Monday, December 3, 2007

More holidays to Apollo Bay, less work please

It’s getting real close now. Down to weeks. Your Mum has put a towel on the car seat just in case the levee breaks. "I work on the levee, mama both night and day, I work so hard, to keep the water away. It's a mean old levee, cause me to weep and moan, gonna leave my baby, and my happy home". My job is my levee too, I resent it enough now let alone when you arrive. I still want to be an at home Dad for you. Your Mum enjoys her job and gets all the holidays whereas I hate the job and get very few holidays. I would love to be around for you as you grow up. Its not always possible however, we shall just have to see. I hope we have given you enough of our time that you don’t feel short changed.

This weekend was another backbreaking chain gang of chores entirely of my own choosing. I have been painting so much that on Friday when I took Nan to the MSO concert I was barely able to applaud. My arms shaking violently as I strained to raise them and provide yet another encore opportunity for the conductor. You’re Mum and I have been to five concerts this year for the MSO. This last one we decided I should take my Gran for a night out. It was at the Town Hall instead of the usual showier venue. Nan told me that the last time she was in the town hall was for the Bing Crosby appreciation society club dance when she was 17 (that would make it around 1946). She talked about all the places she used to go on nights out and for lunches. She went on a date with an English sailor once and was escorted back to the station where he shook her hand and said "Thankyou I had a lovely time, good evening Miss Howie". I told this to your Mum and she just rolled her eyes and went "gypped". She has a dirty mind sometimes. My Nan also volunteered in a canteen in Collins St where she made sandwiches and coffee for the servicemen. She met my Grandad from memory working in Myer together. I will be getting all these stories and adding them to the diary later. I told her I want to video them telling all kinds of stories about their life for you. The great thing about digital format is that we can just shoot for hours and store it on a hard drive. The stories she tells me are so amazing, such a different life to what yours will be, although it is my intention to make sure you experience some of the same things they did. Volunteering at old age homes, tree planting days, things like that.

Grandpa tells me that when he was an underage house painter he used to have to carry all his equipment, including the ladder and paint tins in the train with his bike. Can you imagine that now? If you want evidence for how lazy we have become just look at the beginning of this paragraph. Poor little Dad has sore arms because he has done a little painting for Gods sakes. I milk it for all its worth once I get back upstairs, making wincing noises and rubbing my arms like I just wrestled with Zeus. So by the time you have arrived she has already got a good 15 years Mothering experience from looking after me.

I just read a Blog about a guy whose ear hair was mistaken for a stray bit of clothing fluff. I commented that I have so much fuzz on my ears that if I stand in front of a light it looks like I am growing angel’s wings out the side of my head. I also have either chest hair creeping up to my chin or a beard which is losing the fight against gravity and moving down to my chest. In the last year my eyebrows have established a few rogue hairs which have broken with convention and decided to create an upper canopy, which may provide shade for the shorter well behaved hairs but does nothing for my faces symmetry. By trimming the offending hairs to their regular size begins a vicious cycle that only exacerbates over time. For once you trim that hair the surrounding hairs think this is an opportunity to take over the position of head boy. All of a sudden you have a race for the sun on your hands, as your eyebrow begins to look more like a pair of hairy caterpillars on growth hormones. Give it a few years and I won’t need to wear a capped hat.

Your Mum is having weird baby dreams. She just told me about this one this morning. She went into labour and so I rushed her to the hospital. Then we are sitting in the waiting room and the nurse comes up to us and hands the baby over to her. She couldn’t remember having it though and asked me if she had to take any drugs. I told her no and she did really well. She then uncovered the baby who was all wrapped up including her head. She was beautiful, but then the more she looked the more she started noticing dog features, the eyes got bigger and the face started sprouting hair and the ears got pointy. By the end she said you looked exactly like a Chihuahua.

Christmas is soon upon us as well, a fact that I am sure you are tired of hearing because it will fall so close to your birthday. I was talking to my Nan about how the Christmas spirit of community and group celebration is virtually gone from the workplace because they don’t wish to spend the money on their staff any more. I said that this is part of a bigger issue and one in which will effectively wipe out the concept of loyalty and pride in your work. People are now thinking if they can’t even be bothered giving us a decent Christmas party why should I put in any effort? Cost cutting does not save money for a company. It breeds apathy and resentment which then effects performance and the bottom line. I can remember going to our local social Club when I was a kid to see Santa. It was a venue where people can meet and have a drink, eat dinner, have a dance etc. They put on a great day for the family for all the Club members. Santa would even come in a helicopter (he would sit in my grandparents leather chair which I hope will come to us). It was damn the expense and let’s give them a great time to say thanks for being a member. This does not happen any more. The Club itself is now just another venue built around pokies machines. Well I will try my best to make sure you have a ball during Christmas. I will aim to get the street involved and have a big Christmas party in the park for everyone to come to. Am I an idealist or has it actually come true? I hope that I have risen the occasion and done everything I can to make you a well rounded person.

So anyway, back to Bach. The Friday concert was the best yet, Bach is my favourite music. It just speaks to me and I don’t have to struggle to understand it and I am never bored listening to it. What is different is that his music often doesn’t have any melodies that you immediately recognise or even remember once the piece is finished. It’s those intertwining lines of melody that don’t really go anywhere that appeal to me. It doesn’t really go anywhere, you don’t recall strong repeating themes repeating and then given variations in different keys and tempos. It doesn’t always resolve itself in obvious ways that someone like Mozart is so good at. Its music of the ether, Gods music. It is the kind of music you can listen to for years before it becomes too familiar. The perfect desert island disk would be Bach. We also listened to a new Clarinet Concerto by Ross Edwards which was wonderful and finally Beethoven's 5th which is also one of the most perfect pieces of music ever created. It was a wonderful concert and im glad I got to share it with my Grandma.

Im sitting here on the top floor looking out to the Dandenong ranges. The dark grey clouds are hovering low above our house and lighting strikes light up the sky. Rain has become more precious than oil.

Bought the Definitive Rolf Harris and 'The most relaxing Bach album in the world'.

Listening to music we can play during your birth, here are some I found today -

Shostakovich - Symphony No.9 in E Flat Major, Op. 70 - Moderato
Haydn - Symphony No.22 in E Flat Major, "The Philosopher" - Adagio
Hayden - Symphony No.26 in D Minor, "Lamentatione" - Adagio (Chorale)
Mahler - Symphony No.1 in D, "The Titan" - 3. Feierlich und gemessen, nicht schleppend
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No.14 "Moonlight" - Adagio sostenuto
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No.8, "Pathetique" - Adagio cantabile
Beethoven No.6, "Pastoral" - Allegro ma non troppo