Just got back from my folks’ place. It was a nice, relaxing time. There have been some changes that had really helped diffuse the tension that I feel whenever I return there. Everyone seems a lot calmer, more relaxed. It’s nice.
My parents spent a lot of money on snowshoes for us. Two pair. One about the right size for Rocky and Tim, and one pair the right size for me and Grasshopper. They are really cool. Excellent exercise as well. We will definitely appreciate and use them a lot.
My brother’s wife, Netti, made a big basketful of home-made jams and jellies. Huge. Many , many hours of work hand-picking the fruit, braving timberwolf cubs, bear, and biting insects, cooking, and processing. They are really beautiful, and I hate to even open them. She is one of those people who just seems to have an endless store of ability and accomplishment. And she appreciates wry dry, oblique humor and doesn’t get all bent out of shape about my jokes. In fact, she seems more amused the more obnoxious they are. And she has asked to borrow some of my books.
My cousin, Ben made a hand-crafted cribbage board for our family. It is really beautiful, and I know we will spend hours playing it…once we re-learn the rules. There are a lot of gifted craftspersons in our family. My cousins Jon and Ben are among them. In some families, you get a groan, or a roll of the eyes at the mention of hand-made gifts. Not so in our family, where if someone says they made something for you, you KNOW it’s going to be special.
I am looking at a gift from my aunt right now. Home-made cloth coasters with really bright, arty pictures of coffee cups on them. They even come in a little cloth box. Ingenious, beautiful, durable, and like nothing else anyone I know has. ‘course, she is a professional tailor and dressmaker/designer. If there were a show like iron chef, but for clothing designers, she would win.
My sister gave us some home-made sauerkraut, and a beautiful squash that she grew in her garden. It is a new variety that is so sweet, it tastes like pie without any need to add butter or sugar. It’s just as good as its weight in gold to me.
I got Perfect Push-ups from Grasshopper. On the theory that they will save on my bad shoulder. Rocky got me a shiatsu massage machine that actually works. No small feat! It is great!. Tim got me a DVD of MuLan. Tim also got me a HUGE box of chocolate truffles. Like, FOUR POUNDS of fine chocolate. It is amazing. It melts if you give it a warm, lingering glance. Which I do. Frequently.
One of the families that have been our houseguests this season brought us some fancy hard cider. It looks really nice.
As soon as I get some time, I’ll tell you about the activities. I have some southerners who occasionally come here (HI ER!) So I thought I would give you a little look into the world of ice fishing. I realize that some people have watched Grumpy Old Men, and Fargo, and think they know all about it, but you might be surprised by something. For one thing, when we lived in Alabama, my assertion that we drove heavy, four-wheel-drive trucks out onto the ice to fish was greeted with a hearty “shut your mouth!” I have proof. That’s all I’m saying.