Interesting Music

Now and again, I run across interesting music.  I find lately I listen to music that doesn’t have singing or lyrics (like Blue Mars and SomaFM’s Drone Zone), but that’s because I’m usually doing something that lyrics would interfere with, like reading or writing.  If I was more into crafting, as I have been in the past, and may be in the future — these things seem to come in cycles and I might be ready for another craft cycle — making things with hands, activities  that don’t involve words, that would allow the language part of my brain free reign to listen to the lyrics, I’d be back into music with singing and lyrics.  At one point, I was on a jigsaw puzzle kick — the 1000 piece kind with lovely pictures (some of which I framed) — the kind they don’t seem to make any more — and I would listen endlessly to Tingstad and Rumbel; Crosby, Stills and Nash; Altan; Clannad; as I pieced the puzzle together.  When I’m doing “hand-eye” things like crafting, knitting, working puzzles, crochetting, I can take that “language” part of my mind out of gear and let it freewheel into a song with lyrics.

I follow a blog called “Surviving the World” and the blog’s author, Dante Shephard (who also happens to hold a Ph.D. in engineering from Cornell University and teaches same) posted his top ten albums of the year, none of which I’ve ever heard of, by people I’ve never heard of, — but I’m game.  No problem to boot up Rhapsody and see if these albums are in their library, and give them a listen.   Here are a couple of songs that struck me as interesting.

This is by “First Aid Kit,’s” song called “Emmylou” from their album called “The Lion’s Roar” — two sisters from Stockholm, Sweden, of all places.

This one is by a group called “Lord Huron” from their album “Lonesome Dreams,” and is called “Ghost on the Shore.”  I like the different instruments they use, and their arrangements.

and another cut, “Brother,” from the same album.

This one, “Deer Creek Canyon” by Sera Cahoone, was a delightful surprise.  She has a nice voice, and the simple, lean accompaniment is just right for the song.

Right now, I’m listening to a playlist of Lisa Gerrard’s cuts from Dead Can Dance (Brendan Perry I can do without.  He sounds too much like Jim Morrison of The Doors, who I can’t stand, and I don’t care for Perry’s lyrics either.  Sorry. ) .  I did mention my taste in music is somewhat eclectic.

And today’s serendoogle is “Amélie-les-crayons” with “Lai maigrelette” — I love her arrangements.

and this one called “La Valse du Danseur de Lune”

So now I have a Rhapsody playlist called “Amélie-les-crayons.”  With my half-forgotten high-school French, I can make out about a third of the lyrics, but ça ne me fait rien. It’s not about the lyrics anyway. She has a nice voice and I like the music. 

T’was The Day After Christmas. . .

. . .and I had a nice long lie-in, amid a snuggle of kitties.  My dad loved his new blankie, Christmas dinner was superb, Mom and I had eggnog with real ‘nog‘ in it, and we had red wine for apéritif —  which in my family is known as “libating” — having a little libation before dinner.


My mom took ceramics classes once, and did this whole about 20-piece nativity set  in satin white glaze — shepherds, wise men, angels, the works — for the fireplace mantel. You can see  a couple of camels there at end of it in this picture of their Christmas tree.  (The teacher molded the greenware, she cleaned it and glazed it, and the teacher fired it,)

Here’s the festive board.
And the nog. . . . (my dad wouldn’t have been allowed any even if he’d wanted some due to medication he’s taking. . . )

I got this far and got side-tracked and didn’t finish the post.  Sorry.  I have ADHLAS.*  And now it’s the day before New Years Eve, and I have a doctor’s “well-check” appointment tomorrow at moan o’clock in the morning.


“Frazz” © 2012 Jef Mallett

We’re Having Us A White Christmas!

As I wandered into the kitchen this morning, the view from the “liberry” of the back yard caught me by surprise:

IMG_0672 IMG_0673   It snowed last night!  Not a whole lot, but enough to cover.  At 10:30 of a Christmas morning, it’s 19F/-7C out, and in about half an hour, I get to suit up and go to the folks’ house for Christmas dinner.

Here’s the front yard for completeness.   You can see the reflection of the curtain on the window.IMG_0675
That’s not glare from the window, it’s blowing snow. The snow is probably fine and dry

Hopefully, I won’t have to scrape the car off too much.  Just hope the battery is not dead, nor the radiator frozen.  Definitely coat, gloves and hat weather.   So glad I didn’t listen to my mom and went ahead and made my dad a new blankie.  It’s microplush, and so soft and warm.

The day after that two-bit company I used to work for laid me off, I got a Christmas card from them.  How’s that for timing?  It contained Christmas lights for your computer monitor that plug into a USB port.  Sunday I put them on my computer, just for grins.

IMG_0671Who sez I don’t have any Christmas spirit?

Anyway, gotta shut the ‘puter down and go get dressed.  I’m allowing an hour to make it to the folks’ house.  Thank goodness there won’t be much traffic out today.  People out here don’t know how to drive in snow.  It’s going to be a demolition derby.  I’ve got chains.  I may go put them on.  Assuming I can get to them with the four bags of mulch that have been in the trunk since August. . . .

Anyway, Merry Christmas One and All, and some mood music from “Der Bingle,”

Memories and Melodies

My dad turned 90 this year.  He’s almost blind and mostly deaf, and fragile and frail. And I’m at that time in his life and mine when I wonder if this will be the last. . . Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Birthday, and a thousand other important things that happen.  Will this be the last time this happens to the two of us, both of us, together?

In honor of the season and right now, here’s a double slug of Judy Collins.  Each song reminds me of a man in my life, one who let me down and one who never has.  I think you can tell which is which.  The first one is my most favorite of her songs ever, and it still tears me to pieces just like it did the first time I heard it back in the 1970s, when it first came out.  Especially now.

And this one, which is also about life, and love, and about snow, and how complete strangers can be kinder than lovers.

Merry Christmas one and all.

Photo © 2011 Kathe at Hillside Cottage
Glastonbury in the Snow, Photo © 2011 Kathe at Hillside Cottage

Counting Down to Christmas

While we weren’t having the apocalypse yesterday, I mailed the snowflakes off to their new home, along with a trio of angels.  Hopefully they’ll arrive Monday, safe and sound.  I’ve edited all the photos of the snowflake making process and will do the post about making the snowflakes soon.

Had to share this with you courtesy of Sian at Life on a Small Island, a lovely view of the winter solstice sunset behind the Hoy Hills and the moon rising above Stromness, in the Orkney Islands of Scotland.  It’s from 2010, and they evidently had had a good snow beforehand.

I gotta see if I can find who did the music.  Lovely.

Still have one Xmas present left to make — a new blankie for my dad.  I made him one several years ago when he complained that the lap robes others had made for him weren’t long enough to cover the subject — he wanted one he could pull up around his shoulders.   I got a navy-blue king-sized microfiber blanket, cut it in half, sewed the two halves together, turned it inside out, and then ran a seam around it about an inch in from the edge.  Turned out really nice and was Just what he wanted.   However, it’s been laundered enough times that the plush has worn off the edges in some places, and it has begun to look “unsightly” — which means mom won’t let him use it when company is coming over.  Doing the same again this year, only with a chocolate brown one.

I ‘ve started having buffering problems with two of my favorite internet radio stations, “Blue Mars” and “Major Ursa,” which causes the stream to be interrupted for several seconds at a time. Very annoying.  I’ve written the Internet Radio Stations website about it.  They are where I got the Windows Media Player links from.  Hopefully, a solution will be offered.

Some friends sent my folks a ham for Christmas, which is what Christmas dinner will consist of.  Mom made navy beans with some of it and brought me some, along with two pieces of cornbread to have with.  I believe that’s what I hear calling my name from the kitchen.  I may have to go heat some up in a minute.  And make a pot of tea.  Alternately, I have a couple chicken strips left over from when I stopped by Whataburger on my way back from the Post Office Friday.  I also have one more serving of Wolf Brand Chili and macaroni left.  Decisions, decisions. . . .

One More to Go

I’ve only got one more snowflake left to crochet, then I’ll stiffen the last three.  I sprinkled on some iridescent embossing powder on a test one while the Stiffy was still wet (I was afraid it would look cheesy), and it actually was quite a subtle effect.  You could use the extra fine glitter, but Michael’s didn’t have any in the color I wanted, so I went with the embossing powder.  I liked it so much I’ll do all of them that way.  Right now, I’m taking a pause for the cause, to let the finger I poke all the time with the crochet hook rest up, and to get some lunch on board.  (Sandwich and a half made with sliced beef and Muenster cheese on bread machine white bread, with some Kraft horseradish stuff on the beef side and mayo on the cheese side, washed down with a glass of apple juice, and raspberry yogurt for afters. )

Today was windy and dusty and cold (tonight’s low is supposed to be 15F/-9C).  I took one look outside and went back to bed.  Slept most of the day.  When I finally got up around 5 p.m., I took a shower and then washed a load of sheets plus what was in my dirty clothes hamper. (I have a large capacity washer, so a set of sheets is not enough for a load).  I decided it was finally cold enough for my comforter, so I got it out.  I’ll wash my bedspread directly.  While the clothes dried in the dryer, I snuggled in the chair with a lap robe over my legs and crocheted another snowflake (one left to crochet).  This was apparently a two-cat job, as I had hardly gotten settled when the grey one snuggled in between my shins, and the black one curled up on my thigh.  Once the clothes dried, I took a break and folded them, and made the bed.  Then back into the chair to finish the snowflake.  Now I’m taking a break.  In a while, I’ll get up and crochet the other snowflake and stiffen them.  Then all I’ll have left to do is put the ribbon loops on them, figure out how I’m going to pack them to mail, and mail them to my friend.  But now, I’m going to read the blogs and webcomics I follow.

A Holiday Tradition

What is Christmas without The Nutcracker?  For the snowbound, those who hate crowds, or in case you missed it,  here’s the Royal Ballet’s 2001 staging with Tchaikovsky’s luscious music conducted by Evgeny Svetlanov, choreographed by Peter Wright after Lev Ivanov, for you to watch in the comfort of your own PC.  But warning:  It’s an hour and 48 minutes long, so find a comfy chair, corral some munchies and beverage of choice, fuzzy slippers and lap robe, and watch it full screen (although it is a bit grainy).  Thanks, Jane!

Or you can choose this version by the Mariinsky Ballet (formerly the Kirov) filmed in  the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, with Tchaikovsky’s music conducted by Valery Gergiev, with Petipa’s libretto and choreography by Kirill Simonov.  This version was filmed in the same theatre where the ballet premiered on Sunday, 18 December 1892, 120 years ago today.  Again, it’s an hour and 29 minutes long.

And to spoil you for choice, here is the incomparable Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland in the ABT’s version.  It’s only an hour and 18 minutes long.

Sorry this version is a little out of focus.

Sing a Song of Absence

Mag Challenge 148

Photo by Andy Magee

Trees of black ink, brush-stroked
On a watercolor sky.
Bedraggled grassy velvet
Fur trimmed by the hedge rows.
Ribboned with a rain-sheened road.

Sing a song of absence
To the tires’ hiss and hum
To the hurdy-gurdy rumble
Of an engine on the run.

Foggy damp and cloudy cold,
Misty rain-moist air.
The darkening of the evening
Dissolves grey afternoon,
Slowly blotting up the light.

Sing a song of absence
To the tires’ hiss and hum
To the hurdy-gurdy rumble
Of an engine on the run.

Moisture midges mizzling.
Wiper-swiping flick
Sweeps across the windscreen
Twixt minute past and minute next
Like a minute-hand’s click.

Sing a song of absence
To the tires’ hiss and hum
To the hurdy-gurdy rumble
Of an engine on the run.

Farther from, “I’m going.”
Closer to, “I’m here.”
Suspended in transition
An unfixed point in motion
Somewhere in between.

Sing a song of absence
To the tires’ hiss and hum
To the hurdy-gurdy rumble
Of an engine on the run.

Sighing — and Neologizing

I was, as usual, looking for something else.  Her name is Diana Vishneva

Then one thing led to another. . . .

I think I’m going to have to invent a word for these things I find while googling for something else:  Google + serendipity =?  Goodipity? No.  Serendoogle? Yeah.  That’s it.

Serendoogle- noun, something delightful you chance upon while googling for something else.

Oh, and if you’re a really hard core balletophile, this is over an hour long, but very nice.  It’s about the Mariinsky Ballet (formerly known as the Kirov) in St. Petersburg (known during the Soviet era as Leningrad).