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WHEN IT HITS YOU, YOU FEEL NO PAIN*
Martin and I discovered today that the snow isn't really white. It's blue and violet and grey and silver and white. Where the lowering sun paused behind the trees and shone, the shadows melted along the sloping sides of every drift. It only sparkled on the sunny side, but we agreed both sides were beautiful. We've got a good half hour walk mapped out now, and we march along, arms swinging free, talking about whatever subject strikes our (mostly his) fancy.

One of his Christmas presents was a little suitcase full of illustrated boardbooks about the different countries of the world and he has been working his way through them, drawing pictures to match and asking all kinds of questions about the different countries and where they are and whether we've been to them and what kind of animals are there. We've googled the Taj Mahal and talked about the differences between the Arctic and the Antarctic, and how cold it is in Siberia and why the churches in Russia have towers shaped like onions. He does the cutest thing when he's relating a story or information for me...he makes a comment or a statement and then he makes a little mmhmm noise of punctuation, which seems to mark when he's completed a thought and I can reasonably be expected to acknowledge that I'm keeping up mentally. I make a little mmm noise back at him and then he continues in his narrative. It's not interrogative, it's more a sort of elided, pronounced period. It makes me smile every time he does it, and I'm pretty sure he's not aware he's doing it. I wonder who he's unconsciously copying...could it be his teacher that he gets these vocal story markers from?

The ever industrious, amazing Blogcabin Meg posted a link today to Pandora, a streaming music site, that had me glued to the computer listening to new tunes for several hours. It allows you to enter information on what artists and bands you like and then it makes suggestions for NEW music based on your preferences, which you can then adjust to accept or refuse. Having slid slowly into a cultural quagmire where music is concerned over the past 9 years, since radio here in Sweden is a vast Europop wasteland, I was delighted. Until it recommended I Will by the Bee Gees and when I asked it Why did you play this song? it answered,

"Based on what you've told us so far, we're playing this track because it features a subtle use of vocal harmony, a vocal-centric aesthetic, electric pianos, prominent use of synth and many other similarities identified in the music genome project."

At which point I had to throw up my hands and admit they were right, I DID like it. Once a child of the 70s, ALWAYS a child of the 70s, apparently. However, I was prepared to draw the line at the next recommendation which was Corey Hart. Corey Hart?? And then I realized I was mixing him up with Corey Haim of Lost Boys fame, but I was still heading down an increasingly embarrassing slope into pop music, AGAIN. So I said no to Phil Collins, and I said no to Dead or Alive and hopefully I'm pulling myself out of the synthdiscoflockofseagulls path I was skipping blithely down, now that I'm enthusiastically saying yes to the likes of Rosie Thomas, Natacha Atlas, Cherry Poppin Daddies and Jon Langford & His Sadies.

I find it so difficult to judge music based on other's reviews or recommendations; reading a review does nothing for me. I find nothing surpasses hearing it for myself first, and I'm often disappointed by music other people rave about. I keep hearing about different bands and artists that others are sure I would love, but until I have a chance to actually hear them for myself, I rarely make purchases. Even with my eclectic taste I have my standards. Weird standards, but mine, nonetheless. Pandora has already recommended a veritable plethora of music that I vaguely recognized some of the names of, but had never actually heard before, and now I'm itching to spend some money at the nearest music store and am busily adding CDs to my Amazon wishlist.

*One good thing about music, according to Bob Marley
 calm
mood: calm
music: Natacha Atlas—You Only Live Twice


Comments

Such great moments with Martin! May I ask what book this is; it sounds wonderful. If it is in English I just might have to send it to my nephews.

Thanks for the tip in how to escape the Europop wasteland. I need to familarize myself with some new music.

It's called "My World in a Suitcase" and it's published by Fernleigh Books for The Book People...I couldn't find it on their site after a cursory search, though. The ISBN is 1-85613-638-8, according to the back of the case.

Thanks so much.

i love the vocal habits that kids pick up... and that you noticed it! those books sound fantastic, quite a conversation starter :)

musical taste is so personal and so evolutionary... i'm glad you found some good tunes:)

I'm listening to Pandora too now, it's great fun!

and addictive! beware! :)

I'm afraid I'll have to call in sick tomorrow: "Sorry, can't leave my computer, have to wait for Pandora's next suggestion..." ;-)

Oooh, agreed... what a sweet addiction though! I am hooked too ;)

OH! I LOVE IT! I've never heard of pandora. Thanks!

You're welcome, but beware, it's VERY addictive and a total timesink :)

I can imagine Martin getting so much joy from that book series. I still recall how blown away I was about his artistic ability that time you stayed with us. They were not "little kids' drawings".

I'll have to give Pandora a whirl - but worry what kind of pandora's box of taste or lack of it will emerge.

Nowadays I'm finding that I'm struggling against the new medium of music, downloading, Ipod, etc. I have found Satelitte radio but mostly that reinforces my old habits of music. Especially the First Wave station that jets me back to college every time I listen to it. I had a vision the other day, that no one would buy CD's anymore and Virgin record store would go out of business and it made me a little sad.

(Anonymous)

Oh I love reading about you spending time with your kids. You are such a wonderful, WONDERFUL mother and inspire me so much. I love that you really pay attention to how your children talk--and to what they say. As a teacher I longed for more parents to do that. You really notice Martin--and this is an incredible gift to him. It is so exciting, too, that you are helping him follow a self-directed path of learning. He's so lucky to have you as a mother.

Also thanks for the Pandora link. There goes the rest of my evening.

No kidding! I spent hours on that site last night enjoying the music. However, it appears I can't access it from work: MAJOR BUMMER DUDE.

I am so going to check this out. I am too cheap to buy a CD based on maybe liking it. And I have no MP3 player or IPOD, because why spend all that money when I'm so out of the music loop. I really miss it, and maybe this will get me back in the groove!

I agree, I'm just the same, especially when CDs cost an arm and a leg like they do here in Sweden. I don't have an iPod either, although I do have a little MP3 player, but I never use it. I keep forgetting about it.

(Anonymous)

Oh dear, it's that apple falling near the tree again! I was just thinking earlier today that I should send you some singers recommended in a magazine- just for the same "out of the loop" reason! And, I already realized that my music is stuck in the 60's - I only seem to have those in the car now. But where do I find "New" folk music??? I'll have to check out the pandora site too!
And I love the stories that are developing from your walking times. Lucky Martin!
Love, Lizardmom

this is sweet and hilarious-- how do you do that?
also, i blame you for the earworm now making it's way through my head:
"i wear my sunglasses at night, blah blah blah" oy. THAT was a bit
painful. aha! it must not be music.

muahahaha!

Duno bout 'flock of seagulls', but will definately have to see what they recommend, being a metal-head and self proclaimed music-aficienado :)

Okay, I've had a chance to try out Pandora now. Lars-Göran is addicted, too and there have been only one or two whiskey-tango-foxtrot?? moments. It's funny as I entered Nick Cave and he entered Sarah Brightman, so there was a slight difference in music on our computers :)

I agree with you about music tastes, I think music is very personal and would never that assume others enjoy what I like.

your relationship with your children is so inspiring. i love reading about them. that book does sound great. will have to look into getting that for my poor nieces and nephew in the states who think that sweden is just another state. ha haha.
and thank you thank you thank you for the pandora link. i am seriously addicted, oh crap. i have been starving for new musical recomendations, as the swedish radio just makes me nauseous!

That walk you take with Martin is one of the things that makes you a really cool kid.

And that link to Pandora - holy cow! I'm LOVING that. You are the coolest of the cool kids for that.

LOL :) I feel so cool now!

Pandora rocks! Only they didn't recognize my favorite band so my starting point is only good and not fabulous. Then again, they are pretty unique so I'm sort of proud that they defied categorization.

(Anonymous)
I wear my sunglasses at night

Hey, I love Corey Hart. Well, I did in the '80s, anyway. mmhmm

-Lynn

http://sprigs.blogspot.com

Looks like Pandora is aptly named!
I love the time and conversations you have with Martin. Thanks for sharing them. It takes me back to my 'little boy.' And you know, we have our grown up versions of those same things...

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