This image is from the 1881 children's book Heidi by Johanna Spyri. Sent into the Swiss Alps to live with her grandfather, the young orphan Heidi is as friendly and outgoing as he is aloof and standoffish. She has become friends with Peter the goatherd as well as his mother and grandmother, and frequently visits them at their home further down the mountain. Once winter comes, however, Heidi can't get through the snow and she worries about not visiting Peter's grandmother who is blind and housebound. To her delight, her grandfather brings out a sled, bundles her up warmly, and takes her sliding down the mountain to the goatherd's house. He leaves her there and trudges back up the mountain, promising to return for her after her visit. As Heidi found out soon after her arrival on the mountain, her grandfather's bark is worse than his bite.
After church this morning, I went to my parents' place for Sunday dinner. While there, one of my sisters dug out the old karaoke machine to use at the Christmas party for the youth group at her church. Of course she and one of my other sisters had to try it out, to make sure it still worked. They put on the Christmas karaoke CD and sang a couple of songs, and then Baby, It's Cold Outside came on. Immediately my sister called me over to join them: "Let's stick it to The Man!" Later in the afternoon, I went out to my brother's church to watch their Christmas production. One of my nieces was in the children's choir, pictured below:
The play was really good, alternately funny and heartwarming, with a great message. The picture below is from the beginning of the play, when the protagonist is yelling at the "hooligan" carollers to get off his lawn:
Later I went over to my sister's place and helped her set up her tree. She's got one with a really nice shape. The tree skirt is one I sewed for her a few years ago:
After this, some more of the family showed up and we ended up watching the Little House On The Prairie episode A Christmas They Never Forgot. This wouldn't have been my first choice, but a couple of the other girls always insist on watching it during Christmas season.
In this episode, everybody comes to the Ingalls' homestead for dinner on Christmas eve, a severe snowstorm starts and so they all have to spend the night. After the kids go to bed, the adults sit at the table telling stories of Christmases past. One of these stories uses a clip from the pilot episode of the show- when Mr. Edwards met Santa Claus, but the rest were filmed new for this episode and include stories from Caroline, Almonzo, and Hester Sue about childhood Christmases. The only one of these to actually be found in the book is the one about Mr. Edwards, which is in Little House On The Prairie, but the snow reaching the level of the upstaits window as it does in this show occurred in a chapter in The Long Winter.
We had our concert last night and it went really well- and I did manage to get into the Christmas spirit for it: music has a way of doing that to me. Though I have to say, from the distance that this picture was taken, you can't really see the grey ombre of the new scarves and the older white ones would have been perfectly serviceable... Not that I'm bitter, or anything.
One of the fun songs we did last night was Noel, a piece by Todd Smith written in Kituba, an African dialect. Here are the lyrics and their English translation:
Noel, Noel Yesu me kwisa ku zinga ti beto Noel,Noel Yesu me kwisa ku zinga ti beto
Kana nge zola ku zaba mwana Nge fwiti kwisa ku fukama Kana nge zola ku zaba mwana Nge fwiti kwisa ku fukama
Translation: Noel, Noel Jesus has come to live with us Noel, Noel Jesus has come to live with us
If you want to know the child You have to come kneel If you want to know the child You have to come kneel
And here's the song being performed by a mass choir a few years ago:
No regular post today; I was up until the wee small hours of the morning, serging the edges of the scarves for our choir concert, which is today.
I'm a tad cranky about this, because when the committee which handles the dress/ decor for the choir discussed scarves at the beginning of the season, they said we would be using the white ones I made two years ago. Then, two practices ago, they announced that they'd found fabric for new scarves in a metallic grey ombre (graduated colour, from dark to light) which would go better with the theme of the concert, which is "From Darkness Into Light". I was asked if I would mind helping on such short notice and I said that of course I wouldn't mind (this was an untruth). Two of the committe members said that they would cut out the scarves and another said that she would serge half of them and drop the other half- 30- off at my house for me to do. She brought them by on Monday night, but instead of half, gave me all 60, explaining apologetically that there was something wrong with her serger. Oh. So I had to get them all done, which wasn't easy, as I was at work all day and had to be out three evenings this week for various reasons. Yeesh. The guys in the choir have it so much easier- they just have to show up in a black suit and bow tie, and remember to wear black socks. This morning I'm clutching a large black coffee and trying to get myself going because we have our dress rehearsal at 1 pm and the concert at 7:30. So I've got a few hours to get ready and get into the Christmas spirit, because at the moment I feel a bit like this:
I'm thinking of my late grandmother today, on the anniversary of the Halifax Explosion. I've written several times about this event, so won't say much about it today. I will link, however, to earlier posts on the subject.
The image to the left is the most poignant photo that I've ever seen of a Hanukkah celebration. It was taken by Rachel Posner, the wife of Rabbi Dr. Akiva Posner in Kiel, Germany in 1932, just as Hitler was rising to power. Imagine the courage it took to place that menorah in the window, alerting the Nazis that Jews lived in that house. On the back of the photograph Mrs. Posner wrote these words: Chanukah 5692 (1932) "Death to Judah" So the flag says "Judah will live forever!" So the light answers
Taking part in the drive-thru/ walk thru Nativity has sparked an interest in my nephews and nieces about the various people involved in the Biblical account of Jesus' birth and subsequent events. One niece was particularly interested in Herod, King of Judea appointed by Rome: "Why is King Herod called 'Herod the Great'?" One of the nephews had an answer for her: "Maybe he was really fat."
This is a picture of a Christmas wallhanging I sewed a couple of months ago:
You may notice that it displays the title from the Christmas/winter song Baby It's Cold Outside which has yet again come under attack from the usual po-faced suspects: the extreme umbrage brigade. Recently a radio station in Cleveland removed the song from its playlist after a complaint from ONE listener, calling the lyrics "problematic". The station then ran a poll asking listeners their opinion: 94% of the responders wanted the song to be played on the air. Despite this, the song remains banned because in the wimpy world of sycophantic appeasement of the perpetually outraged, the squalling of a tiny minority whose pushiness is only exceeded by their ability to raise a stink counts for more than the wishes of the vast majority of normal people. Don't like a song? Don't listen to it. I personally have an aversion to John Lennon's Happy Xmas (War Is Over), as well as anything by the Chipmunks but I'd never go so far as to demand that they stop being played, because I'm not an hysterical autocrat. We'd all be a lot better off if the impertinent demands of a few whingeing twerps who won't mind their own business were treated with the scorn they deserve.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." - C.S. Lewis, God In The Dock