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.
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
Went on a sisters' road trip to New Brunswick to visit another sister and her family. We spent a lazy Saturday reading and baking.
There may have also been some percussion and duelling involved.
It was some months ago that this picture was taken:
Both the boys have grown a bit since then, but are still best friends:
I confess to being a wee bit jealous of my brother-in-law, who owns a complete Peanuts collection:
Saturday evening while their parents went away overnight, we watched a movie with the kids. Unfortunately, that movie was Pocahontas which I do not enjoy. I sided with the two nephews advocating for The Lego Movie but we were out-voted. Disappointing.
After tucking the kiddies into bed though, we put on a blast from the past: The X-Files
We've had a couple of days of wintery weather... Thursday it was high winds and bitter cold, resulting in ice coverage like this along the coast. This picture wasn't taken by me, but it's of the lake shore just down the road from my house. The nearby trees were likewise encrusted with ice.
On Friday we had our first legitimate snowstorm of the season. This is a picture from my trip to work when the snow was just getting started. It got a lot worse a little later on and traffic was backed up all over the city, so it's fortunate that I left home when I did. By evening, though, it had turned to rain.
"Blow, blow, thou winter wind, thou art not so unkind as man's ingratitude." - William Shakespeare
I skipped church yesterday morning and went to the cenotaph service at Sullivan's Pond in Dartmouth. Usually I go down to the Valley on Remembrance Day and attend the service in at Acadia University in Wolfville with my sister and her family, but as it was Sunday and her husband is a pastor, they couldn't go and were going to incorporate the two minutes of silence into their own church service. I must say, I enjoyed being at an outdoor service again. The one at Acadia is in the church there, and while it's easier to have a bunch of young children inside, I have missed taking part in an outdoor service. The day was sunny, but a bit chilly (2 degrees celcius, or 35 degrees farenheit ) and very windy; quite a few of the wreaths laid blew off of the memorial and had to be replaced several times. But I've been at ceremonies where it's been snowing, so this was fine. The familiar elements of the service never fail to move me: the national anthem, the Last Post, two minutes of silence, The Rouse, the lament Flowers Of The Forest, and the Act of Remembrance. While this was going on a military helecopter did a flyover, and across the harbour, the canon at Citadel Hill was fired to mark the eleventh hour and then the Citadel's soldiers fired a twenty-one gun salute which echoed hauntingly across the water. Other parts of the ceremony included a recitation of In Flanders Fields, prayer by a local padre, a couple hymns- O God Our Help In Ages Past and Abide With Me, the laying of the wreaths, and the traditional closing with God Save The Queen. Here are a few pictures from the service; sorry the're not great, but there were a lot of people there and I'm short.
Leaving by way of Sullivan's Pond:
Afterwards I had lunch with some of the family and then headed downtown to listen to the bells. At 5:00Pm- the going down of the sun- the local churches (with bells) all rang those bells 100 times to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
One hundred years ago today, the guns of the first World War fell silent after four long years of violence and death. The sounds of war died out, but the repercussions from that devastating conflict echo down through the years to our present day. I'm going to a Remembrance Day service at a local cenotaph today. At 11:00 we will stand in silence, honouring the memory of our war dead quietly, reverently. And tonight at dusk, church bells throughout the city- and in many other cities- will toll 100 times to mark each year of the century which separates November 11, 1918 and November 11, 2018. However many years pass, may we never forget the sacrifices made which shaped our country and secured our liberty. Freedom is never free.
Your silent tents of green We deck with fragrant flowers Yours has the suffering been, The memory shall be ours.