Yesterday I got up and busied myself with feeding the cats and checking my email and reading the latest Holidailies entries. And then I woke up Richard and we swung by the bakery in town for coffee and pastries and he dropped me off at the church so I could get things set up for the recorder ensemble.
I've mentioned this group before in this journal. It's a group of us, all with about the same level of skill and confidence in our own ability, still diving for the fingering chart every time a flat or sharp creeps into the music. With the legitimate group leader (my dad) out of the country for months on end, the rest of us decided we at least wanted to try to play together a few times, so as to keep it going until he got back. I got this yen to actually play during a service, and with Christmas coming I thought that "Carol of the Bells" would actually sound pretty good when played by a recorder ensemble.
The rest of the group didn't share my enthusiasm, but I'd asked my dad to arrange the song in a key with as few sharps and flats as possible, and the two most difficult parts had two players each, so each pair set up a system where they would trade measures or phrases back and forth, and I and the other tenor player divvied up the tenor and bass parts. And by the time we'd figured out who was going to play which notes, the group decided that maybe we were ready to perform after all.
It wasn't as fast as I might have liked it to be; "Carol of the Bells" really should be played at a quick tempo. But we sounded pretty good, and we had fun doing it – enough fun that I think they'll be a little surer of themselves next time we give this a try. And at the very least I've kept the group alive a little longer until my dad is finally home from Germany and can take it back over himself.
By the time the service was over I could feel my energy ebbing away, but we'd decided we were going to get our tree that afternoon, and prior to that we needed to hang the lace panels on the windows in the bay window downstairs. So Richard drilled and pounded and screwed the rods into place while I threaded the panels onto the poles and tried to keep from falling asleep on the couch, and then we drove to the tree farm to pick out a tree.
We always get either a redwood or an incense cedar, so we know exactly where to go in the farm. For whatever reason, those two types aren't as popular, so there's a very small selection of them. Nevertheless, we found one we both loved – and in record time too.
This year's tree is a cedar, which means that although it was a little more expensive, the branches are sturdier. Finally, a tree with a top that's strong enough to hold up our star! For that reason alone I may push to get a cedar every year from now on.
We got the lights onto the tree, and put out all the other decorations, and Richard put all the rest of the lights up on the windows, but by the time that was all over I was pretty exhausted and we decided to do the rest the next day – today.
Today the reason for the exhaustion became clear. I woke up feeling slightly nauseous and when I got to work I discovered I wasn't the only one. One of my coworkers was out sick; at least one more wasn't feeling too good. Ah, the joy of the winter's first 24-hour bug! I finally gave up and went home at lunchtime and curled up on the couch and took a nap.
It truly does seem to be only a 24-hour bug, since I'm feeling a lot better now. The power was out at Richard's office so he ended up coming home early too. And since we were both home we managed to get a lot accomplished. We spent a few hours sitting at the breakfast nook table with piles of letters, cards, stamps, and our PDA's as we addressed, signed, and stuffed all the remaining Christmas cards. And then we turned the lights on the tree and hung all the ornaments, making sure to hang the soft, nonbreakable ones near the bottom. It was a good thing too, since the instant an ornament was hung within paw reach Azzie went nuts, wrestling it into submission until he was finally distracted with something else.
There are a few cards remaining that are in need of addresses, and emails have been sent to procure that information, but other than those few, the only thing we have left to 'do' for the holiday is the baking. It's kind of a heady feeling to realize just how far ahead we are this year. For once.
Our Christmas tree, complete with star - for the very first time!
Our house, with lights