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

Monday, April 14, 2014

A new attempt at an old task.

It's Monday, the last real day of my holiday. Yes, it's been a loooong trip, but it's also been ridden with business meetings, performances, and research. Still, no complaints: I'd rather be WORKING in Scotland than NOT be in Scotland.

A few nights ago we all pulled an all-nighter. The wee boy had done surprisingly well on this trip so far, so we were overdue for a crazy night. You all know by now that a good night in our house is if the boy sleeps a 3-hour stretch. I'm just used to it by now, have learned how to manage, and I've stopped expecting him to magically sleep through the night. (Please don't offer a suggestion or tell me that at XX months, everything will get better. I have been ridden with false hope for 19 months now, and I'm tired of it.)

Anyway, a nice side effect of being up all night is that I got a lot of thinking done between the bursts of "mouth hurts!" and "dinosaurs swimming!" and "Mommy-o sleeping!! (Giggle giggle!)" I've decided I think I'm going back to the daily blogging over here. It's not a job, but it keeps me focused and provides an outlet. Allowing myself so many breaks from the blog has been bad for my creativity and productivity, the two main things that self-employed artists actually need.

I've got some random days on trains and planes this week, so this may not be my first full week back. But once this holiday is over -- yes, even during Derby festival -- I am back. Hit subscribe again, and check back often. I'm backlogged with stories to share with you. Join me!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Back home in Edinburgh.


Guess what?! I'm still in Scotland. I am so full of blogs for you, but also have been out having so many adventures. The blogs will have to wait until I have a nanny. The wee boy still doesn't sleep through the night, though we did have one random miracle night in Oban after a pint of Haagen-Daz. We haven't had ice cream since then, and we also haven't had much sleep ... Maybe there's a correlation.

I had a really fun gig at the Leith Folk Club this week, filled with good friends and a great crowd. 

Mostly we've been catching up with friends and enjoying the village community that is Edinburgh. It's hard to pin down one thing that is my favorite about this city, but the sense of community is a front-runner. It's a series of small villages, much like New York, with lots of people living in loose quarters (but not like in the Plague, just cozy-like). Maybe it's the magic population density, but it just feels like the best combination of small-town/big-city that you could ever concoct. I've been to a lot of cities, but Edinburgh just has something magical.



Monday, March 31, 2014

Some fun new words the boy has learned.

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Anyone who knows me knows that the wee boy is a horrible sleeper. Today I focus on something he's advanced at: speech.*

So here are some fun new vocabulary words the wee boy likes to say:

Eiffel Tower
cobblestone
Castle
L'ascenseur (French for elevator)
Croissant

Sure, they may not be the most, shall we say, NECESSARY words, but I can't tell you how happy it makes me to run down a cobblestone street towards a castle with my little boy, who is every bit as excited as I am to see the haunting castle atop the volcano. 



 *In light of recent discussion on my Facebook page, I know this boastful post might make some of you feel bad about your kid who doesn't talk yet (much like all the MY 7-month-old SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT! posts make me seethe with anger and jealousy). That isn't my intention, I swear. I'm just trying to focus on the positive. He may have been up every two hours on the dot last night, but he's got well over 300 words and sentences. Stay positive, stay positive, stay positive. Yawnzzzzzzzzz.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Bonjour from Paris.

Good morning from Paris! I know, I know, you hate me. But remember -- this is why you read my blog. Adventure. The adventure-seeking Brigid is back and beginning to feel rejuvenated.

There has been a lot of talk on the interwebs over the past few years about introverts and extroverts. Introverts spend their time on social media posting lists about how to talk to an introvert (guilty). Extroverts spend their time at parties rolling their eyes at the crazy introverts who complain to each other online. I am not sure I'm either one. I think I get my energy from travel.


Back at home, morning is awful. On a vacation, wake me up at six am and let me wander the streets until sunset.

The doubters out there expressed concern that I would be traveling with my toddler. Guess what? It's been amazing. He's a great kid, and I feel like I've gotten something of a break even though I've been on full time baby duty.

So what have we done? We've walked miles and miles through the streets of Paris. We've eaten crepes and gelato and fondue and croissants. We've played on the steps of thousand-year-old churches and chased pigeons through artist squares. We've watched boats speed down the Seine, and we've picnicked on its banks. We've played with countless little French children on hidden, but public, playgrounds. We've had a wonderful time.

I'll fill you in on specifics later this week, but for now I just wanted to check in and let you know I've been silent because I've been out living. It feels good to be rejuvenated.


The simple pleasure of cheese.

There are so many things I love about life in Europe, but, as always, it's the simple pleasures that make life here so good. Today's simple pleasure: cheese.

Cheese, my friends, cheese. 

I've been off and one vegan since I was 18, though certainly more off than on. I rarely eat cheese in America because, well, it's super expensive to buy the good stuff. And who wants to eat the average stuff? (I know, I know -- lots of people, but I prefer small amounts of the best rather than large amounts of the average.)

I was dairy-free pretty much the entire first year of the wee boy's life because he reacted very badly when I consumed milk products. Living in Europe while pregnant made passing by the neighborhood cheesemonger (of course there is a neighborhood cheesemonger) a tortuous struggle. All but two of the massive cheese selections were unpasteurized, ergo no good for a pregnant woman. 

Thankfully, for this trip, I am neither pregnant, nor dairy-free.

My welcome to Paris snack provided by an amazing hostess was a wheel of Brie, a baguette, and croissants, accompanied by a bottle of champagne. Please ignore the toy tow truck in the photo. 

Our meal for the evening was then an array -- and by array, I mean at least ten kinds -- of European cheeses, with various raw vegetables and the freshest bread you've ever tasted. Of course, there was wine and champagne. My hosts knew just how much I needed this trip, and the little bursts of luxury just made me swoon.
Tonight, though I come to you from Edinburgh, I plan on serving our favorite poor-student meal: a baguette, a wheel of Camembert, and a bottle of wine (maybe a head of broccoli thrown in for something green, but I'm not promising anything). Such a meal would be pure luxury back in the States, as I don't know where you can find a wheel of Camembert for less than $10. I picked one up here for $1.50. And a good bottle of French wine? Well, France is a lot closer to the UK than it is to the US, for you geographically-challenged people, so I can grab something delicious for $5. 

It's the little things, friends. The price of cheese. Le sigh.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Adventure is heading my way.

I've been trying to give myself a break from social media. Y'all are all crazy. Well, maybe not you, but social media is making me a little crazy. The one big moms' group I stayed with has taken a turn for the dramatic, the passive aggressive, and the sanctimommy. I keep taking the Facebook app off of my phone in an effort to preserve my sanity, then I end up re-adding it because I need to promote a gig or find someone's address that's embedded in a Facebook message. I'm much happier when I'm not available 24/7.

David has been traveling nonstop for work (weekends too), so I've been flying solo for a while. I won't pretend to understand the struggle of single parents, but still -- it's hard not to be able to clock out.

Packing is my specialty...
Tomorrow afternoon, however, I am leaving the country. Assuming I don't have a massive panic attack during the flight (Malaysia, anyone?!), it'll be just the change of scenery I need. Notice I don't say it'll be relaxing (a solo trip with an 18-month-old?). You all know by now that I prefer my vacations to be whirlwind adventures full of 10-mile walks through historic cities. The beach doesn't recharge me like Amsterdam or Edinburgh.

Speaking of which -- I haven't even told you where I'm going! It's true, I'm off to Scotland for a bit, but I'm making a detour first. Maybe I'll send you a postcard if you guess...

I must brag again about my packing skills though. I've got everything for the two of us for a month crammed into a single carry-on suitcase -- no vacuum bags even necessary. And I even had room to bring a few gifts for a friend. What I obviously am not able to brag about, however, is my ability to write a super helpful blog about how to pack for a month in Europe for just you and a toddler in one carry-on. It's a long flight, though, so I'll get back to you.

For now, here's my #2 packing tip: Always bring a swimsuit.

(Number one is, of course: all you need is a passport and a credit card.)

P.S. I have about ten housesitters staying at my house, so don't even think about stealing my mail!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

COMING UP: a change of scenery.

This time next week, I'll be regaling you with photos of sidewalk cafes, cobblestone streets, castles, cathedrals, and probably a few rainbows. You'll hate me! But when you hate me, remember that I've had a rough 18 months. I know, I know, it's all relative, but I am much much much in need of a change of scenery.

I'm not going alone, however, so I won't say it'll be relaxing. It's just me and the wee boy, flying transatlantic with -- drumroll, please -- only one carry-on and a diaper bag. We'll be gone for four weeks. How's that for a challenge? I'll get back to you when I actually pack, but I'm totally confident in my skills.

I may not be the most organized person, but give me a month in Europe and I'll show you all my belongings in a backpack. Anyone else done it before? I've been preparing a blog full of my best tips, but I hope you'll share some of yours.

In the mean time, let's daydream about me filling up my Castle Board on Pinterest.

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