Saturday, August 28, 2010

Because It Made Me Laugh

Liam to Noa: When you dwhoa up and you wook wike a tow, do you wanna be a unicorwn? (When you grow up and you look like a cow, do you want to be a unicorn?)
Noa:  Hmmhmmmm...YEAH, YEAH!!!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dear Guitar

I woke wanting to submerge myself in melody and lyrics and she was ready for me.  Begging for me, really.  I keep her out of the case now in hopes that inspiration will grab me and I'll steal a moment to titillate her frets.  She's dusty and tunes stubbornly and her strings smell like an old penny.

She's comfortable in my hands, the curve of her body fits my own like we're kindred spirits.  I'm not that good but I feel empowered as I belt out an early morning Melissa Etheridge anthem.  To hell with the consequence!  

I go for a good hour.  It's been too long.  My fingers hurt and my nail is filed down because I couldn't find a pick.  I play a bunch of my own songs.  I have enough to fill four albums.  

And it occurs to me...what kind of person owns a recording studio and doesn't have a record of their own songs?

Dear Guitar, 

Thanks.

Love Alanna

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Them Folks of Summer


Friendly, happy people, floating about in a make love not war bubble, believing in the magic of music and the immortality of the human spirit.  This is what we found at Summerfolk.

The air was heavy with humidity, the ground muddy from periodic rain, toes allowed the freedom of a barefoot dance through murky but satisfying puddles, a retro burn the bra mentality preached through the light frocks of unsupported aging hippies.  A lesbian couple lay beneath a tree, reading something lyrical, their closeness tender but sexless.  Toddlers toddled naked through fields of lawn chairs and blankets, clapping a rhythm against that which wafted from various stages.  The atmosphere was easy.  People were friendly.  Clothing was eclectic: kilts, capes, skirts, top hats, tutu's.  Hair was eclectic: dreads, perms, wigs, rainbows.  Music was eclectic: country, blues, rock, techno, folk.

Newborns to ancient.  Child to adult.  Man, woman, boy, girl.  All gathered for one purpose.  It was almost spiritual.

We sat on wet seats and didn't care, just leaned into each other, feeling the music, stealing kisses, vowing devotion to our new favorite girl band, (Baskery - 3 blond Swede's who rocked our socks off!), laughing at the dancing guy in the green shirt, loving the mom who was moshing with her teenage son, bobbing our heads to some old time country and liking it (even though I hate it on a regular day).  And when Samantha Martin started rasping out a soulful, You Are My Sunshine, I almost cried.

And rain?  Shmain!  It was a gorgeous day for a festival!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

To Mend a Broken Heart

On Saturday I broke my mother's heart.  I didn't wake that morning with plans to annihilate her ticker.  I am not some wretched masochistic who delights in the pain of others but she kind of had it coming.  I mean, does she not know me at all?  Do not, I repeat: DO NOT trash John Travolta!!!!  She thought she was being funny.  I took it personally and retaliated with a, "well, Mother, do you even know what Mel Gibson's been up to?"

Mel Gibson is my mother's only celebrity crush.  She's blushed for him since The Patriot.  She has somehow been sheltered from his current top story disgusting situation and I had decided I would do everything in my power to see that she didn't find out and get crushed.  Until she bashed my John.  Then the gloves came off.  I threw it all at her.  Infidelity.  Baby with his girlfriend.  Racism.  Screaming rants and drunken fights.  And she was devastated.  And it was my fault.  She listened to it all and when it was over she raised her hands to the sky and wailed in an over-dramatic, my faith in the human condition is completely crushed, sort of way.

Sorry mom.  That was low.  But hey, have you heard of George Clooney...?"

Monday, August 9, 2010

Noa


Do you remember her like that?  So small and quiet and perfect and so beautiful you thought you might cry if you stared at her face for too long?  I remember.  Clearly.  Of course it helps that I caught everything on video camera.  From the pregnancy to the birth to monthly video blogs.  It's hard to believe that two years have passed.  Two years old.  I am no longer the mother of a baby and that makes me a little sad (though not sad enough to amend the problem) and I'm pretty sure that I'll be calling her baby when she's 35.

We needed a celebration and I was without inspiration.  I really wanted a tea party but didn't think she was quite old enough to appreciate that yet so I settled on combining with my promise to the boys that I'd take them camping.

Location: The Austin Homestead
Weather:  Slightly overcast but comfortable
Food: hotdogs, chili, corn on the cob, sugar cookies, s'mores
Agenda: no agenda - just roast your own wiener, play, get so tired out that it wouldn't matter that we had to spend the night in a tent

I would call it a success.  Twenty-six people enjoying the home of my childhood, enjoying climbing the same trees I did, enjoying searching for weird bugs like I did, enjoying my famous sweet chili and fresh corn, satisfing any hidden pyro-tendencies around the fire, listening to the pluck and strum of two guitars, playing on the tire swing, singing Happy Birthday loud and off key while the wind blows out the candle and generally spending an evening together saying to Noa, "Gee, we're sure glad you were born!"
I thought a cake would be too hard to worry about cutting while we were outside so I settled for sugar cookies.
Crispy & golden on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside.  They were a hit!

the stick bug - found while tree climbing in the field

Noa underneath the pink balloon tree
Picnicing beside the barn


Roasting
Swinging

Happy Birthday, Baby - love you forever!!!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Your Clean Isn't My Clean

When I was around 10, in a thoughtless moment of hair-pulling frustration, my father said, "I'll bet you $100 that you can't keep your room clean for a month!"  Of course, I didn't have $100 to lay on the table but I took his bet with a mighty "harumph" and stalked off with a goal of finding my carpet beneath weeks of laundry and books and crafts and collections.  I did it too, much to his chagrin and he paid me with a shinny, new-to-me bicycle - the one I wanted - the pink one with the beads on the spokes.  We both learned valuable lessons:  I, the maintenance of a clean room, which has stuck with me since.  He, to never bet me anything because I was stubborn enough to win.

Zander and Liam share a room.  That is the price of a three bedroom house.  I tried really hard to make it cool for them, allowing the bright colours, the insane amount of toys (because we have nowhere else to keep them), their choice of Ikea bedding.  They like it but don't care enough to take care of it.

Thursday morning:
"No video games before you clean your room!"  I'm firm on this.  I've been asking for a straight week now.
"AWWWWWWWWWW!"  In unison.
I turn off the cartoons and take it a step farther, "No lunch before your room is clean!"
"Liam doesn't even help," Zander whines.
"No lunch before your room is clean," I repeat.  "Unless you want me to clean it."  I open the cabinet under the sink like I'm getting a garbage bag.
They both run up the stairs.
Ten minutes later:
"We're done!"  Zander's head's sticking over the railing.
"Are you really done, Zander?  Are you really sure you want me to check it yet?"
"Why do you have to check it?"
"No lunch before your room is clean!"
He goes back upstairs.
Half an hour later:
They're sitting together on the couch.  Zander's playing his DS and Liam's watching over his shoulder.
"Are you really done?" I ask.
"Yes."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes."

I make them grilled cheese sandwiches with extra pickles on the side then send them outside.
"Are you dowing to teck ouwr woom?"  Liam asks.
"You're done, right?"
"Yup."
"Then you have nothing to worry about."

I go upstairs.
I enter their room.
This is what I see...

and this...




and this...



I sigh.  But part of me is feeling strangely satisfied in an I'll show you what clean your room really means kind of way as I go back downstairs and get the garbage bag I threatened them with earlier.

It takes me two hours.  This isn't kid-friendly cleaning.  This is a complete editing, disinfecting, vacuuming, reorganizational undertaking.  And I fill the garbage bag - not with garbage (that was another bag) - but with toys.  "HA!" I think viciously with every toy I stuff inside.

Zander came upstairs once.  "What's that bag for?" he asks.
"You were done cleaning, right?"
"Yeah," he says sheepishly.
"Then it's none of your business," and I send him back outside.

When I finished, their room looked like this...


and this...




and this...




And I ceremoniously march the garbage bag past them, hushing their protests with a, "well, maybe next time you won't be done so fast!"

It seems we have different definitions of clean.  My clean isn't the same as their clean.  I'm not sure if this will ever change.  I could bet Zander $100 but I'm afraid that he just might turn out to be as stubborn as I was and I just can't afford that.