As I mean to go on

I don’t want to talk about Christmas – do you?  I mean, we did it, such as it was, but the whole thing was a little hollow for me. (If by “a little hollow” you understand that I mean it was horrible and a husk of a season, and left me miserable beyond measure.) Ontario is back in the kind of lockdown we were in the spring (and have been for a while now) with no family bubbles and no shops open and no haircuts again. (Already we are all looking scruffy.)  We did all the right things. I arranged our annual Gingerbread Party over Zoom – I baked cookies and made icing and dropped them off at the doors of all parties concerned.


We had Old Joe do the annual reading of Santa Mouse for all his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren – again, Zoom. We opened presents with each other on *&^$Cing Zoom, and while I am normally a very resilient and optimistic person, I admit that this season just knocked the snot out of me. I’m so tired of this stupid pandemic. I was overwhelmed this holiday by thoughts of how things were “supposed to be” and that included missing my mum, Tupp, Susan and my Uncle Tom (Mum and Tupps brother) died just two weeks before Christmas, and of course – little Charlotte, who was supposed to be fat and happy, crawling around and trying to eat paper. Ironically – it’s that sense of loss that’s made us so careful.  We can’t stand the thought that another family would lose someone because we blew it – so this is it, for now – and on the upside I did learn a ton about what Christmas means to us – and surprise surprise, a lot of the things I work at every year don’t mean anything without people. I’ve always suspected this of course, I mean, I have seen The Grinch Who Stole Christmas lots of times, and it’s not like I’ve been ignoring the messages out of whoville, but this really brought it home. I bet it was like that for a lot of you too.

Long story short, I should have cancelled the thing rather than giving it a go under these circumstances, and as a result I’ve bought 4 boxes of Christmas crackers, and Amanda has an artificial tree and the minute that the restrictions allow everyone we love to be together, we are having a *&^%$ing Christmas complete with wearing the hats and putting up a tree and I don’t care if that’s August. Screw you Covid.

So, I’m moving on. If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, then you know that we have lots of traditions around the New Year. Ahead of midnight on the 31st; I pay all my bills, I clean the house, I sweep one last time and throw the dust out the back door – all so that I don’t carry anything bad forward into the new year and I end as I mean to go on. I put coins out so that the light of the old year and the new year’s moon can shine on it and we’ll have enough money for the coming year. I make sure I have a first footer, a dark haired man who’s the first across my threshold after midnight, and on the first day of the New Year I do a little of everything that I’d like to carry into the rest of the year, and start a new project. I also don’t do laundry on the first, so that no-one is washed away in the year that follows.

Now, mostly, I do this because it’s fun. My mum always did it, and she wasn’t at all superstitious, but I love the way it gives our family a sense of tradition, ceremony and contributes to our family culture. It’s how we do things, and it feels good. Last year though, if you remember, Joe talked me into going away for New Years. I left the morning of the 27th and flew to Nova Scotia for my Uncle Tom and Aunt Helen’s 50th wedding anniversary party (boy am I glad I did that now) and after a few days there, went to Banff to meet Joe. I completed none of the traditions. The house was a mess, I wasn’t even there, I think Joe washed some ski socks in the sink, I didn’t sweep. (Duh, hotel room.) Now, I’m not superstitious either, but I cannot help but notice that the one year I skipped… well. I’m sure there’s no connection, but you can be assured that I have spent the last week cleaning this house within an inch of it’s life. Closets, cupboards, whole rooms cleaned and repainted, I even put down the shelf paper that I bought at the beginning of the pandemic. Every room is edited, tidied, and at its best and I am taking not one molecule of last year’s crap forward, and you can bet that tomorrow I won’t wash anything (except myself which my mum says is not only allowed but encouraged) and you can bet that I’m ending this year as I mean to go on.

2020, don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out.

The felt is a funny colour too

It is in keeping with the rather craptastic nature of 2020 that I begin the month of December by blowing a deadline.  In the past this month has been the scene of some of my most glorious triumphs – grand knitting plans pulled together at the last minute, supernatural amounts of work coming together, spreadsheets and lists galore culminating in glorious family gatherings and joyful holiday parties.

Instead, defeat. I blame the lockdown. (Today is day nine.) You would think that a lockdown would give you nothing to do but knit and organize, but that’s not my experience of it. Instead, whole mornings are lost to *figuring out how to get red embroidery floss through a website and curbside pickup only to pick-up said pickup and realize that it’s completely the wrong red, heading home dejectedly while realizing that you forgot green thread anyway so you might as well light this floss on fire and make another order, all while wondering how you got yourself in a situation where red floss is an “essential trip.” (Repeat from * when the green thread is wrong and doesn’t match the buttons you had to compromise on as well.) Everything takes that little bit longer, everything is just a little more complicated, and no matter how hard you try, everything is a little bit off.

Still, it’s an advent calendar year over here, another little one in our family has come of age – I imagine you all figured that from the wee things settling around me in drifts, and I did have it completely in my head that it would be finished and in the mail by the 27th November and arriving in time for… well. For today. Instead, it still sits in bits on my dining room table and I think that if I really, really try, I might be able to finish it today, and figure out how to get it in the mail tomorrow, and then the rest of the Covid-Christmas knitting can begin in earnest. I did get smart and order most of the yarn I needed a few months/weeks ago, so hopefully nothing is too much of a disaster there. (I can’t believe I said that.)

Today – I’m going to – well, first I’m finishing this blog post, then I’m finishing something for The Patreon (if you’re a patron, a new video headed your way today I think – can’t believe I said that either) and then – oh crap it’s Tuesday so I have to have a weekly meal plan and a grocery list together and text the neighbours to see if they need anything and it’s still snowing so I’ll have to shovel before I take the recycling out and … then.

Then I’m going to finish the last ornament, cut the felt backing, cut the tree shape, appliqué it to the backing, cut and sand the dowels, cut the pockets, embroider and sew the buttons on, sew ribbon onto all the ornaments… and then… how does one get a mailing tube in a lockdown? Maybe there’s one at the Post Office? Maybe that’s tomorrow’s problem.

Are you trying to finish something today? Tell me you’re past your deadline too. It will make me feel better.