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November 2007
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Restful day

Christmas Day dawned clear and cool, fresh snow from yesterday covering the yard, patterned with the meandering trails of squirrels. They have found the birdseed I scattered on the picnic table (or pic-a-nic, as Yogi would say), and are stuffing their cheeks until they  look like my grandson.

We already had done Christmas eve with the gang over, so was just me an my mom, and a quiet morning with Christmas on the radio. It has been a a nice visit so far, but I feel the need to have some quiet "me time". While I'm relaxing here I'll browse some blogs I track and share some tidbits:

  • American Leftist discusses The Normalization of the "War on Terror". As he had feared, the public see it as "an immutable part of their existence, akin to paying taxes and sitting in cramped seats on airplanes". Any talk of cuts in funding is seen as not supporting the troops - so of course all candidates for the upcoming US elections are caught on the same side on this.
  • Speaking of wars, The Carpetbagger Report has a good guest post on the "War on Christmas"-  at least for this conflict there is not shortage of fervent believers on all sides, brandishing credit cards, sprigs of holly, Crackberry's -whatever - full of indignation and self-righteousness. Chill out a bit, read the stories as just that, learn a bit about others and maybe yourself.
  • The Yarn Harlot goes on and on (of course) about her latest knitting projects, a clever blend of tips, techniques, and humour. What a whirlwind of activity, no Idea how she gets this all done perhaps she has prehensile toes and a computer keyboard down there on the floor.
  • Tequila Mockingbird hasn't posted in a while, her last one is story she and friends took turns in writing - one at a time so that the others were free to play with blenders and alcohol.
  • As usual Albino Blacksheep has a collection of flash videos, games, and MP3's - funny, thoughtful, offensive -something for everyone.
  • If you've been missing the political subtleties here in Canada of CPAC and Question Period, then check out the BlogsCanada e-group for "multi-partisan political punditry". Peter Van Dusen has interviews on there with our current political "leaders" - feel free to join in with a "right on" or "you're full of crap".
  • Princess Cranky Pants has a prezzie for all on her site, and shares some trepidation about Christmas.
  • And lastly, John Scalzi, "taunting the tauntable since 1998", publishes some suspicions he has about Christmas, such as "If a kid started playing a drum near a newborn, the likely result would not be a smiling infant (or mother).

That's all for now folks, this has been a nice way to spend a few hours getting distracted by other blogs, but I do need to get showered and cleaned up before taking mom over to the ex's for Christmas dinner. A final note: I've been avoiding the barber for a couple of months, figuring while I still have all my hair (grey as it may be) I'll let it grow into something (not a Mullet!). I was standing with my back to the meat counter at my local grocer's the other day and the butcher called out to me "can I help you, ma'am?" He was apologetic when I turned and he realized I was likely not the bearded lady from the local circus, but doesn't anyone else think "ma'am" is a little old fashioned now? Is there something a Little more casual, without going all the way to "Yo, s'up homestyle?"

One more sleep

Almost time for Santa to come - NORAD is already reporting on his progress across the skies. Not sure what's more fun, Christmas or the relief of relaxing after. We have lots of traditions, and and lots of expectations, but all in all it's nice (in a warm and fuzzy way)  to celebrate the season. My mom's enjoying her visit and trying to help -I'm trying to get her to sit down and relax. I had my kids over this afternoon for Christmas stockings and dinner. Tomorrow they're off to their mothers for more gifts, and then another dinner. A double Christmas for them really, a tradition for the last twenty some years of co-parenting. I'll join them for dinner too, there will be 10 family and friends this year. I'm bringing a whack of mashed potatoes, a recipe using russets, with lots of sauteed leeks and fresh (?) thyme.  Made it as is, just held back a bit on the milk.

Enjoying a quiet late evening now, watching Holly Hunter in Home for the Holidays. Also stars Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft,  Charles Durning, Geraldine Chaplin, Steve Gutttenburg, and Clare Danes. Directed by Jodie Foster,it's a great comedy about a celebration full of joy and stress.   

Music to trim the tree by

I was lazing around today, listening to yet another dreary rendition of White Christmas, and wondering if I'd even bother with a tree. Then I cranked up a compilation a DJ friend from Timekode did, and before 2007_12_22_10a long the Latin rhythms in his mix had my mother and I dancing around the tree - draping the Noah_and_santa_2lights, hanging ornaments, flinging tinsel with gay abandon. OK - maybe a little less prancing and dancing -  she is 92, so her help was more cheering from the sidelines. She's been up for a few days to visit, nothing too strenuous, mostly visits with the new grandson. Her great-grandson. She lives on her own in an apartment in Toronto - some assisted living support services but still pretty much on her own. Not even thinking of a home yet, she sees herself as very independent and self-reliant still.

But I thank you Zattar for that musical inspiration, it was a nice family moment. And when the rest of the family come over tomorrow my kids and my grandson Noah will thank you too. Well, Noah would if he could, at three months or so his vocabulary is a little limited, so a high-five may have to do. Christmas decorating with little ones around can be a challenge - depending on their mobility and curiosity. At this age he's not that mobile so the tree and ornaments should be safe from him.I seem to remember with my kids that we kept the tree in a corner - not from a parenting guide, just common sense. And we may have even tied the top back to an eye-hook behind it in the wall, just in case. Treasured ornaments (as in clumpy but treasured home made dough ones) were hung higher up. presents were OK too ahead of time, they were occasionally prodded and poked, but no paper ripping ahead of time. And of course, Santa presents didn't get wrapped, since a) they were often to big, and b) he delivered them after all were asleep so no need for that.

Saving a legal wall

There was an interesting segment on CBC Radio's "Q" today, with Jian Ghomeshi. From their promo piece:

Tuesday, December 18th - Graffiti's Holy Grail has been uncovered in Soho. It's a wall that features some of the greatest graffiti artists of the 70s and 80s, including Jean-Michel Basquiat. But the wall has raised issues about whether or not graffiti is art and what we should do to preserve it. We talk to graffiti pioneer Fab 5 Freddy and doc-maker Jon Reiss - of BOMB IT

My friend Nancy sent around this info to a number of Ottawa arts and city contacts:

For those of you CBC radiophiles who tune into the 2-3pm show "Q", you may have just heard the interview with one of the original graffiti artists active in New York City , featured in the now  25 yr. old graffiti cult film, "Wild Style". 'Fab Five Freddy' (  talks to Gian Ghomeshi about the beginnings of graffiti in NYC and the art scene at the time, and then the director of the new film on graf, "Bomb It'( is interviewed.

The afternoon show is re-broadcast every night, so this interview will run on 91.5FM CBC Radio One between 10 and 11pm, if you want to catch it then - or you can click on their live streaming link for the Mountain time broadcast (in 2hrs?)- check it out at: / Below are the details from the Q homepage on the CBC website 'blurb' on the story.  Enjoy!

Radio One: 2 p.m. and 10 p.m.

(CT 1 p.m., NT 2:30 p.m., NT 10:30 p.m.)

Sirius Satellite 137: 12 p.m., 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. ET

You can also catch it on the CBC-Q podcast.

To add to this topic -here's a link to a video about the wall that they found in the New York loft - it was slated for demolition.  I'm glad they saved it – it's an important part of the urban art history of New York.

Interesting point made in the interview about graffiti being a symptom of problems in an area, and the theory that removing the symptom fixes the problem.

They suggest that if in fact you focus on an area, with repeated cleanups of graffiti and of garbage and more police patrols, then people will feel safer there. Which brings in more commerce, drives up property values, encourages replacement of the existing real estate with expensive condos, and the original “poor” residents are forced to move elsewhere