Dec 15, 2009

Tradition, shmadition

Sometimes the great thing about being an adult is that you don't have to follow the rules. For example, I just opened the chocolates my mom sent in a package of small gifts for my Christmas stocking. Don't judge me: They're Purdy's. And I love Purdy's. I won't open the soap, tea, lip balm, knit gloves or hot chocolate (my mom puts the exact same stuff in my stocking every year. Plus when you ship internationally you have to write on the customs slip what the contents are. No surprises there). I won't let Lucy open anything early, and I will continue to judge my husband's folks for opening the gifts we sent last year on the day they received them -- like, 5 days before Christmas. Don't they know that makes Baby Jesus cry, I asked my formerly Pentecostal partner.

The other great thing about being an adult is that you get to make your own traditions on Christmas. You get to choose how and when you open the gifts (I think slowly with a mimosa). You plan the menu and set the playlist. And you don't have to eat brussells sprouts (unless you make them with bacon and carmelized onions, like I did at Thanksgiving -- thank you, Mark Bittman).

Ever since my parents split three days before Christmas when I was 12, I've had negative associations with the holidays. Following that awful year (I didn't get my present — a bike — for a couple months following the split), Christmas was always super stressful; dividing time between mom and dad's houses, hoping the present from one didn't make the other jealous and angry (divorced parents really are as childish as Noah Baumbach depicted in the Squid and the Whale). As an adult living away from home, I've spent numerous Christmases with friends' families, and I would much rather take part in a new tradition (oxymoron?) than try to recreate the impossible: a time when my family was happy and Christmas was full of promise.

Now, however, with my own child and living far from my family, I make the rules. The first new family tradition we adopted this year was to make a Christmas music video -- my husband on guitar and vocals, little Lucy on harmonica, and me on the drums. For this, our second Recession Christmas , we sent DVDs of the video to our families in lieu of gifts. The praise has yet to roll in, but I'm sure it will be a hit. Also, inspired by my friend Dreae's "Made, Found or Handed-down" gift-giving rule, I bought Ryan's gift on eBay (we set a very low spending limit that pretty much demanded buying second-hand).

I'm still trying to figure out what to have for dinner. In the U.S. Thanksgiving is too close to Christmas for cooking turkeys on both occasions. I hate ham, so that's out. What would be wintry and flavourful? Or totally unorthodox but delicious?

Dec 7, 2009

Toddler Tee Dress

It feels wrong to covet your daughter's dress -- especially when your daughter is only 16 months old. But I'm a little jealous of this purple jersey Tee dress I made for Lucy from a pattern at, upcycling an old purple jersey skirt that I haven't worn since I was pregnant, and a scrap from a T-shirt that is unsuitably short for me now. (It's unseemly for a mom to rock a belly button-skimming shirt; also, more importantly, it's totes '90s!)

I need to figure out how to adapt the pattern to fit myself. Perhaps after I take the pattern-making program at FIT, which I plan to start in February! Whee! It's the first step in my plan to undertake a total mid-life career change (that's what members of our generation are supposed to do, right?)

But a neckline this loose only looks good on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. I think I may undo it and insert some elastic, which admittedly will ruin the geometric '80s effect of this design by Arsonista. Still, it's more practical for a tall, skinny toddler who doesn't much like wearing clothes to begin with. I can always take it out when she grows a bit and her shoulders aren't so skinny.

Dec 1, 2009

"I wish I loved anything as much as my kids love bubbles"

New York is full of entrepreneurs like this guy here, making gigantic bubbles out of two sticks and a string and some dishsoap. We spotted him near Bethesda Fountain in Central Park a couple weeks ago when my friend was visiting. He was making money too. People snapped photos and put money in his bucket. They stood and stared because inside we are all still like the toddlers who squeal and mosh at storytime when the teacher brings out the "goodbye bubbles." (See Tuesday mornings, Inwood Library).

I'm in the middle of, um, five or six projects in various states of completion, and my baby is still recovering from a bout of croup last week that left me running a major sleep deficit. Also Christmas is coming, did you hear? I may only have time for one special handmade gift this year: a knitted elephant that has, I think, 16 pieces. I've so far knit four of them.


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