I'm tired and full of meatballs

I'm going to sleep hard tonight. Christmas hasn't worn me out since I was a kid, but it definitely wore me out today. My Grandmother has some pneumonia-like infection, so she wasn't up to making the traditional Swedish Christmas dinner this year. And since my family loves to eat, we weren't about to cancel Christmas. I got a call on Monday from my aunt, a restaurant manager, declaring that we would have to take over Christmas. After doing it with the help of two other people, I don't know how my eighty year old Grandmother has done it alone before. The whole production took two days and many phone calls to accomplish. Yesterday, there was a rice pudding debacle. Yet another reminder that no one in the family speaks Swedish anymore, so maybe making things out of a recipe book with Swedish names is not the best bet. Fortunately, Grandma had hidden away in her recipe box a different, English recipe that I gave her when I was in college. It only took two people fifteen minutes to find.

Today, there were several hours of cooking and drinking. Booze is essential when making a monumental meal. We cooked Swedish meatballs (Grandma's recipe, without the recipe, in Grandma's kitchen. No stress there.), German sausage, combination mashed potatoes and rutabaga, and special spicy mustard. At the same time, I had to secretly do a sewn bind-off and run in the ends on a pair of socks that I made for my Grandmother, hiding them every time that she came into the kitchen. The socks were finished and wrapped just in time to furiously plate everything for dinner.

My aunt and I swore that anyone who made jokes or complaints about our cooking would get a carving fork in the eye. Fortunately, no one in the family requires a trip to the opthomologist. The meal was a success. Everyone ate happily, with compliments to the chefs. I even overheard my Grandmother telling someone, "Yes, Kirstin can make meatballs". I felt so proud. I was also really glad that I was free to cook this year, since my Grandmother and I are the only ones who know the recipe!

I think that the gifts were well received. All but one were knitted. Perhaps the awesome modern fair isle hat that I made for my cousin Chris was a bit too big. I made it big enough to accommodate my Dad's big noggin, reasoning that large heads run in the family. Maybe if Chris had bigger hair to fill it out.... Maria was really excited about the fingerless gloves that I made for her. They're really popular now, but I made them not for fashion, but for practical purposes. Fingerless gloves are better for smokers. My Grandmother held up her socks for everyone to see and said "Oh goody!" when she unwrapped them. I'd also made a shrug/bed jacket for her out of Malabrigo chunky with a bit of a shawl collar to keep her neck warm. Of course, I didn't know that she would be sick at Christmas when I made it for her, but it seemed an especially good present for someone who will be lying in bed a lot the next few days. I got a few books, a brightly colored, glittery St. Mary coin bank, and a digital kitchen scale for measuring yarn. My uncle seemed very confused by that explanation, suspecting that "yarn" was code for something else. Not wanting to seem shady, I explained to him the whole weight/length conversion. The scale will be very handy, since I have yarn to split for the sleeves on my Mom's belated Christmas sweater.

Well, I'm off to curl up under a heap of blankets. Hope that everyone is having great holidays, with family, friends, and good food.


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