Thursday, December 31, 2009

And, as always. . .
This New Years made possible by Coffee!

Ring Out, Wild Bells

by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Happy New Years, everybody!

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's the Craft, Craftiest Time. . .Of the Year. . .

Yes, so I've been doing crafty things. This was my newest project, inspired by, yes, the November issue of Anthropologie. I originally tried tracing the mushrooms from the magazine, but ended up just sketching it myself. I had to draw it on lined paper and then trace it, since I found the print too distracting to sketch on. I used a Arthur Conan Doyle story I'd printed off the internet about a year ago--that, and other stories, have been waiting to be recycled ever since.
I used the paper, scissors to cut it out, and then my pocket knife to do the cut outs. An X-Acto knife would have been best. And a cutting board on a hard surface was crucial, I orginally did one on the cutting board on my bed, and that made all the delicate work really hard. Just for those of you who might be thinking about cutting out paper mushrooms on your bed.
As you can see, I stuck them in my mirror, and the Christmas tree on my shelf. I might also make an angel, and I want to make a tree and an elephant or two.
So yes, I've been quite the crafty Christmas elf. ;-P

Friday, December 11, 2009

'Christmas in the Olden Time' from Marmion, by Sir Walter Scott

Heap on more wood! – the wind is chill;
But let it whistle as it will,
We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.
Each age has deem’d the new-born year
The fittest time for festal cheer:
Even, heathen yet, the savage Dane
At Iol more deep the mead did drain;
High on the beach his galleys drew,
And feasted all his pirate crew;
Then in his low and pine-built hall
Where shields and axes deck’d the wall
They gorged upon the half-dress’d steer;
Caroused in seas of sable beer;
While round, in brutal jest, were thrown
The half-gnaw’d rib, and marrow-bone:
Or listen’d all, in grim delight,
While Scalds yell’d out the joys of fight.
Then forth, in frenzy, would they hie,
While wildly loose their red locks fly,
And dancing round the blazing pile,
They make such barbarous mirth the while,
As best might to the mind recall
The boisterous joys of Odin’s hall.

And well our Christian sires of old
Loved when the year its course had roll’d,
And brought blithe Christmas back again,
With all his hospitable train.
Domestic and religious rite
Gave honour to the holy night;
On Christmas Eve the bells were rung;
On Christmas Eve the mass was sung:
That only night in all the year,
Saw the stoled priest the chalice rear.
The damsel donn’d her kirtle sheen;
The hall was dress’d with holly green;
Forth to the wood did merry-men go,
To gather in the mistletoe.
Then open’d wide the Baron’s hall
To vassal, tenant, serf and all;
Power laid his rod of rule aside
And Ceremony doff’d his pride.
The heir, with roses in his shoes,
That night might village partner choose;
The Lord, underogating, share
The vulgar game of ‘post and pair’.
All hail’d, with uncontroll’d delight,
And general voice, the happy night,
That to the cottage, as the crown,
Brought tidings of salvation down.

The fire, with well-dried logs supplied,
Went roaring up the chimney wide;
The huge hall-table’s oaken face,
Scrubb’d till it shone, the day to grace,
Bore then upon its massive board
No mark to part the squire and lord.
Then was brought in the lusty brawn,
By old blue-coated serving-man;
Then the grim boar’s head frown’d on high,
Crested with bays and rosemary.
Well can the green-garb’d ranger tell,
How, when, and where, the monster fell;
What dogs before his death to tore,
And all the baiting of the boar.
The wassel round, in good brown bowls,
Garnish’d with ribbons, blithely trowls.
There the huge sirloin reek'd; hard by
Plum-porridge stood, and Christmas pie;
Nor fail’d old Scotland to produce,
At such high tide, her savoury goose.
Then came the merry makers in,
And carols roar’d with blithesome din;
If unmelodious was the song,
It was a hearty note, and strong.
Who lists may in their mumming see
Traces of ancient mystery;
White shirts supplied the masquerade,
And smutted cheeks the visors made;
But, O! what maskers, richly dight,
Can boast of bosoms half so light!
England was merry England, when
Old Christmas brought his sports again.
‘Twas Christmas broach’d the mightiest ale;
‘Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;
A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man’s heart through half the year.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Reading Mother

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath

I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.
I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness blent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be-
I had a Mother who read to me.

~Strickland Gillilan

    I love you, mommy! :-D

Social Darling Frock GROSGRAIN GIVEAWAY!!!!

Social Darling Frock GROSGRAIN GIVEAWAY!!!!

Lovely New Years dress. . .

Christmas Is Coming. . .

. . .And Max is getting cuter.
Yes, it's true. This post was just an excuse to show off another picture of the cutest baby in the world.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy Veterans Day

Okay, Happy (Belated) Veterans Day.

A special thanks to the families of veterans, for the sacrifices they'll always make.
Oh, and this video caused the most curious allergy attack. My eyes started watering something terrible.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Blue Ridge

So last weekend we went up into the Blue Ridge. We just wanted to get out, I suppose. We had no idea that the color was going to be so beautiful!

I think that's Lake Junaluska in the distance, but not quite sure.
I thought this cloud was interesting, how it was just spreading over the mountain.
Tunnel picture! We must have passed through twenty of them.

It was so foggy, at one point when we stopped, I walked across the road, turned around, and couldn't see the other side. The clouds just squat and hover, and then spread all over a place. You can almost see it happening.

We walked quite extensively through Graveyard Fields. Of course it doesn't look like a graveyard anymore, after the fire. But since the fire, only scrubby plants like blackberries grow there. They die and decay, and are slowly adding nutrients to the soil, making it richer. And so one day, trees will grow there again. Although I can't guarantee it will ever again truly merit its name. But it was all startlingly low and red and fiery-looking--it's easily recognisable, very different from the rest of the area.

Maura, who is successfully photogenic. That's her insulin pump in her pocket.
The ground apparently collapsed here, leaving a nice little place to walk in between the two pits.
This is Josiah, who thinks he's being photogenic. When you tell him to smile, this is what he does: stands stiffly and uncomfortably, like one of those little disgruntled Victorian children in uncomfortable clothes, and makes this constricted face. He really thinks he's smiling. Of course it's still absolutely adorable.
That was the sun. It was so hidden behind thick fog that it was really shocking to me that I felt any warmth at all.

I wanted to take a picture of this well-behaved little stream, which was flowing so perfectly in the way the NPS want it to go. I was in a hurry, so accepted the fact that my feet would be in the picture. However, my mom pointed out my reflection. So it turned out pretty cool.
This was the only thing that kept me from running down the long wooden walk: sporadic rot and breakthrough, possibly caused by running teenagers. I walked.It was all burnt oranges and scarlets and crimsons and rich browns from light to dark--it only confirms my belief, held by most, if not all, people who have been there, that this is the most beautiful place to spend the fall in. It's almost the most beautiful place in the world, but not quite. The end of the walk. . .whew. That's the fam, waiting for us.
Our drive that day convinced me that Stephen Vincent Benet is not only one who has fallen in love with American names, and also that he missed out on an experience he would gave greatly enjoyed by keeping his name-loving observations to the West. I've fallen in love with American names. . .

. . .the sharp names that never get fat. . .
. . . Cold Mountain. .
. . .Bear Pen Gap, Beartrail Ridge, Doubtletop Mountain, Lone Bald, Caney Fork, Wolf Mountain, Fetterbush, Beartrap Gap. They're alive and adaptable. They always fit.
There is Devil's Courthouse, named for its famous cave. The Cherokees called it Judaculla, Tsul'kălû'. They said that a slant-eyed giant lived in it. The settlers said that the devil kept court in that cave, and that's where it got the name it has today.
There is Looking Glass Rock, so called because when it gets wet the sun reflects on it all around. They say its most of all like a mirror in the winter, when sometimes the water freezes. It looks like one huge rock with a whole bunch of trees just set on the top, like it's a toy train set.

But I have not been able to find out why they call it Cold Mountain. Looking Glass Rock, Beartrap Gap--that all makes sense, but Cold Mountain? Everything else makes sense, but not that. All mountains are cold. Perhaps it was just named that by some dull person. Anyways, there she is, down below.Also, I'd like to know about Wolf Mountain. Why Wolf Mountain? Maybe there were lots of wolves there, but I'd like to think it was named for something of special significance to somebody. Maybe they fought a wolf off all alone there. That would be enough to make me call it Wolf Mountain. Or perhaps they saw a white wolf there, which is wonderful good luck. Of course, it would be good luck to see a wolf of any kind in the mountains nowadays. So I suppose now it's significant enough that it was called Wolf Mountain at all. That way we can say, "Look--see? They were here once."

Someone needs to write some good poetry about it, anyways. Somebody Byronic and quirky and memorable.