Friday, November 25, 2011

I’ve finished the first bauble, except for closing the top and crocheting a chain for it to hang by. The next one will require me to wind one of the two remaining skeins of madelinetosh scarlet. I’d better get that done. Stuffed with kapok, or whatever that stuff is called, it looks slightly lumpy perhaps but acceptable. I want to do two more, at least. Pic tomorrow, I hope.

Arne and Carlos are in the new VK, although I don’t think we learn anything of interest about them there. They’ve got a new book out about dolls. It seems reasonable to hope that they’ll do a sweater book. I’ll be right there in the queue for that one.

Meanwhile the little Brownstone obstinately refuses to measure 12 ½" no matter how industriously I knit. Surely today.

Zite came up with this seriously tempting jacket this morning. One for the HALFPINT list. It is my practice, you may remember, to make a list at the end of the year of things-I-want-to-knit. Not resolutions, just an attempt  to pin down and record whatever is bubbling on the mental back burners (to mix a metaphor) as the year dies. A year ago I sat there in gloom, scarcely able to think of anything. This year there’s going to be a lot.

I usually get most of it done – or, at least, abandoned for a good reason.


I made the Christmas puddings yesterday and will steam one of them today. That’s something done, but chores spring up hydra-headed this time of year.

I have spent only one Thanksgiving in the US since I married – in 1960. The idea of a Great Big Meal so soon before the annual Great Big Meal is disconcerting, but I think it had the contrarian effect of rendering Christmas slightly less horrible. Perhaps it was just that Christmas is intrinsically slightly less horrible in the US.

I have made a tentative resolution to do more Christmas knitting next year. I avoid it on the whole so as not to add stress to stress. But the sight of all that stuff piled up in the shops, to be bought by people who can't afford it and given to people who don't want it, depresses me more than ordinarily this year. They may not want another hat or scarf, either, but at least it says "I love you" cheaply and efficiently.

I was worrying here recently about how to get books off the Kindle app on my iPad. One of you told me – I am ashamed to say that I have let the comment go, and can’t even thank you by name – that when I archive a book it goes to the Book Depository in the sky, whence I can retrieve it if I change my mind. So that’s fine; I know how to do that. I thought “archive” meant that it was somewhere else on the iPad.

Greek Helen asked when she was last here, whether one was aware of the financial crisis in daily life here, as they are in Greece. I thought not – but now it has come home: Grandson Joe can’t find work. He graduated in the summer and doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. Right now, he just wants to earn a bit of money. He had a temporary job for a few weeks gathering statistics about school exam results. That has ended, and now he can’t get anything – the Post Office doesn’t want him as Christmas relief, or Sainsbury’s to stack shelves. The other day his application to be an elf was rejected. He is a sober and personable young man. This is serious.


  1. At least two young graduates known to me have begun their careers as home care assistants. I am sure that they were excellent: pleasant, kindly girls - but it was hardly what they had in mind after all those years of study.

  2. Christine11:22 AM

    Our younger daughter worked as a waitress, office temp and occasional data inputter for 2 years after completing her Masters degree. She had won prizes for work done during this and was highly regarded by all her tutors. She finally found work in the area in which she is qalified after countless job applications and many interviews. She is very happy in her job, but it took great persistence and strength of character not to give up. Good luck to Grandson Joe, he'll get there in the end.

  3. Anna Livia1:26 PM

    I was a PhD student who quit, as the job prospects for a Joycean didn't look the brightest at the time, but it has only gotten worse- I am now answering phones at BT here in Dundee after a stint as Christmas help in M+S and a terrible time as a credit card consultant via the phone for BoS. This has all been interspersed with long periods of unemployment. So much for finishing with a first in every degree completed.

    We are now on our way to France, my husband now having completed his contract here. You see, there is no more funding coming into cancer research. At least none that filters down to the research level. So we are off to a land that is still funding for the present. The move is no great deal for myself, having abandoned the US almost a decade ago to fall in love with and marry a slightly odd man from Perth. It is, however, no small thing for him at all. We will now both be émigrés.

    I quite often look to this blog to see what my life might be in time- I've only spent one Thanksgiving back in the US since leaving, and I can't really see myself returning for more. I am glad to know that I wouldn't be the only one.

  4. "The idea of a Great Big Meal so soon before the annual Great Big Meal is disconcerting, but I think it had the contrarian effect of rendering Christmas slightly less horrible. Perhaps it was just that Christmas is intrinsically slightly less horrible in the US."

    Jean, I would love to read more about your views on Christmas in the UK vs Christmas in the US. I feel like the horrible madness just has a definite start date here with Black Friday. I do my best to stay out of big-box stores, shop the mom-and-pop stores, and pay cash. It is crazy to me that the retail stores were opening at 9 p.m. and midnight on Thanksgiving. I feel for those working retail (which I did back in my 20's also while going to school). I'm including a link about yesterday's shopping. Is it like this in the UK?

  5. I have been traveling for the last week, for a conference and then to see my family for Thanksgiving (which I don't usually do as it is expensive and with the holiday being so close to Christmas, which I always go home for, but the academic conference was before the big T-day and in the same state so I figured I would drop by and see the folks.)

    My brother works at Walmart, as he lost his job and no one else would hire him. He considers himself lucky to have a job. Anyway, on Thanksgiving he came by, ate the meal and then had to leave to go to the Walmart to stock for the Black Friday specials. He worked all night, despite the holiday, hardly seeing any of us, including his own son. At midnight he got a picture of the masses that descended upon his Walmart and texted it to my dad- it was terrifying. He said that people were impatient and rowdy, and that it was a long night. No one thinks of the people that have to work in those stores....

    Also, I love the Arne and Carlos Christmas book. I am making 6 of them for my mom, wrapping them in a pretty box and that will be her gift. My dad will get the newly remastered Laurel and Hardy set (his favorite) that just came out in the US and my bro and nephew will get money. That is the extent of my Christmas consumerism.