Monday, December 14, 2009


We jam packed the good times in last week, I tell you.
The Good Lovelies rocked the Vasey Church. In the sweetest way possible. Scott Cooper and family hosted and it had a very cozy, famdamly vibe. Scott played Porter Wagoner's Satisfied Mind which is maybe one of the best songs ever. And we all sang along to Silent Night. Robert Munsch has a book called Purple, Green and Yellow and at one point the heroine, Brigid, gets a pack of SuperDuperNeverComeOffUntilYourDeadAndMaybeEvenLaterIndelible Markers. When she uses them to draw, she draws roses that look more like roses than roses. Everything looks too good to be true. That's how the Lovelies sounded. Lush and smooth. It didn't hurt that we were in the front row and catching a lot of their live sound too.
The next morning it snowed and blowed like the begeezus.
SalGal's holiday concert was everything a concert of tiny people should be. Sweet, exuberant, slightly chaotic, not too long. She continues to regale us with "Give peace a chance, Baby!" and Silent Night at the top of her lungs. I attempted a few carols on the piano today. I quite butchered them, but the kids didn't seem to mind.
I headed up to my mom's on Friday and spent the day out in the freezing, snowy woods, cracking down old sumac trees and dragging them home to help build a palisade around the old barn ruin for Willy's wedding. It looks pretty wild and gorgeous. Mom made homeade bread and killer minestrone for lunch. The girlies played tea parties. A great day.
We had the cousins over on Friday night and the kids just rolled around the house in waves of play. "Let's play spies!" They all play spies. "Let's draw!" They all draw.
Saturday and Sunday were days of a thousand things, reconnecting with old friends and family, eating and drinkin and eating and drinking some more!!
Come evening, we found ourselves singing along once again, this time to White Christmas with my friend Phil. Everyone was packed into the house, cheek by jowl, standing in the hallway, sitting up the stairs. He has been singing for over a decade but this was my first time hearing him. It was worth the wait. We used to work together at the record store and we must have listened to Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas CD about 500 times. But when he sang Christmastime is Here, it felt fresh and sweet all over again.
So, let the damn roof leak. (yes, it really is. yes, the brand new one.) I'm going to keep on singing.

Monday, December 7, 2009

ghosts of christmas

In the midst of mad wrapping and procrastinating about writing my cards, Pip's lovely christmassy post inspired many Christmas memories for me.
I have a lot of of happy Christmas TV memories. Which seems a little pathetic. But there we were, all together, watching. I felt safe and connected. One Christmas day, West Side Story was on the air. I think I was about 11. The opening credits were a little boring but mom told me that she loved it, so I kept watching. It floored me: the music, dancing, the epic tragedy. I still love watching it around Christmas time and am kicking myself for not getting down to see the Startford production this summer - I heard it was pretty great.
Maybe it was this same Christmas, or maybe it was another but I remember sitting and watching TV for hours curled up with my mom. It felt like such a treat. There was some strange Muppety special on about a Frog prince. The princess was enchanted and couldn't talk properly: "Break the hall in the candle of her brain!" Does anyone else remember this?There is still something luxurious and wonderful to me about sitting down to watch 2 or 3 movies in a row.
I also remember sitting around by the tree with my whole family one year, listening to the radio. It was Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe. The first time I ever heard it. We laughed until our guts ached.
I could write a book about Christmas food memories. I will be sad to miss Christmas pudding with whiskey sauce this year.
We are going to be away from home for Christmas this year, with Smith's family. But we are going to have one humdinger of a party to celebrate my little bro's wedding on the Winter Solstice, so we will be getting our merrymerry on here before we depart. Bonfire, vows in the snow, lamb, sangria -can't wait!
I am very excited to go and see The Good Lovelies and Scott Cooper tomorrow night. I should bring a big box of kleenex as I am sure it will conjure up memories of the last time I went to see them with Pip. We laughed like loons and cried like babies.
I haven't been listening to anything except Sufjan Stevens lately. Mysteriously, the copy of Come on Feel the Illinoise that Greg and Meighan gave us has stopped skipping - hurray! And we currently have his Christmas set of 5 EPs on shuffle in the stereo. He does a very sweet version of Lo How a Rose E'r Blooming. I love that song. I guess I should shake things us a little but I can't seem to find my Bing Crosby xmas disc or my Weinachten mit Heinjie! Xmas just ain't the same without Heintjie singing "Kling, glocken,klingalingaling!!!!!". I'll bet the Lovelies do a wicked version of MeleKelikimaka....
I should be knitting. Ay, the push is on, to complete last minute gifts. I am trying to be kind to myself and not start any projects that I can't finish in a day or two. But I keep finding such cute things on Ravelry and Knitty. Must. Not. Look.
My reading lately has been mostly limited to Anna Karenina. I love it and I refuse to rush it. With Jack, I am reading The Winter Drey, book two in the excellent Trilogy of the Tree by Sean Dixon. It's funny and strange and sweet, based on Norse myths and history. Jack is loving it, but he wondered: "How did he (the author) think of all of those crazy names like Snorre and Trondheim and Norway?" Crazy old Norway. We seem to be all about beautiful wintery books these days. Any suggestions for your favourite book about winter or favourite book to read during the winter. I cancelled our daily Globe subscription. It was a big commitment and I was starting to feel like I should get up earlier just so that I could get through the paper. I am missing it a little but am also slightly relieved. Although I am back to living under a rock status. What's happening out there in the big ol world?