Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ready, Set, Fall

I didn't really notice it happening. Goodness knows Elijah still picking out shorts in the morning didn't either. But fall has come and chilled the Maritimes once again. Summer out here is so short and sweet that you want to savour every moment. But as sunny as it is, fall is fall. And I love fall. I really do. Out here it is so pretty. I love to go and look at the trees in their prime. I love to take walks with the boys, hear our feet crunch the leaves, just before one of us starts to throw them at each other for a big leaf fight. I look forward to our apple picking weekend.
It is very different than fall in BC. Fall is BC is pretty. It's just a lot rainier. It's not as cold, but the people there think it is. I know because I just saw pictures my mom took on Thanksgiving weekend and there were people wearing parkas. I've definately grown some Maritime stock in me to hold off on the parka for as long as possible. I'm still wearing my fleece jacket and I have to argue for Elijah to at least put on his vest ('but I'm wearing long sleeves Mom, I don't need a jacket').
I also look at Maritime fall as a big warning sign. Sure the road construction is almost finished, just before winter comes along to put in some more potholes. This week I completed a get ready for winter task that I'd never heard of in BC, winter treating my windows. Basically, you go to Kent (or whatever big hardware chain you're dealing with) and buy window plastic. This kit comes with double sided tape to line your windows. You then cut the right size sheet of plastic off to fit your window. Once your windows are covered, take your hairdryer and use it to shrink the plasic tight. Cut of the excess and you're good. Apparently it increases the S-factor of your window by a bit. And it does work. There's a noticeable difference already (as there was last spring when I took off last year's plastic). If you west coasters are having a giggle, look it up. Rick Mercer did a spot with Jean Cretien a few years ago showing him how to plastic the Prime Minister's residence.
Another sure sign of winterizing happened today, we had our first fire of the season in our fire place. I know we didn't need a fire today. In fact we probably won't need one for a few weeks yet. But Jonathan loves the fire. And you could tell he was itching to see how this year's crop of wood would burn. It was really nice to smell the wood smell in the house again. And to come home this afternoon to a toasty house.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hidden Talents?

Earlier this summer, Jonathan and I were in slight awe as our friend Lucas fixed Elijah's balloon sword and turned it into a dog.
'You know how to do balloon animals?'
That's something we felt we were missing from our ministry repetiore. We can act, we can sing, I facepaint, Jonathan has great Bible lesson, but neither of us know how to make balloon animals. Jonathan decided that I should be the one to do it. Then we set a goal and announced that I would be making balloon animals at our church's neighbourhood celebration. I guess I'd better get learning. So I did. I learned 3 basic balloons by reading on the internet. A very basic dog, a crappy sword and a swan (swans are easy). They were okay, but I really wanted to learn something a little fancier, like a flower, so I did a search for instructions. What I found was Ori Livney. He is an expert balloon twister. From his videos I not only learned how to make a flower, but also a cute teddy bear, a poodle (much better than the basic dog), and a fancy sword.

You can check him out here:

A Teddy Bear

A Flower

Poetry in Lyrics

The Ballad of the Boy in Red Shoes (John/Taupin)

I'm stoned in the twilight
Screaming on the inside
Give me your water, help me survive
Gonna miss the sunlight
When I lose my eyesight

Give me my red shoes, I want to dance
They search for an answer
But that old man wouldn't listen
Back then I was handsome
Back then he was ignorant

And shave off the years now, it's all inside my head
The boy in the red shoes is dancing by my bed
Put them in a box somehere, put them in a drawer
Take my red shoes, I can't wear them anymore

Had garlands in the wings back then
All the pretty little things back then
Calling out my name, oh what fame brings
After curtain calls and bows
I can't see the front row now
Hand me my red shoes just one more time

They pushed aside our presence
They refused to go the distance
Back then I was Sigmund
Back then he wouldn't listen

Ticking (John/Taupin)

"An extremely quiet child" they called you in your school report
"He's always taken interest in the subjects that he's taught"
So what was it that brought the squad car screaming up your drive
To notify your parents of the manner in which you died

At St. Patricks every Sunday, Father Fletcher heard your sins
"Oh, he's unconcerned with competition he never cares to win"
But blood stained a young hand that never held a gun
And his parents never thought of him as their troubled son

"Now you'll never get to Heaven" Mama said
Remember Mama said
Ticking, ticking
"Grow up straight and true blue
Run along to bed"
Hear it, hear it, ticking, ticking

They had you holed up in a downtown bar screaming for a priest
Some gook said "His brain's just snapped" then someone called the police
You'd knifed a Negro waiter who had tried to calm you down
Oh you'd pulled a gun and told them all to lay still on the ground

Promising to hurt no one, providing they were still
A young man tried to make a break, with tear-filled eyes you killed
That gun butt felt so smooth and warm cradled in your palm
Oh your childhood cried out in your head "they mean to do you harm"

"Don't ever ride on the devil's knee" Mama said
Remember mama said
Ticking, ticking
"Pay your penance well, my child
Fear where angels tread"
Hear it, hear it, ticking, ticking

Within an hour the news had reached the media machine
A male caucasian with a gun had gone berserk in Queens
The area had been sealed off, the kids sent home from school
Fourteen people lying dead in a bar they called the Kicking Mule

Oh they pleaded to your sanity for the sake of those inside
"Throw out your gun, walk out slow just keep your hands held high"
But they pumped you full of rifle shells as you stepped out the door
Oh you danced in death like a marionette on the vengeance of the law

"You've slept too long in silence" Mama said
Remember Mama said
Ticking, ticking
"Crazy boy, you'll only wind up with strange notions in your head"
Hear it, hear it, ticking, ticking

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Crocodile Rockin'

I remember a journal entry I wrote in grade 5. I had just started piano lessons and declared that I wanted to play piano just like Paul McCartney and Elton John. After Tuesday night I am even more convinced that that will never happen. I actually kinda wonder why they are letting me teach music at all really :o)
When I heard Elton John was coming to Saint John, I was in disbelief. After living near Vancouver most of my life, the shows that came to my new home were alright, but nothing to get too excited about. I've seen 2 other concerts at Harbour Station in the past 6 years, the Dixie Chicks and Dolly Parton (I would have seen the Barenaked Ladies, but they were playing the week before I was due with Jeremy and I didn't want to take any chances). But Elton John, ELTON JOHN! That was exciting! So I did something I've never done before to get tickets, I got up in the middle of the night, gathered my lawn chair, sleeping bag and book and waited out.
When we found our seats on Tuesday, that wait was totally worth it. There really isn't a bad seat at Harbour Station. It is a relatively small venue. We were pretty close and facing him face on while he sat at the piano. The show we saw was his Solo show, just Elton on the piano for 3 hours, yes, he played for 3 hours solid. I admit that I did get a little tear in my eye when he opened the show with Your Song (which has been my favorite of his since I was 9), it was the one song that I really really wanted to hear, after that, whatever he played, I'd be happy. And I was. This was the most amazing show. When you think about it, one guy and a piano, that's it, nothing fancy, just the music. It was beautiful. When you are that good, you don't need any fillers and distractions. He didn't skimp any either on the music. Many of the songs were extended versions, Rocket Man must have lasted 10 minutes, and he went from Benny and the Jets to Glen Miller's In the Mood and back again. I was just very impressed overall. He knows how to work the crowd (including getting up from the piano to lead the La la la part of Crocodile Rock, and signing at least 20+ autographs before starting his encore numbers). It was just very, very good. I loved that the cameras focused in on his fingers playing the piano quite a bit, amazing to watch him play. As well as the 'hits' that he played, there were a few lesser known songs of his that he added in. Two stuck out for me. The first was a song from the early 70's called Ticking, that was written about Gun Violence in the States, the second was a song from the early 80's called Red Shoes about a fellow with AIDS back when AIDS was not gettting a lot of funding and was considered a social disgrace to have contacted. They were both such beautiful songs. That was something that kept coming back to me during the night, how much of Bernie Taupin's lyrics are true poetry, beautiful.
I know that the ticket was expensive, but it was my treat, and definately, if you ever have the chance to see Elton John live, it's worth every penny.

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