The Great Midwestern Tour

Generally, I don’t mind that we are the ones who do the annual Christmas travel between our two families. We’re the ones without kids, who don’t have to explain that Santa would still find them even if they’re staying at grandma’s or their aunt and uncle’s house or put up with simultaneously over-stimulated, over-sugared, and over-tired children in a car for several hours each way. There’s also that whole thing about not having to have my house “relatively clean” (which, according to my brother-in-law means “cleaned to within an inch of its life because the relatives are coming”).

But it’s still a bit draining, maybe moreso this year than it has been in the past because we switched the days around this year and are spending Christmas Eve at home so we don’t have to figure out what to do with Jali. Which meant we woke up at 6 this morning, shuffled around to get some breakfast and coffee and showers and the car packed and were on the road by 7 for what ended up being an almost exact 3-hour trip to my sister’s. We chatted and puttered for a bit getting things for dinner ready, opened presents, ate, played a couple games and then were back on the road home at 7 p.m. for what was, by the grace of warmer weather and less icy roads, only a 2 hour and 45 minute drive. It was a wonderful day and I wouldn’t have missed it or changed it, but sitting at the far end of it, I realize just how utterly exhausting it was.

Of course, the booty, for lack of a better term, mitigates the exhaustion somewhat. Sometime over a year ago, I put the four-DVD Stott Pilates matwork set on my WishList and never really expected that I’d get it as a gift, but rather that at some point when I started to hanker for a more serious pilates workout (or even one that I could do at home at all), I’d just order them one-by-one myself. Mom and dad, however, decided that it had been on my WishList long enough and I am now the proud, if somewhat slightly overwhelmed, owner of the entire set. The timing on this is very good because I’ve been trying to figure out a home workout routine that.. well.. would work for the last couple of weeks, and my recent venture into the world of professional chiropractic care has me thinking that strengthening my back wouldn’t be the worst place to start.

Also in the on-the-WishList-but-never-really-expected-to-see category was a beautiful Blue Willow cardigan kit from Blackberry Ridge, which also showed up, complements of my sister as a combined birthday and Christmas present under the tree. I’m slightly intimidated – I’ve never done any Fair Isle work and don’t want to mess the sweater up – but also very excited to have the kit and looking forward to starting it. Blackberry Ridge is in Mount Horeb and I keep meaning to find an excuse to go out there and see their farm in person. Maybe once I get the sweater done, and my spinning improves, I will.

And if that weren’t enough (and really, either of the above would have been on their own), my dad also managed a beautiful coup de grace and built me a tablet weaving loom ala White Wolf & Phoenix just by looking at the pictures on the website. Dad’s somewhat of a master carpenter in sheep’s clothing, but I wasn’t sure if he’d be quite up to taking on the design of a loom like the one I wanted; I figured they’d find it easier to simply order one and be done with it, if they got it at all. But my dad’s not one to turn down a challenge and it’s immediately apparent where I got my “but I could make that” instinct when you see some of what he’s accomplished for his daughters over the years (a good half of the furniture we own is dad’s handiwork, including our bed and my cedar chest). The loom is gorgeous – birdseye maple and beech – and really is indistinguishable from Herveus’s as far as I can tell. While I feel a slight twinge about inpinging on Herveus’s design, I can console myself with the knowledge that dad certainly isn’t going to be making any more of these, nor will he have any impetus to share his plans with anyone, especially anyone who might possibly be seen as competition. I can’t wait to warp up some double-turn, double-face in 60/2 silk on it and try it out…

There were also, of course, a few other smaller things, but those are the three big ones, at least from the family. Jack and I also exchanged our gifts for each other tonight when we got home, and he got me the ABC print set from Ursula, which I was really hoping to get. The prints are gorgeous in person and I can’t wait to get them framed and hung, most likely in my office, though we may have to hang on to them here for a bit first so we both get to admire them. I really love her work and these three prints especially, largely because of the text that accompanies them.

So while I’m exhausted, it’s not in a bad way, but rather in a content way. I’m also very much looking forward to using and enjoying all of the things we received and no doubt will receive tomorrow when we join Jack’s family. Fortunately, though, they’re only an hour away and we don’t have to be there until afternoon. *smile*

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