Slow Going and "Giving UP"

As you will soon see, dear 3.5 readers, the title belies the true intent of this post:).  The baby blankie for Kristin and Sonny’s baby is growing at about the same rate of the baby as you can see. And as you can also probably see, my desk isn’t getting any neater!  I am able to do about five to ten rows a day.  For now that’s ok. But it is driving me a little crazy.  I think Colin has a point.  When one starts too many projects, one forgets where one is, especially in these patterned things.  So… I have decided (for now) to focus primarily on three of my projects: (1) the ribbon lace scarf for Donna (hopefully will be done while there’s still a use for it!; (2) the Daily Sweater for moi (even I need to keep warm some times, LOL); and (3) this blankie.  As (1) and (2) are finished, I shall add in two more to replace them – most likely something for SWMBO’s birthday and another ongoing project!
Since Tuesday evening, I’ve been very busy – not getting a lot done per se, but running around, getting more done than I realized.   I have helped somewhat with the mailings for the Orchestra Concert on March 15th and am really happy to be going to that – now that I’ve bought my ticket! Wednesday started with a visit to DSS to review a videotaped interview of one of my clients, doing paperwork at the office and arranging for visits.  Thursday, I worked it out so that I could cover a case for a colleague on Friday in exchange for her covering my one hearing that morning. So, instead of going to court, I was able to visit two clients.  That evening I stopped back at the church to help finish up with the mailings and visited briefly with Nancy and Rennie.  Friday, I was in court morning and afternoon and actually visited a client in another county between the dockets.  So, although it was a busy day, it was fairly productive.  But by the afternoon, when it was time to come home, I was fried!  John had done a little grocery shopping and was ready to fix his dinner and, bless his heart, had brought home some wine.  I didn’t feel bad having a glass or two since I had been abstaining all week and it was at the end of a crazy week.  After knitting my five rows on the aforementioned blankie, I vaguely remember my head hitting the pillow.
This morning, up again to be ready for the grandgirls at 8 and then off to visit a client by 9 and sang hymns with some of the choir for the funeral of a fellow former choirmember.  Then home to relieve John of babysitting duties (he had been up all night, remember!).  Daughter D, mother of the grandgirls, woke up around 2 pm after doing night work at the 911 call center.  We chatted for a while and then she took her girls home.
[Insert breath here: ‘]
Ahhhhh….
It is sooooo quiet! John is asleep, S is upstairs working on a paper.  J is working at Panera and I am sitting here, typing, getting back in touch with my brain (what’s left of it:)).
My desk is a mess, I need to switch calendars, and get my calendar up to date.  In another half hour John will be up and we will be going to see our son, D, at his latest acting endeavor and taking him and his GF, C, to dinner.  I’m looking forward to the evening, but for right now, I am enjoying sitting here, typing my thoughts and picking away at my (figurative!!!) navel lint.
Which brings to mind the second theme of this post (theme? what theme?):
“Giving up”is apparently going to be the theme for March’s NaBloPoMo – you know, that thing where one is supposed to blog every day for that particular month?  Well, as one may be aware, my performance on that score has not been exactly stellar for February, but what the heck I’ll give it a shot.  
As I read what the theme for this month was, however, at first I was somewhat taken aback. “Give up? I thought! That’s supposed to be a bad thing, isn’t it?”  But then this past Wednesday I started to think about giving up in another light, for Wednesday was Ash Wednesday – the day in the Xian calendar that begins the 6 weeks of fasting and repentance in preparation for Easter. So I thought about the thing we as children used to talk (and later as adults joke) about with regard to Lent: What are you giving up?  
I remember in elementary school, friends would grimly tell me they had given up candy or cookies or treats.  Others of a more spiritual bent would “give up” fighting with their little brothers or vow to help their moms more by keeping their rooms clean.  Later, in college, I had this ongoing joke my freshman year with this senior Religion/German major named Roger B (who despite my evil influences I am happy to report is an Episcopal Priest in the Philadelphia area last I looked).  We decided to give up sex with each other.  Of course, we weren’t having sex with each other in the first place.   I was decidedly NOT Roger’s type and I already had a BF (who I am now married to).  Funny though: years later friends of mine who moved to the Philadelphia area and attended Roger’s church told me that when they brought my name up, he still referred to me as “crazy Joan.” Nice to know I’m still appreciated.
But getting back to giving up: I am going to give up talking spitefully about people behind their backs, even if I am angry at them  I am going to give up drinking alcohol during the week and I am going to make an effort to get up earlier than I have been, to be on time for things to the best of my ability.
But there’s another kind of giving up: giving up cherished but wrong notions.  Giving up the idea that I’m going to live forever.  Giving up when it makes crystal clear sense to do so.
Remember the Serenity Prayer?
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
All three are necessary for a healthy life and mind, but wisdom has to come first.
Tomorrow, the “other Joan” and I are being commissioned as Stephen Ministers.  Heaven help the poor slob who gets me, LOL:)  I hope she has a sense of humor! Keep your fingers crossed for me!  Tuesday, I have a doc’s appointment to find out about a physical issue I’ve been having. Hopefully it’s nothing more than a bothersome nuisance. For both these things, please keep your fingers crossed for me!
Well, that’s all I have for today, dear 3.5 readers.  Until next time, God be with you ’til we meet again!
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I love nancy

Have you ever seen a really truly good person in action? I did tonight. At bell prax, we were all standing around while our director, Nancy, handed out new (Easter/Lent) music. Stupid me – I started talking about news cameras at the courthouse today (had to file something and today was the deadline). The trial they were covering was about these horrors disguised as human beings who starved one of their children to death. These were not people who couldn’t afford food – in fact they had other children they were feeding quite well, thank you. The father says he was hardly ever home – the wife did it – she’s crazy. So what’s his excuse – he’s evil? You would think he’d notice even more after an extended absence that something was amiss.
Anyway our conversation up in the choir loft went on like this for a few minutes. And then I noticed that Indigo (who plays bells right next to me) was now Halo. And I knew I had just done it! I felt so bad raising the very same abuse this dear friend had suffered so many years ago. I took Halo’s hand and told him he was safe here. Believe me when I tell you, dear readers, that I felt terrible.
Nancy knows the situation – far better than I do, since she’s known Indigo for a long long time and she has been their friend and has cared for them as only a true friend can. When someone walked into the church downstairs, Nancy went running down to see who it was and I whispered to Indigo/Halo – “please do down with her,” as I figured a strong young man running next to her would put any intruder off. It turned out it was just a couple members of the clergy depositing funds into the safe from a pancake dinner they had tonight for Mardi Gras. But I noticed upon their return to the choir loft that Indigo was back, doing better. Of course he was – he put his paralyzing fear aside to be sure our dear friend was safe. Talk about a miracle!
Later, Nancy – with a big grin on her face – told me she could tell this was happening – saying she figured a good run would help him.
God, I love that woman!
Not much new to report dear readers – just finished watching the new Prez address Congress. What a treat – I’m still pinching myself!
Knitting? Not so much these last few days – just plugging away at the 3.5 M projects I’ve begun already, LOL:)
Back again soon. Until then, well, you know the drill…GBWYTWMA
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FRIDAY:)!!!

Well, I’m done with my work for this week and I’m hanging out at home, chillin’ away.  I’m planning on a quiet evening at home tonight because it seems like every other night this week has been busy and the weekend shows no sign of letting up:)!
After court this morning, I got home, and settled in with Part II of EZ’s Knitting Workshop DVD, while working on what you see to the right. Yes, as the picture and part of the mosaic you see here show, I’ve been starting up some baby projects, with an idea to actually finishing them this year before the baby gets here.  I really like this yarn – it’s Cotton Candy, DK-weight cotton yarn produced by Magic Garden.  It’s cotton, and knits up like cotton.  I love the color – a kind of bluish-grey – the photo is fairly accurate. I’m knitting the Lacy Shawl from Debbie Bliss’ Essential Baby.  It looks somewhat daunting, but I’ve cut the size a bit to make it more realistic for this ADHD  knitter!  Plus, I’m going to do the picot edging in a pale pink and maybe a bit of yellow to offset the bluish grey.  We don’t know what gender the baby’s going to be, so I’m “edging my bets.” (OK, sorry…) I’m also working on a baby afghan with Vanna’s Baby yarn in various colors – using Drew Emborsky’s (The Crochet Dude’s) Flying Afghan pattern from a crochet calendar thingie I got at a yarn swap at the Sip ‘N Knit about a year ago.
Wow – it’s been over a week since my last posting! Usually when that happens, it’s either because life has gotten so busy or because there’s not much new to report – I’d say this time it was a little bit of both.  I’ve been getting home most evenings by around 9:30 and quite frankly, I’m just too tired – or too old and out of shape – to get my brain engaged enough to write anything remotely intelligible, let alone intelligent.
One interesting bit of news, it appears that in the realm of our state bar association, I am “famous” – well, not really, just that the article about the Orchestra of St. John’s has hit page two of our bar association newsletter.  For the time being at least, you should be able to find it here. I had some advance copies which I gave to Nancy to distribute as she saw fit (after keeping one

 extra in addition to my regular copy).  A bunch of friends from choir saw the article and teased me mercilessly about it being “all about me.” Yikes.  I swear, I didn’t write it, nor was it my intention to hijack the interview, LOL! I got my copy of the Bulletin a couple of days ago.  I don’t mind getting ribbed by my colleagues as long as we fill those seats at the concert for the orchestra March 15th!
The choir is practicing the Bach Easter Cantata for our May 17th concert with a part of the Orchestra. Last night we finally started on the German and I am also happy to say I’m singing alto for this one – no stretching to hit that D below middle C for me this time!  I’ve created a pronunciation guide for if we do this in German – and I hope we do, but it’s up to the Boss, not me.  I think I’m also going to do a line-by-line pronunciation of the entire thing for the choir members who are not fans of the language.  Should be fun – I’m weird that way.
Tomorrow morning is the closing retreat for our Stephen Ministry training and I am looking forward to it – need to remember to get up early and bring something brunch-like for the group to eat or drink that won’t pack on the carbs.  It’s not the last training we have, but it’s a milestone; soon we’ll be officially starting with our care-receivers and I am at once looking forward to it and nervous.  Thank goodness for supervision sessions!
Sunday is a later service for choir – thankfully I get to sleep in a little – and that afternoon will be a concert by Nancy S. and Jan S. (the S’s are different, LOL!).  Jan will be on the organ and Nancy on the piano.  I am looking forward to hearing Nancy on the piano really for the first time in concert.  Afterwards, our family was going to be having dinner at our daughter D and her husband (also) D, but that’s been pushed back to next Sunday, so I will probably go out with the group from church to Nancy and Rennie’s house for dinner. 
Right now I am happy for a peaceful and quiet time at home.  The two “kids” who still live at home are here (for the moment, anyway:)) and John is puttering around.  What is it about human beings that the presence of someone, even in the next room, is comforting?  I’ve often thought about that when we’re all together either during a Sunday or holiday.  Or when I’m sitting outside with a friend, not talking, but enjoying a companionable silence.  Times like that make me realize that we are more than merely our physical presence – that there is something else that goes beyond the borders of our flesh and blood.
Well, dear readers, however many you are, until next time and God be with you ’til we meet again.
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Now where were we?


The past two days have been rather nice, if tiring.  I think I finally crashed today! The huge majority of my visits have been completed and I have five percent left to do – the troublesome five percent that I will have to work twice as hard to get done!  But employment is a good thing, so I’m not complaining.  Since my last post, dear readers, I have had some fun, too.  Yesterday morning, I was dressed and all set to head out the door, hose, makeup, (clothes – hell yes) briefcase packed, ready for court, when I realized I had not downloaded and  printed out a responsory pleading I was supposed to file that morning for a colleague. Yikes.  So, before heading out the door, I sat down at the computer and accessed my e-mails whence this 

document had come. And what to my wondering eyes should appear but a miniature e-mail saying “no shelters, dear.” (OK, enough with the references to the Night Before Christmas).  There were no shelter 
hearings, in fact there was to be no dockets at all because the Courthouse  Was Closed Due to a 
Power Outtage.  Apparently the wind was pretty durn strong here in Merlin and a power source was “blowed daown.” 

Awww what a shame – all dressed up and no place to go…. and me, needing shoes
🙂
Don’t you just HATE when that happens?
Mind you, I am NOT one of those women who go out and buy shoes all the time.  First of al,l if you saw my ankles you’d say “Oh Lord, bring back the prairie skirts! PLEASE!!” Second, who in real life has that kind of moolah? Finally, I am not a shoe person.  I wear a pair of shoes until they get holes in them, one or both heels break, or they commit suicide because the stench is unbearable. (Ew that was TMI).  John, the sweetheart that he is (or as disgusted as he was, probably) said it was time and I was going to get some shoes for my birthday.  I suggested I go by myself on a day that I wasn’t so tired and at a time where my feet had not been IN the shoes all day long (in other words, have mercy on the store clerk!) So I took advantage of my newfound Time Off and (1) watched some of EZ’s Knitting Workshop DVD 
my DD B gave me for my birthday (OH YES SHE DID!!) and (2) changed into something

more comfortable and went to the mall to buy me some shoes.  The timing was good.  The shoes weren’t half bad and there was a Sale:) I got a pair of conservative black shoes, a pair of ankle length boot type shoes and a reddish pair of lightweight lacy shoes for warmer weather.  
At
 some point during the day, I did take a mental inventory of UFOs-I’m-currently-working-on.
The Daily Sweater is still swimming in yards and yards of stockinette (now why do I want to say 
“yellow yarn?” Must be that Electric Company piece reprised by Knitty Mcknitnit 🙂

The lace ribbon scarf is zigzagging along:) and I swear those socks are beginning to multiply in that bag! Can’t say much about the other picture – top secret little person plans! shhhhhhhhhh Recent drops in the temperature after a week of spring weather have prompted me to knit myself a neck warmer – it actually does keep one warm – who knew? Inspired by the beautifully simple one done by Robin L – a fellow Sip’nKnitter – I decided to do something similar.  I modified it a little bit – knitting in the round in a very soft pink and varying the pattern just a little by twisting the knit stitches in the middle ten rounds or so – I should be done with that tomorrow. After all this fun and frolic was done, it was time to do a couple of visits I’d already scheduled for that afternoon and then onward to choir practice.  We had a good, productive practice and a little “Valentine’s day” party.  It was nice to socialize for a bit, but I felt it was best to get home rather than stay for the entire time, since I really did have to get up for court the next morning and I rather doubted the power outtage would last for more than one day.  

In fact, it only lasted about an hour, LOL:)!
This morning, I was up bright and early and on the road, actually getting to court early for a change – really nice! The hearing was fine and uneventful.  I filed that paperwork I was supposed to file yesterday, picked up our courier package at the clerk’s office and headed home

, having an interesting encounter with a homeless woman on the way.  It actually was interesting because for once it wasn’t someone who was obviously mentally ill nor did she appear to be in need of a fix.  I didn’t know why she was panhandling and I didn’t ask.  It just didn’t seem polite. It was just a friendly conversation as traffic passed – about the weather and how she 
did yesterday in the wind, etc.  Since I was in the traffic, I was the one who left.
Well, why not?
The two visits I thought I had today fell through for different reasons- so I’m rescheduling them of course.  When I got home I thought I’d chill out for a while and get some knitting done and ended up falling asleep in the chair.  Times like that if I can, I listen to what my body is telling

 me, so I fell asleep.  When I woke up, John was getting up.  I finished watching the video, then finished up e-mail responses and a couple of reports and that was that.
Ok, you can wake up now…
Another interesting thing that happened today was getting an advance copy of the interview I 
mentioned a couple of weeks ago – the one in the bar association bulletin about the Orchestra of St. Johns.  I figured it would be a little blurb, but it was an article on PAGE TWO! Yikes! Patrick T made me sound a lot better than I really am – 

while he was interviewing me, I swear I kept referring back to the orchestra and how important classical music is for kids and families and Ron, who was there to make sure I didn’t screw up on the more technical points, really drove home some excellent points about the accoustics in the church and the numbers of musicians and, well, DD S said something to the effect that I never played classical music in the house when she was growing up and I reminded her that I did, but was often outvoted. Oh well! I just hope the article gets more in the door to see them at the March 15th concert – the orchestra then will sell itself – it really is that good!
Well, tomorrow is going to be a bit of work with the choir – some of us are doing lunch for the kids doing Discovery Weekend – a youth retreat at the church – Nancy and Susan F have bought the victuals (hot dogs and other goodies) and we are to prepare them.  Usually the kitchen is a scene of a lot of joking and fun, so I’m looking forward to it!
Until next time, GBWYTWMA!
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Full of Hope and Sunshine!

When last I left you, dear readers (whatever number you are), I had just finished celebrating an abstract concept – time on this earth and in this body – really an artificial construct, when you think about it – for what is time? A passage marked by the beating of the heart? The seasons? Milestones of biology?
Every time I think about time, my mind returns to music – which one might (MIGHT) argue, does not exist without time. And I think about a piece titled, “Quartet for the End of Time” by Olivier Messiaen. An excellent discussion of his work appears here. Messiaen composed the first parts of this work while incarcerated in a Nazi prison camp. The context of the piece is the last book of the now-existing Christian Bible: the Book of Revelation – and it refers to the moment when an angel announces that “time shall be no more.” He and two (or three?) fellow prisoners actually performed this for the other inmates of the camp – in other words people for whom the abstract concept of time had become all too real. I also marvel at the fact that people for whom food was scarce could somehow be spiritually or emotionally nourished by music. I don’t know why, but that thought brings tears to my eyes – like the reports I heard of children in the camps drawing pictures.

Life has so many issues, doesn’t it? The economy and some poor decisions on the part of certain persons involved in contract administration for Merlin have had an impact on my job. That same economy makes my husband’s job just that much shaky. Policy decisions made by priests at my church have hurt the very people they should be helping.
And yet I have hope. I have hope because I work with and for good people who are doing their all to make a difference for our clients – kids who need to get a break somewhere. I have hope because we have a good man in office in Washington, DC – a man who has the intelligence to do this all-encompassing, stress-for-a-lifetime job, and yet has the humility to say, “I screwed up,” and the quietness of soul to realize he needs Something bigger than himself. I have hope because the people I sing with and worship with actually worked together to be honest with a rector who appeared to be out of touch with the needs of some of her congregation.

I have hope because there are people like Colin , who refuses to identify with the abusers in his life and instead rails righeously (in the true sense of the word!)  against abuse and cruelty to children or like Indigo, who  has split into different people so that do not choose to be the one who hurt them. I also have hope because of the wonderful, dear, light-filled souls I have met and re-met after years of separation over the internet.

Maybe I have hope because today was a sunny, beautiful day. Or that Sunday, I got to walk with the best friend outside of my family that I have in this world, even though sometimes I wonder what that friend must think of me, LOL:)!

I know the greatest thing that gives me hope is my family – because they love me more in spite of me than because of me (and I thank God for that!).
The Xian Bible says that hope is one of the remaining three things that will be left at the end of time, along with faith and love – but it says the greatest is love.
I think there’s a lot of truth there.
* * * * * * * * *
On a less spiritual plane, the past few days have been an assortment of hearings and visits and I think I’m finally into the home stretch of catching up with all my visits – of course that only lasts for a few minutes before the cycle starts up again!
And I’m still working on the 45,000 projects I’ve started and have yet to finish. The above picture is what I worked on tonight at the Columbia Sip ‘n Knit – for the first time in forever! It was wonderful – I forgot how good it can be!
Well, dear readers, it is late and I have preached to the choir (sorry). Time to chill out and get ready for bed – court tomorrow!
Until next time, God be with you ’til we meet again.
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I am now the speed limit in the USA

Well, who knew?  Tomorrow I turn 55:) It feels like this entire weekend has been a party and I’m not complaining! 
Last night was lovely – we all had an amazing meal and I was the happy recipient of a beautiful card and a bottle of red wine – which I am now enjoying:) Everyone (I think – so they tell me) really enjoyed Simon Birch.  I knew then that I had friends who think, at least partly, as I do.  I just love that movie because for me it’s about two things:  primarily it’s about faith and secondarily that one simply cannot judge another human being on outward appearances.  If you haven’t seen this movie, I guarrantee, you will be uplifted.  It was worth every minute of the 2 hours (give or take) it took to see it.
Today was bell choir day – and we played both services.  I really enjoy the bell choir because even if my voice gives out a bit, I can still do my part for the music.  After the second service I walked with Nancy and it was WONDERFUL! The weather was perfect, the

sun was shining, the wind was just right and the conversation, as always terrific! It was so nice to catch up.  
After walking, I got home to a wonderful dinner of Chinese food from Asean Bistro.  Yum!   Most of the kids came – D couldn’t make it – he and his GF C have shows tonight.  Exciting news in our family: K and S are expecting their firstborn sometime in the fall:)!!!! That’s why I’m looking at knitting or crocheting a baby blankie:) (I’ve officially been given permission to say this here.)
On the knitting front, I’m working on finishing the Lace Ribbon Scarf for Donna – you know that feeling when you’re very close to the end – I have about 12-20 inches to go and I may just finish this scarf with two skeins of the Knitpicks Imagination! This means a pair of socks in the remaining two balls! So cool:)
Well, tomorrow is court, two visits and dinner with John for my birthday, so I’d better get going or get some sleep.  Or both. Will be back in touch, dear 3.5 readers.  Until then, God be with you ’til we meet again.+

German Pronunciation Guide for choirs

Deutsche Aussprache
(German Pronunciation) Guide

Vowels (in general):

A “Ah”

E “Eh” or “Ay” (actually sounds like something between the two)

I “eeeeeee”

O Say “Oh” and think “Aw” (JUST LIKE LATIN!!)

U “ooooooo”

Y Exactly like a U with an umlaut (see below)

W Never a vowel in German – always the same sound as the English “V”

Vowels mit Umlauts
(those funny dots that look like drunken colons):

An umlaut is the equivalent of putting an “e” next to a vowel. In fact, when people didn’t have umlauts on their typewriters (back in the days of the covered wagons), they just typed an “e” instead , like this : ä = ae Tränen (tears) would have been typed: Traenen
Umlauts are ONLY used with a, o and u in German (I have no idea what those crazy Norwegians do with them!)
An umlaut, as you might imagine, creates a dipthong, altering the sound of the vowel. So,

Ä “AY” or “AI” as in “hair”

Ö “oo” as in “Look,” or like the French “eu” in “vieux” or the French e in “de”

Ü “euoooo” Almost exactly like the French “u” in “tu” – a deliciously dark sound

Other vowel combinations:

AI “EYE”

AO “OW” as in “cow”

AU “OW” as in “cow”

EE “AY” – so similar to Ä that it’s not worth mentioning the difference

EI “EYE”

EU “OY” as in “BOY”

IE “EEE”

Any other vowel combinations: pronounce them separately – do not blend.

Two final notes on vowels:

German has the schwa (ə} sound that most of us learned about in school. This is basically the “uh” sound and it is often at the end of words and is most often an “e,” e.g. “Sprache” (Shprach-uh) And since the Germans drop “r”s at the ends of words more than the Brits, we’ll probably sing it a lot.
The vowels give us the open mouths we need to get the sound out, so they are very important and we should be consistent in singing them properly.

Consonants

Most of the German consonants are similar to English. German differs from English in the following consonant pronunciations:

C No real German words start with C – the ones that do are usually inspired from other languages. C in German is almost always a soft c – like s.

G Always a hard G (NOTE: opposite of Latin!) In fact, it’s so hard, that if it’s at the end of a word, it’s often pronounced as a “K” or it can be pronounced as an “IG” (see below), e.g. as in “selig” (“blessed”) which can be pronounced “zay-leek” or “zay-leech” (“soft” ch on the middle of the tongue – see below)

J Pronounced like the English “Y”

R Guttural “R” like the French, or rolled R (this is the preferred method for singing, since the sound isn’t strangled on it’s way out into the world). Or if in a short word, it is done as the Brits would do – and more or less ignored. (See “Schwarz” below)

S At the beginning of the word – always pronounced as an English “Z”; at the END of a word, pronounced like the English “s”

SS At the end of a word (see also Final Miscellaneous at end) always pronounced with soft “S” sound

V Pronounced like the English “F”

W Pronounced like the English “V” (are we having fun yet?)

Z Pronounced “TS” “Schwarz” (“Black”) is pronounced “Shvahts” (I told you they drop their ‘r’s!)

Other miscellany on German consonants

SH If you see these letters together in German, it is NOT to be pronounced as it is in English – most likely they are together because they are in the middle of a compound word, like “Ludwigshafen” (tr: Ludwig’s Harbor”) and is pronounced “Loodviks Haffuhn”

SCH If you want the English SH sound, this is the way you do it in German

CH Remember, C rarely, if ever starts a true German word – most likely you will see this letter combination at the end of a word. If it is at the beginning of the word (as in the German word for choir (chor)), it is pronounced in the guttural way. It can be pronounced one of two ways, depending on the vowel that precedes it or the region of the country in which it’s spoken.
If an A, an O, or a U precede it, you would say the guttural “ch” – as if one were clearing the back of one’s throat (Ach! – no English equivalent – like a messy “Ock!” Or “Buch” (“book”) (boohch) Or, if an O, like the Scottish “Loch Lomond”
If an E or an I precede a CH the CH sound is pronounced more softly – from the middle of the tongue. Try saying the word “Hue” or “Hugh” and the initial “H” sound you make will be that soft CH sound. Try saying that and stop before you say the “U” sound and you will have it. Now add a sound before it:
Ich (I) (“eech”) or Pech (bad luck) (“Peych”)

The soft CH at the end of a word most likely will be sung VERY briefly, as any S would, and because its sibilance is somewhat softer, it can be a rather pleasant end to a musical phrase.

Final Miscellaneous Information

German, like some of the European languages, has modernized its script. The old type face of the early 20th century and before has been gone since the late 40s, but a few vestiges did remain for quite some time, so you may see the following in your music:
ß – This may look like a cursive capital B, but it is the equivalent of a double S called an “Esszett” (not sure if I spelled it correctly). For example, it’s used in the German word for white “weiß” (weiss) (“Vice”).
Traditionally, nouns are always capitalized in German.
“H” in German music means B, “B” means B flat:)! (Thank you Reinhard Sunnus, for your correction!).
Dur means “major” and Moll means “minor”

UPDATE from Nattie (LinkeMasche on Ravelry)

LinkeMasche is a regular contributor to the ChoralKnitters Group on Ravelry.  This is being reprinted with her permission:

Cool document! I have a couple of tiny comments, though.

The Umlaut section assumes knowledge of French pronunciation, so I’d include instructions on how to do ö and ü without that knowledge. Ö I’ve seen described as making the mouth for O and trying to say E. Ü I’ve seen described as the mouth for U and trying to say I, or vice versa.

Lastly, a tiny little pedant point about C – I think that’s generally pronounced ts like a Z, rather than straight s.

Hope that’s helpful and not overly pedantic 🙂

-LM/nattie

Thanks, LM:) If anyone has any comments or helpful suggestions for American choirs valiantly attempting the German pronunciations, feel free to add your thoughts!