Happy Friday Music

It’s now going to be called HAPPY FRIDAY MUSIC because I just realized the other day that I ripped off “Music Friday” from a friend. Sorry Chris! I really only realized it a few days ago. Not that Chris said anything to me about it, easy-going as he is. Thanks for lending it to me just the same!

Today I’m throwing it back to 1993 with one of my favorite songs from The Breeders and their album “Last Splash”. The band was formed in 1988 by former bassist and back-up vocalist for The Pixies (which also happens to be my favorite band of all time) Kim Deal and Throwing Muses guitarist Tanya Donelly. Though the line-up has changed significantly over the years (Kim is the only founding member left) the band still continues to put out albums, even as recently as 2008. None as successful as “Last Splash”.

In contrast to her work with The Pixies, Kim’s group The Breeders are cheery and upbeat alternative rock. Having had the pleasure of seeing her in concert for The Pixies reunion tour I can safely say that she is a musician that gives 100% of herself on stage. In spite of being an enthusiastic performer, there is definitely a shy reservation to Kim that only lends to her intrigue. It’s still easy to see that she is one of the  “nice guys” of Rock and Roll.

I wanted to be Kim. She wasn’t all made up with make-up, she wasn’t over the top gorgeous and she wasn’t dainty and feminine like most of the celebrities out there at the time, well, even today. She was understated, she was different, she was Value Village, unkempt hair, no make-up confidence that I wanted so badly to also embody. She was ass-kicking, gruff sounding, grittiness yet still vibrant and smiling. What a faux pas back in the grunge era. SMILING. She showed me it was possible to reconcile happiness with strength of character without having to be angry. She did it with her music, which I listened to over and over on repeat with my Brother, but she did it with her presence too.

Every year when the weather starts to hit the high teens and twenties, Community Fairs start popping up like a new Starbucks. When I see the spinning ferris wheels and smell the mini doughnuts, I always think of the song and music video for “Saints”. It’s fun, upbeat, and like the song says “Summer is ready when you are.”

If you haven’t already heard the song or don’t quite remember it, be ready to bob your head to the chunky guitar. Happy Friday everyone! Try not to get this song stuck in your head when you’re outside enjoying the beautiful weather! I will be out of town, causing a mad, fine ruckus with my girl’s out for our annual Wild Women’s Weekend. Who knows? We may even put on the Breeders.

Swearing *may contain swearing*

Yes, on occasion, I have been subversive for the sake of being subversive. Call me “rebel without a cause”. The longer I am an adult it seems though, the more mild-mannered I become. I am less roused by the things that used to elicit rabid anger. I even find myself, on occasion, in the position of pacifier in situations where I’d previously been infuriated.

Years ago, while still in my teens, I even said that when I had children I would deliberately teach them swear words to use in their class rooms. My “logic” was that there were far more hateful things to say than fuck or shit or bitch and so on. (I still feel that way but I understand the offensive principle of using such words indiscriminately in public places).

I maintained that when my hypothetical child’s teacher called me to come for a meeting, sat me down somberly to break the news that my child had in fact, been swearing (GASP)! My, (again hypothetical) reaction would be to laugh and say proudly;

“Well of course little Johnny said fuck, I told him to.”

I even pictured in my mind how the meeting would unfold down to my body language. I would sit back in one of those tiny elementary school chairs, arms folded across my chest defiantly and smirk. She would be mortified. It’s then that I would explain;

“You see, my son could be saying far worse things that are completely acceptable in our society. Things like “loser” or “out-cast” or “cheater” and “failure” that have far worse meanings than FUCK. Fuck, in fact, is really an acronym; For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, is what it stands for. I have no problem with my child saying Fuck but saying something like “moron” is unkind and for me, intolerable in comparison.” 

I would be resolute, impossible to reason with. After a long exchange, she would agree fervently but, near tears, plead with me, afraid for her job. I would concede and be sure, for her sake, little Johnny never swore in class again.

I know you’re thinking, THAT would be EXACTLY how it would go. No, Child and Family Services would NOT be contacted because little Johnny’s Mother is apparently vaguely unstable. There would NOT be several future visits from a Social Worker to ensure I was maintaining a safe and positive environment. Sure. That’s what I’M thinking. 😉 But I’ve grown up. I know better. I’m not the little shit I was in High School.

One thing that I have yet to shake is my sailor’s mouth. I swear like there’s no tomorrow and I say disgusting, vile things. I don’t apologize for it, in fact, I’m sort of proud of it. Well, okay, I am respectful and do watch my mouth with people I don’t know and in more formal situations. But if I know you well enough, I say what is on my mind and I don’t filter it. There was a study released in 2009 with research showing swearing was in fact good for you. Physically, chemically and mentally. Validation at last!

I do it so much that I’ve been dubbed “Dirty Wendy”. I wear the title proudly. I just won’t be intentionally grooming my child to use profanity. These days, when my out-going, friendly little boy proudly says (loudly), the word “clock” (pronounced with a silent L) I am as mortified as any Mother would be. It doesn’t stop his Grandma from gleefully having him repeat it constantly. Thanks Mom.

Still, censoring myself in front of my son took some adjustment. Even now, at 16 months, I have to take care to choose my words carefully in front of him-I don’t succeed 100% of the time, but, I do most of the time. I’m especially careful these days though, as it seems my son is saying many new words every day and repeating after us with ease.

I’ve taken flack from my family about it and am reminded that “one day Liam is going to repeat after you” every time a foul word comes out of my mouth. I’ve taken a lot of chiding that I would be the person he’d learn a bad word from first. Even I thought this to be true, in spite of my best efforts.

Which brings us to what transpired this past weekend. When trying to secure Liam in his car seat, while fighting with the harness latches, my Mother (the person I take the most heat from about swearing), without thinking exclaimed in frustration, “JESUS!” I didn’t hear my son repeat after her, what I heard was my frantic Mother pleading with my toddler;

“Liam NO! DON’T say that. It’s NOT a nice word.”

Again, I couldn’t hear his reply, but I knew instantly what it was when I heard my Mother’s reaction.

“NO Liam! Please DON’T say that. It’s NOT a nice word.” followed by;

“Liam, that’s caca, yuck. Don’t say that.”

I laughed and laughed, actually, I’m still laughing. So, in conclusion, SUCK IT friends and family, he didn’t hear it from me! 😛

Music Friday

Happy Friday!
Every Friday I’m going to be posting a song that I can’t get out of my head. It’ll be a different one each Friday. I might call them my “anthem” or just music friday.
This week it’s “GOSSIP” and front woman BETH DITTO’s amazing and powerful voice. Her persona and reputation are equally big. BIG is the key word here. She’s a BBW, and I think 3 of my favorite adjectives can easily describe her; Confident, Strong and FIERCE! Not to mention a refreshing figure in an all too thinsationally dominated culture. She’s a Goddess.

Beth is an openly gay female which is also something uncommon in Celebritydom. Not only does her sexuality come under scrutiny, she’s been a controversial figure because of her curvier frame and the clothing she wears. She’s something rare in the rock world and I’m sure some people are threatened by that. I think she’s MARVELOUS!

Go ahead, try to disagree with me. She’s a BBW icon, who are you?  This video makes me want to go out, find myself a gold bodysuit, put on gold lipstick, encase my eyebrows in gold paint and strut. She also has an amazing and unique sense of style. She even has her own clothing line.

Try not to instantly tap your feet to the plucky, chunky guitar opening. Put it on, turn it up and dance, dance dance! Music like this is meant to be enjoyed. I dare you not to love this band. Happy music Friday!

A healthy dose of courtesy

“If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them.”  Sir Francis Bacon

I was raised to be polite. I was raised to say “please” and “thank you”, to say “you’re welcome”, to respect my elders and to open doors for people-especially when they have a baby on one arm and hot coffee in the other hand. Apparently, not everyone was raised to be polite.

Today, while exiting a Starbucks, two women who were so involved in their conversation waited for me to open a door I was struggling with, then took the opportunity to walk through it as I held it open for them, my son in my arms and my coffee in hand. They didn’t grab the door for us and they didn’t even say thank you when I held it for them to whisk right by. None the less, it didn’t stop me from calling to them and the many other patrons of Starbucks “YOU’RE WELCOME LADIES!”

Yes, I got some looks. They turned to look at me, one even blushed a little, but hardly missed a beat in their conversation. Sometimes, people need a bit of an etiquette lesson it seems.

It often happens to me. I’ve really noticed it since I’ve had my son, Liam. The first time I was made painfully aware of the courtesy oblivion came soon after I had him. I was out with my boy in the stroller, still getting used to the large bulky contraption, trying desperately not to bang my newborn around, and NO ONE would grab the door for me. At least 5 people went into the store in front of me. Finally someone did help us. It’s not isolated either. It happens more often than not that people walk by without offering a hand.

Then there is the complete opposite kind of discourtesy. We, as consumers, have become so accustomed to it that we tune it out for the most part. I know it’s a common complaint for a lot of people. Something that we tolerate silently, in discomfort. The invasion of personal space and privacy!

I went to have my eyes tested and it was a fairly quick bombardment of selling. There was no transition, no wooing, no lulling me into a pitch. I was not seduced into a sale. A small Chinese Woman offers me a wide smile as she finishes up with another customer. They are speaking another language. She sees that I am becoming anxious, having left my son stranded in his stroller with Jenny-he is a busy boy who likes to be on the move, either on foot, or by carriage, but sitting still is asking a lot. I am nervous for Jenny, who’s been left armed with juice, dehydrated corn snacks and cucumber (she’s a Saint this one), but I’m expecting a revolt anytime now.

“Yes?” she asks.

“I have a 4:45 appointment. Wendy.” I smile, grateful that she understood my body language.

“Wendy, you are on social assistance?” She asks. I’m slightly taken aback and embarrassed. There are 2 others within ear shot and I’m not proud of this fact.

“Uh, yes.” I reply meekly.

“Ok. Come this way.” She says plainly, her back already to me as she walks me to the back waiting area. She hands another clerk my information. There are people waiting in a make-shift lounge on the other side of the reception area. She repeats;

“She is on social assistance so you’ll have to get her information and case number.” The other clerk looks me up and down. I feel as if everyone in the room is doing the same.

The rest of the appointment goes fairly routinely, I find the office quite bare and tired. It needs a facelift and their equipment is showing its age, but the eye exam goes well and I am satisfied that we’ve found the source of some frequent headaches. My prescription has gone up again. But I’ll be able to see clearly again soon without squinting.

I return to the reception room to browse the selection of frames and am promptly met by the small Chinese woman who is eager to show me her selections. She doesn’t give me much chance to speak.

“How about these ones?” She hands me a pair to try on. I’ve said nothing about needing a new pair of glasses really. My intention was to take a peak at their choices. I oblige her. They’re nothing I would ever choose. Jenny feeling as awkward with this exchange as it continues as I am.

“I think maybe she just needs to look around herself a bit first.” Jenny says. This is why I brought her. She’s frank and honest but courteous to a fault.Did I mention that she is a Saint?

The woman completely ignores her. She continues to hand me glasses to try on. I try them all on in the hopes of appeasing her. It does not. Finally, I have to stop this.

“I’m just going to take a look at the frames myself I think. See if anything catches my eye.” I’ve still not looked them over myself. I smile, searching for acknowledgement. Nothing. The sales woman is still scanning the wall feverishly. I give up.

She brings me to sit down so we can look over the 2 maybes that we come up with. Looking down at the paper in front of her she mentions something about settling on a pair. She’s misunderstood my intention, though we’ve mentioned it to her plainly. In fact, she enlists the help of the other salesman to participate in the game of persistence. I humour it until he comments about my sons hue being quite yellow, and “is he jaundice”? When I explain defensively that the Pediatrician has said it’s simply because his liver doesn’t yet filter pigmentation from vegetables and that it’s a sign of good nutrition. He looks as if he is in disagreement.

“Really?” He tilts his head. This is enough. It’s the last bit of pushiness I’ll take.

“Can I have my prescription please. I think I’m going to try to find something some where else. There isn’t anything I’d like to buy at this time. Thanks for all your help.” I state, still minding my pleases and thank you’s. The sales woman is less than impressed. She hands me the prescription.

Thanks again.” I say as I take it from her.

“Uh huh.” she grunts, turning away from us already.

Jenny, Liam and I leave the store and take a deep breath out. Jenny and I trade looks, smiles and laugh a little about how forceful the woman was.

“I won’t be getting my glasses there.” I say, or something like it. “They had nothing I wanted.” I mean this both about the glasses and about the service.

I ended up going to another place today and I found 2 amazing frames with the help of a really polite and friendly young woman. She was kind, let me browse at my own pace and made suggestions after carefully listening to what I was looking for. I’m happy to give them my business. I’m not just buying the glasses, I’m buying the service too. Thank you Hakim Optical!

Pictures of my new eyes coming soon!

Just Give Me a Prairie Storm

photo taken by Darrell Laporte

The air is thick with moisture. I spent a good amount of the day outside with my son. He loves it out there! I’m glad. My next place better have a park near by or even better, a yard for him to play safely in! Wouldn’t that be nice. I think I’m going to get him a ball or some out-door toys at least. I couldn’t have dreamed it being this warm this soon. It’s nearly 9 pm and 17 C.

We’ve been blessed with baths and baths of sunshine but could really use the rain on this dusty prairie City. A warm, hard rain that the grass can get drunk on and get some colour in its blades. It’s dry and yellowed hue doesn’t speak of Spring yet, as if it was taken by surprise by our unseasonable weather and hasn’t had the chance to catch up. It needs to rain. We could use the cleanse. There’s so much dust around from the sand that had been layered over the sidewalks throughout the winter.

It’s so bad that if my son and I are walking near the street and a big truck comes by we have to take care not to be drenched by a splash of dirt rather than the usual puddles of water. But today the air feels heavy, there are sagging clouds lined grey bloated in the sky. They’re under bellies are hanging over the city ushering out the sun and I’m waiting for it to all just happen at once.
Those are the best kinds of rain. You don’t get those storms any where outside of the prairies. On the West Coast they get an abundance of rain cumulatively as it rains more often, but it’s a spitting, light, slow rain-a “neutral” rain if you will. It’s barely even an inconvenience. On the prairies, the clouds are big and dark, the air gets so humid you can drink it, and the sky suddenly gasps and explodes with rain it’s been looming over the City all day. It won’t be ignored. It’s hard, heavy and relentless. Make no mistake, it’s not undecided. It’s harsh in its beauty and beautiful in its harshness.

Please, please let us have the first thunderstorm of the season tonight. I’m almost as thirsty for the rain as the soil I think. They are one of the things I like best about living on the Prairies. It just about makes the winters worth it. JUST about…and then it’s December and I envy just about any other city in North America. But not today. Today I’m a proud prairie girl.