Friday, January 07, 2011

Um....The New Year Starts Out on a Sour Note...


I feel guilty and like a dumb-bunny at the same time. And a complete idgit.

At Christmas, my uncle, my niece (his daughter) and some other people joined my mother's Christmas celebration. And she always decorates the house beautifully. It's like a wondrous fairy land. She and her maid work magic in the kitchen and put out smacking good h'ors doeuves and a bountiful turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

Well....they had the great big turkey dinner.....and then it came time to open presents.

Now first let me tell you that last Christmas I knitted an aran sweater for my uncle's roommate, who had hinted all Thanksgiving that he wanted one. After all that hinting, I simply HAD to make the sweater.

(My uncle's roommate is the brother of my uncle's late wife, a woman in her 40's who had had a sudden and deadly heart attack on the kitchen floor---and the ambulance couldn't find the house for an hour since my uncle's house is deep in the swamp right on the river in the underwater cypress groves--and neither my uncle nor his roomate knew CPR, although I don't blame them for that since nobody gives CPR classes anywhere near where they are).

Where was I?

Oh yeah---they were just about to open presents in my Mumsy's living room. (God, that fabulous room is so sacred and holy that I don't believe she'd even allow Billy Graham himself to sit in there---yet she let our "swamp people" and other visitors sit in there to open presents. Huh. Whodathunkit.

Anyhoo, as I said before, the Christmas before this last one, I had made an aran sweater for my uncle's roommate. He loved it so much that he wore it two days straight. (It actually does get really cold in the swamp during winter.) And when my uncle expressed jealousy, I made him a promise, saying to to him: "Don't worry uncle, I'll knit you a sweater, too."

Fast forward to this past Christmas.

I bought a jillion presents for my family. I used up two whole trust checks for my gift-buying. But after all my shopping, I suddenly remembered that I had forgotten my uncle!!! So I hurriedly sent him a Hickory Farms basket. My sister sent their house a gourmet basket also (from a different company). (And note....I hadn't knitted my uncle a sweater....)

Finally it came time for my uncle to open his present from me.... and my mother called me 15 minutes later (from a back bedroom's phone) to heartily berate me for the dratted Hickory Farms basket. It seemed that while my uncle was opening the gift from me he said, with a gleam in his eye: "I know what this is!"

And when he saw that it was a stupid Hickory Farms basket, his whole face FELL in disappointment!!! And he said to my mother: "I thought this was that sweater Bo was going to knit for me!"

Oh my God, when Mumsy told me that I told her to go hand the phone to my uncle. And I humbly and earnestly swore to him that I would immediately start his sweater.

So......see the Malabrigo Worsted sweater for me in "Snow Bird" below? Well get it out of your mind, because it won't reappear for awhile. (You can click on the picture to make it bigger.)

(I keep thinking it would have been different if I'd sent my uncle a really cool gift like a new holder for his huntin' gun which he mainly uses to shoot alligators when he sees them sunning themselves on the side of the river.....or else something akin to his sport as a man who raises and fights fightin' cocks---(let's not go there, ok?)---like a chicken statue similar to the ones he collects......but noooooooo! Idiot me sent him a stupid dainty Hickory Farms basket! To a man who uses his pocket knife to cut his steaks! Aaarghh! I don't blame him for being disappointed.)

(And remember, I told you that I have a knack for buying the exact wrong gift for somebody at Christmas---and regretting it for the rest of my life as in the example here....)

So...the Snowbird sweater. Now you see it, now you don't.

And now I am working on a sweater for my uncle. It is in Cascade 220 Superwash and I cannot sing the praises of this soft DK yarn enough. I'm using a dark mocha for the ribbing and will use the lighter mocha for the body. Don't even ask me how the body of the sweater will be because I have no idea. If I can get through the ribbing I'll try and think something up.

I did talk to my niece on the phone(my uncle's daughter, not my sister's daughter) and we giggled and laughed over our exploits when younger. (During the couple of times I got to see her when my parents came to America for a month's "home leave" from the Diplomatic career of living in foreign countries.) Now she's all grown up and is something like a doula, whatever they do--but I know it's something that has to do with birthing babies. She is apprenticing with a lady who is somewhat higher in the hierarchy, whatever THAT is.

One artistic thing my niece does is to make molds of pregnant women's stomachs---and then she bronzes them to make the "singing bowls". She showed me one time when we were all in the swamp for my grandmother, Mamo's, being on her deathbed. Anyway, my niece had one in the trunk of her car. It was formed from some family member of ours. The she turned the bronzed mold upside down like a big bowl, and then she did something to make her hand and finger go round and round on the bowl to make it "sing" a nice bell-ring kind of sound. Cool. Another artist in the family.

Anyhoo, we're going to see each other this year some time when Blaine and I go down south. And then we can laugh about things that happened when we were young and I was in America. We're especially going to laugh about the time when our delinquent cousin Dana waited till my grandfather was gone and then cranked up his riding lawn mower. (Which was going totally against my grandfather's totally serious instructions of how children were NOT to touch his precious lawn mower, because that was absolutely the greatest kid-sin in our family and nobody but stupid Dana would ever rebelliously dare to do it.) Then she climbed onto the behemoth and started driving---but she couldn't control it and promptly accidentally mowed down my great-grandmother, Granny's, petunias--and then her Jack-in-the-Pulpits--and then her geraniums. And she almost mowed down Granny's hapless little dog, Abraham. But that's a hilarious story for another time......




Anonymous said...

Your Uncle's daughter is your cousin. Your sisters daughter is your niece.

Bo... said...

You know, you're exactly right. Oh well, I plead not being able to keep everybody straight. And I haven't seen my uncle's daughter in ages. She seems like my niece rather than my cousin since she's a little younger.

Anonymous said...

It is a little strange when generations don't match up in a family. My cousins are 30 years older than me. I'm closer in age to their grandchildren.

Bo... said...

It is strange, Anonymous. I may take a month at the holiday time to see my mother---and we can return to the swamp for another visit--and I can spend some time with cousin Becky. (Blaine can come down later when he can take off.) Just hope the river hasn't risen!

Cindy/KS said...

On my dad's side, I am the only child of the oldest of 6. My youngest uncle is only 12 years older than me & 2 of his 3 kids are younger than 2 of my kids. Since I also didn't grow up with this side of the family, I feel I fit in better with my uncles & aunts than I do with my cousins.

On my mother's side, my grandmother was the oldest of 8, I am nearly the same age as at least 5-10 of my mother's 1st cousins. In this case, I believe my mother felt more at home with her uncles & aunts - 1 of which, I believe was born about the same time my mother was, while I felt more at home with her cousins.

My mil only had 2 sisters - both born after her parents divorced & remarried. The 1 we have never met, the other is only 5 years older than my dh.

Bo... said...

Wow, Cindy! You've got a big family!

Cindy/KS said...

I claim 3 sides to my family - mom's, dad's & step dad's, which means 17 just for them & their siblings - if I were to claim the other 1/2 dozen marriages my mother had & the extra 2 my grandmother had, it would get larger.

Through the family history book my dad's mother researched & wrote (she was able to take parts back to the 1830's in Germany), we know of 2 girls that were each the sister to a couple that are ancestors of mine. They ended up in Australia because of a long story, but the part that fits here is that 1 had 16 children & the other had 13 children - so they are how we came to have relatives in Australia.

Bo... said...

Wow, Cindy! That's so cool! And I love the Australian connection!

deb said...

There is nothing wrong with saying your sister's child or your Uncle's cousin. Some people just have to be critical.

Bo... said...

Thank you, Deb!