Decorated for Christmas
Today I want to show off the creativity and handwork of some of my friends. This is the sanctuary of our church:
I love our church. I love that it is so bright and airy. All that wood makes for phenomenal acoustics. When that church is filled with singers belting out hymns in four parts, the sound almost brings me to tears.
We are facing north in this picture, and on each side of the church are large windows. Sitting at the piano, I have the most stunning panoramic view of the mountain range. I get to see it change with the seasons.
The baby grand—a Bosendorfer that is over 100 years old—belongs to my friend Susan. It was her mother's piano, and after her mother died, Susan went to California and drove it back in a moving van. She doesn't have room for it at her house, so she asked if the church would like to use it. Susan's mother, Nancy, used to come up and spend summers here in Montana and I got to know her well. She was very particular about music and about her piano. I think it's interesting how instruments reflect the personalities of their owners. Nancy could be kind of prickly at times and it took a few years for her piano to settle down and adjust to being in Montana instead of California. Our piano tech says that it is in very good shape for its age. I have the privilege of playing it every Sunday and I played it when Susan's daughter, Rosemary, got married a few years ago in our church.
[My baby grand is a Yamaha, and it's solid mahogany instead of lacquered black. I chose it because I wanted a baby grand with a bright sound, not the sonorous plodding sound of the baby grands at the music school where I took lessons growing up. If you ever want to read a (rather bizarre) story about a musician choosing an instrument, get a copy of A Grand Obsession by Perri Knize. It's the tale of a woman who fell in love with a very specific piano in New York City and had it shipped to Montana, only to discover that it no longer sounded like it did when she first played it in New York. She spent an inordinate amount of time—and went through a number of piano techs—trying to recapture the sound she had fallen in love with. Frank, the guy who used to tune our pianos before he died, knew one of the techs who had worked on that woman's piano. I understand her obsession—I tried out about 20 pianos before I found the one that spoke to me—but I am not sure I would have gone to the lengths she did.]
Ginger is in charge of the visuals at our church. She really should have been an interior designer. She does a great job at interpreting themes for each season and turning them into reality. This year, she asked the ladies of the church to make new cross-stitched Chrismon ornaments to decorate the tree. From the United Methodist Church website:
Chrismons, a contraction for 'Christ monograms', were first developed by Frances Spencer and the women of the Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, VA. Many churches display a Chrismon tree during the Advent and Christmas season decorated with handmade ornaments.
We had Chrismons on the tree in our Lutheran church when I was growing up. The Lutheran church I play for during Advent also has Chrismons on their tree. These are some of the ornaments our ladies stitched this year:
Pat assembled all of the ornaments and put the trim on them (in addition to stitching many herself):
And that "Peace" table runner in the first picture? Pat embroidered, that, too. I aspire to this kind of handwork:
The Christmas decorations at our church are simple and understated, but truly beautiful. I found myself comparing our church to the Lutheran church when I played there this past Wednesday night. Their sanctuary is decorated in sumptuous blues and golds and they tend to keep the lights down during Advent. I don't think it's necessarily better or worse than the way our church is decorated, just that I noticed the contrast between the two.
I got an e-mail yesterday from my supervisor at my old transcription job asking me if I wanted to pick up some overflow work. One of the women who still works on that account was off this week and they needed help. I told her that I had an appointment in the afternoon but that I would put in 4-5 hours in the morning. I said to the husband that I don't miss my job as much as I thought I did. It's now two months after the conversion to the EMR system and some of the problems they had at the beginning still haven't been fixed. I am not sure what I will do about picking up overflow work in the future as I plan to take down the PC—which I only ever used for transcription—and put the Mac tower in its place. I suppose I could keep all three computers up and running but my office will be more crowded.
The bottle of Juki Defrix oil that I ordered was delivered. Getting that industrial serger up and running is on the list for next week. Greg has my new computer and is configuring it for me this weekend. I've got one more costume to make and a goodly supply of Ritzville quilt blocks to work on. I need to make myself a winter purse. I've got a piece of lovely rose gold vinyl that might make the perfect Bramble Bag but it depends on how ambitious I am feeling. I haven't worked with vinyl before.