Friday, December 4, 2015

A Complicated Equation

Here we are in the first week of December, a time to contemplate gifts and gift giving. I wonder if you have the same profound disconnect in your family between male and female gift-giving as we have in ours. In the words of Loretta Chase's Marquis of Dain, "Women deal in a higher mathematical realm than men, especially when it comes to gifts". That, according to Dain's nemesis, Miss Trent, "is a consequence of the feminine brain having reached a more advanced state of development...She recognizes that the selection of a gift requires the balancing of a profoundly complicated moral, psychological, aesthetic, and sentimental equation." Truer words were never written, at least from the perspective of the McCarten family.
Some examples of not-so-wonderful gifts I have been given over the years from male family members:
1. A barometer. So useful, don't you think? Granted, this was given in pre-internet days, when one couldn't just check up on the weather at the click of a button. But, we did have radios!! When I looked less than thrilled upon receipt of this treasure, its decorative qualities were pointed out.
2. A book hastily grabbed off the giver's shelf and clumsily wrapped moments before it was handed over. "It's one you should read", I was told. Never, ever tell someone they should read something--it's the kiss of death to that ever happening. And at the very least, give the appearance of having put some thought into the choice of gift.
3. An item (I don't even remember what) I was told was on sale. Make that several items. This has been a repeat offence. Never, ever tell the recipient that her gift was on sale--guaranteed to be a blow to her self-esteem. It's great to score a deal, but don't let the recipient in on the secret, especially as she's unwrapping the item in question.
4. No gift at all. OK, there were some Xmases when we were young and the kids were small and we were stretched financially, when Bill and I decided not to give gifts to each other. BUT, there are other ways to express oneself than through spending money. Doing something really, really nice for the other person gains a lot of points on one side of the gift-giving equation. Come to think of it, more time and effort are often required for that variety of gift. Unfortunately, some people think only the spending of money counts, and others (worse) think that they can spend money to make up for past inattentions.
So, now that my griping about the inability of certain family members to come up to scratch when it counts is done, I'm making up a list of some easy-to-acquire little things that would make me very happy come Xmas morning. I am not going to bore you with the list. There's no point in setting it out here anyway, since the persons in question do not read this blog. I'll just leave it on the dining room table, or the kitchen window sill, looking as though it was casually left behind. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the year when the McCarten males come through.
With that resolution made, would you like to see the result of my dye job?

Where's the orange? Where's the pink? Turns out I didn't love the final look of those colours. Not subtle enough. So, I overdyed in blue, and now I love it. Also, I forgot the extent to which Corriedale opens up when washed, so now I have DK weight wool, not fingering. There's a good amount of yardage here, more than you'd expect from this pic. Destined for a cowl. For me.


  1. The yarn is beautiful! And I too, have been the recipient of some of the gifts you described or at least the manner in which they were given...I now buy some of my own gifts and put them under the tree!

  2. Beautiful yarn!

    I live with Mr. Sensitivity. One year I said I needed a new bathrobe. Did I get a new bathrobe, you wonder. Well, yes, I did; it was size 22; I was a size 10.


  3. I hear you on the gifts. My worse one, I think, was a set of soft-boiled, egg holders!