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Archive for December 2019

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil

December 25th, 2019 — 6:00am

Merry Christmas to all but especially to Henry, who requested these poems. I love you!

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from the Red Book

Subscribe to The Adventures of Tom Bombadil as a podcast and download all the poems at once. Paste this rss link into your podcatcher:

01 The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
02 Bombadil Goes Boating
03 Errantry
04 Princess Mee
05 The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late
06 The Man in the Moon Came Down Too Soon
07 The Stone Troll
08 Perry-the-Winkle
09 The Mewlips
10 Oliphaunt
11 Fastitocalon
12 Cat
13 Shadow-bride
14 The Hoard
15 The Sea-bell
16 The Last Ship

Or download all 16 poems in one file here:

Paste this rss link into your podcatcher:

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses from the Red Book

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The Grinch!

December 24th, 2019 — 8:51am
In English (a recording from several years ago)
Und eine ganz neue Aufnahme auf Deutsch, speziell für Tobi und Elli :)

If you know the English version by heart, you will be able to understand the German version fairly well! The translation is excellent, there are lots of cognates, and the pictures help of course :)

(I made a couple of small mistakes, sorry, but overall I think I did rather well for a one-take recording!)

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Self-care at Christmas

December 23rd, 2019 — 2:00pm

Marian Keyes is my favorite living author, a recovering addict, a survivor of serious depression and anxiety, a mental health advocate, and an all-around delightful person! She has made a 14-minute video all about taking care of yourself, and being kind to yourself, at Christmastime. It’s important!

Much of this advice is stuff I figured out on my own, long ago, and I think it is one reason why I love Christmas. I try hard not to stress about anything. Not everyone gets a homemade present, or even a present at all. I cook and bake as much as I like, and no more. No Christmas cards. My tree gets smaller every year as my energy wanes — but it’s still beautiful! I hide in my room when things get loud or overwhelming.

Marian’s advice about getting through a hard day is useful in any situation. On days with difficult, stressful medical stuff, I tell myself, ok, in twelve hours (or whatever) this will all be over. I can get through twelve hours.

Merry Christmas! Take care of yourself! If you, like Marian and me, suffer from anxiety and/or depression, keep a help line handy in your phone or follow @SarahMillican75 on twitter — she does a #JoinIn event on Christmas if you’re feeling lonely (or too crowded) and need to have a chat with some friendly internet people :)

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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

December 23rd, 2019 — 10:14am

Here’s another Christmas audiobook for you! The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson. It’s funny and heartwarming and very Christmassy :) Those Herdmans are the worst kids ever!

You can find all the chapters, and a new podcast feed, here:

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A Christmas Carol

December 21st, 2019 — 4:36pm

This is your yearly reminder that I made a recording of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” for librivox a few years ago. I just listened to it while I had a nap. It’s a very good recording, if I do say so myself :)

4 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

Christmas Music!

December 19th, 2019 — 9:00am

I love Christmas music, all sorts. From traditional to novelty to pop, and (almost) everything along the spectrum, the tacky and the glorious, the beautiful and the silly. (Though I’m not a fan of angelic children’s choirs or goopy harp-filled schmaltz. I’m more an up-tempo girl, I guess.) Right at this moment I’m listening to the Robert Shaw Chorale, “Christmas Hymns and Carols”, which is an absolutely perfect traditional, unaccompanied, non-ornate, SATB choir recording. Here’s a YouTube playlist of the whole recording:

I’ve mentioned Mixmas here quite a few times, and I’m not going to stop mentioning it. Ever.

A gem from Mixmas 2019 is “Every Single Christmas” by JD McPherson. Here’s a live recording:

From tracking down that song, I discovered that JD has a whole Christmas album of original Christmas songs, “Socks”. The official YouTube videos have charming, simple animation and lyrics, which Em really enjoys!

Another favorite this year is “Santa’s Coming for Us” by Sia. This all-star, lip-synced video is so charming! (Wait past the slow B&W intro. It gets good.)

A couple of favorites from last year are a cover of “Rise Up Shepherd” by Twin Bandit and a cover of “You’re a Mean One, Mister Grinch” by Small Town Titans:

I’ll stop for now, and assault you with more of my favorite Christmas music next time! :)

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The Christmas Tree Book is finished!

December 16th, 2019 — 12:46pm

All nine chapters are ready for you to enjoy, maybe while you decorate your tree or watch the Netflix fireplace :)

Subscribe to the book as a podcast by copy/pasting this link into your favorite podcast app:

While reading the chapter about electric Christmas lights and bulbs, I added a little note about our old antique Santa bulb! Here it is. I don’t know whether it was originally from the Shallenberg side or the Jacobs side, but it’s really old for sure! Behind Santa you can see a reproduction of one of the old German ornaments made of cotton batting and crinkled wire in the shape of a bird’s nest.

Also, the text mentions the custom of making a little village, farm, or nativity scene under or near the tree. That’s totally a tradition in my family, too, maybe from my German heritage (on both sides). What traditions or special old ornaments do you treasure?

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The Christmas Tree Book, Ch 5 and 6

December 15th, 2019 — 12:27pm

Two more chapters of The Christmas Tree Book!

Chapters 5-6 are finished and ready to download here:

Subscribe to the book as a podcast by copy/pasting this link into your favorite podcast app:

Me, recording this morning :)

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The Christmas Tree Book, Ch 1-4

December 14th, 2019 — 12:22pm

I re-read this book just about every year — I love it — so this year I decided to record it for you!

Chapters 1-4 are finished and ready to download here:

Subscribe to the book as a podcast by copy/pasting this link into your favorite podcast app:

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Mixmas 2019

December 13th, 2019 — 9:04am

Every year, Henry and I look forward to DJ Riko’s yearly Mixmas. Usually he releases it just before Christmas but it’s a bit earlier this year!

Go here and download for Christmas cheer!

Here’s his track list for 2019:

Dram – Litmas
JD McPherson – Every Single Christmas
Margo Guyen – I Don’t Intend to Spend Christmas Without You
Josh Rouse – Sleigh Brother Bill
Sufjan Stevens – Put the Lights on the Tree
Bailen – Christmas is All Around
Hoodoo Gurus – Tojo
The Magnetic Fields – Everything is One Big Christmas Tree
Sia – Santa’s Coming for Us
New Order – Rocking Carol
The Regrettes – Marshmallow World
James Brown – Santa Claus go Straight to the Ghetto
Justine Skye – Eyes for You
Satan’s Pilgrims – Feliz Navidad
Livingmore – Show me Light and Love
Jagged Jaw – Pink Xmas Tree
Beach Boys – Little Saint Nick (Alternate Version)
Tralala – Holiday Hearts
Cocteau Twins – Winter Wonderland
Redtenbacher’s Funkestra – Deck the Halls
The Duke Spirit – Melt by the Morning
The Grip Weeds – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
The Silhouettes – Under the Mistletoe
The Oh Hellos – Every Bell on Earth Will Ring

I haven’t finished the whole thing yet (Henry and I are listening together when we have time) but the second bit — “JD McPherson – Every Single Christmas” — is so good that I went looking for the song to add to my Christmas music collection, and discovered that JD McPherson has a whole album of original Christmas music called “Socks” and it’s great!! (Be sure to watch some of his live performances on youtube!) You can buy “Socks” on iTunes and other places. The whole youtube playlist is here:

I have plans, eventually, to write up a review of every single Mixmas and point you to my favorite parts ’cause there’s always something that just rocks my socks that I never would have heard otherwise… Right now I’m listening to 2014, which is such a good one! Liz Phair’s Ho Ho Ho “Doing shots of room-temperature peppermint schnapps while the yule log on tv crackles and pops…” (I always skip the Crash Test Dummies bit, though. That’s ok – every Mixmas has a clunker or two, the aural equivalent of the Ugly Christmas Sweater :)

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Ugh, pt 2

December 9th, 2019 — 10:51am

The less said about that hospital visit the better.

Upshot: They can’t fix my ASD. So that’s that — the last possibility for extending/improving my life. I also realized that, even if the implantable Remodulin pump is ever approved by the FDA, I won’t be able to tolerate the operation to install it — so that’s that too.

My throat, which got seriously messed up during the TEE, is starting to feel better and I can swallow real food again.

My body still hurts all over but I can move without actual agony so that’s nice I guess.

The adhesive-itch is still terrible and I’m trying hard not to claw my skin off.

Let’s think about Christmas instead! I’ve been listening to DJ Riko’s Mixmases :)

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December 5th, 2019 — 7:31pm

Horrible horrible day. Up at 4:30am to get to UCSF hospital by 6:30am. They wanted to do a TEE (trans esophageal echo), then a heart cath, a balloon occlusion test, and potentially fix my ASD.

So I had general anesthesia while they did all kinds of stuff to me.

Woke up at 11:30 with the world’s worst sore throat from tubes being shoved down it.

Turned out that they couldn’t fix my ASD after all, so it was all in vain.

Lay around in bright busy noisy recovery room for hours in pain, weeping.

Finally got real room around 6pm. Had giant fight to get them to remove all adhesives including IV and monitors. Haven’t eaten or drunk anything but 2 cranberry juice boxes in 26 hours. Still waiting for soup to arrive. Throat hurts too much for real food.

Extreme misery

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