Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Friday, December 31, 2010

two women, one sewing machine

. . .and a plan. MJ has a relative who will soon be going through chemo, and she wanted to make him a quilt full of love. So we bought some fabrics with the plan to sew a quilt top in one day. I taught MJ the quickanddirty method of piecing, and in about 6 hrs, with no pattern at all, this is what we produced. Damn, we are good!! Monday we will get together to back and tie it, and she can ship it away. And then, there's all the leftover fabric that wants to get together with our existing stash and make quilts for the orphans. It seams there are many happy sewing hours in our future. (MJ runs the machine, I rip the fabric into strips, then pin it together. And press if there's time, but who cares if there isn't?)

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Just a reminder: colorful summer flowers, blue skies, and sunshine are coming again. Cling to that thought like a mussel clings to a rock. Winter is on the way out. I promise!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

There has been knitting

I am on another three-cornered scarf kick this month. Bamboo dyed by Teresa Ruch. With some ruffles, and beading. More ruffles on the purple scarf.

Not so many ruffles on the turquoise scarf.

I strung the beads, then crocheted them onto the edge. with the other scarves, I have been sewing the beads down. Otherwise, I'd have to count beads, and count stitches and thread the beads in reverse order, . . . and that seemed almost like work, so I shied away. I can happily spend hours hand beading the edge of one of these scarves, and with my ipod reading me a book, I never notice the passage of time, but having to count and figure - no thanks!

I finished the blue-grey scarf yesterday and bought beads for it. Joanne's has a 40% off clearance sale on their beads. I had wayyyyy too much fun!

Wish these pictures would show how lovely these scarves really are, but no picture will show the soft drape and the heavy beaded swing. I loves my shiny scarves, I does!
Why yes, they ARE all in the colors I wear most often. Gee, wonder how that happened?

Monday, December 27, 2010

You know how it is . . .

when a collection of words gets stuck in your head and you keep hearing them even when you don't want to? Kind of like an ear-worm only more internal?

See, MJ and RW very kindly invited us to share their Christmas Day dinner, and on the way out to their beautiful home in the country, we passed a field full of geese. A field full of a flock of about five hundred wild Canada Honkers.

Click to embiggen. My little camera couldn't fully encompass the flock. This is the uphill section of the party, but there were about twice as many downhill as well. those gray smudges on the further slopes are geese.

I got out of the car and attempted to sneak up on them for close-ups. It made them nervous, and a flurry of flight ensued. But they stayed in the field.
The grass was gray with grazing geese.
Arrrgh! It's not poetry. It won't let me make it into poetry. Every time I try to wrap words around the experience, it starts to alliterate in a disgustingly obvious manner and it's frustrating the wahoonies out of me!
The dinner was superb! I finished off the last of the left-over roasted carrots today for lunch. A beautiful beef roast cooked on a bed of vegetables, served with salad and finished with gingerbread for dessert. It was so tasty!!
We visited our friend in the hospital briefly. Oxycodone makes people really goofy. I can't IMAGINE taking it for recreation! He was having trouble getting both eyes and his brain to fix on the same thing at one time. At least one member of the trio was constantly wandering away. Quite soon we left and let him go to sleep.
The hospital has had a great idea. There's a big dry-erase board fastened to the wall at the foot of his bed, and the nurses keep track of his stats on it, as well as in their notes. They have listed the doctors on his case, the medicines he is taking, the treatment scheduled for the day, and made a list of his goals for the day. (Get a shower! Walk the length of the hall twice.) and they check things off as they happen. With all the drugs he is on, this is a wonderful confirmation of pertinent data that the patient can access for himself. I remember hospital stays when I remembered things that didn't happen (I don't think the doctors came into my room wearing hazmat suits) and lost things that DID happen. (Either that, or someone slipped into the room while I was asleep and ate my entire dinner. I never did remember eating it, but there was that dinner tray full of empties.)
Several folks have kindly asked about the cats. Squirrel still lives in secure isolation, except for evenings when she comes out under DH's protection. Pepper still thinks it's great fun to slap the crap out of Squirrel at every opportunity. It's a rotten life for the poor kitty. Anyone want a sweet, playful, affectionate kitty who has been spayed and had all her shots? She's just too timid for our household.
And the magic Cat Genie self-cleaning litterbox is a wonderful thing and we think the world of it. The cats won't have a damn thing to do with it. Oh well.
since I got a KitchenAid stand mixer for Christmas, I went out and bought flour and yeast today. I think I'll start with Rye bread because it's SUPPOSED to be dense. Tonight, I'll be checking out recipes. Tomorrow, I'll give it a try!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas day

The sun has come up again! There's a present for you! DH is still cuddled all snug in his bed. I started the day with the breakfast of champions - cold left-over pizza and a cup of tea - and have been checking out blogs from around the world. Some guy is trying to deep-fry gnocci, and laughing insanely when they begin to explode. And Jeff Foxworthy has posted a redneck Christmas that I've gotta forward to my brothers! My blog buddies open my eyes to a world of wonder, fun, tenderness and reality. Someone I know is in the hospital with kidney failure. We've gotta stop by and gift him with our care. Someone I know is finished with chemo and getting ready to start radiation. I send healing wishes her way every time I pick up my knitting. Someone has posted a picture of a delighted little girl dancing with joy over her gift. Someone shared a gingerbread cookie recipe and someone shared a picture of her Christmas table.

Thank you, thank you for inviting me into your lives! Thanks for showing me the weather in your neck of the woods, for telling me what it's like to live with fibromyalgia, two photogenic cats, or an etsy shop. This year, may you all find that rainbow with the metaphorical pot of gold. May your heart be so full of happiness that it cracks wide open. May contentment and gratitude shine out of your light fixtures and may you find a way to get what you want more than anything in the world. Merry Christmas and all the best for 2011!

Friday, December 24, 2010

DH and I went out for breakfast. Isn't this a pretty meal? Bob's Red Mill 6 grain cereal. S o tasty!

The restraunt is located on a watershed. While we were there, we were priveledged to witness the Christmas duck regatta. There were a couple of seagull wardens helping everyone get lined up properly. And then, in perfect single file, they sailed the length of the pond. There were two little white diving ducks that cavorted and frolicked back and forth under the line, and a couple of hybrid ducks as well. Oh, it was a splendid show!!

Then DH, always leading me on to new adventures, took me shopping at the mall on Christmas Eve day. We got there at 9 AM. The food court was almost empty.

You could have ridden a bicycle through the corridors. We strolled around, bought a couple of books and, for Christmas breakfast, bought a couple of Cinnabons. And suddenly, at 10 AM the crowds hit, clogging the place. We got out.
The rest of the day has been gloriously kicked back and leisurely. And soon we'll open our presents. Merry Christmas!

Here's the tree again. Bare and gray, with scattered showers.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas carols

I have been listening to a radio station that is all Christmas all day long, and I am amazed at the number of versions of the old standbys. "I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus" by a very young Michael Jackson, by Elvis Presley, and by Peggy Lee, played back to back to back is a revelation. And "The Little Drummer Boy "- I wish someone would do a version with a steel drum playing instead of singing that darn "pahrumpumpum" over and over and over! I'm getting to the point where I want to pound the kid with his own sticks. What sort of a thing is that to do for a baby - play on a drum? You've just given birth - in a stable! It's cold, it's dark, the sheep are eructating, the cows are moving things through all seven stomaches, and some damnfool kid wants to play his drum? Why can't he give the gift of a silent night? And the three wisemen? Anyone who knows American dialects knows they are visitors from Georgia who smell a bit smokey because, "We have come from a far." (say fire with a southern drawl.)

I'm enjoying the music quite a lot, and singing along with many of the songs. (run,run reindeer!) I used to be in a church choir, but it's been years since I've sung regularly, and I've lost four or five notes off each end of the range, so when I shoot for some of those high descants, it sounds as if someone has just goosed a gibbon. Oh dear - would Christmas apes be Yule gibbons?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

winter solstice

Last night there was a total eclipse of the moon. I'm sure you will be seeing awesome photos of it. We had enough cloud cover that I couldn't get outside when the moon was out, so I got no photos myself. But I did grab this brief flash of a winter solstice sunrise. And now the days will begin to get longer and summer is on the way!!
I'm thinking of forming a girl group folk trio and calling ourselves Persephone and the Pomegranates. It has a nice sound to it, doesn't it? Probably too much work, though. And if we wanted to perform, I'm sure we'd have to be out past 8PM and that's too late for me, so maybe not. Anyone want to run with the idea, it's all yours. Think of the t-shirt - Persephone and the Pomegranates.
"He kept staring at my pomegranates."
Good health to your pomegranates and joy to the shortest day of the year.

Monday, December 20, 2010

That was a feast!

L and D B invited us, and few other friends, to their home for a holiday dinner. It was legendary! We started off with champagne (of course) and home-made terrine on little crackers. Then we moved on to the oyster tasting, with three different varieties of fresh oysters served on the half-shell for us to sample. Quilicene, kumimoto and something else. All divinely firm and savory. DH abhors sealife even when cooked. I got to eat his share of raw oysters as well as mine. I do love a few raw little oysters. Better yet, I love LOTS of them!

Then we proceeded to the main course - a German holiday dinner. We had roast goose, stuffed with apples and dried apricots. My mouth thought it had died and gone to heaven. The bird was flavorful, tender, moist, and the crispy bits of skin were - oh, just thinking about them makes my mouth water so hard it hurts. This was accompanied by a red-cabbage pickle, fresh asparagus (in December! We live in a miraculous age!) sauteed turnips, home-made rolls with double-fat butter (omg, omg it tastes sooooo good!) and the evening was finished off your choice of pecan pie or lemon tart. DB makes his pecan pie without corn syrup and with lots of dark rum. I have never eaten such a pie. This is the pie against which all others shall be measured.

We ate on LB's grandmother's heirloom china, and I gave it a loving pat. The table was as pretty as a magazine spread, with candles, and for a centerpiece, a bowl of fresh fruit. They have a Meyer lemon tree in a big pot which they move out in the summer and inside in the winter. It has a sheltered nook outside, and a sunny window inside, and they are able to enjoy their own home-grown lemons all year long. The bowl of fruit was trimmed with a few sprigs of lemon blossoms.

It was a feast for all the senses, and the best of all was the collection of company who have know one another for some fourty years. "Do you remember?" and "Oh, tell it again. I love that story!" kept cropping up amidst the "What are you doing now?" and "What ever happened to . . "

Unfortunately, DH and I have to rise and shine at 5AM, so we had to leave long before I was ready. I hope the party rocked on for hours1 It was one of those memories I'll be callling up fourty years from now if I live so long. Oh, friends are good!!

And of course, any holiday meeting is time for exchange of gifts. TW created absolutely World Class biscotti, and I broke my fast with half a dozen of them this morning.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

here's that tree again

Here we are with a typical December day in the Willamette valley: 43 degrees and light rain. The maple tree will look like this pretty much through May. Then the leaves will come on almost overnight. I'll try to get daily photos while that happens. And if it should snow twixt now and then, I'll get daily photos of that, too. It comes and goes so fast.
I have a cat on my lap and another on my chest and they are both shovelin the sleepy sand as hard as they can. I can hardly keep my eyes ope

Friday, December 17, 2010


I am opening the office two days this week. Today I am here from 8 till 10 alone. And, since it is between terms, and it's early, I am all alone. All the to-dos are done. No customers on the horizon. After I finish this blog, I'll have to start making up work to keep from gnawing my own arm in boredom. And yet . .

The stillness. The gentle hushhhh of AC which is set for many more people and lots more computer activity. The omnipresent background hum of all these computers turned on and ready for business . . It has a serenity, a peace, a mmm-what? What to call this pleasant enjoyment of not having anything that needs to be done at the moment ? ("Clean the cat boxes" quacks the inner critic, but I have to be here, just in case someone DOES show up, so I can ignore the catboxes at home completely guilt-free.) This feels like a vacation. the stress-muscles across my shoulders are releasing their burdens. The cricks in my neck are unwinding. People will show up and need help soon enough. Why, before I know it, the pre-registration madness will begin, and I'll have entire days when I don't sit down because I'm flying from one customer to the next, setting up placement tests and make-up tests and distance-learning tests and pesticide tests and tax boards, but today, right now, I can sit still and close my eyes a minute and listen to the - relative -silence. Relish while you can, the lull between the storms.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Angels all around us

Yeserday a young(!) couple came in with their infant daughter. First the father took his placement tests, and the mother sat in our waiting area and got the baby settled down for a nap. Then, when the father had finished his tests, Mom went in to take hers. Dad woke the baby up, and played with her a bit. After a while the baby started to fuss. He gave her a pacifier and bounced her, but she still kept fussing, louder and louder. Embarassed, he took her and all her gear out into the hall. She kept getting louder and louder in spite of everything he did and you could hear that her screams were angry. I was helping another older woman and we exchanged wry smiles at the fury in that little voice, and then we heard him say, in intense frustration,."Would you just shut up?!" Like a shot, we both flew out the door to offer grandmotherly assistance, and from down the hall came two more women and a young man, all prepared to Save That Baby! "She's probably pretty warm. That little snowsuit is a really good one," said the young man, evidently a daddy himself. "She sounds hungry," opined one of the women. "Do you have a bottle for her? We can warm it in the staff microwave." Another woman had the tyke in her arms and was walking her around, distracting her with the bright picture on the wall. Divested of snowsuit and with warm bottle in mouth, the infant twinkled at all of us, and the young father had a few more options in his child-care arsenal.

Now I, fercrysakes, am no expert on infant care, but I could not stand by and let that young man get angry at his baby. I was just suprised and delighted that so many other people felt the same way. There may be more help available to us than we know how to ask for.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Merry rises

Yesterday DB and I got together for our weekly cuppa and chat, and each brought gifts for the other. That was fun! I gave her a CD about spies in England during WW II because she is working on a book incorporating that. And rumballs of course. She gave me home-made carmel sauce that I want to sit and sip from a small snifter just like a fine liquor. And she also gave me rich, delicate teacakes, AND, pretty cupcake papers and lacey collars for the finished cupcakes. Because I am now becoming a real baker.

And it began to feel like Christmas.

I got home to find that MizG. had been by and dropped off a pile of goodies, wrapped packages, and some indecently good prune and date tartlets.

And I started singing "Have yourself a merry little Christmas."

The merry rises.

OK, for my inner three-year-old, it's all about the presents, but she likes giving as well as getting, and she judges them all by the standards of a three-year-old so she is just as excited by a package of sequins as she is by a diamond ring. She's THREE fer crysakes. I have not opened the wrapped presents because that's against the rules, and because it feels all happy and warm to have surprises waiting for me. Quite squeeful.

I spent the afternoon making lavender sachets with bits of silk and ribbons. And that felt very merry. Then Heide posted the video of animals singing Deck the Halls. I laughed out loud several times.

DH makes sure the Christmas tree is plugged in as soon as it gets dark. And LG gave me an online advent calender. Thanks to the wonderful people in my life, I am totally in the mood!! Thank you, thank you, and Merry Christmas! HOHOHO!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A feeling is stirring

Got the cookies baked and shipped, and a few trinkets picked up and wrapped. I feel a bit more festive. Christmas music helps, too. Eleven days till Christmas.

Can not keep wrapped presents under the tree because Pepper considers all ribbon to be her rightful prey. Maybe I should get her some nightcrawlers to play with. I don't want to let a snake loose in the house because it might get away. Pepper's enthusiastic in her pursuit of all things serpentine, but she hasn't much experience. Runaway nightcrawlers I can wrangle.

It's ok if this isn't the most merry Christmas ever. I've had many merry, and there are many more to come. Quiet, grateful, and peaceful has a lot to be said for it as well. There's no need to force a feeling.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

tidings of comfort and joy

Does the Christmas spirit feel a bit lacking this year? Seeing everything out in the stores at the end of October sort of took the edge off for me. Getting the tree up and gazing at the lights helped a bit, and as the Christmas cards come in and I display them, that helps too. But I just don't feel the zing - the inner three-year-old nearly wetting her pants with excitement. Well, as they say in the KY ad, "It can't always be a ten," and some years will just BE less wonderful than others. This year, the economy stinks, my mom just passed away, and the rain would melt a sugarplum. What will get me more into the spirit?

1. I can play my favorite Christmas music.
2. I can get to work on wrapping and delivering gifts. Doing for others gets me out of myself. And I can be a little more festive with ribbons and bows and all because I think everyone could use a little special treatment this year.
3. Gingerbread. It will make a nice addition to the cookie boxes, and it will make the house smell warm and homey.
4. It's 12 days till Christmas. That's an exciting thought. I need an Advent calender. I'll make one.

What puts you into the Christmas spirit? What is at the heart of Christmas for you?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fun at the ballet!!

I posted the free tickets on my knitter's e-mail list, and got a taker right away. A friend and her daughter and husband. We met early in the evening at a charming pub I've never been to before, had a delightful dinner, then got to the theatre early enough to watch the parents and their little princesses come in. One of my favorite things is to see the baby ballerinas all decked out to watch the Nutcracker. I noticed that the more festive the little girls look, the more casual the mom's were. "It took me fourty five minutes to get her hair into those french braids, and I don't have time to fuss over myself. Black slacks and sweater will do fine.

One family had three blonde darllings about 9, 7, and 5, all wearing matching dresses with cranberry velvet tops, and huge poofy white skirs with glitter. White tights and white mary jane shoes and cranberry hair bows. there was a wave of "awww" from people asthey walked down the aisle. The littlest had her bow on a headband, and after intermission, she was carried back to her seat, draped over dad's shoulder, fast asleep, wit the bow slid over her eyes like a sleep mask,

And it turned out to be a dress rehersal, which derlighted the four of us no end! I've never been to a dress rehersal and found it fascinating. The director had a headset with a microphone, and as the show went on you could hear him counting and muttering to himself, sometimes singing "La,la,la" along with the music. Twice he stopped things in mid flight, spoke to the conductor, spoke to the dance master, explained how he wanted things done differently, and they would do it over. And you could SEE how the change had improved the effect. But while he was discussing things, the dancers would just be standing around on stage, chatting and stretching and being people instead of ethereal snowflakes or happy candycanes. When they interrupted the Sugarplum Fairy and her Cavelier in mid pas de deux, they sort of pretended to dance the first few bars, gesturing with their hands and just stepping through the moves untill they got to the place where the music and the lift had to connect more perfectly. and WHAM, they were back into character and the magic was on again!

I left as they were re-arranging the curtain calls, so I don't know how long it finally lasted, but oh my gosh I had fun!! DH is the sweetest, most wonderful guy in the world!

Friday, December 10, 2010

He's a better man than I am.

My Darling Husband is hard to buy for. His wants are few, and if he needs something, he goes out and gets it. He already has more clothes than he wants, and is very selective about his entertainment. No sports or hobbies. After a few lottery tickets and a couple of books of carwash tickets, I'm at a loss. I asked him to give me a wish list, and even he can't come up with anything.

So last night he came up with this idea - he said,"Let's take the money you were going to spend on my present, go find one of those giving trees, and buy presents for needy kids." And he really means it! Is he the sweetest man on earth or what?

After I had kissed him all over his face and hugged him till he farted, I said, "You could do the same thing for me." and he said, "Oh hell no. I've already got plans for you!" And I am selfish enough to be thrilled. I think there's a Kitchen Aid mixer in my future. And bubblebath. And maybe some tea. Can you believe that there's only 15 days till Christmas?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

And now, leafless

The latest storm has ripped most of the rest of the leaves off the maple. Here she is in all her graceful structure.
Usually we get rain that goes on all day long and ammounts to less than a quarter inch total. Today, we're goiong to have well over an inch - maybe closer to 2. It's raining cats and dogs and it's hard to avoid stepping in the poodles. I'm about to start looking for those houseboat plans. It's a warm rain, all from the south. We call it a pineapple express, because it's blowing up from Hawaii. this is a great time to go beachcombing, because these are the winds that bring in the old glass japanese fishing floats.
I found takers for the ballet tickets so I won't have to go by myself. Oh boy!! I willl have to take drugs to stay awake for the drive home. A cup of black tea at 4PM ought to do it. I'm such a lightweight!

ballet alert!

For anyone living in my area: I have five free tickets to the Nutcracker Ballet Friday night at 7:30 at the Keller Auditorium. I will be using only one. Anyone want to jon me for free, freee, freee??

Respondez si vouz plais. First come, first served. I will even pick you up and drop you off within reasonable distance. (I'm not driving to Idaho or Sacramento fer crysakes!)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

knitting on

As promised, the photo of the three-yarn seed-stitch scarf. It's soft, it's got lots of navy in it. It's manly, right?

Hope so, because I have a lot of that mottled navy and burgundy silkl, and I'm on a roll. I got the yarn at a bit of a discount because the skeins were fairly tangled. I look upon tangles as a form of meditation, and spent most of the afternoon yesterday hanging tangled skeins on the swift, and walking around and around it, carefully working the slowly growing ball of yarn in and out of the snarls. Took me hours, but I wound up with six balls of silk to knit with. And I was listening to Terry Pratchet's "Carpe Jugulum" on the i-pod, so both left and right brain were happily entertained.

I knit a sweater out of this yarn as well, an am somewhat dismayed at how much bias stockinette sags in silk. It clings quite affectionately, too. You can almost see the bones in my bra. It may well be re-knit into something less revealing.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

movie-ing right along

OK, so I don't proofread things as well as I should. Apologies. I'll try to do better. Thanks sfor keeping me honest.

Not much to report.
1.Finished that three-color seed stitch scarf. Photos to follow.
2.Quiet good times with good girlfriends are the sinews joining my arms to my heart. 3. Christmas carols played on steel drums make me want to samba down to the Virgin Islands for a rum drink with tropical fruit and a paper parasol in it.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Movoie review

We went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 yesterday. Wish we'd saved our time and money. Part two will naturally have a quick summation of part one that will necessarily leave out the lingering on the bare isolated vistas getting gradually colder and colder which set the mood and tone for the rest of the movie. And the theatre had the airconditioning set to "freezing breeze" so everyone wound up huddled up, chilled to the soul just like Harry. This is winter. I don't need any more depressing crap, thanks. They did have some lovely ink-and-wash illustrations for the tale of three brothers from Beadle the Bard. That was my favorite part of the whole movie.

Then I went to a lovely four-o-clock proper english tea hosted by a friend who is married to a baker. We had treats from Mrs. Beaton's Cookbook - cucumber sandwiches. deviled ham sandwiches, little sausages wrapped in pastry and baked crispy,scones, chocolate cake, lemon cake, seed cake (rich with caraway seeds. YUM!) pistachio cream, and champagne. We were a merry crew! But it gets dark so soon now. The blackness in the windows sort of took the edge off the festivities and we broke up at 6.

We did, however, have Christmas crackers, and I got the perfect riddle for me. Why did the bubblegum cross the road? It was stuck to the chicken.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

seasonal tree

I know I ought to continue to use the same angle for taking the tree photo, but the angle I started out with doesn't show the thinning as well as this one does. You can see here, how the inside is mostly naked, but the outer leaves remain.

I have to stand in the street to get this shot. The others have mostly been taken from the front porch. But I think I will continue to brave the street and the stares of the passing traffic. This is a much better angle.

I live in a nice blue-collar neighborhood, and by the time there's enough daylight for photography, people are up and headed to work. There's a guy in a blue pickup that has started to wave when he passes me, standing in the cold with my camera, in my bathrobe and slippers, hair a froth of bed-head fuzz, and face still creased from the pillow. He seems to get genuine amusement from the sight of me. hey, if i have done something to brighten someone's day, then good for me!!

As you can see, it was a bit foggy Friday morning. I love living here!!

I am knitting a seed stitch silk scarf, using up three partial balls of yarn. You knit a row with one color, drop it and pick up the second color and knit the next row, drop it and pick up the third color, drop it, and the first color is waiting for you to go on. It's mindless, but not as fast as I could wish because the three strands of yarn tend to braid themselves together as I work and every few roes I have to stop and untangle. I put each ball inti a seperate zip-lock baggie and that helps a lot, but next project is gonna be one skein of yarn at a time!!

The cats still refuse to use the Magic Genie self-cleaning litterbox. They will crap on the bare floor beside it, and they will use the special litter if I put it in one of their regular litterboxes, but they refuse to set paw in the self-cleaning thing. Poor DH. He thought the Magic Genie was going to solve all our litterbox problems. For his sake, I wish the crapweasles would at least make an effort!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Christmas in Denmark

TW,(Who puts up the most beautiful Christmas trees I have ever seen - all hand-blown glass icicles and white light with space between all the branches. It's etherial!) asked about holiday traditions from my year in Denmark. I was living in the dormitory in the hojskole by the time Christmas rolled around, so there wasn't as much family tradition in evidence, but one thing I noticed was the prevalence of Advent calenders. Everyone had some kind of Advent calender - even the pagans. Counting down the twenty five days was a big, big deal. Some folks got a stack of little presents numbered for each day. And, with remarkable self-control, they opened only one a day. Some folks had the little cardboard calenders with a chocolate behind each door. One gal had a tiny hand-carved wooden creche and every day she added another character, starting with shepherd, then sheep, then cows, a donkey, a stable cat. On the twenty third she brought out an angel, on the twenty fourth she added Mary and Joseph, and on the 25th, the baby Jesus. Then she got out the three kings and began moving them from the farthest corner of the room until, by three kings day, they all arrived at the creche with presents. And she always saved three presents to open then.

Another thing - everyone grew roses that produce bright-colored rose hips, and in the winter, they would bring in a spray or two of these cheery notes of nature to make the house more cozy. They would hang glass ornaments in the windows to catch your gaze and keep it inside the warm house, rather than encouraging you to look out at the cold grey misery outside.

That winter, there was a fad for wearing bright,unmatched socks, and that's when I learned to knit socks - no two alike. I still have trouble with second sock syndrome.

Oh, the holiday baking! Ginger and marzipan and delicate fried dough baskets filled with rich, rich creams. And ableskivver. Yumm, I can eat a mess of ableskivver! They're like a tiny apple pancake cooked in a pan with walnut-sized pockets. You fry the dough in each pocket to golden crispness, drop in a chunk of apple, and deftly flip the confection with a long wooden skewer so the othe side fries just as crisp. Then you dump them into cinnamon sugar, and eat them warm - maybe with applesauce if you want. Gahh, my mouth waters so hard it hurts!
There was less hype about buying bigger and better presents for everyone, but then, that was 35 years ago, and TV was a lot less predominant in Europe. Heaven only knows what it's like now.
In the meantime, I'm getting some Christmas knitting done. This short scarf is done in silk and wool. It's soft and warm.
Good old seed stitch. Think it's too feminine for a guy?