“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

Countdown, Leaning, and Liftoff

Dear Kay,
It’s getting rugged around here. Can’t really eat enough:
Twelve pieces of Nashville Toffee Co. toffee,
Eleven pounds of pecans,
Ten powdery cookies,
Nine giant cupcakes,
Eight more pieces of toffee,
Seven rolled-up pieces of salami,
Six glasses of wine,
Five cups of DIP.
Four crudites,
Three bourbon balls,
Two pounds of pig
And some more toffee to finish the box.
The State of the Tree
As of Tuesday morning 10:43 am CDT . . .
christmastree20082.jpg
Now. I know you’re wondering about the tree–and not trying to get to Omaha or anything else like that. The tree has been a significant source of consternation to all who see it. People walk in and go “WHOA! You oughta do something about that” and I’d say, “Well, there’s a contest going on right now so I can’t really mess with it because it would screw up the contest.” Or they’d say, “WOW! That thing’s gonna fall,” and I’d say, “You wanna enter a contest?”
At this point the contest is totally screwed, because two significant things have happened since the contest began.
1. A father/son engineering team with a bag of gravel and a pile of wood wedged all manner of stuff into the tree stand. At this point, it’s like Stonehenge down there.
2. Many of you guessing about the likelihood of the tree falling based your vote on whether we have cats in the house. When the contest began, the answer was no. But I am happy to report that as of a couple of days ago, we adopted a pair of these:
eliot.jpg
This is Eliot. His friend Kermit is so reclusive that we are not sure he still lives here. It’s like the Loch Ness Monster.
I’m happy to have cats lurking around again, but Kermit is the largest, strongest cat I’ve ever had. Clif says he’s a BEAST. So if Kermit gets in the mood to climb, all bets are off.
At this point, I’ve closed entries for the contest, due to the befuddling, altered circumstances of this tree. I’ll be awarding yarny prizes to both an entry from the cheerful folk who said the tree would stand AND an entry from the deliciously gloomy souls who predicted it would fall. If, by chance, it does still fall, a special award to the pessimist who picked the closest time. Stay tuned for the winners.
By the way, did you notice something else about the tree? The way the midsection lights are no longer working? That happened just as the last ton of gravel was loaded into the stand. Unbelievable.
Stocking Liftoff
stockingfornora4.jpg
The stocking for Nora made it into the sleigh yesterday, just barely. She’s only six months old. I hope she finds it good gnawing.
Wishing you all gratifying times in the coming days.
Love,
Ann

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73 Comments

73 Comments

  1. Ha! We should have took bets on the lights, not the tree falling!

  2. Men. The great unknown factor in any home-based contest.
    What a beautiful kitty. I’m sure Kermit will relax with time and come out from hiding.
    Well done on the stocking, Ann! Now I want toffee.
    xo

  3. The stockings are perfectly old world, new world. Very traditional with a little oomph of color. Love that!
    Eliot’s face is adorable. Does Kermit look the same?

  4. More cat pictures, please!

  5. It’s so odd that your tree is doing the same thing ours is doing. And I honestly don’t think it’s the installation, I think it’s the tree. I intend to shim one side with books or magazine.
    Congratulations on the cats What a face!

  6. That is a really face. He seems like he’s all cat.
    “Who are you and why are you taking my picture instead of carrying out my plans for world domination?”

  7. That is a really great face, he’s all cat isn’t he? “Who are you and why are you taking my picture instead of carrying out my plans for world domination?” Better watch out for Eliot, he’s probably building a lab in the basement or something.

  8. Cats and crooked tree equal sudden death of tree. This will most likely happen when you least want it to, e.g., when Santa’s elves are trying to assemble a particularly complex gift for a beloved child very early X-max morning after elves have had a little too much eggnog. Or when the maximum amount of guests are crammed into the room admiring the bent tree and a cat attack will create the most damage possible. Especially if, say, the gracious hostess is trying to pass out tasty hors d’oeuvres. Go ahead ask me how I know.

  9. No way is Eliot going ANYWHERE. How dare you disturb him?
    I vote that the tree is going to stand tall and proud until all the way through Christmas. And maybe the lights will come back on, and it’ll be a little holiday miracle.

  10. Ann,
    When my siblings and I were little, our tree was placed in a corner of the living room. My Dad
    secured the top of the tree with piano wire from one of the living room windows to the archway in to our dining room.
    Happy Holidays to all.
    Jane Murphy

  11. Ann,
    When my siblings and I were little, our tree was placed in a corner of the living room. My Dad
    secured the top of the tree with piano wire from one of the living room windows to the archway in to our dining room.
    Happy Holidays to all.
    Jane Murphy

  12. Please, oh please. What is DIP? Do I need to go get some? If it’s drinkable I probably do. Thanks.

  13. Sounds just like guys. Can we fix it? Yes, we can! And ruin the suspense for the rest of us!
    I thought it was funny that you decided to have a contest, though. That shows humor and spirit- what every Christmas needs!
    Merry Christmas!

  14. Good for you for adopting adult kitties. They have a difficult time finding homes, being — in some misguided people’s opinions — rather less cute and adorable than kittens. Kermit is gorgeous! (But he already knows that, right?)

  15. LOVE the Christmas stockings!

  16. Sure is a lot of stuff under that trees. My tree, although physically beautiful (and artificial) is naked. No lights or ornaments and no gifts underneath. I hope to change that after work.

  17. This Jewish girl wants a Christmas stocking JUST LIKE NORA’S! Beautiful!

  18. I love Nora’s stocking! Were the other two in the book? I’ve totally fallen in love with this grouping.
    The cat looks like something from a Christmas movie. He’s so totally going to climb the tree. Can’t wait to see how this turns out. :)

  19. Kermit and Eliot like the Roosevelts (yep, I’m a history nerd)? Love Eliot’s expression. Beautiful stockings.

  20. Eliot is beautiful. He obviously is not going to engage in any direct tree dis-assembly. Clearly he will play the part of the “criminal mastermind” and will leave it to Kermit to use his wicked secret agent skills to carry out a stealth mission involving the cunning use of tinsel, cat nip, and litter smuggled between his toes. You should arm yourself, just to be on the safe side.
    I have 6 cats, and hence no Christmas tree. Good luck.

  21. Ann,
    You are quite saintly, in my eyes. Between the tree and the gravel, I might have had to add some highly spirited grog to my list of edibles/drinkables list. Merry Christmas to you and all, including the newest boys in the house. Lu

  22. CONGRATS on the finished stocking!
    Make sure the engineering duo are responsible for taking the gravel OUT of the house afterwards and cleaning up any stray gravel, dirt, needles, etc.
    I still think something goofy’s gonna happen. Just ’cause that’s how things go. From the woman who skidded into a ditch this morning en route to work — I felt like George of the Jungle (“Watch out for that tree!). Car and I are fine and required no outside assistance to get out of the ditch. Getting home might be another story…

  23. Congrats on the new additions to your family! I hope we see more of them in future!
    Those stockings are just fantastic. Classic and so stylish. Someday I’ll have to try to make one.
    I hope you all have a wonderful holiday during which the tree remains standing and no stray cat hairs make their way into the food. :Another ask me how I know situation:

  24. I love Eliot (and Kermit too – I know you’re shy). I was one of the people who asked about cats and the likelihood of the tree staying up!! (ask me how I know this – two black kittens bound and determined to climb the decorated tree). Congrats on the stockings!! (but especially the cats). Lilly, Victor and Sophie all send greetings for a meowy Christmas as well.

  25. Kermit will probably surface within the month. We adopted a 1 yr old boy kitty who at first seemed as though he would forever live in a tiny corner by the couch. He continued this self-imposed exile for a month and then slowly started conquering the living room by thirds, then the hall, etc. Congratulations on adopting two handsome furry friends.

  26. What are you doing with that cat? Will you let it live with you forever? It looks like it will eat you out of house and home.
    And what is it with guys and gravel and controlling the environment like that? It’s because you don’t have enough snow to keep them amused outdoors, I bet!
    Happy days to you all!

  27. Yay for kitties! Last winter, I adopted a 7-year-old cat from a friend. She spent the first 6 months on the couch and immediate environs. There was already a litter box in the nearby bathroom, and I set up a feeding station there, too. But eventually, she started roaming, mostly to find me. She’s still not the most curious cat I’ve had but, really, that’s okay!

  28. OH how lucky kermit and elliot are. Beauiful too. You will be richly rewarded for adopting them!

  29. OH how lucky kermit and elliot are. Beauiful too. You will be richly rewarded for adopting them!

  30. Dear Kermit & Eliot:
    Thanks for coming too this leaning tree home, no matter what amount of gravel they have put in the stand, you can do it, climb, climb, & etc…
    We sense they Love you, so you won’t get in any
    sort of trouble…if so, Eliot, ask kermit where the safe hiding spot is for later reference..
    Enjoy a SAFE holiday..Wish too see more photo’s of you two…

  31. Dang, what a funny cat. I love him and his squishy face, and I think he and his brother are the perfect addition to your family. Merry happy and stuff!

  32. Merry Christmas to you, your crooked “how-are-you-ever-going-to-get-it-out-of-the-house-without-spilling-all-of-that-gravel-tree”, the cat who has grand plans for havoc and of course, your entire family!
    Thanks for a great year of blogs, books and such!

  33. Congratulations on adding kitties to your family again! I can’t think of anything nicer :)

  34. ohhh…..i sadly have a tree too small for the stand and the same thing has happened to my tree. My tree did not fall over just looks like it will. i just had a few great ideas from the suggestions.
    thanks so much:)

  35. i will walk softly
    on the forest path
    to knock upon your door
    in hopes that love
    will open the door
    for my heart has come home
    elizabeth
    merry christmas and just merry merry
    from florida usa to all the lovelys
    overseas i have met this year
    tours jours gai

  36. Great. Now I have stocking envy AND toffee cravings! *grumble*

  37. Re the lights on the tree going out… you could never run a contest on the likelihood of that, because it’s a sure thing! I am convinced that mini lights are demon possessed… all of them. Just saying.

  38. Eliot is beautiful. He looks like the Cheshire cat, minus the smile. THAT will probably happen if the tree falls…
    Great work on the stockings!
    LoveDiane

  39. Ann and Kay
    Just stopping by to say thank you for your blog.
    All the very best of the season to you and yours and a happy, healthy 2009.
    All the best,
    Dawn

  40. I am so glad your tree didn’t fall! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!

  41. How wonderful of you to adopt grown cats! Most folks only think of kittens, and there are so many adult cats who need loving homes. How thoughtful!
    All the best to you and yours this holiday season and for 2009,
    Erin

  42. Welcome to the lucky Elliot & Kermit, and the STOCKINGS are beyond beautiful. Merry Christmas to you all.
    Lots of Love….

  43. Christmas Kittehs. Purrfect.

  44. Idont thinkits gonna fall ours is way more crooked and hasnt fallen but ours is covered in antique family heirloom glass balls did you try putting the trunk in water that helped ours

  45. Idont thinkits gonna fall ours is way more crooked and hasnt fallen but ours is covered in antique family heirloom glass balls did you try putting the trunk in water that helped ours merry christmas!

  46. Happy holidays!
    I didn’t notice the middle lights out, though I did notice a surprising lack of list in the tree itself. Once you mentioned the lights, I had to go back up and check the picture.
    The stocking is gorgeous. I keep telling myself I’m going to do a fairisle project some day soon, but I keep getting distracted by all the wonderful lace and cable projects out there!

  47. Just thought I would share….. It’s very inspiring.
    A Christmas Version of 1 Corinthians 13
    If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.
    If I slave away in the kitchen baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.
    If I work at the soup kitchens, carol in the nursing homes, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
    If I trim the tree with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
    Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens. Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.
    Author unknown

  48. oh my .. Eliot is gorgeous! just wanted to wish you all at Mason Dixon, a merry christmas.

  49. oh my .. Eliot is gorgeous! just wanted to wish you all at Mason Dixon, a merry christmas.

  50. oh my .. Eliot is gorgeous! just wanted to wish you all at Mason Dixon, a merry christmas.

  51. Happy Holidays to all.

  52. Happy Holidays to all.

  53. we lost our adopted cat just before thanksgiving. We almost got another, but the dog seems much happier not having to share the attention. So happy the tree is still up. Happy holidays to all.

  54. such a handsome feline. i do love the attitude!

  55. Like we don’t have enough to knit during the holidays! http://www.saartjeknits.nl/patterns/Korknisse.html
    Merry Christmas ladies!

  56. Merry Christmas

  57. Yeah kitties! They are awesome….well at least the one is. :) I am sure the other has the potential to be awesome too:)

  58. Yeah kitties! They are awesome….well at least the one is. :) I am sure the other has the potential to be awesome too:)

  59. Can you believe my husband knocked over my tree while watering it this evening? And it was straight! Since God spared my dead grandmother’s heirloom glass ornaments, I quickly removed and hid them because I can not take another scare like that. Merry Christmas, ladies!
    p.s. This has never happened in my lifetime before without feline involvement. We are currently cat-free. Unbelievable!

  60. Can you believe my husband knocked over my tree while watering it this evening? And it was straight! Since God spared my dead grandmother’s heirloom glass ornaments, I quickly removed and hid them because I can not take another scare like that. Merry Christmas, ladies!
    p.s. This has never happened in my lifetime before without feline involvement. We are currently cat-free. Unbelievable!

  61. fingers crossed Santa didn’t step on the hidden cat, or the visible one either.
    we’ve found that a good trick is to get a tree that’s at least a foot taller than the distance of ceiling to floor. so then when it’s been jammed into place it can perform the added bonus of holding the ceiling up. this could be particularly useful if those substantial cats manage to get into the crawl space…which mine frequently do.
    could be even worse if cat steals turkey first.
    mind you we also have a scale replica of Stonehenge [with added sticky lumps of clay] holding the lower end in place.
    Happy New Year…

  62. back again, just to let you know i’ve put a link to your hilarious blog from the ‘grazing bar’ of mine…

  63. Merry Christmas, ladies.

  64. Merry Christmas, ladies.

  65. Merry Christmas, ladies.

  66. Merry Christmas! It’s the second day of Christmas, right? So I’m not too late? And your tree is still standing? And, good cheer to all who celebrate other holidays this time of year. May your knitting never tangle.

  67. Congratulations on your new additions to your family. Cute kitty!

  68. Looking forward to the continuing Roosevelt kitty saga…knitted catnip nuce are particularly tantalizing.

  69. Looking forward to the continuing Roosevelt kitty saga…knitted catnip mice are particularly tantalizing.

  70. Eliot is wonderful – he looks like a great mix of purr and mischief, all rolled into an adorable body. Here’s hoping Kermit decides it’s worth showing a little tail now and then.
    Nora’s stocking took my breath away – thanks for the inspiration!

  71. Only 3 bourbon balls. You must have the restraint of a saint!

  72. My midsection isn’t working so well either after all the goodies I ate. :) Happy 2009 to you!

  73. Eliot looks right at home. No adjustment issues for him!