Monday, December 9, 2013
Sunday, December 8, 2013
For as long as I can remember, my dear old dad has never failed to deliver The Classic Line From the Kitchen during the grand finale of our family's Christmas Dinner:
Posted by Candygirlflies at 10:17 PM
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Posted by Candygirlflies at 9:38 PM
Executives also had qualms about the decision to use actual children to voice several of the characters, rather than hiring adults. Although Peter Robbins (the voice of Charlie Brown), Christopher Shea (Linus) and Tracy Stratford (Lucy) were experienced young actors, others had some difficulty. Kathy Steinburg, the little girl who played Sally, was so young that she couldn't read, and had to be cued one line at a time, throughout the entire production.
Apparently, the inclusion of jazz music composed by the great Vince Guaraldi was also felt to be an inappropriate choice for what CBS considered to be a "children's program".
Clearly, the Powers that Be had completely missed the point of what the "Peanuts" comic strip was actually all about.
As I'm sure you can all imagine, the BIGGEST fight that Charles M. Schulz had with the network was about the inclusion of Linus' monologue. Schulz, who was a deeply spiritual man, wanted to not only include the story of Christ's birth, taken from the Gospel of Luke, but he also insisted upon using the King James Version of the Bible as the script.
Executives tried every argument they could think of to influence him to cut the scene. They were convinced that the American public would completely loose interest in the show and change the channel... And when it became clear that they weren't going to win, they tried using a threat:
Posted by Candygirlflies at 8:00 AM
Friday, December 6, 2013
Posted by Candygirlflies at 7:16 AM
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Posted by Candygirlflies at 7:11 AM
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Posted by Candygirlflies at 10:06 PM
Monday, December 2, 2013
Of one that is so fayr and bright
Velut maris stella,
Brighter than the dayes light,
Parens et puella:
Ic crie to thee, thou see to me,
Levedy, preye thi Sone for me
That ich mote come to thee.
Levedy, flour of alle thing,
Rosa sine spina,
Thu bere Jhesu, hevene king,
Of alle thu berst the pris,
Levedy, quene of Parays
Benjamin Britten's childhood years were remarkable, and he produced a great many works, some of which were of a very high standard. They include a symphony, various other orchestral pieces, works for chamber ensemble, suites for solo piano, drafts for Masses, the symphonic poem "Chaos and Cosmos", and many songs. All of these works now form the extensive collection of his juvenilia at the Britten-Pears Library.
Even after leaving home to become a boarder at Gresham’s School at Holt in Norfolk, he pursued his musical passion and was extremely prolific. In spite of terrible homesickness, he wrote, performed and listened to music at every opportunity, and often sat up in bed reading musical scores. From this time come his settings of poems by Walter de la Mare, Hilaire Belloc, and the orchestral cycle "Quatre Chansons Françaises", with words by Victor Hugo and Paul Verlaine.
"Hymn to the Virgin" was one of Benjamin Britten's earliest religious choral works, and was written before he left Gresham's School: he would only have been about fourteen or fifteen years old. The piece was published in 1930, and first performed at a concert given by the Lowestoft Musical Society in St. John's Church on January 5, 1931. Britten was then just eighteen years of age.
Many years later in 1956, "Simple Symphony" (a piece based upon works included in Britten's collection of juvenilia) was recorded. The composer wrote this little portrait of his younger self to be included on the sleeve note:
Posted by Candygirlflies at 11:14 PM
Sunday, December 1, 2013
performed by The Tennessee Tech Trombone Choir
Posted by Candygirlflies at 8:54 PM
It's the First of December!
Welcome, one and all, to the sixth season of the Musical Advent Calendar here at "I Can Fly, Just Not Up"!
I hope that you'll find our musical selections in celebration of the Christmas Season to be a restful interlude from all the hustle and bustle leading up to the Big Day.
It's sad but true that the "busy-ness of life" makes it necessary that we remember to schedule a little time for ourselves every once in awhile.
It's not easy. Trust me, I get it.
My regular readers know that I'm a mother to three rapidly growing girls, juggling a career as a teacher with a side-gig at a knitting store. If I'm not tap-dancing as fast as I can at the front of a classroom, or helping to facilitate other peoples' yarn habits, it's a pretty safe bet that my rear-end is firmly glued to the driver's seat of the New Blue Loser Cruiser.
We are ALWAYS on the go; rarely at home.
I confess, I AM THAT WOMAN standing in the grocery line knitting a sock while I wait, usually during the five-o'clock arsenic hour, while the kids are engaged in various extra-curricular activities... Yes, I am that obsessed with not wasting a single moment of my waking hours.
"You're a long time dead," my Grandmother used to say.
THAT'S when I'll catch up on my sleep.
That's a whole other level of stress, altogether. Talk about having to try to be all things, to all people.
We mothers of the world MAKE Christmas. We INVENTED it. The Holy Mother herself did the best she could for her family, under the circumstances in which she found herself, that first Christmas Eve.
At this time of year, my gift to you, from one busy person to another, is this:
A golden opportunity every day, from now until December 25, to sit down and rest. Just BE. Don't do anything, don't cook anything, don't wrap anything. Put your feet up, and close your eyes. NO mental list-making!! And no worrying.
Christmas is coming, whether we attend to all that racket out there or not. It doesn't have to be a perfect, grand production. In fact, it's often more memorable if it isn't.
I'm casting my mind back, now, to several years ago when I was expecting 13 for Christmas Eve Dinner. The brand new dining set had all arrived, EXCEPT FOR THE TABLE'S FOUR LEGS. I seriously considered throwing the linen on the floor, nipping out to the Dollar Store for chopsticks, and serving everything Japanese-style. My main concern, however, was that if, even by some miracle, I managed to get the majority of the adults comfortable on their knees... would they ever be able to get back UP?!
Happily, the crisis was averted literally minutes before my guests all arrived. The table legs had been found by the delivery company in another van, in another town. The owner himself, along with his two sons, made the long trek back to our place and finished assembling the furniture, on an evening when they all should have been in their own homes, celebrating with their own families.
I was so grateful, I packaged up and gave them the three big tins of Scottish shortbread I had cranked out in preparation for my company's arrival.
We may have been shortbread-less that Christmas Eve, but we were all able to gather around our table.
Those three guys didn't HAVE to search high-and-low, and then come back with those table legs that night... they could easily have just gone home. I would have understood if they had-- two of them had young children of their own.
They didn't just practice good business that day. They re-affirmed my belief in the goodness of human beings: that doing what's right and what's kind is more important than doing what's easy.
And that right there, folks, is the true essence of the Christmas spirit.
Sometimes we just need to calm ourselves and slow down a little bit to realize that it's here with us, all the time. It's all around us.
We just need a good excuse to stop, to look around, and notice.
The music here every day will be your excuse to do just that.
Posted by Candygirlflies at 7:01 AM
Saturday, November 30, 2013
THERE'S a post title for you...
And it's all come to me in just two days.
Why so happy, you might ask?
Well, I've discovered music from my distant past that I thought was lost to me forever.
When I was a deeply unhappy and disgruntled early highschool student, I used to spend Friday nights alone doing homework in my bedroom.
(Yes, I was THAT POPULAR in grade 9. We won't elaborate, and no, we will NEVER share photographs.)
One thing that I always looked forward to was the ten o'clock program on a London, Ontario radio station, when they would play an entire album of newly released music, with no breaks, and no commercials.
One night, they played music that literally stopped me in my tracks. It was an album of flute music that I had never heard before... a mix of pop and the most extraordinarily innovative "jazzed-up" classical technique.
I had discovered the great Steve Kujala, and his album "Fresh Flute".
It was some of the most joyous, imaginative sound I had ever heard.
During the first song, I frantically rummaged around in my desk drawers until I found a blank cassette tape, and snapped it into my "boom box". (God, remember THOSE??!)
I confess. I pirated a copy of that album that night-- minus the first song, of course.
And I played it over and over again... through those long, lonely nights of homework and studying... I played and listened until that tape finally warped, then snapped altogether.
These were the days long before CDs appeared on the scene... and it was all but impossible to get my hands on a vinyl copy of the music, small towns being what they were, and specialty record stores being scarce. NEVER MIND even bothering to look for it in our local Woolco department store... At the time, if it wasn't Beethoven's 5th (souped up to sound like disco), ACDC, or Chicago (those were the days when Peter Cetera was King of the Monster Ballad), you weren't going to find it in MY hometown.
Time passed, and I cheered up a bit... I found some friends, cut my hair, and fell into the theatre.
But I've never forgotten that music, and how much it meant to me.
Over the years, I've looked it up-- first, through our subscription to the Columbia Record Club, and then on the brand-new "inter-web": on Youtube and on Itunes. To no avail.
Until last week, that is.
Last week, as my eldest daughter stood in front of a music stand in her room, diligently practicing her university audition pieces over and over and over again... I decided to give it another try.
And JOY... There he was:
Through a private seller in Australia (God Bless Amazon!!!) I found the lone copy of the "Fresh Flute" album-- on CD!!-- left on the planet.
I can't even begin to tell you the emotion I felt yesterday, when I fetched it from my mailbox, and slid it into my computer. I hadn't heard these sounds since I was a sad, tired and lonesome fourteen-year-old. THIS was the music that made a difference.
"This music has so much positive energy that it's impossible to be in a bad mood after listening to it. It is overflowing with beautiful melodies," writes Bob James, on the very first page of the liner notes.
And writes Mr. Kujala himself:
Oh, it was... It was. And now, it is, some thirty years later.
Thanks, Steve... I feel like a kid again.
Now, for the IN LOVE part.
Today, I bought a pair of THESE:
They are the "Cadillac", if you will, of the sock-knitting universe.
They are expensive.
And, they are WORTH EVERY PENNY.
Go hence, knitters, and purchase a pair.
Then, get yourself a heavenly sock yarn.
Posted by Candygirlflies at 7:43 PM
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Sunday, November 17, 2013
I woke up this morning to a message from one of my dearest friends.
We met fortuitously nearly a decade ago, when I noticed a car bearing British Columbia licence plates parked on the road outside our school. Who, I wondered, was this newcomer? I had lived in BC for five years, myself, before my first child was born. With my tiny Wee Three tucked firmly in one arm, I leaned up against the vehicle to wait and see who this addition to our community might be.
I finally saw her strolling up the path, with her own little girl in tow. The four of us blinked at each other for a moment, and I swear, it was one of those rare times when you feel as though you've known someone for a lifetime. We "recognized" each other, without ever having met before, and quickly fell in step with a friendship so firm, I couldn't imagine being any closer if we were actually sisters. Together, we've faced life's greatest joys, and ruts so deep and dark, it didn't seem as though we'd ever be able to pull each other out. But, for the past nine-and-a-half years, we've been a team. And that has made ALL the difference.
Amazingly, even another cross-country move hasn't altered the relationship. We may not be able to car pool our kids anymore, and our Thursday afternoon knit-alongs have had to become far less frequent. But, we can still exchange a flurry of text messages, and schedule marathon telephone calls (sometimes firmly locked in our closets, to deter interruptions from various progeny). Whenever we DO arrange to clap eyes on each other, it's as though no time has passed-- we just carry on right from where we left off.
That's pretty special.
She "gets" me, and likes who I am, warts and all.
She and her kids are my chosen family.
It's true that the long-distance thing can be a bit of a wrench, though. There are absolutely times when I wish she was closer, that I could just nip 'round the block, plop my behind down in one of her cozy living room chairs, to knit and chat till our fingers fall off. I don't think we've ever run out of things to say to one another-- but we're also comfortable spending entire afternoons together in near silence.
Today's message made me laugh till my sides ached. But it also tugged at my heartstrings:
I miss you, too, my dear. I miss you, too.
Posted by Candygirlflies at 8:49 PM
And as an aside... The Maine Morning Mitts pattern was written by the wonderful and prolific Clara Parkes, whose latest book "The Yarn Whisperer: My Unexpected Life in Knitting" is now available for sale, and has become on of my favourite reads of the year. It would make a fantastic Christmas gift for any knitterly friends you may have... or better yet, pop one under the tree for yourself!
Posted by Candygirlflies at 10:52 AM
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
So many people hold the death of a significant person in their lives to be a "turning point"; a moment in time from which all others are measured.
I don't mean to sound trite when I confess that that person for me is Diana, Princess of Wales. I am "of that age", after all. Most certainly, as a young girl, she was The One whom I held up as the ideal perfection. I followed her carefully staged romance, engagement and marriage, besotted by the "fairytale". Her clothes, her hair... the style of her was of constant fascination to me.
As I grew older, of course, the cracks in her public persona most certainly began to show. She was far from perfect-- just like the rest of us. With such a troubled background, minimal education, and the inexplicable lack of support and compassion from those placed around her, she could not possibly have been expected to survive.
Her death shook me to the core. But it is a few moments of the hauntingly beautiful funeral service that will be forever burned in my brain, for as long as I live:
lifting a soul to heaven.
One should move towards silence."
--Sir John Tavener
Posted by Candygirlflies at 8:16 PM
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
This year, the gang's all coming out to our place: my girlies, my brother, sister, brother-in-law and 2 Nephews Extraordinaire. It'll be a really full house, and to make things perfect, one of my dearest friends (who is a former make-up artist with the Vancouver Opera Company) is also going to be visiting that night. It's going to be quite a PAR-TAY, to say the least, and with all the mischief-makers in residence, it's hard to anticipate whether there will be more TRICKS or more TREATS on the agenda. (That thought alone is enough to boggle the mind, quite frankly.)
This morning, the topic-of-choice at the breakfast table was "Trick-or-Treat Strategy": our small Creatures-of-the-Night spent at least half an hour on speaker-phone with their Uncle (our family's Grand Master of Hallowe'en), trying to determine how to maximize candy-intake, within the limited opportunity of one evening.
They discussed candy bag size, and whether it might be wise to stop home to empty the haul in between canvassing blocks of houses. They noodled upon the possibility of riding their scooters, but nixed that idea when it was discovered that the youngest of the pack will be sporting a long Grim Reaper get-up, complete with gigantic scythe accessory... They wracked their brains to remember the most generous houses from last year, and ensured that their route would be accurate and inclusive. Then, horrified to discover that the Uncle had not yet planned his own costume, they threatened to dress him up in our finest Little Bo Peep outfit, a beautiful hand-made remnant from our dress-up box. (He laughed heartily, and wisely changed the subject.)
Wee Three was surprisingly sedate during this conversation. Usually the most enthusiastic of our resident junk food junkies, I noted a nonchalance in her attitude that did not accurately reflect the usual ricocheting-off-the-wall anticipatory hyperactivity.
Me: What's the scoop, Wee One? You not that excited about Hallowe'en this year?
Wee Three: (thoughtfully chewing a mouthful of cheerios) Oh, yeah... We'll get lots.
Me: Well, then. How do you plan to do that? What's YOUR strategy for the haul?
Wee Three: (eyes twinkling) Same as always, mum. It's easy: RUN!!!
Posted by Candygirlflies at 9:07 AM
Monday, October 7, 2013
On Wednesday of last week, I was happily teaching the last period of a grade one class. They're not my own class, mind... but I sure regard them as a "bonus": After a full day of working in the Special Education Centre at my new school, I'm lucky enough to have "prep coverage" for a grade one teacher during the final forty minutes. This means I get to do ARTS with these kids: drama, dance, music... and not surprisingly, it has become something I really look forward to-- my "reward" at the end of a long and challenging schedule.
We were doing a music lesson, and I had just finished teaching the kids the old camp song, "Poor Little Bug on the Wall":
Poor little bug on the wall!
One of the things I love MOST about teaching the littlest students is that when they giggle hard enough, they actually tip over, and remind me of the Weebles toys I loved to play with when I was a child.
One little girl did NOT find the lyrics amusing, however:
Yes, I replied, it IS a sad song. Cue the perfect segue for the next part of the lesson: How many different ways can you sing the song by changing the sound of your voice? Could you make the song SOUND really, really sad? What does "happy" singing sound like? (How could we cheer this song up?) Then, what about "angry" singing? Heck, what if different animals were to sing the song??
We had a rollicking good half-hour together.
Before the bell was to ring, I reminded the children that we would all be going on our first field trip together the next day. They were all to remember to dress warmly (with wellies on!!) to attend the Fall Fair.
As a "ticket out the door", I said that each student would have to tell me the answer to a question, using a "complete sentence" response. The question was:
Now, some of these children are very, very young-- really, just glorified kindergarten students, and many of them are English Language Learners, as well. So, I prompted them:
And each kid would repeat my words, then fill in the blank.
I was slightly alarmed when answers such as "ZEBRAS!" started cropping up.
"No," I said as gently as I could, "I don't think so. Can you think of something else???"
When the subject of "GIRAFFES!!" was broached, I couldn't take it any more.
After all, I'm a proud "farm country" girl. I know that Farmers Feed Cities. I shop local markets. I know exactly where my meat comes from, and I expound on the fact that "Good Things Grow In Ontario" whenever I get the chance.
The kids patiently listened to my spiel, and didn't even seem all that disappointed by the time I was done. Once I was fully satisfied that they all understood the "No Giraffes at the Fall Fair, and Why" lecture, I allowed them to pack their little backpacks and go home.
Bright and early on Thursday morning, we all clambered onto a rickety orange bus that smelled like old cheese... but we didn't care! Everyone was leg-swingingly happy as we drove up the main road North, on our way to the fair grounds.
The squealing started at the first sight of the ferris wheel, and grew louder as the scent of hot buttered popcorn and spun sugar candy wafted over us through all the windows I had opened.
"NOPE," I said firmly, to groans of disappointment. "That's not why we're here!!"
I reminded everyone of the farm animals we had listed the day before-- and what's more, the wide variety of craft competitions, the horse jumping exhibition, and the Ontario Dairy display-- they might get a chance to milk a cow!! Excitement resumed-- amazingly, I had discovered that there was more than one child who had never clapped EYES on a cow...
We exited the bus, and made our way in a line through the throngs of other screaming children.
And you'll never GUESS what was waiting for us in the first field, smack to the right of the Main Entrance Gates...
To a multitude of the delighted screeches of "MS. BAAAAAAKER... We thought you SAAAAAID..."
I looked over and saw:
Posted by Candygirlflies at 12:32 PM
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Try never to want something TOO MUCH. Desperation often leads to wanting the wrong things, making the wrong decisions, and achieving the opposite of what you'd been hoping for all along.
More often than not, "want" and "need" are two completely separate issues. Stop. Think. Figure out which is which.
Smile, and keep them waiting. Don't rush decisions out of pressure. If they want you badly enough, they'll let you know-- perhaps even moving mountains for you in the process. That said, if they don't come after you, they're probably not worth it, anyway. Some things aren't meant to be. Inaction speaks far louder than words.
Play your cards very close to your chest, and keep them that way.
Time flies. Even if you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, the hard parts of life will eventually pass. That's not to say there isn't another tsunami coming, but the trick is to get better at keeping your head above the water every time one does.
Don't get stuck constantly looking in the rear-view mirror. Remember the things the past taught you-- but make a concerted effort to release the nitty-gritty details. Enough is enough.
Focus on the here and now, and try not to worry about the future. Tomorrow doesn't exist yet. All you can control is what you are choosing to do right now.
You are not your job, neither does your job does not define you.
Remember who you are.
--Phish, "The Light"
Posted by Candygirlflies at 7:22 PM