name='p:domain_verify'/> The Red Accordion Diaries

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Oh, you left me a voicemail? LOL.

I have thirty-four unheard voicemails. I honestly just want to delete them all and then completely disable my voicemail.

I know, I know, it's horrible. It's unprofessional. It's annoying to the two friends I have left who don't like texting.

You probably saw this tweet floating around a few months ago:
Yes. Yes. Yes.

You see, I do not like the phone. Oh, it is a wonderful invention, and I am rarely without mine. But I would much rather people knock on my door unexpectedly than call me unexpectedly. Also, it's impossible for me to be on the phone while on baby duty, and with a kiddo who rarely naps, what am I to do? The phone is pointless. My ringer is never on. I can text you when I'm rocking the boy to sleep, but call you? Sigh.

I don't like making calls, though I will happily meet you at the coffee shop. I can't believe I used to have a job that involved cold calling potential interview subjects (back in my CBS days). I do remember the absolute fear that would envelop me every time I had to pick up the receiver. Somehow I got over it back then, probably creating my own sort of cognitive behavioral therapy, wherein I gave myself a pep talk every time and tried to convince myself that, much like the snake, the callers were much more afraid of me than I was of them.

That just doesn't work anymore, and I pretty much want to throw my phone into the sea, complete with all those imaginary post-its.

Before the Wee Boy was born, I was better about the phone. The Phone Fear got me good after he was born, however, and it's pretty much the biggest remaining symptom of my PPD. I really need to do something about, as I know I've angered people and probably lost some gigs because of the fear.

Anyway, I am trying to address this, but it's much more daunting than the, um, 364 unread emails. I think it's probably easier to just delete them all and really, really, really try to be better about future voicemails.

Ugh. Boo to Brigid!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

And the verdict on early shows in Louisville...

I played a 7:00 show back in 2011 that was completely packed, standing-room-only by 6:45, and still my opening band said, "So we're not going to actually start until 7:15 or 7:30, right?" You all know that I'm a stickler for punctuality -- Kaelin is SWISS, after all. Avant l’heure, c’est pas l’heure, apr├Ęs l’heure, c’est plus l’heure -- so you obviously know that show started by 7:01.

Still, lots of people, particularly musicians, told me that my 6:30 start time at last weekend's show at the Great Flood Brewing Company was absurd and that I would not see a full house for such an early show.

Yeah, there were a LOT of you there on Saturday. Thanks!
Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I am a terrible guesser at number of people in a room, but I do know it was standing-room-only before we played the first note.

Musicians of Louisville: there is a market for early shows.

So, yes, thank you for asking: Saturday's show went really well. It was great to play with Steve Cooley and +Dan Canon, both of whom are remarkable musicians and wise people too. It was wonderful to see so many friends out and about. It was even better to have two hours to catch up with friends after the show and STILL be in bed by 11pm.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Let's talk breasts! And that nonsense about "Discretion."

First, a funny story:

Usually, when the Wee Boy goes to sleep (around 9:00), so do I. Especially when David is out of town, I have no one to play with, and I'm super-tired. On Wednesday, however, I decided to get a little crazy and go back downstairs for a snack, a glass of wine, and some alone time with a book.

The only thing to eat was an old bag of Trader Joe's vegetable dumplings, so I tossed them in the microwave. Three minutes later I proceeded to burn the hell out of my fingers from the steam on the covered bowl. I ran water over it, sucked my fingers, and nothing helped. Then I remembered that I make this magical elixir called "breastmilk," and I squirted a few drops on my fingers.

Immediate relief, people, IMMEDIATE!

Well ... for about two minutes. Then they started to burn again. I instinctively shoved them in my mouth and then was all, "Why do my fingers taste like ice cream?" And then, aha!!! No wonder The Wee Boy loves nursing so much. It's like ice cream all the time.

I don't know why I'd never tasted my milk before. I mean, I have tasted the milk from several other species, which seems a lot more gross than milk that came from a human.

Anyway, so that's a funny story about breastmilk.

Now a not so funny story that you may have heard about if you're in Louisville and have spent any time on Facebook:

It's gotten 151 shares (so far) because the policy is offensive and illegal.

The story behind the post: a woman was asked to go to the bathroom to nurse (Yes, he said "bathroom" to her, even though KK has special nursing rooms for women who want privacy. That is a nice gesture. I wouldn't use them because it seems unnecessary, but I understand not all women are comfortable nursing in public. Again: choice.) The bizarre thing about this situation is that the woman was actually wearing a nursing cover. There's a photo of her floating around Facebook that I'll post once I get permission (not because of indecency, but because of copyright).

I tried to wear a nursing cover a few times -- it's awkward and the baby hated it. I also can't imagine wearing a blanket over your head in 90+ weather. I mean, what they did was illegal either way, but it's truly odd that they targeted a woman who was using a nursing cover. (Maybe that just goes to show you that nursing covers actually draw more attention to it than just lifting up your shirt slightly.)

Some of you are now going to say, "But private business, but private business!"

You can read Kentucky's law here (text copied below): 
211.755 Breast-feeding permitted — Municipal ordinances not to prohibit or restrict — Interference prohibited.
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, a mother may breast-feed her baby or express breast milk in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be. Breast-feeding a child or expressing breast milk as part of breast-feeding shall not be considered an act of public indecency and shall not be considered indecent exposure, sexual conduct, lewd touching, or obscenity.
(2) A municipality may not enact an ordinance that prohibits or restricts a mother breast-feeding a child or expressing breast milk in a public or private location where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be. In a municipal ordinance, indecent exposure, sexual conduct, lewd touching, obscenity, and similar terms do not include the act of a mother breast-feeding a child in a public or private location where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be.
(3) No person shall interfere with a mother breast-feeding her child in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be.
Effective: July 12, 2006
History: Created 2006 Ky. Acts ch. 80, sec. 1, effective July 12, 2006
And yes, asking someone to "use discretion," as KK is doing in their embarrassingly ignorant Facebook status, is interfering. No mother I know "whips it out," like so many people offensively suggest. I have nursed in public since the first week my boy was born, and I've never encountered any problems from onlookers. Honestly, most people don't even notice I'm doing it because it's really not very revealing -- certainly less revealing than some of the dresses I've worn. When people do notice, most have smiled, even brought me water, or thanked me for breastfeeding my child. I don't do it in-your-face because, I swear, it doesn't even occur to me that it's controversial until some business does something dumb like KK did.

It seems completely ridiculous that we are even having this discussion.

The sad thing is that they could be using this whole situation as a way to step it up and be a good company -- to inform their young staff (benefit of the doubt here -- it was surely just a young staff member who didn't know any better, right? Which, of course, says a lot about our Puritan society, but that's another blog...) of what is natural and beautiful and wonderful and really just a little baby HAVING LUNCH!!! They don't patrol the splash park asking girls and women to wear less revealing bikinis, do they?

Just a couple of days ago, Barnes and Noble issued a statement that their stores are supportive to nursing mothers. "We’ve provided safe environments for women to breastfeed since we opened our first store,” a representative for Barnes & Noble said. “Regrettably, a woman was asked to cover up while breastfeeding in one of our New York stores. We have addressed the situation and have taken to steps to reinforce our policies.”

See? It's not that hard to admit that an employee doesn't understand the law.

Also, this male-owned establishment clearly does not understand the power of the Mama community in Louisville. I'm in several Facebook groups, totaling thousands of members, and I guarantee you most of those women will not be patronizing Kentucky Kingdom until an apology and new policy is issued. You have no idea the ire that this situation provoked.

And the publicist for KK -- or whoever is running their Facebook page -- is doing a really great job ... of blocking women from commenting and then deleting posts that disagree with their statement.

UPDATE: At 9:00am the owner of Kentucky Kingdom, Ed Hart, issued the following statement:
A message from Ed Hart, President and CEO
As President & CEO of Kentucky Kingdom, it is my responsibility to set policy which is in the best interest of all our guests. To that end, I want to make it absolutely clear that Kentucky Kingdom totally supports the benefits that accrue to mother and child from breastfeeding. We have absolutely no restrictions on breastfeeding at the park, and will leave it up to mom to determine and know, when and where she desires to breastfeed – whether publicly or privately (in the several buildings available for that purpose). Regarding displaying “discretion,” we will leave it up to mom to make that determination and in no way will our staff interfere with mom’s decision. We have instructed our staff accordingly. I am sorry for any confusion this issue has caused, and I personally apologize if we have offended anyone.
Ed Hart

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Wee Boy's Favorite songs -- great songs to sing to toddlers.

He sings. Thank goodness he sings.

I've been joking that I want him to go to business school (no MFAs for this boy please!), but I think I would have been sad had he not had any bit of music in him. Obviously I'd still adore him (I mean, I love him even though he's not a ginger), but it would be tragic if he couldn't participate on impromptu Jesus Christ Superstar performances in the kitchen.

He's been coming to music class with me pretty much weekly for a year now, so it's not surprising. But it's so fun to hear him singing to himself like he has been the last few months.

Like every milestone he's hit, it came pretty much overnight. One night he just woke up at 2am -- typical, as he's pretty much up 3-5x a night every night anyway -- and started singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." He hasn't stopped singing since. His pitch needs work (#stagemom), but he'll get there.

I've studied enough early childhood development to know that, yes, the littles are always listening. They understand long before you think they do. But it was still mindblowing to realize that The Wee Boy knows the lyrics to SO many songs. It's like he's been paying attention in music class all this time, when I thought he was just shaking eggs and eating other kids' snacks.

I see all kinds of little kids at my Family Music Jam classes at Mama's Hip, and I love watching them grow up, take first steps, and say first words. Now I'm waiting for that moment when they suddenly burst into song.

Because they are listening. They truly are.

Songs The Wee Boy won't stop singing:

"Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" -- his first complete know-all-the-words song. Though he's since changed the words to "Now I understand what you are." Apparently, he doesn't wonder, he knows.
He reeeeeeeeeally likes the "diamond in the sky" part. Sometimes he'll get fancy and do a "Like a Diamond in the Sky/Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" mash-up. 

"Old MacDonald Had a Farm" -- This one surprises me because it's not one I do at music class very often. It's not one of my favorites, but apparently The Wee Boy loves it.

"Bumpin' Up and Down in my Little Red Wagon" - Every. Single. Lyric. I mean, the kid remembers more lyrics than I do.

"Yellow Submarine" -- More often than not, the first thing he says when he wakes up in the morning is "WE ALL LIVE IN A YELLOW SUBMARINE!"

"Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" - I think this song does more to actually encourage jumping on the bed than to deter it, but it sure is cute when he jumps up and down and shouts "NO MORE MONKEYS JUMPING ON THE BED!"

What are your kids' favorite songs?

Edit to add: The Wee Boy keeps reminding me of other songs I need to add to this. I'll start posting setlists or full lyrics to the classics soon:)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Scottish independence, Braveheart, and Outlander.

I avoid politics on this blog because I get WAY too passionate about things, particularly readers' comments (I know, I know... don't feed the trolls) and then stay up all night fretting. I may seriously regret this post, but I suspect most of my readers are far enough removed from the Scotland Question that this is a safe place. I mean, most Americans already think Scotland is its own country. Which it is in some sense. But not in the same sense that one US Post Office worker meant when she told me recently that I had to write "Scotland" instead of "United Kingdom" on my envelope because the letter was "going to Scotland, not the United Kingdom" kind-of-way. (I tried correcting her, I swear. And no, she wasn't a Jacobite. She was just American.)

For those of you who don't know, there will be a vote in September -- a referendum among the people of Scotland to decide whether to declare independence from the rest of the United Kingdom. It probably seems very 1776 to you. Let's think back to history class and all those countries that England colonized and once ruled: India, the United States, even Ireland. The US, as we know, declared independence on July 4, 1776. Ireland and India only got their independence from Great Britain in the 1940s. Some people in Scotland -- definitely not all -- still feel colonized in a sense and want their own independence. It's a source of contention and debate.

And so the people will vote. Our Scottish friends are polarized on the issue.

One of our favorites said that he thought the Vote would come down to whether the television networks showed Braveheart that week.

He was joking -- sort of.

The people of Scotland aren't dumb, by any means, and I'm not seriously suggesting that a bad Mel Gibson accent would inform a huge historical choice. BUT I can absolutely see how watching that movie can bring about deep resentment and national pride. I watched it a few nights ago (again), and now I dislike my English friends. (Kidding, kidding, people. Sort of. I mean, KIDDING!!!) You have to admit, though, it's hard to be reminded of going on a thousand years of oppression (I should probably choose a better word here) and not get a little bitter.

I've been thinking for a few months, however, about this new miniseries that airs this fall, Outlander. I think maybe this is the pop culture phenomonon that will tip the vote to YES. It's set during the Jacobite Rising and is about a 20th Century time traveler trying to prevent the Battle of Culloden.

The books that inspired the miniseries are tomes, but somehow, most of my close friends have read them. Yes, even my MBA husband (he's actually read more of them than I have). The novels are historical fiction with a touch of romance (but they don't have a Highlander holding a swooning maiden on the cover). I love them, though by book four or five, I started to zone out a little bit. Anyway, the story itself has the making of being the next addictive television drama, with spoilers on your Facebook feed, and suddenly lots of people all over the world talking about Scottish independence. And with the star of the show, Sam Heughan, who plays the dreamy Jamie Fraser, coming out recently as a YES-supporter, well ... who knows.

I'm abstaining from taking sides right now, primarily because, um, it's none of my business. I admit that I pretend to be pro-independence, but again, I'm too far removed these days to have a researched opinion on it (ask me 18 months ago, and I'd spout facts at you).

Selfishly, independence might make emigration to Scotland a little easier -- the Wee Boy was born there, after all. Maybe Texas will vote for independence too, and then our whole family can have all kinds of passports.

Anyway, I don't see an airdate for Outlander on UK television. If I were a conspiracy theorist, however, I would suspect the British government of not allowing that show to air in the UK until after September 18. Same goes for Braveheart. Maybe we Americans can offer sneaky links to Outlander episodes, kind of like we can get sneaky links to Downton Abbey.

There's my lighthearted political post of the year.

Anyone read the Outlander books? How many did you get through?

Monday, July 7, 2014

The escape of the newspaper.

My favorite thing about staying at my parents' house: they get the New York Times. It's only on Saturday and Sunday, but it has made for the most luxurious few minutes -- a glimpse of life pre-baby, when sipping coffee and reading were as blissful as watching the wee boy dance to the busker at the farmers' market.

A slight difference in my newspaper strategy, since having a child, is that I no longer have the patience to read all of the front pages. It's terrible, I know, especially since at one point in my adult career, I wrote network news in New York City. The grief of war news is too emotional now, and I tend to go straight to my favorites: the Travel section and the Book Review. I read the Arts section too, but not with the fervor with which I embrace the others.

I know, I know, a psychologist would tell you it's a quest for escape. What's wrong with that, really, though?

The Storybook London article from a few weeks ago had me wanting to wake the wee boy up from his nap, purely so we could read Harry Potter (or maybe just Beatrix Potter at his age) together. And of course, I had to daydream of designing my own literary tour of the United Kingdom.

Don't even get me started on what the Book Review does to me. Just THINK of all the books there are out there that I must read, from the new JK Rowling/Robert Galbraith mystery (I actually really enjoyed The Cuckoo's Calling) to the new book in the Outlander series (another blog on those books later this week). Yes, yes, I'm in a pattern of novels. Again: escape. If I'm not traipsing about foreign soils, at least I can read about it.

What's your newspaper strategy?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Followup to "Parenthood, Identity Crisis, and Guilt."

I got a lot of responses -- both private and public -- to Tuesday's weepy blog about the guilt of being an artist. One of my favorites was from a childless artist, who commented that the guilt is there whether or not you have a kid. That is so so true. I really don't feel guilty when I hire a sitter to go to a gig or teach a piano lesson because I'm earning an income when I do those things. It's knowing that creating art does not generate income (immediately) AND knowing that it's not something I need merely "once in a while," that makes me feel bad.

That said, I've been thinking a lot about art v. craft lately. In the songwriting workshops I've taught, it's a big part of my lectures. I'll skip to the good part: basically, you need to have perfected the craft part so that the art has a solid outlet. In other words, if you don't practice writing, even if you yield lots of crap, then you won't be ready to write when the good ideas hit you.

I used to be able to wake up, make a pot of coffee, and start writing. Not all that I wrote was good, of course, but I wrote. Daily. And when I got a great idea for a song, I was ready.

I know binders full of women writers (#binders) who can wake up two hours before their kids do and start writing. They also write during their children's naps. A high school friend managed to publish a novel this year by doing just that. (I bought said novel, and you should too.) They make it seem so obvious.

But my struggle is:
  1. My kid still doesn't sleep through the night (he's 21 months old), and his naps are short, unpredictable, and sometimes non-existent. I've gotten used to it and stopped complaining about it, but that doesn't make me any less sleep-deprived.
  2. I'm so out of practice with my craft that it takes me about three hours away from the Wee Boy before I can wind down and start to write. 
  3. Ergo, I need to hire a babysitter for, like, 10 hours a week or something, so that I have time to wind down and get my craft-groove back. 
  4. I feel guilty hiring a babysitter for so long, when my art income isn't as much as she earns.
I know, I know, I shouldn't feel terrible. Thank you all for that support. Maybe it goes back to my Jewish mother and Catholic father. That's, like, the guiltiest combination of all, right?

Anyway, enough pontificating. Thanks for sticking with me. As a reward, here are some cute pics of the wee boy, along with some cute things he has said this week:

1. "I'm so tall ... like Notre Dame ... in Paris." (said while standing on Daddy's stomach)
2. "May I have nursies now, please, Mommy-o?"
3. "I swim underwater to you!"
4. "I want to go to Renaissance Fair. In Colleen's car!" (We went to the Faire a few weeks ago. Another blog about that.)
5. "We're cooking scrambled eggs for breakfast."
6. "Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I understand what you are."

He may not sleep, but he is advanced in the chatterbox department (shocker!).


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