Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stealing a Rollover. 199999...200000!!!

I borrowed my dad's Volvo for a few days because my car was low on gas. That's lame, I know. Honestly, I always hesitate to fill the gas tank because I'm convinced my car is going to die at any moment. Wouldn't that be just a shame to -- on top of the car keeling over -- to have just filled up the gas tank? So anyway, I've got the Volvo, which has been also useful because now I do things like, say, drive over 35 miles per hour, and fasten my seatbelt on the first try, open the trunk without the alarm system going off, and, most importantly, transport things like say, my keyboard, which doesn't fit in my tiny little Volkswagen. I love borrowing the Volvo. (I love all things Swedish, actually, except meatballs.)

The tricky part is now negotiating my miles-driven so that I don't steal Dad's rollover. It's at 199968 or something right now, and the only thing worse than missing your own rollover -- you know, when you pay attention for the last 5 miles, then think about something else by the time it rolls over -- is when you loan out your car and someone else gets to watch those numbers flip over. FWT and I stole Friend Who Drives a Smart Car's 10k rollover once, and we felt terrible about it.

I understand that most of you out there -- you folks who have fancy cars that contain computers -- don't get the enjoyment of watching those old-fashioned alarm clock style digits actually roll back into the dashboard and seeing the zeros sneak their way up. For you, the numbers just change in a flash. But this ol' 1992 Volvo is going to have a wonderful rollover, half-filled with nines and half with zeros.

I must budget my driving so that he can enjoy this simple pleasure on his own.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rehearsals, thirds, and elevenths.

Last night's rehearsal was a good time. I didn't want to go, mostly because I was utterly unprepared. Like I admitted yesterday, I am really not all that familiar with Fleetwood Mac songs, so I would have preferred to stay home and listen to the record and chart the songs rather than rehearse the entire album with five folks who seem to know all the songs inside and out.

For you who have no idea what I'm talking about, this Saturday at 6:30 and again at midnight, as part of the MotherLodge Festival at the Rudyard Kipling, Ray Rizzo has coordinated six Louisville musicians to get together and perform the entire "Rumours" album. I learned last night that this record is older than I am, which I guess really isn't all that strange.

Anyway, five of the Louisville musicians are just brilliant at playing and singing this record. I plan on being brilliant by Saturday's performance, too, but for now I'm feeling just slightly above average. Danny Flanigan, Ray Rizzo, Todd Johnson, Tim Halcomb, and Kimmet Cantwell, totally rocked the rehearsal, making me think we're going to pull this thing off just fine. Plus, it's a new group of folks, and I love performing with other people.

Your Stevie Nicks for the evening will be Kimmet (of Kimmet and Doug), who totally nailed every lead vocal and harmony and who, I'm quite convinced, will blow your minds at Saturday's shows. I'm also impressed by how she knows what to do with her hands without holding an instrument.

I kept thinking to myself that if I didn't have to actually know all the piano and organ parts, this thing wouldn't be stressing me out so much. I could just learn the words and sing. But after watching Kimmet in rehearsal, who is so totally confident just standing up there singing, there is no way I could do that for an entire show. Singing without an instrument is like playing a brand new song in a living room to just one person -- utterly awkward. I don't know what to do with my hands or where to look. Learning the piano parts will at least give me something to do besides stand there uncomfortably.

Tonight ... back to learning Love Jones tunes. From songs with no thirds, to songs with sharp elevens ... my brain is spinning. It is good.

The week:
Friday, Oct 1 on WFPK's Live Lunch: LOVE JONES. noon-1:00. Streaming live at www.wfpk.org (Listen for me on keyboards)
Friday, Oct 1 on East Market Street: Brigid playing solo to passers-by at the First Friday Trolley Hop. Admittedly, street performing is not exactly my favorite kind of gig. Is anyone coming? I'll be across from the Green Building from about 7:00-8:30.
Saturday, Oct 2: 6:30 "Rumours" at the Rudyard Kipling
9:00-11:00 LOVE JONES at NuLuFestival by the Green Building (FREE)
midnight "Rumours" at the Rudyard Kipling

Monday, September 27, 2010

Work-Life Balance vs. Fleetwood Mac-Love Jones Balance.

I'm pretty good at being self-employed, I think. At least, I've managed to not foreclose on my house over the past eight years, which is a huge accomplishment in this economy. The one thing I'm trying to maintain these days is a good work-life balance. It's not a term I was ever familiar with, especially considering my work has been my life. If I wasn't teaching piano or learning someone else's songs or writing my own songs, then I was out at night hearing live music or talking about the music business with friends. I like having some off-time in the evenings, however, for things like cooking and cleaning and reading and hanging out with FWT.

Over the past year, I (like many of you, I've noticed) haven't been going out very much. Every time I go out to a show, I'm reminded of how much I love being there, hearing live music, and seeing friends, so I know that I won't ever give that up. But I've been trying really hard over the past few months to stop doing work after 7:00. It hasn't been a terrible problem, except that now I'm dreadfully behind in things and I keep saying "yes" when perhaps I should be declining.

But who can say no to a gig in this economy, right?

I was up early this morning, trying to learn all the keyboard parts and Christine McVie vocals to the entire Rumours album. I know, I know, my job is bizarre, right? It's not a complex part, but I want to get it right. (It also seems a bit more fun than replying to a thousand emails, running to the bank, printing posters, mailing them to Scotland, etc. I should prioritize better.)

Honestly, I didn't grow up with that record. I grew up not really knowing who Fleetwood Mac was, and assuming that John Prine was as famous as Johnny Cash. My musical knowledge is skewed a bit, to say the least. But it's a nice task, being forced to sit down and not just listen to a famous album, but dissect and reconstruct it. Still, however, it's pushing this whole no-working-past-7:00 thing. Especially, when I have rehearsals for various shows every single evening this week.

And along with Rumours, I've got about twenty-five Love Jones songs to learn by Live Lunch on Friday. I know most of them, but I still have a lot of listening and memorizing to do. Honestly, I'm enjoying learning the Love Jones stuff a bit more than the Fleetwood Mac. The Jon Brion keyboard parts are more challenging than the Christy McVie, but I prefer playing jazzy ninths and thirteenths to droning the fifth on B3 and playing with drawbars. I know her parts are important and subtly difficult, but they don't make me laugh like the Love Jones boys do.

Anyway, all that to say that I won't be maintaining much of a work-life balance this week. But I'm aiming to treat the blog as work and keep it going nonetheless. I'm back on the caffeine temporarily, so it just might be possible.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Why we do this crazy stuff...

Thanks for all the awesome messages of support. For today's blog, I'm going to link you up to a friend and fellow indie-artist. Her name is Wendy Colonna, and she wrote a blog yesterday that pretty much sums it up.

http://wendycolonna.com/why-i-do-this-crazy-music-stuff-for-a-living

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thanks for the award, friends.

I didn't get a "Senior Superlative" in my high school yearbook. I remember being really surprised and mildly insulted when the yearbook staff passed out ballots for run-offs in the superlative categories that were close, and I was apparently in the run-off election for "Biggest Flirt." (Laugh away, folks, laugh away.) I also remember voting for the other person, and being really glad that she won in the re-count.

I know it ultimately doesn't matter, so I try not to put much thought into what others think of me. But that's easier said than done. And you know what? It feels really nice to have been voted Best Singer-Songwriter in Louisville by the LEO Readers' Choice Awards (again) yesterday. I know that I shouldn't put much thought into things like external validation, but honestly, it feels really nice to see that I'm not out there singing and writing and touring for no reason.

This business is hard. I know I am mostly a happy, cheerful person, but it's really really tough to be an independent musician in a time where it's just about impossible to make a living at it.

You may have noticed I don't have a new record. Well, I only just today paid off the last one. (Round of applause, folks!!!) That took three years, folks, and a lot of shows and tours, each with their own expenses. And every day I ask myself what the point of making a new CD would be. I'd be better off -- financially anyway -- just burying a wad of cash in the backyard. But I know it's not about the money, or I wouldn't be in this business.

More than anything, I'm reminded by this award that someone -- more than a few -- folks out there are listening. As strange as it is for me to think that someone might be listening to my music right now in their car, on their walk, on a plane, I think I need to remember that more often. Things like getting this award make me remember that I'm not in this alone, that I may sing and play and write because I can't imagine doing anything else, and that maybe, just maybe, I am pretty good at what I do.

So thank you to all who voted for me, but more importantly, thank you to all of you who listen. Thank you to those who support musicians, who buy their records, who come to their concerts, who spread the love and music and who tell their friends about singers, players, writers, artists, etc. And sincere congratulations to all the other winners, as well as to all who didn't win, but who make the world a much better place by making and sharing their art. Even if you don't get your name on a plaque, you should know that what you do matters.

In special thanks, both of my full-length albums are available digitally this week for only $4.99 on http://brigidkaelin.bandcamp.com. Cheers, everyone.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My dreams fulfilled. Thank you, KitchenAid.


For those of you who browse my Amazon.com WishList daily (but who surprisingly have yet to buy that Oxford English Dictionary for me, tsk tsk!), you may have noticed a missing item. Remember my blog from April? "My longing for a kitchen appliance", in which I 'fessed up to having a burning desire for material possession?

Well, I got just about the most ridiculous gift over the weekend from my parents, who I'm guessing were touched by my I-never-had-a-grandmother-to-spoil-me-blog. Out of the blue, and for no apparent reason, they decided that I deserved an Empire Red KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer.

And folks, it is fantastic.

I grew up believing all the morals of every story I read, ever movie I saw, every fairy tale I heard. Thus, I believe, however foolishly, that money can't buy you love, that princes show up on white horses (or trucks), and that family is the most important thing.

So it's slightly mortifying that I am so completely infatuated with this Mixer.

Yesterday, after attempting my first bread not-kneaded-by-hand (a tricky task, I might add!), I caught myself not just wiping down the majestic beast of an appliance, but getting out a soft cloth and making sure it returned to its original glistening state with the most gentle caresses. I felt like that guy with the mid-life crisis who waxes his brand new red sports car daily, and, even worse, I think now maybe I actually understand that yearning.

What happened to the morals of the story? Don't I remember that Scrooge missed out on life because he spent all day counting and stacking his money? I feel horrible that my kitchen suddenly feels complete. And yet it was an oddly fulfilling feeling ... like I can bake anything I want, use as many specialty tools as I need, and toss it all in the dishwasher while waiting for the dough to rise.

And oh, how quickly those cookies came together ...

By the way, with all these love letters to KitchenAid in my widely-read blog, don't you think KitchenAid should send me the Pasta Maker attachment as a public "thank you?" Clearly, the materialism has gone to my head ...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Housekeepers, interns, and coffee.

More of you have housekeepers than are admitting. Fess up. Bookshelves that are dust-free and a clutter-free living room is not normal. I used to think that "the cleaning lady" (or I suppose "cleaning man") was only for the insanely wealthy, but now I think it's more of a necessity. And I think I necess one.

I've also noticed that those of you who don't have one are going on cleaning fits around your house, probably preparing for a winter of hibernation. I am doing the same thing, but I am really bad at this. I can get the floors clean and the shelves dusted, but it takes me forever. I'm starting to think a housekeeper would be cheaper than my time is.

Maybe I should let some poor college student live in my guest room in exchange for dusting and cleaning and light yardwork. FWT seems to think that is indentured servitude, but I think it's very clever.

Perhaps I just noticed my messy house because I work from home. And sometimes it's easier to sweep the floor than to get caught up on emails. I think I'll go up to Heine Brothers to get some work done now. They are always sweeping the floors up there.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Stay in bed and read? Or work? Hmmmm...

I kind of feel like playing sick today. I'm feeling fine, other than an ankle that isn't quite as well as I thought it was when I started walking around on it. But that wasn't really the issue. Really, it was just nice to cuddle up in blankets and read a book. I'm to that point in a book where I just need to finish it. It's not the gripping page-turner that I was promised when I started, but I need to know whodunnit.

I'm the sort of person who likes to read a book in one sitting. It's funny because I can't think of anything else that I actually like to complete. Even when washing dishes, I like to leave one or two in the sink. Or I'll sweep the floor but not throw away the dust pile. Or as the case in the recent built-in-bookshelf-building adventure, I'll put the books back on it before the final doors are hung or not wait for the paint to entirely dry. But with books, I need to finish them as soon as possible.

And so it annoys me that I must go to Kinko's (really, is anyone ever going to actually call it "FedEx Office" in vernacular?), the bank, the post office, and make a zillion phone calls before my 12:30 appointments. I would prefer to call in sick (my boss is really cool) and finish this book.

Ooooh ... in the self-promotion department, there's an interview with me up at Loueyville.blogspot.com, specifically: http://loueyville.blogspot.com/2010/09/awesome-louisvillager-brigid-kaelin.html This was one of my favorite interviews. I was a bit long-winded, but they were great questions. I like it when the media folks do their homework and don't ask the same old questions. Loueyville clearly researches before she reaches out. There's also a nice archive of other "Awesome Louisvillagers," as well as lots of other great blog posts there. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Video of live show.

How about some music? I have oodles of video, both of crazy on-the-road antics and live performances. I don't have oodles of time to edit them. But today I managed to upload a nice edit-free live clip of me and Peter Searcy playing at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival earlier this year.

Enjoy! Oh, and my YouTube channel is www.youtube.com/brigidkaelin in case you want to subscribe.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How do you organize your books?

Forget your music collection. That's been a topic in bars and movies for years now. I want to know how you arrange your books. My new floor-to-ceiling bookshelf is just about finished, and I've put about 300 books up there. It's kind of embarrassing that that doesn't even come close to holding my collection, but it just gives me a reason to build more.

In the mean time, how do you arrange yours? Alphabetical? Dewey Decimal System? Library of Congress? Fiction/Non-Fiction? All the Vintage Paperback Classics on one shelf? All the red books on another?

I've got a system going that makes perfect sense to me, although FWT thinks I'm kooky. I probably am, but I can find both my French/English dictionary and my World According to Garp in an instant.

What's your system?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sprankles and wankles and pancakes.

I've got a sprankle. It's not as bad as several years ago, when I fell and it turned purple and black and looked like half of a moldy grapefruit attached to my foot. That time it was swollen for about six months and has never quite returned to its normal size. Doctor friends have told me I probably broke it, but I never went to the doctor because of my Crappy American Health Insurance™. If it had been my wrist -- something I actually need in my job -- I might have gone into debt for it. But I can do with a wankle that occasionally gives out. This one just happened to give out on the stairs yesterday, and I took a tumble, and the wankle became a sprankle.

Whine whine whine.

In related news, so much for getting back on the treadmill. I think I'll cook pancakes this morning. Because I'm so injured.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Zombies, DIY projects, and Art.

As I've said before, I would be useless in the zombie wars. I would play the role of the obnoxious female lead (in 1970s films, before women started being able to take care of themselves in movies) who sits there and screams, trying to operate the gun, or the hammer, or the stake (wait, that's for vampires, sorry...), and I would only be saved because I'm supposed to end up with the hero.

I was reminded of my uselessness over the past week while FWT and I were constructing built-in bookshelves in our house. It's something I've wanted to do since I bought the place five years ago. My old roommate Vicki and I even convinced ourselves one day that we were totally capable of building them, and I even went so far as to check out a bunch of woodworking books from the library. Unfortunately (or rather, fortunately, for the stability and equity of my home), we never got around to making those dreams come true.

So for the next few years, I thought it was just my lack of tools that prevented me from building them myself. Tools are expensive, and it's not like I was going to be using them ever again. Plus, I wouldn't know where to begin.

FWT, thankfully, did most of the work and fixed my errors without acknowledging them as mistakes, and smiled even when I accidentally painted him (more about that later). And my bookshelves are bee-yoo-tiful. Still, I learned some things over the past week:

1) It's a good thing I never decided to major in architecture, like I once wanted to do.
2) that placing the stud-finder over a good-looking man and going "BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP" is not as funny as I thought it would be. And apparently, it's an old joke.
3) that something called a "router" makes those cool designs on doors, not a skilled artisan with a chisel
4) that my arthritic fingers are totally useless when it comes to doing ANY manual labor and that they cramp up into a tight ball after sanding two pieces of wood, then ache for days.
5) that trying to paint for hours after sanding two pieces of wood is a terrible idea
6) Buy the expensive blue painter's tape, or you'll cry when you rip it off.
7) Don't assume that your partner-in-DIY-projects closed the paint tin properly before you start to shake the paint up. Yes, FWT was covered in white interior latex semi-gloss ...
8) You're supposed to close the paint cans with a hammer when you're finished. (Sorry, FWT.)

Most of all, I learned that I not only lack the skills to build things, but I especially lack the patience. It's all tiny, tiny details -- things I'm happy to ignore, like letting the paint dry completely, or sanding, or measuring.

I prefer cooking, where details aren't so important, and where the structural integrity of the biggest investment of your life won't be compromised when you don't measure things out precisely. In other words, I prefer things where attempting a bit of daring creativity doesn't cause me to break into tears. I guess I'm a little selfish. Oh well.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Back in Nashville.

I'm in Nashville for a couple of days, which is always like vacation, even when it's work. Also, I'm driving The Truck. Friend with a Truck has been demoted to Friend with a Volkswagen, and I'm hoping he remembers he is not as big and powerful as usual. People don't yield to Volkswagens.

It always amazes me when I borrow The Truck and people immediately starting paying attention to my turn signals. It must be a lot what Andre the Giant felt like when he walked down the sidewalk. Everyone just gets out of your way and lets you merge whenever you want. It's a lot more difficult to park than my little VW, however, so I spent a while looking for a parking spot.

Right now, I'm lingering in the Sheraton Hotel lobby watching about a hundred conference-goers schmooze and schmooze over wine and whisky. Usually, I love going to these things by myself and flitting and fleeting and making new friends. The schmoozing part I could do without, but I do like hanging out with music business people. Mostly, I like them because they all love their jobs, and they don't treat my career as a musician like it's "cute."

Today, however, I'm feeling introverted. Isn't that weird? I went through my ritual of driving directly to the Noshville for breakfast and eating solo at the counter. Now I'm holed up in a busy area of the hotel, hanging out with my pink laptop, hoping that by the time I go back to where I parked The Truck, the people on either side will have moved. Anyway, I'm looking forward to hanging out with some friends I rarely get to see and seeing some good music tonight.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The unoffical last day of summer.

It's bad enough that I've had a headache every day for a week now that's to fall allergies, but I think the worst part about autumn is the official closing of the swimming pools. Traditionally, it's a Labor Day event, a time to actively enjoy the last flip off the high dive, the last snorkel for lost treasures like hair barrettes and pennies, the last time you tump* your unsuspecting dad over on his raft, and the last day to just sit poolside in a floppy hat with a trashy vampire novel. Labor Day this year was no exception.

Except that I chose comfort over nostalgia this year, and barely even got my toes wet. It was cold, folks.

Lakeside is my pool of choice. (I understand it's a lucky birthright in my case. Let's not discuss pool memberships today.) Monday evening, I dropped by after teaching an afternoon of piano lessons -- the self-employed don't get holidays -- to enjoy one last evening by the pool. My mom's book club (they read smarter novels than vampire lit) had a picnic there, so I scavenged some vegan potato salad and watermelon before heading to the diving boards with FWT.

FWT reverts to boyhood when he is at the pool, ignoring the freezing cold water, and practicing his gainer-walkaround-squirrels off the high board, no matter how ugly or painful they turn out. It's funny to watch. Apparently, he's not the only one that loses twenty years on the last day of summer.

There was a revolt at the pool. The old folks' swim team (old as in ages 18-94) converged in the deep end for a massive game of Sharks and Minnows, and everyone else at the pool swam out to the floating island, climbing up and refusing to exit the pool when the lifeguards blew the final closing whistle of the season. It was organized anarchy -- an oxymoron, I know -- but they seem to play this game with the staff every year. It's not a place where one breaks the rules, so this refusal to get out of the pool was accompanied by wild laughter and a slight fear of getting in trouble. Even the chants of, "Heck no, we won't go," -- "heck" because it's a family establishment after all -- seemed to be chanted with the greatest respect.

It was a funny sight, but I don't like to break the rules. I watched the scene for a few minutes, but as soon as the staff got on the PA system and said, "Seriously, folks, you have to get out of the water. It's dark. Our lifeguards can't see you. Let's keep this place fun," I went home.

And really, I'm okay with summer coming to an end. I don't like the winter, but this summer has been terribly distracting. With summer music festivals, vacations, friends having babies, my garden going crazy, the diving boards calling, it's hard to get much work done in the summertime. I like the focus of the new year (L'Shana Tova, everyone), and I've got some exciting things to look forward to this fall. Now if only I could find the right allergy medicine and this headache would go away.

*"tump" is a Southern word. Please use logic and context to infer its meaning.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I won something!

I know that I generally have good luck (although I've blogged before that I believe it's less about random luck and more about creating your own luck), but I have never been one of those folks who wins contests. I've never won the lottery, or free tickets to a call-in radio show, or even any Nigerian bank money.

But this past weekend, I happened to get on Twitter at the exact right moment. Okay, so maybe it was socially the wrong moment, considering I was out having a cocktail with my parents, but, hey, they were playing on their phones too and the football game was boring. Anyway, I happened to browse Twitter just as the Americana Conference folks (@AmericanaFest) were having a contest quiz to win free tickets to the Festival.

Now I love conferences in general. I think they are fun, informative, and always a blast. But the Americana Music Association Conference in Nashville is just about the best one I've ever attended. Last year I was fortunate enough to have an Official Showcase at the event, which is, if I may say, kind of a big deal. Seriously. But this year, I didn't even apply for a showcase because, well, I don't have a new record to promote. I figured I would go anyway, just as a regular ol' attendee, not an artist. Unfortunately, money is tight (it seems we all understand that nowadays), and I calculated that I just couldn't afford to go this year.

Then I was playing on Twitter while I should have been watching football with my parents, and I happened to win the AMA contest for free tickets. Yee haw! It's extra-exciting because I forgot how many of my friends from across the country will be there. It's like camp for the music business, except only with my favorite kinds of musicians. Anyway, I'm excited. Here's the lineup.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Everyone should have a piano.

Back when I was a kid, we used to go play at our friend's homes, rather than playing video games with people who live across the globe. We didn't call them by that posh name "playdates," but rather we would "spend the night" or just "come over to play." I loved going over to my friend's houses, and I remember distinctly thinking it was completely weird when they didn't have a piano. To me, having a piano was equivalent to having a TV. What kind of family doesn't have a TV these days? Well, to me it was, "What kind of family doesn't have a piano?"

It still weirds me out, honestly, as it something is missing from the home.

Yesterday, I went dream-home shopping with a friend who can afford it. I love going to open houses and imagining that I could afford these big homes, but I've never gotten to look at one on a Thursday morning. This was a huge 7 bedroom mansion with at least 5 bathrooms (I lost count) and kitchen that included a butler's pantry and a separate staircase for the servants' use. It was beautiful. It was old and needed updating, I suppose, but I kind of like the old quirkiness of those homes.

It only occurred to me this morning, however, what was wrong with the home. In all that space -- over five thousand square feet -- there were gorgeous pieces of furniture, antiques, paintings, etc., but there was not a single piano, or any musical instrument, for that matter. How can you own a million-dollar home and not have a piano?

If I lived in a house like that, I think I'd have a piano in every room. There would be an old upright player piano in the parlor/entry-way. I'd have a baby grand in the massive sitting room, facing the huge bay windows. I'd put a console piano in the back living room, and maybe a harpsichord in the dining room.

Anyway, that's my tip to you realtors and professional stagers. Pianos make a place feel complete. Run with that.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Deep thoughts on grandmothers.

I'm all introspective this morning, and I'm obsessing over family. Mostly, I'm thinking about how both of my grandmothers died when I was a baby. This never bothered me as a kid because I didn't know any better. But now, as my friends' grandmothers are only just now dying off, it seems really weird that I didn't know mine.

From what I've gathered by watching my friends, grandmothers are awesome. They spoil you. They watch you when you are wee and give you chocolate when your parents aren't looking. They buy you frilly dresses and, at least from what I observed in my fancy private university dorms, they send you extremely large checks within extremely large care packages.

This morning my uncle Kevin posted a photo of my grandmother on Facebook with the caption Abby Kaelin 4/20/1917---9/2/1980 (9/02/80 was the Zip Code Day for South Gate, California, FYI), exactly 30 years ago. That made me kind of sad. But then I thought that it's reeeeeeally sad for my daddy and his brothers, and then thinking of my daddy sad mad me even sadder.

Really, I don't like to think about what I might have missed out on because that's pretty much a non-productive waste of energy. So instead, I've decided I'm going to spoil myself today because, probably, my grandmothers would have, right? I never got those cookies in the mail, or those blank checks for the NYU registrar (I swear that happened to a roommate ... who writes a $30,000 check???), or back-to-school shoes. Of course, I can bake my own cookies, and I don't need any more shoes (although a blank check would be nice). So what can I do in order to celebrate the grandmother I never knew?

Well, I don't know much about Abby, but I hear she liked Scotch. Well, guess who else likes Scotch? And guess whose bottle of Laphroaig is just about empty? I think a proper trip to the liquor store might just be in order today.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Checking in at the new year ... sort of.

It smells like fall outside. I don't know what it is, or how one can smell a change in temperature, but it smells like the new year ... you know, the proper new year, when brand new notebooks are more apropo than brand new resolutions. Maybe it's approaching Rosh Hashanah or maybe it's the quietness in the day now that the kids are all in school. Either way, it feels like things are starting over.

I miss summer, but I like school supplies. I also find September a much more appropriate time of year to do a check and see how things are going. It's better than finding yourself in December already and not having done/read/seen/lost even close to what you thought you'd have done this year.

I read a lot this summer, but not as much as I'd intended. And most of what I read was vampire chick lit. I suppose that's acceptable being that it was summer reading. Now that I smell sharped pencils in the air, I suppose I could go to the library and get something thoughtful rather than escapist.

I've also used my passport for three different trips this year, which means I'm way ahead of average. Before the year's up, I'll have used it at least once more, and for an entirely different country.

Of course, there are all kinds of things I haven't done yet, which angers me because I feel like I've done nothing but work work work all year, despite the trips (which have been mostly for work anyway). But the nice thing about pausing to reflect in September is that there's still plenty of time to check things off the list.

What's left? How are those resolutions going? Have you read books this year? Made any records? Blogged daily? Taken up a new hobby? Learned something? There's still plenty of time...

UK Tour dates... almost ready to announce...

I'm currently trying to fill in dates on this United Kingdom tour that I've booked for February. Some of the dates have been really ...