I Thought I Remembered Looking More Fit in the Future

December is such a beautiful, peaceful month, which leads me to wonder why I am sitting in front of the computer, with headphones and white Christmas lights, listening to Foo Fighters shriek out Walk at questionably high levels. I love this time of year. And I love End-of-Year lists, which is also why I've been recently listening to a lot of favourite melodies from 2011.

Colorblind Soldiers blast Leviathan Lullaby. One of the best couplets of the year, amidst its piano tinkling, psychedelic-chilling glory.

Fascist married to a Baptist / thinking about the one who got away

Gonna have to start shopping for a Christmas tree soon. We shop for trees a little...differently. More like creating, or inventing. We liked our tree last year pretty well. Scavenged for Tim Burton branches amidst the savage vegetation of Mt. Norway; drilled some holes in an old post, strung some lights, and voila! Fell in love. We'll see how this year turns out.

December 2010. Winsome though Zooey Deschanel is, I still pick this girl, though I forget her name.
December is such a month of rituals. Was looking at photographs of a year ago. So many fun memories. Funny how you always think you look better in the past than you do in the present. Except that the present is next year's past, so maybe at that point I'll be thinking I looked especially fit and trim in December 2011. Right now, I am kind of thinking I looked better in December 2010. I am planning to seriously exercise a lot this month. Unless I am too busy making gingerbread houses and hosting hot chocolate parties.

December 2004

First time I heard Cold War Kids' Skip the Charades, I thought it was a Coldplay b-side. Not a bad thing, considering I still think Coldplay's 2008's Viva la Vida is one of the finest winter albums of the past decade. Interesting how certain sounds though, play out in 3-5 year trends. And Coldplay has certainly defined a specific intimate-arena juxtaposition of impassioned vocals, poppy Radiohead-ish instrumentation, and beautiful production. So following in those footsteps isn't a bad thing. Always the (unfair) struggle to credit more the band who A) originated a sound or B) perfected that sound, following on the heels of the originators. Anyway. Skip the Charades. Good track. Also: Coldplay's chugging anthem Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.

So, rituals. Started the Advent calendar chocolate thing this evening with Magdelana. Patient girl waited all day long. Finally opened it this evening. Eyes big, salivating, savored. I love little things that are big moments. Tiny rituals that are monumental to some.

Photographs and music. Both connect us to our personal histories in such different, yet such powerful ways. Common wisdom says that in adult years, you default to the music of your high school experience. I still have all my old cassette tapes and CDs, but overall, I would have to say that those years of Queensr├┐che, Taylor Dayne, and Roxette launched my interest in a universe now encompassing Rachmaninov, Lightnin' Hopkins, and the Raveonettes (their Raven in the Grave slowly keeps getting better with repeated listens). Music opens braindoors. Down the rabbit-hole; one discovery leading to another. I wonder how our children will soundtrack their early lives someday in the grumpy start-and-stop inconsistencies of their memories? Lot of Bach on vinyl, Vivaldi on CD, and Kimya Dawson on the automobile iPod. My mom paid us a compliment, I think, last year. Something along the lines of

"One of the things I love about coming to your house is that there's always music going."

That is usually true. And often, combinations of pots, pans, spatulas, sticks, toy keyboards, flutes, harmonicas, and little voices accompanying the recordings.

But you can't really control what people remember. Not really. So we'll just keep the good times going, the music playing, the rituals intact, the adventures fresh, the love spilling into everything we do.

I like this month.

Little Saint Nick / She & Him

Hot chocolate, setup lights and decorations, watch a little Elf.

Walk / Foo Fighters.
Pendulum Swing / Colorblind Soldiers
Skip the Charades / the Cold War Kids
Every Teardrop is a Waterfall / Coldplay
Recharge & Revolt / the Raveonettes
It Will Rain / Bruno Mars
Chapel Song / We Are Augustines


  1. "I love the little things that are big moments. Tiny rituals that are monumental to some." The intertwining of nostalgia and anticipation! Looking forward to seeing your tree this year--listening to old favorites and new. Hot chocolate and smiles. Boistrous laughter amidst the hush of well-kept secrets. Twinkling lights surpassed by the sparkle in your eyes.

  2. You're such an amazingly talented writer. High praise, eh?!

    I seriously love your stuff, please don't stop.

  3. Made me miss you guys... Need to invite us to one of those Hot chocolate parties:-) Jodi

  4. Thanks, everyone! You're all invited, once we figure out when!

  5. I've copied down the playlist--going to listen to it at work on Spotify this afternoon, while entering donations into our donor database. It should spice up that process a bit.

    I too love the holidays, though I'm as chliched as they come. OK, no blowup Frostys or Raindeer in my front yard, but our trees are definitely pretty standard. Part of it is the entrenched ideology of Christmas I grew up on and haven't been able to shed, but I can also guarantee if I tried to do something cool and artful, it wouldn't come out half as good as the one you shared in picture from last year. Very cool!

  6. Thanks Brian - let me know if there's any music you're digging in particular! Always look forward to getting recommendations - any you have?

    The holidays are full of cliches, which is why they're easy to frown upon. But the bright side of cliches is that they are usually just rituals that started off tiny, and over time have oversaturated the popular consciousness and turned into something that has mass appeal, and thus, uncool and cliche :). Doesn't make them any less relevant in helping bind families together; definitely helps to have a little self-awareness going on though! (As in: I know this holiday front yard lighting thing is a cliche, but doggawnit, we're doing it anyway!). It's fun hearing other people's Christmas ideologies too...and I bet if you did something "cool and artful," it would end up very cool :)

    Thanks for the comment, Brian!


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