Music Wednesday: Merry Christmas you bastards!

Yeah, ok, so I didn't quite manage to write this post for Sunday or Monday as promised, but such is my flakyness. Regardless, it's here now, with your requests as well as my own favourites.

May @Problem Uterus suggested Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and Barenaked Ladies' "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen":

I don't care what anyone says, Christmas isn't Christmas without a little Bing.

Little Drummer Boy
(with David Bowie)

White Christmas

My new sister in Mid-Atlantic statedom, Cali, wanted Happy Christmas (War Is Over) by John Lennon (I'm assuming, rather than the Celine version) and "Christmas Time is Here" from A Charlie Brown Christmas:

Since we don't get that 1964 jem "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in the UK, I must rely on YouTube for my annual fix. Hurray for "Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Silver and Gold":

Eliza's Mom, always the musical brainiac has suggested The Killers' "Don't Shoot Me Santa", and yes, EM, they are wearing some pretty vile/fabulous Christmas sweaters! Her other recommendation, because she pretty much rocks, is Porn Orchard's "Christmas Sucks":

And because I'm a big old dirty hippie who loves folk music, here is Kate Rusby's version of "Here We Come a Wassailing":

I could go on and on, because despite my gruff, cynical exterior, I love Christmas and all its pageantry, with Christmas music ranking right up there in my all-time list of favourite things. I won't project my holiday love any more, except to leave you with what is obviously the best contemporary Christmas song I know, and Major Bedhead and Molly agree with me - "Fairytale of New York", by the late, great Kirsty MacColl and The Pogues. Cover versions follow, just for fun:

Billy Bragg and Florence and the Machine

Paloma Faith ft Scouting for Girls

KT Tunstall ft Ed Harcourt

Martha Wainwright & Ed Harcourt

Happy Holidays to you all!


Not so musical Monday

At 10pm I sat down for the first time since I got home at 5.30pm. I did manage to eat dinner in that time, a rather delicious Katsu curry I started making as soon as I got in. Regretfully, my dinner consumption usually takes about 40 minutes and involves minimal sitting. Instead it's grabbing a bite here and there when not being moaned at by the Tiny Dictator that her belly is rumbling, but somehow it knows it's not hungry for dinner but sweets. Arguments ensue, I'm told that I'm not very nice and have thus lost the friendship of my only daughter for being so bold as to ask her to eat her dinner.

After preparation of two lunches (tuna sandwich for me, homemade cheesy pasta with tuna for her), two lots of dish washing later with a quick tidy of the kitchen, and it's 10pm. The Dude was insistent that I should go to bed and watch an episode of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" with him, but who wants to go from work - kitchen - bed - work with no proper relaxing in between? Now he is relegated to the bedroom and I get to cosy up with the laptop and a new (to us poor UK residents anyway) episode of SVU. I'll go to bed at 11pm anyway, but somehow that extra hour of alone time will hopefully be enough so I don't wake up tomorrow with a major case of the post-Mondays.

This is such a stupid Mommy blogger thing to say, but fuck it - what do you do to not feel as if your life is just one endless cycle of things that wear you out? I just cannot physically find the time to do things I need to do - Christmas cards for example. When? I suppose I could take a few hours one night and work on them, but at the risk that everything else would fall behind. I bring work home with me most nights, but I rarely get a chance to sit down and do it. Dinners and lunches need made, kitchens need to be cleaned, dishes need done, toys need to be picked up.

Somehow I don't feel stressed out with the hectic nature of the moment, I'm just tired. I can't believe I used to have time to sit down and write here two or three times a week, let alone reading what other people are writing. I can't work out what was different then, as I have the same job, same kid, same husband doing the same job. When are things not like this anymore? Retirement? Jesus...

Jumping subjects entirely, I'll be doing a Music Monday next week (21st) featuring holiday music. I have some ideas of my own, but want some other recommendations. What songs put you in the holiday mood? Email me before next Sunday, barrenalbion at gmail dot com, or leave a comment here.

I'm going to go put my favourite Christmas sweater on and brainstorm.


Vignettes of a trip abroad

The jig is up. I haven't blogged in fifty years, so if you are unfortunate enough to remember who I am, you probably don't even remember my allusions to a secret. The secret is, I flew to the US a couple of weeks ago for a real, live job interview. I *still* haven't heard whether I got the damn thing or not, though I suspect much like the magic period that turns up right when I waste urine and a tenner on a pregnancy test, I'll get an email right after I hit publish. Before you ask - I have no idea how I did. I am confident in how I presented myself in the four hours of various kinds of interviews I've had with my hopeful employers-to-be at anonymous university outside Philly, but you can never predict such outcomes, can you?

I was only in the States for a few days, but sans The Baggage, I managed to squeeze more into that period than I usually do in a month-long trip. I have a cluster of trip tidbits that I wanted to mention, so I'll just dispense of proper grammar and paragraph structure and just list things numerically. I may have disappeared from blogging for a bit, but worry not, my laziness remains intact.

1) On the flight to the States, I watched three films - The Time Traveller's Wife, The Ugly Truth, and a third which I have just now forgotten. Regardless, I have a lesson for you. If you have just left your family for the first time ever having only been away from your child for a maximum of 9 hours, DO NOT watch The Time Traveller's Wife. If you do, you will sit snivelling like an idiot, wiping your nose on the airline-provided blanket, ignoring the sidewards glances of the guy seated on the other side of the aisle, with your finger hovering over the "stop" button in case it all gets to be too much. I read the book and know it's a bit draining, so how I managed to not transfer this knowledge to my film decision making, I don't know.

2) The night I arrived I met the wonderful, glorious, hospitable, gorgeous Tash. I've neglected to meet up with her on past trips, and though we did not get to an XPN event, I greatly enjoyed the limited time I spent with her. I'm still paranoid that she probably felt I was way too comfortable, as I pretty much helped myself to her computer, drank her tea, and got all cosy in her kitchen. The lovely woman pretended I wasn't the rudest person in the world, and in my defense jet lag messes with my head a bit. My sense of tact which is always present starts to dissipate in fairly large increments once I've been awake for more than 18 hours. Tash's house is quite possibly, nay, IS, the most beautiful residence I have ever set foot in. I offered to move in straight away, and Tash gracefully deflected the offer and moved on to another matter quite quickly. We even hugged before I left, and let me tell you, I'm not much of a hugger so that Tash is one lucky broad.

3) My Kindle, which does not have 3G access when in the UK, enabled me to sit at lunch the next day and download books. It will take me years to get over the marvel of being able to sit on your toilet (if you so desire), order a book, and start reading it 30 seconds later. Unfortunately for constructiveness and my marriage, I downloaded Dragonfly in Amber. I've gushed about this series (Outlander) before, and just like the first book, I cannot.get.enough. I don't know what it is, because some of it is hokey as hell and the sex scenes just make me laugh, but they are so addictive. That, and I desperately want to have lots of The Sex with Jamie. It's weird to lust after a fictional literary character. I spend way too much time brainstorming about who would best suit Jamie in a film version, then pleading desperately with fate to actually make a film version. I don't think I'd be able to watch it, lest I suffer from some sort of death by rapid orgasm and expire in a public movie theater.

4) American rest stops. I love them. I don't know what it is, and maybe I've been away too long so as to find such ordinariness compelling, but I could sit in one for hours. I stopped in a wee one on the PA Turnpike to get a coffee, and my eyes couldn't dart around quick enough to take all the American goodness in. I think it's just such a symbol of Americana, with so many different types of people moving in and out with such rapidity. There's something so old school and mid-20th century about it.

5) I met someone else on my trip - see, I told you I was industrious! Guess who? She lives out Philly way, sassy as hell, and has been a blogging friend of mine since her first infertility blog when she called herself "Holly". It's STATIA! Let me just say, I'm the first one to admit that my real self is not nearly as outgoing and bold as my blog self, but Statia is the real deal. Blog Statia is real Statia. Bitch. We met for coffee in a great little coffeeshop round her way, and she even paid for my drink. She's a classy broad, that one. The best part is, even though I was dressed like a common post-interview streetwalker, she didn't even ask to cop a feel before she bought my drink. So well-mannered. Much like my time with Tash, my visit with Statia was hours upon hours too short, but we crammed in a lot of talking into not much time. I'm endlessly pleased that I bothered to fit her in this time, even if it was mainly to shut her up about my apparent constant dissing of her when Stateside. I loved that we were able to keep the antagonistic banter up in real life, as if we'd known each other for years. Oh wait. We have.

I'm sure there is more to my trip that would involve tales of my Mom's alleged ghost, by which I mean one which haunts my Mom's house, not the ghost of my still-alive Mom (who is here in the UK as we speak), Aunt Florence's recent begging episode, my mental insistence that if I get this job I should reward myself with a slew of art, and my annoyance with my home city that it is now cool - despite not being remotely so when I actually lived there.

My goal in life now is not to get this job, but rather to read some goddamned blogs. I miss blog-reading, but my life in the past six months has been entirely composed of visa paperwork, job searching, job applications, resume and cover letter modification, email correspondence with job folk, child rearing, home maintenance, work stuff, and a touch of animal husbandry. I can't wait until I have a series of evenings in which I can sit on my ass and read blogs. It would be like a dream come true.