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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Winter--my 4th favorite season


Each year I dread the first day of winter-- I have never been a big fan of the cold. I attribute it to being born where the weather was pretty much sunny and 74 degrees. Just like in the move LA Story, Santa Monica’s weather is sunny and breezy, the winters very mild. I seriously don’t remember having a large winter coat—a lined windbreaker was able to ward off the cold.
When we moved to Las Vegas, we experienced hot and dry climate. We would replace our windshield wipers because they were so sun damaged that they would rot off! When winter came, it arrived with no warning. Around October, one day the weather was normal and the next day—WHAM! A cold snap hit the valley, dropping at least 20 degrees! A few Januarys ago, when I was a Junior at UNLV in January, classes literally stopped when it started to snow.  Granted, it only lasted a few hours and probably the technical term is a dusting, but it was the most amount of snow we had ever seen!
Now living in Idaho makes me realize that I wasn't really prepared for what was in store for winter. My first year in Boise when it snowed I just stared at it in complete shock. Driving in it was sometimes adventurous—a couple of times I made a wrong turn to either end up in an icy skid or snowy embankment (thankfully  a good Samaritan pushed my car out!)  When I would go outside in the stone cold with the single digit degrees,  I would hum the second part of the song from A Year without a Santa Claus, trying to summons warmth with mind over matter.
My hatred of winter began to thaw one wintry day. I parked my car on a side street and all of a sudden I noticed something. I could not hear the traffic, though the main street was only a block away. The snow had muffled the noise, creating a snowy sanctuary. I took a look around—the streets had a layer of snow that sparkled and glimmered in the morning light. The tree branches were also coated in this shimmering substance. For the first time, I appreciated the beauty of winter.
I began to realize that the reason I hated winter was due to the fact that I was worrying about the one thing I couldn't control—namely the weather. Instead of fighting the elements, I needed to learn how to adapt to them—drive slower on the icy roads, dress in layers and keep my extremities warm. Little by little, I started to notice that winter wasn't so dreadful. In fact, I can safely say it is my 4th favorite season. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Songs beyond Rock a Bye Baby


Years ago when my son was an infant, nighttime feedings were really popular at our house, especially at 1 am.  It would have been enjoyable to sit and listen to the silence if I hadn't been so dead tired. The padded rocking chair was dangerously too comfortable as I sat there with my infant son feeding him his bottle. After he finished his formula, I held him against my shoulder and rubbed his small back, waiting for his contented noise (read burp) to let me know he was ready go back to blessed slumber.  However, the awaited noise came, but his bright, blue eyes stared back at me, no sign of going back to sleep.
                I figured this was a good time to sing a lullaby to him, a nice quiet song, not a toe-tapping Broadway melody. Besides, I was still in my pajamas.
                I had read many articles stating that it is not the words that lull the baby to sleep, but your voice that is so soothing.  I was beginning to sing the classic, Rock a Bye Baby, but I was never a fan of the “bough breaking” part, so I stopped abruptly.  Then my tired brain began to think back to all the songs that I had heard throughout my life. From the recesses of my brain, I was able to remember the lyrics to “I Say a Little Prayer” sung by Dionne Warwick. As my son’s eyes started to grow heavy, I quietly crooned the song. It is about a woman setting off to work, but still thinking about her loved one throughout her work day.  Though Burt Bacharach  had originally intended this to be a love song, the words could easily apply to a parent singing it to their child.  I was a working mom and the lyrics really struck a chord with me. Also, it did the trick—he drifted off to sleep.
It’s amazing how there are certain songs get stuck in your memory.  This song had a simple melody, so singing it a Capella didn't sound half-bad. It had stood the test of time and I was doing my part in a small way in preserving history.
Just when I thought I was entertaining myself and my son didn't remember what I was singing to him, an incident happened to make me change my mind. A few days later, we were all watching “My Best Friend’s Wedding” on video. My son’s face lit up when the characters started to sing “I Say a Little Prayer” at the restaurant. He smiled at me and cooed at the lyrics. My husband raised his eyebrows and gave me an “atta girl” nod. I looked down at my son on my lap and smiled. I swear if he could have talked, he would have said, “Hey Mommy, they’re singing our song!”