Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Wuthering Heights Party

A Wuthering Heights Theme Party might be the most fun event possible. Maybe you are looking for something different to do this weekend, I am. Ideas for a party featuring the classic English Gothic novel have been swirling through my head all day. But first, some background.

Once upon a time, there was an old dude who's only wish was to rent a cottage for peace and relaxation. Unfortunately, his landlord was a portentous miscreant named Heathcliff and Old Dude ended up stranded in a snowstorm at a terrifying bit of farmland called Wuthering Heights (the name should be warning enough). Old Dude was given a dusty abandoned bedroom and quickly discovered that it was haunted (this pleased Heathcliff greatly because in addition to being a portentous miscreant, he is the most romantic macabre character of all time). Old Dude finally made it back to his rental the next day. Serendipitously, Old Dude's housekeeper, Nelly Dean, had been a servant to all 3 generations of the Wuthering Heights clan and was able to relate their complete history in astonishing detail. Old Dude must have sat and listened for hours.

As for everything else you need to know, it can be learned from the charts below (click on the chart to enlarge). If you have not read the book, relating the remainder of the twisted tale is a lesson in why children should not be named after their parents, it's terribly confusing. Let it be noted, that some cousins get married in this book, but that is far from the most disturbing happening.

  • black line: son or daughter of; if dotted it means adoption
  • red line: wedding; if double it means second wedding
  • pink line: Relationship
  • blue line: affection
  • green line: hate
  • light yellow area: plot-driving characters
  • violet area: external observers

I first read Wuthering Heights as a teenager, probably as part of my unquenchable thirst to read every piece of classic literature I can get my hands on. It quickly became my favourite book and I have read it many times since. I love the setting, the poetry of Emily Bronte's descriptions. It feels real to me. There is madness in many of the characters, so much so, that I regularly take a "reading break" when Catherine Earnshaw is at peak insanity, perhaps to make sure I don't become insane myself. It becomes too much and I must stop reading, a true testament to an engaging novel. Part of me will always be in love with Heathcliff and part of me will always be terrified of Heathcliff. Wuthering Heights was pivotal for me in understanding that there are motivations behind other people's behaviour that I will never know and never understand. It also taught me that no matter the circumstance, one always has a choice as to what one does with those motivations.

I am sure that it has now become self-evident that Wuthering Heights creates the quintessential party atmosphere. The party could focus on the celebration of passion and cruelty as featured in the novel. Another idea is to celebrate the fact that Emily Bronte's masterpiece was published under a male pseudonym and did not become a success until long after her premature death at the age of 30. Or you could just play this video over and over (one of my mother's favourites, this is very telling of my childhood)...

Wuthering Heights Party Details

Location: Obviously your own home, no need to clean up or decorate. The goal is to feel forgotten and alone.

Guests: No one. Just have in attendance whomever you live with, whether you like them or not. Don't even tell them it's a party, and if they happen to stumble into the party area, be sure to be hateful toward them.

Dress: Period dress is the only acceptable clothing choice, 18th century English dress. Some ideas,

Party Food: Almost enough cake, basin of tea, dirty bread, toast. For more delicious ideas and a definitive ranking of every meal in Wuthering Heights in order of sadness, click here.

Entertainment: Watch any or all adaptations of Wuthering Heights on film, take a drink whenever Hindley is cruel. Or, if it is raining or otherwise miserable outside, have a group walk in the wilderness. Make sure that someone gets lost for a period of time.

Music: Kate Bush or the soundtrack to the wildly unpopular Wuthering Heights musical.

Party Favours: Empty hands and cold hearts. Maybe make heart shaped ice cubes. I couldn't find any ideas on Pinterest.

Wuthering Heights Party at my house this Saturday. I can't wait!

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Hippity Hoppity Easter's On It's Way!

Today we have a snowfall warning followed by freezing rain, but yesterday, we had sunshine! Easter is this weekend, and I am absolutely not ready, although I welcome the four day weekend. I welcome a four day weekend anytime, really. Because it has been a while since I dressed up my children like dolls and took pictures, it seemed like the right thing to do as we enjoyed our sunny Wednesday. My boys are growing, but I have a dream that they will enjoy this sort of thing well into their 50s. 

I dressed them up as "cowboys," according to Mr. G, and forced them to hold Easter baskets while standing in the snow. This all feels perfectly natural. 

 My cowboy climbing our backyard snow mountain. 

Such a dapper little man. My kids love getting dressed up (I am not being sarcastic- honestly)! They probably love it because I make such a big fuss and shower them with affection, when normally I completely ignore them (this is sarcasm).

 Oldest mini man was not as into pictures but was very much into running around the yard and planning how he would live outside permanently. Where he would sleep, what he would eat. I have no doubt that is his life plan, living in the wild. I will visit him, but I prefer living in a house.

 Our snowman is dying. Hooray! So long Frosty! We only like you until February. Then we hate you. It's an extremely intense relationship.

I showed him the proper way to wear his hat, I am very big on styling. He likes this way. It brings out his ears, and his cuteness.

 Showing me the "monster." We have some big imaginations. How terrifying is the steam from the laundry room? Obviously not that terrifying if you can stand this close and live to tell the tale.

 "Look Mom! I throw a snowball." So proud.
For the record, we might be focussing on the arts and not sports. That's why kids go to school, to learn about the things their parents don't teach them. Right?
And when I say the arts, I mean superheroes.
Childhood bliss. A messy chaotic backyard full of freedom, promise, and more mud than I thought possible.
Easter in Canada. The best. 
I am tempted to hide white eggs this year for added difficulty.

Happy Easter to you and yours!

View last year's Easter pics here. We have grown a bit! 

Friday, 11 March 2016

a million years ago

Sometimes you hear a song and it expresses exactly how you are feeling at a specific moment. I fell in love with Adele's "A Million Years Ago" instantly. My life has been strange of late, and my thoughts are taking a turn for the nostalgic, which is not my typical thought process. Recording this was therapeutic for me. There is a snowman in my yard that gives a nice visual on my emotional state.

(click title to listen to my cover)

I only wanted to have fun
Learning to fly, learning to run
I let my heart decide the way
When I was young
Deep down I must have always known
That this would be inevitable
To earn my stripes I'd have to pay
And bear my soul

I know I'm not the only one
Who regrets the things they've done
Sometimes I just feel it's only me
Who can't stand the reflection that they see
I wish I could live a little more
Look up to the sky, not just the floor
I feel like my life is flashing by
And all I can do is watch and cry
I miss the air, I miss my friends
I miss my mother, I miss it when
Life was a party to be thrown
But that was a million years ago

When I walk around all of the streets
Where I grew up and found my feet
They can't look me in the eye
It's like they're scared of me
I try to think of things to say
Like a joke or a memory
But they don't recognize me now
In the light of day

I know I'm not the only one
Who regrets the things they've done
Sometimes I just feel it's only me
Who never became who they thought they'd be
I wish I could live a little more
Look up to the sky, not just the floor
I feel like my life is flashing by
And all I can do is watch and cry
I miss the air, I miss my friends
I miss my mother, I miss it when
Life was a party to be thrown
But that was a million years ago

As always, I am grateful for life and experience and challenges. There are so many people in this world that I love, and so many opportunities for growth. Thank you Adele, for writing this song. Thank you Maya Angelou, for expressing how I feel so succinctly (as always),

My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return. 

Thinking of Grandma tonight.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Snips & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails

Little boys should never be sent to bed, they always wake up a day older. ~Peter Pan

Last night at midnight, I wandered the house, tidying up, wondering why on earth my neighbour chose to shovel his walks at such an hour, checking that the doors were locked and the dishwasher set. Tucking little toes in blankets and bestowing sneaky Mommy kisses. Outside glowed mauve, shedding soft light through the windows. It is never really dark during a snowy winter night in the city.

The night felt heavy, momentous, as if something significant was about to occur. I lingered in Mr. L and Mr. G's room, listening to their soft snoring, breathing in their little boy scent (sweat and pee and sweetness), contemplating the past 3 years and wondering how time has gone by so quickly. It really doesn't feel long ago that we discovered we were expecting twins, a complete surprise. We had such trouble conceiving the first time, we were astonished to be expecting a second time, and two babies at once was the biggest shock of our lives, thus far. When the specialists thought that our boys wouldn't make it, due to TTTS (twin to twin transfusion syndrome), it was almost too much for me to bear. I loved these boys already, and I had not even met them yet. Every week, when another doppler ultrasound went well, I would cheer for my tough babies who were fighting to be in our family! It really is miraculous that the boys were born so strong at 34 weeks. I am forever grateful to our brilliant doctor for her determination and thoroughness and to the dear NICU nurses who took care of Mr. G for over 2 weeks while I was needed in more places than possible.

Today, the boys are three. It hasn't been easy, but it has been joyful! Everything is twice as adorable with twins, also twice as annoying. I have learned to love this heightened existence of twin life. My sons are adorable rascals, stubborn and creative, bright and happy. They fill my life with such joy, and make people smile wherever we go. Mr. L is our verbose child, always chatting, making us laugh. Yesterday he was eating an apple and had a little cough, he turned to me and said in the most serious tone imaginable, "Mommy, this is a spicy apple." Mr. L is also thoughtful, thinking of his brothers and others, helping to clean up and share. Mr. G is always building, train tracks, puzzles, pretend Batman worlds, such an imagination! Mr. G is full of jubilant energy, except for when he is collapsed on the bed like a Disney princess in a moment of sorrow... but the sad moment doesn't last long and he is soon off on his next adventure.

Happy Birthday to my lovely babies. You are growing so fast and I am prouder of you than you will ever know. Thank you for walking around the house singing this song, it is a wonderful reminder to me...

Here's a little song I wrote,
You might want to sing it note for note
Don't worry be happy.
In every life we have some trouble,
When you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy...
~Bobby McFerrin

Midnight winter skies. Life is beautiful.