Sunday, December 30, 2012

Parenting is...

explaining that the "touchie takie" rule applies only to food and not to 59¢ items at the Christmas Tree Shop.
Nice try guys.

The Christmas Song

In wrapping up Christmas 2012 I'd like to remember how I got down with the holiday music this year. Not my traditional holiday music either the traditional, fun, and even corny stuff.
My usual bag of holiday tunes features songs that basically make you feel guilty for enjoying yourself at Christmas. Songs with the theme of "I don't know how you all can celebrate when there's so much suffering going on?" These songs include Father Christmas by the Kinks, Do They Know It's Christmas Time? by Band Aid, and The Rebel Jesus by the Chieftains. 
Normally I hate it when radio stations start playing Christmas tunes in November. And what's worse than a tired over-played Christmas song? An over-played retail advertisement set the the tune of an over-played holiday song (thanks a lot Target).
But this year I found myself switching the radio to the all Christmas all the time stations specifically looking for Frosty and Rudolph and then to classics like Hark the Herald Angels Sing (which my kids think originated with A Charlie Brown Christmas), Jingle Bells, Walking in a Winter Wonderland, Little Drummer Boy (which I found out makes my cry if I'm asked to sing it out loud), It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Oh Christmas Tree (which my kids also think is from A Charlie Brown Christmas), and even Santa Baby, Jingle Bell Rock and of course the classic "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas."
Why this sudden embracing of Christmas music that usually nauseates me? My kids of course. The twins specifically. It was the first time they ever responded to music on the radio (expect when WMVY plays Upside Down by Jack Johnson and they get excited because it's the "Curious George Song.") 
S & N aren't tuned into music as much as C & H were. The result of my slipshod parenting no doubt, I never took them to a Music and Me class or to any live performance save this summer's Toe Jam Puppet Band show at Highfield Theater. They specifically tell me "not" to put on music for them at bedtime.
So it was fun to have them get excited when Frosty would come on in the car. They would tell us all to be quite so they could hear it and then ask me to sing it again once it was over. And listening to Christmas songs through the ears of kids is fresh and fun. Like anything you can see for the first time from a kid's point of view. In that way they kids always notice things we take for granted like airplanes and birds singing, everywhere we went my kids noticed Christmas music playing.
One of our new favorites was Up On the Housetop. Up on the housetop reindeer pause, out jumps good old santa claus. Down through the chimney with lots of toys, all for the little lines Christmas joys. Ho, ho, ho, who wouldn't go? Ho, ho, ho who wouldn't go? Up on the housetop click, click, click. Down through the chimney with good St. Nick.
We seriously couldn't get enough of this song. We even liked the Jackson Five version. It's catchy and singable though the lyrics are odd. Who wouldn't go where? And then there are two verses that stereotype gifts for girls and boys but whatever - it's Christmas and I'll overlook it. We didn't memorize those verses anyway.  
So I let go of my political Christmas tunes and embraced lighter fare. It's best not to over analyze Christmas song lyrics although S & N did ask repeatedly why the other reindeer called Rudolph names. I'm guessing that would not go over too well at their preschool.
I figure I've got one, maybe two more years left to embrace holiday music with my kids before Jingle Bells Batman Smells takes over so why not make the most of it rather than have regrets that I never got silly with my kids over Alvin and the Chipmunks? 
There were still a few tunes I got tired of. I'll never embrace Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey, or I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, or that one where the little kid wants to buy his dying mom new shoes (sorry, little drummer boy is sentimental; that other kid is just plain irritating), but I confess that by the end I wasn't jumping to change the radio station the minute my kids were in bed. I was kind of into, dare I say, the Christmas spirit?
I suppose it would be entirely scroogish of me not to go along with the Christmas tunes while my four year olds were embracing them. And so I got into it too. 
And you know what?
I like Christmas songs!
I do. I like them Sam I Am.
What the hell. I can always go back to Emerson, Lake, and Palmer next year.

song: The Christmas Song • artist: Torme and Wells

Friday, December 28, 2012

winter haiku

winter woods walking
exposed leafless tree branches
and summer birds' nests

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Murder (or a Heart Attack)

In high school I read a horror novel in which a woman is killed by a demonic cat. The cat scratched the woman to death or until it opened her jugular - whatever - it was long and drawn out and made an impression though not enough to dissuade me from eventually getting a cat of my own.
Now, as a seasoned cat owner, I wonder why the literary kitty expended so much energy dispatching its prey instead of just hunkering down and tripping the woman as she went down a flight of stairs.
I'm pretty sure that's how Leo is planning to get rid of me.

song: Murder (Or a Heart Attack) • artist: Old 97's

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Spirit of the Radio

Good news!
Mommy got an internet radio for Christmas.
So now, if they do save WMVY, I'll still be able to listen to it.

song: Spirit of the Radio • artist: Rush

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Parenting Is...

not caring who started it.
Really you guys. I don't care who started it. Just stop it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Saw Three Ships

I don't understand why people were so surprised earlier this year to learn that Jesus might have had a wife.
Don't they know the lyrics to this song?

I saw three ships come sailing in 
On Christmas day, on Christmas day 
I saw three ships come sailing in 
On Christmas day in the morning. 

And what was in those ships all three? 
On Christmas day, on Christmas day 
And what was in those ships all three? 
On Christmas day in the morning. 

Our Saviour Christ, and His Lady, 
On Christmas day, on Christmas day 
Our Saviour Christ, and His Lady, 
On Christmas day in the morning

Obviously they were returning from a honeymoon cruise. 
Probably to the Virgin Islands

song: I Saw Three Ships • artist: unknown

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Forever Young II

I think that someday I'd like to be the kind of person who wraps gifts using only hand-made wrapping paper and ribbon and no tape whatsoever. This would be handy since I can never find the tape when I want it anyway.
But for now I can't even joke about because all I can think about are those parents in Connecticut who will be burying their children next week instead of wrapping Christmas presents for them.

song: Forever Young • artist: Bob Dylan

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Forever Young

Enough with the sentimental. 
It was bad enough, even though she was excellent, to see Bonnie Thorpe, who graduated FHS one year ahead of me, playing aging film actress Norma Desmond in the Falmouth Theater Guild's fall production of Sunset Boulevard but it's even more disturbing that Peter Cook (although he was at least three years ahead of me at FHS) plays Grandpa Joe in the current production of Willy Wonka at the Cotuit Center for the Arts. 
I checked the original text - Grandpa Joe's 96 years old! Ninety six!
The theater is making me feel old.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Knockin' on Heaven's Door

Along with typewriters and floaty pens I collect double digit birthdays. Double digit birthdays go like this, my birthday for example is 2/2 (February 2), Doug's is 1/1, Glenway 3/3, my friend Christine 4/4, Kat (who gets bonus points for having the year match as well) is 5/5. And so on.
As you're certainly aware today is 12/12/12. Today would have been my friend Tom's birthday and I suppose it still is in a way.
It's been five years but it's still strange to talk about Tom in the past tense. It's strange to type his name. In fact I usually don't. If I mention him on this blog it's often in the present tense and rather cryptically which might leave readers wondering who I'm talking to or about.
Maybe this stands to reason since one of the things Tom complained about regarding our friendship was me being the kind of person who doesn't express my emotions freely. I call it being a good Yankee, but "I always have to guess what you're thinking" I believe was how he put it which is ironic considering.
Over the years I think we learn that there are times and circumstances where it doesn't pay to be a good Yankee.
Since it's a numbers kind of day. Here are a few.
- Every 13.7 minutes someone in the U.S. dies by suicide.
- Suicide rates are highest for people between the ages of 40 and 59.
- Men are nearly 4 times more likely to die by suicide than women. 
- Women attempt suicide 3 times as often as men.
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
Sucky stats right?
I cannot think of a topic that's harder to talk about - or as it turns out - harder to put into writing.
So here I am - expressing myself albeit briefly. I miss you. If you were here I'd raise a glass of orange soda and drink it to your good health. Maybe I'd have bought you that Arnold Schwarzenegger autobiography and we could have remembered all the good (and bad) movies we saw at the Nickelodeon and laughed about Tom Cruise spoofing Axl Rose this year in Rock of Ages.

song: Knockin' on Heaven's Door • artist: Guns N' Roses

Monday, December 10, 2012

Radio GaGa

And so starts the third week of "Save WMVY Radio." 
We didn't win the giant stocking - which means we really, really need to save the station - so we try again next year. 
The station has been reading comments by donors both near and far. Although I know the station has a strong on-line presence, I'm still surprised to hear comments from out of state callers. Recently they read a message from a woman in Oklahoma.
On the one hand it's heartening to hear from these people, it takes a village to save a station and all, but on the other hand I get a twinge possessive. Who are these people anyway and why are they trying on hone in on MY local radio station?
I get the same twinge when I see out-of-state vanity plates sporting the names of Cape locations. I recall a car from Illinois this summer with a plate that read "Waquoit." What's up with that? Do I drive around with a vanity plate that reads "Chicago?" Who are they to lay claim to my hometown?
Then it comes to me. I live in a place that other people love. Love so much that they advertise their fondness for this peninsula by naming their favorite locales on license plates - or by listening via their computers to the local radio station. 
It also makes one pause and consider the potential dearth of decent radio in Oklahoma.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

I'll Be There

Only one more day to call in. I live in fear that I will seriously disappoint my kids by being unable to procure us a chance to be in the drawing for the WMVY giant Christmas stocking.
It's not for a lack of trying though. I have dutifully listened, ears cocked, ready to jump Pavlovian-like at the sound of the Christmas elves.
I have been caller number 2,3,4 (numerous times), 6, 7 and 8,
Everything but lucky caller number 9.
And caller number 5 but nobody cares about being caller number 5. So forget I mentioned it.

song: I'll Be There • artist: Jackson 5

Thursday, December 06, 2012

What I Like About You

Okay. I'm somewhat over my WMVY depression if only because I've convinced myself that no matter what happens Carly Simon will step in at the last minute and buy the station. Maybe as co-owner she'll fill in occasionally as a morning DJ which would be fine provided she never plays her own rendition of Itsy Bitsy Spider, because, as someone who's heard a lot of kids' music over the past 10 years, I've heard better.
Still I feel remiss about my previous post where I suggest that people support the radio station but describe the station in terms of the things I don't like. Let's be clear - there are plenty of reasons to love WMVY. Aside from the station being local and the DJs acting as absentee friends for lonely mostly stay at home moms the Cape and Islands over, I love the general music mix (duh), I love the Morning Movie Quote (whenever I'm up early enough to hear it), I love the At Work Challenge and the Afternoon Mind Bender. I love Sunday Morning and all that Jazz, which is saying a lot coming from a person who generally eschews music without lyrics. I love the Hot Seat and the Friday Afternoon Six Pack. I love that they don't overplay holiday music. I love their tradition of playing Alice's Restaurant on Thanksgiving. I love hearing the Steamship Authority update. I love On this Day in Musical History and their Black History Month clips. I love the Top 25 Albums countdown.
But I hate that I'm not qualified to win the giant stocking yet (caller number 2 twice today and number 4 once)

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Radio Radio

It's always hardest to write about things that are important to me personally. It's easy to write off-the-cuff stuff about my children, or observations about the way things are in general. But when you really care it's hard because it's important. That's why we talk all day to our kids but sometimes fail to cover the real issue, the one thing you should be talking about. 
It's hard to believe you need me to make a case for why we need local radio stations but then I read recently that there are people in China who don't realize that in order to get ivory the elephants have to be killed (they don't shed their tusks). So, what seems obvious to me, may not be to everyone.
We need local radio stations for the same reason we need local newspapers and locally owned shops and restaurants. We need them because they support the communities they are in. They report on events like agricultural fairs, road races, July 4th fireworks and tomorrow's Christmas parade. Without promotion maybe these events would go away. Maybe someday we will live in a world where we all shop at Amazon and we all vacation at Disney World.
Last week WMVY radio announced its frequency (92.7) has been bought out by WBUR, Boston's NPR station. This in itself is ironic since I've often complained of not being able to hear NPR without radio static which just goes to show that one should be careful of what they wish for. 
Sure I don't love everything about WMVY. There are songs they over play, I could use less Blues at Eight, and some of the stuff on the Local Music Cafe just isn't very good, but, like a long-term relationship you've made a commitment to be in, you vow to take the good with the bad. 
On a personal level, in addition to supporting the local community and playing new music along with the old, WMVY keeps me company Monday through Friday. By the time I get up, Ken has already turned the radio on; when I go to bed, it's the last thing I turn off. 
Often I feel that I'm not old enough to be wringing my hands in despair and wondering out loud "what's this world coming to?" Where will we be when there are no more radio stations except those we pay for and no more news outlet except for the ones online? What happens when there are no more magazines that people can read and then pass along via the free magazine box in the front of the library? What happens when the chasm between the have and the have nots widens even further? 
Even if WMVY raises enough money to continue online, I'll have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the radio internet era. Not to mention the expense. It's one thing to go searching for a replacement radio at the thrift shop among the dented saucepans and mismatched mugs, it's another thing to have to play the radio through your smartphone or other iDevice.