Yesterday had some exciting moments. I met with a new designer, unfortunately a print designer, but open to  learning to adapt to the web, and good enough and versatile enough that I felt quite excited. More about that later, probably.

I also won a Kindle. Yes, it is true: to my complete astonishment, I won a Kindle in a haiku contest. You will recall, perhaps, that I won some expensive software I had coveted in a comment contest not too long ago. For both of these, the pay-per-word is impressive. It seems a little wrong, since I already own a Kindle, but #2 son reminded me of the time he won a second crash pad at a climbing competition. He had won his first crash pad at a similar competition, so he gave that second prize to a competitor.

“There was no appreciation,” he said. “Everyone just said I was stupid.”

Actually, I would like to buy a Kindle for every member of my family, so I am now agonizing over who it should go to. Fortunately, it is unlikely to arrive before Christmas, and also #2 daughter told everyone about my winning it, so I don’t have the option of giving it to someone as a Christmas gift.

Freed of that pressure, I can consider whether #1 son, now a creative writing major and therefore likely to need classics of lit as his textbooks, could save a lot of my money on college textbooks if he had a Kindle, or whether #2 daughter, a frequent reader, would most value it. #1 daughter loves gadgets, though, and #2 son is actually away at college without access to the home library, so either of them might appreciate it just as much. We may need to pass it around as the family kindle.

I got a good deal of work done, and took the evening off to bake cookies, work on Christmas cards and end of the year calculations, and to do a bit more holiday knitting.

According to the HGP, we shouldn’t still be working on Christmas gifts, since that way lies madness, or at least last-minute stress, but I am being calm about it and figuring that I can save them till next year if they don’t get finished in time.

Today’s song is “El Noi de la Mare,” a Catalan folk carol. Many translations exist, and John Rutter arranged it under the name “Carol of the Gifts.” The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings it as “What Shall We Give to the Babe in the Manger?” using these words:

What shall we give to the babe in the manger,
What shall we offer the child in the stall?
Incense and spices and gold we’ve got plenty-
Are these the gifts for the king of us all?

What shall we give to the boy in the temple,
What shall we offer the man by the sea?
Palms at his feet and hosannas uprising;
Are these for him who will carry the tree?

What shall we give to the lamb who was offered,
Rising the third day and shedding his love?
Tears for his mercy we’ll weep at the manger,
Bathing the infant come down from above.

That’s more literary and better structured than this translation, but I like the folk-style of these words:

What shall we give to the Son of the Virgin?
What can we give that the Babe will enjoy?
First, we shall give Him a tray full of raisins,
Then we shall offer sweet figs to the Boy.
First, we shall give Him a tray full of raisins,
Then we shall offer sweet figs to the Boy.

What shall we give the Beloved of Mary?
What can we give to her beautiful Child?
Raisins and olives and nutmeats and honey,
Candy and figs and some cheese that is mild.
Raisins and olives and nutmeats and honey,
Candy and figs and some cheese that is mild.

What shall we do if the figs are not ripened?
What shall we do if the figs are still green?
We shall not fret; if they’re not ripe for Easter,
On a Palm Sunday, ripe figs will be seen.
We shall not fret, if they’re not ripe for Easter,
On a Palm Sunday, ripe figs will be seen.

This song is perfect for guitar — in fact, some say it is the last piece that Segovia played. Click that last link for tab, or try a video lesson for playing it.Christopher Parkening has recorded it, if you don’t care to learn to play it on your own guitar and would rather just listen to it.

But it’s a simple song, and easy to sing, and it will be perfect if you are like me and still have presents to buy, wrap, or make. That list of goodies might also be inspiring for those of us who are still working on the holiday feast, or stockings (though I think the figs and candy rather than the cheese should be put into stockings).

I leave you with this picture of Toby the dog.

I think that #2 son should have made the bed up properly and not just prepared himself a little nest on top of   the unfinished quilt, but Toby is completely blissed out because #2 son is here and is allowing him to sleep on the bed, something which Toby is forbidden to do. No gift could be better.