Pollyanna and the Goo of Doom: a Christmas Story

Hey kids, Anna-Liza here.

We had a pretty mellow, easy Christmas this year. Having essentially a four-day weekend to celebrate had a lot to do with that!

We spent Saturday the 22nd at Darlin’ K’s aunt and uncle’s house–that was our big family celebration. We had a little difficulty getting up their driveway, as the snow had iced over in the shady spots and it’s a steep climb, but one of the cousins came down the hill and got us and we did not drop our car over the edge, so it was all good. I spent a little time showing AuntE and one of K’s cousins the fine art of needle felting. Cousin made a candy cane ornament and a couple of multicolored balls, but AuntE tried a more ambitious first project–a felted bowl and/or baby hat. It was made of some roving I’d Kool-Aid™ dyed last year. I think it turned out pretty nicely.

We had a lot of fun, just hanging out, eating, playing games. When we were leaving, I remarked to Darlin’ K that it had been the way family Christmases are supposed to be! But I have to say, I have been remarkably blessed in my family–very little in the way of family politics. We’re eccentric, not dysfunctional.

Sunday brought a visit to Darlin’ K’s grandmother, who is a darling and who made me feel welcome to the family very early in our dating. After spending the afternoon with her (and having some of her really excellent pumpkin pie), we took the kids to Casa Bonita.

I’ve managed to avoid never been to Casa Bonita in the nineteen years I’ve lived in Denverish. However, how many restaurants are there in the world that have been featured on South Park? We knew the kids would love it, and they’d been very, very good at their great-Grandma’s house, so off we went.

The kids did love it, and I had a pretty good time, too. We watched a magic show, a puppet show, some corny (and brief) melodrama, and the cliff divers. They got candy from a piñata, and Mr. B talked to Santa. (Mr. R preferred to check out Black Bart’s Cave, but decided halfway through that it was too scary).

I will say this–people talk about how bad the food is, but one cannot truly comprehend it until one has tasted it. I am no food snob–I eat at Dairy Queen® for goodness’ sake–but OMG that was the worst Mexican food I’ve had in my entire life. I am including the school cafeteria food of my childhood. Ewwww. Next time (and, knowing my kids, there will be a next time), I’ll pick something with less sauce. This is the first “Goo of Doom” referred to in the title of this post. ‘Nuf said.

The second “Goo of Doom” (Two! Two Goos of Doom! Ha ha ha ha! cue thunder) refers to my utterly failed attempts at candy making over the holiday weekend. I have traditionally made divinity at this time of year. It’s a fairly tricky kind of candy to make even in ideal conditions, and making candy at altitude has … interesting … complications, mainly due to the fact that things boil at lower temperatures here, and sugar syrups don’t always react predictably.

I tried twice, I failed twice. Both times I ended up with a large bowl of vanilla-walnut goo that refused to stiffen into actual divinity. Zombie Son had particularly requested divinity this year, and the goo tasted good (if intensely sweet), so I presented him with a plastic container of goo, and told him he could eat it with a spoon. I recommended he not eat it all at once, however. The second bowl of goo is in my kitchen as we speak, and I’ve had a few spoonfuls here and there. One spoonful makes a full dessert, so it will probably go in the trash before I get through it. Anyone out there want a tub of goo?

I did get my Christmas knitting done, but I forgot to get a picture before I gave it away! No fear, it was a set of fingerless mitts for Zombie Son, and I’m sure he won’t mind bringing them back so I can take a picture reasonably soon. I need one for my Ravelry notebook, as well as here.

I based them on the Irish Hiking Wrist Warmers, by Delia Rau. I altered her pattern in several ways. First, I knit them in the round to the thumb slit, then knit flat (still on DPNs) for the length of the slit, then joined in the round again for the finish. I made the ribbed portion a fair bit longer, and I made the ribbing between cables a 2p x 3k rib rather than 2×2. I also added a thumb gusset by picking up 24 stitches around the thumb slit and starting with 2×2 rib, then decreasing gradually to 1×1, then binding off. They’re ambidextrous (as is the original pattern), but they’ll give Zombie Son more warmth than the original when he’s out there gunning for bad guys–or good guys, depending on what game they’re playing–when he plays Airsoft. (He was recently voted “most fun player”).

edited to add: I should mention that I got the extremely snuggly yarn, Elsebeth Lavold Classic AL in Forest, at Sylvia’s House of Fuzzy Crack (aka Posh: A Yarn Boutique). If you follow the link before January 5th, you’ll notice that Sylvia’s having a big ol’ sale on January 5th through 7th–time to spend the Christmas money!

The weather has been sort of non-cooperative as far as getting out and doing stuff. We’ve had lows of around, well, zero, which is about 20 degrees below normal for this time of year. Tomorrow is supposed to hit 40°F for a high, which is quite a respite from the absolute ass-freezing we’ve been getting for several weeks now. As a result, we didn’t go anywhere on Christmas Day itself–we stayed in and stayed in our pajamas, watched the kids open their gifts, and enjoyed the company of Zombie Son and some friends who came over with their kids for a while. (Knitting Sprite had a packed day between her dad and her boyfriend’s parents, so she didn’t make it on the day. Not a problem–we’ll get together soon).

So once again, Joyful Midwinter Holidays to you, and what are you thinking of doing for New Year’s? Darlin’ K may or may not have a firespinning gig, so we’re still not sure of our plans. I suspect they will involve staying up late at home with the kids, but I don’t want to make you jealous of my exciting, exotic social life!


10 thoughts on “Pollyanna and the Goo of Doom: a Christmas Story

  1. KarenM.

    Little known fact: Miss. Mintlatte was once a “female stunt” at Casa Bonita and spent about two years getting thrown off stage into water by large gorilla three times a shift (not to mention the pie in the face routine) Much fun, but the food??? Well, it does have to be tried to be believed. CHips and Queso and Sopapillas come from a liitle kitchen and are way better than the rest of the food (read: edible) other than that you may be out of luck ordering anything more palatable…they do have a bar at least 🙂

  2. Pingback: Pollyanna’s Latest Knitting and Quilting News « Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine and the Needles of Doom

  3. Pingback: Pollyanna out on a WIP limb « Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine and the Needles of Doom

  4. annaliza Post author

    Oh, gosh, Karen, how could I have forgotten the gorilla? I think it’s really cool that you did that. Do your kids think so?

  5. KarenM.

    Oddly enough, they have NEVER been, either of them, I always think that I whould take them, but then I remember the lines and the food, and well the lines and the food, and we don’t go, but I can’t deprive them of our favorite tourist trap forever…..

  6. Marin

    OK, OK… I went back and read. First, Casa Bonita is the most reprehensible food on the planet. I’d eat at Furr’s Cafeteria six days a week before I’d eat at Casa Bonita. But they have oddly good sopapillas.

    Favourite line, maybe ever: “…goo that refused to stiffen into actual divinity.”

  7. sylvia

    okay…never eat the food at casa bonita. this mexican chica will never, ever recover from the experience. however, the sopapillas are really good. happy new year! syl

  8. annaliza Post author

    Thanks, Marin and Red! The effect is courtesy of WordPress, and unfortunately will end on January 2nd.

    Syl, I hear you! Oh, the mitts I talked about were the ones I made with that Elsebeth Lavold Classic AL I bought from you.


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