Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Boxing Day

We had a lovely Christmas, the best gift of all was having our daughter home. It was low key and relaxed. I spent the afternoon of Christmas Eve knitting (trying to rise above the "second sock syndrome" for the second half of the Tiger, Tiger). DH & DD watched "White Christmas", then napped and visited a friend respectively. In the evening we had soup and sandwiches. For a number of years, Oyster Stew was traditional with us, until we agreed that none of us are really all that fond of it. So now it's clam chowder for the old folks and vegetable for our non-carnivorous girl. After that, the tree lights on, a fire in the fireplace and time to open family gifts.

Christmas morning: Santa Claus still comes, though we sleep in later, and are more leisurely about unwrapping than we once were. Lounged about in PJs, watched "A Christmas Story", read, just enjoyed being in one another's company. Then to dinner in the afternoon at my brother-in-laws: a livlier scene, especially as nephew had recieved a drum set.....

But back to the presents. Lots of books: some poetry, a beautiful volume with plates of all of Vermeer's paintings (which I could, and already have, poured over for hours), a most fascinating "Bedside Book of Birds", a new Amy Tan novel, and

Victorian Lace Today ! I asked for this one specifically, have been waiting impatiently for the last six weeks without even trying to peek, and I am happy to say that it fully lives up to expectations. The pictures are gorgeous, and utterly inspirational. I love having the history section (only regret there isn't more of it). What I've read of the directions seem clear, and I'm going to enjoy going over them more closely to see what I can add to my repertoire of technique. Did I say extremely inspirational? I love it.

Inspirational in a different way, DD gave me Knitting for Peace by Betty Christiansen, and I love this one, too. As the author acknowledges, no one book could cover all the ways women and men are knitting for the greater good. But she lifts up over twenty projects - ranging from knitting for the troops, to development projects in the third world, to knitting for needs close to home - and tells the stories of how they came into being and grew. Some of these organizations were familiar to me, some I have already been involved with, some were completely new. All are inspiring. There is contact and project guideline information for each, and there are basic knitting patterns for several (simple, but nicely photographed). Interspersed with the text are quotations reflecting the author's understanding of peace as something larger, and more personal, than the absence of war, peace that starts from within. So I'll close with one that I take as a New Year's resolution and offer as a New Year's wish.

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. - Stephen Grellet, Quaker missionary


CatBookMom said...

Lovely post! Sounds like you had a terrific Christmas, with family and general coziness. The Vermeer book must be gorgeous; I have a small PB collection and looking at the detail he painted can consume an astonishing amount of time. As does Victorian Lace Today! May you all have a safe and happy New Year's celebration!

kmkat said...

I first learned about Vermeer in a YA mystery novel I read in junior high -- he's always been special to me because of that. Weird. But your book sounds wonderful. His use of lighting is inspirational, especially for photo-snappers like me.

Unfortunately, Knitting for Peace isn't available though our regional library consortium or WISCAT. Humph. Guess I'll have to settle for coveting yours ;-)