Thursday, May 11, 2017

Family talk in business situations and gender.

I was asked to fill in last night and play a 3-song spot at a bar for a songwriter event. The gig was easy and fun, and though the crowd had no idea who any of us were, it was a good time. I saw some 2am-friends I hadn't seen in years and got some nice hugs from them. I heard music that made me smile, and I wish I'd been able to stay later in the evening to hear more music from other writers. The baby needed my breasts eventually, so I was beckoned home.

Here's something funny I noticed: I have this problem with radical honesty. I can very rarely answer "How are you?" with a "Fine, thanks, you?" I offer TMI and can see people's shock or disengagement right away. And that's in a normal coffeehouse interaction and makes me laugh at myself more than want to change.

Throw that attitude into a business situation -- and though this stage was not The Palace, it was still a stage -- and you get, I think, a bad businesswoman.

While I went out to gig last night, these two
snuggled ... for a short while.
Because I talked about my kids. I realized after answering the question, "What have you been up to?" that I should have said, "Oh, I've been working a lot with Steve Cooley, who's producing a new album for me that's due out in July. I've also been trying to focus on writing and getting new material, as well as planning some upcoming European tours."

See? Not so hard. All of that is true.

What I said instead, however, is, "Oh, I've been playing a lot of private parties because there aren't many venues left in town that pay. Also, my kids don't sleep, so I get in bed at 7:30. The postpartum depression is fading, though, and I see the light now that my youngest is one. My mom's got Stage 4 cancer, so that takes up a lot of headspace, and it's hard to focus. But overall, I'm feeling okay. Been trying to focus on self-care and music, and I'm glad to be playing out tonight."

Then I was mad at myself for not properly doing business.

Then I was mad at the situation because why can't a woman honestly talk about her family in a a business setting? I hear men do it all the time, but it comes across differently.

Dear blog readers, I am finishing a record. I'm setting a hard deadline, and I don't really care if there's not a horn part on it or if the mix isn't perfect. This record is coming out because I need to release it and move on. I've got several more albums I need to finish, and I'm artistically constipated at the moment. It hurts my heart rather than my bowels, but it's just as painful.

See?? TMI again!!!

Still, I suppose my own TMI shouldn't really be dismissed when last night the bartenders were talking about anal waxing to the group next to me. (Seriously, people: your bodies are fine the way they are. Stop torturing yourselves unless you like that sort of thing.)

The lovely and sweet and talented and smart Heidijoy Stenson took this photo last night. Her instagram page has some video of my playing. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Derby wrapup and links

Amazing Derby week and weekend! Hope everyone had as much fun as I did. I did a brief radio appearance on WFPK's Roots N Boots last night after an insane Derby weekend (15 hours with of gigs in 36 hours!), got a migraine after the 2nd song and drove home straight to bed. I woke up recovered and am ready to rock the new week, new season, approaching summer, and all that comes with it.

My life has been occupied with family things lately, which is part of why I've slacked on this blog. If you're a family friend or otherwise interested, I've been posting updates on my mom's health on a CaringBridge page.

 It's here:

She is such a fighter and has been feeling better the previous two rounds of chemotherapy. She's taking off next week to go make some amazing memories with her grandsons, and we are all looking forward to it. Thanks to those of you who have helped make this magic happen. You know who you are.

Disney photos promised!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Derby photos and gigs and day drinking and naps.

It's Derby!! I'm slammed with gigs -- all private parties, so I can't bore you with PLEASE COME TO MY SHOW blogs, tweets, instagrams, etc. I've played a ton of private events over the past week, all in the most beautiful people with the most beautiful backyards. Here are some of them:

This weekend I'm playing three events with three different bands: a traditional bluegrass instrumental, a 4-piece country band, and a 3-piece jazz trio.

Here are some more pics from our fun Derby weeks:

We went to the backside of Churchill Downs on Monday morning and ended up on the front page of has some cute video of Graham meeting a thoroughbred named More the Wild or More Than Wild. I am not sure which.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Last-minute Disney Trip: crazy or genius?

My Pinterest has gotten a bit, um, specific.
You guys, DISNEYWORLD!! I always said that when I took my kid to Disney for the first time, it would be to Parc Disneyland in Paris because, I mean, DUH!! But you can't drive to Paris from Louisville, and we don't have enough Delta miles to get the whole family across the ocean. Orlando it is.

But we're GOING! For REAL!

This is super exciting because we've been intent on making as many happy memories as possible, and taking the grandkids to DisneyWorld is something my sweet, sweet mother wants to do. We're planning a trip for mid-May, during a week when she should be mostly recovered from her 7th round of chemotherapy. And it's all possible because of the GoFundMe: thank you.

This, of course, means that I'm suddenly a Mom who is planning a trip to DisneyWorld. 

I love travel planning. I don't, however, love spreadsheets and itineraries and things that seem to require learning an entire language (FastPass, ADR, MagicBand, WTH?) just to do a simple Google search. There are families that spend 18 months planning these trips! Are we nuts to do it in 4 weeks? I'm actually thinking that's maybe perfect timing because I'm already a tad stressed over it. But at least it'll be over in a month. I can't imagine stressing about it for a year and a half. We planned our wedding in a few months, so surely we can do Disney in a few weeks, right?

We've got 3-day park tickets, and we've got hotel reservations (the bonus of having a husband who travels for work: free hotel!). Of course, all the restaurants where everyone said to eat at Disney have been booked up for 6 months. I'm going to count on some last-minute cancellations and will check again a few days before, I guess. Or is it even worth going to Be Our Guest if you're a vegetarian?

Anyway, throw me your Disney tips? Particularly anything for vegetarians traveling with a wheelchair/scooter.

p.s. I'm playing at Goodwood Brewing on Main Street in Louisville tonight from 8-10. It's 21+ and free.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Voicemails, anti-depressants, Target and a gig.

Good news! My anti-depressants seem to be working. I can tell because I answered the phone twice this morning. I still have 78 voicemail notifications, but don't worry, I'll just delete them all soon and find out how to disable voicemail completely. It's bad business (for a certain generation), but I seriously cannot stand the phone. Email me or meet me for coffee, but don't expect me to even noticed that I missed your call. Apparently, I'm Generation Jordan Catalano, but with Millennial tendencies.

But what I was getting on this ol' blog to write about?

I'm busy.

Friday, April 21
Goodwood Brewery
636 E Main St, Louisville, KY 40202 
I'm playing music with Dennis Ledford.
Alanna Fugate has been booking bands at Goodwood, and that means there's lots of good live music. I'm happy to be playing a public show, as lately I've been slammed with corporate parties (I love those, but y'all can't attend them!).

My parents' GoFundMe has been a rousing and insane success, and I'm so grateful. We are also renting our house out for Derb, and I'm gigging like crazy that weekend to fund some more home-modification projects and Bucket List items for my mom.

We went to Target yesterday, where Mom practiced riding one of those scooter things because she'll need one for her magical trip to DisneyWorld in a few weeks. While we were there, the boys rode in a double-cart, and it was the cutest thing I've ever seen. I'm putting a picture of it here because I forgot what I actually came on here to write about. Maybe those anti-depressants aren't working quite as well as I thought. OR maybe that's just the sleep deprivation working.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Deli dreams and Family Photos.

You know what is lame? That my mom has cancer again. I have been through all the stages of grief and keep cycling back through it, and she's still around and fighting. I'm so thankful for that. Pancreatic cancer is fierce, and I can't believe Mom has continued with chemotherapy after it's kept her mostly bedridden since December. She has some good days, but I just feel so bad for her. I know she wants to be swimming with her grandbabies and taking them to the park and cooking matzoh ball soup for her friends instead of them her.

This week I'm completely overwhelmed by the love and support of family and friends. We began accepting help in the way of meal deliveries and help rolling the recycling bin down to the curb and random flower deliveries during Mom's first chemo and subsequent hospital stays. Since then it's been really hard to manage meal trains, as her appetite is unpredictable. Still, people have wondered how they could help. After stressing over my laundry list (often a literal laundry list) of To Dos at my parents' house, I finally hit publish on the GoFundMe I started for my parents ages ago. Because meal deliveries are great, but being able to get down the stairs safely is also great.

I also wanted to share two incredible gifts we received from two families we are so lucky to have in our lives.

Yesterday, my mom received an overnight delivery from Katz's Deli on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. My mom's uncle owned a Jewish deli on Bardstown Road in Louisville in the mid-1900s, so Mom grew up knowing how proper deli food should taste. There are no more real delis in Louisville, so New York City is her favorite place to taste the comfort foods of her youth. The magical Tyra shipped a 3-course deli meal to her this week! Mom's appetite was down yesterday, but she's drooling in anticipation of digging into the pickles already:

One of our friends from the Highlands mama community and also the Wee Boy's preschool gifted us a family photo session with their favorite photographer. We'd tried to gather some family photos before, but timing was always bad.

Jessica from J Grace Photography  came to our home and took some gorgeous photos of my family that I've been meaning to share for a month now:
Images by J Grace Photography

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Jesus Christ Superstar, American Pours, Weights & Measures & Kombucha.

Cheyenne singing from the balcony. 
It's almost Easter! I know this because we just did Jesus Christ Superstar at Headliners, which is one of my favorite gigs. This year I sang "I Don't Know How to Love Him," which was kind of a super fun magical moment because there are so many instruments playing and there was some sweet sweet harmony with the beautiful and talented Cheyenne Mize and I just love that song and the whole score and magic and if church made me feel like that, I would go every day. Music is love.

The next morning, however, I woke up with a HEADACHE. Friends, I had TWO drinks. TWO. And over the course of four hours. Is this what life is like in my late thirties?

It also made me long for the United Kingdom, where the Weights and Measures Acts protect the consumer by ensuring that each pour of alcohol is exactly 25ml or 35ml depending on your order. Americans who frequent dive bars would probably be outraged by this. Having been out of practice, I compeltely forgot that a pour from a bartender in a good bar in Louisville, particularly one you've know for 20+ years, would most likely be the equivalent of more than one drink. But in the UK, even a good friend would still be required to pour you precisely 25ml. It's the law!

It makes me wonder if there are few hangovers in the UK? Because it would cost you more to buy the equivalent in alcohol, so maybe people just stop drinking sooner?

Deep thoughts for the day.

Cheyenne Mize making Scott Anthony sparkle pre-show.
Anyway, I hadn't really been drinking this year. We did Dry January, and then it just sort of stuck. I sleep better when I don't have that glass of wine. I'm too stressed out to risk a bad night of sleep. I'm still nursing. I'm tired. Mom has cancer on her liver, which makes me a little more thoughtful of how I treat my own liver. And two drinks made me feel awful. I think I'm back on the Dry April. It's just not worth it.

David's been getting super into Kombucha, which I only like when it's strawberry-flavored and served to me in a champagne flute. I'll let you know how his first batch turns out when it's ready.

Also, I try not to post too much about Mom's treatments over here, but there is a CaringBridge site for that if you're interested.
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