Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Decembrist

I have songs for almost every month. Songs that I hear and take me back to a very specific time of the year. Songs that I play in my iPod when I'm walking outside and feel like going back.

I have January songs (e.g., "Jump" by Van Halen). March -- "Mr. Roboto" -- and April -- "While You See a Chance" by Steve Winwood. Not just '80s songs either: September harkens "Rush" by Big Audio Dynamite II and "One Week" by Barenaked Ladies. I have a hunch the recent "Safe and Sound" will be an October song for years to come.

But here's the odd thing: I don't have December songs. Any hits of Decembers past seem to meld into the memory of the winter afterward or the November before. In today's day and age, I could blame it on the nonstop bombardment of Christmas music on the radio, but in the '80s, when holiday songs weren't as prevalent, I know I was listening to Top 40 in December.

So I'm puzzled that I don't have songs for this month.And as I was trying to get away from Christmas music this month, I was a little befuddled where to turn to for some nostalgia. I'll hit the January and February songs after Jan. 1. But I didn't want to burn myself out on those playlists too soon. Hence, the confusion, and the realization I have no December songs.

This week, I'm back to listening to the Big 89 countdowns I've compiled into playlists. It fits. Later in the week, the Winter 1977-78 playlist on my new iPod (best Christmas present ever!) beckons.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December 25, Eve

This has been the craziest December of my life. That's saying something, considering Michael was born in a December and we traveled to Texas last December.

Life has been so busy. So has work. Then the weather turned cold and polluted for two weeks. Then I caught a bad cold, exacerbated by the inversion-fueled smog, that I still haven't shaken. And here we are: Dec. 24. We never got Christmas lights up outside. We got all the shopping done (thankfully, most of it was completed earlier in the month), but that kind of kept us from taking in the holiday vibe in the city (the smog and illness did, too). This morning, Lori woke up to discover a gutter hanging off the front of the house.

Yet, I'm still feeling festive enough. The Christmas Eve family Mass at church this afternoon was nice. All the presents are wrapped and ready to be opened, and I'm typing with a view of our Christmas tree all lit up and "A Christmas Story" on the TV. I had been listening to holiday music all month long and thoroughly enjoyed singing "Angels We Have Heard on High" at church today. The repairmen fixed the hanging gutter, Santa's milk and cookies have been consumed, and except for the fact all four of us are coughing, today turned out to be a good day.

And then the nostalgia creeps in ...

Ben is 7 this Christmas. When I was 7, it was our first Christmas on Rascher Avenue. I think I got the electronic game Simon as a present as well as Super Jock Football and Super Toe Soccer. We had Christmas Eve at our house and spent Christmas Day by my Grandma Elsie's house.

Michael is 10 this Christmas. When I was 10, I got the electronic version of Space Invaders and the board game Risk (I think I might have got my first Dungeons and Dragons set this year as well). On Dec. 26, I went by my friend Chris's house, which seemed to be the gathering place for a bunch of us to show off what we got for Christmas. A few of us got Space Invaders ...

I'm clearing off space on the camcorder to videotape tomorrow morning's proceedings. The presents might be loved and might be eventually forgotten. The holiday memories should last forever.