Tuesday, August 03, 2004

With Fancylady writing like mad in Sage Hill for ten days, I figured I might as well fly somewhere and do something creative too. So I WestJetted to Edmonton last Wednesday night to visit my friend Greg and the rest of the Pohl-Deneka clan. We had five days' worth of jamming and recording in Greg's garage studio, along with our Dead City Radio bandmate Adam. We got a lot done—overdubbing songs we'd recorded the previous two years and writing a half dozen new things. I think we've got enough material now for about three decent-length releases, including the highly anticipated Burgess Shale project due sometime in 2005.

Hanging out with the Pohl-Denekas is always fun. Their place is somewhere in the woods outside Sherwood Park. I lose all sense of direction when I'm out there. The road's out front and the trees are in the back; that's all I know. It's quieter and far more rural than Mayne Island. There, we get deer tiptoeing through the arbutus leaves, whereas Barb and Greg have moose plowing through their back forty, leaving piles of golfball-sized poops behind. We went for a walk through the backyard trails one afternoon, which is when I got most of my bug bites. The mosquitoes are vicious this year, swarming and aggressive, frantically injecting anticoagulants the second they land on you.

Back to the fun. You'd have a hard time finding a cooler family than the Pohl-Denekas. I could almost be persuaded that breeding in the 21st Century is a good idea based on the example they set. Greg and Barb's kids, Amelia (7) and Colin (4) are at a really enjoyable age. Amelia walks around with a habitual giggle that sounds like she's enjoying one of a large stash of private jokes. Colin's into performing whisper-to-a-scream versions of "This Old Man" daily, strumming the open strings of a guitar and stopping when the numbers get too high or he runs out of rhymes ("This old man, he played seven, he played knick-knack on his...Oh no."). They're both good, happy kids, and like their folks, there's nothing about the natural world that they don't know. Thanks to Amelia, I'll never mistake a damselfly for a dragonfly ever again.

So it goes without saying that the parenting is top-notch, but Greg and Barb are both maintaining their own scenes (and, ergo, their sanity)—Barb with her yoga training and Greg with the music. When the adult interests and the child-rearing clash, it's usually pretty funny, such as an incident last week when Greg had to pick a clump of Silly Putty off his reunion tour Pixies hoodie.

Yeah, everything's pretty harmonious out there in the woods, except for the noise we make out in the garage.

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