Monday, 29 December 2008

Sunday with the Russians

Sunday morning... the thermometer read -20 Fahrenheit. Yes. that's cold. -28.8888888888889 Celsius. Simply put, it was freezing cold outside and sparkling clear with about a foot and a half of snow. I haven't worn so many layers of clothes since... last year. 
We returned to the Orthodox church with the whole family this time. The church is on a bluff that over-looks the inlet, so the wind there was biting cold. The service was beautiful (they had lots of candles and that makes me happy) and I loved all the singing. However, I ended up having to sit for the last part because I was cold and shaky. That didn't bother me though, and after the service, we were invited to the Old Fort for lunch with the congregation. 
That was a lot of fun, and we talked with a woman who is currently building a prayer chapel. She had an interesting life story, and I enjoyed it very much. Afterwards, we talked with the priest a little about incense and some other things. All in all, it was a wonderful visit, and very unusual compared to most western styled church services. 

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Today is... December 15th!

Today, Theophilus took me to the Orthodox church for vespers. 
It was lovely, and I enjoyed the singing and the prayers very much. Icons have always fascinated me, and so I liked looking at them while we sang the service. Let me tell you, they sing everything there! And I haven't crossed myself that many times in ages, but all the same, it was very nice. 
The priest and choir-leader were very friendly and we stayed a little after and talked to them.
They told us how half the Orthodox church is on the Gregorian calendar, the one that almost everyone uses. However, the other half - including the one we were at - is still on the Julian calendar.
That makes today December 15. And Christmas is on January seventh for the rest of the world. So... does that mean we get to have another Christmas soon? 

Friday, 26 December 2008

On the Feast of Stephen

No, we're not doing a huge feast today... not after these last few days!
My whole family was in shock when I decided not to update on Christmas. Well, it's like Sunday - a holiday, and so no blogging.
But, I do intend to tell you all about them!
On Wednesday, we baked and stuffed ourselves and put the presents under the tree. However, my dad's love of taping everything to survive Pearl Harbour-like incidents caused a lot of alarm amongst the rest of us. (Thank God for the use of knives when opening presents!)
At seven, we went into town because I was playing violin for another church's candlelight service. This year was really very lovely, all the candles made me wish I'd brought my camera. I always conveniently forget them at home whenever there's a really good opportunity for a lovely photo. Some dear friends of mine played together, and I enjoyed all the music and the sermon. Leah came, which was very nice of her, and we talked after the service was over.
When we got home, it was time to open presents. Yes, in our family, we do all of them on Christmas Eve. Aren't we lucky? Anyways, that was a lot of fun, and I took loads of photos. And still haven't gotten them on the computer. Hmmm.... working on that.
But my friends and family are amazing, I was surprised and happy with all my presents. (Okay, none of the books surprised me... Jhaniel hinted that she was getting me The Last Unicorn and Orthodoxy, and I told Llewellyn that I wanted Land of Time and Over the Hills and Far Away. You two are awesome!) Leah's presents amazed me, and I've been wearing the earrings and purse since. It was entertaining to me that for the key chain, she chose two pictures of me (one with her, one with her sister) and both were taken by myself. Yes, I'm easily entertained.
My dad bought me some really lovely Russian things - one a hair barrette (Kat, I bought you one just like it!) and a brooch of the same lacquer style. And Theophilus gave me what I'd bugged him about since before he left for college: a tie-on wrap skirt of old sari material. :)
Leah was amazing (like usual) and gave Theophilus a sketch of him, and then she gave another sketch to my parents that was of all of the family before Theophilus went to college. Yes, with Belle and Tink and Lance and Harrison. It's a cute picture, and the best present she could have given us. (Thanks Leah!!!)

On Christmas Day, I slept in and then decided to wear Theophilus and Leah's presents with a green top that I'd gotten from Mum four years ago for Christmas. All of that was green, so I took the bow ribbon that Leah had used on my parent's present and tied that in my hair, which looked very nice. We spent a good chunk of the morning baking more cookies and then getting the ham ready, before settling down to our computers. I also knitted for a while, and talked on the phone with friends, and wrote for a few hours. (Yes, some productivity!)
Later, we ate dinner and had a good time and after that, we settled down and watched The Muppets' Christmas Carol. Jhaniel, you would have been happy. When we'd finished with that, I went and knitted for a while in bed, while I believe Mum slept and the guys watched Bourne Identity. Oh, for the fun of Christmas!

Today, well, it was a slow day; I wrote, we visited friends, and we've all spent a good deal of time on the computer. Didn't get any more of those packages or cards mailed out, but tomorrow's as good as any. However, I did post a writing-present to my friends on my other blog! So, not a waste in the least.

And I had to have a new background after having the same one for over a month. (I have to change constantly... or I get tired. Like renovating a house, only cheaper and a lot easier, and more fun!)

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Wait - Already?


~ The Man-In-The-Moon Tree. ~
It struck me today. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.
WAIT! What? Tomorrow? You have got to be kidding me! I ... haven't wrapped... haven't sent... oops. Well. They're still presents even if they are late. I still love everyone just as much. Apparently, even shopping two months ahead doesn't do me much good in getting the packages out in time. A few people have their presents.
Today we went to Leah's house for their family's Christmas party, which was a lot of fun! Sometime, I'll post pictures of that and how lovely their house was. (They are all artists, so their house is a work of art.) I was very tired however, and not completely myself - a side effect, it seems, of my concussion. Plus, I was using my old glasses, so my sight was not completely there. However, I had a lovely time and am so glad they invited us.
Anyways, it's a little late, and I'm tired, so I'm not going to write much more here.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Hmm...

Yes, they make doggie-lover trees...


Well, sorry, no photos of kitties today. They are being quite lively, and won't stay still for photos. Or, they're all asleep on top of each other and you can't tell quite where one kitty starts and another one ends. Hopefully I'll get those soon.  But hey, I remembered that I was supposed to take them, which is positive.
What's this about memory? Well, yesterday, I went out skiing with Leah, my dad and Theophilus. And it was icy, and I didn't have that great of control over my skiis. On the way down a hill, I did a somersault and then slid on my head for about twenty yards. At least, that's how far Dad says I went. I don't remember past the somersault - I blacked out and broke my glasses. So, now I'm slightly blind. My face sustained most of the damage but I could ski myself out to the van. I was fine for a while, just a little sore, then I got home. 
Too avoid scaring anyone -including my family- badly, we'll just say I had a hard time with remembering some people, even those closest to me, like Andromanche, very clearly. But that passed, I was pretty bad for about an hour, and then it all came back. I'm very thankful, and now feel a little silly for some of the questions that I asked her, and others. 
Unfortunately, we weren't able to fix my glasses, and so today, I had a concert. And I couldn't read the music very well. Good thing it was all just carols and on my violin, right? And no one was paying enough attention to notice when I made mistakes, so it was perfect. 
All in all, I had an interesting weekend, and my apologies if I was supposed to call you yesterday afternoon - I think I had a slight bit of an excuse. 

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Christmas Concert Photos!





Well, many of the pictures were blurry, but here are a few. The top one is me and my piano teacher, who also plays violin and viola, during the Telemann piece we performed.
The next two are of the chamber orchestra, which is one of my favourite groups.
And yes, kitten pictures later! Right now, they're working on opening their eyes, so some are rather piratical.

Friday, 19 December 2008

After the Concert

The Hunter's Tree.
So, I told Jhaniel earlier that I was going to post pictures of the kitties... and especially of Earl Grey, since she asked. Well, I haven't taken them, and haven't loaded them on the computer. I'm way too tired today! 
However, our concert was fantastic. We had a very large crowd, and everything went smoothly. Of course, on my quartet, I couldn't hear two of the players, but apparently we sounded good to the audience, and that's what matters. 
It astounded me how fast the evening was over, and how little of it there seemed to be. But the time had gone by and everything was wonderful. I got to see many friends whom I haven't seen in far too long, including several college-students - one of whom had told me a week ago that he wasn't going to be there. 
Tomorrow, I'm going to go through the pictures my dad took and get those photos for Jhaniel. 

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Cats, Christmas and Concerts

Here are the long-promised kitty-pictures! You can't see them too well, but this was the first night. I'll probably take more in the days to come. 
Here is another snowflake-angel-Christmas Tree decorated ... Christmas Tree. Yes, that's right, decorations that match the tree. 
Sorry I didn't blog last night, I was tired and doing everything else. Today was interesting, I spent a lot time talking to a friend of mine and then spent the rest of the day in town with Theophilus. I enjoyed hanging out at the coffee-shop because I'm so used to being alone there, or with mere aqquantances. After that, we had rehearsal for our Christmas concert tomorrow night, which went well. I'm quite excited and will blog about that late tomorrow most likely. 

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Of Snowflakes and Blogging

Today's tree is the snow-flake tree... and that's not just because it's very snowy out right now! I rather like this tree, it's very pretty and elegant looking. 
It's been a long time since I was posting regularly about my life, but I suppose that's because my blog-posts have been of Christmas trees and such rather than the day-to-day happenings around the house. Of course, the kitties merrited their own post, and with them was the announcement of Theophilus coming home. But other than that, I haven't really posted about life since November. Perhaps I ought to leave the tree posts till the evening and add them to what I would normally have written for that day. Perhaps I'm the only one who noticed this and cares that I haven't really been writing much here. 
Let me know what you think, and I'll probably do another post this evening with pictures of the cats and with a update on the doings of Laura. 
So, until tonight, my blog-offering of a tree will have to do. :)

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Monday, 15 December 2008

Gramma's Tree!


This isn't from a store, it's actually my Gramma's tree. She sent me pictures of it last night and I thought I'd blog about it! I love her Nativity set... the colours are amazing. The only thing I have about the tree is that it'd be too thin to fit everything I'd want for ornaments.
And yes, it's an angel tree. :) My Gramma really loves angels.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Fly Home For Christmas...


For all my friends in college and away from home, this tree is for you, reminding you to fly home this Christmas! And how?
All the birdhouses of course!
How Santa fits in with birdhouses, I'm not yet certain, but he does, and so perhaps it might be that flying reindeer qualify him to remind you to fly home for Christmas this year.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Of Latte, Mocha, Chai, Earl Grey, And Cappuccino

Okay, no, I'm not zinging on caffeine. Although, coffee might help me right now as I'm staying up till Theophilus comes home.
That's right, he's coming home tonight. He was supposed to have arrived an hour ago, but his flight was delayed. Am I excited to see him? You bet. I've had the count-down till tonight going for at least a month now. It seems like an eternity since I saw him in August, but I suppose really, it wasn't that long.
But, you're probably asking, why the title of the blog, Laura? Come on already!
Well, you remember, I have a year-old cat, Noel, right? I somehow forgot to mention that when we came home from New York, she was quite fat. No - not fat. She was pregnant. Apparently, she had been for a while, it was just way more noticeable.
Tonight, she had her kittens. Five of them. And their names? You guessed it : Latte, Mocha, Chai, Earl Grey and Cappuccino. They're all adorable and fuzzy, still blind and wobbly, but so cute! I took a lot of pictures, which I'll load probably tomorrow morning, early.
Noel's doing fine, though she is really tired and weak herself, but she's been a good mother so far, and all kittens seem like they'll survive.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Tree of Mini-Snowmen


As if the large, swashy, creepily-too-many-on-one-tree snowmen weren't enough, we here have a tree covered in literally hundreds of little snowmen. They prevade everything this year. Once it was angels, then it was llamas, and now we're on to snowmen. Honestly, I looked closely at one of these guys, and he was a burly little baseball short-stop who looked like he might've played for the mafia team. (Cheesy imitation of a man with a baseball bat talking to 'is Uncle Louie...)
Anyways, enough of my tired snowman rant, enjoy yet another tree from my collection, and let's hope I don't run out here soon. I doubt I'll be seeing too many around Alaska, and I don't want to be out of the house much at all right now...

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

My Christmas Town

Here is the town under our tree, also known as Laura's Christmas Towne. *smiles cheerily* Yes, I reserve the right to name it after me, since this is my blog, and I set it up.
And this is the cafe of the town! If I lived in the town, this would be my home, and where I'd work and spend much of my time. Not that that's surprising in any way.
The clock shoppe! Also known as the haunt of my brother. I think that's him there on the snowman, and convienently, it's right next to the cafe. (I'm the girl in the centre!)
My parents can have run of the Inn. And yes, there's a fiddler and then a singer, an oboist, and a cellist there. Carolling, something right after my heart!
The Toy Shop. Andromanche's hang-out! Okay, so maybe it would be where a bunch of my friends would be. But I like this building a lot, it's cute, don't you think? Maybe they have some good toys for helping to build snowmen! (nods to Jhaniel there! Moderation is key!)
The fire station. I'm not sure who's haunt this is. But every town needs one, right? And this place is really quite detailed. I'm going to try to hook up some lights to put inside the houses to make them have that special Christmas glow.
The best place in town, the chapel! This one is probably my favourite. I'm actually never quite sure which side is the front, which could be from the fact that three sides have doors, and the most ornate door is on this side you see, the steeple is on the opposite, yet on the third, there are several doors. One of these days, I'll figure it out. Maybe. No promises there.

And now, you're probably wondering why I wrote all that about who's haunt, etc., on all the buildings. Well, a few years ago, Jhaniel wrote a piece that has stayed with me. (I believe she should try to publish it... hint.) Anyways, when Andromanche first read it, she assumed that Jhaniel was writing about a sort of elvish town that somehow was kinda like a normal town, only with elves instead of men. That also stuck in my mind, and I've often thought about writing a story set in a modern, elven town. A Christmas elven town, to be exact. And when I set up these houses and people, I was inspired. I'm probably going to have some of the characters based around aspects of my friends and family - as we would be as elves... modern elves. I hope Tolkien isn't rolling over in his grave right now. I still have a few kinks to iron out, but I'm going to set up a plan for the story soon and get around to writing it as soon as I have time. (After I finish Aredain and Jhaniel's novella-present.) Goodness, I love being able to finish stuff, because I don't like starting lots of new projects while my old ones are half-done.

So, thanks to Jhaniel and Andromanche. And my dad, for getting that town all those years ago.

The Long-Promised Tree

Yes, at long last, I have finished the tree and have loaded the photos to my computer! Aren't you proud? And to think: it didn't take me until Christmas day to do it either. *smiles* I'm happy. And most likely, you're relieved to not read another "Sorry... maybe tomorrow?". Ahem, yes, my procrastination works on many levels. But as you see, my tree doesn't really have a theme like the ones I saw in stores. So, it can be described as a tree that reflects me. And has a bunch of really old ornaments. (Even that, I suppose, could be a reflection of my personality. Depends on how deep into this you want to go.)
Also, one might gather that I like Christmas lights. This is certainly true. I do love lights, they're wonderful and make me feel happy. However, this year, in my room, I have a couple (read, about ten) strands of lights in my room, which my mother believes to be a little... much. Even my father - who taught me pretty much everything I know about such matters - says I might have over-done it just a bit. That's the highest praise I could imagine for my, shall we say, decorating skills. (My parents will be shaking their heads when they read this.)
Anyways, I also thought I'd show you a bit of what our Nativity set looks like. I think it was my dad's grandfather who made it, but I do know that it's very old. [Edit: He made the stable, but not the figures. I have no clue where those came from.] But I like it. It wouldn't be our tree if we didn't have that set under it. I realized after I finished taking pictures that I hadn't got the third king in the picture, but you'll just have to imagine him.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Frosty, The Snowman-Tree

Yesterday was penguins and reindeer, today are odd, melted-looking snowmen. And candy canes. At least this time they sort of go together. It was cute. Really.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Photos from Friday

Lana, after we had been goofing off with her sister's camera... and many other things too. And no, I guess, I will just have to give up on why they had those feathers with the twigs on the table...
Leah, probably telling me and Lana to behave. (Which didn't work.) Yes, these pictures are terribly dark, but they'll have to do.
I realised after I loaded this picture that I somewhat resemble a moon... Yeah, I'm just that pale.
Me and Lana, the queens of goofing off and pretending to be posh.

Here are me and Leah, she looks much better than I do in this photo, but I like it anyways. (Maybe because it's with her!)

The Seventh Tree

This is the tree of the crazy reindeer and penguins. It was cuter in the store. Honestly, I don't know of anyone who'd put penguins on their tree. And the reindeer should have stayed with Santa. But, yes, this is my tree offering. I really will get around to my tree one of these days.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Saturday's Late Tree...


The Tree that Took Flight.
Yes, that's right, this tree is covered in cardinals and red bows. Sorry this post is late, I thought I was going to do our tree, but I don't have it up yet. (I know! But, really, I've had a lot going these last few days, and yesterday was my birthday, so I have plenty of excuses!) And then, today, I was busy cleaning the area for the tree, then I had Music Theory (MET!!!), and then Leah was over and Jess came and we watched Lord of the Rings. I'm actually still watching it. It's lovely.
So, yes, we'll see about having the pictures of my tree on Monday, if not, then sometime later next week.

Friday, 5 December 2008

The Caroller's Tree


Yes, I'm a musician, and so of course I had to take a picture of the tree covered in musical instruments! Honestly, I think they had all of them that would be in an orchestra, and then they had these adorable little music stands too. And of course, I felt like asking if the tree itself played Christmas songs. However, I restrained myself from that. And from bursting into a few carols.
I don't know how I did it.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Keep Warm This Christmas (Tree)


It's the mitten-tree! I just thought this was a really cute idea... Mittens and little snowmen and gingerbread men. Trying to keep your Christmas holidays warm and cosy!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

I'm Alive

Jhaniel wrote that my quiet, reflective posts made her feel better when she was getting down. Well, she returned the favour with her post yesterday - I needed that.
I should start out, yes I am alive. Thank God, I'm still here. That could have been changed yesterday.
Don't worry, I'm not even hurt (beyond the bruise on my knee) or anything. And considering that I could have, in the words of a friend, been a raisin in a crushed coke can; I'd say I got off remarkably well. Okay, no more meandering.
I was driving down a very icy, nasty road to get to my piano teacher's house. All last week, it'd been fairly warm out, and then yesterday, it got cold and everything was slick and really not the nicest conditions. But, I was going about fifteen under the speed limit, and that was doing me fine. When I was still quite a ways off, I decided to start braking, even though normally I'd have waited. But, I didn't want to take any chances, and Dad and I had a discussion the day before about me needing to give myself more time to brake the car. The brakes didn't exactly like it, but I was slowed down to fifteen miles an hour and about to turn.
That's when I realised that the semi-truck that had been a long way behind me was now a few feet from my back and not slowing down. Adrenaline took over and I decided I'd rather ditch the car than get smashed by a semi. I turned right then.
And my brakes froze.
And my 4x4 kicked off.
And what do you know? My tires spun out on the ice.
I missed the road and went down into the fifteen foot ditch, which had about two or so feet of snow. It seemed like the car was going to over-turn when a couple trees stopped me on the passenger side. I began praying right then, and didn't stop. No one stopped to help me, the semi continued on - for all I know, he doesn't know I ditched. Somehow or another, I got the car out of that ditch. When I got to my teacher's house, I was extremely shaken up. However, I wasn't hurt, minus the fact that when I ditched, my right leg had smashed itself into the area where the CD player/heat controls are. But the side of the car looked terrible. There were several big dents in it, and the doors now don't work properly. But it still works, although not quite as well as one would like. Thankfully, my teacher has a large store of tea and got me calmed down.
So, yes, I'm alive, and very grateful for Jhaniel giving me a calm, peaceful post to read. Thank you, my dear friend. Oh, and be glad you don't have ice in Hawaii.
Somewhat surprisingly, I'm not afraid of driving even. Not even in my battle-scarred car.

On The Second Day of Christmas

Little ginger-bread men... aren't they cute???

Monday, 1 December 2008

Christmas Tree for Dec 1st

For every day until Christmas, at seven in the morning, there will be a new Christmas tree on the blog. I took most of the pictures in New York, and will probably only post those, unless I see a tree in Alaska I like very much.
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