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Non-Tradition, yet the Essence of a Holiday

yarnmixclass1.jpgThree Holidays in One

A few weeks ago my family had what we call Thanks-Christmas. We gathered at my mom’s home for a simple rhubarb crisp dessert and the company of one another. Actually we also celebrated my birthday early.

This year we finally said that gifts are absolutely optional. Mom and Fred, Brian and I did not do gifts other than hugs.

Eric and Diana chose to give small food gifts. They gave Brian a small pie from a well-regarded bakery in Ann Arbor, I got some very nice tea, Fred got some nuts, and I don’t remember what Mom got. I think it’s particularly wonderful that some gave and some didn’t and it was just plain right, just the way it was.

I think that in our family we have been through so much loss, that we are really clear about what matters to us (and it isn’t stuff, though we all have plenty). We love the fact that we are still together and that we enjoy one another so much.

Mom was widowed at 38, Eric at 30. Fred has also been widowed. Diana and I have been through difficult marriages with subsequent divorces. Brian is the only one who has not had a significant loss yet.

So on a holiday when we all can be in the same house, all pretty darned happy and relatively on the healthy scale, we celebrate our togetherness. This is as it should be. Gratitude and relationship are what the winter holidays mean to me.

This Week’s Holiday

This week for Thanksgiving, I had planned to get food at Altu’s Restaurant on Wednesday Night. Then I’d take it home to the refrigerator and heat it up the next day, for just the two of us. I figured I would be thankful for not having to cook.

Well, when I ordered the food over the phone I was not yarnmixclass2.jpgvery clear that I wanted all the different foods in separate containers for reheating later. When I got there, the dinners were ready to go, hot and ready to eat right then.

This initiated a change in plans. I went home and made a big pot of organic green tea, and Brian and I ate our Thanksgiving Dinner. On Wednesday night at about 8:30pm.

We had spicy chicken, mild split yellow peas and creamy mild lima beans. After all, it was ready to go and it would not have been quite as nice the next day (the Ethiopian sourdough flat bread doesn’t heat up that well after being refrigerated, though it does well on the counter).

A Big Treat

I don’t know right now what we’ll have for dinner on Thanksgiving day. I know we will have pancakes and strawberries for brunch. This will be enough for me to be thankful for a while.

brownpancakes16.jpgI had a bunch more allergy tests Tuesday and they pronounced me not allergic to strawberries (strawberries are a difficult food for a lot of food-allergic folks). I have been avoiding all fruit after bad experiences with bananas and peaches. I bought some organic frozen berries today, and we will put those on pancakes.

A few weeks ago the allergist also declared that I was not allergic to milk itself. I am having trouble with yogurt and cheese (cultured foods are generally a problem). I have not tested this theory yet, but Thanksgiving seemed a good time for it.

I found some ice cream that didn’t have any ingredients I can’t eat, a small miracle. I will cook pancakes, and put strawberries and ice cream on them, and it will be a VERY. BIG. DEAL. Enough to be thankful for, for sure!

We’ll see if I do well in reality… tests can be off, but it is exciting to have the permission to try. If I slow down to a crawl after eating the ice cream, I will just take a nap and not worry about it for one day. I do not have to work for 24 hours.

Let Us Hear it for the Freezer!

We have some food in the freezer that is very tasty and we may thaw that, so we won’t have to cook much tomorrow. I do not like making dinner-type foods, though I don’t mind baking or breakfast.

Less is more. Maybe oven-roasted root veggies (we have rutabagas and sweet potatoes). Those are a big treat, because they take preparation time and “babysitting.” That sort of attention and time to cooking normally is too much bother when I get home after 8pm and still need to make dinner.

Oh, Yeah… this is an Art Blog

Knitting? I’m working on the super-tall ribbed legwarmers I started a few days ago. Though the colors are very muted, they are absolutetly gorgeous. It will take a LOT of yarn and a LOT of stitches to finish these, but with bulky yarn it’s going faster than if it were thinner yarn.

fffootieclass11-18-07.jpgI am really enjoying the yarn I’m using. It is very wooly, very springy and traditional, a little scratchy but just plain perfect for ribbed legwarmers that should not fall down. They will be very warm. And the colors are so good… a purple-blue, a plum, grape, and dark teal green. Really subtle but sort of like light reflecting on  a rippled pond, lots of colors in small bits.

These will be very usable legwarmers. Not flashy or super-colored like the ones I talked about yesterday, but I bet I will wear these ten times for every one time I wear the extra-colorful ones.

I had the fortune today of running into the knit friend who gave me the yarn. I showed her my project and that felt great. The yarn has been waiting for over a year, for me to figure out what it wanted to be. This is truly a perfect project for it.

And I really hope I get out the sewing needle to finish a few wool knit items tomorrow. Wish me well.

Photos? Well, one is clearly my pseudo-famous “brown pancakes” made with buckwheat and teff flour (sans strawberries).

Two are some yarn choices made in my Kristi Wrap/Party Stole class at Rae’s last Saturday, and last is a baby-sized Fast Florida Footie (without purled stitches on the sole) from Sunday’s class also at Rae’s.

The yarn choices were made after we had a color discussion something like yesterday’s post. Then we piled so many yarns on the table it almost would not hold them, and switched yarns in and out to choose. Between two students we ended up with three projects planned out. (Can you see that I can help with colors even when they are not those I wear personally?) We had a wonderful time!

One Response to “Non-Tradition, yet the Essence of a Holiday”

  1. Diana Troldahl Says:

    It was two quart jars of Sorghum Molasses :-}
    An old fashioned present :-}