Our anthem yesterday was Handel’s “Hallelujah Amen,” which you can hear, if you like, by clicking the link. I was having trouble with the count at the page turn — and I was not the only one. I wrote out the count and tried really hard to do it correctly, but the ladies on either side of me were doing it differently — differently from me and from each other, so I don’t know which of us was right. It is possible that this gave the song a couple of additional parts and an intriguing fugue-like quality, or perhaps a psychotic fugue quality. However, since the Oldest Member was having to sing the tenor part all by himself, I feel confident that we were not the worst thing about the piece.

Sometimes you have to feel sorry for the congregation.

Apart from that, I had a pleasant day with the family.

Oh, pleasant apart from the quarrel I had with #1 son. The cause of the quarrel was not important, and it wasn’t much of a quarrel, but we are not a quarrelsome family, so it was upsetting. Can I use that as an excuse for the very bad pictures I am posting here?costume

#2 daughter, to whom I told the whole story since she called in the middle of it (and #1 son really hates that, especially if he hasn’t been able to get in with his version first) pointed out that the boy is 17, so I should be glad he isn’t trying to bring about Armageddon single-handedly, or smoking behind the barn or something. Raising his voice to me and saying “frickin'” is not that bad.

The completed madrigal costume can be seen, more or less, at left.

It actually looks pretty good on. I may need assistance lacing the thing up.

We know that it was only relatively recently that women were able to dress themselves without assistance, and I suppose that must have seemed like the whole point of having sisters, for those women who did not have maidservants, but surely modern costumes should be designed so that a woman can get into them herself.

We are in a new venue this year, but I suppose there will be a women’s changing room, and the usual chains of lacing — a soprano lacing up an alto who is lacing up another soprano.

The alternative is to have your husband lace you up at home and drive over in costume. However, one year Fine Soprano did that and her car stalled on a hill on the way and the police stopped to assist her and there she was in her costume. The director that year had insisted on cleavage, too.

She hasn’t quite recovered from the embarrassment yet.

gray sweater 11 #2 son’s sweater, with the back completed and the front up to the armscye.

I am using a gauge of 4.5 stitches to the inch, and feeling that it might have been better at a smaller gauge, but it certainly is going quickly at this one.

vintage buttons

The very cool vintage buttons for the now nearly completed SWAP jacket. I don’t think you can see them, actually, but this was the best I could do. They have a beaded metal edge around some sort of smoky translucent plastic.

Like many old plastics, they are unfamiliar enough that they do not register as plastic. They seem to be a shell of some kind, though I feel sure that they are actually plastic. “Casa de Leon Extravaganza” is what their card said.

Someday I will arrange for buttonholes on this jacket and be able to wear it, but until then it is still in the running for “slowest garment in North America.” However, I did hem the sleeves and sew on the buttons, so that was progress.

sunday dinner To complete my display of really bad photos, I offer you Sunday dinner. Lasagna and Key Lime Pie with meringue, with the central trivet waiting for the hot vegetable to arrive. Reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma persuaded me that there were worse things than a meal composed of real foods that contained cane sugar and cheese, so the boys got a lavish high-fat meal. I continue to be amazed by The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I have mostly stopped reading out bits, because #2 son told me frankly that he doesn’t care about agribusiness, but I would strongly recommend this book.

The author, Michael Pollan, wrote The Botany of Desire, another book which I greatly enjoyed. He has some very interesting things to say about evolution and the relationships between humans and plants, a topic I don’t often think about on my own.

I also read Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. I saw the movie last year, and felt that it didn’t do justice to the rather interesting premise involved, so when I saw the book at frugalreader I requested it. The book doesn’t really do justice to the concept either. At the risk of sounding sexist, I have to wonder whether the male prespective was a problem. Grisham came up with unlikely things like vindictive carolers, rather than the disappointment and hurt feelings one might expect from family members, anger among people who felt they had to take over the work the skippers usually did, and so on. It also seemed odd to me that the Xmas-skippers continued to do a lot of shopping and so forth, while refusing to do effortless things like listening to carols or attending church services (they were regular church-goers in both the book and the movie, so it was not an extra task for Christmas). In fact, all that they identifiably failed to do was 1) decorate their house (which the neighbors offered to do for them), 2) give and attend a couple of parties, and 3) send Christmas cards. Since they replaced these tasks with tanning, arranging for a cruise, going on a diet, and spending enormous amounts of time explaining themselves to others, it is hard to see how they benefitted.

It did seem like the right thing to read while not making Christmas presents, though. #2 son has informed me that he wants to wear his new sweater for Christmas, so it must be finished by then, but it cannot be considered a present, since he is watching me make it. However, I did address Christmas cards, and order prints to put in them. I do not usually send pictures in the Christmas cards (and you will not wonder at that, considering the quality of my pictures) but this year I have a current photo of all the kids together, including Son-in-law, and this is rare enough that I want to take advantage of it.

Today I must drive over to the campus with #1 son’s scholarship applications and application fee, things which I fear will have to go to various different offices, and to the eye doctor for contact solution for the boys. I hope still to make it to the gym. And, unless fairies took care of it for me over the weekend, I will have the math and language arts areas to take down and put up at work. This leaves little room for surprises today, which may be a good thing.