Friday, December 21, 2007

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

These are just too cool. This is earlier this morning when I went out to fill the bird feeders after two hours of shoveling snow (and there are a couple more inches since then). Not unlike the pictures from my blog post of last January:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Bing Christmas

I have a Bing Crosby album with no fewer than four versions of Silent Night and two of White Christmas. And by the way, it's not Bing's movie "White Christmas" that is the sentimental favorite; it's his earlier movie "Holiday Inn".

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Music

Photo: Becky, Christmas 1968

Today I had planned to put up the tree, but instead got the idea that my son and his wife might need a babysitter so they could go shopping. They did, and I ended up sitting instead of putting up the tree. Home again, I began to get that "bah humbug" feeling about the tree and wondered if I would skip it this year. Maybe I wouldn't even get the Christmas music out either. Silly thought. I no sooner thought that thought than I went looking for and pulled out all the Christmas music.

I can't remember how young I was when I started playing and singing Christmas songs. I'm sure I must have been very small as my grandpa Chamberlin had me singing all kinds of things at age three. And through all the ups and downs of my life, Christmas music has been a constant that I never stopped enjoying.

It's about being seven or eight years old and harmonizing with my older sister.

It's about my sister and I as pre-teens singing along at the piano and forcing our younger sisters to join in.

It's about our teen years and singing in Seminaires, double-mixed quartet, countless programs, and my first solo, O Holy Night, with the ward choir.

It's about mom's rule that the Christmas music didn't come out until after Halloween.

It's about my first year married and living in Dover, Delaware, where I bought my first piano for $25 at Spencer's flea market and auction. And with only $6 left between my husband and I until payday, I sat and played my new old piano and hoped not to lose it. An older, somewhat inebriated black man sat down at the bench with me and asked me to play Si-a-lent Night. I played, we both sang. And when he heard my dilemma, he found someone who would deliver my piano to my house for exactly $6. I wish I still had that old piano.

It's playing and singing those old favorite songs to my young children on my second piano (I still have that one).

It's about arranging and directing ward Christmas cantatas.

It's about playing the Sleigh Ride duet with my daughter every year--now on my third and final piano, my much-loved, black Yamaha grand.

I looked through all my old sheet music - I don't know how old some of it is. But it is part of my life and a small thing I do for myself every year. The events of the year do not stop this little annual celebration of mine.

Maybe I will put up that tree.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The kindness of strangers

Just as I was about halfway through with the driveway and ready for a break, up comes a truck with a man, four teen boys, a snowblower and shovels. They hopped out, finished the drive and did the walks in about 15 minutes. They would take no money but were quickly on their way to continue collecting food for a food drive. I tried to take a picture of them, but my camera wouldn't work - maybe it was cold as I had left it in the garage.

Well it was about 15 inches of very wet snow, slushy on the bottom - not the kind you can easily just push off the driveway, requires lifting and tossing. Thank goodness for those kind helpers today!

If this isn't nice, what is . . .

To awaken early on a Saturday morning to find 10 or so inches of new wet snow, and no place in particular you need to go, it just doesn't get lovelier than this. It's days like today that my Pollyanna spirit kicks in. The snow plows have the street cleared. The temp is just above freezing, so the streets should remain in good condition. In an hour or so I'll go out and start clearing the driveway and walks. But for right now I'll curl up with my coffee and crossword puzzle.
Oops, forgot to bring in my patio umbrella.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Lest we think life isn't fair

People love to say life isn't fair. I've said it myself. But truthfully, life hands everyone their fair share of problems to deal with. None of us is special - we just happen to have our own individualized set of problems. But life also gives us tremendous physical and emotional resources to call upon when needed. The key is to do that. I always try to get into what I call my "problem-solving" mode as soon as possible. Someone earlier in my life taught me to do that and it's a lesson well-learned. I try to teach it to my children and grandchildren at every opportunity. Today I'll will deal with a lawyer who has sent me a most unreasonable bill. I will learn something important about my health. And whatever the outcome of those, I will deal with it and continue to make choices and take actions that I believe are best for me. And in the meantime, I will finish work, get the snow tires on the car, get snow tires for Jenn, pick up Brittany, go for my walk, do a little housework. And maybe I'll start putting up some Christmas decorations. And then I'll get a good night's sleep.