Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Shortest Day

Cate, you have a fan club and I'm officially a member. The secret handshake is in the development phase. Great post!

Wifey has been a member of the Revels cast several times dating back to the 1980s. She thinks of Revels as a family, and draws inspiration from their resurrection of traditional holiday celebrations. Even Little Man treasures the On Christmas Day in the Morning book. Every year Wifey calls her sister on the Solstice to wact recite The Shortest Day, loudly, dramatically. It's hilarious and beautiful.

The Shortest Day
By Susan Cooper

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!

With the recent death of Revels founder John Langstaff, I send light and love to his family and to the entire Revels community. All Things Considered did a nice memorial piece. The Boston Globe published a lovely obituary. We will be attending the memorial services to be held in late February.

In my fantasy world, I would attend a Revels performance every Dec. 21st. However, Sander's Theatre at Memorial Hall would be magically transported to Co. Meath. Then we'd dance over to Newgrange for the stunning display of Celtic genius.

Even without combing every corner of the globe, I can safely say that Newgrange is my favorite place on the planet. Wifey and I had the privilege of traveling through Ireland in early 2002. We bought a plane ticket, a set of B&B vouchers, and reserved a car. We had no agenda. It was perfect. We spent time the first couple days on the Aran Islands (go ahead, be jealous), then traveled through Co. Galway, Co. Sligo (where we met Wifey's great-uncle), Co. Westmeath, Co. Meath, and Co. Dublin (where we picked up the trail of my ancestors at the National Archives (who issued me a bi-lingual English-Gaelic photo ID).

Wifey jokes that without intending to, we did the "pre-Christian tour of Ireland," and I have hundreds of photos of carved stone to prove it. While in Co. Meath, we spent a long time at Newgrange and the surrounding sites, and I fell deeply in love with the area. Unlike archeological sites in the U.S., the Irish authorities allow people to touch, enter and truly experience the wonders. On a guided tour, we walked into the center of the Neolithic tomb, saw the roof box that illuminates the central chamber every year on the Solstice, and touched the rock that my ancestors cut, carved, and cherished.

Every year, there's a lottery to determine who is invited to enter Newgrange on the Solstice. Someday I will be there to see the light of the sun shine into this 5,000 year old stone chamber. In the meantime, I will ink this image into the skin between my shoulder blades:

The tri-spiral on the left of this photo, from the entrance stone at Newgrange, was supposed to be added to my body on my 30th birthday, but we were broke-ass-broke. For my 31st Birthday, we were broke-ass-broke. As soon as I see a teeny windfall (Christmas?), I'm heading to the tattoo shop in Rhode Island.

Let the new Sun shine on my finances and allow me to tattoo homage to my ancestors over the center of my spine.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Birthday BFF&ExGF#2!!

One of my very favorite people is having a birthday today, and I wish her all the happiness in the entire world. If this coming weeked is half as good as last weekend, she's certainly having a good time. She also just started a blog (mostly about her international jet-setting), so go check it out. She'll be the lucky recipient of the lovely-rusty Lace Poncho whenver I get my so-sorry ass to the post office. And there are other gifties too, which are in transit.

Little Man needs this

Found at BabyWit.

Monday, December 19, 2005

See, I can do it!

As requested by Beth, here is a photo, taken by Little Man, of me sewing and knitting at the same time. Take note of a small white cat sitting at my feet. Yes, Lugh sits there. She also sits on my machine and plays with the thread until I toss her. She's known for being a PITA extraordinaire.

*borrowed from Craftapalooza and drawn by blogless West Aussie Jane.

Friday, December 16, 2005

A New BABY!!

MamaRoo had Baby Joey late last night! Both are happy and healthy. MamaRoo reports that BigBabyJoey weighed in at 8lbs, 14 oz. with strawberry blond hair and lovely earlobes. She says he looks like a little old man. I can't wait to meet him! Do you think I could squeeze in some additional baby knitting? A hat? Some socks? Baby legwarmers? I'm so excited I can barely sit.


I'm a little behind on posting pictures, but here are two items that I finished last week:

13yoSIL's fingerless gloves - my first pair, with all implied wonkiness

16yoSIL's fingerless gloves

I also finished my Bro's hat and one set of bean bags, but forgot to take pics. Maybe this weekend?

*inappropriate use of office supplies and appropriate use of digital camera thanks to Danielle. While my computer issues are being resolved, Danielle has been my camera 'ho. She's very good. I'd recommend her.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Spork & Beanie

Wouldn't that title be a good band name?

I love the Spork bag. It looks exactly like a TimBuk2 bag. So urban lesbo chic. I must have it. Perhaps after Christmas, I'll join the Spork Knit-Along. Note to Mafia: everytime you've tried the Custom Bag Builder, you've opted for a grey, burgundy, black combo, so keep an eye out for Lamb's Pride worsted in those colors.

In Christmas knitting news -- I am an idiot. I had to rip out 2" of my Bro's beanie cuz I was decreasing way too fast. I thought it looked weird, and Danielle thankfully confirmed that I was making a dumb mistake (my words, not hers). So I ribbited back and started the decrease section again. Here's a happy and warm dawg in an MIT window -

For the techical folks out there, it's 2x2 rib, cable cast-on, size 4 Addis (yes, I'm a wicked loose knitter. resist the temptation to make a snarky comment about me being loose.). I'm using the Hats that Fit pattern by Nancy Lindberg which is based on excellent stealth measuring by my crafty Mom. She walked into Bro's room at 7am, wrapped a tape measure around his head, then over his noggin, and left. He barely noticed.

Here's hoping that I'll finish tonight. Send good vibes, k?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Skeptics beware

What does a girl need for motivation? A red-as-Emma bank balance and a vote of 65% for "She'll downsize the list during the Panic Attack of Dec. 23rd." I am officially rocking the handmade holidays kids. That's why I've been MIA. I'm knitting and sewing. Shhh ... can you hear the clicking needles and drone of the machine? Yes, I can do both at once. Don't believe me? Well ... shut up, yes I can. In fact, I'd better, because I made the mistake of chatting with my Dad about his Christmas wishes. When he claimed that socks and undershirts were fine presents, I should have said OK. Instead I said, Oh Dad, don't be ridiculous. I'm not buying you socks and undershirts for Christmas! (bad move Mafia!) He said, Well are you still knitting? I said Yes into the phone, while my head swirled with Shit!Shit!Shit! He said, Well ... I could use a nice hat and scarf. I said, Yeah, that's what I'm talkin about Dad. That's a real Christmas present. What color is your coat?

And so it began ... the last minute additions to the handmade holidays listing. Here's an update:

1) Scarf for Mom (DONE!)
2) Fingerless gloves for 13yoSIL (DONE!)
3) Fingerless gloves for 16yoSIL (DONE!)
4) Beanie for Bro (10%)
5) BeanBag+wooden box sets for: Lily (20%)
6) " " Leila (20%)
7) " " Owen (20%)
8) " " Charlotte (20%)
9) Secret knit-thing for Ms. G (since her MamaRoo reads the blog, I have to be quiet.) (DONE!)
10) Cut flannel lap blanket for my Gramma (5%)
11) Framed photos of Little Man and my Mom (for Mom) (0%)
12) Framed photos of Little Man and Papa (for Papa) (0%)
13) Felted clogs for 28yoSIL's early January birthday (0%)
14) Socks for Alice's almost-a-baby-girl (0%)

and the additions ...

15) Hat and scarf for Dad (5%)
16) Felted recyled sweater tote bag for Wifey's pal Barbara (DONE! by Wifey)
17) painted chalkboard and wooden letters for 16yoSIL (80%)
18) 10 painted ornaments for family (by Little Man) (30%)
19) 4 wreaths with cut greenery (DONE! by Wifey)

I'll try to post pictures sometime this week.

Dear Dog, wish me luck!

P.S. I had an incredible time last weekend at Alison's "Last Minute Holiday Gifts" workshop at Three Bags Full in Newburyport. If you have a chance, try to catch her other workshops. She's a great teacher. I started a pair of fingerless mittens for Wifey, learned how to do cables without a cable needle (so easy and SO exciting!), and immediately put the mitts on waste yarn until after Christmas. Sorry Wifey, you'll have to wait. Also waiting in the wings are my hat and mittens. Particularly after getting 18" of snow on Friday, this commuter is cold. Must make mittens. Must make hat.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Shock of all shocks...

The Warrior Princess

You are strong, courageous, and dynamic, a woman of
action. You have an iron will and a sharp
tongue. Indecisive, weak, or wishy-washy people
test your patience. You tend to grow bored
quickly and yearn for excitement.

Role Models: Brunhilde/The Valkyries, Xena

You are most likely to: Lead your people to victory
against an army of orcs.

What Kind of Princess are You?
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