Wednesday, December 17, 2014

{tinsel tree: year 6}

Last week we put our tree up - the little silver one made of tinsel. I was so happy about it; it really doesn't feel like the holidays until you're completely blinded by your radioactive Christmas tree every time you walk into the living room. Right?

We did the usual - I baked brown sugar cookies and Barclay made drinks and we listened to Christmas music. Sullivan grinched it up big time and slept through the whole thing, which was probably good since he would've just wanted to eat everything anyway.

But listen: I have to tell you about the drinks that Barclay made. I owe it to you for that time I made you sit and listen to a whole bunch of boring stories about my life. They were mint chocolate mochas and they were exactly the right amount of everything and tasted like the kind you'd get at a pretentious hipster coffee shop. Minus the weird syrup-y aftertaste. I'll give it to you in point form, because that's the least awkward way to share a recipe.

Mint Chocolate Mochas
1. Warm 1 cup of milk in a saucepan at medium heat until it starts to bubble.
2. Add a quarter cup of semi-sweet mint chocolate chips, and a quarter cup of milk chocolate chips and stir it up.
3. Pour it into mugs (it's enough to fill two mugs about halfway full).
4. Add coffee to fill the mugs up the rest of the way.

When we'd finished putting the tree up, we settled in with our cookies and mochas and watched The Snowman, the version with David Bowie in it.

And the tree lit up the entire night sky clear over to Russia. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

{the shadow proves the sunshine}

I've been listening to this song a bit lately, from an album I'd kind of forgotten about and haven't heard in a few years, but which I used to leave on repeat in the car for days and months on end. It was good for long solo trips, one of those CDs that as a whole felt quite sad and heavy, but hopeful and meaningful at the same time.

This is the kind of sadness that is actually startlingly beautiful - the kind that's not empty or worthless. A shadow that isn't only the absence of light, but also evidence of it.

Friday, December 12, 2014

{krause christmas}

This past weekend, we celebrated Christmas with Barclay's side of the family. A little early maybe, but still within the bracket of acceptable calendar days, I think. In fact, I was just reading a really fascinating blog post this morning written by Juliette, who is Dutch, about her Christmas traditions growing up, and Santa (Sinterklaas) came to them on the 5th of December. So maybe we actually just did it right for the first time in our lives.

But the point is not that.

The point is that we drove the two and a half hours to Saskatoon, checked into the Sheraton, and partied like rockstars. Kind of. Like, the kind of rockstar who goes to bed at a decent time and is quiet and respectful of all the other rockstars and who drinks decaf Starbucks and cleans up after him or herself.

The kind of rockstar who is more like a parent.

It was fun though. There was a water park and excessive amounts of sugar and coffee and takeout Vietnamese food which meant no cooking or major clean-up afterward. That is exactly my idea of a holiday. And Sullivan got to have snacks in his playpen, which was kind of luxurious for him.

Plus, he got to play with his older cousins a bunch. He thinks they're great. Grammy might be the only one smiling in these pictures, but that's only because I have horrible timing, not because no one's having fun. I hope.

All thirteen of us hung out in a hotel room and at the water park, and on "Christmas Day" (December 6) we all headed over to Barclay's sister's house for presents where Sullivan had his first experience with wrapping paper. I think it was a positive one. He got a pack of Hot Wheels cars and, upon opening it, gave every single one a kiss. (That's his thing right now. Whenever Barclay calls from work, I put him on speaker phone and Sully comes zooming across the room to kiss the screen.)

It was a different way to do Christmas, but fun different. Now we have Christmas on the farm with my family to look forward to, and Christmas just the three of us in our little house. So much Christmas! So little December!

On that note, I'm going to go put on some Vince Guiraldi and wrap a few gifts. Ho, ho, ho.

(PS: We missed you, Adams family.)

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Every year, Brad and Theresa have this night where they keep their shop open all night long. There is cider and chocolate, and prizes sometimes, and you can do your Christmas shopping at like 3 AM, which is kind of a novelty and therefore so much funner than doing your Christmas shopping at 3 PM.

Every year, I go. I eat the chocolate and drink the cider and visit with Brad and Theresa. And I guess I hadn't realized it was an actual Christmas Tradition for me until this year, when I walked in and Theresa hugged me like she does every year and said, "You came!" like she does every year and I said, "Of course I came!" like I do every year and suddenly I got that feeling that you get as a kid when the first Christmas song of the season comes on the radio. That a definite line has been crossed from Regular Winter to Christmas Winter. And I knew that at least part of the reason that I came every year was because it meant something to me.

But I guess that's how the best traditions are born. You don't do them so that they'll become traditions, you do something because you love it and then you gradually realize that if you don't do it anymore, something will be missing. Sometimes you recognize right as something is happening that it's going to become a tradition, but I think usually you don't figure it out right away. Just the repetitious doing doesn't make something a tradition. There's something else. Something about memory and nostalgia and brains.

Anyway, last Thursday was the night. We were on our way home from a friend's house and Sully was asleep in the back seat, so Barclay offered to drive him around the block a few times while I ran in to say hello.

And thus began the Christmas season of 2014.

Oh wait, though.

It's maybe important to add, because I can't see why it wouldn't be, that there were fire breathers hanging around outside the shop that night. This isn't usually part of the tradition, but traditions taking place on 13th Ave have to be somewhat malleable, so this year it was. I left the shop and watched them while I waited for Barclay to come by and pick me up. I recognized the fire breathers, a guy and a girl, from a couple summers ago, only back then they were into extreme hoola-hooping (not flammable enough of a hobby, I guess).

A drunk man staggered past at one point and didn't seem to notice them until he was standing about four inches from the guy's flaming baton. He jumped back, his eyes wild, and shouted, "FIRE!"

And thus began the Christmas season of 2014. 

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

{tuesday night mode}

I was in Tuesday Night Mode.

I was on the couch under a huge blanket with a bowl of chocolate chips and just the glow from the lamp and the laptop. Barclay was out, Sullivan was asleep. I was searching for something to listen to while I read. 

And that was when I fell down the rabbit hole that is the comments section of a YouTube video. 

Don't roll your eyes at me. I do know better than to read the comments section of a YouTube video. Usually. 

What can I say? I was in Tuesday Night Mode. 

So the video - don't judge me - was for the song Clean by Taylor Swift. A shocked murmur ripples through the crowd, I know. You're like, "Suzy, you hate Taylor Swift. Remember how you hate Taylor Swift? Remember that time you said, 'I hate Taylor Swift'?" Yeah. But I love Imogen Heap. And they did this song together and so I had to listen to it. My distaste for T Swift doesn't outweigh my love for I Heap. I feel like that's legitimate. 

(Side note: I actually really liked the song, which felt really surprising to me. And I liked some of the rest of the CD too. And then I listened to it a few more times and now I could go without ever hearing any of it again. I get it, but I don't get it. Anyway.)

I don't even remember why I read the first comment underneath the YouTube video. Like I said, I know that's a bad idea. There is something about the YouTube comment section that incites all kinds of rage and opining and horrible humanness that's just pointless to involve yourself in, but there I was. It was marvellous. And because I have nothing better to do, I'm going to tell you alllllllll about it.

The first few comments were left by some very confused Swifties. And fair enough, because if I recall correctly, her lyrics are usually like, "This famous guy dumped me, and I'm sad about it." But this song was all, "The butterflies turned to dust that covered my room and I punched a hole in the roof and there was a flood and I drowned and I'm clean now." If you're used to literal storytelling and then someone switches to metaphors without warning you, it can get weird. Example: I went to the grocery store to get bread. And the bread was butterflies and I punched a hole in the roof of the grocery store. Weird, yeah?

So I'm not judging anyone.

Yeah. That would.

Luckily, some smart people who like metaphors were hanging around.

I love that Batman was able to weigh in on this. In my head, I read it in that whispery Batman voice of his. He's very deep. I don't know if you noticed, but he went through something similar to Taylor Swift, but that's a long story, but if you wanted to know, you probably could just ask. People who allude to their past and then say, "But that's a long story," usually seem to not mind if you ask, I've noticed.

Which brings me to the next little crew of Swifties to pop up in the comment thread: the ones who GET IT. The ones who've LIVED IT. The ones who are typing their YouTube comments with one hand because the other hand is a clenched fist because they GET IT SO MUCH.

Think of this guys. Atlast. Some of us can understand this because we've *clenches fist* TOTALLY BEEN THERE. It's like an exclusive club. Like, don't even bother buying this CD if you haven't been there, because you won't understand it. You should stick with Carly Rae Jepson.

Christine gets it.

At this point, the comments section was feeling pretty sad. The confused people were still confused and will always be confused until something bad happens to them and the sad people were getting sadder thinking about how sad they were. So some random guy decided to hop in and made a joke. Because that is what the internet is for for some people. I think they just click around trying to find a place to type a joke.

Dear iLLSHa Cephied, we are having a hard enough time as it is with the butterflies and the hole in the roof. We cannot handle a rogue Ebola reference.

Meanwhile, further down the thread, a few of the more philosophical Swifties were still hashing out all of these dang metaphors.

Cynthia Feng. Thank you. That actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it.

Anyway. Someone else in the comments section remarked how similar this song sounds to The 1975's song Robber. (And, actually, it kind of is.) So I'm just going to wander over to Grooveshark and have a wee 1975 listening party. I'll probably fall asleep doing that.

Because I'm in Tuesday Night Mode.