The holiday has come and gone, and now only we remain. The good news is that I discovered that:

  1. Brussels sprouts taste surprisingly good if they’re tossed in olive oil and roasted briefly in a hot oven, then sprinkled with coarse salt.
  2. I can knit four giant gauge hats in one afternoon.
  3. If you’re under 10, wearing a princess costume and a rhinestone tiara to a regional theater matinee isn’t considered overdressing.
  4. This year’s Beaujolais Nouveau is lighter and less banana-riffic than last year’s and as such is more pleasant for afternoon sipping while the bird is being basted. But find something with more backbone to go with the dinner itself.

The bad news is:

  1. I don’t like Idena Crazy (also and confusingly marked with the Asa Gjestal distributor name), a heavy sport/light DK weight yarn intended for socks. While it knit up fast into an attractive but rather pedestrian striping, it’s relatively scratchy for sock yarn, plus it had knots and uncomfortable sized slubs. Not one I’ll be buying again.
  2. If your roasting pan is too large and impedes the flow of hot air in your oven, your turkey ends up cooked with a dried out, hard integument instead of a deliciously toothsome skin, even if the meat is juicy perfect.
  3. There is nothing so kitschy on earth as a bad crafts fair.

The story behind it all. We had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday with my husband’s mother. In spite of the turkey disappointment dinner was quite nice.

Friday we went to a large crafts fair. I was expecting something like the ones I’d gone to in Northern Virginia – a mix of holiday stuff, trite crafty nonsense, but with a nice proportion of pieces displayed by artisans with talent.

Instead what we found was an indoor quarter acre of Polarfleece doll clothes; badly covered footstools tricked out with sports logo prints; cutesypoo faux rustic signs suitable for hanging in (some people’s) bathrooms, dried floral arrangements that looked more like what’s left over after the haystacks are neatened; fuzzy scarves worked up from Lion Fun Fur, marked at $30. each (since they weren’t selling, I’d say the fad has finally passed); cheap silver jewelry imported from China and India; and countrified things with ruffles but without purpose. No decent watercolorists, pewterers, silversmiths, potters, or printmakers. The kicker was one booth that was stocked entirely with beer cans into which someone had put clock hands and mechanism. One fellow had nicely turned wooden bowls. One person was showing not horrific pieced glass ornaments. One outfit had some interesting wooden puzzles and brain teasers. The only thing we ended up buying was a jar of respectably hot horseradish mustard, made in Vermont. Our amusement came mostly from pointing and laughing.

Saturday made up for Friday’s craft fair fiasco. We took the kids and MIL to a regional theater production of Beauty and the Beast. The cast was quite talented, much better than I expected, and there was something refreshing on seeing a play that relied on their talents rather than $10,000. costumes and intense special effects. If you’re local to the Boston metro area and want to bring kids to live theater without breaking the bank on big-production ticket costs, check out this production. It’s well worth it, even if you end up having to borrow the kids.

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