Friday, 25 December 2009
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Sunday, 13 December 2009
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? We never really "did" Santa Claus - we joke about him, but I don't remember a time when I thought he was real. But our presents are always, always wrapped. (The last several years, I've helped my mother wrap the family gifts - we spread out the wrapping paper, ribbons, boxes, and tape in the basement, pop in a movie, and set up a screen between us while we wrap each other's presents - the screen comes down when those are finished.) In my family, everything gets wrapped - even the things that go in stockings!
3. Colored lights on the tree/house or white? Always white. We tried coloured lights one year but none of us care for them. (I like them on other people's trees, though!)
4. Do you hang mistletoe? We never have at home - I'd like too, though. (Funny story: my freshman year of college, my friend Shannon and I hunted all over town for mistletoe, eventually settling for a poor imitation from Hobby Lobby, and hung it in the doorway of the student lounge in the music building. Neither of us got kissed, but a few other people did!)
5. When do you put your Christmas decorations up? At home, the tradition is to do it on the afternoon of the first Sunday of Advent (then they stay up until the 12th day of Christmas, in January!) This gets shifted around depending on schedules, of course, but that's when I like to do it. At school, it happens whenever we get time (sometimes not at all, but we did get lights and a wreath up this year!)
6. Favorite holiday dish? Probably the roast beef and Yorkshire puddings that we traditionally have at Christmas - drowned in gravy, and oh-so-bad for my hips, but one of the best things I've ever tasted.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Some of my favourites are of putting up the tree every year; we had such a system. Daddy always put up the lights, and Mummy did the "cranberries" (strings of wooden beads painted a rich deep red.) Then we children were allowed to help with the other ornaments. As we got older, my big brother took over the lights, and I inherited the cranberry strings - now probably the younger two do it. But we all still help with the ornaments. I love, also, the nightly Advent readings, and the songs that went with them, and especially the lighting of the candles in the Advent wreath, every Sunday until Christmas.
8. When did you learn the truth about Santa? We never really did Santa - it was sort of like the tooth fairy - we joked about them, but knew they weren't real.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No, although if someone gives me a gift before Christmas I'll usually open it then, if I'm not going to see the person again for a while.
10. How do you decorate a tree? We always have pure white lights, the afore-mentioned cranberry strings, and an odd collection of ornaments, some boughten, some home-made. The thing I love most about our tree, though, is that everything on it has to have something to do with the Biblical Christmas story - if we wanted to put something unusual on, we had to be able to make a convincing case for why it had something to do with Christ. So we don't have any "souvenir" type ornaments - it's very classic.
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? I love, love, love snow. I never get enough of it. The sight of a snowfall always makes me feel Christmassy - even if it's October, or March! I love waking up to a new fall of snow, too.
12. Can you ice skate? I'm not great at it - I can get around passably, but skating backwards is out of my skill level! I love it though. We've lived across the street from a tiny lake for the last ten years; it freezes solid in December and remains that way until March or so, so we've all learned to skate on it.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I can't think of a single "favourite" gift - I have loved them all, I think! Some stand-out ones are when I was 11 and received my very first teacup... then a few years ago when I was given a lovely fountain pen... and throughout the years, many of my very favourite books and CD recordings have been Christmas gifts. (Oh! The year my mother made me a "Ravenclaw" scarf was pretty great too! I love that scarf, I wear it all the time.)
14. What is the most important thing about the holidays to you? Absolutely tops is the focus and attention on the very first Christmas; I love church during Advent and Christmas. I love spending time with my family, and I love how many traditions we have, that I don't even think about because I'm so used to them, until I'm away from home and missing them.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? It'll be a three-way tie between some of our traditional Christmas cookies - brandy balls, ginger shortbread, and the Russian Teacakes (affectionately known, in my family, as "Swedish Meatballs" - because of their passing similarity in appearance to that delicacy! We blame Daddy for that one ;-) )
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
I've mentioned so many already - decorating the tree is definitely a favourite, as are the Advent wreath and readings. The cookie-baking extravaganza, which always involves six or seven types of cookies, numerous tins, more pounds of butter than I like to admit, and the entire family, is also a favourite - I have so many good memories of that!
18. Which do you prefer-Giving or Receiving? I must admit I love receiving gifts, but I derive a great deal of pleasure from giving gifts as well, especially if it is something I have made myself and know the recipient will enjoy (and some people are so joyous in the way they receive gifts! They are so fun.)
19. Favorite Christmas song? Oh dear! This question isn't fair... I have so many! To begin with the ridiculous... I love Baby, It's Cold Outside - not strictly Christmas, I suppose, but close enough. White Christmas and I'll be Home for Christmas are also dear to my heart. On a more solemn note, I love almost all the good old sacred carols... some of my favourites though are In the Bleak Midwinter, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, Of the Father's Love Begotten, Lo, how a rose e'er blooming, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, and things like The Coventry Carol and some of John Rutter's gorgeous choral carols.
20. Candy Canes-Yuck or Yum? I love peppermint, so I give them a "yum". It's hard to eat round the crook without getting sticky, though!
21. Favorite Christmas show? I don't really watch shows... but I think "White Christmas" is my favourite Christmas movie.
22. Saddest Christmas song? I'll be home for Christmas always makes me a little sad, but that's about it. (Well, some of the weird/corny newer songs make me sad... that anyone thought them worth recording!)
What is your favourite Christmas book? There aren't lots that I've read, but I loved our beautifully illustrated copy of the poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas". I also love reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at Christmas-time, and I love Connie Willis's collection of short stories about Christmas, Miracle.
Friday, 20 November 2009
Sunday, 8 November 2009
This has been a very difficult week for me... on top of the usual stress of 18 credit-hours of classes, and the unusual stress of the weeks leading up to the opening of the musical, my paternal grandfather passed away on Tuesday. We were aware that this could likely happen at some point in the near future but I know I at least was not really prepared for it... and added to that the sorrow that he was not (so far as we know) a believer, and I've not had a very good week. I'd appreciate prayers for my family, especially my dad and his brother, as we grieve and work through this. Also I covet prayers for my grandmother, who is suffering from dementia, wanders in her mind a lot, and most likely does not have too much more time in this world.
I'm attaching the obituary Daddy wrote for his father: it says things better than I can.
Andrew Joseph Frank, 84, of Woodbridge, VA died Tuesday, November 3, at Birmingham Green Nursing Home.
Andrew was born on October 2, 1925, in Paterson, NJ. He served in the US Navy during WWII, reaching the rank of Hospitalman Apprentice First Class. He maintained a deep love of the Navy for the rest of his life.
Andrew married the former Alice Berg, of North Haledon, NJ, in 1948. They were a lifelong couple.
He earned his Bachelor of Science in Education from New Jersey State Teachers' College (Paterson, NJ) in 1951 and his Master of Arts (Montclair, NJ) in 1955. He began his teaching career in Florida's elementary schools, working for five years before becoming principal of schools in Nokomis and Sarasota, FL. In 1964 he moved back to New Jersey as principal of West Ridge Elementary School in Park Ridge, where he worked for twenty years, retiring in 1984. He is fondly remembered by thousands of his former students and staff.
Andrew is survived by his wife, Alice, his brother, Robert, his sons, Harry and Michael, and six grandchildren.
A final committal ceremony will be held at Quantico National Cemetery, 18424 Joplin Road (Route 619), Triangle, VA, on November 17th, 2009, at 11:00 a.m. Donations in lieu of flowers should be sent to the Navy Memorial: 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 123, Washington, D.C. 20004-2608, or www.navymemorial.org
(Daddy says: I'm not sure when this [photo] was taken, but it's how I remember my dad looking when I was one of the kids in his school.)
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Monday, 21 September 2009
The other problem with college is sleep deprivation.
Briefly, then, here are the things that have been happening in my life:
1.) 18 credit hours, consisting of 10 classes/applied lessons, all but one class of which are music and happen in the music building. I love it!
2.) Opera Workshop. It counts as one of those 10 classes, but has taken on a life of its own quite apart from class time. I'm singing the role of the young up-and-comer in Mozart's one-act opera The Impressario, and I'm terribly excited about it!
3.) The musical! Union's theatre department is staging "Zombies from the Beyond" this semester, and I got a leading role in it. (Don't write it off immediately - it's really incredibly clever and cute and well-written!) The cast is fabulous, Mr. Burke and Dr. Blass (stage and music directors respectively) are wonderful, and I get to play an "intergallactic strumpet on the prowl", to quote one of the characters. Yeah, I'm the alien queen of a zombie planet coming to Earth to wreak death and destruction - and collect men to revive my alien race. Uh, yeah. Don't ask. I promise it's not too skanky!
4.) Arguments with a professor, stemming out of points 2) and 3) above. I really hate arguing with professors.... but this particular one wanted to be argued with. Suffice it to say that he tried to say I couldn't do both Opera Workshop and the musical, I said I could too do them both, we had a lot of long discussions in which I mostly held my tongue and let him talk, so that I would avoid telling him what I really thought of him, and in the end he took what I'd been telling him, turned it around and said it back at me as if it was his own idea. So I guess I won?
5.) Rain. There's been a lot of it lately.
6.) Finally started writing again tonight. It feels good!
7.) Recital. My junior voice recital will be next semester, so I've been choosing repertoire and trying to memorise it NOW so I don't have a mad scramble later. I think I'm finally learning.
8.) Friends. This is the best! I love being back with some of my favourite people in the world... late-night deep conversations with roommates, hilarious movie nights, Bible studies, midnight frolics in a downpour of rain... these are the things I live for, the reasons (beyond homework) why I am chronically sleep-deprived, and why I don't care in the least. Oh God, thank you for my friends!
So this is what I have been doing lately. I could come up with two more points to make it an even ten, but I feel this is long enough already. I'll try to be more consistent with posting so that I don't have to write a novel every time I update!
Friday, 21 August 2009
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Sunday, 16 August 2009
My only disappointment is that this style of hat does not look good with straight hair. And mine is certainly not naturally curly. So I take advantage of the days when I sleep on hard plastic rollers to wear my hats - and take photographs! :D
These are a couple of my other recent sewing projects - a blouse and a skirt. The blouse is from a "New Look" pattern (I *think* -- I'll check on that tomorrow (It's tomorrow, and I checked! The pattern is New Look 6599, more or less view C)), with some alterations - I added tucks and lace insertion, and lengthened it some. It went together well but came out just a wee bit small; but if I lose the few pounds I'm hoping to it should be fine. It's made in fine cotton voile with bought lace insertion and trim. I hope in the near future to get some "close-up" shots of it!
Thursday, 6 August 2009
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Okay, okay. Maybe that's not quite fair. Maybe my knight hasn't gotten here yet, and all I've run into is his advance entourage. Maybe I just need to be a little more patient. But if this is the case, then what it means is my knight is hopelessly, irrevocably and forever lost in the forest. Probably fell asleep astride his horse, got the reins tangled in a thicket, and hasn't been able to extricate himself yet. Now there's a comforting thought."
~excerpt from my latest attempt at novel-writing, "My White Knight".
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
Clare gave me this award - thanks Clare! I'm sorry it took me so long to get to it, but here goes at last!
* Thank the person who gave you the award
* Post 10 honest facts about yourself
* Pass the award on to 7 others - we'll see if I can find 7!
Thursday, 9 July 2009
Reading through my blog subscriptions, I came across this post (http://amaidenswreath.blogspot.com/2009/07/be-beautiful.html) by my friend Clare. Read it. You'll get something out of it.
I hope you've read it now - my post was sparked by it.
I've experienced something of the same thing Clare did... when I went to college two years ago (a small, conservative, Baptist college, let me add) I was a little nervous about "fitting in". So I wore all my jeans and little knit tops and things for the first couple weeks, leaving all my homemade skirts and Regency dresses buried in the back of the closet. A little ashamed of them perhaps.
And then one day I said "Ah, who cares. I want to wear a dress today." So I pulled out one I'd made, pink and flowery, full-skirted, using a vintage 1950's pattern, and wore that.
And I got the same reaction as Clare and her friend did. *Everyone* looked at me. People I'd never spoken to in my life stopped me to say how they loved the dress, how great I looked. I hadn't worn it to get compliments, certainly - in fact I'd expected strange looks and ridicule. But the day I work a cute, modest dress was the first day anyone at school told me I looked good.
That made me think. I'd worn jeans, and some tops that maybe didn't quite fit my standards of modest, so that I could "fit in" and look like everyone else and not be called a freak. And I was invisible - I fit in so well that no one noticed. I was sacrificing my ideals essentially for nothing. But when I dressed as I wanted to, I brought smile to others' faces and happiness to my own heart. People thought it was "cool" that I still wore skirts and dresses. People said "wow, I wish I had something like that."
I didn't enjoy that day because I got attention. I enjoyed it, and remember it still, because it showed me that I can make a difference. Not by following modern fashion and dressing to the norm, but by following my standards, and God's, and showing girls that it really is possible to be cute and attractive without sacrificing modesty.
Saturday, 4 July 2009
Monday, 29 June 2009
The lakes were so still - everything reflected in them! Trees, clouds, road signs...
And the lighting was incredible. Every new vista looked like it could be part of the setting for a rural, romantic film!
Here is my dog, enjoying the attention of my father after our picnic but before the concert started. There are advantages to a dog who is going blind and deaf - she doesn't get worked up about the other canines in the area! I am not sure she even noticed them, and she was perfectly well-behaved the whole night. Not a yip out of her.
And the crowd! This is not even a third of the people who were there - packed in on picnic blankets and with their folding chairs. It was wonderful to see such a good turn-out for a classical music event! And I loved to watch the children - it's so informal, and they could just enjoy themselves. Every time the music was upbeat and lively, all the little ones I could see would get up and dance! I loved to see them enjoying the music. (One little fellow was even conducting - very seriously, with huge dramatic cutoffs at the end of phrases!)
This is beauty. This is bliss. I could sit and look at this view all day and never grow tired of it. Natural beauty, combined with excellent music - what more could one want?
Sunday, 28 June 2009
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
Monday, 22 June 2009
Thursday, 18 June 2009
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Sunday, 7 June 2009
Friday, 5 June 2009
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
I'm home now for the summer, and have spent this week sleeping in (noon every day? yikes!), settling back into home life, reading YA fluff just because I can, and doing some gardening and sewing. I varnished the picnic table and made myself a blouse -- and filled out more job applications than I ever wanted to look at. Unfortunately, that task is not done yet - Monday morning I'll be out bright and early, canvassing the neighbourhood - or rather downtown - for anyone, anywhere, who might be looking to hire an eager, capable 20-year-old willing to learn to do practically anything!
The other thing I'm doing this summer is consciously and deliberately weeding out and disposing of things I no longer need; organising those I do keep; and in general clearing out. As an aid to that general endeavour, I've made myself a promise: I'm not to buy any new fabric or yarn *at least* until I have completed every single UFO I possess. (UFO in craft-speak = UnFinished Object.) I'm photographing the results as a way of encouraging myself, and many of them will probably make appearances on this blog, so keep an eye out for photos!
I might, if I feel led, also do book reviews. More on that if I have time and inclination!