Clif and I had a fine time decorating the Christmas tree last night. At 11, he is past one sort of Christmas and on to another. We were talking about a small cousin and what we should get for her, and I told him that her aunt and uncle wanted to keep it down to a few things, because she’s kind of wanty right now. Clif said, “Oh. Right. She’s at the toy stage. Just wait until she figures out electronics. Gets a lot easier.”
On Hillsboro Road here, there’s a tree stand that’s been there forever, but this year I noticed a new sign: “We will put lights on for you.” My first thought was along the lines of HELLYEAH that’s for ME. Here’s forty million dollars–have at it! There’s nobody in this household who will string a tree up except for me. It’s like this group allergy to Frasier fir kicks in every year on December 5.
I contemplated what it would mean for some guy to show up, take my lights, and put them on my tree. I realized that he would probably do it all wrong. HIS lights would all operate perfectly. He wouldn’t somehow dislodge the fundamental steadiness of the tree to the point that it would lean in a dreadful and scary way for the next three weeks. He would probably do it in some way that the wires don’t show. He wouldn’t run out of lights or start cursing at Mahalia Jackson for singing “O Holy Night” for the eighth time.
I did the lights myself, as ever, with the sort of results that really make Christmas Christmas for me:
Problem Area: The Last String.
What holiday traditions do you have that you loathe and adore all at the same time?
The Baby Sweater Up There
Is giving me a pain in the side. In my hubris, I just worked the fronts and back all together, the net result being that one of the fronts is four stitches wider than the other one, which when you’re working a sweater in pieces is no big deal. But when you’ve decided to whizz through a baby sweater and do it all at once, it’s kind of a disaster. Four stitches width in a baby sweater is practically half a baby. Very discouraged by this. Don’t want to inflict such misshapen alpaca on a guileless newborn. He doesn’t need this sort of thing, this soon. I’m thinking of punting to organic cotton and trying again.
SPEAKING of music, I’m so glad you had a good time at the Punch Brothers concert. I am crazy for music right now, in a way I haven’t been for a long time. I guess it’s having the fellas playing guitar around the house a lot. And the sudden appearance of all this vinyl they’re bringing home. So huge, these LPs. And cool. Vinyl these days is a lot more fun than our vinyl. It’s all superspecial, hyperaware vinyl.
Punch Brothers in particular make me think about texture in music, the way all the players are contributing their particular texture to the song. In bluegrass, this is especially obvious because each instrument is so distinct.
For some reason, this reminded me of a project Hubbo told me about a while back, an attempt to create the most annoying music ever. These guys (who obviously were taking a minute off from some PhD program) did some polling, with the following result:
Komar & Melamid and David Soldier’s list of undesirable elements included holiday music, bagpipes, pipe organ, a children’s chorus and the concept of children in general (really?), Wal-Mart, cowboys, political jingoism, George Stephanopoulos, Coca Cola, bossanova synths, banjo ferocity, harp glissandos, oompah-ing tubas and much, much more. It’s actually a fascinating listen, worthwhile for the opera rapping alone. (We didn’t think that was possible either.)
When you’ve heard “Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer” once too often, here’s a little something to put it all in perspective.
The roof guys are here, taking off the old roof at the moment. Dead shingles fly by my window, a lot of scraping and thumping up there. They swear they’re going to put on a new one, but what if they’re a bunch of jokesters?