The mid-winter holidays have always seemed to me to be a time of making: making food, making presents, making memories, making light in the dark days. This past week has certainly been no exception.
Years ago, when Rick and I finally had a house together, and his Grandmom was feeling a bit overwhelmed by hosting his family's traditional Christmas eve gathering, I started doing it, with her, and then on my own. I didn't do it last year, feeling worn out by a bad autumn and too much to do, and as much as I think it was probably a wise decision, we all missed it. So this year I did it again. We had about 30 or so people over, and I spent most of Thursday and Friday morning getting ready. We make pickled herring (that's Rick's job), which is served with boiled potatoes and aqa vite, then ham and havarti and pickled cucumber salad, and red cabbage and hard bread and pork pies (my addition, in place of the Swedish meatballs that so tormented me for years - I don't enjoy making meatballs, but pork pies were our traditional pre-midnight Mass Christmas eve meal during my childhood, so I substituted). Dessert is butter cookies and rod grod and whipped cream (the kids love it). And Rick makes mulled wine. Mmm... The girls love it, and look forward to it all year - this year they even ate a little bit of the pickled herring.
As I cooked, wearing Grandmom's apron that she gave me when she officially stopped doing this party herself, I found myself missing her terribly, while being grateful at the same time for all of the memories I have of standing in her kitchen making this same food. I hope my girls, and maybe, depending on the way things go, their kids, feel the same way about making this meal themselves someday.
I also made my usual two huge braids of yeasted cardamom bread for Christmas morning. I didn't take pictures, though (sigh). And on Christmas day, I made fresh baguettes and duck and sausage stew with sage and potatoes and celery root. That is our very own Christmas tradition. And then on Sunday, I cooked not a thing - we have enough leftovers for a while, I think.
Other making happened, too. Of particular note is the fact that Older Daughter this morning presented her very first finished knitted garment ever. (I suspect her of turning on her light in the middle of the night to read and finish it; we've all wanted to do that at some time or another, haven't we?)
How about that? I'm so impressed, and now that she's actually finished an actual garment, I think there'll be no stopping her. Maybe she needs her own Rav page?
I, too, finished something.
There's the first Silk Road sock; the second is at the heel flap.
(The colors are more accurate in the second picture.) The second sock is turning out just fine, following my notes for the first one (this is not always the case), and I am 99% sure that I have figured out how to size it up with another four repeats and to still get the nifty lines on the heel and down the foot.
I don't know why, but I'm just charmed to pieces by the lines down the sole, and the fact that I worked it so that decreasing the thicker blue stripes on the bottom can coincide with decreasing the subtler thicker blue stripes on the top before the toe decreases.
The only thing that's stopped me from finishing the second one is the fact that I've also been working away madly at the Tibetan Clouds stole; I'm halfway done with the second side panel now, and with the end in sight, suddenly I'm over the whole process knitting mentality, and into full-fledged product mode. I want it, and I want it now. But I also kind of want the second of these socks.
While my knitting dukes it out in the den, I wish all of you a happy holiday season, and a peaceful week as we head into the new year.