Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Etsy Shop!

I haven't posted about this yet, but I've been working hard helping my Mom get her items on our Etsy shop. I'm working on some paintings that I hope to get up soon, in an abstract style, but my focus has been helping my Mom with photo ideas and then editing what she's shot. I'm super proud of the work she's coming up with.

It's been a huge challenge. Taking good photos has turned out to be the hardest part of the shop. Just finding natural lighting in the house has not been easy, and it's super cold outside to take pictures out there, but being in the outside elements has been very rewarding. There's more to do! And there's so much more jewelry that we'll be adding in the coming months.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Sing We Now of Christmas/Noël Nouvelet

Sing We Now of Christmas is the English version of the traditional French carol Noël Nouvelet, which means New Christmas. I first became acquainted with this song back in my college days in French class. I'm ashamed to admit how bad I am at French, and thanks to earning a BA, I had to take it for two years. But one of the things I enjoyed about the class was singing hymns, and during the Christmas season this was my favorite song to sing. It was only last year, when I decided to do an English version, that I realized this song was translated over a century ago into Sing We Now of Christmas. Though what surprised me was how different the meaning of the song in French was to the English version.

It was then that I decided to keep the original translation for verse one and the chorus, but would rewrite verses 2-5 to more closely match the original. But there was a liberty I did take, and that was with the final verse. Noël Nouvelet talks about the three Wise Men bringing gifts, and the stable seeming like heaven. It always bothered me with the nativity and with songs when they placed the Wise Men in this location at this time. It took awhile for the Wise Men to find Jesus after spotting the star, and even if they had flight technology back then, they still wouldn't have made it the night of the birth. According to Matthew the Wise Men first saw Herod, and then in Matt. 2: 10-11, KJV, it states:

" 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11 ¶And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."

There's debate on exactly how old Jesus was, so I tried to make the translation as literal as possible. I wasn't able to state "young child," because there wasn't enough syllables to fit properly, and instead said he was a "little child," which was the closest I could be and still have it work. Here are the lyrics, and the changes I made are in verses 2-5.

“Sing We Now of Christmas”

Sing we now of Christmas,
Noel sing we here.
Hear our grateful praises
To the Babe so dear.

"Sing We Noel, the King is Born, Noel!
Sing we now of Christmas, sing we now Noel!

"Shepherds saw an Angel
'fear ye not,' he said.
'Born this day a Savior.
Go to Bethlehem.'

"In a little manger
Shepherds came to see
Mary’s little baby
Wrapped so tenderly.

"From the East came Wise Men
Treasures they would bring
Guided by a new star
Looking for the King.

"When the Wise Men found him,
Christ was a little child.
Gifts and gold they gave him,
Worshiping all the while."

Have a great Christmas,

(For Sing We Now of Christmas I did all that was stated above, plus the arrangement and singing both parts. My brother, Steven, mixed and mastered the song, and then put the video together.)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mater! And the Dreadful Fate of unwanted Christmas trees

Christmas is only a few days away! It feels insane, really, because time just shouldn't be moving this fast.

I found Mater, the tow truck from the Pixar movie Cars, at a local tree lot next to Target. I'm a huge fan of the first movie, and if you haven't seen Tokyo Mater, the animated short, you're missing out. It's simply brilliant. So when I first saw Mater in the flesh, so to speak, I about died and ran home for a camera.

On the way to the "dollar" theater with my Dad and brother to see Puss in Boots, we were on the conversation of what happens to trees that remain unpicked after Christmas, and Steven googled it on his new fancy phone. He found this:

"They spend a very dark and forlorn Christmas eve, already
suffering from the rejection of not having been chosen to help someone
celebrate, even more depressed by knowing that the value on their tag
has been marked down. It is a horrible fate for a big or little tree
that has some growth defect that made it unattractive through no fault
of its own. And Christmas Day is no better, nor the second day of
Christmas: no more lights in the lot, feeling its wounded stump
drying out as it imagines how wonderful it would have been to be in a
family home with real candles and hearing the family joyously singing:
"O Tannenbaum" (even if it were a blue spruce or a Douglas fir)."

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sunsets and BYU's shout out on Psych

I took this photo a couple weeks ago, just after one of the first snowfalls here in the valley. This is a view from my front door, and on special occasions we get a sunset like this. It's one of the many reasons why I love living here.

On a different note, one of my favorite TV shows currently on air is Psych. Last year they had a competition on their website called "Campus Wars," and the school that won would get a special "shout out." BYU Provo, my alumni, won in a landslide, and by no small margin. Last night we got the shout out, and it was in a way I didn't see coming.

Three of the lead characters, Henry, Lassiter, and Gus, went to a club like bar, and after they get there two girls walk in wearing a "Y" shirt, and later they are seen at the bar drinking. Anyone who knows anything about BYU, specifically the honor code we must adhere by, and Latter-Day Saints knows we would never be seen in a place like this.

I know why they did it, it's because we've won the "stone cold sober" award from US News several years running, and Psych loves their off the wall humor. It's one of the reasons why I watch the show. But I was a little shocked at this, exclaiming, "After all the things they could have done, they choose this? Those better be virgins!" Virgin alcohols, of course. My whole family (we're all huge fans) were laughing embarrassingly, puzzled, and shocked.

I don't know how I feel. It could have been worse! I wish something different could have been chosen. I read on facebook that BYU, on Psych's Hash Tag Killer website, got a really nice shout out. A short google image search later I found a screen shot showing Vocal Point mentioned, and that there's a lot of Psych O's out here.

Here's my plot theory. These two girls, very ditzy blonds, went to a thrift store wanting to appear more intelligent. They bought BYU shirts thinking they were Yale shirts, because, really, that's not a far stretch at all, and had no idea what would be inferred by the mix up. It could happen.

Have an awesome day!