Went to visit jmannpq in Gananaoque with maaaseru and Tasia. Enjoyed poutine and ribs at the Gananoque Ribfest for lunch, along with Tasia's exquisite home-made dolmades. Takes with jmannpq about books and shows and all sorts of things.
Supper at Boston Chinese again; love that place.
On coming home, watched the Canada Day Fireworks on Parliament Hill from maaaseru's balcony, and watched the current episode of Defiance.
One thousand six hundred and thirty-four years ago, Basil of Caesarea died in Cappadocia. He was one of the men who shaped Christianity the way it is today; establishing the Trinity and the Nicene Creed; being an example of a strong bishop, theologically and politically; setting up the monastic tradition; being an example of charity and kindness and non-materialism; and having a huge influence on the future of Western civilization.
It may seem odd for a humanist like me to be interested in Christian saints, but they were fascinating people - some weird, some wonderful - and they did a lot to make the world we live in. I hope we are evolving beyond their world view, intellectually speaking. But (to borrow a metaphor), they are the giants on whose shoulders we build. They are our past.
I have another reason to like St. Basil. In September, I went to the Göreme Open-air museum, Nevşehir Province in Turkey. An amazing place: a land of "fairy chimneys" - which Canadians in Alberta call "hoodoos" . The French call them demoiselles coiffées. Unusual, beautiful, otherworldly. And in the many caves of these fairy chimneys and hills of soft stone the early Christians carved beautiful churches with narrative paintings on the walls, with columns and vaults and chambers. Walking into one of these churches now is like stepping into the world of 1500 years ago.
This morning one of my friends who was with me in Turkey, Tasia, sent me a link to the lovely Greek Hymn to St. Basil.
It was St. Basil who encouraged anchorites to live in these caves, establishing a Christian community. As so often in history, the influence of one man in the right time and place creates a trend and shapes the future.
I slept late, because I stayed up way too late last night working obsessively on my answers for the 2012 King William's College Quiz. Not too many still to do, though I worked on it obsessively during the day, too.
Then my friends wanted to go to Chinatown and Chapters, so I went along. I was looking for several things: a standing lamp, to replace one I have in my living room that was been deteriorating for years; a teapot to replace the one I got at Chapters, which has a big crack in it now; a Paleo cookbook; and some crafting supplies. For Christmas, I was given a gift card for Michael's and several for Chapters.
At Global Gifts on Somerset, Ysolde got an abacus, and I browsed teapots, but didn't get anything. At IKEA, I got a very nice Rodd lamp base. which perfectly fits the pretty lampshade Pim gave me about three years ago.
At Chapters - and this is where I went wild and crazy - I got a teapot identical to the one I had that cracked, two Paleo cookbooks (because I couldn't chose between them and didn't want to), a graphic novel called Thor: The World Eaters by Matt Fraction and Pascal Ferry - I read it from the library and it's one of my favourite graphic novels of the past few years. I also got a yoga book - not that I need another yoga book, but I wanted it. And it's been several years since I've bought one.
We also got groceries, and by the time we got home, we were all exhausted - though happy to see it was four o'clock and not dark out yet. Still: nap time.
Made macaroni and cheese for supper, and we watched the Downton Abbey Christmas Special.
The Shortest Day
By Susan Cooper
And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
I was just looking closely at the calendar I'm using for writing my appointments and such - it's pictures of Ireland but it was published in Korea. The company is Browntrout.
So, looking at Boxing Day, I see that it says the day is Zweiter Weihnachtstag in Germany, Kwanzaa in the US, St. Stephen's Day in Ireland and Luxembourg, and Bank Holiday in the UK.
Bank Holiday? I asked myself. It's Boxing Day! Funny they should call it by the generic name "Bank Holiday".
Then I see that the next day, Dec. 27, is designated Boxing Day and L'après-Noël in Canada.
No, no, really, Boxing Day is the day after Christmas. We get two days off work for Christmas and Boxing Day, and if they fall on a weekend, the next weekday becomes the day off work. But that doesn't make the 27th into Boxing Day, it's a day off work because Christmas fell on a Sunday. Don't go messing with my holidays!
Boxing Day is a favourite. Second best holiday ever.
I see also, from the same calendar, that Dec. 28 is Proclamation Day in South Africa and Australia. Cool. I never heard of that.
Calendars can be almost as much fun as atlases.
Spent part of the day working on my Apaplexy contrib. While writing, I listened to Christmas songs on YouTube, making a list of my ten favourites. I may change my mind about them all tomorrow, of course - except for the first, they're always in flux. So here's my ten favourite Christmas songs, carols, and hymns:
- In the Bleak Midwinter - Sung here by Julie Andrews. The music is by Gustav Holst. Can’t even say why I like this one so much: something about how the Christina Rossetti words and the way it is different from most Christmas songs and hymns. There is an alternate tune, which I don’t like at all.
- Santa Baby - this is Taylor Swift singing it, though it’s an Eartha Kitt classic and no one sings it as well as she does. Flirty and silly.
- Chestnuts Roasting on a Open Fire - Michael Bublé. Romantic.
- Baby It's Cold Outside - Zooey Deschanel & Leon Redbone. I never liked this song till I heard this version; I do love Leon Redbone.
- Snoopy and the Red Baron by the Royal Guardsmen.
- O Holy Night - sung here by Celtic Woman/Chloe Agnew - I like the song in general, but I love the way they use the harp here. - I love the evocative drama of this song.
- We Three Kings, sung here by the Beach Boys: . So traditional; nice memories of childhood here, and I’ve always loved the words: Westward leading, still proceding...
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: Annie Lennox singing it. Beautiful words: Tidings of comfort and joy.
- Adeste Fideles - how often do I get to sing songs in Latin? This link is to the Vienna Choir Boys’ concert.
- O Little Town of Bethlehem - as sung by Frank Sinatra.
I had a lovely Thanksgiving meal with maaseru and Pim, at Pim's place. She made the veggies and roasted potatoes; maaseru cooked the turkey, cranberry sauce, and gravy, and provided desserts from the Carp Farmer's Market. Cherry tarts: yum. I don't usually like cheery-flavoured foods, but these were delicious.
I didn't have to cook a thing. I felt like a queen.
We watched the last two episodes of Supernatural and part of the first episode of The Fades. Loved Supernatural, and the way the plot is going; didn't much like The Fades,being not much of a horror fan. Supernatural has become an exception.
It was fun to see Jewel Staite again. It's been a while.
October 9 is a very special day for me. Not just it being Thanksgiving weekend, usually. It was my mother's birthday; and the birthday of the first woman I fell in love with; and the birthday of John Lennon.
It's my favourite time of year, too; we could call it my favourite weekend, no less so because it's usually the long weekend.
Happy October 9 to all.