To begin with Thanksgiving, this year was pretty rough. The night before we received a terrible shock when we learned, via phone, that the wife of our music director friend, Pat, had died. It was totally unexpected. I had just been feeling rather down recollecting the loss of our friend, Steve, who my dad learned had died the day before Thanksgiving last year. Now this felt hauntingly de ja vue. We went over and had Thanksgiving dinner with Pat and his family. The food was delicious, but it was hard to eat. Trying to stay buoyantly above the tragedy of the event was hard to bear, especially after overhearing the little granddaughter on the phone, asking over and over again for "maman." This sort of pain, I know, is the deepest kind, and will not subside for a long time. Please keep them all in your prayers.
Then there was the story of the insufferable SmartPhone. Yes, we finally got one, in hopes of bringing all sorts of manifold blessings to our humble home such as online courses, youtube videos, job opportunities, skype conversations, and beyond. This didn't quite pan out the way we thought it would. First off, we couldn't get it to connect to the world wide web from the house. So, my eyes bright with anticipation, we starting testing it in the car. Even then, it took a while to find a place where it was comfortable enough to connect! Staggering through parking lots, trekking up grassy knolls, loitering in ladies' rooms, all in hopes of getting good service finally paid off to some extent when I was able to make contact with the mother country through skype in a tech store restroom and enjoy a conversation with friend and OU editor, Henry Hill!
All this was well and good, but certainly not ideal or helpful in daily life in the least. Hence, our next plan of action was to sign up for a special internet/phone "deal" that resulted in us becoming victims to a tech scam which sabotaged our phone and internet connection and nearly scuttled our phone number for good! Thankfully, we were able to get everything restored after no small effort on our part. I also discovered that, during certain lucky hours, I could get internet access on the SmartPhone if I laid outstretched underneath the bedroom window on the upper floor.
I was able to watch a few sequences from films, such as the famous yet agonizingly hoaky "Freeeeeeeeeeeedom!!!" sequence from BraveHeart, the Alice-jumps-off-a-cliff-for-no-apparent-reason scene from The Last of the Mohicans, the duel sequence from Rob Roy (Why is Rob so out of breathe? He hasn't even done anything yet!!!), and the trailer of Titanic, in which we're all supposed to fall head-over-heels for Jack, but fail to do so! The best thing I saw in this excursion was a little-known BBC docu-drama from the '60's on the Battle of Culloden. Filmed in black-and-white, it is a haunting, cut-dry depiction of the battle, and I give it two thumbs up for accuracy.
Unfortunately, all this SmartPhone-ing laying prostrate under the window began to make me physically ill and hampered me with a bad case of vertigo which forced me to remain prostrate an hour almost every morning, and has still not completely subsided! The meds I took to cure myself only made me slightly worse, and I almost konked out observing the sparkling Christmas trees and purple ceiling light our beloved parish priest installed for Christmas Eve mass! Argh!!!
In spite of all this, we wassailing wonders amassed for another extraordinaire production with the incomparable Madame Maureen at our nursing home. It was a nice full group this year, with enough people to put together a rounded out caroling crew in addition to our usual fiddlers, organist, and penny-whistle player (ehem......applause??? ;-). Once again, I got to pull my cavalier hat out of mothballs and lead the assembled throng in a chorus of the "Gloucestershire Wassail", and my dad and I teamed up for a duo on "I Wonder As I Wander." I also did my first-ever-lead-vocals "O Holy Night", with two younger galls to back me up. At the end, we exchanged Christmas cards and got a few nice group shots, which we await to be developed with bated breath.
And then there was my appointment as representative for my county on behalf of the SARs (Sons of the American Revolutions)......but that's way, way too long of a story for tonight, and I promise to fill you in further on that story in a forthcoming post! Due to the many varied bunny-trails we were sent on these past few months, we haven't finished sending all our Christmas cards yet, so I must away!!!!
Until I return from that Christmas/Epiphany Season (which lasts till Feb. 2, mind you!) mission, may you have a blessed Solemnity of the Mother of God, and a Holy New Year of 2014! That's Hogmanay to any Scottish lads and lasses skulkin' aboot ;-)
|Ringing in 2014 -- Edinburgh style!|