Monday, February 15, 2010

The Swan Fairy Tale

As I said in my comment section below, I remembered a fairy tale about a girl whose brothers were turned into swans. I thought it was seven brothers, but it was six. I guess it was the girl who was the seventh child. I did remember that she had to make them shirts in order to change them back and that at some moment of danger she was done, except for one last sleeve, so she threw the shirts over them and they were transformed back, except that the youngest brother still had a swan's wing instead of one arm, because his shirt didn't have a sleeve. Here's the Grimm version: The Six Swans.

Seven children is a fairy tale theme. In Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley is the seventh child, a daughter with six older brothers. J.K. Rowling was very aware of fairy tale motifs and traditions, and I recall reading an interview or possibly a post on her website about this aspect of Ginny.

Now I just found another one, Hans Christian Andersen's version, and in his it's eleven brothers and a sister. Interesting how details change in the basic story. You wonder why. And then some other elements are unchangeable. It's brothers and a sister. The brothers become swans. And the sister must make shirts and not talk until she has done so. And her refusal to talk somehow gets her into trouble. She's so loyal to her brothers that she almost dies to save them; however, at the last moment they also save her.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


This morning when I was out walking my dog, a flock of swans flew overhead. By the time I pulled my camera out of my pocket, turned it on, and pushed the relevant button to take a video, they were almost gone, but you can see them in the lower right hand corner of the sky and you can hear them honking.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Waiting, waiting, waiting for spring

A beautiful, sunny morning today, but with a cold east wind blowing. The sun was most welcome and gives me that anticipation for spring.

My pansy has more blooms.

I love pansies--violets--heart's ease.

Here are a few leaves of peppermint. Every winter the peppermint dies back, but it's so hardy that when spring comes, all I'll have to do is give it food, water, and sunshine and soon it will fill and overflow the pot again.

Just a reminder that peppermint is so hardy as to be invasive, and I would never plant it in the ground, as I understand it would take over a flower bed and start going beyond the bounds even of that.

Here's the sunny side of the deck:

And here's what I usually call the shady side of the deck, but the time of day and year made it sunny, too, for a short time:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sweet singing in the choir

This evening in choir practice I hit a high note I haven't reached in years--not just the F at the top of the treble clef, but the G on top of it. Usually the E just under the top is as high as I can get.

I wasn't straining at all tonight for notes at the top of my range (and that's almost over the top for me). Either the months of singing every Wednesday night are paying off, or it helps to eat a salad that's heavy on the onions before going to rehearsal.

If it's the onions, I'd gladly eat them every week, but that might be too high a price for those who sing near me in choir.

Sour notes or sour breath? Which is worse?

Monday, February 1, 2010

The stuff that dreams are made of

Last night, I kept dreaming about something I needed to do at work today. Then I woke up and went to work and did it. Note to unconscious: Once is enough. Reality will do just fine for workday tasks. I have no need to re-live, or pre-live, them in my dreams.