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After much delay, and I don't know how much anticipation (nobody told me they missed it! sniff!), the 2012 Warren Family Kissmas Card Type Thing is available! Get yours now! We're out of ink, and can't afford to mail 'em anywho! =)

(To be fair, the kids did there poems in time, it's mine that was a bit later than last minute!)


Dec. 24th, 2010 06:03 pm
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It took us a few years, but eventually our practices turned into traditions.

This year, of course, it was different.

Deb is in another household.

We ate the stuffed shell dinner. We unwrapped gifts from and to each other. Next step, normally, would be Santa.

Slightly different this year.

Tomorrow, we leave early in the morning, after seeing what Santa left for us, to drop the kids off at Deb's for whatever new traditions will arise there.

Lily and I will then go see Stacy, and we'll see what new traditions will arise from there.

Next year, Stacy and I will be together, and everything will be entirely different.

Love is there, though.. now, between myself and the kids, and for Stacy, who is far away, and at least partially distracted by the traditions she has been following; next year, things will be different, but they will be the same.

They will become traditions, over time.
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Just in case anyone missed it when other folks posted it:

All Lit Up

Dec. 13th, 2008 04:57 pm
ellyssian: (Default)
The Tree 2008

I uploaded a bunch of pictures of the Kissmas tree, taken a week or so ago. There's a couple of low-light pics of Rachel and Mr. B up there as well.

Today, I took a bunch (where "a bunch" is defined as "442, after cutting out the ones I goofed up") of pictures of Pohopoco Creek as it exits out of the dam. They are releasing a bit more than usual due to all the rain we had the other day. I'll put another post up with some of those pictures once they're done uploading.
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Well, the night before the day, technically...

Night on Brocken
by Fates Warning

April thirtieth, the souls of the risen
are leading the way. The first of May.
Black magic night, witches holiday,
their torches glow.

Eternal evil, it summons
the lords of hell, just once a year,
compel and beware the spell of the jackyl.

Can't break the spell,
won't break the spell,
the spell of the shadowless man.

The witches fornicate, the demons dance,
blackmass romance.
In hellish praise
round Brocken they prance,
their numbers grow.

A harpie chants, fire fountains glow,
virgin of snow burnt by the torch
of the one with no shadow.

I saw his face, I've seen him before,
the face of the shadowless man.

As dawn breaks through the trees,
lonely town falls to their knees,
a solemn belfry begins to toll.

The mass begins sing familiar hymns,
man in black has his back to the crowd.

Spreads his wings and turns around,
as my heart begins to pound.

Because you, you're the one I
saw in flight, at Walpurgis Night.

You've betrayed and cursed the light,
at Walpurgis Night.

You're the one I saw in flight,
at Walpurgis Night.

At the setting of the sun.

Because you, you're the one I
saw in flight, at Walpurgis Night.

You've betrayed and cursed the light,
at Walpurgis Night.

You're the one I saw in flight,
at Walpurgis Night.

At the setting of the sun.

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Easter morning, the kids woke me up bright and early. Well, Rachel did. She started it.

I groggily headed out into the hall and noticed it was a mess - something was spilled all over the floor. I instructed her she'd have to get Kirby and get to work cleaning that up, and I had her wake Justin up so he could get some coffee going and get to work on chores. For some reason, they tried to convince me that the mess was just jellybean trails left by the Easter bunny, but I wasn't buying it. They woke up Deb and Mr. B, and me and the little guy discussed how it couldn't be Easter, because if it was there'd be a basket and the start of a trail outside his door, and that couldn't be... and finally he woke up enough to see exactly how silly I was.

Turns out there *was* a basket sitting outside his door and a trail of jellybeans (and, to be fair, robins' eggs).

The kids followed their trails, which led to large plastic eggs, each with a folded piece of paper. "TIME TO" read Brandon's, "GO OUTSIDE" read Rachel's, and "AND FIND EGGS!" was Justin's. So we suited up and out we went.

Brandon found his dozen eggs first, so he was able to help Justin and Rachel with their searches. Rachel wound up finding the last one for Justin, and then we all went back in to thaw and put together some clues. Brandon had twelve puzzle pieces which formed the picture of a stove, with a large X over it. Rachel had some fragments, which puzzled out to: "THEL" "OOTI", "SNOT", "INTH", "EDIS", "HWAS", & "HER." Justin's read: "THEL", "OOT", "I", "SNOT", "INT", "HEW", "ASH", "ING", "MACH", "INE." Rachel was the first to realize that meant the loot was in the dryer, and so it was. Tricky Easter bunny.

For breakfast, after an appetizer of malted milk robins eggs, jellybeans, and Peeps, we had some popovers, eaten hot and fresh with lots of butter. Good stuff! Later in the afternoon, we had a delicious meal of ham, fresh kielbasa, Hilshire Farms polska kielbasa, mashed potatoes, and corn. Yum!
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First up, for those who don't stay up late or scroll way back through lots of stuff, Episode Six of Monday's Thirteen made it up with nearly two hours of Monday left to spare. And today, when updating, it lost the icon and the subject. I think it might be an issue with the older Safari down here. Anywho.

Saturday, there was volunteering and some work - details posted soon. Sunday was Easter festivities - details posted soon, pictures posted here, here, and here.

For the last month or so connectivity has been iffy and getting progressively worse. Thursday was Almost Dead, Friday was Mostly Dead, Saturday was Buried, and Sunday was Unplugged, until late in the day when I found out what it was. Maybe.

Monday, which gets lumped into the holiday weekend, involved Brandonisms and the installation of a new lawn ornament.

Today will involve some online work for the business that I wanted to do last Friday and much of the same for the household which was also supposed to be done Friday. Oy. It will also involve chainsaws and removal of aforementioned lawn ornament.
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I hope most of those who were sent a holiday card have received it by now... there just may be a handful of stragglers... here is the sixth annual collection of poetry written by Justin, Rachel, and me... the theme this year was minstrels and ice.

The Minstrels
By E. Justin Warren

Towering above the ground,
The ice sculptures complete
In their majesty glistening:
A thousand diamonds all at once.

"The minstrels three,"
So he came to name them
As he put tools away,
"Alas they should not stay long!"

So he heads inside home:
Towards warmth, comfort, and bed;
His creations alone in their element
To find their own way.

As the dark breaks overhead,
Stars shining crisp, pure light
Upon their frozen heads,
The statues come to life.

A crack: the first jumps to life,
Limbs still stiff with cold.
The flute in hand, he turns to go,
Music, soft yet clear, warms him.

The second follows after,
To find lute strings under hand,
He strums a chord for warmth it gives
And leaves in search of the flute.

The third one sits,
Ice still his cage,
And waits for melt to come:
His intricacies leave him last.

For many things of music
Are born upon his form:
Drums surround his person,
The beat his to keep.

And also more,
Raised high above the rest
A throat and voice
To sing the tune as played.

But now he's through!
The ice and snow fall away
Melted to water as he breaks free,
To follow the others.

As they enter the world
Their music is borne
On wind blown through air
To ear of the listener.

As the dawn pierces the night,
He awakes inside the house,
Still warm against the cold,
And peers outside.

He sighs a small sigh:
How he hoped they'd stay!
But alas, they always leave,
To place their design upon the world.

He steps outside into the cold,
Grabbing chisel and hammer,
And moves toward the next block
To resume his carving once more.

~ ~ ~

Winter's End
By Rachel L. Warren

The minstrels play
a winter tune
the icicles
drip, drip.
Winter's end
Spring's beginning
the melting

~ ~ ~

The Minstrel Mistletoe
By Everett A. Warren

ghostly grey the sentinels stand
gnarled stern visages have the knights of old
standing watch 'round through the Winter's cold
fall foliage draped like a tapestry upon the castle floor
boughs bearing bright berries and sprays of evergreen
adorn court held by Holly King and his Queen of Wintergreen
lost in white wisps of deep Winter snows
silent as statues still as the Solstice-tight grip on the land
they listen as each courtier makes their demand
'til from the highest turret arises a song so bold
softens the Lords of Wirth Wind Whirling who cease politics' chore
captures the Ladies of Snowflakes Swirling who listen to the song's elder lore
the minstrel to his lips the icicle he presses
clear and cold like a winter stream the melody flows
warming to his subject as the passion in the music grows
to melt the cold hearts of his King and Queen
the harlequin Mistletoe from spires arose
his song evoking the Winter Rose
this rarest of flowers' fond Midwinter dream
to the warmth of the Heart it directly addresses
and brings forth Peace and Love in all it redresses


The Minstrels Copyright (c) 2007 Everett Justin Warren
Winter's End Copyright (c) 2007 Rachel Laurana Warren
The Minstrel Mistletoe Copyright (c) 2007 Everett Ambrose Warren

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Justin and I are preparing for our annual pilgrimage along the Forest, through Fairyland, and Beyond and Back Again!

Yep, it's almost time to go pick up the New Year Chinese feast (as opposed to the Chinese New Year feast, which we don't often celebrate, but we probably should...)

As for the updatia bit, we got a ton of snow (or 5", which ever comes first), and me without my plow. Snow forecasted for tomorrow, too. Plow forecasted for Wednesday, and sunny after that...

Brandon took his first solo sled ride - the soft yet heavy stuff slowed him to a sedate pace. Very entertaining to watch him sitting still so long... all the way down the front lawn. He sat upright and serious and, although I only saw him from the back, I'm almost positive he didn't even blink for the entire ride.

Rachel built a real, live, actual snowman - one of the life-sized guys - with some assistance from Mr. B. Deb took some shots, and I got to see them, but most others won't because she never posts anything. =(

Justin and I cleared the driveway - he cleared the walk and around the cars (and the cars themselves) and I took care of the rest, using the DR with the plow. It did a great job, pushing glaciers in front of it. Snowblowers around me were choking on the stuff, so it's probably a good thing the chain had snapped a few weeks back and I didn't even attempt it. First time I used the plow on snow (used it on the gravel to get that in place Autumn 2006) and I liked it. Took longer than the Boss will when it's on the truck, of course, but nice nonetheless.

Anywho, off I go... time to get dinner!
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In addition to more new Brandonisms ("'top yankin' my chain, Ant Pat!", "Dat sound like a plan?"), we received a few other gifts as well. =)

For instance, I am now sitting in bed and listening to Stevie sing about flooding down in Texas - the Solos, Sessions & Encores, to be specific. Now, Santa has never let me down in all my life, not even my first Kissmas here in PA - didn't know anyone, living alone, with Justin visiting on weekends, no car (only a bike) and a snowy December that year. So in addition to this particular disc I'm listening to, he also gave me a Sony MHC-EC55 Mini Hi-Fi Component System to listen to it on. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] patrixa, I can also listen to Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Raising Sand and a Feng Shui disc different than, but on the same label, as this one.

When I went to turn on the tree lights Kissmas morn', they didn't go on! Instead, Deb and the kids heard holiday music and saw lights from the Holiday Express Animated Electric Train Set. The music came from a train station (couldn't find a link to it) - and was actually well above par for most electronic toy music. In fact, it was so listenable (especially with a full volume control!) that we used that most of the morning, instead of switching over to our usual holiday CDs. There was also a bakery with Mrs. Claus (no link), and (slightly better, although no pictures for these two:) a Santa's Mailbox Car and a Log Mill Wood Car. My favorite is the Water Tanker Skating Car - one elf spins in circles, the other skates back and forth and spins. Each car is brightly lit - even more so when moving - and has some kind of action; Santa waving from the engine, an elf poking his head out of a hatch on the tender, and that sort of thing. They're brightly painted and quite clearly toy plastic, and that's part of the charm - this isn't some weathered, realistic train; it's a Kissmas toy. It doesn't simulate real-life operations all that well - although one of the names on the engine - Santa's Fe - is almost authentic. Send it on its way, and it rockets off instantly at breakneck speeds; you can slow it down to just slightly faster than believable scale speeds, but that's not its purpose. It's purpose was the smiles on the faces of the entire family as we watched it circle the tree. Surprisingly, Mr. B was the least impressed, but I think he was overwhelmed by the stacks of presents that piled up and around and lined the railway.

Eventually, I'll get some reviews of some of the things posted - I've fallen so far behind on getting those done it's pretty pathetic. I've still got some movie and music reviews from *last* Kissmas to get to...

Hope everyone else had a great day, regardless of whether or not they celebrate this holiday or that holiday or something entirely different.
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"I need to ask you a message..."

"I'm going to put this candy cane back on the Kissmas tree."

Mr. B: "Wooooo woooo I'm a ghostie."
Me: "Well than, I'm going to hug a ghostie."
Mr. B: "I'm not a ghostie, I'm Bwandon. You can hug me!"

(After a ghostie walks into a toy because he can't see through his ghostiness) "What did I bonk inta?"

I'm kinda liking the name "Kissmas"... seems fitting... and somehow, I tend to think most of those who are or have been honored at this time of year would smile and approve...
ellyssian: (Default)
  • Woke up early
  • Mailed half a brazillion holiday cards
  • Opened three kids accounts
  • Picked out a monkey for Mr. B
  • Took Rachel to karate
  • Sat outside with Justin and Mr. B
  • Went mostly insane
  • Sang bits from many different tunes
  • Sekrit Message for [livejournal.com profile] noone234: We've got the core of a Mana Mana arrangement; like The Muppets, we'll likely stick Birdland in the middle
  • Mr. B sang "Shock the Monkey"
  • Mr. B played peek-a-boo with the monkey
  • Mr. B discovered the monkey's name is Monkey
  • Having completely lost our minds, we sang silly songs
  • Mr. B came up with rousing renditions of "Shock the Daddy" and "Shock the Justin"
  • "Driving down the road, passed the Fed Ex creature" was the song that pushed Rachel off the edge
  • She leaped from the car after I checked the mailbox and immediately before I pressed the accelerator
  • The song wasn't that bad
  • She even sang along later
  • I lectured her on exactly how close she came to not making it to her next birthday and how jumping out of cars is generally forbidden
  • Her birthday is tomorrow, so she came damn close to almost not making it
  • We watched some more of the Muppet Show episodes from season 2, stopping one sketch into the John Cleese one
  • Rachel's birthday restaurant of choice isn't open on Sundays, so we went tonight
  • She chose Marblehead Grill and Chowder House
  • Again
  • Food was very good
  • Mr. B and I were the only ones with doggie bags
  • Yes, I could not finish my dinner; it was too much food
  • That should serve as a message to those who doubt - my eating habits are changing; last year I ate my dinner, and, I think it might have been the year before that I ate my dinner, finished Rachel's and finished Mr. B's
  • On the way home, we discussed stopping at the local lights display
  • I wasn't up for it, but Rachel decided (after we drove past it) that she really wanted to go tonight; I was all for holding off until Wednesday
  • Deb convinced me to go because she had her new boots on, and if I stopped at home she'd change into sensible shoes
  • We circled around and found free member trees in the mailbox - bit late for planting this year, though!
  • We drove back and went to the lights
  • They had a music synched display that was much better than last year, much more in-sync than any I've seen
  • Mr. B had a short discussion with Mr. Claus
  • I stayed outside with Justin to watch the music display, but I'm pretty sure the conversation included a request for a lello reraser
  • Someone proposed to Deidra with a panel of lights set up amidst all the other lights
  • When we got home, it was just starting to rain, so we picked the perfect time to go
  • We wrapped presents for Deb and put them under the tree
  • I'm going to sleep now
ellyssian: (Default)
As usual, we're a bit late on this. Deb is tweaking the final card design and the poetry is completed and ready to go, so...

~ if you'd like a holiday card from us, please provide your name and address here (or email to ellyssian at gmail dot com) and we'll add you to the list!

~ if you received a card last year and you didn't move, you're still on the list - you only need to respond if you moved

~ if you have a post for collecting addresses and didn't get a response from me already, please link to it, and I'll get our address posted ASAP! =)
ellyssian: (Default)

Side View
Originally uploaded by ellyssian
Cotton Candy roof (it flattened out since Thursday... kinda looks more like snow?), PEZ masonry chimney, a front walk paved in gold...

Click through the pic for a handful more, along with possibly correct attributions for most of the details.
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It's amazing, but modern slang has permeated even classical music composed over fifty years ago, and liturgical language a few years older than that! I was listening to a mass, and they sang: Gloria in excelsis day-ummm! - just imagine the shock! =)

[livejournal.com profile] patrixa is visiting, she arrived yesterday, with material to assemble some New Hampshire pecan pies, which, of course, use pecans she collected from her friend's garden in Georgia. I think Vermont maple syrup is involved, so it might be a multi-state effort. Possibly, given the trend in maple production, an international affair, eh?

Rachel received an award for her DARE essay the other day, and tests for her green belt next Tuesday.

Justin is testing for college entry today.

Mr. B says "abwacadabwa pleeeeeeaaaaasssseeee?" as his new Brandonism. He's got a couple of other new phrases that are humorous and/or insightful, and if I'd stop laughing so hard when he says them, I might get around to posting some. Oh, there is: "Are you a cutie or what?" to which he responds: "I am not a clootie and I am not a what." or "Hey, buddy!" which results in: "I am not buddy, I'm Bwandon!"

Holiday tree and lights are expected to go up this weekend.

Just so I don't forget and stay home tomorrow, I am not working from home 11/30. The doc appointment is the following Friday, 12/7.

Recently introduced a co-worker who is seriously into Alice in Wonderland to the music of David Del Tredici. She was not overly impressed. Kind of sad, given (almost) everything he composes centers around Alice: Pop-pourri, An Alice Symphony (Illustrated Alice/In Wonderland/The Lobster Quadrille), Adventures Underground, Vintage Alice, Final Alice, and Child Alice (In Memory of a Summer Day/Happy Voices/Quaint Events/All in the Golden Afternoon).
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Justin and I are roasting garlic, boiling shells, and adding the secret ingredient to the sauce (heat! shhhh, don't tell!)

In a couple of hours, we'll sit down to a meal of baked stuffed shells.

After that, we'll open presents from each other, sprinkle some glittery reindeer food out in the yard to reward them for their hard work over the course of the night, and then, before heading to bed, we'll watch Santa as he makes his way around the world.

Happy holidays to all!
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I made Cattlemen's Ribs for the holiday luncheon today...

Deb started them cooking last night, so they got about six hours or so, and then when I got in to the office at quarter to seven, I started them up again... just did a quick taste test and this just may be the best batch yet.

A couple of co-workers have commented on the aroma from the conference room - there are a few other crock-pots in there, but the smell of the ribs is filling the room. And the office.

Of course, the ride into work - 45 minutes with the ribs in an enclosed space - could probably qualify as torture under the Geneva Convention. The torture - and the amount of ribs that actually made it into work - would have been less if I hadn't gone through extensive mental preparation to convince myself that 6 hours wouldn't have cooked them thoroughly...
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Winter Nights by Al Di Meola
Jethro Tull Christmas Album (Bonus Dvd)

These are quickly becoming two of my favorite seasonal albums.

Of course, I have a great respect for the musicians involved - for Al Di Meola's guitar playing and for that of Martin Barre - not to mention the flute, vocals, and antics of Ian Anderson, and the talents of the other members of Tull, past, present, and future - to begin with.

Although Di Meola's album has a few holiday standards, this is mostly an original instrumental disc with a very wintry feel to it. In addition to the guitar work, Di Meola is joined by Ukrainian bandura player Roman Hrynkiv. The bandura is a 48 string harp-like instrument. There are a couple of tracks written by Hrynkiv, and on a couple of Di Meola-penned tracks, there is only the bandura.

Beautiful instrument, and well suited for the subject matter of the material - there's a cool, distant sound to the bandura, and I would certain hunt down discs of holiday standards done exclusively on this instrument.

For those who've been following my own musical efforts of late, it is likely the fault of this disc that I selected the English traditional tune Scarborough Fair as one of the ones I'm currently playing.

The Tull album is a set of new recordings of material previously available - essentially, collecting all the tunes with a Christmas theme. The arrangements are not overly complex, or over produced - you really feel as if the five guys (more or less) are all gathered around and playing for you.

They have a bit of fun with Anderson's trademark flute solo showpiece - Bach's Bouree - and change it up a bit. My Tull collection is much less complete than I'd like, so, outside of the 20 Years of Tull collection, I have very few of these tunes on other discs.

This album has fast become a favorite of both Justin and Brandon - while Justin can appreciate the musicianship and so on, Brandon just likes to dance to it.

Both releases are definitely worthy additions to any collection of holiday music - and, if you're [livejournal.com profile] d2leddy and anti-holiday tune, you should still have the Di Meola in your collection. And maybe consider the Tull anyway...
ellyssian: (Default)

Of all the trees
That are in the wood,
Ellyssian bears the crown.

The Holly and the Ivy
from the Christmas Song Generator.

Get your own song :
ellyssian: (Default)
I updated the home improvement project to show the latest and greatest info - and, as the progress progresses, it was turning quite lengthy. I shifted the current notes into comments, which will also make it easier if anyone wants to comment on specific steps.

Latest addition includes start date info for the first steps, as well as a link I added for the whole house air cleaner we'll be getting. With the current changes, I may be able to put off getting the heat exchange, but I still think I'll want one eventually. The manufacturer of the air filter has a nice product which looks to meet our needs, listed under the Ventilation category.

~ ~ ~

Brandon correctly (more or less) utilized a toilet for the first time in his life last night. He's been calling out 'big boy' lately, and wanting to use the potty. For hours at a time. Last night was the first time he actually managed to anything but sit there and smile, all proud of himself.

Of course, firsts don't come in solo rounds: he also walked down the stairs, facing forward and holding the rail, otherwise completely unaided.

~ ~ ~

Rachel sang and played chimes with her fellow fourth graders today, and had a couple of solo lines in the three-part narration introducing the first grade performance. She did a great job - in fact, was one of the best in clearly speaking her lines, and the only one who inserted any emotion into them.


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