A Party Like a Christmas Dream

I stepped out yesterday afternoon to my favorite local secondhand store, West Asheville’s Twice Round.

And did I EVER find a bargain.

I found these for five bucks. A pair of convertible mittens (pattern here) (fingerless gloves that convert to mittens), handknit in 100 percent wool. WHERE HAVE THEY BEEN ALL MY LIFE?

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I bought them only for the fingerless glove aspect. My fingers freeze in winter, and I actually made myself one wristwarmer of a set last year, but didn’t like it that much and never finished the other, though my fingers continued to freeze. So when I saw this cute wool pair, handknit in Nepal, for five bucks — had to have them!

I slipped them on and immediately knew I did not want to take them off until at least April. While they’re scratchier than what I would have made, and a little fiddly looking, they are not just a cutesy novelty accessory but an exercise in practicality.

Inside the car, I slipped off the little attached covers to expose my fingers and was able to drive, adjust my scarf and manipulate my keys. I stepped out of the car into the cold and pulled the little covers back over my fingers again, making a seal that let little heat escape and kept my cold pink little fingers warm.

Look, now the fingerless glove is a mitten!

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Warm fingers and the ability to use keys and pick things up when you need to! Genius!

When I drove to a party last night in 20-degree temps with wind, I was SOLD. SOLD SOLD SOLD on these convertible mittens. Buy (or make) a pair, and you will, with one act, never have frozen winter fingers again, though you will still be able to dig in your purse, take money out of your wallet, fish for your car keys, open locks, and pretty much do almost everything you can do with gloves/mittens off and with with freezing-cold fingers.

Have I yet conveyed my love of these things?

When I got to the party, someone immediately commented on my cute mittens, and I literally had to do a demo right them to show her their convertibleness, and how they even had a little manhole through which the thumb could peep, if you needed your thumbtip bare.

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(God I love these things!)

She immediately won me over by declaring them perfect for plein air painting on a cold day. I told her to hunt for a pair on Etsy.

The party was the absolutely lovely annual event from friends Deb and Marty. If you are going to go to a Christmas party, go to one by a pair of professional cooks, one of whom is a baker. And don’t you dare eat dinner before you go.

I had had a late lunch, so come 8 or 9 I was ready for what awaited me: a potluck spread of food from the couple and their friends including succulent stuffed mushroom caps, sweet potato casserole, homemade cranberry relish made with fresh cranberries (deliciously tart/bitter/sweet), chocolate peppermint toffee bars, divinity (with and without nuts), cocoa rum balls, artichoke dip on soft, fresh-baked artisan bread…

Holy shit y’all. It was delicious. And in my list I did not even include the party’s dual main culinary attractions: Chef Marty’s absolutely amazing homemade steaming-hot cider (painstakingly and borderline-alchemically made from spices, fresh fruit and organic apple juice) and his chocolate cherry brandy bars, which are like a cross between fudge and rich chocolate cake, only with chopped cherries and a hint of brandy, and god DAMN are they good.

Marty manned the kitchen in his traditional holiday garb of a blue paisley peasant shirt with a red sash and Santa hat, while Deb looked feminine in a purple blouse and chunky silver necklace that flattered her beautiful pale skin and long neck.

Their house is small, dusty and cluttered, stuffed with books and pictures and little dolls and art and knickknacks, and I smiled to myself over my bizarre need to have a perfectly clean house. Deb’s pleasant home, which clearly had not been dusted in years, made me laugh at myself and realize that cleaning my house should be something I do out of pleasure at the result, not out of a weird sense of duty.

Deb and Marty’s house was comfortable and pleasant to visit, warm and casual and full of good people and holiday cheer.

I met a slim, stylish and beautiful young woman in a lovely vintage shawl. She was there with her plump and kind-faced husband in jeans, and they seemed an unlikely pair until you noticed how in love they were.

I met a man who told me there is a very small paranormal museum in the heart of downtown Asheville, in the back room of a clothing store of all places, and which includes a cast of a Bigfoot footprint, and is, he observed, a completely silly place.

I met a man whose face had an amazing amount of character. He was wearing mutton-chop whiskers for his annual appearance as Ebenezer Scrooge in a local theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol. He said “Bah, humbug!” for me very convincingly, and with much heart.

His whiskers have grown out since this photo was taken, and are now far more impressive, and actually suit him very well.

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He had a smart and funny wife who told me her daughter had a talent for reading books aloud, and whenever the power got cut off, they lit candles and gathered around her and let her work her magic.

It was a party like a Christmas dream. And just in time: Winter arrived this Sunday night with the first really cold days of the approaching season. Right on time I finished up and burned this year’s Christmas CD.

I broke it in while driving through snow flurries on a gray and wintry day, on my way to Barnardsville in the snow. It was perfect for driving through flurries on a windy, icy day.

That night it even flurried a little here in town, enough so Housemate Don had to check the news to be sure his daughters were really having school the next day.

A neighborhood stray cat who has always hung around now seems to live in my yard 24/7, and I worried about him when the temperature dipped and the brutal winds blew. In summer you can tell he is still a relatively young cat, but in winter he is aged by hardship and looks old and sad.

He is shy and feral and will not let me pet or touch him, though he knows and likes me.

I feed him good food and fresh water, and even once slipped antibiotics in his food when he had an infected front paw.

I made him a makeshift shelter on my porch out of a dog carrier and two blankets. I am pleased to see he started sleeping in it the night I put it out. He was in it this morning.

May your winter be a warm one, may all your Christmas parties have good food and interesting people, and may you soon come across as lucky find as wonderful as mine.

One response to “A Party Like a Christmas Dream

  1. I used to have a pair of these that somehow disappeared into the ether…you’re right tho, they are right up there with sliced bread and penicillin among humankind’s greatest works.

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