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There are some people who go around in a mad rush right before New Years getting their lives in order.  Everything gets cleaned, everything gets organized, their checkbook gets balanced, etc.  It’s a combination of a superstitious belief that the way things are when the clock strikes midnight will influence the way the rest of the year is going to go, and a sort of begin-as-you-mean-to-go-on mentality.  It’s an old superstition, one that takes on a lot of forms.  I have to admit to some tendencies this way myself.  Every year as the holiday approaches I start having impulses to make sure the kitchen floor is really, really clean, and get the house totally organized and beautiful, to do laundry, and to really let my perfectionist tendencies have free reign.  This almost never actually happens, partly because what small shreds of sanity I possess resist the perfectionism, but also because the time between Christmas and New Years is probably the busiest time of my entire year.  It’s just one family event after the other, and then we plunge into getting ready for the Big Family New Years Day party, and by the time you have a second to look around you it’s a new year.  So I’m afraid I’m going to greet the New Year with dirty laundry in the hamper, dirty dishes in the sink, and random balls of yarn still lurking all over the house from my Christmas presents knitting orgy.

However, as I came downstairs this morning, I realized that there could be much worse ways to greet the New Year.  There in one corner is a pile of presents Johnnycakes got last night at the Extended Family Christmas, which symbolizes the amazing love and generosity we are surrounded with.  The random balls of yarn and other things can symbolize, not just clutter, but abundance.  The sauce cooking in the crockpot (we’re doing Chicken Parmigiano again for our New Year’s Day party) is filling the downstairs with the most incredibly good smells, and we’re preparing to have a big, luxurious bash for our nearest and dearest (well, for 50 of them, anyway).  There are many worse ways to bring in the New Year than surrounded by abundance, cooking incredibly good food, and preparing to throw a massive party.  So I think we’re doing good here.

As I mentioned, last night we had our Extended Family Christmas over at Aunt & Uncle S’s house.  When I was on my way over I almost called and asked if I could bring anything, but then I remembered that this is Aunt and Uncle S, who know the meaning of the words “pressed down, shaken together, running over” in their bones.  And indeed there would have been no room for anything more.  Aunt & Uncle C had made it safely in, which was wonderful (I don’t get to see nearly enough of them), and it was a great party.  I gave The Duchess the red shawl I’ve been knitting her, in one form or another, for a few years now, and just finally finished this year, and brought home the most beautiful mohair cardigan with shades from deepest purple to deep blue to palest lavender and periwinkle.  It’s so lovely, and it reminds me of the night sky pictures I love so much.  I got lots of other lovely things too, a self-healing cutting mat, rotary cutter, and ruler, a handmade ornament from Aunt B, and awesome wacky socks.

One of the funniest presents I’ve gotten so far this year, however, was one that was totally unexpected.  It all started with Mom’s Queen Anne’s Lace shawl.  I finally got it blocked and ready on Christmas Eve, ready for Mom to wear it to Midnight Mass.  She did wear it, and afterwards, one of her friends came up and asked her about it.  She had been sitting behind Mom during Mass, and said that she just couldn’t take her eyes off of it the entire time.  She’s been a knitter herself for many years, so she could really appreciate the work.  Mom brought her to me, and we talked a little.  She told me about the Dayton Knitting Guild, and encouraged me to join.  I had heard about the Guild from a few other knitters, and have been wanting to join, but since they have their meetings at the same time as Swing Club, I could never go.  However, Swing Club doesn’t start up again until late in January, so I told her I thought I could make the January meeting.  She said some other nice things about my knitting, and we said good-bye, and that was that.

Except it wasn’t.  Apparently, when that woman went home she got on the phone with her dear friend, who happens to be the President of the Dayton Knitting Guild.  She’s also one of the other Matriarchs of our parish, a wonderfully formidable woman whom I blogged about once before.  She must have said some pretty nice things about Mom’s shawl to her too, because a few days after Christmas she made a special trip over to the Family Homestead to drop of some knitting books and personally invite me to join the Knitting Guild.  When I came in the back door on Family Gift Giving Day the first three people I met told me about her visit, and that I had to go look at the books waiting for me on the dining room table.  And they really are excellent books: A Gathering of Lace by Meg Swanson, and three by Elizabeth Zimmerman (the knitter so famous that most knitters refer to her only by her initials).  It was an incredibly rich treasury of knitting lore, just waiting for me on my parents’ dining room table.

So I do believe that on January 17 I’m going to be joining the Dayton Knitting Guild.  To be honest, I’m really looking forward to it.  I don’t get to interact with other knitters in my day to day life.  The only friend I have who knits lives a couple of time zones away (though I do have a few friends who say they want knitting lessons, so this could change).  I rarely go to yarn shops, where knitters tend to congregate, mostly because I don’t have money to spend on yarn very often, and when I do, ordering it online is so much faster.  (I was going to say that buying yarn online also doesn’t expose me to as much temptation, but that would be a total lie.)  So, you know, it would be awesome to hang out for a little while with some people who love yarn as much as I do.

The New Year, it is looking good!

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