Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve. The tree is lit.

The cats are cozy.

The shopping is done. The groceries are bought, the stew is in the crock pot and the snow is coming down in big fat flakes. True, the table isn't cleared and the floor isn't swept so the holiday isn't totally picture-perfect, but it's close.

This is the first time I haven't spent Christmas with parents or with sisters. I almost said this is the first time I haven't spent Christmas with family, but I am with family. I'm with Nico. This is the first time we've spent the actual holiday together, so we've been trying to hash out our traditions and figure out what Christmas has meant to each of us in the past and how we want to celebrate it as a family in the future.

For me, this is a quiet Christmas. No nieces and nephews, no brothers-in-law or cousins, no cooking or gossiping with the other women in my family. I miss the noise and the bustle.

But there are good things, too. Wonderful things. Being with Nico, waking up with him on Christmas morning. Planning out the Christmas menu myself (lamb! dressing! asparagus!). Today while we were shopping in down town Olympia there was a group of carolers wandering around. And then there's the snow. We've had to slow down because of it and plan things out a little more, which can be a hard thing to do over the holidays.

The quiet is nice, but I miss having kids around.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

2.5 Months

It's been a while since I've posted. I've had a lot to post about, a lot of things rolling around in my head, but I've just been too tired to sit down and type anything out. The truth is I've been a little depressed.

Part of it is my job. I never intended to stay at this job very long. Aberdeen was supposed to be a stepping stone. The plan was to get my foot in the door, get a little experience under my belt and then find a better job in a large city. The economy was not supposed to collapse and trap me in Aberdeen. I know it's not forever and that things might be very different in a different setting and different library. But it's still very disappointing to find yourself so unhappy with the job you studied so hard for, the job you thought you'd love.

And part of it is just the usual holiday sadness. I miss my parents. My dad loved Christmas - loved it - and that makes this time of year especially hard. Thanks to Nico I am learning to love this holiday again but it's a slow process.

So here is a short recap of what the last 2.5 months have meant to me:

Pumpkin Pie Socks

I finished the socks in the Pumpkin Pie colorway from Handspun and Dyed Too. I knit the cuff in a sort of triangular stitch pattern to look like slices of pie. They're good socks, only they've been shrinking as I wash them so I have to be careful.

Wedding Stuff
We reserved our venue and set our date for the wedding next year. We also ordered our save the date cards and I bought my dress (more on that later).

Our pumpkin beer actually turned out OK. I used brown sugar as the priming sugar and was disappointed with the level of carbonation that provided, so perhaps next time I'll stick to corn sugar or maybe I'll try molasses. The pumpkin beer wasn't terribly spicy but it did have a pumpkininy taste. It also came out a little sweet, which is probably a good thing. It wasn't the best pumpkin beer I've had, but it wasn't too bad. I'm looking forward to trying a pumpkin porter next.

I did absolutely nothing for Halloween. No costume, no parties, nothing. How disappointing.

The Election
Wow. Just, wow. This election went the way I hoped it would, but it's all uphill from here.

The weekend before Thanksgiving both my sisters and I took a trip to Seattle. We stayed at the W Hotel, went shopping and generally had a fantastic time. We also stopped by the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery.

And we went to David's Bridal so I could try on awful wedding dresses. I had an idea of the kind of dress I wanted and was surprised to find that style of dress looked really horrible on me. And I was even more surprised to find a dress I really liked that was nothing like what I thought I was going to get. So I ended up buying the dress. Huh.

I met my future in-laws when Nico and I flew to Oklahoma to spend the holiday with his parents. He hadn't seen them in about three years so this was very special for him. They were very nice people and they showed us a lot of hospitality. I still don't feel that I know them very well but we seem to be off to a pretty good start.


These are my potted chile pepper plants, almost completely covered in snow. Olympia and Western Washington in general have gotten a lot of the white shit over the last week or so. The driving is awful, no one's prepared, there aren't enough plows to go around, and today even work was cancelled. I love it!

Look how covered these cars are! People have been snowed in! Nico and I spent most of today getting chains for my tires. We tried buying chains at a couple of different places but it seemed like everyone was out of the kind we'd need for my car. As we were leaving one place, though, the guy parked next to us asked us if we wanted to buy the chains he'd bought previously that were the wrong size for his tires. Well, they were the right size for my tires, so I got a set of chains for $25! We took them over to a tire place to have them installed and drove around enjoying our new-found traction. They really do seem to make a difference. This means I will have no trouble getting to work tomorrow. Um. Yay.


And finally I spent tonight making Christmas cookies. I had already made Nico's favorite, the Goddamn Blackened Elf Balls, and tonight I made my favorites. These are Krumkake, but I also made spritz and oatmeal-cranberry cookies. My family has these recipes for krumkake and spritz that we've used forever, but this year I couldn't find them so I used a couple of recipes I found on the internet. Well, the krumkake came out alright in the end, but the spritz? Let's just say I've learned a valuable lesson: No matter what the Food Network tells you, if your family has a recipe they've used forever, there's probably a good reason for it. The spritz didn't hold their shape once baked and they don't taste the same as I'm used to. I need to find the family recipes, because these just aren't good enough.