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img_1160Donald Trump is President-Elect and Leonard Cohen is dead. So, who’s for some hilarious anecdotes about funny things my kids said and my high school reunion, or some riotous home renovation mishaps? I thought as much.

Here instead is a list, which will show you how deeply embedded in my life is the music and lyrics of Leonard Cohen.

Leonard Cohen Song Titles That Are Also Threats or Reprimands Made By Me To My Children This Week. 

  1. One of Us Cannot Be Wrong
  2. That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
  3. Is This What You Wanted?
  4. Why Don’t You Try?
  5. If It Be Your Will
  6. Here It Is
  7. That Don’t Make it Junk
  8. Going Home
  9. You Want it Darker?
  10. It Seemed the Better Way

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Portrait of Garnet by his sister or Smiths album cover?

In lieu of a proper post, today I have a fun game for you, dear readers. It’s called ‘Are These Songs By The Smiths or Things My Three Year Old Said Today?’. First neat and correct entry on a postcard wins a trip to my house. Second prize is two trips to my house. (more…)

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ramekinsFor 2016 I have made only one New Year’s resolution: to face the truth. It’s a big one, but it’s nice and versatile. It covers a multitude of things I think could be improved about my life.

I will face the truth about the Pilates DVDs. This is the year I will stop taking Pilates DVDs on holidays with me. I’ve been dragging the same two all over the world for about nine years and do you know how many times I have done Pilates on holidays? Zero times. They make me feel guilty for not doing Pilates on holidays when I don’t even do it when I’m at home. This foolishness has got to stop.

I will face the truth that I prefer exercising indoors. I wish I liked running out in the fresh air, with the dogs and the show-offs, but honestly, it’s too hot and sunny, there are too many people watching, and the television screens are too few and far between. The only way I can justify watching the kind of crappy TV shows I like is to watch them while riding the exercise bike or doing crunches or squats. So that is what I shall do. (more…)

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inthewoods

I think I’ve figured out why smart parents make their kids listen to kids’ music. It’s so you can have conversations about how yes, the Wiggles are right, fruit salad is yummy yummy, instead of conversations like we had the other night.

We were listening to the Smiths while the kids ate fifty bowls of soba noodles and pushed their tofu around, before declaring it ‘Not to my taste’ (May Blossom) and ‘Plurgh yuck! (Garnet). I sat there silently willing them to eat the tofu so H and I wouldn’t have to and we could order takeaway for dinner.

‘Mummy,’ May Blossom asked, ‘Why does he say that if it’s not love then it’s the bomb that will keep us together? (more…)

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braidsSomeone has taught my toddler all his nursery rhymes. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t his father. It wasn’t his sister. Is he learning them by osmosis? Are they inherent in his genetic makeup, like the reflexes small babies have that stop them falling off their mother’s hairy back?

While Garnet was sick all he has wanted to do was have me read him books while he languished in my lap. Once day I dragged out a Play School book of nursery rhymes and started singing them, and lo and behold, he joined in. Now as far as I know, the only music that kid has been exposed to in the last six months is the soundtrack to Frozen, the soundtrack to Cats, and the theme tune to the TV shows Peter Rabbit, Peppa Pig and Octonauts. So how does he know ‘Incy Wincy Spider’? I’ve heard him sing ‘Let It Go’ and I’ve heard him sing ‘Journey to The Heavyside Layer’ (both multiple times each day), but somehow ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’ has crept in too.

As May Blossom is approaching four and is thus an adult with many opinions about why she should be allowed to wear earrings, have a job as a waitress and get married, she will not tolerate the playing of baby music. One morning recently as I sat and sang the nursery rhymes with Garnet, she called out from the dining room where she was gluing triangles of paper mostly to the tablecloth, ‘Will you stop that singing please? You are disturbing my work.’

‘No,’ I replied. ‘When you were a baby we sang these songs with you for hours and hours, and we never do that with Garnet, so you might just have to deal with it for a bit.’

‘Ugh,’ she groaned. There was a pause. ‘Carry on then.’

Carry on indeed.

She asked me about university the other day. I explained it is like a school you go to after you finish high school. ‘Your uncle, Superchief, goes to university,’ I told her. ‘He’s studying law.’ I started to explain about the law and how it protects civilised society from breaking down, but she interrupted me.

‘I know all about law,’ she said. ‘I can talk to him about that.’

‘What do you know about law?’ I asked her.

She thought for a moment and then, in a very serious voice, she said, ‘You must never ever stand on a crab.’

She’s right, you know. Laws are there to protect people, and crabs, I guess.

But I don’t think, ultimately, that she will go into law as a profession. Not while she can make a killing from the latest product she and Garnet have started manufacturing. This afternoon I came across them jumping up and down on an armchair, right next a tepee that her father and I set up for them yesterday, almost at the cost of our sanity and marriage.

‘Could you please stop that?’ I asked. ‘Maybe you could do the jumping inside that excellent tent instead.’

‘We can’t,’ May Blossom informed me, ‘because we live in that tent. This chair is where we work.’

‘Oh,’ I said. ‘What exactly do you do for work up on that chair?’

‘We make positivity.’

And for that there is no comeback and they are now allowed to jump on the furniture as much as they like forever.

 

 

 

 

 

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hugsHappy New Year from the House of Gusto, where we specialise in creating problems for ourselves, and then complaining about them! This year has kicked off in fine style, with a wonderful country holiday featuring daily trips to swim in the sea, huge and delicious meals with friends and restful afternoons on the verandah.  A perfect life, you might say, if not for the issues of Sleep and Cats.

Why the italics, you might ask. What has Gusto done to merit that? Nothing. Gusto is being an exemplary feline. It is the jellicle cats that are the problem around here. The cats created by T. S. Eliot in his 1939 book of poems Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and made more annoying to the power of infinity by Andrew Lloyd-Webber in 1981. You see, about three months ago May Blossom, Garnet and I tagged along with Other Jess to a Year 6 Production of Cats at the school where she works. It was pretty amazing. And just like that it became, like Singin’ in the Rain and before that the song ‘1234’ by Feist, a complete obsession for May Blossom. (more…)

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bruceIn a fit of wild optimism a month or so ago, H and I drank more than one glass of wine and like the unbridled hedonists we aren’t we got a bit crazy with the laptop and the credit card and booked tickets to see Bruce Springsteen in concert. Going out to a concert! we thought. Like young people (well, young people in 1987)! So what if we will have a three-month-old baby at that point? It’ll be absolutely fine.

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