Friday, December 05, 2003

It's a rare sunny December day here in northern Michigan, and I've just come from a lovely breakfast with friends and a pleasant walk home, yet I'm infused with a sense of dread. When my kids get home from school, I have promised my son, who celebrated his 10th birthday this week, an outing with friends to the movies. In our town, the only place to see a PG or G movie is at the mall. Ugh! Can anyone think of a better way to wreck a perfectly nice day than having to go to the mall in December? It's usually a place I take great pains to avoid, especially this time of year.

On a happier note, I think the Christmas stocking is shaping up nicely. Here's the latest photo:

The snowflake pattern came from "Homespun Handknit"; the rest is my own. I don't know yet who the lucky recipient will be. I don't even know why I'm bothering to knit something as useless as a Christmas stocking. Bah, humbug.

OK, I've been skipping around it, so maybe I should just address the issue of Christmas. I hear so many people complain about the stress of the holidays that I wonder why it is the way it is. After all, this is something people do to themselves. Nobody forces anybody else to spend the month baking cookies, throwing parties, decorating and shopping. While there are many useful resources, such as The Center for a New American Dream, to help overcome the commercialism that Christmas has become, I've discovered two simple steps that are most effective: 1) stay away from the mall and big box stores, and 2) turn off the television. Most of the annoying commercial messages come from those two sources. Shut them out and let the peace come in.

If you do feel an obligation to purchase gifts, try shopping at locally-owned businesses, the kind that tend to be located downtown, if your town still has a downtown. Not only will you be more likely to find original and quality items, the money you spend will continue to circulate in your community, improving your local economy. For more information on this topic, read The Benefits of Doing Business Locally and Why You Should Shop Locally, just a couple of articles to get you started.

Back to knitting. Here's a photo showing the current status of Shannon:

All that remains is knitting the front bands and collar. I haven't decided yet if I want to follow AS's directions on that, which would have me knitting them separately and actually sewing on the collar band, or just pick up the whole thing and knit it as one piece. Because it's a V-neck, the trick would be getting the angle right at the intersection of the V and the button band. I could just make increases there, but I wonder if it would look as nice as a seam.

Soon almost all of my current projects will be nearing completion and I haven't determined which of the many things on my to-do list I want to tackle next. I'm thinking of this one:

Now I must go. I have lots of important stuff to do, such as clean the litter box. Ciao!

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