Thorny Knits

I've got a husband, twin toddlers, a cat who I probably forgot to feed this morning, and never, ever enough time to knit.


Tardy for the New Year

Can you believe it? I can. I'm always tardy. Even when I don't mean to be, something comes up. People keep telling me, "But you have an excuse - you have twins!" The sad truth is, I was perpetually late even without excuses. The "twins" excuse is unnecessary enable...ment.

So, the New Year has begun, and while I was going to avoid doing the whole New Year's thing, I'm afraid I'm kind of stuck.

You see, we'd taken a few pictures of the children being just darling, and so I went to post them up to all and sundry, to say, "Look! See? This is why I haven't sold them off to the gypsies yet."And then I realized that the wee little hooligans have somehow managed to stuff the USB cord into some pocket nether-realm located Who Knows Where, and so the Cute Kid Pictures, as well as several knitting-related pictures, are locked on the camera and who knows when I'll ever be able to free them.

Karma, party of one...

So, my New Year was... a little hectic. I took the kids, sans Caz, down to my dad's for an overnight visit. You see, very late Dec. 22, I commented to a friend, "I almost wish Ben's weird off-and-on fever would turn into something real, so we would have an excuse to just stay home for Christmas. This attempt to travel is /seriously/ getting me down." Approximately six hours later, in the dawning hours of Dec 23, I woke up from a dead sleep. If the proverbial dog is as sick as I was, then for the love of all that's holy, someone needs to put that poor thing out of its misery, because leaving it that way is simply cruel. Or, to put it more graphically and directly: I spent about an hour and a half sitting on the toilet with a bucket in my lap, wishing for the sweet sweet release of death. I'm still not sure where my liver wound up. I finally began to feel like a person late Christmas Eve, and was recovered though still delicate on Christmas.

Caz and the kids both got it a bit too, though no where near as bad. Thankfully, the only people who wound up throwing up were the ones old enough to know to dash to the toilet.

Happy New Year!

So, January 1st was my dad's 10th Annual New Year's Day Ravioli Party.

It's a little odd, actually. My mom is the Italian one - she's half Irish, half Italian - but when they divorced, my dad somehow wound up with custody of Grandpa's ravioli recipe, as well as the giant board and rolling pin he fashioned specifically to allow for the making of ravioli.

Shortly after their divorce, my dad was going about starting new traditions for himself, and settled upon an annual New Year's Day ravioli party. Dad starts really early simmering sauce and cooking sausage and the like, my sister arrives fairly early to roll out dough and spoon out the filling and close up the raviolis (Dad did it the first few years, but eventually got tired of getting scolded how he was doing it wrong, so now Sis does it) and then there's always a few people who are there early-ish as well to crimp the edges and score the tops three times with a fork.

This was my second time going, and the first time I actually arrived in time to not only attend dinner, but help (a bit) with assembly. The kids were a little too enamored with the Christmas tree for me to leave them unattended too long. (News Flash: The presence of a tree, mysteriously located indoors, covered in lights and garland and shiny things, and adorned with a hundred or so little figures which are all roughly the size of toddler playthings, is more temptation than the average 2.5-year-old can resist for longer than 2.3 nanoseconds.)

It was a nice time, despite trying to keep the kids out of too much mischief, and in a nice bit of timing, I actually saw the sun for the first time in like two weeks. Somehow the two weeks before New Year's had just been nothing but gray gloomy clouds, and if the sun did come out, invariably it was a day when we were all too sick to leave the house. So for part of the afternoon, the kids got to run around in my dad's blessedly fenced back yard (oh, how I long for that glorious wonderful day when we too will have a back yard in which the kids can play without me worrying about them (too much)) and I even stood out there and enjoyed some sunshine too.

The whole thing kind of does a number on me, though. Because, you know, when my grandfather throws a ravioli party, even though there will be like 50 people attending, he still manages to make so much that everyone is adviced to BYOT (Bring Your Own Tupperware) if they want to take home leftovers.

My dad, on the other hand, grew up with a different ethos - my dad's mom has this astonishing ability to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner for a dozen people, and wind up with everyone eating as much as they would like, but still have practically nothing left over. It boggles my mind, not just for the ability (which takes my own goal of getting really good at getting entree and all side dishes to be ready at the same time and rolls it in an alley somewhere), but also because... I tend to lean more toward how my mom's family does things.

Leftovers, to me, are the extra prize inside for a meal well made.

I've honestly never comprehended the whole "struggle to deal with Thanksgiving leftovers" business. Turn the leftover turkey into enchiladas? What? But why? Either nosh it straight, or throw it on a plate with some leftover stuffing and leftover cranberry sauce, and have your own Thanksgiving Instant Replay! The closest I come to "make a different meal with your Thanksgiving leftovers" is, well, open-face turkey sandwiches. Which, let's be honest here, is nothing like a "different meal" at all.

Which is not to say my way is the only way - if other folks are happy turning their T-day turkey into enchiladas, then that's grand. But it's totally not how my brain works at all.

So when my dad throws his Annual New Year's Day Ravioli Party and doesn't send people home with tons of leftovers... it really throws me for a loop. I try to tell myself it's a Zen thing, where I should just be in the "now" of the ravioli and not expect to be able to re-live the event for a week afterwards, but... man. To me? It's a failure to maximize output for the effort. Or, you know, just a missed opportunity. Why go to all the trouble of simmering sauce and making special fillings and making dough from scratch if, at the end of the day, there's not going to be anything but sauce left?

It's a big head-scratcher for me, is what I'm saying. It's also more reason for me to want a house of my own some dang day, because then... oh holy kolackys, I'm totally going to throw ravioli parties that make people literally sit down and write home about.

OOOH! I almost forgot to mention! In light of the Italian-themed occasion, I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to finally get to make Crazy Lanea's almond cake, which she shared with many of us at Rhinebeck. Caz, being my minion in all things baker-ly, got cozy with the MixMaster and whipped it up.

It was, in a word, heavenly. I'm now on a permanent lookout for occasions when I can reasonably (or even unreasonably) find an excuse to make this cake. OMG. And it was very well received as well - after a big meal of ravioli and sausage and meatballs and garlic bread, it was a nice way to have a bit of something sweet that wasn't going to land like a brick in the gullet.

And then, while we all lingered over dessert, my step-mother's sister broke out a legwarmer she was working on for her daughter, and suddenly there was a whole bunch of us gabbling on about knitting. I showed off the boys' sweaters to my aunt and grandmother, who both were very complimentary about them (I would have had the kids wearing them but um... tomato sauce, y'know? Eek. Also, Dad's place is not so big that he can pack 20-plus people in there without it turning into a sauna.) And then my youngest step-sister mentioned that she had started to try to teach herself knitting, but hadn't managed it. So my aunt sat down on one side of her, and my stepmom's sister found a spare pair of needles in her bag and my step-sister found her ball of yarn, and they taught her how to knit. It was. Pretty. Damn. Cool.

Enough Yakkin' Thorny. What About The Knitting?

Oy. Well. There's a report coming, honest. The whole "no way to make the camera talk to the computer" thing kinda puts a damper on it all, for the moment.

But I will say - I've been in a bit of a wiggy slump all the sudden. Nothing seems to quite be going right - lots of mismatches between patterns and yarns, and several false starts, and everything that I /do/ currently have OTN, is all complicated and difficult to do when the kids aren't sleeping, and believe-you-me, the kids? They ain't sleepin' much lately. Which gives us the double delight of cranky kids during the day, and then a mama with not enough time to herself at night, resulting in cranky mama 24/7. It's been... not our prettiest around here, despite the weather being very cooperative and allowing us to go outside and play in sunshine several times this past week.

Anyway, point being - they're too cranky and overwrought and freaksome for me to attempt any but the most mindless of knits (as my aunt describes it - "idiot therapy") while they're awake, and they're awake pretty much all the time I am it seems.

Didn't You Start This Making Veiled References to Resolutions?

Crap. Busted!

Yeah, I did.

I don't really do the whole resolutions thing. I mean, I love the idea, but... I've got a weird Intense Need To Self-Sabotage thing that I haven't managed to get shrunk out of me in over a decade of on-again-off-again shrink-visiting, so true resolutions are mostly just a laundry list of all the things I'm going to keep myself from achieving. Which, really, is just more depressing than I can stand.

However, I do dig the whole, "New year! New start!" vibe going around, and Caz and I did have some good discussions over the holiday season about what we want and don't want in our lives, and how to achieve making those necessary changes. And so I do have some general changes I'm going to try to make in my life this year.

1. I would love, by the end of this year, for us to have a much more organized household. Hell, I would love to see us lose about half the clutter we've got too, but I'm not going to get too far ahead of myself here. Even if we have every scrap-o-crap we've got right now, so long as most or all of it has a place where it belongs, where it gets put away and out from underfoot and not in the middle of everything, I'll be happy.

2. I am going to do my darnedest to go to Maryland Sheep & Wool and Stitches Midwest this year, and to that end I am going to

3. try, without making some big grand commitment to it or anything, to follow some of the basic tenets of the whole "Knit From Your Stash" thing that everyone seems to have joined. MDS&W and Stitches MW will be my two big exceptions, obviously.

4. In an attempt to prevent this year's "I hate people"-a-thon during the few weeks before Christmas, when I had a ton of people I needed to provide presents for and no way to do it, I'm going to try to keep at least one gift item on the needles at all times this year. And not just start some gift and then stick it in a corner until July, either. Actively on the needles, I'm saying. I'm sure there are tons of people who do that kind of thing all the time, but I've pretty much always knitted for myself and my immediate family, and so this is going to be something of a change. But as I mentioned to Meg the other day, suddenly the idea of knitting a pair of socks for someone else doesn't seem insane. It's like it became a more everyday kind of magic, one I don't need to hoard quite as carefully as I have in the past. Having a week's worth of knitted socks for myself might have something to do with that, I admit.

5. Submit some of my writing to someone, somewhere, for publication. Really. I mean it. Honest.

I think that's it. I've had a lot going on in the headspace, but not enough time/inclination/clarity to actually write it all down. But I'm going to work on that and see if I can't make more progress. And today's project, aside from hanging out at the LYS/coffeeshop (to knit, not shop - see #3) and having samosas for lunch, is going to be finding that blasted USB cable so I can finally blog up some of my pictures and make like this is a fer realz knitting blog and not just Ramblemania 2007.

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  • At Mon Jan 08, 09:25:00 AM CST, Blogger Lanea said…

    I'm so glad you liked the cake. And, like a good little baker/blogger, I corrected the recipe on the blog so others can know when to add flour.

    And I am so glad we're not the only crazy ravioli people. Maybe I should print the amazing chicken tortelinin recipe . . . hmmmm . . . My husband probably approves of the idea, because I don't make it enough, and I'd need to make the tortelini to photograph them . . . yes . . .

  • At Mon Jan 08, 12:10:00 PM CST, Blogger Thorny said…

    Ooh. Chicken tortellini? That sounds yummy too. Mmmm.

    I need to bother my dad for the rolled pizza recipe he also got custody of. I think that would be a huge hit with well, anyone with a pulse, really. grin!


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