Vinylpalooza

vinylpalooza

I really know better than to go to something like this, but I behaved. There’s a first time for everything!

A year ago, or really less than a year ago, I was given an album. That’s right, an original in the plastic, National Velvet from 1986. It was given to me by their original drummer. Quite a nice gift, except for one problem. It was 2014 and I hadn’t owned a record player in better than a decade.

national-velvet

Hello shop.ca! I ordered a relatively inexpensive one (to see if I liked this), which was delivered right to my door. I may, or may not have, slipped up the stairs like a teenager with a bag of weed, slinking into my room, albeit with a huge box.

So I had one album to listen to. Depressing. Not long after, the bestie and I drove to visit my daughter who was away at school. My daughter’s little apartment just happened to be located directly above a music store. Trouble.

It’s an old city, with lots of creative types (I went to school there too). Up and down the block we walked, stopping in all the old music shops. Used records, everywhere. I had to stop at the bank in between to reload the wallet.

In one shop I picked up Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, AC/DC, Elvis and a couple other National Velvet albums (amongst others). I was standing in line waiting to cash out, giggling. I was just tickled (not literally, just really happy about what I found). The scary looking dude behind me said it was a pretty cool assortment.

We had gone through the 50 cent bin, where I found this little treasure.

hendrix

There’s nothing quite like putting this on, closing the windows and turning out the lights. You can imagine what it was like to be there in the audience. Recorded live, New Year’s Eve 1969/70. How awesome is that?!

I’ve made nice with the owner of the local record store, BJ’s Records. Never a scratch on the things he sells, he’s very particular. One of the guys who works there educated me on how to clean the albums I buy, and how to be picky about what I spend my money on.

The collection is growing. A very dear old friend gave me a box of her mother’s old albums. I may now actually own every Elvis record he put out, all in mint condition. I’ll think of Rita every time I listen to them.

I pretty much cleaned out this one vendor who was in town for Kempenfest. He said no one really wants records, and he was happy that I had such an eclectic taste in music. I still have to pay his store a visit.

Sure there are drawbacks to listening to records. You have to actually get up to listen to the second side, and you can’t listen to just one song (or the entire thing) on loop when you’re depressed. Even so, I’m not the only one with this “new” passion. The trend is catching on. A friend on Facebook posted this article, and it seemed very timely –> Vinyl Sales Do Better.

Now I just need someone to give me a whole bunch of milk crates to store them all in…

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Write drunk, edit sober…

Let’s be clear, I have NOT been writing drunk, though it may not be a bad idea. It is practically the weekend after all.

If I do drink while writing, it’ll be this. A friend shared this on Facebook, and I’ve since seen it half a dozen more places. This one I tried came from cupcakeproject.com. I don’t know what it has to do with cupcakes, but whatever. Maybe it’s best to bake drunk too.

Homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream

  • 1 cup light cream (I used table cream, which made it a bit richer)
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 2/3 cup Irish whiskey (I’m Canadian, so I used Alberta Premium, but Jameson’s would do too)
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 2 tbsp chocolate syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla

All you do it toss or pour these items together into a blender and set on high for 30 secs, pour it into an airtight container, and stash it in the fridge. Don’t forget to give it a shake before reopening (hence the airtight container).

It’ll keep for up to 2 months (watch the date on the cream), but it won’t last that long because you’ll drink it.

This ought to last the weekend…

write-drunk

“Don’t f*ck it up”…

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This is one of those weird things I do. Okay, not weird. I think it’s cool, and kinda fun. I guess it still surprises me how many people don’t know I do this.

It started 11 years ago. The Hockey Hall of Fame was looking for someone to do calligraphy of the inductee names. The lady they asked first basically chickened out. Really it’s kind of a fluke they even asked me. The guy I was dating worked there, and asked me if it was something I knew how to do. Oddly, yes. I sent a draft to show them some options. The rest, as they say, is history.

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The first year, 2004

I can still remember one of the guys who worked there saying, “Don’t f*ck it up.” He swears he didn’t use those exact words, but that’s what stuck in my head. It’s a heck of a thing to have going through your head when you put ink down on really thick, textured paper, that isn’t perforated and can’t be torn out. The book is huge.  It’s hard leatherbound, 18″ x 13″. “Don’t f*ck it up.” Pfft.

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2005

So what do I do the second year? I manage to screw up the spacing between the second and third names. Come on! I had one job, right? It’s been years now, so I think it’s safe to let the HHOF know. That thing they liked? Yeah, it was a mistake. They happened to like it, because the “Builder” category was spaced a little further away from the players. It works.

I’ve had the profound pleasure of putting in some huge names in hockey. No, not Gretzky, that was before my time. But Mark Messier, Doug Gilmour, Glenn Anderson, Pat Burns, Brett Hull, Chris Chelios, Scott Niedermeyer and the women Angela James, Cammi Granato, and Geraldine Heaney.

I inked Joe Nieuwendyk’s name in 2011, but refuse to show you how badly I botched that one. “Don’t f*ck it up”. I didn’t notice, Joe didn’t notice, the people visiting the HHOF and seeing the book in its glass case didn’t notice, the staff didn’t notice…until two weeks later I was called in to “fix” it. I’ll never forget how to spell … N i e u w e n d y k …now.

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Grand reopening, 2012

Then I was asked to do the page for the Grand Opening of the Great Hall just a few months after. I’ve never been happier to turn a page in my entire life! There’s something about being the person to write Johnny Bower’s name in a book and knowing he’s going to sign right there, still gives me goosebumps.

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2014

Every year people gather, nay cram themselves, into the game area downstairs at the Hall to watch people sign. It’s a lot of attention for my little autograph book.

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2015

“Don’t f*ck it up” was going through my head again today. After much cursing, calling for help and a knife, this year’s page is ready for the inductees’ signatures. Whew!

I was wrong…

I was wrong.

There, I said it, and it will likely never happen again. I always thought that I inherited my strength from my mother and grandmother. Turns out, it wasn’t just them.

I’ve been a single Mom of two “kids” (kids, as they are 20 and 17 now) since my son was 8 months old. My mother raised two on her own. My grandmother raised three on her own after WWII. You see the pattern and why I have had the belief I did. They were role models. If they can do it, so can I. Certainly, my situation was never in my wildest nightmares as bad as my grandmother raising three little ones post-war. It’s just unfathomable.

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Oma Annemarie, 1990

My Oma Annemarie (Mom’s mother). My fondest memories of her always seem to involve cake, knitting, or a bit of adventure. Maybe that’s just what grandmothers are supposed to do; stuff your face with sweets, make things for you, or go fun places with you. She made that feel special. Of course, there was the time she told me no way would I be able to finish even a single piece of cake at this bakery in Schneverdingen (Germany), and promptly ordered two pieces for herself. Yes, she finished them, and they were huge.

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Oma and children, maybe 1945

My grandfather passed away a few days after his 37th birthday, in 1948. He had pretty much just made it back home (he was a PoW in the U.S.) when he got sick.  A year later he was gone, and my grandmother was left with three children on her own. My aunt was 9, my uncle 7, and my mother just 6 years old. My Mom’s parents had an unbelievable love for each other. Oma never remarried.

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Mom 1971

My Mom. She was the most kind-hearted, loving and cheeky person I know. Honestly, I’m not quite sure how she ever survived our teenage years. Okay, my teenage years. I wasn’t horrible to her, just played a lot of pranks. Whenever I think I shouldn’t bother trying something new, I think of her learning to downhill ski in her 50’s. Mom was daring.

She was everyone’s rock. Mine, my brother’s, my friends’, and later my stepdad’s. Our house always seemed to have an open door and all were welcome.

I like it when my brother tells me I’m just like her, though I sometimes wonder how I’ll live up to her memory.

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Me, with Anne (and her husband) August 2015

My aunt Anne (Mom’s sister). She is one of the most thoughtful and caring people I know. She isn’t daring like my mother, but you’ll never meet a more genuinely nice person. Everyone has their own burdens to bear, and for my aunt, it’s her health. Put one foot out of bed after the other in the morning, continue to breathe, muster through and don’t let any of it get you down.

And above all else, don’t let anything change the way you treat other people, with dignity and respect.

Last month I went to visit family in Germany, that I haven’t seen in 25 years. The trip was too short, but oh I learned so much! I heard some stories about the other side of my family, some things I knew, and others that were eye-opening.

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Me, with Anke, 1990

My aunt Anke (Dad’s twin sister). I don’t think anyone else I know has been plagued with her maladies.  Another aunt who continued to march on, despite the mental torment she was experiencing. She always had a ready smile, incredible imagination, shared my love of reading, and let’s be honest here, creating all sorts of mischief. I think she may be the reason I have always had a black cat.

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Me, with Doerte, August 2015

My aunt Doerte (Dad’s sister). My aunt is a feisty, sarcastic being, just like myself. She’s awesome. I wish more than anything that we could get the last 25 years back. Alone with her husband, she carried the burden of caring for her sister. I love my brother dearly, but I know I’m selfish and couldn’t possible do what she did. I know my limits.

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Oma Rosalie 1971

My Oma Rosalie (Dad’s mother). This is where things get interesting, the things you learn when you spend time actually listening.

It’s always hush-hush, but in every family there are those nasty little secrets that eventually do come out. My grandfather is “rumoured” to have had an affair for years with a woman he knew through an association he was a member of. He traveled a lot, and left my grandmother alone with very little money and four children. I wish I had known this grandmother as well as I knew the other one.

The few times I spent with her (which wasn’t often given that we were on opposite sides of the ocean) she was always very quiet. Maybe because my brother and I were slightly exuberant children. As an adult, I now find respect for the Oma I didn’t really know. There was enormous strength in her quiet and infinite tolerance.

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Oma with grandchildren, 1960

My great grandmother Anna (Dad’s grandmother). I have another picture of my great grandmother, though it isn’t as flattering. It was the one photo I had until last month’s visit. Because of that, I always thought she was an angry old lady. The photos I have seen since, she has the most striking smile, always surrounded by family, her children or her grandchildren (pictured above, my uncle, his wife, and Doerte and Anke). During this visit my aunt gave me some old family documents, including my great grandfather’s death certificate, dated 1914. They had six living children, of which my grandfather was the baby.

I told my aunt that I always had the misconception that I only got my inner strength from my mother, and her mother. Looking at the women in my family and discovered I have strong female roots on both sides. My heart swells with pride that THIS is where I come from. They are my family.

Wonder if stubborn determination, mischief making, and sarcasm are genetic? It would certainly explain a lot….

In the beginning…

Kaleidoscope: “a continually shifting pattern of shapes, colours, scenes, or the like”

Road: “a long, narrow stretch or surface, made for traveling between two or more points”

In the beginning there was just an idea.

“You should write a blog.” Friends and co-workers have been telling me this forever.

I admire the people I know who have one subject for their blog, be it cooking, travel, crafts, or their family. Maybe I have too many interests. I like all of those things!

What do I really want to write about? In a word, everything. I asked my friends what they’d like to read. Believe it or not, they want to see things in my life that interest me, my life, my travels and the people I meet along the way. A kaleidoscope.

I tend to view things in poetic fashion (sometimes), so pardon this next bit. Life is a journey. It’s a road we travel, with friends and family (or even those we can’t stand to really be around).

So, my formerly private writing life will now be a public blog, Kaleidoscope Road.

It may be chaotic at times, it may make you laugh, it may make you cry, or maybe I’ll just take you for a walk in the park. Wherever my feet or my thoughts take me, feel free to come along.

Don’t worry, *ahem*… I’ll change the names of the not-so-innocent…