Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas is...


From the late Rev. Clinton Lee Scott, Universalist, reprinted in Rejoice Together, ed. by Helen Pickett:

"Christmas is more than a date in the calendar.
Christmas is a mood, a sentiment, a symbol.
It is the quickening of the presence of other persons
into whose lives we have invested a part of our own lives.
It is a memory of other days when into one's path
a special one appeared to turn an ordinary moment
or a commonplace event into a hallowed experience.
Christmas is home and hearth, the full, free laughter of children,
the remembrance of friends, and a moment of peace
amid the noisy conflicts within and without.
It is a gathering up of the transcendent dreams of the centuries,
signalized in the birth of a child
who became the Prince of Peace.
Christmas is a time when goodwill is reborn, and again made real
in the hopes and hearts of us all."

We wish you peace, we wish you joy, we wish you your heart's delight this Christmas.

Blessings of the season from the Earthbound Spirit household, EBS, the DH, M1, M*, R, Spot & Minnie...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Spell Check Strikes Again!


So... I'm reading a book for fun - a rare treat - and I bumped into another incorrect word choice. It could be attributable to spell check, or to some copy editor not understanding the difference between homophones. Since it's Christmas, I'll assume the more charitable explanation. The book is Roman Dusk by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. On page 169 part of a sentence reads, "...the most delectable dishes become dull to the palette..." I'm pretty sure the word meant here is "palate," not "palette." Ever vigilant...

One More Sleep...


There's excitement in our house today! M* returns home for a few days, and we'll be hustling to get our Christmas cards into the mail before spending Christmas Eve with family elsewhere. Later, the DH and I will be up late, wrapping gifts and stuffing stockings, sharing a last cup of something before turning in. The children are hardly children anymore, except on Christmas. What wondrous magic is it that renders them childlike again? Whatever it is, I'm grateful.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas- time for returning

The DH and I are exhausted from yet again trying to fit all our holiday shopping into this last week before Christmas. We still don't know what to get for his mother, my brother, or my brother's SO. Guess what we're doing as soon as this gets posted?

Pet Peeve Dept.: Please don't take up two parking spaces with your car at any time during this hectic week of shopping. All the drivers circling the mall, hoping to luck into a space as another car departs, will hate you. And, Santa will put coal in your stocking - see if he doesn't!

I heard this on the radio this morning, and thought it captured my own in between, "yes it's Christmas but not QUITE yet" feeling. Here's a bittersweet Christmas song, along with my hopes for everyone that those they hold near and dear will be safe, secure, and home for the holidays.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Season of the Spirit


Even though all the children aren't home we watched Muppet Christmas Carol last night. I only see it once a year, so it always seems fresh. R noticed a few things in it this year that she hadn't before. The DH fell asleep toward the end, but woke up for the finale. So today's song is another Muppet Christmas Carol tune. It is definitely feeling like Christmas around here!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Return of the Light


Today marks the shortest day - and longest night - of the year. Winter Solstice, when the days begin to lengthen, and those of us who feel sadder during the darker days start literally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Though I'm not a practicing pagan, I can appreciate this reason for the holiday season! Merry Solstice or Happy Yule, I celebrate the return of the light!

Here's a winter solstice song...



And a marvelous poem. (Thanks, Sunflower Chalice - I was looking for this!)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sigh... Taking all the fun out of Christmas


Some folks will go to any lengths to make others feel guilty for enjoying the holidays. This website will tell you all about how Santa Claus is not related to Christianity at all, but Norse mythology. Somehow, they link this with satanism? Sigh...

This one has interesting information about the history of evergreens and trees in ancient rites and Christianity. Funny, isn't it, that literalists originally opposed allowing Christians to set up and decorate Christmas trees - and now literalists oppose calling them anything BUT Christmas trees? There's a letter to the editor in my local newspaper this week, urging people to contact their state legislators to not only reinstate the massive tree in the capitol rotunda - but to make sure they call it a CHRISTMAS tree. Holiday tree won't do. Can't have all those other folks having holiday fun, too, I guess... Someone I love recently said, "Christmas isn't just for Christians." Duh.

And candy canes? If you read the legend here you will be treated to a complicated legend of the origin of the candy cane - shaped like a "J" for Jesus, red stripes for blood, white stripes for purity... Problem is, it's an urban legend. Elesha Coffman will give you the straight scoop on candy cane history here.

Have you run across any of these killjoy stories? Let me know if you have any new ones, so I can add them to my "naughty" list. Now, excuse me while I go finish up my letter to the jolly old elf - and enjoy a peppermint candy cane.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Scrooge - Muppets style


Michael Caine as Scrooge in the Muppets Christmas Carol.


Of course it's a musical. Gonzo and Rizzo are the erstwhile narrators of the tale. It's the version of Dickens' classic that my family watches each year - my grown daughters have the lyrics to the songs memorized. ("If Scrooge were a flavor, you can bet he would be sour!" is one of my favorite lines...)


Here's the "Scrooge Song."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Classic Comedy for Christmas


Remember SCTV? The Canadian sketch comedy show, reminiscent of Second City and Saturday Night Live, featured John Candy, Harold Ramis, Joe Flaherty, Andrea Martin, Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, Martin Short, and these guys - Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas. The "Great White North" segment was added originally because the network required 2 minutes of identifiable "Canadian content" for each show. Bob & Doug Mackenzie's uncouth characters, smokes and beers and all, became extremely popular. Here are two Christmas segments for your enjoyment. First is the Mackenzie's take on "Christmas cheer:"



Now, their version of a popular Christmas tune:

Monday, December 17, 2007

This one hurts.

It was the mid-1970's, the era of soft rock and jazz flute on the radio. Before Bruce became "The Boss," groups like the Eagles ruled the airwaves. My sweetie and I listened to it all, and still have the vinyl albums to prove it - Heartsfield, Poco, Tim Weisberg, Carole King, and a singer-songwriter named Dan Fogelberg.

Fogelberg died yesterday, at the young age of 56, of prostate cancer. I present an annual service at church honoring those who die in the previous year, and celebrating the new lives as well. Reading his name in the roster of the dead is going to hurt.

The link takes you to the one song of his which mentions the holiday season - not my favorite, but I've got a theme going here for the month. Here's a way to see him play one more time.

Same Auld Lang Syne

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Rockin' Rudolph



Can't let the holidays go by without a visit to Santa's favorite reindeer! Here's a rockin' song - not the original by Chuck Berry, but a good version of it anyway.

Run, Rudolph, Run!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Most favorite Xmas gift


Someone pointed out that I skipped this in my previous post on "Most Favorites." Well, I had a good reason - I have 3 children & I don't want to play favorites!

Let it be said though, that my favorite gift - ever - any Xmas - from anyone, was/is WARM SOCKS. Kind of like these:

SmartWool

Hey, I live in a cold climate! Besides - give me warm socks, I know you care for my... sole. (Go ahead and groan. It's been a long day with a lot of snow & shoveling.)

Reasons for the Season

There are a lot of "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" signs out there - and I always want to add to them. After all, there's Winter Solstice, and Chanukah, and Kwanzaa, and Diwali (though that comes earlier), and other holidays that are all about light in the darkness. The light presumably brings one joy, peace and respite from fear. Today's suggested music/video, from Sir Paul McCartney, features the "light" of peace...

Friday, December 14, 2007

All the Christmas Music - Together! (plus)


This is what I love - hearing from people who have been checking this blog, who then share their favorites with me! A good friend sent me the link - and he didn't even know that I love a capella music... Thanks, friend.

Straight No Chaser's "12 Days of Christmas"

A different Christmas movie

"Love Actually"

Despite a couple of the plot lines involving children, it's not a family film. I do not recommend sitting down with your children and a bowl of popcorn to watch it. But it is a Christmas movie, with interesting twists on some Christmas cliches - as well as wonderful humor and pathos. I think the story lines are far-fetched (Billy Bob Thornton as POTUS?), but at the same time very realistic. Good movie to watch with your significant other on a chilly winter night.

This is one of my favorite safe for work scenes, safe for your kids too, that I was able to find on YouTube. (Apparently noone's uploaded the "What, do you mean to tell me there was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?" scene. Cracks me up every time.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Most Favorite


Back on Nov. 30 I posted a List of Least Favorite Things About Christmas - and I promised a Most Favorite List when it was closer to the holidays. It's closer now... Again, playing along is encouraged, but not mandatory.

Most Favorite or Looked Forward to Dessert/Cookie/Family Food

Potica - pronounced "po - TEET - sah" - a holiday bread from my spouse's family, every person who bakes it has their own recipe variation so family gatherings are like potica bake-offs. M*, who lives away from us now, has started baking it on her own - sure sign of adulthood. Personally I miss my mom's fudge and divinity candy, she hasn't made either for a looooong time. The kids used to (still?) look forward to the treasure cake one grandma would bake at Christmas - really it's regular cake layers shaped into a hollow "mountain" and filled with wrapped candies.

Beverage

Eggnog - I don't get it any other time of year, even without booze I love it; and Bailey's Irish Cream, which we occasionally get at this time of year - but not every year

Tradition

We hang stockings on Christmas Eve - the next morning the stocking gifts are available immediately, but wrapped presents aren't opened until after breakfast. We now need to make new traditions with young adult children living away from our house, so this is all about to change in the next year or so.

Decorations

We have a lot of wooden decorations on the tree - some were gifts, some were made by kids or the dh - some are quite, um, unusual. Like the Christmas kangaroo, and the Christmas Kokopellis (above), and the toy soldier who - after painting - looks like Saddam Hussein...

BONUS: Music for the whole season, from "December" by George Winston...



There will be more...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Canon

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - a recommendation from Lizard Eater. A lovely variation on Pachelbel's Canon. This seems just right for a little 'breather' from the mad rush toward the holidays that I'm feeling. Last class was yesterday. Now I have a couple of weeks to be at home and (a) gear up for the holidays (you know - shop & stuff), (b) prepare for a January intensive, and (c) revise, rewrite, buff & polish my master's paper. Yes - I need a breather and I need it now.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Peace, Love and Understanding...



Not exactly a Christmas song - but about some of the themes of the season nonetheless. Yeah, I know he's aging. Aren't we all?

Let's hear from Diana K's hubby -

Elvis Costello

.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Merry Little Christmas - the original


I really like Diana Krall's voice. I really like Diana Krall's piano playing. Ergo, I really like Diana Krall's version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

Ahem. However,
Lizard Eater prefers the original by Judy Garland. Seems someone thought the lyrics to the original were depressing - and I'd never heard any version other than the one Diana Krall (and everyone else for the last 2 decades or so) has sung. So - hop over to LE's blog to check out the original & see which you like. I like Judy, too.

But I still really like Diana Krall...

Accent Quiz

Yep, I'm sure I sound like I'm from Chicago. And, I did grow up calling "soda," "pop." When we lived a bit farther south people told me my consonants were "hard," and would ask if I was from Michigan... But I'm not really from Chicago - or Michigan.

Where I come from, water fountains are called "bubblers," and the bus used to bend the corner down by Mitchell St. And, so?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North
 

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

Philadelphia
 
The Northeast
 
The Midland
 
The South
 
The West
 
Boston
 
North Central
 
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

A Little Jazz...

Last December she was a bit busy, having given birth to twin boys on the 6th.


Diana Krall - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Other Green Beast


Besides cute and cuddly Kermit the Frog, that is...

The book was published in 1957 (a very good year), by Dr. Seuss. The original How the Grinch Stole Christmas cartoon was first aired in 1966.

Seuss's point, that the true spirit of Christmas doesn't live in the material gifts we give but in the caring and kindness we show, is timeless. The newer movie starring Jim Carrey is good - but the original will always be my favorite. Here's a link to the theme song, as sung by Thurl Ravenscroft (per IMdb, Ravenscroft was uncredited in the original production).

(Seuss is rumored to have been a UU, too...)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Unforgettable...


Lyrics by Bob Wells, music by Mel Torme, vocals by the inimitable Nat King Cole, it's the classic "Christmas Song." Talk about a velvet voice!

If the video doesn't embed properly (blogger seems to be having sporadic problems), here's the link.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Celebrating Solstice



For the churchladies, you know who you are... (and everyone else, of course).



Happy Solstice, everyone!
Yes, I know solstice is on the 22nd, but to avoid conflict with Christmas, we celebrate early.

Alternative Political "Reporting"

We interrupt the Christmas music for a political announcement, of sorts...

I'm a fan of indexed, a blog drawn/written by Jessica Hagy. It features graphs and Venn diagrams on index cards to make comments on life, politics, etc. She's now sketching the presidential campaign for alt.campaign.

Nice change from the ranters & ravers! Interesting & fun...

It's Christmas, Baby - Please Come Home



This is from a few years ago, because Bono looks much younger. It's not a special favorite - but I wanted to post something a little more contemporary that wasn't The Beatles...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

It's still cold...


As requested in a previous comment...


This is the version Lizard Eater over at The Journey likes. I'll tell you what, it is still damn cold out there - we could all use a little of Ray & Betty's (not to mention Eartha's) heat.

I had no time today to look for another Christmas song. I had class, shopped & lunched with M*, then drove home hoping I'd make it before our next snow storm. I made it!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Another childhood memory...

"Alvin..."

"Alvin....."

"ALVIN!"

"Okay!"

This song was playing in my head all afternoon yesterday. Ah - for the child in me... who still wants the hula hoop...


Disney Christmas fun

For the kid in all of us...



Not sure who the singer is, sounds like maybe Teresa Brewer? This is kind of fun, finding Christmas music videos. I still object to the all-Xmas music, all the time radio station that begins right after Halloween. But it's fun to go browsing for favorites.
**Update: Lizard Eater informs us in the comments that the singer is Brenda Lee! Thanks, LE!

Monday, December 03, 2007

"Santa, Baby"

She's 80 or so now, and still performing. This is old - though I'm not sure about the three singers who join her. Might be partly old & partly new.

But, Oh, yeah...

As Lizard Eater said, "Purrrr....."

Sunday, December 02, 2007

"Baby, It's Cold Outside"





A comment on the previous post sent me to YouTube to look for this. It's not exactly a Christmas song, but it works for me. And it IS cold outside!!! The woman singing with Leon Redbone is Zooey Deschanel, and the song is from the movie "Elf." The video has, well, nothing to do with the song! But whoever put it together matched the anime characters' gestures quite well to the lyrics. Enjoy!

I'm trying to be less cranky...
h/t to jaja!