adv calendar It is December first, so we can begin opening the doors on the advent calendar my mother gave us.

I have always loved this custom.

When the children were small, they ran out every morning in December to see what picture was hidden behind the little doors, crowding around the child whose turn it was to find and open it.

Now they still like it, and still take turns, but no longer rush out in the morning to see it.

Especially on a day like today, which is a snow day.snowday

People from really snowy places are allowed to look at the amount of snow we had and laugh. My friend from Michigan assures me that the girls in her town weren’t even allowed to wear pants to school until it got to 20 below, and snow days did not take place unless the snow was so high you couldn’t open the doors.

However, you have to remember that we are a hilly place with a lot of unpaved roads, no snowplows, and school bus drivers who drive in the snow only a few days a year. So our inch or two of snow is enough to close the schools.

The threat of it (and the ice and sleet and the sheriff coming in to say “It’s getting bad out there” and all the sirens as people slid off the road and into one another) was enough to send me home early yesterday (I had already finished all the inventory for the day).runner 12 #2 son helped me come up with the design for quilting the ends of the runners, and I completed one side.

I intend to go to work today, but I will probably still be able to finish the other side tonight, or at least tomorrow.

I am hoping that the roads will clear before I have to go to work. Since it is the first, I have to take my paycheck to the bank as well, so I cannot be a wimp and walk rather than drive.

I will not, however, be driving to the gym, so let me tell you about one more exercise DVD: Donna Richardson’s 3-Day Rotation. This consists of three 20-minute sessions: a kickboxing segment, circuit toning with weights, and a “dance party” plus an extra advanced section. You can do two or three sessions at a time to reach your time goal, and vary the weights to increase intensity. You can use your own music, turn off the talking, and click for close-ups of moves.

The instructor is relentlessly cheerful but not irritatingly perky, the “students” are varied and seem like a fun group, and overall it is a lot like the classes at your local gym.

We need a snow song for today. There are plenty of cheerful ones that you may already be tired of, including “Sleigh Ride,” “Let it Snow,” and my personal least favorite “Winter Wonderland,” but surely the best is “In the Bleak Midwinter.” Christina Rosetti wrote the words and Gustav Holst wrote the tune, and the result shows what you get when you let real artists do their stuff. This link allows you to have the midi pretend to be bells or an organ or a piano, which is kind of fun, but the phrasing is terrible. I like the bells the best. You can find a bit of history of the song and its creators here. Here you can listen to it in parts and print out sheet music for a variety of instruments (including SATB). It is hard to think of any instrument this tune would not sound good on, because it is a gorgeous tune. I am thinking that a clarinet might be particularly nice, but a good vocal solo on this is hard to beat.  It has been recorded by folks from Kiri Te Kanawa to James Taylor, so you can easily listen to it if you don’t sing or play.

But you could at least internally hum it for a plaintive counterpoint to what will, I hope, not be a bleak day.