Sallie Satterthwaite's blog

Christmas Carols 2012

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A few notes about our favorite notes: Christmas carols.

First, let’s consider what a “carol” is. “It’s the song that everyone knows and everyone sings, from aged grannies, babes in arms and all together, thanks to angels, saints, and simple folk,” according to The Great American Christmas Almanac, published by Penguin Books in 1990.

Away in a Manger. Which tune is the “right” one? How old is it, and where was it first heard? Read More»

Who could ask for more?

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We’ve already received the best Christmas gift we could hope for.

Well, almost the best. Mary and Rainer are coming for Christmas.

I haven’t mentioned it before in case they changed their minds, but our ex-pat daughter has bought tickets and given us her flight details. That clinches it for me.

For most of her years living in Europe, we’ve worked out a pattern of getting together about once every two or three years, taking turns as to who travels. This time, we’ve already been together twice, and come Christmas, we’ll make it three visits in two years. Read More»

Late Autumn musings

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Something stirs painfully this time of year. I think it has to do with the conflicting messages autumn sends to the sub-conscious.

In many ways, autumn is a season of new beginnings. Last spring’s 4th grader is now a sure ‘nough 5th grader, ready to take on the world. Television producers introduce their new season. Newspapers carry schedules of upcoming theater and opera seasons. Football reigns. Read More»

A personal note to friends

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Hey guys (and girls), but mostly guys,

Would you mind terribly if I bring up a personal matter with you? This will be just between us, and you know who you are. I won’t mention it to another soul.
I worry about you. You have been so kind to me and my family over the years. You don’t know how fond I am of you, and I’m so grateful to be remembered and included in your promotion ceremonies, the annual officers’ banquet, July 4th celebrations, and all the rest.

Let me come right out and tell you what’s on my mind: You’re fat, or getting that way, really fast. Read More»

But where do you live?

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In your house, I mean. Do you live in the living room or sit in the sitting room? Do you even have a  sitting room? Do you drive on a parkway and park in your driveway, or vice versa?

English, our native lexicon, brags that it encompasses nearly one million words and is the largest in the world. English must thank dozens of other cultures for contributions with meaning and nuance.

For no particular reason, I got to thinking of words or phrases that architects and interior decorators use to suggest that their product is a little bit classier than the next fellow’s. Read More»

Permission to leave tasks unfinished

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When my computer guy was getting ready to leave, I asked him if he could use anything in the big plastic bin in the corner of my office (mostly obsolete cables and the occasional keyboard or headset). This Mt. Vesuvius of once-relevant hardware has absorbed into itself at least 10 years of the detritus of down-loadable software. Stuff that was imperative in the sea of ever-changing upgrades no longer fits today’s equipment.

I read an article recently that fits up there in the idea-box sending me comfort in my growing short-term memory bank. Read More»

Carmen, revisited

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Ronda, in Andalusia, Spain 1990:

As we wandered the streets of Ronda, an ancient little city set on two sides of a craggy gorge in the southern Spanish highlands, we were struck again by the odd jumble of an old city’s architecture and ambiance.

Perhaps because I live in an essentially homogenous town, built in only about 30 years, I crave the diversity of older cities. Most are a fascinating mix of modern and ancient, their textures irregular, with carved pilasters and ornamented balconies delighting the eye with variety. Read More»

Romance at Middleton Gardens

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The hostess led us to a tiny table between two larger tables where diners were already seated. Maybe people always want the window – she didn’t ask us – but we both felt a moment of resentment to be placed so close to others when there were empty tables in the center of the room.

The gardens were fading with the twilight anyway. Pink camellias pressing against the glass would soon be our only view from the candlelit restaurant. It might have been more romantic were we not actually closer to our neighbors than to each other. Read More»

Lie to a gentle boy?

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He’s such a gentle boy, a kindred spirit of butterflies and anoles. Noisy at times, sure, but not one to back down from a challenge like scaling a fence and dropping on the other side. He’s 6 1/2 .

When he and his Mom and older brother were here around the 4th of  last July, he noticed the Beatrix Potter figurine on the coffee table. We bought it in Windermere, England, years ago, simply because we liked it. Read More»

Train travel in Germany nothing to sneeze at

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Since it’s a sure bet someone, somewhere is in the throes of an allergy season, this seems as good a time as any to tell a sneezing story. It’s an old one, but has retained its timeliness.

It doesn’t start out a sneezing story. It starts out a story of the only time I’ve ever known a German train to get off schedule. Not merely late – an unthinkable eventuality – but off the schedule altogether, then, just as mysteriously, back on. Read More»