Gosh, can you believe it? Christmas is less than two months away. Only seven more weekends left to prepare! Are you getting organised? Or are you one of those people who are in denial until days, or even hours, before 25th? Good on you, keep on ignoring it ;-) Or are you somebody who doesn't celebrate Christmas at all? If so, feel free to laugh at my craziness for the silly season so far, which I will lay out for all and sundry in this post.
My planning started earlier this year when I spotted a few gift ideas in my foodie mags, which I stored away in my memory to recall closer to the time. As soon as the calendar flicked over from October to November, the planning kicked up a gear. I started writing my lists. Giftee lists, gift-make lists, ingredient lists, supply lists, list lists... I'm kidding! Sort of... (I get my list-writing habits from my mother. I figured this out after several trips to Napier during which I noticed various grocery lists. Not your average 'oh, we've run out of this stuff and need some more' lists, oh no, I'm talking 'this is on special at this supermarket, and these are on special at that supermarket, and this is how much they cost' kind of lists. The very in-depth, well-researched variety of lists. We're a list family. I may have mentioned this before).
Preparation is well under way now - I know exactly what I'm making, who I'm making it for, have even managed to make some stuff already (more on that shortly), and have supplies for several other things. A few bits and pieces will have to be made closer to the day, but I'm organised. As for the Christmas knits, I have started, but production has had to take an unscheduled yet necessary break. Here's why:
I decided this year to make my own fruit mince. I like fruit mince tarts and pies, but I don't like mixed peel. Hence, making my own. Aside from removing the peel, I wanted it to be fairly traditional, which involved tracking down some suet. I decided to try the trusty local butcher, and phoned them to ask if they had any. They informed me that they had none in stock, but would put some aside for me to pick up. So I went in on Monday afternoon to pick up what I thought would be nicely prepared, ready-to-use suet, but what I got was raw, some-meat-still-attached suet. No matter I thought, I can clarify it myself, no problem. The internet being as fabulous as it is, it took me no time at all to find good instructions on how to do this, so after helping the kids with their homework, I set to work. Unfortunately, trimming meat from fat is a rather boring task, so my mind started to wander to other things. Big mistake, because the next thing I knew my wonderfully long, sharp knife had sliced quite quickly and easily through the back of my little finger! I grabbed a paper towel to prevent the blood from getting everywhere and called out (very calmly), "X, can you please go upstairs and grab the plasters out of the bathroom for me?", to which he replied, "Can you get T to do it? I don't want to". Yes, my children are very helpful. Needless to say, I had to trudge upstairs with my hand wrapped in paper towel to dig out the plasters myself. I gave my hand a quick rinse under the tap and had a closer look. The ability for the skin on the lower half of my finger to move quite independently from the top half made me feel a little queasy, so I went and sat down for a bit.
I tried phoning Deane, with the idea that he may be of some use. This proved fruitless, as he didn't answer either his work or cell phone (apparently he was in meetings all afternoon). So I had to get the kids to wander across the road with me to the doctors (they agreed to only if they could get a treat from the dairy afterwards. Pfft). The nurse had a look at my finger and kindly informed me that I had missed the tendons and it would heal nicely with steri-strips. So here I sit, with my finger wrapped in bandaging - I have to keep it straight, and can't get it wet, which makes showering quite awkward, as you can imagine. This has also make knitting difficult, so I have had to set it aside until I can bend my finger again. It has, however, given me time to get stuck into my studies. This paper is a challenge for me - it's all about information technology. Stuff Deane knows by rote, but that I have never understood. I've learned quite a bit already, but the real trick is getting that knowledge to stick!
It also gives me plenty of time to get out of the house, so I went out for a short, fast 5km run yesterday, and a rather fun bike ride today. I'd bought a helmet over the weekend, as I'd been really wanting to get out for a ride. Deane had kindly cleaned up my bike, greased the chain, and pumped up the tires a couple of weeks ago after I'd brought it back from Napier last trip, and today was the perfect day for it - overcast and a little bit breezy. I set out around 10.30am with a vague idea of where I wanted to get to. My plan was to bike about 20km just as a bit of a test ride (it's been years since I biked anywhere and I wasn't sure what a good distance would be). I had just downloaded a phone app that would track my time and distance (OMG I love my phone!!), so I set that going and off I went. I must admit the traffic through town was a little scary, particularly as I'm quite inexperienced in dealing with it, but once I'd gotten past the thicker traffic I was good to go. I biked all the way out to St. Heliers, turned around, and came back again. It was about 25km, and took me a little over an hour. I'd forgotten how fun it is to ride a bike! I'd also forgotten how sore your butt gets, particularly when your tires are very firm and the bike path very bumpy. I'm thinking I may have to invest in some of those padded bike shorts... Can't wait to get out on the bike again soon (after my butt has recovered) - I've found some bike routes other people have posted on the app that look quite good, so I'll give those a go. There's also some interesting looking running routes that I'm keen to try out as well. Ooh, looking forward to it!!
Finger injury aside, this has been a pretty good week so far. I hope yours has been good too! Enjoy the rest of it :-)