Friday, December 31, 2010

My Weather

It is very cold this New Year's Eve. Unfortunately, we have blue skies and therefore a certain lack of snow. However, the frost was so beautiful this morning that I had to go out and take pictures. I nearly froze my toes off, but what is a little frostbite for the sake of art?


                                              A frosty butterfly.
                                               Guess what this is.

                                                   My poor, cold feet.


Where sunlight meets shadow.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Knight in Shining Armor

Warning! Spoiler Alert!

I have been reading Elizabeth Chadwick's William Marshal books, The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion. The first of these books tell of the true adventures of a young knight in the late 12th century up to his early marriage. The second tells of his married life and further adventures up to his death in the early 13th century. This is just the sort of book I have always enjoyed reading. It is a wonderful time period, full of crusaders, Richard the Lion-Heart, evil Prince John, and, in less-than-accurate versions, Robin Hood and Ivanhoe. I would have enjoyed these well-written and well-researched books anyway, but, due to my mom's geneology hobby, it has an extra dimension.
        I am related to nearly every character in them. William Marshal and his wife Isabelle de Clare are my grandparents. In The Greatest Knight, a Lusignan killed William's uncle. I have Lusignans for grandparents, too. In The Scarlet Lion, the Marshals attended the betrothal of Hugh de Lusignan and Isabella of Angouleme. King John also attended and later stole the bride away for his own. I am descended from them. When John died, Isabella married Hugh de Lusignan, and I am descended from their children as well. I am my own cousin several times over. Also featured in the novels are Longespees, de Warennes, Bigods, as well as many others I am directly related to or descended from. It is ridiculous. Mom says that if we got all of our anscestors on one room, it would be an all-out war. I think she may be on to something.
        Even without all of this added interest, though, The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion are very entertaining reads. There is romance, battles, hair's breadth escapes, captures and ransoms, and the fascinating life of one brave man.

                                                         Lieder Madchen

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Dear people of wherever,

        This Christmas season, I organized a caroling expedition to two Portland retirement homes. It was a friend's suggestion, a joke made in passing, that I decided to run with. This was my first attempt in organization. I called several places, talked to a few people, and finally promised that myself and some of my friends from the Liedertafel Harmonie German Choir would visit two places. I had several volunteers and it seemed that all was coming along wonderfully. Then I lost my ride to a grandchild's Christmas party. I was not concerned, as my sister-in-law had said she would love to come. Unfortunately, she became ill and could not make it. And so, Dec. 11 (Caroling day) dawned with me having no idea as to who would be taking me to Portland. Taking myself was not an option, as I have no license. Thankfully, to my eternal gratitude, my dad volunteered himself.
        We arrived promptly for the short practice before-hand. The Portland streets were flooded that day, and added to the business of Christmas, not very many people showed up. And so, a handful of us ladies plus one bass, we began practice. It was dreadful. The others were determined to be cheerful, but I was beginning to think that my first attempt at organizing was going to be a complete disaster and that no-one would trust me to plan anything ever again. We were then nearly ten minutes late for the first retirement home. My self-confidence was pretty low at that point.
         But when we walked in that door, we were greeted with smiles and welcome. It was a small place, with few people, but they were all happy to see us. After that, everything went beautifully. We sang our best, and some of the retirees sang along! As we were leaving, there was a little old lady in a wheelchair sitting next to our route out. As we walked past her, she pointed to each of us in turn, saying "Thank you, and thank you,..." We left laughing and happy, for we had made people smile.
         We had quite a large piece of time before the second place expected us, so we decided to stop at a nearby Starbucks and just hang out for a bit. My wonderful dad hates coffee, so he waited in the car, reading a book. He hadn't come in with us at the first place, but promised to come in to the second. Our coffee-break was lovely. We all sat and laughed and told stories. The ladies had been baking for the bake sale and concert we were having the next day, so we talked about their recipes and future concerts.
         As it was getting darker out the window, we departed for our second destination. We were greeted with enthusiasm by the activities director, and pointed to  what was almost a balcony, where we would stand and sing down at the people below. We were also joined by another friend of ours, who had not been able to make it to the first place due to her work schedule. Dad filmed us on his camera, which made us sound like a bunch of chipmunks. :) We were rewarded with hot chocolate, cookies, and candy canes afterwards. My friends were going to hang out a while longer, and some of them went to a concert that was being put on by our conductor that evening, but Dad and I said our farewells and left. We had a Christmas tree waiting to be decorated.
        And so, that is how my first foray into organization was, eventually, a success.

         Hoping you had as wonderful a Christmas as I did,
                                                          Lieder Madchen

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Introducing Me.

This is my first blog and I am not quite sure what I am doing as of yet. After the failure of numerous diaries, I gave up on that avenue of expression and decided to try this out for a change. I plan to post stories, songs, book reviews, pictures, and maybe the occasional anecdote. Of course, who knows if it will go as planned.