Search This Blog

Monday, April 30, 2012

Put Your Records On

"Girl put your records on/ Sing me your favorite song." - "Put Your Records On" by Corinne Bailey Rae

As you may have noticed, I have been absent from my blog for a couple of weeks. I have had a lot going on and not only haven't blogged, but haven't done any writing either. I must get back on track now! So tomorrow there will be a fun Tuesday's Top Ten, and today I will write about something I absolutely love - records.

I have an iPod and an iPad which are great, but I am not from the mp3 generation. I am from the generation of records and cassette tapes, even an occassional 8 track thrown in when I was little. Part of that is because I grew up in the 80s, and part of it is because I have always been a fan of anything retro. Even though CDs started to come out when I was a toddler, I have always loved vinyl more. There is a richness to the sound of a record spinning on a stereo that cannot be achieved with tapes, CDs, or mp3s. Yeah, the sound might be crisper or louder or clearer with modern technology, but I think some of the honesty and depth is lost compared to the sound of music on vinyl.

Once I started to really collect vinyl, my mom gave me all of her old records (yea me!) and I bought some at yard sales when I was lucky enough to find them. Now I shop online and at my local independent record store that I recently discovered, just in time for Record Store Day which was great for me but not for my bank account! What is especially exciting, is that there are bands and artists out there who are still putting their albums out on vinyl, like The Gaslight Anthem, The Horrible Crowes, Bruce Springsteen, and many more. So my collection continues to grow. And when I buy records, I play them. Even limited editions that some people won't open, let alone listen to. But I figure that if I'm spending my very hard earned money on something, I am going to enjoy it. So when my turntable started malfuncitoning recently, I knew I had to buy another one. And because I love it so much, I will share a couple of pictures of the record player with you, featuring some of my favorite records and a few that are new to my collection.

What do you think? I love the vintage look and the sound is unbelievable. When I lowered the needle for the first time, all was right with the world as the first notes floated out through the speakers. Sometimes I think rock and roll really can save the world. Maybe the hippies were right about that. Peace, love, and rock and roll everybody!

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Age of Aquarius

"When the moon is in the seventh house/ And Jupiter aligns with Mars/ Then peace will guide the planets/ And love will steer the stars." - "Aquarius" by The Fifth Dimension

For my 200th post, I thought I would share a funny conversation I heard in the car on Tuesday when I was driving the kids home from school. Just for a little background information, the seven-year-old tends to get very fixated (a nicer way of saying utterly and completely obsessed) on things, and she has always been fascinated with astronomy - planets, the moon, stars, etc. She was doing some research at school that day and somehow discovered zodiac signs. I don't buy into astrology at all and neither do her parents, so I didn't really know what to say about this topic. So I decided to just sit back and let the kids direct this conversation just to see where it would go. It went to a very different place than I could have ever imagined...

Seven-Year-Old: Guess what? I researched zodiac signs today and I discovered that I am a Scorpio, which means scorpian. Did you know that you are a Libra and the symbol for that sign is scales?

Shannon: Yes, I did know that.

Seven: Too bad you weren't born a couple of weeks later. Then we would have the same sign and it would be totally awesome.

Shannon: That would be really fun if we had the same birthday. What made you think to look up zodiac signs at school?

*My question is ignored completely*

Five-Year-Old: Do September birthdays have a special name too? What am I?

Seven: You are a Virgo.

Five: *Scrunches face up and stares at her sister suspiciously* Virgo? What is that supposed to mean?

Seven: It means virgin.

Five: What does virgin mean?

*Shannon keeps her mouth shut and prays that she won't have to figure out an answer for this one.*

Seven: It means that you are like Mary, Jesus's mommy.

Five: But I don't want to have a baby in a barn by stinky cow poop!

Seven: Well, Jesus was born a long time ago when there weren't many hotels, but now there are tons so you can have your babies in a hotel.

Five: But what if I don't want to have babies in a hotel?

Seven: You have to. You're a virgin.

Yes, boys and girls, that is just a sampling of what I hear every day working as a nanny. After that last statement, I quickly steered the conversation toward a song on the radio (No, it wasn't "Like a Virgin") and no mention of the zodiac or virgins was heard again during the 20 minute car ride home - thank God! I just don't get paid enough to teach the kids about the birds and the bees.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Teach Them Well

"I believe the children are our future/ Teach them well and let them lead the way." - "The Greatest Love of All" by Whitney Houston

One of the most important traits I have tried to instill in the girls I nanny for is empathy. This has never been a problem for the five year old, but the seven year old is still a little too egocentric for her own good, and I finally made a breakthrough with her a couple of days ago. She was complaining that she was bored, and after hearing her whine for the tenth time or so, I decided that a little life lesson was in order. So I sat down with her and told her exactly what bored is, and it went a little something like this:

"Bored is not having anyone to play with - ever. Bored is not having an adult in your life that devotes their own life to teaching, entertaining, and taking care of you because they love you so much. Bored is not being allowed to go to school. Bored is not being able to play outside and run around with the freedom that children should have. Bored is basically being left to entertain yourself, look after yourself, and survive all on your own. You are not bored. You have everything you could possibly want. You are very loved and you are very lucky."

After my lecture, this normally talkative child stared up at me and was speechless for a moment. Then she started asking questions, but not in her normal smarty-pants kind of way. These questions were thoughtful, careful, and heartfelt. She asked why a child would not be allowed to go school, or play outside, or run around and have fun. She asked why a child wouldn't have a grown up to pay so much attention to them, like how she has both of her parents and me - three people who love her to pieces and will do anything to make sure she has the best life possible. She asked why a child would be alone so much and why a parent would treat them like that. Honestly, I didn't have answers for all of her questions, but I have known children like this, and I think it was time for this extremely privledged child to have a reality check. We talked about the children I have known that lived this kind of life, and she felt so bad for them. She tried to think of solutions to make sure this never happens to another child, the kind of innocent ideas that come from the mind of a child who thinks that telling a caring adult can solve all the problems of the world. Because this is the world she comes from. And now she knows how lucky she is. And you know what? She hasn't said that she is bored since we had that conversation.

Those of us who raise children - the parents, the grandparents, the aunts and uncles, the nannies, the teachers - we don't always know what to do or what to say, but I think I got this one right. To see a child who normally thinks of herself way before she thinks of others, who thinks the worst thing that could ever happen would be if someone called her a name, who's only real worry in life is deciding what to eat for snack or which toy to play with next, suddenly evolve into a person who is so overwhelmed with empathy it brings tears to her eyes, was a very special moment. And we're both better people for having experienced it.