For Non-Traditional Christmas Musicologists (?), Two Gems

When I was a kid, my father ignored neighbors’ comments for weeks each December, when he blasted tinny Christmas recordings from a speaker in our garage, making the music kind of seem to come from the illuminated plastic carolers in the garage window.

As an adult, I admire my dad’s ability to ignore the opinions of others, but I struggle with Christmas music – with the exception of Phil Spector’s Xmas album, and these two splendid pieces.

The Pogues – Fairytale in New York

“I could have been someone.
Well so could anyone.”

What a song for an audience singalong! (You won’t learn the lyrics by listening to Shane deliver them here, but if you would like to join in, click here for a version with lyrics laid out.)

The Killers – Don’t Shoot Me Santa

“I couldn’t let them off that easy.”

This video approaches genius.

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Ten Questions I’ve Never Considered

This Word Press Daily Post was fun to consider. It said On the interview show Inside the Actors’ Studio, host James Lipton asks each of his guests the same ten questions. What are your responses?

What are your own responses? Post them in comments here, or write your own post and comment me the link!

Always good for a laugh.

Always good for a laugh.

What is your favorite word?

Clam. It’s always good for a laugh.

What is your least favorite word?

Teh. Which is how the comes out whenever I type it.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Live music.

What turns you off?

Fragmentation – demands, deadlines, chores, requirements, expectations pulling me in multiple directions.

What is your favorite curse word?

Hands-down winner: the F word.

What sound or noise do you love?

I love hearing my twins (son and daughter) talking and working together without bickering or oneupsmanship. I typically hear this once or twice a year, when they make me breakfast in bed for mother’s day and/or my birthday.

What sound or noise do you hate?

1970s arena rock. GMWAS.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Professional surfer. Well. I would love to be one. I would not bother to attempt it. I can barely negotiate a boogie board.

What profession would you not like to do?

Waiter. I would be a terrible one and I would find it so stressful to be polite and calm in the face of customer demands.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Your friends, family and critters await you in room 12C.

Creepy-Sweet

A few millennia ago, by internet time – that is, earlier this year – there was social media hoopla about a great Reddit poll which collected the creepiest sayings of kids. I suppose every parent has contributions to that list. I know I do!

When my son was oh, I dunno, maybe 4, he went through a phase of making ridiculous demands early Saturday morning.  Sure enough, early one weekend morning as I tried to catch up on maybe 4 years of sleep, he wanted something. I don’t remember what, exactly. Perhaps that was the week he wanted to climb out his window and sit on the second story roof. Anyway, I said no, as I did each time, and he threw a tantrum, as he did each time. He went back to his room to fuss.

Laying there, pretending I would fall asleep again, I realized the house had grown quiet. This was so unusual I had to worry. I called softly to my son. Maybe he had fallen asleep?!? Nope.

“What, Mom?” he replied. The mystery deepened. He sounded downright cheerful.

“Everything okay in there?”

“Yeah.”

“Huh. Good. Whatcha’ doin’?”

“Oh, I was just thinking about a bear eating you.”

Discipline is always more difficult when they make you laugh.

**************

When my twins were young, I would occasionally suggest that when they went off to college I would come with them so we could stay together. They thought this was a great idea until they hit about 10. After that, there were a couple years when they reacted guardedly, unsure whether I was kidding. After that, they reacted like teenagers.

Back when they wanted us to stay together, my son developed a long-term plan that he shared with gusto. When he was grown, he would build a house behind his own house, and that would be the house where I lived. Then, after I died, he would bury me in the walls so that I could stay there forever.

He has always been a thoughtful person.

**************

Surprised to say, I can’t recall any creepy sayings from my daughter.  However, I will never forget – and am eternally uplifted – by one thing she said to me. She was 3 or 4 at the time: “If ever you fall low I will raise you up.”

And that has proved true ever since.

My Birthday Week (I’m Milking It!)

If I must acknowledge getting older, then I prefer to have my birthday celebration spread out over days. This year I’ve got a birthday week – and if I count the concert with a friend in November, I’ve got a birthday season!

Hiking at dawn! It has been too long.

Hiking at dawn. It has been too long.

Highlights this year are two dawn hikes (my first hikes with my new hip), a trip to the beach, and dinner at a favorite restaurant. My kids also gave me a book of dustbowl-era political and social photographs:

My kids got me this book.

Looks like an interesting book and its photos are unforgettable.

It’s an awesome book but what really makes it special is the thoughtfulness with which they chose it. (They figured it fit with my love of Woody Guthrie and my recent interest in traditional bluegrass.)

At last, hiking again!

Gee. Thanks guys.

Dear Family Cats (and also the dog),

Thanks for giving me an unforgettable experience. A night of induced insomnia and – okay – a couple laughs.

The oldsters, Bop and Luna, age 10.

The perpetrators, Bop and Luna.

It all started about 130 am. The dog woke me up, walking in and out of my room, flopping down in the hallway, jumping up again to tick tick tick tick another circuit of my room. When she walks at a certain pace, her nails on the floor sound like the Sixty Minutes clock. At 130 pm, I find this charming.

After a moment of consciousness, I heard what had made the dog restless. Cat fight, a couple houses away. I recognized the voice of my beloved Luna, whom I had failed to lock inside. I keep the cats in at night (coyotes), but on hot summer nights Luna often evades capture.

Luna is 10 years old and I had never heard him fight before.  He is a peaceable fellow who gets along with most other cats. The part of my brain that was awake decided it was a good idea to break up the fight. I filled a glass with water and headed down the street. No noise, no cats. Okay. I dumped the water and returned to bed.

Turn out my light, cue the fight, which resumed a few feet outside my window. Refill the water glass, take it outside, toss water at the cats. The other cat ran north. Luna headed west, stopped, stared at me, then sprinted after the other cat. Jerk.

The really!-I’m-mean-and-I’m-going-to-hurt-you! howling resumed in the backyard. By now I was too invested to shrug and lie in the dark listening to fake loud cat aggression. In the backyard, I decided to turn the hose on them. I turned the hose on full bore and I blasted them —

— with a dribble of water. Oh. The hose had kinked.

While I worked on unkinking the hose, from the house behind ours came brutal THUNK-thunk-THUNKs as the pit bull tried to slam his way outside through a closed dog door. He wanted in on the cat fight.

Suddenly I realized that what I needed was to be asleep. I left the hose and returned to bed. Where I lay, very very awake, for 3 hours. As many of you know, time expands at night and those 3 hours lasted for days.

I finally drifted off to sleep shortly before dawn. Not long afterwards, I jolted awake to shrill cat screeches. For the first time, our cat Bop had ambushed the kittens during the night, which is usually a time of truce. Perhaps Luna had inspired her.

There we were, stumbling into the hall, squinting at the lights we each turned on: my daughter and I, armed with water bottles, looking to spray Bop for messing with a kitten.

A peacekeeper.

A peacekeeper.

Actually the “kittens” are now 11 months old and two of them are bigger than Bop, but she knows how to bully and they will always consider her enormous.

Wow. He is so cool.

Recent runt kitten Leo stands outside window and watches his hero Luna snooze. Leo doesn’t realize he has grown up to be the biggest cat in the neighborhood.

Now the dog was energized. With two humans out of bed, it must be breakfast time.

Have you ever gone for a walk just after dawn? It is such a peaceful time of day.

P.S. As I write this, Bop has knocked the DSL modem to the floor. Twice.  So we’ll see whether this exposé ever gets posted.

(This post responds to today’s Daily Prompt, “I’d Like to Thank My Cats”.)

Most Tactful 4-Year-Old. In the World.

On my evening walk, I passed a mom and her young daughter headed the opposite way.

“Mom, it’s oKAY!” The girl waves her arms and bounces as they walk.

“No, it was not okay that you did that.” The mom hunches forward, pushing an infant in a stroller.

“It was okay.” With no uncertainty.

“No, I really didn’t like it when you – did that.” Mom edits for my benefit. Her lips press together. She is not pleased.

“I wish,” the girl begins. By now they are past me and her voice carries back to where I have stopped walking, the better to eavesdrop.  She continues slowly, as though choosing her words, “that I had a mom like you except somebody who didn’t care that I did that.”

I decided against openly stalking them, so missed the mom’s reply.