Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our Cape Cod Christmas

One of the more unintentionally hilarious Christmas traditions on Cape Cod is the Mashpee Roundabout.  Mashpee is a young town by Cape Cod standards incorporated in 1870, and does not really have a cute town center like most Cape Cod towns. The town center basically consists of the Town Archives, The Country Store (the country is Pakistan), Dunkin Donuts, City Hall, one church, and the only strip club on the Cape. Because of this, the public decorations are pretty much confined to the Mashpee Roundabout. It's very sparkly and fun! It looks like every year sees a little more sparkle.

Shana and I celebrated Christmas Eve with dinner out at the Golden Swan Indian Restaurant in Falmouth. It's always delicious, and after a season of cookies and other rich goodies we are craving something spicy and exotic. We had planned to see a movie after, but the sidewalks roll up early on the Cape and the latest show at all of the movie theaters started at 7:00 pm. We didn't want to rush our festive dinner so we just went on home instead.

Christmas day after opening our fabulous presents we went on over to the House of Dobberteen to join in a family dinner and evening. We had a great time - good company, good food, and lots of family coziness and love. For once the dogs were not cranky and snappy and everyone had a restful and pleasant time.

My haul of Christmas loot was exceptional this year - the Jiffy Steamer that has been on my wish list for years appeared in person at my home (!!!). I've been thinking about sewing again lately and this, combined with my mighty Rowenta iron will make things so easy. I've just put a tailor's ham and seam roll on my wish list to complete my fabulous pressing equipment. Of course these days I seldom wear anything that needs these fabulous pressing skills.

I also scored house socks and warm gloves from one daughter, three skeins of gorgeous bulky alpaca from another, and HOT BOOTIES! As seen on TV! My chronic cold and achy feet are looking forward to using this item. With a giant coffee cup and a new book I am guaranteed a cozy afternoon. I also a received a pretty scarf to add to my cache of classic accessories - Shana got one too so we will be able to swap them and thereby increase the wearables for both of us. A bike basket, chocolates, coffee and hot chocolate, bourbon, cute cocktail napkins, two homegrown avocados and a pair of handmade earrings - the list of treats and treasures is a long one. A lot of cards made their way to our house with kind thoughts from our far away friends and family. We feel so blessed and lucky to have so much, and so many people in our lives that remember us with such generosity and kindness.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lost and Found on the Cape

Looking sad because Shana could not come
This morning after meeting friends for breakfast at the Optimist Cafe . I had heard it was a nice place for breakfast and lunch so I was eager to try it. Shana was unable to come, and although we missed her it was a nice meetup.

I didn't have to be at work until later in the afternoon, so I decided to take the long way home, or at least the slow way home. The Optimist Cafe is on 6A, the Old King's Highway. 6A goes along the whole northern edge of the Cape, and is the way to go if you want to see antique shops, homes, beaches, and interesting views.  With a little extra time to spare it's a much nicer drive than the newer Route 6 (the only highway on the Cape) from which you see miles and miles of trees and only trees. I thought that I might look around and see if there were restaurants and shops I wanted to visit at a later time with Shana. I also thought I might stop at Parnassus Book Service, a treasure trove of used books and one of my favorite places to browse.

Sesuit Harbor

Anyone who knows my legendary sense of direction will know what happened next. I was out in Brewster before I twigged to what would have been obvious to anyone else. I was going the wrong way. In my defense, 6A can be a bit like a p*rn movie - it looks the same backwards and forwards; every mile is peppered with antique stores, historic homes, and gorgeous marsh views. There is no excuse, however, for thinking the marsh was on the opposite side of the road from where I thought it would be and to keep driving in that direction. In a way driving on the Cape is like driving in Colorado - the sea and marshes are pretty obvious markers if you know whether you are on the north or south side of the Cape. No harm done - I had plenty of time to drive back after stopping at really nice store (Lemon Tree Pottery - I'll be back, and Soon) and an unfamiliar beach and harbor. The Sea Street Beach looks like it is probably residents only, so I'm glad I got a peek off season when everyone has access. I did make a quick stop at Parnassus, too. I thought I might stop at Titcomb's Book Store while I was out, but it's probably just as well! All in all a treat. I can't wait to revisit my discoveries with Shana.

This has been my lucky year for drawings. This time I won some beautiful yarn and a pattern booklet which I think came from Vogue Knitting. I won enough silk and wool blend yarn to make a cabled hat, arm warmers, and cowl in a beautiful rose color. I was not sure which drawing I had won and the suspense was fun waiting to see what would arrive.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cape Cod Christmas

One of the benefits of living on Cape Cod is the small town atmosphere in spite of being on the east coast. Once the tourists and summer people are gone its rural and small town nature is more obvious. Every town has Christmas activities, and everyone participates in a few. Because I am working for A Major Retailer commercial and official Christmas activities have limited appeal for me (constant Christmas music, anyone?) but it's still fun to indulge in a few.

I was not planning to see the Falmouth Christmas Parade this year. What I was planning to do was to run into Sage Yarn to pick up the additional needles I needed to complete my fourth and fifth attempts at a hat. I would have stopped at my local, but because that shop is a one woman operation it is closed on Sundays. As I drove towards Falmouth center I noticed that the traffic was thicker than I would have expected on a Sunday off season. When I saw people walking with lawn chairs I knew I was in for it and took a turn to the back roads to find a way to get closer. I optimistically left my car on the side of the road in a no parking area and headed for Sage. I finished my needle shopping quickly and after a quick gossip with the shop assistant I headed out to see what the Falmouth parade offered.

Let's reiterate right off the bat that this is a small town in the off season! That said, they were able to field a high school marching band, the obligatory vet on a motorcycle, and the local dance academy which apparently tutors every little girl in town. The defining unit was the town crier who announced the parade. Very fun, and very short. Thank goodness the downtown area is small because I had to scrounge around looking for where I left the car. You may have noticed that the band has actual warm raincoats. That says all you need to know about the climate of Cape Cod off season!

The hat? Well, it's finished and will fit a human head now after being too small to fit on my head twice and too large for a human twice. Like really too large. Like the size of a trash can. The yarn was a bit heavy for fingering and a bit light for sport and I did not swatch. I never swatch. I repent of my bad swatching attitude. I also fell prey to knitters' delusion and knit half of the hat too small (rip) half of the hat too big (rip) nearly the whole hat really big (rip) and a third of the hat tiny (rip again). I tried every size of needle I owned and ended up buying two more sizes to get the job done. I am now finished with gift knitting and am making tiny and easy projects for myself like sensible hand warmers and simple hats for my own use for walking the dog and other occasions when my alpaca beauties are too precious and delicate.