Whirling, Twirling

This time of year, it seems like no matter how much I intend to plan ahead and not procrastinate, I am always in a full dither by the week of Christmas. I think I’m getting a bit better each year, but still — three days to Christmas (and Hannukah starting now) and I’m still making presents! Sheesh.

My thoughts have been like whirling, twirling snowflakes lately too. In no particular order:

  • Snow is charming. The giant clumps of icy mud adhering to everyone’s wheel wells are not. Though, when they fall off in big clumps in the middle of the road, I can amuse myself by imagining what sort of snow horse left those kind of road apples.
  • I just finished reading Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth for the first time. I was shocked by the ending. What an amazing moralist and social observer. Now I’m in the middle of The Custom of the Country.
  • God moves in mysterious ways. I’ve been stressing out lately over the unpredictability of my freelance income. Then I got an email a few days ago from a long-time client of mine, offering me essentially constant work for the next few months and — get this — a weekly paycheck. I’m so grateful.
  • I had the pleasure of hearing Anthropapa sing with the ISU Camerata Singers on Friday, performing Puccini’s Messa as well as a variety of shorter pieces and carols, in the beautiful Stephens Performing Art Center’s Grand Concert Hall. The Puccini was a bit uneven, but not because of the performers — it’s all Puccini’s fault.The Kyrie was oddly light-hearted, considering the text is a plea for mercy, and the Gloria seemed like a choral Gilbert and Sullivan piece. But the Credo and Agnus Dei were amazing. Now I get to plan for April’s performance of one of my favorites, Orff’s Carmina Burana.
  • I made several holiday gifts this year, with crochet, knitting, embroidery, felting, and clay sculpture! The kids helped with the sculpture too. I think I’ll plan to do the same for next year, only I’ll plan a bit farther ahead. Really, I will.
  • I also tried to make a stable for the nativity scene on our nature table. Since I didn’t plan ahead for this either, I had to use what was at hand: cardboard from the recycle bin! It teetered over some time yesterday, and I have not had time to fix it. So we missed this Advent Sunday’s addition of the shepherds, because the whole thing is in such disarray. I’ll fix it in time for Christmas, I swear! Sigh. So much for the wonder and awe of the season.
  • We finally got our Christmas tree yesterday. The kids helped me decorate it, and it looks sweet. We have such a mishmash of ornaments, but most of them have sentimental value. I like that the tree doesn’t look “Decorated” with a capital D.
  • The night I went to Anthropapa’s concert, his co-worker had our kids over for her son’s birthday party. When we arrived to pick the kids up at a late and cold hour, she plied us with hot buttered rum and rum balls. Now that was yummy. And we slept well.

OK, off to bed now. We’re supposed to be getting more snow with wind tomorrow, which should make it oh-so-fun to get groceries and mail gifts like I’d planned. At least I got to get all this random useless crap stuff out of my head!

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Filed under Crafting, Family, holidays, Nature tables, papa, Silliness and Mayhem

12 responses to “Whirling, Twirling

  1. Mmmmmmmmm, Edith Wharton. I love House of Mirth, perhaps because I relate a little too well to the main character … not that I have ever made my living as a Society hanger-on, but I do have the uneasy feeling that if the teensy niche I’ve carved for myself wobbles in any way, I am utterly unsuited for the real world, and would perish quickly.

    And ya gotta admire any author who pulls off a heroine named Undine Spragg. 🙂

    The Puccini is a strange piece of music; that is not, I think, his strongest idiom. The Tosca “Te Deum” has more spiritual feeling in it than most of the Messa, IMO.

  2. Oh, and it kills me that Lily’s downfall is partly caused by her honesty, and her inability to accept the rigged stock funds, although she genuinely had no idea what was happening. Awful, it was awful!

  3. Mon

    Wow, lots of twirling!

    I’m so glad to hear you’re financial/job situation is nore secure for you. That must take a load off your mind.

    What a talented anthropapa, I do enjoy Puccini.

    And how talented of you with all that crocheting and knitting and various assorted thread crafts. You’ll have to guide me when youre able, with my knitting.

    Very envious of those rum balls. The chocolate kind right? I lurrrrrve them.

  4. After I finish my Jane Austen run, maybe I’ll give Edit Wharton a try! We are buried in snow and, essentially, snowed in. Luckily I *think* all we need has been gathered….

  5. I am also in the middle of TCOTC! Serendipity! I bought it at The Strand while I was in NYC.

    Your whirling and twirling sounds happy and Christmassy, and I’m really glad to hear you’ve got regular work. That’s great news.

    If our paths don’t cross before then, then best Christmas wishes to you and yours. Big hugs from Germany …

  6. David: I know, it’s just maddening how Lily is always wobbling back and forth between wanting to take the higher road and wanting the life of ease she’s been “bred for”. I want to check out the movie version with Gillian Anderson, if only to see Dan Aykroyd as Trenor. I think Wharton might have gone a teensy bit overboard in the effort to create a name that reflects a less than gilded background with “Undine Spragg”!

    Funny how all these books about people living beyond their means, going from one financial rescue to another (and then sometimes not being rescued) seems so apt today.

    Mon: I will be happy to help you with knitting, though it’s much easier if you have someone sitting right there with you. The rum balls were possibly chocolate, but at that point I was already deep into the hot buttered rum, so I’m not sure 🙂 I hope you got some sleep and are able to have a Solstice celebration after all.

    Sarah: It would be interesting to compare such two great observers of society manners. Certainly the nouveau riche appear in both. I hope you have a snug and warm Christmas! We are not quite snowed in, but there were certainly people having a hard time out on the roads this morning.

    Charlotte: I scored a trifecta at the library: and edition of House of Mirth,The Custom of the Country, and The Age of Innocence all in one volume! I’m gorging myself on the Gilded Age. Merry Christmas to you and all the Otters.

    Evidently Puccini wrote the Messa in his late teens, so we’ll just chalk it up to youth.

  7. Yeah, I procrastinated this year too. Day to day has just been so nice with the boys that I haven’t even felt motivated to rush around doing all this other stuff. 😉 Actually, we have been snowed in so many times already that I didn’t have supplies I needed half the time either. We are catching back up again. It sounds like you did indeed finish many things – they all sound wonderful!

    I love singing Puccini. Sigh.

  8. Whirling and twirling…..I love that way of describing your thoughts. That seems to be how I’ve been lately as well. That is such great news about the long term work assignment. I’m sure that’s wonderful to have some peace of mind regarding that matter.
    I’m wanting to read House of Mirth now; I like your taste in books.

  9. Alida

    Lily is my favorite literary character. She reminds me a little of me when she’s gambling and spends her winnings indulging herself instead of taking care of her debts…I’ve been guilty of spending my money irresponsibly just for the guilty pleasure of it. Gillian Anderson is great in the movie as is Dan Aykroyd, I definitely recommend it.

    As for the snow, we have big clumps of dirty stuff outside our drive courtesy of the snow plow…and it just keeps falling.

    As for procrastinating, we now have all the supplies to make an advent wreath but still no wreath. I promised myself next year right after Thanksgiving we’ll do it.

    Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas.

  10. Denise: I didn’t know you were a singer!

    Dawn: The title is from a wonderful winter hand game by Wilma Ellersiek that I learned at Sunbridge. One of the lines of the song is “Snowflakes are falling, whirling, twirling….” It’s probably in her Gesture Games for Autumn and Winter.

    Alida: Edith Wharton sure wrote a lot about indulgent, spoiled people, huh? At least Lily seemed to have some consciousness, at least by the end, of the repercussions of her decisions and the likely feelings of others. Undine seems to be lacking all comprehension of finer sensibilities (though that doesn’t make her any less apt at manipulating to get her way).

    I’ve been working on our felt Nativity figures for several years, so don’t feel too bad! Last year I finally made a baby Jesus, but we still only have one Wise Man 🙂

  11. I love the beginning of “House of Mirth” – but the end is sooooo mirthless… The language is beautiful – I couldn’t put down the book (or rather the laptop as I downloaded it from Gutenberg). I’ve just started to read “Edith Wharton” by Hermione Lee – I’m sure it will take quite a while to finish the close to 800 pages.

  12. Margaretha: I’m curious to read a biography of Edith Wharton now, too. I wonder how it was for her to be so critical of her own social class?

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