28 December 2003

Today is the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Was it not a Sunday, today would be the feast of the Holy Innocents. Regardless of the day of the week, today is my 19th birthday. So, happy birthday to me, I guess. My mom got me a 2-year subscription to Irish Music magazine, which is pretty exciting.

Fr. I. gave an interesting homily today, about the importance of the family. He's one of the few parish priests I've ever heard stand up at Mass and say that there are forces in our society trying to break down the natural, God-ordained order of the family, because they know that if they can rid society of the family, they can rid it of Christianity also. God made man and woman and gave them the power to bring new life into the world, and that is the family. It was a very powerful statement. I'm glad my parents have started going to this parish, as I doubt I would have heard anything like that at the previous one. The priests there are somewhat afraid of offending people (though they don't seem too worried about offending me).

26 December 2003

Another Great Christmas Song!

Continuing Jane's tradition of posting Christmas songs, I present to you one of my all-time favorites: The Twelve Days After Christmas!

The Twelve Days After Christmas
by Frederick Silver

The first day after Christmas,
My true love and I had a fight.
And so I chopped the pear tree down
And burned it just for spite;
Then with a single cartridge,
I shot that blasted partridge,
my true love gave to me.

The second day after Christmas,
I pulled on the old rubber gloves,
And very gently wrung the necks
Of both the turtle doves
my true love gave to me

The third day after Christmas,
My mother caught the croup;
I had to use the three French hens
To make some chicken soup.
The four calling birds were a big mistake,
For their language was obscene.
The five gold rings were completely fake
And they turned my fingers green.

The sixth day after Christmas,
The six laying geese wouldn't lay:
I gave the whole darn gaggle to
the A.S.P.C.A.
On the seventh day, what a mess I found:
All seven of the swimming swans had drowned
my true love gave to me.

The eighth day after Christmas,
(before they could suspect,)
I bundled up the
Eight maids a milking,
Nine pipers piping,
Ten ladies dancing,
'Leven lords a-leaping,
Twelve drummers drumming--
(Well, actually, I kept one of the drummers!)
And sent them back collect!

I wrote my true love,
"We are through, love,"
And I said in so many words:
"Furthermore, your Christmas gifts were for the-
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!"

25 December 2003

Nollaig Shona duit!

Christmas in Carrick
by Seamus McGrath (a slightly more cheery song than the last I posted)

On the road the frost is glistening
People stream from midnight Mass
Friendly candles glow in windows
Strangers greet you as you pass
Home then to the laden table
Ham and goose and pints of beer
Whiskey handed round in tumblers
Christmas comes but once a year.

Puddings made with eggs and treacle
Seeded raisins, brown suet
Sifted breadcrumbs and mized spices
Grated rind and plenty fruit
Cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg
Porter, brandy and old ale
Don't forget the wine and whiskey
Christmas comes but once a year.

Women fussing in the kitchen
Lay the food on every plate
Men there patient in the hallway
Gulping porter as they wait
Who cares if we're poor tomorrow
Now's the time to spread good cheer
Pass the punch around the table
Christmas comes but once a year.

This is a nice vision of Christmas at home. Ok, so Mass wasn't at midnight (9:30pm), there will be no goose, puddings, or suet on our table, nobody drinking beer and whiskey, and there are only five of us here. But, ham will be served, plenty of wine, port, and brandy will be drunk, and probably champagne, and there will be plenty of fruit and spices in the form of the fruitcake Mom bought from the bakery (we do not belong to the Great Fruitcake Conspiracy, which tries to convince you that you do not like fruitcake even though you may never have had it, or never had a good one). And, the five of us (Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and Jane) will have a wonderful time until the partying ends at Epiphany.

On a liturgical note, I was the only one who genuflected during the Creed at Mass this morning, as my missal told me to. Did anyone else notice a lack of genuflecting?

22 December 2003

Sin and the Season

Summa Contra Mundum posts about sin being the reason for Christmas, and how he'd like to decorate with a gigantic bloody Spanish crucifix covered with Christmas lights. In that spirit, I would like to post the Corpus Christi Carol, which is not a carol for the feast of Corpus Christi, but which in its oldest versions used that Latin phrase. It's from England.

Corpus Christi Carol

Down in yon forest there stands a hall
The bells of Paradise I hear them ring
It's covered all over with purple and pall
And I love my Lord Jesus above everything. [or "any thing", in some versions]

In that hall there stands a bed
The bells of Paradise I hear them ring
It's covered all over with scarlet so red
And I love my Lord Jesus above everything.

At the bedside there lies a stone
The bells etc.
Which the sweet Virgin Mary knelt upon
And I love etc.

Under that bed there runs a flood
The one half runs water, the other runs blood

At the foot of the bed there grows a thorn
Which ever blooms [blows] blossoms since He was born

Over that bed the moon shines bright
Denoting our Saviour was born on this night.

20 December 2003

I'm home for Christmas vacation, and so is Lizzy. I don't know how much we'll be posting during the next three weeks. My parents don't approve of spending more than about an hour at a time online unless I have a good excuse, and they wouldn't consider this a particularly good excuse.

Last night, I went to see Golden Bough at the Napa Valley Opera House. It was great fun. I first saw them here in Napa about eight years ago. After seeing and hearing Ms. Butler play and sing, I began begging my parents for a Celtic harp. Six months later, I got one, and some of you have seen and heard the outcome of that. CD #1 was recorded two years ago, and CD #2 has been in planning stages for nearly that long. I'll get around to it eventually. Anyway, I finally got my chance to go up to Margie Butler after last night's performance and tell her that she was my inspiration. She was surprised and happy to hear it, and autographed the CD I'd just bought--their second Christmas album. She wrote "Jane, happy harping!" Sweet. When I got home, I watched the second of the new Horatio Hornblower movies on A&E. And I just finished baking sugar cookes shaped like harps. I'm a pretty happy girl today.

17 December 2003

Return of the King

It's 3:50 am and I'm just back from the theatre. Really, all that one can say is: Aglar'ni Pheriannath!

It's an incredible movie, the music was excellent (what else could one expect from Renee Fleming?) and the scene with Eowyn and the Witch King is fabulous. The end was a little anti-climactic, but oh yes. Definitely worth the 5 hours spent in the theatre. Definitely worth the 5 hours of sleep I'll get tonight.

Speaking of which, I'm off to sleep--and dream of huge, psycho, hungry spiders. (And I thought Aragog was bad!!!)

16 December 2003

Miracle on Boone Street

No, it's not Lizzy actually studying for exams, though that might be considered a minor miracle. No, our miracle is far more serious. It's the miracle of the Tape Cross. What is the Tape Cross, I hear you ask? Well, it all started yesterday, when Lizzy was opening her present from her choir Secret Santa (it was an Aragorn action figure, but that is beside the point). As she tore off the tape and place it on her desk, without looking at it while she stuck it to the surface of the desk--I know because I was watching her--the tape stuck together in a cross shape. It was only noticed after a few minutes of exploring the possibilities of the action figure, when Lizzy went to throw the packaging away. The tape was in the form of a beautiful, translucent cross, actually not unlike the one that graces the top of the fountain in front of the altar of our cathedral here.

The Tape Cross has been given a place of reverence on Lizzy's wall above her desk, and is available for veneration to all comers, for a small fee, of course. We believe it is a sign that we will be favored by God in this exam season. Unfortunately, pictures, holy cards, medals, etc. featuring the Tape Cross are not yet available. Money from personal viewings will go toward a camera, film, getting it processed at Safeway, and the subsequent development of a small product line. We will be calling the Vatican as soon as sales, er, um, visitations by the faithful begin to show that the Tape Cross is indeed a miracle.
The Alle Psalite Theme Song (Part Two)

Lizzy and the Jane
Lizzy and the Jane
Together they're a genius,
Apart, they're insane.
From Church, Faith and Religion
to Lurch, Wraith, and a Pidgeon
We're Random!
We're Lizzy and the Jane, Jane, Jane, Jane, Jane!

15 December 2003

Since yesterday was Gaudete Sunday, we proudly present:

Lizzy's Top Ten Advent Songs!

Rorate Coeli Desuper
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Creator of the Stars of Night
O Come Divine Messiah
People Look East
Wake, Awake for Night is Flying
Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent
On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry
The King of Glory
Philosophers like language because it is the defining feature of humanity, but why do they have to play so many damned games with it?
I have answered all of my questions about my philosophy exam, but now I have more questions. And that essay. "In 500 words, repeat back to me what I told you about why the materialism that arises from Descartes is wrong."

11 December 2003

My Soundtrack

It's been suggested by Don that I provide a soundtrack for The Life of Jane. I'm afraid it's not very long, as I'm still very young.

Opening credits:
The Mills Brothers, Broadway show tunes, Wagner, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Pete Fountain, various Big Bands, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Rosmary Clooney, Nat King Cole. This is what my parents listened to. The classical music was generally Sunday morning, everything else was all day every day. I vivdly remember getting some second-hand ballet costumes for dress-up when I was about six, and twirling around the room to Nat Cole's "Dance, Ballerina, Dance."

Junior High:
The Rogers and Hammerstein phase was sixth and seventh grades. "If I Loved You" especially, but pretty much everything except the stuff from "Oklahoma."
Eighth grade: started listening to KABL radio from San Francisco, and Irish stuff.
I've Got a Crush on You (Gershwin)
Why Can't You Behave? (Porter)
Dream a Little Dream of Me (Kahn, Schwandt, Andree)
My Lagan Love (Irish)
Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms (T. Moore)
The Rose of Tralee
Moonlight Sonata (Beethoven)

High School:
Scarborough Faire (Simon and Garfunkle version)
Daydream Believer (Monkees)
Yesterday (Beatles, as if you didn't know)
My Johnny was a Shoemaker (Steeleye Span)
All Things are Quite Silent (Steeleye Span)
Rave On (Steeleye Span)
Rag Doll (Steeleye Span)
Thomas the Rhymer (Steeleye Span)
Padstow May (Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band)
Hungarian Rhapsodies (Lizt)
Heaven (Emer Kenny)
Riptide Reels (Anam)
Fiddler on the Roof Soundtrack
Polka Dots and Moonbeams (Frank Sinatra)
April Played the Fiddle (Frank Sinatra)
The Highwayman (Loreena McKennit)
All for Me Grog (Molly's Revenge)
Prelude in C# minor for the left hand (Scriabin)
Finlandia (Sibelius)
The Oceanides (Sibelius)
Grande Valse Brillante (Chopin)
Scarlet Ribbons (Jo Stafford)
Ragtime Cowboy Joe (Jo Stafford)
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (Andrews Sisters)

You Will Always Be Mine (Julee Glaub)
Greenhouse (album by Grey Larsen and Paddy League)
Imagination (Frank Sinatra)
Gentleman Soldier (Steeleye Span)
Puer Natus (chant)
Missa Mater Patris (Josquin des Prez)
Pesah al Mano (La Rondinella; Songs of the Sephardim and Renaissance Spain)
Istanbul (Lee Press-On and the Nails)
Hard to Say Goodbye (Robbie O'Connell)
Mariam Matrem Virginem (anonymous medieval French)
Waltzing with Bears (Geissel/Poddany/Marxen, arr. Bridges/Touchwood)
The Bantry Girls' Lament (trad, Dolores Keane)
If Ye Love Me (Thomas Tallis)
Lullabye of Broadway (Andrews Sisters)

Still listen to Nat Cole, the Mills Brothers, Ella, Rosie, Pete, et al, quite a bit. I still steal CD's from my parents everytime I go home. We listen to mostly the same stuff, well, except for the medieval and renaissance music.

09 December 2003

I'm done! I managed to get through all of the concerts and take my parents to the airport and see Gavin this weekend, all without killing myself or completely losing my sanity. Of course, some question whether I have any sanity to lose, but to them I say, "gwerdle bork gump NI!"

07 December 2003

Secret Dorm Projects

Since today was the feast of St. Nicholas of Myra, one of my friends and I decided to spread some Christmas Cheer(tm) around the dorm. With a little help from the RA, it became a full-fledged hall program, and the residents put their shoes out in the hall last night. Using our best house-elf powers, we put candy into everyone's shoes. I was pleasantly surprised that almost everyone put a shoe out! And we didn't get a "Bah Humbug" out of anyone!

02 December 2003

There is a God, and he has been merciful to me. The student recital in which I was to play harp has been moved from tomorrow to 14 Dec. This is a huge relief.

01 December 2003


7...days of hell
6...days till my parents come
5...days left to write my New Testament term paper
4...rehearsals this week
3...concerts this week
2...recitals this week
1...opportunity to see Gavin, which may or may not actually take place
0...amount of sanity I will have left after I finally return my harp to the music building next Monday night
Today is the feast of St. Edmund Campion
Today's Chant Mass

Ok, by now, everyone who regularly reads this blog knows that we always do the propers of the day, and you all know what website I always link to so you can hear them. So, go do it! For ordinaries, Mass XVIII. We were a little shorthanded (only three women and five men--weird when the guys outnumber us), so only did one polyphonic piece, and that in three parts. Dufay's setting of Conditor Alme Siderum, available at cpdl.org. We alternated with English verses in an attempt for congregational participation.

We also sang Vespers before Mass, as is our Advent and Lent custom. A few people (about five) showed up early to pray with us, and at least two of them were actually singing. This is encouraging. And tonight three people told me they'd forgotten about Vespers and would be there next week. Very good. Carry on. You've all done very well. Thank you, Mr. Grace. Oh, never mind, most of you won't get that.