Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009


Just Wave the Bottle Over it

When I was in high school my cousin married someone with the same name as me. I found her annoying. She was also usually drunk, or in the process of getting drunk, at family gatherings. We (not so) affectionately called her Tipsy. She and the husband of another cousin would often head off into Grandma’s garage to drink and smoke the gathering away.

Tipsy’s drinking raised eyebrows in my family and we’re not exactly teetotalers. A good beer every now and again. Brandy slush during the holidays. Aquavit on New Year’s. Some sort of cola and spiced rum. I can count the number of drinks I have in a month on one hand, although some months I wouldn’t even need a finger. I buy one six-pack of New Glarus Brewing Company’s Totally Naked* and it lasts the entire summer.

I used to think Tipsy’s excessive drinking at family gatherings was in poor taste until I married my husband and now he and I wonder if visits with his family might go better if I drank my way through them (we’re only kidding). He (jokingly) thought that perhaps I should adopt a hip flask as my only glass just like Mad-Eye Moody.

The only difference here is that my in-laws are Baptists….and all that entails.

My husband, then boyfriend, flipped out when he spent New Year’s with us that first year because we were going to have a Brandy Alexander. He was taught that if you drank once you’d become an alcoholic and that people who drank alcohol were heading straight to hell. He had difficulty synergizing that mindset with the reality of the woman he loved.

What you have to understand about Brandy Alexander (with ice cream) in my family is that my dad makes two versions. The version that he says he just waves the brandy bottle over and can be eaten with a spoon (for the women in my family) and the other one that’s true to recipe. Don’t forget the nutmeg. It’s just not the same without it.

I questioned the relationship right there and then. Is he for real?

You’d never recognize that boy anymore (even if you’re not talking about the grey hair). He could easily drink me under the table if he chose to. He’s a beer aficionado. Absolutely no cheap stuff because he’d rather not drink than drink cheap and the monthly beer budget is small.  He’s responsible, does so in moderation, and while his parents may think he’s backslidden, he’s not going to hell because hell doesn’t exist.

This past weekend was the first time he drank beer in front of his family because a campfire’s not the same this time of year without New Glarus Brewing Company’s Staghorn Octoberfest* (or Dancing Man Wheat*) and because life’s much too short not to be who you really are.  He’s not a kid anymore regardless of what his mother may think.

What a difference eleven years makes.

*I buy my own beer and I’m not paid in any way, shape, or form to tell you which brewing company we buy beer from.


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While I Find My Brain

We’ve traveled somewhere over 700 miles this past weekend so I’m feeling a little scattered.  I might have left my brain somewhere back on the Dan Ryan Expressway or possibly near Lebanon.  Hard to say.

There’s still a bit of camping gear left to put away – the consequence of not wanting to hang around my in-laws for longer than absolutely necessary on Sunday.  Plus it’s cold. I’m only complaining a little, mind you.  I do remember how hot it was in July.

This is the rug I made before I went out of town this past weekend.  It’s sitting patiently on my cutting table while I figure out what I’m going to do with it.  I was hoping that this weekend might have given me a clearer vision, but then I spent most of it tolerating my mother-in-law which meant I didn’t snap at her and while there were lots of tears (on her part), moping (on her part), and pity partying (on her part) it was one of the more enjoyable visits with my in-laws which is all I’m going to say about that for now.

I’m leaning towards using a seam ripper to take one strip of two off each side of the bag which would make it the same width as my existing purse.  I’d also cut six inches off the length which would make it depth-wise very similar as well.  With a few more (minor) adjustments to the pattern I think I could reasonably finish it.

Or I could make something else.  My mom thinks it’s too nice for a rug, but that would definitely be the easiest route and it would be very attractive.

Other than that I’m waiting patiently on the new Mumford & Sons CD, mourning the fact that they’re not coming anywhere near here on tour, thinking about going to the library to pick up the dog books I have on hold, entertaining twice daily questions from the husband about whether or not our application has been approved by the dog rescue (you’d be the first to know for goodness’ sake), trying to decide where to go camping in September (can’t make up my mind), trying to figure out which is worse Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan (probably Paul Ryan), and generally trying to avoid just staring off into space.

If I had a crystal ball I’d be seeing a nap in my children’s near future.


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To Do Lists and Laundry and Preparing for the Heat…

…and did I mention that I have a headache?

I would like to hibernate today.  Shut down with the shades drawn and pretend that I don’t have children.  Ok, so the pretending I don’t have children part isn’t going to happen.  At all.  Still, the dark, quite room does have its appeal.

We’re knee-deep in summer these days complete with camping trips (and all of the work that goes in to getting ready to go and then coming home), mosquito bites, water, sand, and heat.  That last one being why I won’t probably just hibernate the day away.

I hate leaving the house when it’s above 90 degrees.  I don’t like hot parking lots, hot cars, or the glare of the sun off of all those paved and metal surfaces.  It makes my head ache even more just thinking of it.  So there’s the trip to the Y for my many times weekly visit to the fitness center and the library (both of them) to pick up books and turn in reading logs that I really should get done today.  But then there’s the tension of not wanting to do those things and instead let the kids play outside as much as possible while the weather is still fairly mild.

Did I mention the ever clicking cost analysis that’s sounding alarm bells in my head?  The inner dialogue goes a bit like this:

Analytical, Bill Paying Me:  You really should close up the house and turn the air conditioning on already.

Far Less Practical, Come What May Me:  But it’s so nice outside!  Smell that fresh air!  Listen to the birds sing!  It’s all so fresh and new and…

Analytical Me:  The longer you wait, the warmer the house is going to get and the longer it’s going to take for the air conditioner to cool the house down.  Have you forgotten about global warming?  Imagine all those fossil fuels!

Flighty, Creative Me:  (continuing on as if not interrupted)  …conducive to getting things done.  I feel so much more inspired when I can feel connected with the outside world.  You know I can’t work when the air is stuffy and still.  All that recycling of the same air over and over again.  It can’t be healthy!

Analytical Me:  (slightly annoyed) You didn’t hear a word I said, did you?

Flighty Me:  No, I heard you.  Money, air conditioner, money, global warming, blah, blah, blah.  Your point?

Analytical Me:  These are real concerns.  We need to make the responsible decision which includes not waiting until it’s hotter than Hades outside to turn the air conditioning on.  You’re the one who suggested looking up the weather forecast this morning.

Flighty Me:  No, that was the husband.  Besides, if we’re concerned about climate change then we should probably leave the air conditioning off altogether.

Analytical Me:  Are you insane?  The heat index tomorrow is supposed to be over 100!  Plus, it’s not supposed to get very cool at night.  The house will never get a chance to cool down!  We’ll never get to sleep when it’s that warm.  Think of the children!

Flighty Me:  Now look who’s ruining the environment…

Analytical Me:  I’m just asking you to be reasonable and to think about the real life impact on our budget that delaying the inevitable will cause.  After all, you were the one suggesting that we create nature exploring backpacks to use with the kids.  How exactly are you going to pay for that if we’re spending extra money to cool the house down?

Flighty Me:  …and burning all those fossil fuels.  Ooo!  Look!  Did you see that bird over there?

Analytical Me:  You’re still not listening to me are you?

Flighty Me:  I need to find the camera.  That would make a great picture.

Analytical Me:  Helloooooo…..  Earth to you!

Flighty Me:  Sorry, what were we talking about?

It’s a wonder I get anything done.


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Just Because It’s Saturday

We took the kids camping the other weekend for the very first time.  We’re State Park people so the campsite cost was minimal, but getting there was a little bit pricey.  If anyone ever wonders why young folks may not be camping, I know why.

It was worth it, though.  The kids had a blast (except for the first night when it stormed from about 11pm until 8am the next day).

So much fun.