Wednesday, December 28, 2016

King Arthur Flour

Actually, at the moment, we are in the cafe at the King Arthur Flour store in Norwich, VT.

Just had a soup and sandwich. Brahms rehearsal tonight. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Sanders Theater

The Revels this year has an Acadian theme and features our friends Keith and Becky Tracy from Brattleboro!

     Before the show 

The finale:

This year was Acadian/Cajun theme -  great show. Megan Henderson's fantastic debut as the new music director. Yay Megan. 

Now we are having a snack at Grendel's Den:

               The Tolles clan

Christmas and post-Christmas

We went to Katie and Savanna's Christmas Day. The Feinlands were there too. 

               Opening presents

We celebrated Hannukah by lighting two menorahs. The one on the right is one a Jewish chaplain gave my father during WW 2.

We also played "fictionary dictionary." Mary is looking up a word. One of the words was "jipijapa."

Ellen made a flaming plum pudding

        Serving the pudding

We hosted John and Cynthia on Monday  and had a really lovely time with them (but no pics) and now on Tuesday we are at the Revels at Sanders Theater in Cambridge.

     Sanders lobby and a snack

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

Tonight we had two services. I led the choir at a 7pm service in Dummerston. The choir was great - we had fifteen people - and my young soloist came through beautifully. Then we came home briefly, and went to Guilford for their 11pm service, with choir rehearsal at  9:30pm. That was a very moving service. Here are some scenes from Guilford:

             The choir rehearsing

       Singing. "Silent night, holy night"

The brass band for "Joy to the World"

Christmas Eve Day

Our decorated tree: 

We put up decorations while listening to Lessons and Carols from Cambridge. Perfect! 

           A close-up of the tree.

It snowed briefly this morning but is just cloudy now. 

Jim and Mary arrive this afternoon. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Almost Christmas Eve

Ellen and I are home after a long, full day. We have our tree up and the lights on it .
We are listening to Christmas anthems. 

We got our tree precut at the local tree farm - Elysian Fields. We usually cut our own, but no time for that this year! But we like it. It is smaller than usual, but very shapely. 

This evening was the Dummerston choir rehearsal for Christmas Eve. I think it went well, tho our soloist for "Once in Royal David's City" was quite unsure of the melody. Before that, a smaller group of us caroled four "shut-ins," all of whom really appreciated our coming. Ellen fixed some mulligatawny soup for the carolers which we ate at the church since we were on a tight schedule. Ellen had gone down to Hilltown school earlier in the day to see Tamar in their solstice program, which she said was very nice. Then she met us at a nursing home in Brattleboro where we had our first carol sing. Calvin picked me up for that since Ellen had the car. While she was in Northhampton, I stayed home to do cleaning and washing and put on the tree lights. John came over - he picked up our winter CSA today since we couldn't - and we had a bit of lunch together and talked. He and Cynthia played their exquisitely beautiful "Into the Silence" service Wednesday eve. I thought it was magical but there was a lot about it that John was not happy about. So we talked about that. I hope they do it next year because I feel it is unique and very beautiful. But I can see that it is a lot of work for them and they usually don't have time to rehearse properly this busy time of year, which was the main problem, John felt. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

High winds

We are getting some weather! It's about 9 degrees outside with high winds. Wind chill is dangerously cold. Thinking about the homeless and hoping they are in the emergency shelter. We are slated to get snow this weekend. Saturday could be a mess. I'm still coughing but have more energy. But I stayed home tonight while Ellen went to a Hallowell party with a huge tray of cookies! Sigh!

The party was for Kathy Leo, who has just released a beautiful book she has written about bedside singing for the dying, titled  "On the breath of song." I have read about half of it so far and it is amazing - story after story of our sings told with such vivid detail, you feel you are in the room!

Thank you, Kathy! What a gift to the world!  

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Cold and cold

I still have my cold, and outside, it is cold, and will be getting really frigid. So I'm staying in. I didn't go to a Hallowell event yesterday evening, nor to a church meeting today, and will skip a Brahms rehearsal tonight. I can hardly croak anyway. Poor Ellen has to do things I usually do - e.g., feeding the stove, running errands, shoveling the deck - but she is quite cheery about it. And she is keeping me well fed and hydrated. Lucky me! I'm just staying cozy by the fireplace, with tissues handy.

I've been able to use this time to work on Christmas projects that involve the computer, so that's good. But this afternoon, the iPhone inexplicably stopped charging. After buying a new charge cord, which didn't solve the problem (even though the old one is sort of frayed) we figured out that the weak link in the chain was not the cord but the plug - the little cube that has a USB port and plugs into the outlet. Now why would that suddenly fail? It's charging fine now with a new plug. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016


Today is our River Singers concert and I'm in bed with a cold. Phooey! My nose started to run yesterday afternoon. By evening I started sneezing. I took ecchinacia and managed to get some sleep but I'm pretty miserable today. So no concert for me. It isn't too bad as long as I am warm in bed, but when I get up I start running and sneezing again. I'm supposed to be in church tomorrow and at a second concert in the afternoon but I'm dubious. We'll see.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Cookies, cookies, cookies!

We've finished making cookie platters! I say "we" - Ellen made all the cookies, which is 95% of the job. I helped clean up during the baking process and did some schlepping; then tonight the two of us distributed the cookies on to 3 sizes of platter - small, medium and large, wrapped the platters in shrink-wrap, and tied them with a ribbon. 38 platters in all. (16 s, 10 m, 12 l). All together they will fetch about $400 for the church. They fly out the door.  It took about 3 hours to do the job this evening. We're tired! Ellen is amazing!

Getting ready to tie ribbons on the small platters 

        Wrapping the medium platters

    A large platter, wrapped, no ribbon

             Ready for tomorrow  

Ellen made apple butter and jams too, plus tea cakes. Quite a spread ! 

The big picture  - but there is a lot not in the picture! There is a huge white elephant table off to the left, and also a raffle table with 8-10 items. Cookies are off to the right. Tables are for a lunch. 

Hilltown School Winter Fair

We are in Northhampton at Tamar's school. She just sang in a couple of choruses and played in a ukulele ensemble. Julie and Mimi are here too. 

Tamar in a chorus singing "Shut de door, keep out de devil." 

            Ukulele band

       Singing "Lean on me"

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The spring is UP!

Went to check the water level in our spring today and it had come up to the 12 foot mark! Wow! That's almost 8 feet higher than yesterday! We did get a lot of rain last night. So, no more hauling of water. It feels sort of weird taking water out of the faucet and flushing the toilet by pushing a handle instead of pouring in a pan of dirty dishwater. I had my first shower today at home in aImost three months. I guess we'll just have to get used to it.