Auld Lang Syne…


Everyone knows the song “Auld Lang Syne” by Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796). We all sing this song on New Year’s Eve when the clock strikes twelve, the ball drops or the fireworks go off. But what the heck does it mean?

The first verse and chorus are understandable, but if you have a look at more verses, you know the song isn’t English. No wonder people don’t understand the phrase “auld lang syne”.  Translated, from the original Scots it was written in, it means “old long since,.” To us English folks, it has more the meaning “like old times.”

Just like everyone else I was singing this too, but why do we sing Auld Lang Syne on New Year’s?

According to “One reason a random Scottish folk song has come to be synonymous with the new year is that New Year’s celebrations (known as Hogmanay) loom unusually large in Scottish folk culture — so much so that Scotland’s official website has a whole Hogmanay section, which notes that, ‘Historically, Christmas was not observed as a festival and Hogmanay was the more traditional celebration in Scotland.’

That’s because the Scottish Reformation brought to power followers of a Calvinist branch of Protestant Christianity known as Presbyterians who didn’t really care for Christmas. Indeed, in 1640 the Scottish parliament went so far as to abolish Christmas vacation ‘and all observation thairof,’ citing its roots in ‘superstitious observatione.’ When theologically similar Puritans briefly ruled England as a result of the English Civil War, they also attempted to suppress all Christmas celebration. But Presbyterianism put down deeper roots in Scotland, leading Hogmanay to displace Christmas as the number one midwinter celebration.

The end of one year and the beginning of the next seems like as good a thing to celebrate as anything else, so Scottish-inflected New Year’s celebrations — including the sentimental and appealingly nonspecific ‘Auld Lang Syne’ — came naturally to the English-speaking world.”

So the Scots like a good party, but why do the rest of us sing it too?

“From 1929 until 1976, first on radio and then on television, Americans tuned in to the New Year’s Eve broadcast by Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians, a big band act led by Lombardo, a Canadian whose parents immigrated from Italy. By the mid-70s, Lombardo’s broadcasts began to face serious competition from Dick Clark’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” which was positioned to attract younger viewers and emphasized the rock element to contrast with the Royal Canadians’ big band tunes. But for decades, Lombardo owned December 31 — even earning the nickname “Mr. New Year’s Eve” — and every single year he played “Auld Lang Syne” to ring in the new year.” (also from Vox)

Music and culture around the world are influenced by American movies and television, so the whole world saw people singing “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s. “An 18th-century Scottish ballad thus became a mid-century American television ritual, and from there became a worldwide phenomenon — even though almost nobody understands the song.”

Sing it with me, and remember to sing the chorus after every verse. Here it is in its entirety:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne*?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!
and surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin’ auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin’ auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willie waught,
for auld lang syne.


I love Paper Planes…

I seem to know some really talented people. Friends I’ve made at school, at work, and believe it or not, on the train. I like to support my local musical friends, going to gigs when I can, clapping, and whooping my head off.

Then there’s one I can’t do that for. I can show my support by spreading the word. I’m so sneaky, she doesn’t even know I’m doing this.

My best friend has musicians in her family, particularly one beyond talented cousin from Liverpool. Shannen Bamford. This is “Left Behind” on YouTube: I caught myself humming this the other day, and thought this would be a nice post.


Shannen has more talent in her pinky finger than most people in their entire bodies after years of playing music (my other friends excluded, because they’re damn talented too).

Two years ago she put out an EP, which became my relax and unwind jam. She has this hauntingly beautiful voice. Let me make it easy for you, you can download it here:

The CD release happened while my bestie was visiting the UK. Shannen wrote a sweet personal note to go with the copy my friend brought back for me. Did I mention she was 20 that summer?

She’s played at music festivals and around the local establishments in Liverpool. She gets written about all the time, last time in November:

I’d like to see her play to adoring fans in Toronto. I even have guitars she can borrow so she doesn’t need to trust hers to the airlines. Heck, I’d like to sing and strum along with her. Maybe tweet Shannen and ask her to come play here.

I’m just tickled that she made the trek to Canada for a visit with family over the holidays. How many times do you get to say, “yeah, I listen to her all the time, and I had lunch with her!”

(not the best pic of me, but isn’t she a sweetie?)



I could be a gunslinger…

It’s no secret that for years John Cusack was at the top of my wish list. Dark, mysterious and broody John Cusack.

I actually talked to him on the phone once. My then boyfriend had told him that if he (John) said the word, I would leave him (the boyfriend) in a heartbeat. He likely doesn’t remember asking, but he invited me to Detroit that very weekend. I told him if he was ever in Toronto, and needed an “unidentified woman” to walk a red carpet on his arm, I was the one for him.

Then, as luck would have it, at the 2013 HHOF Induction, I did share the red carpet with him. I was standing at the edge with all of the other photographers and media, eyeballing the man of my dreams. Not sure quite what happened, but that wish dissipated like a fart in the wind.

john cusack boston arts diary

He was wearing a tuxedo, of course, but it was just after he did the movie “The Paper Boy”, so he was looking a bit haggard. I still think he’s wonderful, I can’t help myself. But I no longer hope to walk the red carpet by his side.

Fast forward to today. I’ve been binge watching Netflix. I’m a bit late to this show I’ve been hooked on, since the final season is done. Ever watched “Hell on Wheels” ladies?

The show is set during the building of the railroad after the civil war, between Cheyenne, Wisconsin and Omaha, Nebraska. I’d have fit right in. I love history. I love horses. I love my cowboy boots. I can ride. I can shoot. I ain’t afraid of snakes or rats. Sleeping in a tent in the mud doesn’t bother me either.

The best part though is a character who has his own moral compass, Cullen Bohannon, played by Anson Adams Mount IV. Ask anyone, I’m a sucker for a southern accent.


Sorry John, but you’ve been replaced on the red carpet wish list. If this gun totin’ hombre needs someone, here I am.

Santa, if y’all could fix it to put Anson Mount under my tree for Christmas, I’d be much obliged. No wrapping necessary, just a big red bow would do. Please and thank you!

Where are you Christmas…?

Is it just me?

I’ve been having such a hard time finding my Christmas spirit this year. Maybe it’s work stress, or the pushy people shopping, or that this was always Mom’s holiday and she isn’t here again. I don’t know. I’ve been looking for it everywhere.

We decided not to put up the Christmas tree until the 23rd. Okay, not because we lack the holiday vibe, but because Stitch (otherwise known as “the damn cat”) will only try climbing it and knocking all the ornaments off it…again.


This isn’t him, but you get the idea.

We’ve never put lights on the outside of the house either. They’d look really pretty, especially with a light dusting of snow, but then I think of the hydro bill and shudder. So instead, I rely on the neighbours down the street. They have holiday spirit, and decorations, to spare. You can’t hear it, but the house on the left has music.


I will say this. I almost finished my shopping and the stocking stuffers last week. One last thing to pick up for my son and I’ll be done. I had enough energy afterwards to wrap for 3.5 hours. Mission accomplished. Stocking stuffers did however need somewhere to go. My daughter’s boyfriend didn’t have a stocking at our house last year. We don’t want him to feel left out. He’s been around for a couple years, so he’s become part of the family.


We don’t have a fireplace, so I put four nails in the hallway outside the kitchen. Yes, that is spackling hiding behind them. I’m getting ready to paint, don’t judge.

Why do people hang the stockings on the mantle anyway? Granted, Santa comes down the chimney so it’s convenient to have them right there, but if you light the fireplace, all the tasty chocolate inside would melt. I like my solution better.

I found something that finally made me smile about the entire holiday ordeal.

It’s a bit of childhood nostalgia, but the Abominable, “Bumble”, was always my favourite. I miss the days of settling on the couch with my mom to watch the old Christmas specials. The old stop animation with Burl Ives as snowman narrator. Maybe the holiday spirit can be found again on the island of misfit toys. We all want someone to love, and somewhere to belong.

There were two packages at the office when I got there today. My aunt had emailed that there were two on their way, with a reminder not to open them until Christmas. It was tempting, let me tell you. The one for my kids I wouldn’t dream of opening. I can’t wait for them to see they have mail from Germany for Christmas. Growing up that was the best part. Mail from grandparents, and aunts and uncles, that we knew would have chocolate of some sort in it. There’s something about the wrapping paper too. It’s thinner, and even feels different. Special. Doesn’t even matter what the package contains. It’s the fact that somewhere out there, someone thinks and cares about you.

Maybe I found my Christmas spirit after all. It was in a reminder of when I was little, and that it was always family that made the holidays special.

I’ll be with my kids, my daughter’s boyfriend, my brother and Dad on Christmas Eve. We have loved ones both near and far, and that’s what matters.

…and then knit happens…

Pardon me dear readers, it has been three weeks since my last post….or something like that. I have a good reason, as I’ve been quite ill. Back on track though!

After a couple of weeks of suffering I managed to get my fanny out of the house to go to the Port Perry Christmas Craft Show, to visit my daughter who was exhibiting.

Craft shows always end up only giving me more DIY ideas, and this one was no exception. I really think I need a Christmas ornament made of a cross section of birch tree that says, “everyone thinks I’m nice until they watch hockey with me.”

I digress. I was there to see my daughter. It was her first craft show ever, so all things considered it went really well.


Cowls (infinity scarves like the one she’s wearing), dishcloths and cup coozies were on display. She shared a table with her boyfriend’s aunt Karen, who makes these adorable little wood ornaments.

Since there’s still time to get orders in and made before Christmas, I’m sharing the Facebook page (KnitHappens95) and email ( again. You know you want a pair of these…


I am thankful for…

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

I truly wish that this holiday was as relaxing and perfect in reality as it is in my head when I am planning it. I wish that my turkey, potatos, stuffing and gravy turned out as well as it looks in the header picture. I wish that we had that Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, where everyone sitting around the table shares in one sentence what they are most thankful for this year.


Then there’s the reality. More like a National Lampoon’s Thanksgiving, with lots of “that’s what she said” jokes, discussions of bodily functions, and playing with food. Anyone ever notice that a dinner roll looks like a little bum? Maybe that’s what happens when there aren’t enough adult referees.

Oddly, I didn’t feel like I was slaving away with very little reward this year. Maybe because it wasn’t really about the food, it was just appreciating time with the hooligans. Families don’t sit down at the table together any more. Everyone is in too much of a hurry, eating on the run, working, or eating in front of the TV or laptop.

The turkey really did turn out like the picture, the gravy was perfect. We used my mother’s good dishes, and I didn’t stress about not having matching bowls for everything. I only burnt my arm once.

So we didn’t go around the table and share what we’re most thankful for this year. We have our health, home, food on the table, and each other. Even Tucker enjoyed a plate. We’re thankful for him too.


Maybe there should be Thanksgiving Awards. The winner shall be embarrassed by having their behaviour posted online for all to see. This year’s winner at our dinner table was my daughter, with the twerking dinner roll.

Can’t be any worse at your house, right?