Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 9-A Song That Makes You Dance

So many songs make me dance. Music is meant for dancing, whether its a slow lovely waltz, a fast two-step, a head banger or a hip shaker. The joy of music is expressed in dancing. And I cant pick one so I'll pick three...I could go on and on and on....

The first is a very popular drinking song in Canada from a very obscure band. Its their only hit and I never heard it south of the border living in the States. It always gets me going, its just a fun-spirited tune. The first time I heard it was at a party with my DH's friends and I felt like I belonged with them. This is a fleeting feeling with this particular group of friends so I enjoy it when it happens.

Spirit of the West-Home For a Rest

A more recent one is by Santana and Chad Kroeger. I love Santana, he's so talented. It reminds me of hot summer nights, seduction, sweat, feeling carefree, parties and sex.

Santana f. Chad Kroeger

Finally for something completely different. This is a very country song. It reminds me of my roots, growing up the Midwest. Of wheat fields and wide open, clean skies. Where every grandma, auntie and mom taught their boys how to dance the two-step at the small town weddings, barn dances and in their living rooms. The small-town boys know how to dance, how to treat a lady on the dance floor. When my dad taught my 10 year old self to two-step at my cousin's country wedding. I danced to this song with my grandfather at my wedding who is a mean two-stepper.

Alabama-Mountain Music

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 8-A Song You Know All The Words

I have a black and white sketch recreation of this picture I picked up in a hole-in-the-wall store on Mackinac Island. Its hanging in my music room next to another black and white sketch of The Beatles and a color sketch Dave Matthews. It was hard to choose the sketches because they were amongst a whole whack of other sketches of artists including Jon Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Garth Brooks. The three I chose sort of display the essence of these particular artists as opposed to the others where they were album covers or less than accurate depictions (caricatures) of the artists.

Anyway, one song I know all the words to is "The Best Is Yet To Come" by Frank Sinatra. I listened to a ton of jazz, big band and Frank Sinatra in university. My mother thought I was completely nuts, a 21 year old singing Frank. So I have a closet obsession with all things Frank. Here he is, accompanied by another master Count Basie. Fun facts, it was the last song Frank sang live way back in 1995 and its the epitaph on his tombstone.

Frank Sinatra-"The Best Is Yet To Come"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Bubble...

Picture it....

Easter Dinner. 12 adults, one infant all seated at a table full of wonderful food. The turkey cooked lovingly by auntie, gravy steaming. The lasagna catered in by a local Italian restaurant. At this point you may be asking turkey and lasagna?! Where the hell are the mashed potatoes? Yes...its a wonder to us all. I dont ask questions anymore and resistance is futile. Caesar salad, dinner rolls and wine. A very Canadian Easter dinner.

BIL- with humor and half-seriousness, "How did I get stuck in this spot? (next to baby). Me-"His dad should be sitting there (with an eye roll directed at DH). DH-"Should I move?" BIL-"Its ok, we can bond.

Great Grand maman #1-"Baby gets to eat with us too. Hopefully he gets small bites, we dont want him to choke. Is it ok for him to have lasagna?" (Thanks for the passive aggressiveness Mamere).

Great Grand maman #2 (in a very thick French accent) "He's so cute. Look at him" (him said with emphasis as if he's the only person in the room)

Baby has been seated at the table for over 5 minutes already, nibbling on a buttered dinner roll. He's happy and quiet. Then the the other food starts making its way to the table and the buttered dinner roll is discarded like an old pair of socks.

Baby smells the lasagna and starts screaming...screaaaaaaaaaming like he's being tortured. Because waiting even 2 minutes to get served is torture. Because he doesnt understand that steam rolling off the food means its too hot for his little mouth. Because he can see the food and smell it and oh he's never even had lasagna or turkey and gravy but damnit, he will not be satisfied with a dinner roll, no matter how heavily it is buttered.

Great Grand Maman #1-"Oh he's hungry! Feed him!!" (like we're storming the beaches of Normandy, her command resonates across the table)

MIL-"He is with us at the table!! How exciting" (this has been repeated ad nauseam for months now since he's started to eat food so my only response is no shit and an eye roll)

Finally the lasagna gets to his end of the table and baby's mother stupidly thinks she can share a piece with the baby. But once baby gets his first bite, its clear he's turning into a ravenous lasagna banshee. Oh and its still hot but mother thinks she can eat some of her food a bit, blow on baby's food and baby will stop the endless banshee screaming between bites. Not so, screams the most impatient baby ever.

Me-"DH, get me my own piece of lasagna please. DH-he needs at least 5 instructions to complete one task "Where, what how..." Me- frustrated with the screaming baby, annoyed at the grandma's and starting to get angry at how I cant eat even one bite of my own salad, lest the banshee let out another yowl for food that is just too hot still "Just put a piece of another plate, damnit, the baby is going to eat this entire piece on his own"

Baby gets a bite that is too hot and lets out a squawk rivaling an angry crow, starts crying profusely. He's pissed.

Me-"Damnit. Its still too hot for you, its too hot. I'm sorry honey." Baby-Screaming and now crying, but mostly screaming because he wants to eat again but has no concept of too hot. DH-"Geez, its still steaming. Me-really annoyed and nerves are on their last thread "I didnt take from my new piece dear." Grand maman #1-"Oh no, you burnt his mouth. Give him the dinner roll." DH-"His piece is still steaming too." MIL-"He just wont stop screaming until he gets fed...ahahaaaa, thats so cute." Me-Loud sigh, eye roll , biting tongue and teeth grinding. In head---Piss off all of you. You try to feed him and keep him happy, putting your own meal on hold. I cant help it that he's screaming, you try reasoning with an 11 month old. And if you all dont shut the hell up, I'm going to shove this baby spoon, complete with a steaming piece of too hot lasagna, up your asses. Where the fuck is the wine?

MIL-"Here is the cake. Maxim gets a piece of cake." Me-bewildered because she knows how we feel about sweets (no sweets before first birthday) and forcefully from the frayed nerves "No Maxim will not be getting cake." DH-nervous laugh to break the tension. BIL- genuinely, "Why not?" Me-Explain without getting defensive our reasons for not allowing sweets right now and limiting sweets in the future.

One glass of wine isnt enough...where is the bottle?

And so, that was our Easter dinner.

I just described a version of what I call the Bubble. Its a place all moms probably find themselves at one point or another or perhaps the entire time they are trying to raise their kids. Its a place where first time moms especially toil under scrutiny. Where everybody stares and makes comments like mom and baby are zoo attractions. Where people try to be "helpful" with their advice and comments and passive-aggressive suggestions. All the while putting pressure on mom to perform, be perfect or at least look competent in the eyes of those that feel they would do differently and therefore better.

I havent been a mother for even a year and I cannot stand or tolerate this aspect of motherhood. Other moms will say "just get used to it." Well why the hell should we? When there is already so much pressure from within ourselves to raise our kids by our standards, why must we live under the bubble of raising our kids by another's standards? Especially by those that already raised their children (an older generation from a different time) or those without children. Dont get me wrong, when asked, a little advice can go a long way. From the right people or with the right suggestion, it can be priceless. Most things can be listened to and discarded. But the Bubble is different...its the under the microscope scrutiny picking apart on display zoo animal feeling. Its highly stressful for everybody, especially mom and baby.

Ugh....20+ more years of the bubble...or maybe the bubble goes away when you have more than one kid? Pushing out another baby means you've reached the level of competent parent? Hell if I know, I have a few more years before baby #2 comes along to test this theory. In the mean time...

Pass the wine.

Day 7-A Song That Reminds You of an Event

For many people, music creates memories associated with an event. A particular song you hear at a school dance, wedding processionals, summer nights by a camp fire, funerals. Music is a strong cue for emotion and memory. For our wedding, like many weddings, music carried a great deal of significance. I thought very carefully about the music selections for the more significant parts of the day. There is a hymn called Parent's Prayer that we selected for when our parents and grandparents walked down the aisle. The song I chose for myself is a very common wedding song. I played frequently it on the piano as a kid and it was my mother's favorite from my childhood piano days. Catholic ceremonies dont allow secular music which bugged me as a non-Catholic but we made do. The only "hymn" that was allowed that I liked for our unity candle lighting was "God Bless Our Love" by John Lennon. So strange it was allowed considering it was written by a secular artist and one that once created quite the stir by saying the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Our first dance was "Keeper of the Stars" by Tracy Byrd. Our last song was "I Could Not Ask For More" by Sara Evans. They all make me smile and reminisce in their own ways.

One song that instantly takes me and DH back to our wedding is "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by the Proclaimers. I chose it for our wedding party intro song at our reception. I chose it because its about going miles and miles to be with the one you love. It was a great song for DH and I because we were long-distance for our entire relationship. We met online in 2003. From the time we met in person for the first time (2005) until we got married (2007), we spent our school breaks and holidays together and it totaled 90 days. Yes, only 90 days of in-person contact before we got married but I cant even begin to count the number of hours on MSN chatting and nights on the phone for 4 years. Also every single member of our bridal party, except for one, came from some sort of distance. Anywhere from one hour to a few plane rides. Four of our five groomsmen came from Canada and my bridesmaids and ushers were scattered across the USA. So "I'm Gonna Be" was also a tribute to them, thanking them for coming from all distances to be with us on our special day. When it was played, each member of our bridal party was introduced by name and we all made it to the dance floor where we danced in a big circle. I danced with each person in the middle of the circle and it made all of us smile and laugh. It was a great way to kick off our reception, such joy and fun. Even my 84 year old grandmother remembers that particular moment with a smile. It brings a smile to my face when this song comes on the radio, to remember my relationship with DH and how loyal and wonderful all of our friends are to both of us.

The Proclaimers-"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 6-A Song That Reminds You of Somewhere...

I lived in Chicago for two years while completing my graduate degree and it was a great two years. I was 23, single but attached in a long-distance relationship and completely alone in a big city. It was like starting fresh in many town, new way of life, new friends. I spent a lot of time on public transportation, much like anybody that lives in a city. For Christmas, I got an MP3 player to block out the noise of the buses and the annoying people. I had that thing hooked to me for 2 years. I had a variety of songs and I went through a few phases of getting hooked to Elvis, Ray Charles, The Killers and Johnny Cash. Gnarls Barkley was huge during those years with "Crazy" and Justin had his "Sexyback." I was still trading music with my DH, a way to keep connected through the distance. At one point I got hooked on Jackson Browne and during my long commutes I would listen to a lot of Jackson Browne. I particularly fell in love with "Running on Empty" and "The Pretender." I often listened to Running on Empty when I really felt at my limits with school, my internship, the commute, the expenses of living in a city, being away from my boyfriend and family. My beloved grandfather died the 2nd to last semester of school in November, my family dog of 18 years was put to sleep the following spring. I'm the only person in my family to have a graduate degree, something I'm really proud to have. Its my greatest accomplishment thus far in my almost 29 years.

It was a really wonderful two years and really formative in many ways. I am still very close friends with the people I met then, I have fond memories of living in the city. This song has a lot of ambiguity but whatever its meaning, I think its ultimately about dreams. When I hear "Read My Mind" by The Killers, I am taken back to the train where I spent many nights watching the city lights glitter, reflecting on my days, worried about bills and wondering if my boyfriend would propose (he did of course). Missing my grandfather with an ache in my heart I had never known, knowing he was watching over me. Working hard into the witching hours, laughing and having fun with my friends over food, drinks and a dance floor. I love Chicago, it will always have a place in my heart.

The Killers-Read My Mind

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 5-A Song That Reminds You of Someone...

DH and I traded music back and forth quite frequently when we were long-distance. Having illegally downloaded music wasnt such a big deal back in 2003. In fact, one of his first gifts to me was a CD of music we had traded. Aaah the modern version of the mix tape, it must have been love, haha. Anyway, as a result a ton of songs remind me of him. Here Without You by 3 Doors Down was one of the first songs he traded to me. I traded him tons of jazz and classical music, he introduced me to Our Lady Peace and The Tea Party, a few Canadian bands. Our wedding song is Keeper of the Stars by Tracy Byrd which I could easily link here but that seems rather cliche to post as a song that reminds me of him. Its just too obvious.

Instead I'll post a link to a song we have sang badly together. We were playing SingStar 80's at a gathering at a friends house. You can play this either by solo or by duet so DH and I did a duet. Neither of us can sing to save our lives, we are both incredibly flat and off-key. DH rarely knows the correct lyrics, try as he may and despite my musical talent with instruments, I have never been able to sing. So this was our song that night and it was incredibly embarassing because you can play back your recording. All of us had a great laugh and now when it comes on the radio, we turn it up and blast it, singing shamelessly and laughing our asses off.

Simple Minds-Dont You (Forget About Me)

The other song I want to post is a song that reminds me of Maxim. Like a good preggo, I put together my labor playlist to be played during labor. I made the selection and DH put it together for me on his Ipod. I had a wide variety of music...rock, jazz, classical, DMB. For some reason though, during my labor, I latched onto this particular song. My hospital stay and labor was very long (58 hours from water break to baby born) and there were many sort of mini-breakdowns along the way. This song sort of elevated me back up during those times. I also sang it to him in the early weeks when trying to get him to sleep. When I hear it, I think of my sweet boy and his birthday and all the joy he has brought to me.

Rufus Wainwright-Hallelujah

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 4-A Song That Makes You Cry

Hands down, this song gets me every single time. I hear it on the radio, Im a mess. I hear it at wedding dances, where it is commonly played, and I'm a blubbering fool. I'm very sentimental and this song brings up so many thoughts of a life lived with another and all the good and bad that comes with partnership, building a family and love. I recall too when I was visiting my dying grandfather and getting ready to say goodbye for the last time. He was admitted into ICU during my visit and me and my grandmother went up there to visit him. I didnt witness many tender moments between the two of them over the years but I distinctly remember my grandmother kissing him, holding his hand and reassuring him (herself, me, all of us?). This song reminds me of them and the reflections they must have been having on their lives and life together during that time. And other older people who have lived life well and all the things they have witnessed and been through together. It reminds me that DH and I have already come so far but still have a lifetime ahead of us too. Oh the beautiful things we have together and will witness, oh the hard time we have had and will have, oh all the dreams we share, all with the ultimate goal of looking back when we are old and gray and hopefully satisfied and saying remember when...

Alan Jackson, Remember When

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 3-A Song That Makes You Happy

Love songs make me happy. Usually, I dont like "love" songs written by pop groups or very young singers (think boy bands, even when I was in their target age group, I didnt like them) mostly because I'm not sure they even know what they are singing about and I like songs that are more lyrically meaningful when written about love. You'll see later that this rule isnt very strict for me, there is one pop song right now that I have a place for in my heart and its very much about lust and puppy love. Anyway, once again its hard to choose since so many genres offer such wonderful love songs. But I love me some Van Morrison. He was a master at the meaningful love song..."Crazy Love" "Moondance" "Tupelo Honey," but I'm going to choose one of his more obscure songs. Its beautiful in its simplicity and written with such raw lyrics of what I think most men think of love but cant or dont say it...just a man and his guitar and his heart.

Van Morrison I'll Be Your Lover Too

And a bonus Van...Someone Like You

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 2-Your Least Favorite Song

It may seem strange that a person born in the 80's would choose an obscure 70's song as their least favorite but its true for me. When I was in high school, I worked as a cashier at a hardware store. It was a privately owned hardware store that depended a great deal on general contractors and less on the public at large like the large chain hardware store down the road. So it was often quiet, especially in the evenings. The boss put the store radio tuned to the least offensive category of music on radio...easy rock or easy listening. As a result we heard this song a lot and my god it was awful. Its corny as hell and while I adore the saxophone (and still wish I would have picked it as my instrument in band instead of clarinet), this song is just so cringeworthy in the sax solo. And lets be honest, its not just the sax that is major problem with this song.

So when I hear this song, I remember my days as a 16 year old mixing paint and cutting keys and learning a thing or two about plumbing and laughing hysterically with my co-workers about the baddness of this song. And honestly, if I didnt love George Michael, Careless Whisper is another example of the horrible 80's sax.

Gerry Rafferty-Baker Street

Saturday, April 16, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge

In an effort to get this blog more interesting and to get myself out of a slump, I'm doing a 30 day Song challenge. This has been going around on Facebook but instead of flooding my news feed with videos, I thought I would do it here. So here goes nothing.

Day 1-Your Favorite Song

This is super hard for me because music is a huge aspect of my life. I have so many favorites, its almost impossible for me to pick one. However, I do think my absolute favorite song is #41 by Dave Matthews Band. I love it for so many reasons...its haunting, passionate and ambiguous in meaning. The way Dave's voice plays on the tones and the instrumentals are superior. It is a song that always changes my mood for the better when I hear it and it feels so powerful. I've heard it once out of four live concerts I've attended and it was spine tingling. Much of Dave's music is unbelievable when hearing it live though but #41 was just on a whole other level. I imagine another Dave song will make this list at some point but #41 is at the top. Its this song that made me a forever DMB fan.
This particular rendition I've chosen is probably the best of his live shows. His acoustic version is unreal...just Dave and his guitar.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

11 Months

Maxim sweet boy, you are 11 months. In just one month, we will be celebrating your birth. How fast this year has gone.

You are eating all table food now and are not happy with maman feeding you unless its yogurt or applesauce. Mr. Independent you want to feed yourself and you are quite good at it. You love garlic olive oil chicken, pasta, english muffins, toast, asparagus, green beans, and raspberries. Your great grandma's also helped you discover toast with jam this week so now Maman will have to start buying jam. Basically you eat anything we put in front of you except sweet potato and avocado. You also like some snack foods like yogurt covered bites, banana puffs and crackers. Despite your grandma's insistence, you havent had any sugar like ice cream (poor tortured boy, lol) but on your first birthday, you'll get to have cake and ice cream. Maman thinks you need to learn to eat better than she does so no sugar until your first birthday and then after, only a little bit here and there for special occassions.

You are starting to move more and explore your world which means you can turn full circles if your on your butt and rotate around on your belly. You are also stretching and reaching more which lands you on your belly at times. You love to stand and bounce.

You are quite the chatterbox. You make noise all day long and you can say mama and dada very clearly. You make this long loud high pitched Oooooo sound when you are excited which makes us laugh. You also know how to roll a ball to Maman and you understand what shut off the light means. You cant quite get the little lever pushed down yet but soon.

You are making your preferences known and you are very good at letting us know when you are mad. I see some head butting and typical toddler behavior in our future. You are very much like your mother in many ways but you have some of your papa's qualities too. Most of the time, you are such a happy easy going baby and a joy. Always lots of smiles for us every day.

We love you sweet baby more and more every day!!