Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I love the smell of gasoline!

It's true. I do love the smell of gasoline... especially when it's only $1.35 per gallon and falling! AND when I can FILL UP for just $15! That's about half what it was last year at this time. How's that for a Christmas gift?!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hodie Made My Day.

"When we take part in music, or listen to an absorbing performance, we are temporarily protected from the input of other external stimuli. We enter a special, secluded world in which order prevails and from which the incongruous is excluded. This in itself is beneficial. It is not a regressive manoeuvre, but reculer pour mieux sauter; a temporary retreat which promotes a re-ordering process within the mind, and thus aids our adaptation to the external world rather than providing an escape from it." ~ Anthony Storr, author of Music and the Mind

This last Saturday night was our December (Christmas) concert at Libby Gardner Concert Hall. May I just say that Dr. Brady Allred is amazing?! He is a wonderfully talented conductor, who masterfully brings out the best in every group of singers he leads. We (The Salt Lake Choral Artists) performed Hodie, which means "This Day" in Latin, by Ralph Vaughan Williams. (It's pronounced "hoe-dee-ay." Not "hoe-dee" like M says nor "hood-ee" like Katie says.) Hodie is a cantata, which tells the Christmas story mainly through poetry and biblical texts from the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John. With challenging choral movements, it has grown on me during our rehearsals for the last two months. I really love it and am excited that I ordered the CD, so I can listen to it again and again. Being able to share this piece with so many of my friends and family was great!
"If music and the other arts were more closely interwoven with our daily activities, we might not need this temporary retreat so much." ~ Anthony Storr

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Grandmas and Grandpas.

"Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children." ~Alex Haley

"What is it about grandparents that is so lovely? I'd like to say that grandparents are God's gifts to children. And if they can but see, hear and feel what these people have to give, they can mature at a fast rate." ~Bill Cosby

My maternal grandparents:

My paternal grandparents:

Aren't they lovely?!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mirror tricks.

Do you ever look in the mirror, and are forced to take a double take, saying to yourself, "Whoa. Is that me?" Yeah, that usually happens to me on a Saturday morning, having woken up after a late night, with old makeup and hair bent in weird directions. But the other day I glanced in the mirror as I was passing, and I was speechless because I saw my Grandmother.

My Grandmother died when I was fourteen years old. We have very similar personalities and apparently didn't get always get along. I don't really remember that part, although everyone reminds me. I remember the hugs, the stories, the trips, the shopping, and the last visit before she died. We crocheted afghans, told stories, and laughed. Yeah, we laughed a lot.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

M showed me this the other day, to get me in the holiday mood as we wrapped presents. My mind started hurting a bit, since I had to concentrate and sometimes re-read. :) But it was rather funny at parts. I've put the original poem, written by Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863) in RED, so that you can make the comparison yourself. Enjoy! Happy holidays!




'TWAS THE NOCTURNAL SEGMENT OF THE DIURNAL PERIOD
'Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the annual yuletide celebration. And throughout our place of residence, kinetic activity was not in evidence among the possessors of this potential, including that species of domestic rodent known as mus musculus. Hosiery was meticulously suspended from the forward edge of the wood-burning caloric apparatus, pursuant to our anticipatory pleasure regarding an eminent visitation from an eccentric philanthropist among whose folkloric appellations is the honorific title of St. Nicholas.
The prepubescent siblings, comfortably ensconced in their respective accommodations of repose, were experiencing subconscious visual hallucinations of variegated fruit confections moving rhythmically through their cerebrums. My conjugal partner and I, attired in our nocturnal head coverings, were about to take slumberous advantage of the hibernal darkness.
When upon the avenaceous exterior portion of the grounds there ascended such a cacophony of dissonance that I felt compelled to arise with alacrity from my place of repose for the purpose of ascertaining the precise source thereof. Hastening to the casement, I forthwith opened the barriers sealing this fenestration, noting thereupon that the lunar brilliance without, reflected as it was on the surface of a recent crystalline precipitation, might be said to rival that of the solar meridian itself; thus permitting my incredulous optical sensory organs to behold a miniature airborne runnered conveyance drawn by eight diminutive specimens of the genus Rangifer.
Piloted by a minuscule aged chauffeur so ebullient and nimble that it became instantly apparent to me that he was indeed our anticipated caller. With his ungulate motive power traveling at what may have been more vertiginous velocity than patriotic alar predators, he vociferated loudly, expelled breath musically through contracted labia, and addressed each of the octet by his or her respected cognomen; Now Dasher, now Dancer, et al. Guiding them to the uppermost exterior level of our abode, through which structured could readily distinguish the concatenations of each of the 32 cloven pedal extremities.
As I retracted my cranium from its erstwhile location, and was performing a 180-degree pivot, our distinguished visitant achieved, with utmost celerity in animal pelts soiled by the ebony residue from oxidations of carboniferous fuels which had accumulated on the walls of the smoke passage. His resemblance to a street vendor I attributed largely to the plethora of assorted playthings which he bore dorsally in commodious cloth receptacle.

His orbs were scintillant with reflected luminosity, while his submaxillary dermal indentations gave every evidence of engaging amiability. The capillaries of his molar regions and nasal appurtenance were engorged with blood which suffused the subcutaneous layers, the former approximating the coloration of Albion's floral emblem, the latter that of the Prunus avium, or sweet cherry. His amusing sub- and supralabials resembled nothing so much as a common loop knot, and their ambient hirsute facial adornment appeared like small, tabular and columnar crystals of frozen water.

Clenched firmly between his incisors was smoking piece whose gray fumes, forming a tenuous ellipse about his occiput, were suggestive of a decorative seasonal circlet of holly. His visage was wider than it was high, and when he waxed audibly mirthful, his corpulent abdominal region undulated in the manner of impectinated fruit syrup in a hemispherical container. He was as short,neither more nor less than an obese, jocund, multigenarian gnome, the optical perception of whom rendered me visible frolicsome despite every effort to refrain from so being. By rapidly lowering and then elevating one eyelid and rotating his head slightly to one side he indicated that trepidation on my part was groundless.

Without utterance and with dispatch, he commenced filling the aforementioned hosiery with various of the aforementioned articles of merchandise extracted from his aforementioned previously dorsally transported cloth receptacle. Upon completion of his task, he executed an abrupt about face, placed a singular manual digit in lateral juxtaposition to his olfactory organ, inclined his cranium forward in a gesture of leave taking, and forthwith effected his egress by renegotiating (in reverse) the smoke passage. He then propelled himself in a short vector onto his conveyance, directed a musical expulsion of air through his contracted oral sphincter to the antlered quadrupeds among the seed-bearing portions of a common weed. But I overheard his parting exclamation, audible immediately prior to his vehiculation beyond the limits of visibility:

"Ecstatic Yuletide to the planetary constituency, and to that self same assemblage, my sincerest wishes for a salubriously beneficial and gratifyingly pleasurable period between sunset and dawn."

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Friday, December 12, 2008

Darn!

verb. 1. to mend, as torn clothing, with rows of stitches, sometimes by crossing and interweaving rows to span a gap.
interjection. 1. A colloquial euphemism for Damn. An interjection used to express dissatisfaction or annoyance.

So do you know where the expression "darn" came from? I was once told that it is somehow connected to the infrequently used word meaning to mend. You know, like darning a pair of socks. Inevitably, someone would prick her finger with the darning needle... ouch... and attempting to avoid using profanity, she allowed the minced oath, "darn", to slip out :)

I'm a darner, according, of course, to the first definition. I haven't always been, but that's what happens when you're a missionary and you wear the same four or five pairs of winter weight tights (sometimes all at once) all winter (and winters are a good six or seven months long). Your toes poke through; it happens. Those tights are expensive! Besides, they were perfectly good tights; they just had toe holes. So, darn away, I did.

I'm still in the habit. Although, I generally don't get to it as quickly as I forced myself to on my mission. Having your toes stick through holes for too many days in a row gets to be rather annoying, not to mention cause for little Lithuanian močiutės (grandmas) and Russian bobs (you know them if you've seen them) lecture you about your toes freezing off.

So, two weeks ago when Katie J (the other one) came to visit, I was getting dressed while she sat on my bed, chatting it up with me. When I pulled on a white tank top out of my closet and began putting it on, she suddenly stopped conversation and said, "You're NOT wearing that." "Yes, I am." "Emery!" "No one is going to see the holes." "That thing is a mess. You need a new one." "No I don't. 'Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.' I just need to... ahem... darn it."

And darn I did. :)

Before:




And after:




Is that better Katie J? ;)





Monday, December 08, 2008

The Lord's Peace Brings Comfort.

"Life often feels like a great pile of obligations, frustrations, and disappointments. But the Lord is there, always the same, His arms still outstretched. When we feel overwhelmed, we have to remember the peace He has spoken to us on previous occasions. His peace brings comfort and strength; the world cannot give that to us."

~Kathleen H. Hughes

Friday, December 05, 2008

Free Books!

Thought I'd pass this along to anyone interested.
Pay just $15 for shipping and receive 25 "free" paperback
copies of Richard L. Evans's bestseller The Christmas Box.
I think the offer expires tomorrow, 6 December.
Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Let us have music for Christmas...

Ethereal - Hopeful - Transcendent

Under the direction of Dr. Brady R. Allred the Salt Lake Choral Artists, the Salt Lake Symphony, children from the Madeleine Cathedral Choir School and guest soloists Carol Ann Allred, Todd Miller and Darrell Babidge present Ralph Vaughan Williams' exquisite Christmas Cantata “Hodie” (This Day) and his English folk tune compilation "Fantasia on Christmas Carols" Saturday, December 20, 2008 7:30 pm at Libby Gardner Concert Hall in the David P. Gardner School of Music on the University of Utah Campus. In conjunction with the concert, a pre-concert lecture by Dr. Sue Neimoyer, Assistant Professor of Musicology at the University of Utah will be held at 6:45 pm in room 270 at the School of Music, as well as a reception immediately following the concert in the Edgar Thompson Chamber Hall.

For ticket information please visit http://www.saltlakechoralartists.org/ or call the Kingsbury Hall Box Office at 801.581.7100. If you'd like to come, it's quite possible I'd be friendly enough to get you discounted tickets. So let me know ASAP!