Saturday, August 10, 2019

Europe summer 2019 - travelogue

I’d originally planned for a tour this summer, but when my dad’s cancer returned, I had to stop booking shows. I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to perform at the amazing Belladrum Tartan Heart festival in Scotland, much less book an entire tour. By the time dad died, it was way too late to fill in the surrounding dates with shows, so it was either cancel the festival (as if — I’ve spent over ten years touring Europe working up the networking and playing shows to prove my worth at at a big festival — thought detour: how is it that some bands are so freaking lucky to find a manager or booking agent or exactly the right person to book them entire UK tours, the exact same venues i’ve Been dying to play for ten years and they magically have someone do all the work for them?? Y’all may be jealous of my adventures, but i’m Jealous of theirs...) or figure out some silver-lining.

In our case, the silver lining was: fuck it, let’s “summer” as a verb. I’ve always wanted to do that. I keep thinking about the narrator of Rebecca, wishing that I’d had the opportunity as a young woman to be someone’s traveling companion. I think I would have found a less-crazy husband in Monaco and avoided murder mysteries and lived a nice life on an English estate. Or at least, I would have made sure that my first husband was rich rather than a bass player, but I digress again ... sorry, the coffee in Europe is really strong.

We are summering in Europe mainly because I know how to budget travel, and also — and here’s my good fortune — we’d racked up a zillion Delta points between my husband’s weekly travel and having charged two funerals in the past year to our Delta Skymiles credit card. Here’s a referral link if you’d like to get your own Delta SkyMiles card and reap the travel rewards every time you buy a cup of coffee or an IKEA kitchen (another blog). 

So we cashed in years of point-hoarding to buy four plane tickets to Edinburgh and here we are!

I’ve admittedly been on less budget-travel mode than usual because, well, both my parents died recently and that’s fucking crazy, so I’m fully in #carpediem mode. My retail therapy is in the form of tickets to castles and picnics from the Harrod’s Food Hall. I don’t give a crap about name brand purses, but I do love a first class train ticket. We’ve all got our own priorities.

I promise to write a future blog with a detailed list of everything I packed for me and the boys, but for now, here are just some more photos:















Thursday, August 8, 2019

9 reasons I can easily travel Europe with my two small children

I’m traveling, and I have not written a thing. It’s a travesty! Instead I’ve been instagramming and helping wee Graham instagram (or instagraham hahahha!) and soaking up the culture and croissants that abound in this part of the world.

Bonjour from Paris! Someone asked me yesterday how it has been to travel with two little ones. I hadn’t thought about it as a challenge, but i recognize that many people would. A few thoughts on that:


  • Both of my kids are solidly potty-trained, so that cuts down on equipment. (Though I actually think that kids in diapers are just as easy to travel with. It’s that middle-ground where they are in underwear, but can’t hold it very long that’s challenging for travel!)
  • We packed so very very light. I brought one carry-on rolling bag for me and the kids. It’s the kind where all four wheels spin rather than the kind you have to drag — my first time traveling with that kind of suitcase, and I’ll never go back! David brought one backpack for himself. 
  • Wee Graham has a small backpack (like, 8” tall) that doubles as a daybag for us or a travel bag for the boys. 
  • There’s always activity! No one gets bored because everything is new over here. 
  • There are playgrounds everywhere. If we are walking from the Eiffel Tower to the Jardin du Luxembourg, there are about fifty playgrounds to stop along the way.
  • I didn’t bring a stroller. I made that mistake when I brought 18-month old Graham along. I wish I’d brought a carrier and ditched the stroller. This time we brought a toddler Tula for times when Angus is tired of walking or wants a nap. It means we don’t have to plan or change our day around naps. 
  • Wee bought Graham a kids pedometer, so rather than complaining about walking, he is eager to get more steps than us. Yesterday he got over 24,000. (I had a meager 19,000!)
  • I’m going into this with zero expectations and am not obsessing about a schedule. If you are someone whose child must nap between 1:15 and 3:47 then you probably wouldn’t enjoy this kind of travel. If you can roll with it, then you’ll do fine.
  • I’ve spent my whole life traveling on a student or musician budget, so I have learned how to enjoy just being in a new place rather than spending euros at every street corner. I can be happy with a baguette by the river, and I’m teaching my kids the same.
More on how to pack light in another blog. But today is my last day in Paris, so I’m not going to spend it in front of my iPad. Au revoir for now! 

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Friday, July 19, 2019

How to fry an egg in a cast iron pan

I am generally not a retail-therapy kind of person. I hate "things." I hate clutter. I love to purge. I buy my clothes off ebay or get hand-me-downs because I hate to shop.

A few weeks before my dad died, however, when it became strikingly clear to me that he would not last the summer, I ran out to Williams-Sonoma and paid $128 for a Le Creuset omelet pan (it was 40% off!).

You see,  I had thrown out all of my non-stick pans in a rage because my dad had spent years working with hazardous waste. Even his doctors noted the connection between his rare sinus cancer and his work history with pesticides, asbestos and ...TEFLON ... "can not be ignored." I remember in the early 90s when he drove back and forth to a Dupont plant in West Virginia to help them properly dispose of teflon-related waste. I wondered why, in 2019, when we all know about carcinogens, apparently just shrug it off and enjoy the ease of the non-stick.


And so I bought this Le Creuset pan, like a proper yuppie, but silently fumed at my inability to fry an egg with it.

But folks! I have recently discovered the secret to frying gorgeous eggs in my enameled cast-iron pan. It just requires more patience (not more butter/oil).

It turns out that low heat is the secret. I don't love the speed, but I'm starting to treat it like the ceremony of steeping tea. It's a temporal task, not immediately satisfying, but splendid to watch the oil or butter (or both!) heat up slowly, await it prey, and sizzle the eggs/grilled cheese/brussels sprouts just perfectly.

Maybe it's time to slow everything down in my life. And it's definitely time to throw away all the calphalon in the house. There's been enough cancer here.

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UPCOMING public shows: 
July 19 (TONIGHT) at Prohibition Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky - opener at 8:30p, then my band around 9:30! $5 cover and  NEW VENUE in town! wowie zowie. (click that you're "interested" on Facebook and magically that'll help other people know about it!
August 1 at Belladrum Festival in Inverness-shire Scotland, United Kingdom 
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