sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

August 2, 2023

#giftmasinjuly 2023
posted by soe 1:40 am

Many thanks to Monica from Newbery and Beyond for my delightful GiftmasinJuly package!


Included were three (!) books from my TBR list — Neil Gaiman’s The View from the Cheap Seats; Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop, edited by Otto Penzler; and Lily King’s Five Tuesdays in Winter. I am going to have many happy hours of reading ahead of me!


I also got some goodies from Iceland, including fruits of the forest tea and chocolate, and some new, fun stickers!


Thank you so much, Monica, and thank you to Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl for hosting this favorite summer swap1

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December 25, 2022

merry christmas!
posted by soe 1:39 am

May your Christmas be merry and your heart full of joy and laughter!

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December 24, 2022

virtual advent tour 2022: day 24
posted by soe 6:00 am

Virtual Advent Tour 2022

Happy Christmas Eve! I hope you’re healthy and safe and have heat and power and are able to be with loved ones in real life or over the phone or video chat.

From about the time I was in middle school, my mother would plan elaborate Christmas Eve feasts for after we got back from the evening Christmas Eve service. These dinners continued until after my brother and I graduated from college, although they got earlier so Rudi and I could make it to a midnight candles and carols service at church where we lived.

For the past couple decades, we’ve scaled back so that we do a Christmas Eve buffet while we watch holiday movies. I believe this year it will include Love Actually and Christmas Eve, which Loretta Young’s estate has added to YouTube, should you want to watch one of her (and several other actors’) final roles.

I also like to sneak in a viewing of Christmas Eve on Sesame Street before bed.

How do you like to spend your Christmas Eve? Perhaps you still need to wrap presents for a couple hours and would like something to listen to while you’re doing it. Here’s the classic New York Public Library recording of Neil Gaiman reading Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol:

New York Public Library · Neil Gaiman Reads "A Christmas Carol"

Maybe you don’t need to fill that much time. Maybe you’re looking for to watch something quick while you’re waiting for someone else to shower or for a batch of cookies to bake. Here’s First Lady Michelle Obama reading Clement Moore’s “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”:

And if even that feels like too much time to take, here’s a Christmas song to listen to while you’re getting dressed. It’s Stan Rogers performing, “At Last I’m Ready for Christmas,” and if you’re still running, you might relate:

Whatever your frame of mind now, I hope by tonight you’re ready to curl up in front of a fireplace or a movie or in bed and celebrate.

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December 23, 2022

virtual advent tour 2022: day 23
posted by soe 6:00 am

Virtual Advent Tour 2022

Last two days, folks! We’ve got this!

First up, a song for you:

Second, if you did the Christmas carol quiz last week and were hoping for some answers, I’ve posted them in the comments.

Finally, we’re off on an actual tour! Marg at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader, one of the co-founders of the Virtual Advent Tour, is hosting our penultimate post for this year. She’s on holiday and has taken us to not one but two holiday markets. Head over to see the sights!

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December 22, 2022

virtual advent tour 2022: day 22
posted by soe 6:00 am

Virtual Advent Tour 2022

When my brother and I were young, we took piano lessons with Mrs. Wheeler, an older lady who lived nearby who also served as the organist for her local church. (Incidentally, Mrs. Wheeler was a popular teacher in our neck of the woods. Her other clients included, all before I personally knew any of them, the older sister of a classmate, the pitcher on my softball team my sophomore year, and most coincidentally, Karen, my dearest BFF, who was amongst the advanced students.)

Twice a year, we’d have a concert in her living room — once in the spring for our parents and once in December, which I think was just for the students and after which she’d serve us refreshments and give us handmade ornaments. (If my parents put any of ours up, I’ll add a photo later today, but I didn’t think of this post idea until after we’d left home, which is where most of mine are.)

But essentially this meant that we started learning our two Christmas carols in mid-November so that we’d have them in good shape for mid-December.

There’s a possibility there’s an old program downstairs in the piano bench, where our sheet music lives, but I don’t want to wake anyone to find out. Since I don’t have any reference materials for the songs we all would have performed and without video confirmation to the contrary, let’s assume the songs we all would have played went something like this:

Karen, this is how you remember it, too, right?

Tomorrow, maybe I’ll sit down and see if I can play something Christmassy if there’s a time when no one’s around.

Did the rest of you have Christmas performances with instrument teachers?

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December 21, 2022

virtual advent tour 2022: day 21
posted by soe 6:00 am

Virtual Advent Tour 2022

Happy Solstice, everyone! By this evening, we’ll have passed the shortest day of the year and be on our way to lighter times once more. Hold onto that fact with both hands if you need to. You’re nearly there.

Also, somehow I got distracted and did not wish any of our readers who celebrate a Happy Hanukkah. I hope the first three nights have treated you well.

Are you a fan of the Peanuts’ Christmas special? I can remember being allowed to stay up late and it being so memorable that I can tell you that the sponsors when I was a kid were McDonald’s and Peppermint Patty.

If you have equally strong memories about the special, head over to Rudi at Random Duck, where he’s got some of the back story on that special and the soundtrack to it by Vince Guaraldi.

Three more days, folks. We’ve got this.

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