What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Dec 30

Remember — They Might Be Giants, New Year’s Eve, 3:00 kids’ show, 8:00 cursin’ show, The Calvin. Tickets at IHEG.com.

(One of the best versions of the title song is by the Asylum Street Spankers on their terrific “A Christmas Spanking” release.  And I observe that they’re playing a rare kids’ show on January 10 at the 92nd Street Y.  Go, New Yorkers, go!)

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2009-12-26 Playlist

Dec 26

Listen any old time at WRSI.com!

Segment 1
TMBG – It’s Spare the Rock
-Ella ID
TMBG – Put it to the Test (Here Comes Science)
Billy Bragg & Wilco – My Flying Saucer
Tom Waits – You Can Never Hold Back Spring (Bawlers)
Stan Ridgway & Pietra Wexstun – Bring It On the House
Frances England – Daddy-O (Fascinating Creatures)
Earthworm Ensemble – Bang a Drum (s/t)
Kaiser Cartel – The Season Song (Park Slope Parents Vol.1)

Segment 2
Dog on Fleas w/ Elizabeth Mitchell – Handsome Molly (High Mountain Songs)
The Good Ms. Padgett – So So Good (The Good Ms. Padgett)
ID/prep to rock
Jingle Punx – Auld Lang Syne
ScribbleMonster – Winter Wonderland
I’m From Barcelona – Collection of Stamps (Let Me Introduce My Friends)
Sgt. Major – Nellie the Elephant (Play)

Segment 3
Flannery Bros – One Wasn’t Enough
Jonathan Richman – That Kind of Music
Nields – Anna Kick a Whole in the Sky
Robbins in a Tree-O – Never Cook Your Sister in a Frying Pan (We’re Not Kidding, a Tribute to Barry Louis Polisar)
ID/book time with Ella (The Adventures of Robin Hood)
Neko Case – This Little Light (The Tigers Have Spoken)

Segment 4
ScribbleMonster – Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child
Marty Beller Guest DJ set:
B-52s – Roam
AudraRox – Five Minutes More (world premiere)
Jim Croce – Bad Bad Leroy Brown
Stew – The Smile
April March –

Segment 5
Marty Beller Guest DJ set, con’t:
Green Day – Viva La Gloria
They Might Be Giants – Speed & Velocity
Jon Samson – Right Now
Sundays – Here’s Where the Story Ends
Go-Gos – Vacation

Segment 6
Ella Jenkins – Kwanza Time
Gear Daddies – Zamboni
James Kochalka Superstar – Hockey Monkey
Deedle Deedle Dees – Tres Muralistas (History + Rock & Roll = Deedle Deedle Dees)
Telephone Company – I Don’w Want to Shop (The King’s Surprise)
The Verve Pipe – Be Part of the Band (A Family Album)
Board of Education – Ice Ages Are Fun! (Board of Education)
They Might Be Giants – D is for Drums (Here Comes Science)

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2009-12-26 Book Time with Ella

Dec 26

Ella talked about the Merry Adventures of Robin Hood.  You can purchase it from an independent retailer, and support the store, by following this link:

Shop Indie Bookstores

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This Week — Marty Beller Guest DJ Set, Premiere of AudraRox Track, and More!

Dec 22

We’ll have a Boxing Day episode on Saturday (okay, we don’t have any Boxing Day songs, but it’s on the 26th).  Among other things, we’ll have a great guest DJ set from Mr. Marty Beller, drummer for They Might Be Giants (who will be playing two shows in town on New Year’s Eve [tickets], including a family show at 3:00).

Marty is also a talented producer and his projects include the forthcoming CD from our friends in AudraRox (who will be coming to town in February, by the way).  You’ll get to hear a great track from that record, “Five Minutes More,” during his guest DJ set that you won’t hear anywhere else other than live shows until the record comes out.

To tide you over until Saturday, a little AudraRox from last year’s KindieFest:

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More Light

Dec 22

My dad died six months ago yesterday.  It is convenient, I guess, that he died on the summer solstice (also Father’s Day this year).  It’s easy to remember and easy to mark the anniversaries.

I’ve never been particularly focused on particular dates – Dena and I have spent anniversaries and birthdays apart and we have managed to survive – but this winter solstice seemed likely to be important, which is part of why we’re in Arkansas for it.

Every single day since he died there has been literally been less light in our half of the world.  (Note, incidentally, that I used the term “literally” correctly.)  And for most of those days, there has been figuratively less light as well for me and I think for our family; the pain has been right below the surface, far more so than I expected.

But from yesterday through the one-year anniversary of his death, there will be, at least, more literal light.

– –

We’re planning to go get a Christmas tree tomorrow for my mom’s house.  (She and my sister’s family kindly waited until we were here so we could all go and could all decorate it together.)  We’ll set it up in the living room, probably ten feet from where he died.

So tonight I rolled out the big wooden box that my dad built to hold the Christmas paraphernalia.  This box, like many of his projects, went through multiple iterations until it hit the size and shape he wanted to hold it all.  It fits neatly under his workbench, rolls smoothly into the house, and was manageable with his ataxia.

It has been a few years since we spent Christmas anywhere other than in our own home.  We concluded that the hassle of travel and the desire to start our own rituals and traditions counseled in favor of staying at home and doing our visits other times of the year.  So I actually didn’t think that the holiday part of the visit was going to be much tougher than being here last month for the burial of his ashes (which, while not all giggles and kittens, was not terrible).

It wasn’t until I started getting the boxes of lights, decorations, and other stuff out that I started to get the reason people talk about the holidays being particularly tough in the grief process.  It turns out that, for me, it’s not about recent holidays, but about all of our Christmases. 

As I type this, I’m sitting at the dining room table with a couple of the boxes next to me.  One of them dates to when we lived in Oklahoma (25-plus years ago); it’s a Burpee Seed Co. box addressed to our home in Bartlesville.  It has contained, according to my dad’s distinctive print, “Mugs, bows, cookies”; “Tree Stuff, Angel,” “Balls,” “Star,” and, in the most recent version, “Tree Stuff, Remote Switch.”

Unpacking those boxes every winter was something I don’t think I realized at the time was important. I loved to put undeniably excessive quantities of icicles on the tree.  I loved that we had exactly one Christmas tree light that blinked.  I loved that our parents saved every single ornament we made, even the round piece of Styrofoam with scribbled crayon marks from when we were toddlers.

Nobody made a point of labeling what we were doing as a family tradition.  Nobody explicitly pointed out, “Look, we saved all these things because we love you.”  I’m not sure how conscious they were of the importance of what we were doing.  But that’s what it was about and what it is still about. 

That aching place where the traditions were is part of what makes it hard.  But I think it’s also what will make the additional literal light over the next six months be accompanied by additional figurative light as well.  I hope.

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