Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I should be sleeping...

...but I'm not. Christmas Eve is less than 48 hours away and the clock is ticking. I'm trying to finish up a dozen projects I hope to have ready for the big night. As the clock ticks, some of the projects will fall away. What's left standing on Wednesday morning will most likely be it. The rest will have to wait until next year. Or not at all.

In the case of Christmas, my crafty eyes are bigger than my crafty stomach. Pardon the analogy. It's just that I have so many ideas spinning around in my head, and not enough time, energy, or hutzpah to complete them all. Even if those ideas start forming in August, somehow, it's the night before Christmas, when all through the house, only crafters are stirring, of course, not a mouse. But why? Whose fault is this anyway?

Mmm...I blame my mother. The woman who somehow did it all come Christmastime. She somehow managed to make sure everyone was included. She was heaven-bent on making sure each child got the same amount of gifts, in one way or another. She found ways to include friends, relatives, pets, even. Christmas stockings were full, gifts from Santa underneath the tree. When we awoke in the early hours to dump out our stockings, and tear open the gifts from Santa, the tape was still fresh on the boxes, the ribbons just curled. My mother, exhausted, had barely fallen asleep when we trotted down the stairs in the early morning light. By the time she arose, to start preparations for Christmas dinner, we had made our way through fresh oranges, and chocolate, and several Christmas cartoons, maybe even Scrooge.

I wonder what I would be like with a house full of Children at Christmastime. A lot like her, I suppose, if my crafty expeditions are any telltale sign. I don't have children of my own. But I do have four darling parakeets. And I know this...come Christmas morning, their stockings will be full.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Caroling, Caroling...

Christmas is almost here...it wouldn't feel like Christmas without a little Christmas music. Since I don't really want to go out caroling solo (it would be comical, though, would it not?), I've decided to put up a few of my original Christmas tunes on my blog to spread some holiday cheer. It's been a tough year for many, and I think we could use a little positive musical karma.

There are two songs posted here that were recorded just this past week. My skills at the 8-track mastering board are lower than novice, so I apologize for the less than perfect mix. I do hope, despite that, you will enjoy the tunes. Check out the menu in the player above, select a song, and enjoy.

Update: clearly something isn't working with embedding the player. So, here is a link to click on that will take you to the online playlist.

Merry Christmas to all.
May you have a Healthy and Happy New Year, too!

Monday, December 1, 2008

HO HO HO and Here We Go....

Here it is again, Christmastime. Seems hard to believe, how fast the year has gone by. But here we are, putting up trees, bustling through shopping malls, shoveling snow, writing letters to Santa, planning get togethers, singing Christmas carols.

Christmas carols. Aside from the fact that the local radio stations literally started playing Christmas music ON Halloween this year, I love Christmas music. I'm a fan. Dedicated. I have amassed a large collection of tunes throughout my 45 years, and I make a point of sharing my favorites with as many people as I can.

Back in the early 90's I started assembling a Christmas collection as a vocal Christmas card. I oftentimes included original productions as well. But culling the CD's, visiting the different record stores each Christmas season and picking out new titles to add to my collection has always been a treat. And, with music, a great deal of the joy is in being able to share it.

This year's theme will include birds. Hey, I'm Parakeetgirl; it figures, doesn't it? It's been a bit of a trick to find Christmas/holiday/winter songs that make reference to birds. Given that birds are a well referenced theme in Christmas cards, ornaments and decorations, you would think that songs featuring them would be plentiful. Not so. I've done my homework. I've scoured my CD's, gone through songbooks, visited many a website about birds, and have only come up with about a dozen. And that counts an original I'm producing this year with a friend of mine. That's okay, I'll fill in the disc with several new discoveries.

And speaking of discoveries...here's a new Christmas collection worth checking out - "The Hotel Cafe' presents...Winter Songs". It's got some brand-new holiday tunes, and very original productions of some tried and true favorites. The title track "Winter Song" by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson is beautiful. "Frosty the Snowman" by Fiona Apple harkens to a bygone era. "The Heartache can Wait" by Brenda Carlile is haunting and melodic. Definitely worth a listen. A portion of the profits goes to Susan G. Komen for the Cure to fight breast cancer, so there's good will attached as well. Check it out here: http://www.hotelcafe.com/wintersongs/

Over the years I've searched high and low for obscure Christmas tunes. My main complaint about holiday radio is that they play the same things over and over. When you're trying to fill 24 hours of air time, you'd think they would welcome something a little different. That said, there are a few artists I've never found Christmas/holiday tunes for. Wouldn't it be grand, or at least interesting to hear holiday music by: Bob Dylan, Bjork (the only piece I've found is instrumental, and amounts to the "sound of snowflakes" falling), Billie Holiday (something besides the classic "I've got my love to keep me warm"), Patti Griffin, Lucinda Williams, The Killers. There are more, but it's late and I'm starting to fade...more on this subject matter later. In the meantime...

I'll fade out...cue the jingle bells...