Hi everyone. I hope that Christmas 2009 was as happy and memorable for you as you had hoped. It was memorable for me in that it was the first time I cooked a holiday ham and the first in many years that I stuck around in White Cloud long enough to attend the family Christmas party with my aunt and cousins. The ham was a full sized, bone-in 16 pounder from Merindorf's. Even though it was pre-cooked, the challenge for me was to heat up a tasty ham without the use of a reliable oven and to not end up with jerky. When in White Cloud, Sylvain and I stay at my brother's house; my biggest complaint about his home is that his oven has a mind of its own -- the temperature is completely off and the door does not close completely. This doesn't bother them too much since most of their cooking is done on the stovetop and food that needs to be baked usually can fit within their large toaster oven. Armed with my roaster and a recipe from Cook's Illustrated, I was ready. I skipped the brining directions for the "Coca-cola Ham" recipe and used the instructions for the sage, parsley, and garlic rub and apple cider glaze. The ham turned out wonderfully, with everyone claiming it was the best they've ever had. I also cooked double batch of green bean casserole (using another Cook's Illlustrated recipe). For this, I needed to use the Oven From Hell, and ended up scorching the breading and French onion topping. Burnt bits aside, the casserole was fine, though the sauce did not thicken up as much as it did the last time I made this dish.
I credit Sylvain with the decision to attend my aunt's Christmas party. If I had my way, we would've high-tailed it home Saturday afternoon. Sylvain was very insistent on attending, claiming that he wanted to hang-out with my cousins and their kids. All in all, it wasn't as bad as I remember these get togethers being, with me managing to avoid conversation with the cousins that I cannot stand (there are 7 of us, afterall). Also, I was able to unload an untouched batch of scorched green bean casserole.
Okay, so now the knits: the felted slippers were well liked by everyone that received them. I decided to go ahead and felt the clogs in advance of giving them out rather than gifting them unfelted with felting directions. Only my brother's pair looked a little large and in need of additional shrinking, but I can easily accomplish that while at his house. Photos of all of these slippers can be found on my Ravelry project page. I was sure to take before and after felting measurments, and will update the project notes with those details this weekend....Anyways, I fell a little short on completing the two pairs of Prairie Boots, with Jaime's pair in need of buttons and slipper bottoms and Payton's pair needing a whole second boot. I was able to knit 3/4 of the remaining boot on Christmas Eve, but still fell short of the finishing for either. Jaime's pair was finished today (New Year's Eve), but Payton's are on the top of my list of projects for this weekend.
So for the mini-meltdown part -- after packing up the car on Sunday, I couldn't get the trunk closed. I had been hoping to stop by my friend Rachel's farm while on our way out of town and was running late. Trying to rearrange items in the back so that everything would fit, I was getting angrier by the minute each time I tried to close the trunk that I started slamming it harder with the hopes of it magically latching. Realizing that the locking mechanism wasn't even engaging, I was thoroughly pissed off, so stomped back inside to have my brother (who can fix anything and everything, except his oven) come out and make it all better. After a few tries, it became apparent that even he couldn't seem to immediately figure out what was wrong. Still pretty steamed and convinced that the trunk was way too full, I started grabbing stuff out of the trunk to place in the back seat. Filling one armload, I stomped over to the passenger-side rear door.....tried to fling open the door, but ended up flinging my arm in the air with the door handle in hand!?! Standing there stunned, the noise I heard come from my throat can best be described as that noise that Snoopy makes when annoyed.
Since it was a clean break, Sam has convinced me that we should be able to glue it back on, so I'm going to give that a shot before shelling out the several hundred dollars I'm sure the repair shop will be happy to charge me. We next decided to try going through the back seat so that we could get a good look at what is going on with the locking mechanism, causing the trunk to not latch properly. Still upset about the door handle, Sam and Sylvain stayed outside to fix the trunk. Only Sam will truly know what the problem really was, but whatever it was, he was able to get the trunk latch back into working order.
With the car packed, Sylvain and I were finally on our way. We hung out with Rachel for a couple of hours, then decided to head home. The roads were quite slippery, so our normal 1 1/2 hour drive took an extra hour. Sunday night was a busy one for us since we needed to unpack our gifts, do laundry, and repack our bags for our family holiday ski trip to Shanty Creek.
We had great ski weather during our trip; Chuck and Sylvain took every chance they could to be on the slopes, so were out til 10 pm Monday and Tuesday nights and right up until we left on Wednesday. The ski equipment that I was using was from Sylvain when he was 12 years old. The first day, the boots seemed to fit okay, but the second day, I couldn't bear to put them on, and ended up renting a pair. I hated doing that because I'm such a cheap-skate, but there was no way around it.
We're home now and are getting ready to ring in the New Year. Chuck's in the kitchen, whipping up some snacks; Sylvain's on the PS3, playing a video game with his friends (who are at their respective homes -- isn't the Internet great sometimes?); and as soon as I'm finished with this, I'll join Chuck to "supervise". Happy New Year everyone and I hope that 2010 is a great year for you all!
My New Web Site - *I am currently moving to a web site, Retread Art ! *I am excited about this transition but please be patient while I get it up and running. MANY THANKS ...
2 days ago