"Someday's gonna be a busy day..."

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

You make me feel like bloggin'...(I wanna blog the night away)

Working at home has its advantages. Then again, I'm not working in my OWN home, so I am subject to the furnishings available in my brother-in-law's bungalow. For example, he has a great stereo, with cable FM, but his CD player only plays one CD at a time. I prefer to put about 6 in the mix and hit shuffle. But most of my CDs are buried in the depths of the garage at Someday Farm anyway. I don't have the heart to dig them out. Which means I am stuck listening to the radio most days.

I tried the CBC, my old standby for driving back and forth to Waterloo, but all the good natured talking distracted me. I found I started typing whatever the announcer was saying. Not conducive to workie. A couple of weeks ago, I decided I'd try a new station every day. I would go up the dial; whatever came in, that's what I would listen to. Turned out to be an interesting experiment, especially when you consider the effect different music has on one's ability to focus and do productive work.

My first stop on the dial was a country station. Now, I'm a self-professed hater of country music. Throughout my childhood, Dad subjected us to album after scratchy album of Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson et al, ad nauseum. But since moving up here and spending time with D, I've reluctantly begun to hate country music less. My older sister, who lived in the middle of bloody nowhere in Australia on a cattle property for 6 years, warned me it would happen. "Oh, eventually the songs will start making sense to you," she said. "You'll start nodding in agreement with songs about love and family and trucks." Frightening, and true.

I've also tried a classical station (slows my typing down, and I actually had to take a short nap over my lunch hour), a nasty R&B station (one can only listen to songs about 'bling' and 'booty' for so long) and one that seemed permanently trapped in the 70's. But today, oh glorious day, I seem to have hit radio gold: E-Z Rock.

Hey, don't get all judgy on me now. It's not as dreadful as it sounds. They don't repeat their songs during the day, the announcers are pleasant without being so chipper you want to shoot them, and it's causing a surge of childhood memories - particularly when they play the rolling-skating-at-New-Hamburg-arena tunes.

But the gold nugget in my E-Z rock day was when they played "You make me feel like dancing." Instantly, I was transported into the den of the house where I grew up: orange shag rug, big fireplace, soggy brown leather chairs, giant TV. And on the giant TV was Leo Sayer singing his funkadelic hit surrounded by various muppets. The muppets! What a great show. They don't make 'em like that anymore.

Here's the clip from UTube. http://www.searchthetube.com/wyreul5Cvsw/Leo_Sayer__the_muppets__You_make_me_feel_like_dancing

Even if you're too young/old to remember, just check out this clip - for the Afro, the bad lip-synching, Leo's spastic dance moves and the slightly surreal dancers wearing muppet heads. Long live Jim Henson. Oh, and long live E-Z Rock.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Holly frickin' hobby?

My brother-in-law, C, showed up on one of his unannounced afternoon visits today. After all, it is his house; I just work here. Upon passing by the doorway to the tiny lavender tinted bedroom that serves as my office (he laughs when I call it 'the study'), he backed up and peered in.

"What the hell kind of get-up do you have on today?"

I glanced down at my ruffled skirt, white lacy tank top and jean shirt. I was wearing footless tights which I thought complimented my new brown flats. Oh, and pink socks.

"I dunno...a skirt. What's wrong with it?" I asked, miffed as his face crinkled up in laughter.

"Jesus Christ," he muttered, still laughing, and started walking down the hall again.

"I get sick of wearing jeans every day!" I yelled after him. "People who work from home want to look nice sometimes too, you know!"

He popped his head back in the doorway. "Nice? You think that looks nice?"

I looked down again. Okay, the pink socks were a bit much. "My feet were cold. It looked better without the socks."

"Jesus Kim, you look like...what's the name of them dolls, you know the kind, they wear a little bonnet on their heads?"

I shot him a look of utter disbelief. "You mean Holly Hobby?"

"Yeah! Yeah!" C looked excited. "Them dolls! Well, that's what you look like." He set off down the hall again, chuckling like an owl. Funny funny, ha ha.

I refuse to take fashion advice from a dairy technician who, as of late, has been wearing narrow legged jeans he found in the back of his closet that last saw the light of day in 1985.

When I was about 7, I had a Holly Hobby doll. She had the weirdest face - flat as a pancake, with all her features painted on. We used to toss her upside down because her dress would fly up, revealing elaborate white bloomers.

Come to think of it, I had another doll we enjoyed flipping around - she was a blonde-haired, pale faced girl wearing a pink ruffly skirt on top, but when you flipped her ass over teakettle, she became a black-skinned girl with a red kerchief overtop of dreadlocks. Now that's a pretty progressive doll for a 1970's kid to own.

Then again, my younger sister had a black Cabbage Patch Doll named...oh, what was its name? Sabine? Sabrina? (T, help me out here) I think my mother thought it would be more interesting to own than a peachy-faced one. My mother was quite ahead of her time in some ways. I will refrain, however, from posting my father's comments.

This is H.H. in her pink socks, signing off.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Merry (drunken) Christmas!

I'm so lazy, I didn't even post a Christmassy blog. Naughty.

I won't go into boring detail about the amount of food I consumed, the presents I received or all the bloody relaxing I did. I would, however, like to document for the sake of my grandchildren the night we decorated the Christmas tree.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my bro-in-law C brought home a lovely soft-needled fir tree for me, about 9 feet tall. It gets set up in the living room, under the apex of the 12 foot A-frame ceiling. I decreed Thursday evening (20th December) to be the eve of decoration and was informed laconically by C and D that I'd be doing it myself. Huh.

Well, that would be no different than other years. Ever since I've lived under my own roof, I've always decorated the tree myself. Usually I indulge in a snort of some fancy liqueur (Alize is my holiday favourite), flip through the channels until I find a suitably stop-action animated Christmas special and do my business, untrammeled by any outside opinions. Since my recent "with child" status nixed the joys of alcohol, I made do with a wine glass full of taboo Coca Cola.

C begrudingly hauled out several giant boxes of decorations from the depths of his closet. The sheer volume of ornaments might seem weird for a single guy, except I know his mother probably showed up with them on his first Christmas living in Blair's Grove. (She is the unofficial and underappreciated supplier of all necessities here) The decorations are mostly red and gold and gaudy. I had purchased a few tubes of green, silver and gold balls, fondly believing I'd be able to hang them on the tree at Someday farm this Christmas; I decided they'd look just as nice on the Blair's Grove tree.

No sooner had I begun to sip my Coke and contemplate the look of green on green than D and C plunked themselves down in the living room, staring at my handiwork. Oh, I thought, an audience! How nice.

My warm fuzzies disappeared the moment C declared, "Something's missing," went to the stereo and cranked Anne Murray at full power. Gentle reader, I hate Anne Murray. I hate her velvety voice, I hate the way it sounds like she's always smiling when she sings. I don't care if she's Canada's most beloved songstress. I hate her. Don't really know why - I only know that I do. And D and C LOVE her. I mean, REALLY love her. And they have a double CD of Anne Murray Christmas music. Which I had to listen to as I decorated.

It was when Anne was belting out "Christmas in Killarney" that C began to critique my ornament hanging skills.
"That one should go a little further to the left, there, Kimmy."
I moved it to the left.
"I wouldn't just put that there green one so close to the other green one. You gotta mix 'em up a little."
I mixed them up a little.
"Well, how come you're not usin' these silvery ones? See, they go like this, against the light so it shines through."

At this point I tossed my Coke in his face, set fire to the tree and frisbeed Anne Murray into the snow. Okay, I didn't do that, but only because I was arrested by the sight of D. He had disappeared to the basement during C's critiqing session, and now reappeared wearing his younger brother P's childhood hockey helmet and clutching a bottle of homemade hard apple cider. The boys' cider deserves a blog of its own; suffice it to say that it makes women want to fling off their panties and men act 20 years their junior. Which explains the helmet.

"I gotta wear it for protection if I'm gonna help you decorate this tree," he explained as he mounted a rickety chair to help hang tinsel at the top of the tree, uncorked cider bottle in his free hand. Huh. Right.

Well, with C and D's "help," despite the Anne compliation of death soundtrack and liver numbing swigs of cider, we got the tree decorated. And it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. The finishing touch? C's electric toy train set, which is ceremonially placed around the circumference of the trunk and played with during the Christmas season, usually when I'm watching my programmes on TV. Yes, it makes a whilstling train noise. But at least it drowns out the Anne Murray.

Who taught the trees to sing like the ocean?

Yeah, I wrote a really cheesy poem back in my poetry-writing days with a similar title. But it came back to me today on my noon-time walk with Nekes. I struggle with my vow to try and embrace the fact that I now live in the windiest part of Ontario, and weeks like this one - gusts up to 75km/h! - test me to my wind-hating limits. You'd think the 42 windmills dotting the countryside would have given me a hint about what to expect. (I never said I was the sharpest knife in the drawer...)

In Waterloo, distant highway 86 traffic was the white noise of my life, always in the background but never intrusive. If I really faked myself out, I could pretend it was the sound of waves - who knew that traffic and happy, calm waves would sound so darned similar?

I'm learning how different country background noise is from city noise. I know that seems like an obvious point, but what I mean is that it's probably about the same amount in decibels, but the quality of the sound up here is so different. The only thing I really miss from the city is the train; growing up in New Hamburg I could hear the distant whistle as it floated in my bedroom window, living in Waterloo it rattled my windowpanes and vibrated the floor under my toes. Here, I have wind to do all that.

There's been a roar in the air for the past three days: wind grappling with the trees in the grove and wrestling with the waves on the lake. It's constant. Unnerving at times. Like it's trying to get in, pick me up and hurl me off into space. On Monday night, the dull growl outside the bedroom window escalated into a sudden, angry ROAR. I lept out of bed and fled to the living room couch where D was coming down from his weekly hockey game high. He had paused in mid-spoonful of rice pudding and his eyes were as wide as my own.

Him: "Did you hear that?"
Me, cowering in the crook of his arm. "YES!"

Later we heard about the tornado warnings. In January! Good Lord.