Well, that’s christmas over.
I mostly ignored it, to be honest. Which might be why the day itself was quite enjoyable. It felt like my christmas in China did – not a day like any other, but not really like christmas, either. I squirreled out of spending christmas eve at my mother’s house, which I always find extremely depressing. Instead, she came down for brunch and present exchanges, and then the three of us (mother, sister, me) went to the family christmas lunch. Which was only moderately painful, and my uncle narrowly avoided being racist, although he would keep skimming the surface. My cousin’s new boyfriend was there (his idea, and I bet she resisted it strongly, being the best example of our family’s commitment phobia) and he was lovely. I stayed a couple of hours and then when it started to degenerate (naming no particular aunts), I went to Emma’s house for dinner and drinks and good people whose company I enjoy without any cringing at all. Such a relief.
The weekend before this one was a bit tricky. The Friday was my dad’s birthday, the Saturday was the day he killed himself, and the Monday was my birthday – and also the day he was found.
I had several christmas and birthday events on that weekend and in the end I only went to one, despite harrasment from one of the organisers of the three work events. My birthday I spent mostly at home – I had the day off, thank god – and shopping with my sister. I was a bit fragile, but I knew I would be. So I wrapped myself in the bubble wrap of soothing activities, and put myself up on a high shelf where no one could accidently knock my emotional equilibrium over. I will admit to a few crying jags, but they felt more like something that needed to be got out the way. Something to bouy me up out of sadness, not being dragged down into it. All in all, it was a smoother ride than I expected.
I did miss christmas – it’s a season that I love, despite all it’s problems. I love the excitement and the fun and the feeling that this is a special time, a time to think and reflect and to consider others before yourself, to put extra thought into the things that make a life more than just getting up and going to work. My year in China taught me to love it even more, and to choose the things about it that bring me joy and leave the other parts to one side.
But every time I would hear a carol or see an ad and get a bit wistful, I would think ‘next year’. This time next year, I hope to be alone in my own house, free to have the bits of christmas I like, and not some of the others (although they will sneak in). And it won’t be quite as emotionally loaded. I hope.
These photos are all taken from the spot on my couch where I usually sit to knit or embroider. At a certain time of day the sun comes blazing in and the whole room is lit up in the most glorious manner. If I sit here on the couch long enough, the light hits my project and lights it up.
I spent ages playing around with the settings on my point and shoot camera to try and capture something of what it actually feels like to sit there, bathed in the dappled sun. When I think of the houses I’ve lived in, what I remember most clearly about all of them was the light. And I always remember them at whatever time of day it was that the light was the best there.
It makes it hard to see what you’re doing, but luckily this blanket didn’t need much seeing. It’s Brooklyn Tweed’s tweed baby blanket (rav link). I ordered the yarn (rainbow wool, and it’s lovely) for it before Emma was even pregnant, and started knitting it before he published the pattern – while it was still guidelines. Luckily, I had the right needle size, gauge, and I had hit almost the exact right number of stitches for the halfway point when he published the pattern.
I bought the pattern because I was a bit intimidated by the icord edging (NO idea why, now that I think about it) and didn’t really want to do the calculations for the feather and fan edging. Have I mentioned here that I highly dislike feather and fan? The less time spent thinking about it the better, in my book…
I do have photos of it finished, in which you can see what it actually is, but I haven’t gotten around to uploading them yet, so you’ll just have to wait. Here’s the rav link to my version, anyhow.
Lastly, I would just to say a heartfelt ‘thankyou’ to all of you. To those I know, or know better, because of this blog. To people I’ve met and haven’t met, to those of you who’ve been reading all through this tough year and before, and to those I’ve just met and connected with recently. You make my world brighter, richer and happier, and I am so glad and grateful to have you all. I am constantly amazed by how real, solid and truly helpful the community that I have found, through my blogs and yours, is. What a wonderful group of women we are! 😉
I hope this time of year was as joyful as it could possibly be for you all, wherever that fits on the scale. And if I don’t speak to you again before then, here’s to a fantastic new year! Bring on 2010!