The new Knitty is up, with lots of good last-minute present-type things, including these little alien creatures filled with rice and herbs, which you can microwave in order to keep your hands warm. Pop them in the microwave for a couple of minutes, tuck them in your pockets, and you will be warm at the bus stop.

I have made microwavable knits with rice and herbs like these, and can attest that they work. A heated wrap for the shoulders is great luxury, so why not warm hands? I am making “Warm Thoughts” baskets for some people who do not read this blog, and these will fit right in. I am putting in homemade hot stuff — Chow Chow, Spiced Apples, cookies from my oven, the “Fire” bath ensemble from Marie Browning’s Melt and Pour Soapmaking,  a hot water bottle with its own cozy — and little alien handwarmers.

At the left you see the eighth bawk, ready for its decreases. I am ready to work on something different.

There is also in the Winter Knitty  this article on wrapping your knitted gifts.

The Anti-Craft doesn’t have a solstice issue up yet, I’m sad to say. Spun magazine still has its summer issue up. Mag-Knits is all bags this month, which is fine if that’s all you want to make.

There are other magazines out there, though. I read magazines in the physical world, and not just knitting magazines. A fitness magazine at the gym recommended using our blogs to give us accountability and awareness for our health habits over the holidays. How would this work? I would contemplate eating pie for breakfast, think of how disappointed Pokey would be with me, and go for the seven-grain cereal instead?

Seriously, though, it is hard to keep up with proper eating and exercise at Christmastime. We skip the gym to go Christmas shopping or get ready for guests. I am seeing some rather fraught ladies at work already. They say that — for women who do not do the HGP, but make all their holiday preparations between Thanksgiving and Christmas — it is the equivalent of an additional full-time job. I have done the HGP and am feeling calm and on top of things and enjoying the season, myself, and getting to the gym on a regular basis. I have increased the incline and the speed on the treadmill this week, and intend to increase the weight on my strength training too. But as I look ahead to the parties and concerts and work-related rush and last-minute stuff I will turn out to have forgotten, I know that I will be tempted to put off gym visits, thinking that we’ll walk around and admire the lights instead, or that shopping is kind of aerobic..

And, for those of us who try not to eat saturated fats and simple carbohydrates, it is like a month-long passage between Scylla and Charybdis. Our own baking (one of the magazines at the gym says that holiday baking is a modern “test of womanhood”) and everyone else’s means that there are fresh cookies all over the place. The grocery stores have chocolates and pies right next to the green beans and oranges. Pate and garlic sausage call out to us that it is only once a year. Then rushing home from work with just a few minutes till time to leave for rehearsal means that vegetables get short shrift — and lunch was a sandwich grabbed between errands. Can’t mince pie count as a serving of fruit?

So I’ll give it a try. So far, I am doing what I should at the gym, but I have not been eating properly at all. We’ll see whether, with blog-induced awareness and acountability, I will do better today.

We still need a Christmas song. Here’s another new-to-me one from Sighkey: “When a Child is Born.” A really nice tune, very singable, and sweet lyrics. It has been recorded by Charlotte Church and Kenny Rogers, among others. No particular instrumentation or choreography present themselves to me for this — why not just hum it in the car while you run errands?