldn’t use the dough left over from cookies I baked from the holiday party because I had used it yesterday morning on being reminded that I had promised a treat for my son’s class party, and I couldn’t whip up a new batch of dough because that time was already allocated to finishing and blocking my sister’s scarf. My husband (bless him) raced out to the store to buy Pillsbury just-put-em-on-the-tray-and-bake-em cookies (you should see the directions on the box: they presume they are dealing with people too stupid to mix flour, sugar and butter together). This is a sad come-down for a woman who believes that You Must Bake Everything From Scratch Or God Will Get You. (God doesn’t care what winter holiday you celebrate, but She does care about your ingredients.) It’s also a distraction from knitting.
    About getting the rest of my gifts done: Lene, could you whip me up a spreadsheet?

  35. I know that I’ll be sorry for mentioning my wonderful solution to burning the crap out of things that have been left in an oven for safe-keeping. My solution, which I came upon after years of smelling burning birthday cake when trying to preheat the oven for pizza, probably will not work for you.
    It’s amazing how hard it is to figure out why you smell burning birthday cake when you are planning to put a pizza in the oven. The smell boggles the mind. The cloud of smoke fogs the brain and there is no ability to reason.
    Anyway, when I put something in the oven (mostly to protect it from being licked by my cats) I take the oven control knob OFF of the panel and set it on top of my range. That way, I cannot turn on the oven without stopping to think why the #&@! the knob is sitting on the top of the range. This moment of swearing and trying to figure out who messed with my oven control knob is usually enough to make me remember that there is something in there that needs to be taken out before I begin preheating. And, who knew? My mother-in-law who suffers from post-stroke dementia is doing it now, too!
    No doubt the control knobs for your oven cannot be removed. Murphy’s law.
    Gotta go… I, too, have a knitting deadline! Hang in there, only 3 days of scurry left!

  36. Oh, hubris. It’s there to bite us in the ass even during the holidays.
    A hint about meringues: DO NOT LEAVE THEM IN THE OVEN WHILE USING THE STOVETOP. The heat from the burners will brown their little tops. It’s not pretty, not pretty at all.

  37. I’m knitting socks of that same blue stripey yarn. Isn’t it nice?! I bought superfine sugar to make meringues, but after reading about yours I think I’ll wait until the holiday push is over and then allow time to experiment. Have you had previous success with that particular recipe?

  38. My M-I-L used to store her electric fry pans in the oven… Then I came to live with them for a short while. Didn’t take long to find a different spot for the ones that still work. Oops. (we do still love each other tho!)

  39. Mmmm, reindeer poo! If I were you, I’d give it to someone who would appreciate it (I certainly know some people who would). You are a hell of a lot busier than I am, but then you know more people deserving of gifts, and you are a mother. I’m going to go offer to help my mum wrap gifts for my sisters (maybe I’ll get extra presents)

  40. I’m just laughing . . . that’s the problem with schedules. They only work when everything, well, works! Those poor, little scorched meringues . . .

  41. Uhm…. I’m really trying not to laugh at the meringues. If I lived closer, or there was more time to mail them I’d make you some. πŸ™‚ The socks look lovely as usual. Take a deep breath. Things will work out!

  42. Um……are Lene’s services available? I could use her for December and June. I would love to have a schedule for those months…….Mine would likely go out the window too (my demi-schedule for this month has), but at least I might have a chance of regaining some control. Cookie baking and fudge making has gone out the window this year, but I don’t know if this is a bad thing (my waistline is happier). I bought my Swedish meatballs (with the blessing of my mother-in-law AND my grandmother-in-law!!) and am only making TWO desserts for Xmas dinner – well, at least that’s what I say now….. But boy, I could use a first class schedule maker in my life. Now if she could figure out how I can be at two different baseball games at the same time, make dinner AND put together an end of school year band party, all at the same time, I would adopt her!!

  43. Hmm, my knitting isn’t finished because I spend too much time reading your blog and all of the responses instead of getting on with the pitiful single holiday project that I have managed to start this year. (I have infant twins–can only knit when they are napping in the afternoon.) Let’s hope that people have forgotten about the complicated socks and Latvian mittens that they received in prior years!
    Sheila in Boston

  44. Was with you all the way. I always devise elaborate schedules this time of year and each day holds some time to say goodbye to the planned projects which are no longer feasible.
    I found myself in Barnes and Nble today looking at a crossstitch calendar with 12 patterns and thinking, I could make those up by New Year’s! Will the circle be unbroken!

  45. *cackle*
    We still have tons of time, here. We are celebrating on the 27th (as we are working on the 25th and 26th). Also, one of my blogstalkers made like ninety-seven dozen cookies and so I don’t have to bake (which is a good thing for everyone.) I will still complete the Christmas Knitting. That is, if I can knit Fuzzy Feet in the bar tonight …

  46. We have an electric oven much in need of cleaning. We also have a smoke alarm ingeniously placed outside our master bedroom, i.e. in the kitchen. The two do not work and play nicely together. I have learned that I can save a lot of time by just unplugging the smoke alarm during extended cooking operations that may involve smoke — like bacon, and any use of the oven.
    Just a tip for the future. πŸ˜‰

  47. I could use a Lene schedule as well, is she taking orders (bribes – tiger socks?), still have to sew together a vest (not my strong suit), finish knitting a “sparkly pink” poncho for a seven year old girl, knit a scarf for a five year old boy – all sock gifts have been abandoned – Knit On!

  48. As I was reading,I was wondering about those meringues- I understand your pain about the burnt meringues, And the smoke alarms shrieking in the midst of it all! Oh boy! I, finally, admitted to myself that I was easily distracted (not fotgetful–distracted).Since I don’t store items in the oven(bad experience) I set the stove timer for anything that’s in the oven–now, it’s the shrieking of the timer, gets my attention every time. And, it’s too bad that there isn’t a fairy godmother to wave her wand and Presto! those dark beauties in the snow become chocolate! Hershey’s Kisses in a proper size. Yum.

  49. Infant twins?? Shelia, that you can knit at all is a supreme act of will. I didn’t take up knitting again until my kids could all wash, dress and feed themselves (well, as long as there is no REAL cooking involved). Anyone who complains about not gettig Latvian mittens for Christmas gets to babysit the twins while they are teething (at the same time!!)

  50. Steph, I feel your pain. In my house — it was a bag of cat food stored temporarily in the oven until we could deal with it. Unfortunately, I turned on the oven to pre-heat for a lasagna. It was not pretty.
    And I am supposed to let you know that my dear husband Doug is wearing his beautiful, hand-knit by me Aran cardigan around the house. With great fear and trepidation, I might add, but he is wearing it.
    And for my birthday — he bought me 16 balls of sock yarn. Yes — 16 balls of sock yarn.
    He definitely is a keeper.
    Good luck with your descent to IT.

  51. So pleased to hear that you didn’t lose your holiday spirit and fanned the smoke away from the smoke detectors with a Snowman towel. Very festive indeed.
    Reindeer poops–hilarious! Proof that Christmas is just around the corner.

  52. My DH found a place selling timers that connect in to your smoke alarm system, so anytime you know the kitchen is going to set them off, you can dial it to
    “just shut up, wouldja” for 20 minutes or whatever. Intermatic is the brand name on the thing, I just checked.
    And hey–I quoted you at Artfibers in San Francisco today. Your “I may have fallen and swiped my credit card on the way down” post from when you went there. That place is WAY cool! Uh, I didn’t do too bad, but my friend I went with qualified for $100 worth of the 25% discount…

  53. I’d like to point out that the reindeer droppings occurred becuase you slipped back into independent thought for a minute.
    Slavish devotion to the schedule is necessary for success. Obey now.
    (schedules available for utterly reasonable compensation. Like… y’know… knitted stuff. Or slavish devotion to doing what I tell you. Either one works)

  54. ROTFLMAO….I’m sorry!! My husband loved the picture of the meringues so much that he’s using it for his Computer wallpaper now!! THIS will be with us for a while to come yet. πŸ™‚
    Thank You – and for the record – my “to knit” list is about as crazed as yours. I’m not sleeping between now & then.

  55. I have never knitted socks, but you’re tempting me. My feet are always cold and I really should knit nyself a pair of wool socks. Your incident with the meringue is hilarious, although I’m sure you didn’t feel that way at the time. This afternoon I overfilled my roasting-pan-full-of-cabbage rolls and now the bottom of my oven has a half an inch of burnt crust on it. I announced to my husband that I cannot use the oven until he thoroughly cleans it out for me. Guess what? We’re going to our daughter’s for Christmas. I don’t even have to cook at all!! Love it. Oh, and there was a lot of smoke, too. And now the whole house still smells even though we opened all the doors and windows to air it out, whereupon all the papers on my desk and everywhere else went flying about the living room. Aaaaah, can anything else go wrong? You are definitely helping me see the humour in life. Peace to you and yours, now and forever.

  56. My gosh I feel your pain… As of last Tuesday I had three hats to knit and a list of book proofs to send off to my pay-per-publish editor… flush with the excitement of being able to do it all, I finished a hat and prepared to enter my proofs onto the computer from the carefully hand written sheets of paper I had filled out when I should have been grading my student papers in my 45 degree f. classroom. (To save money they turned off all our heaters this Thanksgiving, only to discover that the heaters weren’t meant to do that, so half of them never turned back on.) Imagine my horror when I found that one of my kids had spilled juice on the papers–filled out in felt tip because I’m dumber than hammered whale $%$#–and my proofs were useless, and I had 370 pages to proofread all over again. I postponed my deadline (I mean, it is pay-per-publish…) added four scarves to my Christmas knitting, and promptly caught the plague. Then I gave it to my toddler. I finished the the scarves around the sleeping body of the feverish baby, the hats are on hold, and I’m entering proofs in a liesurely ‘it’s not like I’ve ate, drank and lived this book for a year or anything and looking at my mangled proofs makes me want to cry’ sort of way. Looking at your meringues is just like looking at my mangled proofs…it makes me want to sit dumbly at the television, quick and easy knitting in my hand, in complete denial about presents I haven’t wrapped, the hats I haven’t made, and the incubating fetus in my uterus who is going to be very upset that her big brother got a binket and she didn’t.
    Thank God I have the Harlot to make me laugh about the whole disaster… Merry Christmas, darlin’–you haven’t hit IT yet, if having the kids wrap stuff in foil doesn’t make your eye twitch because they can’t do it as well as you can…

  57. Did the schedule include the part about “take meringues out of oven”? My schedules have to have all of the instructions spelled out. In excruciating detail.
    Gingerbread is better anyway. And the blue socks are gorgeous.

  58. Burnt meringues laying in the snow looked like reindeer poop to me too. I wonder if your nephew would think so, ::wink:: ::wink:: if you know what I mean. I’d hate to see all that work go to waste.
    Years ago my husband attempted to warm up some cookies by microwaving them for three minutes on High. When he opened the oven there was a wave of thick black smoke, a stench you wouldn’t believe and the cookies were gone.

  59. So really…… how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? I need to know how to time that out on my spreadsheet.

  60. I usually just lurk and laugh, but I had to tell you what my husband said today.
    “Did you read the Yarn Harlot?”
    “Yes,” I said.
    “I was looking at the pictures, and I thought, `Wow, how did she make chocolate meringues?'”

  61. Multitasking is greatly done by two geminis at the same time or a terellian who has four arms. I multitask, but never in a hurry, then agian I don’t have any children. Cooking in layers will be your best asset and get time with three time zones, so you hear the first beep, it’s time to take the meringue out, then the second beep is time to bring the kids in, beep beep , forgot that. LOL. Happy Holidays

  62. This was one of the funninest blog entries I’ve ever read…and I can totally relate to the time pressure and the need for an exacting schedule. I’ve had years when I scheduled the last minute gift wrapping between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m…..the only time I could find. Thanks for an hilarious account of what millions of people in the world are going through right now— loved it!

  63. At first glance I thought the meringues were a parade of dead rats. “What the deuce is the Harlot doing with a parade of dead rats?” I wondered. So sorry.
    In unrelated news, my Beloved and I just exchanged gifts (traveling far and wide precludes alone-time on Christmas) and he gave me your bookbookbook1 (I already own bookbookbook2), after much fanfare and with many tears of happiness. He’s a keeper.
    Merriest of Christmasses to you and your yarn, m’dear!

  64. Don’t feel too bad about the smoke all over the house thing. At least you didn’t damage anything permanently. I was making cookies last week and set the lid of my flour canister on one of the burners. No, the burner wasn’t on, but under the burner is the oven vent. My friend who was helping me looked at it a bit later and said “is that supposed to be melting like that?” No, it wasn’t. Plastic was leaking into the oven, and was all over the burner. I had to make my second trip for the evening to the store for a new set of canisters, so my flour wouldn’t be ruined, taking away precious cookie making time. Yeah, but it was really the third trip to the store for more vanilla that ended the baking that evening. But I have 3 new canisters to give to my mom now. [I had to buy a whole 8-piece set to get one canister lid] Happy Holidays! Best wishes with the knitting!

  65. Reindeer poops, snowman poops–multi-tasking always gets me in trouble too. I was knitting last weekend (not at a feverpitch–yet) and tried warming up some left over spaghetti for a snack. I finished the mitts and scarf, THEN scraped the charcoal spaghetti mess from the bottom of the pan! All I can say is “I love my Farberware pans!” Now I just set the timer for EVERYTHING! Especially this time of year!
    Merry Yule to All!

  66. Maybe I’m just the biggest slack-ass around, but my vote is to buy the freakin’ meringues!! Put them on one of your “fancy” plates and no one will know the difference … trust me.

  67. As usual, you made me laugh out loud with your scheduling issues! Perhaps you can convince the ladies to do the actual baking of cookies. I found that if I mixed the dough, my DD would happily bake them, especially if they didn’t have to be baked all at once.
    Not that my schedule is doing much better: Here I sit, still at work, with much to be done. I’ll definitely be buying some cookies at the store to fill out what I may or may not be able to get put together over the next day and a half. The good thing is that there are so few people here that I’m getting a bit of knitting done (all work-like projects wrapped up for the holidays…to resume after New Year’s).
    Happy IT and Knitting to all!

  68. too many irons in the fire!! Oh, not you, of course! I was speaking of me and others. But, unfortunately, your irons seem to get tangled up hilariously!! Or, maybe not so hilariously for you….Good luck surviving all of your disasters and triumphs.

  69. Thanks for the laughs! That image of the black meringues in the white snow will be “burned” in my memory for some time now.

  70. About the reindeer poo….Do you happen to know where those rude people from the concert live???? Just wondered.

  71. Oh. My. God. That meringues episode got everyone at my house rolling on the floor. I needed a good laugh, today, with the ‘in-laws’ in town and it being almost Christmas. Thanks for reporting on your misfortunes, we are laughing with you πŸ˜‰

  72. Can we all hire Lene? Maybe make reservations starting in October?
    Merry Christmas, Stephanie, and may the new year bring as much joy and knitting as it can. Don’t forget, Twelfth Night isn’t until January 6… you still have plenty of time!

  73. Sandi, Puppy Chow is a people-snack thing made with chex cereal and other things coated in chocolate. Check out the recipe in Imbrium’s post – it’s pretty good, but it really does look like kibble when it’s done…

  74. Great…two days to Christmas and my husband’s looking at me funny for going through the house singing, “Meringues roasting on an open fire, black lumps resting on the snow….” He’s not blaming you, though, Steph. He thinks it’s the pre-holiday knitting frenzy.
    You’ll make it! You are the Queen of Warping the Space-Time Contiuum!!!!
    Happy Holidays and I hope your solstice was as lovely as ours.

  75. Ahhh…Gotta love the holidays! Your cookie incident sounds exactly like what happens to me when I bake cookies. Are your fingers raw from the knitting yet? Mine sure are. Merry Christmas!

  76. Ellen-Mary’s post reminds me of the time my sister put a poptart in the microwave for ten minutes. That was an adventure.

  77. I made a ton of those little Christmas ball ornaments. They are lovely. I think that I have pretty much given up on my mum’s sweater, so I got her perfume instead. I will knit it sooner or later, but right now, I am just too stressed over all the other knits.

  78. All I can say is – “I’m Done!” Finished my MIL2B’s blanket at 6:30 this evening. Done-diddly-done! To celebrate, made 1 and 1/2 “warmer world wristers” (from the 2006 Knitting Pattern-A-Day calendar) for me me me.
    So I send speedy completion thoughts and prayers your way (to all the “yous” who are still festive-knitting), and Happy Holidays too.

  79. You know, you *could* gift folks signed copies of your books instead of knitting for everyone on the planet. It would still be homemade…
    Knit on, babe, but be sure to take a little time for yourself, too.

  80. Oh! I got such a good laugh from your entry today, especially because I had some oven problems of my own last week, only mine has had more long term consequences, unfortunately (if you want to read my tale of woe check out my blog entry for Saturday, December 17th).

  81. Black meringues are. not. natural.
    I hope something from the forest loved them. And the parchment. I completely understand the willfulness problem encountered when turning one’s will (and faith) over to a spreadsheet. You’ve done well. May the force be with you.

  82. A personal scheduler is what I’m going for some Christmas when I get rich–but to find someone who understands the worth of your knitting and can schedule, that is wonderful.
    My current knitting strategies include carrying a half-finished sock in my jacket pocket in case there’s any down time at work. I was delighted when the power went out Thursday and we couldn’t work for a bit–but I was knitting. I will admit to knitting at the stoplight just outside my work–I can usually do 22-25 stitches before it turns green. I don’t recommend this, I’m just that desperate.

  83. Oh, Steph, how sad those meringues look out in the snow! So sad, in fact, that I wonder — did my three Corgis visit your back yard recently???
    Seriously, I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  84. Re. Droppings in the snow… I think you all got it wrong. It was the goat who left a deposit in revenge for everyone dissing his fragrant fur! Happy whatever you celebrate Harlot -blog on!

  85. I am so glad that you decided to let “IT” go. I hope your family had a wonderful holiday, and that there was much dancing. I wish the same for your commenters, they have also provided much amusment and many thought-provoking ideas and views.
    One son and my daughter both recieved UFO’s. I did give them a choice of learning to knit so they could finish their presents themselves, but both opted for the choice of me saying “I promise to finish this before you go back to school, cross my heart”. It made for a much more pleasant time for all.
    You have given us so much thru-out (OK, so spelling isn’t my strong suit) the years of writing and your time spent on wild Harlot adventures to visit the lucky ones on book tours. I know I am not the only one who appreciates all you and your family have done.
    My sincerest Best Wishes to you, your family, and your friends for a most fabulous and rewarding year ahead.

  86. Stephanie:
    I read this post last week, but wasn’t inspired to comment until my 5 year old son decided to put fake dog doo in his Dad’s Christmas stocking as a gag gift. I immediately thought of your “meringue cookies” thrown out in the snow. What fabulous fake poo they would make if only you retrieved them and shellaced/polyeurathened them. Hand-crafted for the holidays fake poo!Fake poo is a classic crowd pleaser for both adults and kids. Meringue is also very light weight so you could attach one to the top of a hand knit hat or maybe even use it in place of pom poms or fringe on a scarf or sweater. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

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