Monday, December 30, 2013

RIP Guinness 2003-2013.

I was so busy with family stuff over that past week that I didn't get to blog at all. We drove 2300 miles roundtrip to Lubbock, Texas, where we spent a week playing Catchphrase, Trivial Pursuit, and eating. My dad came along to entertain the wee boy in the back seat, which was most excellent for the boy (and for our ears), but sad for my mom, who was left behind by her lonesome.


With two dogs to keep her company on Christmas.

And, alas, we returned home yesterday to only one doggie. One lonesome doggie and a super-sad family.

Guinness is gone, my friends. He would have been 11 in March, which is a few years longer than Great Danes usually live. I guess he surprised us all in that respect. It's weird to not be able to say goodbye though.

But he was in pain, and was gently put down at home by a wonderful veterinarian who makes house calls. (Getting Guinness to a vet's office was impossible first because his vet wasn't working this week and second because the 150-pound doggie couldn't get off of the couch, much less make it to the car.) I didn't meet Dr. LeMay because I was somewhere in Texas when she came over to my mom's house. Mom said she was wonderful and kind and sweet, and, as weird as it sounds, Mom is going to call her when it's time for the remaining doggie to go.

Anyway, I'm trying to grieve for my favorite puppy dog. The one who was big enough to spoon with. Who had a weird habit of never, ever, ever, going pee or poo unless it was in his own backyard, even if we were on a five-mile-walk. The dog who used to go on 2am walks with me after gigs and no one would mess with us because he was so intimidating. The dog who rarely ever barked. The dog who once hid a bag of potato chips in his crate, saving them for later. The dog who won all the graduation games at obedience school, but who would steal your sandwich off the top of the microwave the minute you walked out the front door. Poor lonely George's best friend.

Miss you, Guinness!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Show on Friday!

Christmas party week! I'm playing a lot. Three private events, and ONE PUBLIC SHOW!
I know -- totally shocking, right? (Peter asked me when our next full band show was, and I had no answer. Someone book me a great band show, okay?)

Anyway, Danny Flanigan has this annual songwriter holiday show at the Rudyard Kipling, and this year, I'm playing it.

It's me, John Mann, Danny Flanigan, and Alan Rhody, playing in-the-round (one song each over and over again).

It's Friday, December 20th, at 7:30pm. I won't say "sharp," because I'm not in charge of this show. Ergo, I can't assure you it'll start at 7:30 sharp. But as it's always a full house at this show, I can't imagine holding the curtain for any reason.

$10 at the Rudyard Kipling. I'll have copies of my albums there for only $5, cash or credit or trade for babysitting. (Well, physical copies of West 28th Street and fancy download cards of Keep Your Secrets because it's out-of-print.).

Taking requests now....

Friday, December 13, 2013

NYC, Santaland, and lots of bagels.

If you follow me on The Twitter and The Instragram, then you know that I was in New York this week! I didn't bring my laptop with me, and, seeing as I am the only person left on the planet without an iPad, I didn't blog while I was there. But it was a grand old time. My Timehop has had me feeling really lame lately, reminding me that two years ago, I was eating pizza in Campo di Fiori in Rome, so I was super-happy to get out and have some more adventures.

I got up early. I walked around (over 10 miles a day, but this time with a baby strapped to my chest). I ate a lot. I wandered in and out of shops. I gave directions to a zillion lost tourists.

It wasn't actually that much different than my previous trips to NYC. 

Only this time, we saw Santa:

Macy's Santaland 2013. The wee boy liked
the elves more than he liked Santa.


More on the NYC trip next time, including some tips on traveling to New York with a toddler. But for now, I've got some catching-up to do.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Sound of Music Day!

Is everyone excited about The Sound of Music tonight? Does anyone else wish that Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer would just reprise their roles tonight? I admittedly don't know much at all about tonight's live TSOM production, other than it stars Carrie Underwood and some vampire and that it's based on the stage musical, not the movie. That's a good thing, so that we are limited in our comparisons.

Because, I mean, who could ever be better than Julie and Christopher???

Sigh.

I don't hate Carrie Underwood though. That's actually the only season of American Idol that I ever watched, and I remember seeing her singing "I Can't Make You Love Me" at her audition and thinking she was fab. I haven't really followed her country career, other than the one time I was asked to sing "Before He Cheats" at a WEDDING,  of all places. 

I'm going to watch TSOM though ... if I can stay awake. I've been up since 4:56am, so it's highly likely I'll just do what I did when I was small and pretend that the show is over at the (SPOILER ALERT BUT IF THIS IS REALLY A SPOILER, THEN WHY ARE WE FRIENDS???) wedding scene. The whole Nazi thing is such a downer, anyway.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Happy Hanukkah, y'all!

Happy end of Hanukkah! I failed to post this, which is dumb of me. See, y'all think I'm really good at self-promotion, but I am actually TERRIBLE at it! It's why I started a Kickstarter thing almost six years ago, but never actually published it because I think it would be tacky of me to ask for crowdfunding. That said, I've donated to countless Kickstarter, Pledgemusic, and similar projects, so I guess I'm only hurting myself.

But anyway, here's your annual dose of Dreidel fun. Does anyone want to help me make a video for "Mazel Tonk!" next year? It seems dumb not to have one. Actually, can someone out there just put all of my songs on YouTube? I need an intern.



Last night I played a few of my tunes, including this one, at a public Interfaith Hanukkah Party at the Jewish Community Center. It was a really fantastic event -- totally laidback, welcoming, and very educational. A group of Catholic middle school students attended, as well as people from all over the community. Everyone enjoyed music, latkes, and jelly doughnuts.

Can't ask for much more, right?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Toothpaste and marital advice.

At our wedding, we had little pieces of paper where guests could write advice to us. My favorite, by far, was from Lyzz and Josh who merely had two words: Rocket Toothpaste.

You know the kind. That plastic rocket-shaped bottle/tube that stands up on its own and always returns to form after each use.

Apparently marriage is about compromise, and the toothpaste debate is one of those battles that you can just avoid completely if you buy rocket toothpaste. Genius, right?

Confession: we haven't been buying rocket toothpaste.

We are still totally in love and [I don't think] we are harboring any secret resentment about toothpaste. But I've been carefully trying to squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom and replace it just as it was after every use.

When David was out of town for work, however, as he often is these days, I reverted to bachelorette mode: toothpaste freedom! And I discovered something that week that made me re-think the idea of rocket toothpaste.

It's not only very satisfying and a huge timesaver to just grab and squeeze, but it's also ergonomic.

I know most of you are on David's side of this debate, carefully rolling up the bottom of your tubes and gently coaxing the toothpaste to the top. (You all probably also spend two weeks of your lives sorting your socks, but that's another issue.)

But today, I urge you to be adventurous. Go ahead. Grab a fresh bottle of toothpaste, wrap your beautiful hand around the tube, and SQUEEZE. Notice that perfect indention that is left behind -- a mold of your hand so that next time you brush, your hand is completely comfortable, and the paste just glides onto the brush.

Let your hair down, folks.

At least until your husband comes back to town... then maybe splurge and buy the rocket toothpaste.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Best cookie ever.


I didn't have any internet access on my laptop over Thanksgiving, so you're getting my Thanksgiving-day blog post a little late. Sorry!

Chocolate chip cookies frosted with chocolate
chip cookie dough. You're welcome!
When it comes to cookies, you can’t go wrong with straight-up chocolate chip. Snickerdoodles, ginger snaps, even samoas, well, they are all good, but I don’t think they can touch a warm, straight-from-the-oven classic.

It’s hard to improve on perfect, but if you are looking for something a little more festive for the holiday season, I give you my genius creation. Behold!

Chocolate chip cookies frosted with chocolate-chip cookie dough. 

I mean, come on, don’t you eat half the dough anyway? And eventually you wonder if you should bother to cook the rest or just bust out the spoon. Problem solved.

You’re welcome and happy thanksgiving!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Smalltime adventures and how pretty is my baby?

I've been having a bit of writer's block on the ol' blog here, most likely because this is a blog of adventures and my adventures have been lacking. I like to go to bed before 9pm. I've been awake pretty much every 2 hours with the boy the past several nights.

I did manage to have a bit of fun this weekend though. David and I had a yummy dinner with friends at El Camino on Saturday night, followed by a bizarro trip to Shively where we saw a very loud (but talented) band play some 80s rock covers and make a lot of obscene jokes while two women gave a lap dance to a man in the front row. But good company always makes for good fun, so we had a blast.

Yesterday afternoon we went to Churchill Downs, which is apparently what we do now on Sundays. My standard 2/5 exacta box was not profitable, so instead, I focused on getting my money's worth out of the buffet. (Gorgonzola mac and cheese, anyone??!)

In terms of writer's block, though, I'm trying to think of how to keep the blog interesting when I'm not feeling very creative. Maybe I'll start doing what all the other bloggers do and write things like "17 Things You Need to know about ________." 

In the mean time, how beautiful is the wee boy?


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Falling down the stairs and magical reflex therapy.

I am not a graceful person. Sure, I did ballet (see photo), and I was pretty good at doing the right dance steps on the right beat. But it never looked pretty. I'm also very close friends with gravity, and I've taken some mighty tumbles over the past few years.

Having been self-employed for my entire adult life and always having an individual health insurance policy, I have made a habit of just "getting over it." I don't go to the doctor because it's never been bad enough to justify the cost. So when I fell down some stairs back in June, I just tried to get over it.

Here's a picture of the bruise on my butt. Yes, I'm aware that I'm posting a picture of my butt on the internet, but I'm pretty proud of this gorgeous bruise. It was the size of a large apple, and it HURT.

That was several months ago. This week my friend Carrie finally talked me into going to a Physical Therapist (she actually called him because I'm a nervous introvert who hates the phone) because I whine a lot about how my back hurts, and I walk like Quasimodo when I first get out of bed. So I gave in and went because I'm not ready to have a hip replacement (though when I do, I'm totally going to Thailand because the cost of a surgery and 7-night stay at the hospital in Thailand is still less than my deductible/excess).

Anyway, this PT did weird magical things with my reflexes and muscles. He didn't do any scary cracks or pops, but he tapped on my neck a few times and suddenly my hip crackled a bit and went back into place. Apparently, they were completely turned the wrong way and stuck there because my muscles are all too tight (why then, is my butt not rock-hard???).

I'm doing my at-home exercises religiously because I can feel my hips trying to go back to Quasimodoville, and I much prefer being able to stand up straight.

Now I have to figure out what to do now that I can't complain about my back.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Seven interesting things about me.

I made the mistake of "liking" a friend's status (he's met the QUEEN!), so that means I was assigned a number. He gave me six. Another friend gave me eight, so I'm averaging it and making it seven. I'm pretty sure I've never participated in any Facebook status thing before, but I've really enjoyed this one. My friends, as it turns out, are fascinating.

So here are seven interesting/braggy things about me:

Q: Would you rather have a weeklong trip to France? Or a
silver bowl that lasts a lifetime?
A: I'LL SELL YOU MYBOWL FOR A PLANE TICKET!!
1. My college roommate/ BFF and I met in a chat room on America Online when were 16.

2. I had Perfect Attendance from Kindergarten to 12th grade. As a reward, I got an engraved silver-plated bowl (see picture). The perfect attendance people the year before me got a trip to France. I'm still bitter about it. But back to the perfect attendance ... I have an immune system of steel.

3. From 1998-2001 I worked for CBS News (television) in New York, where I worked on CBS This Morning, various special events, and eventually the documentary unit. I left there as an Associate Producer in August of 2001.

4. I flew into Newark Airport at 8am on September 11, 2001, and watched both towers fall live from Gate 1.

5. I have played accordion, musical saw, and sung with Elvis Costello in two countries -- without a rehearsal. I still have his voicemails and text messages.

6. I graduated from New York University when I was 20 years old.

7. I am NOT outdoorsy at all, but I once climbed to the top of Mount Fuji overnight and watched the sun rise there from above the clouds.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Grieving for a friend. Nick Keir 1953-2013.

I lost a friend several months ago, and I haven't properly grieved. He lived in Scotland, so our goodbye last November was temporary. When I heard his cancer had returned and he succumbed in June, I was already miles away in my head. It was easy to pretend he was merely in another country and we just hadn't talked in a while.

Part of the beauty of art is that it allows the artist to live on years beyond his death. It's also part of art's sadness.

Today I am sad, as I listen to the beautiful music of my friend Nick Keir soaring out of my tiny living room speakers, reminding me that he once offered to bicycle across town hauling two huge stereo speakers to my Edinburgh flat when he heard we only had earbuds with us.

I am sad as I remember the time we first met. My tourmates and I knocked on Nick's door, hugged, and he handed over the keys to his flat, heading out to stay down the street with his mother. Awaiting us inside was a bottle of whisky marked "Drink me -- you know you want to."

I am sad as I listen to his version of my song, "The Ballad of Motorcycle Joe," which is the entire reason we ended up in Scotland. If Nick had not recorded that song, I don't think I'd ever have known that I had a following in the United Kingdom.

September 25, 2012 at the Leith Folk Club.
Nick, Marianne, the wee boy, and my mom.
I am sad as I remember listening in the back of the Leith Folk Club as Nick sang "Slow French Waltz," while my husband twirled me around gracefully with my nine-day-old son peacefully wrapped to my chest, sleeping through much of his first concert.

David and I knew that was a special moment, one that we'd remember forever. At the time, we thought it was a fitting tribute to our adventure in Scotland, which was coming to an end. Nick, a tall and sturdy troubador with a powerful and soothing voice, sang us out of the country as he had sung me in.

I am sad to hear his voice now.

But I am grateful to be able to share it with you. He was one of Edinburgh's most respected and loved performers, and I miss him immensely -- as do a lot of people.


Close your eyes, listen to "Fires of Edinburgh," and imagine yourself there wandering through the cobblestone streets, getting lost in the closes, staring up the volcanic rock of the castle walls, and sitting down for a pint in the back room of a pub, where a kind man with a penny whistle plays an old air for a lost friend.

Here's a fun moment from 2010, when Nick and I played guitar and musical saw together:



To buy a Nick Keir album, visit Coda Music, a brick and mortar store in Edinburgh. His music is also available on iTunes, of course.



Monday, November 11, 2013

A new normal.

"Sleep when the baby sleeps," is probably the most oft-heard piece of advice given to a new mom. And having been a new mom for over a year now, I can finally agree. The problem is that if you're baby doesn't sleep through the night for the first year, and he only catnaps during the day, then it doesn't really work.

I am not like David, who can fall asleep in precisely 17 seconds. I'm lucky if I'm asleep within half an hour, and by that point, naptime is over.

But the past week -- likely due to the time change -- I've taken to going to bed before 9:00. Last night I'm pretty sure I was asleep by 8:30.

I've also worn earplugs the past two nights, with the understanding that if the baby whines enough to wake David, then he'll wake me to go feed the boy. You see, even after fourteen months, I wake up with every whimper or sneeze, even with the wee boy two closed doors away. And that does not make for a very good night's sleep.

So the last two nights, I've slept pretty well, even with the 5:30am wakeup call. Yes, the boy is cheerful and ready to party at 5:30am. He did not get this from me.

I've determined that 8:30 pm is my new normal bedtime, and every gig I play from now on will begin at 5:30pm.

Who's into happy hour gigs in Louisville? Nashville always has early shows. What's our problem, anyway?


Friday, November 8, 2013

What should I be listening to?

A picture of the piano at Graceland.
Just because. I went there once. It was neat.
I had a business meeting with a friend yesterday who mentioned that I should blog more about music. She's totally right -- I should. Except, as I mentioned to her, when I write about music, my blog gets a decent number of hits. When I write about personal stuff, my blog gets ten times the views. Apparently, people are a lot more interested in babies and depression than in what I'm listening to.

And that's a good thing.

Because I'm not listening to anything.

It's not really by choice. I have bought music recently. I always buy my friend's new albums (most recently Adam Holmes and Wendy Colonna), and when David finds them around the house, he puts it on. But I haven't discovered anything lately on my own.

It's just like my music libido is gone.

I listen to talk radio. I read books. I read the newspaper. I read blogs. I write -- prose. I do play the piano and ukulele several times a week. But I haven't even opened iTunes in weeks, nor have unpacked the boxes of CDs that I put in storage before we moved to Scotland. Come to think of it, all my CDs may have been stolen along with our TV and booze and David's shoes. How would I know?

This isn't a proud moment for me.

So help me out here. I'm going to buy some new music. I am even going to attempt to listen to it. 

What should it be?


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Our kid eats weird, which is completely normal. And other baby-led weaning stories.

Food is a hot topic for lots of people these days, and rightfully so. We've been huge proponents of eating real foods for many years. I've had a vegetable garden since I bought my first house ten years ago, and I make as much of my own food as possible -- even things like crackers and tortillas.

I haven't had as much time to do that since I had the baby, but mostly due to poor planning and PPD. But since the baby, eating properly became even more important.

We've got all kinds of annoying parenting rules, being that this is our first kid, and we care about everything far too much. One of my biggest is that the wee boy not eat crap. Now, I'm not trying to parent at you here -- I honestly don't care what you feed your little one. A lot of you probably think that what I'm about to explain is completely bizarre and maybe even unsafe and you would probably never allow your child to eat like that.

We do this weirdo thing called Baby-Led Weaning. Another word for it is most-likely "What loads of people did for centuries before baby food was actually a thing." Or "what most people the world over still do." In America, it's weird. In Louisville, at least in the mama community that I run around with, and in the United Kingdom, where the book on Baby-Led Weaning was first written, it's actually pretty normal.

I know a lot of parents who make their baby's food using a food mill or food processor to puree the family meals into little baby smoothies. That saves loads of money on jars of baby food, and it ensures that your kid is actually eating food.

Baby-Led Weaning is a little different.

We completely skipped purees. He was exclusively breastfed until he was six months old. Then at six months, we gave him a pile of whatever we were having for our meal -- roasted vegetables, lasagna, salad, whatever -- and let him feed himself. We didn't cut it up into small pieces, nor did was mash it up with a fork. Some BLW babies just play with their food for months, which is completely okay and normal. Our boy picked up a roasted carrot on day one, shoved the whole thing in his mouth, and learned how to chew.

It was all about him discovering textures, as well as his own gums, tongue, and gag reflex. He gagged here and there on occasion, but he never choked. And we never had to do the here-comes-the-airplane thing with the spoon or throw jars of baby food and spoons in the diaper bag. At restaurants, he eats whatever we're having, whether it's vietnamese soup or pad thai, and we can all actually sit and eat together, rather than one of us having to feed him first. It makes for pleasant, albeit messy, family dinners.

He also has had all kinds of crazy foods that don't come in baby food jars. Also, he just chose seaweed over cheese as a snack. I know he won't always be this good of an eater, but watching him eat a sandwich by himself as a seven-month-old been one of my favorite things about parenting.

Anyway, if you have a new little one, I recommend this book.

My 13-month-old chowing on seaweed. Thanks, Carrie, for the picture.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Random Act.

We went to a new park this morning -- well, a park I'd been to a hundred times by myself, before I ever paid attention to safety rails on stairs or the height of baby swings. Every park is new when you have a wee one with you.

It was a perfect outing, complete with my BFF from Austin, who was visiting for 36 hours. We collected leaves, counted doggies, went down the big twisty slide, pressed our noses against funny plastic bulbs, swung, and played with chalk and bubbles.

The chalk and bubbles were a treat that greeted us in a tiny little package sitting on a park bench -- a "random act of kindness" bequeathed upon us by some nice person who thought we needed some toys to play with. S/he was right, and it made us all happy.

We left the toys there for the next person to find and enjoy. Then we went out to lunch, where Lyzz from Austin proceeded to secretly buy lunch for the crew of firefighters who had ordered their food shortly after we did.

Now it's my turn to do something nice.

What can I do? How about the first three people to say they want one on this blog (not on the FB link that I post, but actually here on my Blogger site), get a free copy of my 2009 album, West 28th Street, in the post? It's not a random act, but I think you'll like it.



Happy Autumn!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Some very revealing information.

I took some highly scientific online quizzes to let you know a little more about me, you know, in case anyone cares.

What city should you live in?
My results: Paris! (duh)

What is your mental age?
My results: 47
 I'm an old soul. Or at least an older soul...

What is your physical age?
My results: 33
 Whoo hoo! This was according to my health insurance vitality assessment. So why, then, am I charged a higher rate even though I'm two years younger than I should be? Grrrr .... another blog.

Briggs Meyers Personality Test
I vascillate between INTP and INFJ pretty regularly. Shocked that I'm an introvert, but love the stage? Ah, the wonders of the spotlight.

So who else is moving to Paris with me?

Friday, November 1, 2013

It's a musical weekend.

Music tomorrow!

10:30am @ Mama's Hip. Family Music Jam! I don't often lead the Saturday classes, but I am tomorrow. Costumes welcome.  $10/family. We have shakers, tambourines, drums, some kids' songs, and some grownup songs that kids like.

9pm @ Gerstle's. Kathleen Hoye plays first, then at 10:30ish, Peter Searcy Band will be playing. I'm playing keys. Peter had to replace me when I moved to Scotland, but his current keyboard player can't make this particular gig. Brigid to the rescue! Details here.

What's the over/under on whether I'll be awake for both my 10:30am gig and my 10:30pm gig?


Also, I'm working on putting together a kids' songwriting workshop. I've had a few people ask me about doing one. Message me if your child would be interested, and let me know their age and music background. I'll work on planning it.

And one more thing: Happy birthday, Lyzz!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween traditions in Scotland.

I'd written a blog about the Top 5 Worst Halloween candies, but then noticed this morning that several of my friends had already shared a Top TEN list (it's good -- read it here). So I'm deleting that post, and instead I shall write about how Scotland started Halloween.

Well, that's not entirely true, but since they pretty much invented everything else, I'm going to just go with that, okay? Most scholars agree that Halloween has its roots in Celtic harvest festivals. The word "Halloween" is itself derived from old Scots, so there you go.

When we were living in Scotland (through two Halloweens), we learned that trick-or-treating probably originated there (or Ireland or Wales, depending on whom you talk to). The practice of "guising," meant going door-to-door in disguise.

Rather than simply dressing up and demanding candy, however, in Scotland, there is a bit more expected of the children: You have to perform for your candy.

Last year, in our tiny, adorable flat, on our tiny, adorable cobblestone street, we had the cutest little trick-or-treaters knock on our door and TELL JOKES!

My favorite was a little girl, maybe 8 years old, out by her lonesome and dressed like a witch who deadpanned:

Why didn't the skeleton cross the road?   Because he didn't have the guts!
 
 immediately followed by
 
Why didn't the skeleton go to the dance?  Because he had no-body to go with!
She got a LOT of candy.

Really, though, I love the idea that you must earn your treats.
The wee boy last year ... and this year.


Another factoid you probably didn't know (unless you are one of my many Scottish readers, obviously), is that before there were pumpkins, there were turnips. Yes, little Scottish kids would hollow out a turnip and go guising in search or coins or treats which they would collect in their turnip. Somehow Americans must have gotten greedy and decided that a turnip wasn't big enough and went for pumpkins. And we wonder why we have a childhood obesity problem...

Then again, we used to use pillowcases when I was a kid, so who am I calling greedy?

Tonight, I hope you get lots of trick-or-treaters, and I hope they do a song or dance or tell you a great joke.


Scottish friends, what else am I missing?


 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Some entertaining and useful links.

I've come up with a lot of genius ideas that have been stolen by gnomes (I mean, seriously, didn't we ALL "invent" the Snuggie™ at some point in our twenties?), but I admit that sometimes other people get to the good ideas first.

Here are a few of my favorite websites:

Is Mercury In Retrograde?
I used this last week when I had three no-show piano students in a row. Shocker! Mercury in retrograde.

Should I hang my washing out?
I wish I'd known about this when I was in Edinburgh. Though with all our cloth diapers, it's still useful here in Kentucky. This site also has a good sense of humor, so beware.

Have You Had That Baby Yet?
For all you pregnant women, this is the most useful site you'll find. Forward your personal website to it. Create an automate email/text response sending people the URL. They will get the picture. Maybe.



Happy Wednesday, y'all!

Follow me on Twitter! I say more things there than I do on this blog.



Some hilarious and perfect additions from Randi, who left this comments:

Here are two more awesome ones:
http://www.isitajewishholidaytoday.com/ - because it often is
http://lmgtfy.com/ - for those annoying FB friends who rather ask you what an unfamiliar term is, rather than just google it themselves. :)


Monday, October 28, 2013

Screen time and missing it all.

I have always struggled with the work/life balance, mostly because I've been self-employed since I was 22. As my grandfather once told me, "At the end of every gig, you are unemployed." Laptops and smartphones are the saviors of the self-employed, allowing us to always be available for work, whatever the gig. For me, who hasn't released any new art lately, it's important that I stay active on social media or my blog, lest you all forget who I am.

I say all this because I find it very challenging to

Thursday, October 24, 2013

It took me thirteen months to get here.

Yesterday, for the first time, um, ever, I felt like a good mother.
 
Not a great one, by any means, but a good one.

You see, yesterday I decided I didn't care about my work emails or phone calls. I wanted to play cars with the wee boy. I wanted to snuggle with him and let him nurse all morning since that what he seemed to want. I cooked three full meals for him, all from scratch and with lots of vegetables. He ate most of what I made, and I didn't get frustrated when he threw precious avocado pieces on the floor.

I did disappear to the basement to teach for three hours while his grandparents watched him. But while I was down there, I could hear them all reading Dr. Seuss books and laughing. That made me feel less guilty about leaving him for a few hours.

And when I was finished working -- get this -- I was really happy to see him. I didn't mind when he grasped my trousers and shouted, "Up! Up! Up!" I didn't mind the extra nursing sessions he insisted on even though I know he wasn't hungry. I didn't mind reading "Little Quack Counts" six times in a row or skipping directly to the black sheep page of "Brown Bear."

This is good, right?



I'm relieved to be feeling better. But it also makes me unbelievably sad that so many mothers feel this from the beginning. It makes me wonder what I've missed, and it makes me angry and guilty (guilt guilt guilt!) that it's taken thirteen months to get here.

Still, it's a good start.



You may also enjoy this far-too-personal explanation of what PPD actually feels like.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Back in my own bed.

I'm back in my house after about two weeks crashing with my parents. I know, I know, I vascillate between oversharing and being far too secretive. Though I would like to keep some shred of privacy, I've come to realize that this blog is a lot more interesting when I just lay it all out there.

This isn't my bedroom. It's some
Anthropologie bedding I covet. But
being back at home gives me the same
feeling I imagine having an Anthro
bedroom would elicit.
Anyway, David and I have been renting our house out for short-term rentals, vacation rentals, and the like, for a while now since money has been tight. Now we are kind of addicted to it and can't seem to say no when we get requests. Part of it is probably that we did some research on college planning for the wee boy, and now we are terrified that our kid will end up a musician or something equally horrible if we don't have the cash to send him to Harvard, where he will obviously be attending.

The point of oversharing is that I have to tell you how happy I am to finally be back in our house. It feels soooooo good that I can think of nothing else to write about this morning. Last night while the wee boy was eating dinner, I just waltzed around my kitchen fantasizing about all the pumpkins I could roast and bread I could bake. I fondled my KitchenAid Stand Mixer, and I cleaned the stove, though it was already clean. I poured a glass of wine, cut a wedge of brie, and a few slices of granny smith. I took them all up to my very own bed and read a book about living in Paris.

I'm not a domestic, by any means, but I do love home (and Paris).

Monday, October 21, 2013

Craft stuff I will never do, and every day is costume day.

I know I need to get out of the house more when I start to care about things like throw pillows and candlesticks. When I'm home all day long, however, things start to get all out of whack in my head -- perspective, priorities, pinterest. I haven't even browsed plane ticket prices to Europe in, like, a week. It's time to get out of the house.

I'm also getting pretty excited about Halloween. I normally don't care about the holiday, as I think people should be able to wear Batman costumes any old day of the year (and not be deemed weirdos). But I've got a baby now, so Halloween is, like, the best holiday there is. I won't be doing any of these creepy Pinterest things because in my head I know -- I must repeat -- they are not important. But I am going to get my kid a costume, and he's going to wear it as often as possible.



In fact, I'm thinking the rest of the month will be costume day at Mama's Hip for Baby/Toddler/Parent Music class I teach on Tuesday mornings. I teach that class because it's super fun, but mostly because I need a good reason to leave the house. Otherwise I'd be at home tortured by the fact that I am not making ghosts out of bananas and jackolanterns out of clementines.

If you would rather sing silly songs than make deviled eggs look like pumpkins, come join me and the wee boy at Mama's Hip on Tuesday at 10:30. I think I'll put him in costume tomorrow. Just because. ($10/family)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A change in the weather and so much music.

Last weekend was a perfect autumn weekend in Louisville, despite protests from everyone's sinuses. I played three gigs in twenty-four hours. I taught a songwriting workshop to some really smart people. I walked a few miles down the middle of Bardstown Road. I saw a bajillion people I haven't seen in ages. It was wonderful and completely exhausting.

But the music part was energizing. So much so that I said yes to playing in someone else's band (a gig that requires my least favorite thing: rehearsals!). And I made a call to someone about signing a record label contract I was first offered about five years ago to see if the offer still stands. I really want to record a few new albums, so I can move on to other songs.

Feeling inspired.

Here's a video of the wee boy stealing some buskers' tips.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Postnatal care in the UK: clarifications on home visits, plus more details.

Before I move onto discussing the home health visitor part of postnatal/postpartum (same language, different word) care in the UK, I wanted to clarify a few thing about the midwife home visits. I've gotten loads of emails from people who had questions and concerns.

1) The midwife brings a scale with her during each visit and weighs the newborn. If the newborn has lost too much weight, they first suggest feeding her more often. If it's a significant amount (I think beyond 10%), they do suggest supplementing with formula.

2) They are pro-breastfeeding, if that is what the mother wants to do. If the home midwife isn't able to solve any nursing problems, she suggests going to one of the many free nursing clinics around the city. In Edinburgh, there are multiple clinics several times a week, where anyone can go to get one-on-one help from a certified lactation consultant. (I used this service once, and it was wonderful. Will save it for another blog.)

3) Yes, they do the hearing tests and vitamin K shots (though you can opt out if you are very insistent).

Terrible, blurry photo of our midwife doing heel-prick test
in our living room. Check out the new-parent messy house!
4) Yes, they offer the "heel-prick test" for various genetic disorders, and our midwife drew blood from the wee boy's heel while David held him on our living room couch (and I hid myself in the bedroom).

5) There are also various "forums" throughout the city. The one in my neighborhood was on Tuesdays from 11:30-2:30 (I think). It was part drop-in doctors' office and part moms' group. Several rooms of a large community center were available to parents of babies 0-6months (there are other days/times set up for older babies) with playmats, changing tables, baby scales for weigh-ins for nervous/obsessed parents, and -- get this -- several health visitors (essentially nurse practitioners) or midwives available to answer any nagging questions.

It was an easy and wonderful way to pop in, make sure your baby is gaining weight, and ask a question that wasn't exactly an emergency, but was a concern. You know ... the ones where you aren't sure if it warrants a visit to the doctor, but you'd like to get it checked out.What is this rash? Is this the right color poo? Why are his eyes crossed? Listen to this noise he's making. None of us is sleeping ... what can we do? It's actually at the forum where a health visitor first suggested that my "baby blues" was lingering a bit too long.


If I'd been mentally up for it, it would have also been a great way to meet other new mums in the neighborhood, as the forum was always packed. Childbirth made me shy, however, and I usually cowered in a corner while David chatted up the nurses with questions.



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Birth in the UK: Postnatal care. Home Visits!


Previously on Birth Story (click for the link)
 
So when we last left off of birth story, I had had the wee boy, and we went home via taxi from the birthing centre, about twenty-four hours after delivery. If you're shocked that it was so soon, know that there was absolutely no reason to keep us in the hospital, as we'd had an uncomplicated natural delivery, and he was nursing great. We would have actually preferred to go home the minimum of six hours after he was born.

The next morning, there was a knock on our front door. It was our midwife, Emily, coming to check on us.

Read that sentence again.

Seriously -- that happened.

Emily wanted to know how David and I were feeling, how the baby was feeling, if he was looking jaundiced (he was, and she prescribed a walk in the sunshine and to keep him near a window), how many dirty/wet nappies he had, what color his poo was, if he was feeding well, making sure we were keeping his crib in our room, without blankets, that we knew the signs for hunger, and if we had any questions. She checked the temperature in our flat, suggesting it be between 18-20 celcius. She asked how my lady parts were feeling, and if I'd passed any blood clots larger than a 50p coin. (If I did, I was to save them in a container and show them to her, so she could examine and make sure it wasn't leftover placenta bits.) She warned us that I would shortly start to feel "weepy," when my hormone levels dropped. She smiled, she cuddled the boy and checked him over, and she went on her merry way.

And she came back off and on for two weeks postpartum before deciding that the three of us were recovering well and discharging us into the hands of the Home Health Visitor -- also a medical professional who makes house calls.

More on that in another blog.

I've been reminiscing about those early days, as two of my good friends have had babies in the past week. It's a beautiful time, but it's also extremely challenging. I'm incredibly thankful to have had the home visits, and I really wish more was done for new parents in America. There are so many details to consider, so many things most people have never even heard of (counting diapers?!), and it's hard enough to take care of your own postpartum body, much less a little creature.

If you know a new parent, stop by their house (call first!). Bring them some croissants or a quiche or a six-pack of Guinness (it's good for nursing!). Take the baby for a walk, and tell them to take a nap or have a shower. Don't stay long.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Daydreaming of the perfect Parisian breakfast.

You all know I wouldn't mind going back to Scotland, but this recent government nonsense is strengthening that urge. The rest of the world has been laughing at us for years, but now they are just writing us off as total idiots. If we had EU work visas, we'd be on the next plane.

Instead, I'm daydreaming about European breakfasts. I, like most white women in their thirties, very much enjoy taking pictures of my meals while on vacation. Today I'm missing Paris, of course, but also the Patisserie Florentin, a charming cafe in Edinburgh that served inexpensive and perfect continental breakfasts.

The closest thing I've found in Louisville is Ghyslain, which is delicious and charming and has droolworthy chocolates, but doesn't offer much in the way of vegetarian Euro-breakfasts. I paid $8 for a egg & croissant sandwhich because I didn't want the ham that comes with it.

What I'd really like is what I used to get at Patisserie Florentin: pieces of fresh baguette with butter and jams, various cheeses, a yogurt, and a fancy coffee drink, all for about $6. The ultimate continental breakfast.


Le sigh.



 Perfect menu (for sharing):

A fresh baguette and croissants
Various jams
Freshly squeezed Orange juice
Tea or fancy coffee drinks
Cheese slices: muenster, swiss, and gouda
Drinking chocolate, if you're feeling extra fancy.

Don't be lazy and try to economize your dishes. Get out the tea service, the goblets, the saucers, the butter knife, the cloth napkins, the sugar bowl. It's an experience. Savor it. Every minute.

Ok, now who's coming over for brunch?



Friday, October 4, 2013

Great gift idea for new parents.

Have y'all seen this cool website? I know that totally sounds like a spam email, but seriously, this is a good idea: Take Them A Meal.

Some good friends just had a baby, and now all of their friends are joining forces to make sure they have meals delivered to their home for three entire weeks, all coordinated by this website (and one very good friend who set up the account). How amazing is that?

I'm pretty sure we ate toast for the first week after our boy was born.

In thinking about what to make for the new parents, I realize that I don't think I've cooked a proper meal since our wee boy was born. What do people eat, anyway? David and I are masters of one-pot-meal -- a giant vat of soup that we eat for every meal for days until it's gone.

 I mean, what is a side dish?

I think I'm going to use this opportunity to start cooking real meals for myself.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A lot of public appearances (and a few private ones).

Friday, October 4, for the Trolley Hop. I'm playing at the Local Speed 822 East Market Street. There's a new exhibit, a cash bar, and me playing some music smack dab in the middle of the room. I might be solo. I might bring a friend with me.

Saturday October 5, at Mama's Hip. I'm leading the Family Music Jam, a parent/child drop-in class ($10/family) at 10:30am where we'll sing some fun kids' songs and maybe some Beatles' tunes or John Denver tunes or something besides "The Wheels on the Bus."

Sunday, October 6, I'm playing The Great American Lesbian Jewish Wedding (their words, straight from the invitation) that you may or may not be invited to.

Friday, October 11, at the Bard's Town for the InKY Reading Series, I'm playing a solo set at 7:00.

Saturday, October 12 at the Writer's Block Festival (Green Building), I'm leading a workshop called "The Story of Song," in which I'll be talking about songwriting, art and craft, melodies, harmonies, and why "Strawberry Wine" is a good song, even if you hate country pop. You can register to attend here: http://louisvilleliteraryarts.org/workshops/

Saturday, October 12 at the Belknap Fall Festival ... Full band show! 4:30-5:30 pm. It's free, outside, and for the whole family.

So my next two weekend are busy.

I'm pretty sure I just typed all that out so that my husband knows where I am.

 See y'all out and about?
I probably won't wear my
wedding dress to this
weekend's gigs.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A rant, a whinge, a new album. Well, 2 out of 3.


I try not to post a lot of whinges* on here, unless they are funny. No one wants to read constant complaing. At the same time, I feel like if everything is sunshine and puppy-dogs, then I'm being exactly the kind of person I called out on that PPD blog. Can't win.

To be completely honest, I still feel like I'm going insane. We aren't at a point where we can afford child care just yet, so I'm only ever away from the baby when I'm teaching lessons or when he's napping (briefly, ever so briefly, and I throw in a load of laundry, cook a pot of soup, or write a quick and obviously unedited blog for you because it's my only connection with the outside world and because it's the only therapy I can afford on my current health insurance plan).

Whinge*, whinge, whinge (I really do love that word!).

When I was in the depths of PPD, I had no urge to play music or create anything. Now I'm feeling a bit better, and I finally have an urge to record a new album, to write new music, even to finish up that novel, but I'm going mental. I make lists, I plan which new song will be my Track 4, I think about who I want to produce it, and how I will tour it. Then I cry because how the hell am I going to record anything when I'm on pretty much full-time baby duty?

I know I'll figure it out eventually. I know I've got to make the time, or I'll go insane. I also know I'm supposed to be enjoying every single minute of my baby because apparently he'll be graduating from college next year or something.

I'm gathering lots of rosebuds, I really am. I completely adore the wee boy, and I'm pretty sure he's the cutest, smartest baby every to live, with the prettiest blue eyes that ever were. He's the best cuddler with the softest skin, and his laugh is the most perfect music I've ever heard.

But man, I really want to make a new album!


*whinge
(h)winj/
British. informal
verb
verb: whinge; 3rd person present: whinges; past tense: whinged; past participle: whinged; gerund or present participle: whingeing
  1. 1.
    complain persistently and in a peevish or irritating way.
    "stop whingeing and get on with it!"
noun
noun: whinge; plural noun: whinges
1.
an act of complaining.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Autumn, missing Scotland, and Downton Abbey 4.

Autumn. You all know I'm a summer-lover, but having a proper autumn in Louisville is more pleasant than I expected. As far back as I can remember in Kentucky, the end of summer is followed by about three days of cooler weather before it becomes miserably cold, snowy, and depressing.

All this fall weather reminds me of life in Scotland, and I am really missing it. I've been a terrible correspondent with my Edinburgh friends (and with my Louisville friends for that matter -- I blame the PPD), but it doesn't mean I don't think of them constantly.

My Pinterest feed is currently filled with friends posting fall outfits, which all pretty much like variations on this:




These are what I like to refer to as the Scotland uniform. It's pretty much what every woman in Scotland wears year-round. You see, it's autumn year-round, except for about six weeks of winter where the temperatures drop to near-freezing. (And don't call it "fall" over there -- it's autumn, and autumn proper.)


Yesterday was a perfect autumn day. The boys and I went to a friend's house, where we made chili and watched Episodes 1 & 2 of Downton Abbey Season 4, via a top secret method of getting that which is supposedly only available in Europe until January. It didn't take much to pretend we were back home in Edinburgh.

Here's a bit of Adam Holmes music to set your soundtrack for the season (oh, and who's that redhead playing accordion and singing harmony?):


Now to dig out boots and a big sweater.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Louisville Music Awards Tonight

A lot of people have asked me about the 1st Annual Louisville Music Awards. Guess what? I don't actually know much about them! But I do know that some really good people have worked really hard to make it a cool event, and I'm sure it will be. Many other cities have had similar awards shows for years, and it's been a boon for those cities. As if the people at Sonablast haven't done enough good things for Louisville, they are the ones who are making tonight's event happen. Tickets are on sale here. Doors are at 7pm, and it's at Headliners.

I will be there, though. You can't keep me away from an event! (Got an event? Invite me. I LOVE them!)

Just a few days ago, Leigh Ann Yost asked me to play some accordion for her while she does a five-song medley tribute to the wonderful Tim Krekel. It'll be hard to get through it without tearing up, as I played these songs most weeks with Tim back during his regular BBC Wednesday night gig. But I'm really happy to be able to play on his songs again while he is honored.

Kyle Meredith emcees tonight's show. I'm kind of surprised he hasn't called me already to work on a little tap dance routine for the opening schtick. I mean, you probably didn't know this, but Kyle and I worked up the entire "Moses Supposes His Toeses are Roses" routine a few years ago for a radio conference.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Rhythm of Reading (and who killed Lula??)

The dreamy built-in bookshelves that
David built for me when he proposed.
Swoon!

Reading. I miss reading. When G was first born, and all he did was sleep in our arms, I read all the time. My kindle was perfect for it -- it only required one hand and no movement to turn a page. So far this year, I've only finished 21 books. Last year, I read over 60. And most of this year's books have been light mysteries or books on how to get your baby to sleep. Since the wee boy isn't too keen on sleeping, and I've been working like crazy when he is, well, I haven't done much pleasure reading.

Fall is the perfect time for curling up with books though, and I can't wait to find the rhythm of reading again. My want to read book list is growing, and for the past month, I've been trying to figure out who killed Lula Landry. 

My Father-in-Law is reading the Harry Potter books for the first time. I know I'm deeply in need of some escapism, but I would really like to be in a place where I could read those for the first time. It would be like not knowing that the Man in Black is actually Wesley, or that Bruce Willis is actually dead the entire movie. Remember those days?

The wee boy is asleep now, and if I hurry, I might find out who killed Lula. Nobody spoil it for me, okay?

What's your fall novel list?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Exhaling deeply: Guilt Revisited.

Therapists of all kinds talk about inhaling deeply. It feels good, I agree. But right now I'd give anything to exhale deeply.

Although I'm feeling much better overall, I'm still battling guilt over here. There are the small things -- guilt over going to work, guilt when I want to go to work, guilt when I want to ask someone to watch the boy, guilt over wanting to escape, guilt over complaining when I know how lucky I am to have such a great boy.

The guilt seems never-ending, and it's a yucky feeling in the pit of my stomach.

This week I've been trying to relax. What was impossible a few days ago is this week a reality -- time to myself, thanks to my in-laws coming to visit and offering up childcare most of the morning before I start teaching. Sure, I've done some laundry and run some errands with my time off of parenting, but I am getting closer to a moment: a moment when I can exhale completely. 

I'm almost ready to check my voicemails (My voicemail is terrifying at the moment. I have 15 unheard messages, and I'm afraid to look at them. I'll listen to them soon. Deep breaths. Text me if you need me, okay? The phone gives me massive anxiety.), to return to the world slightly renewed, refreshed, and ready for more challenges. I'm almost ready to write in my journal uninterrupted. Or even to write a blog uninterrupted by nappies and nursing. To get just enough time to myself to not feel resentment when I return to my new normal.
I know it's possible.

Exhaling slowly.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wherein I buy a $24 candle.

I know the h-word is a bad word (at least when you have a wee one), but I hate shopping. Everything about it. The driving, the parking, the other shoppers, the people asking you if you need help, the trying on, the deciding, the budgeting. It's all awful. I can't honestly remember the last time I purchased anything new -- well, my friend took me maternity clothes shopping, and that's probably it. Pretty much everything else I own is either 20-years-old or a hand-me-down.
But yesterday ... I consumed. I shopped.

Not only that, but I bought a twenty-four-dollar candle. Seriously. How completely irresponsible is that?

Let me explain.

Anthropologie. I know, I know. It's totally targeted towards thirty-year-old women, and none of us can actually afford to shop there. Occasionally, we'll find an orange dress or a green cape on sale that finds its way into our homes. Mostly, however, it's a place to walk in, inhale deeply, and wonder why your house doesn't feel anywhere close to as cozy as Anthropologie feels.

I went there yesterday. I bought an overpriced cardigan and a scarf (both from the sale room). But I paid retail (the horror!) for a candle.

It occurred to me that just breathing deeply at an Anthropologie store is soothing to the soul (yes, yes, yuppiest blog ever), and that smell is just so comforting. It brought me immediately back to Edinburgh, where I popped into the George Street store multiple times a week. In my defense, it was on the way to pretty much everywhere I went, and I never bought anything anyway. But that smell just relaxed me.

And so I convinced myself that the $24 spent on whatever candle they burned in-store (Scent: Volcano!) would be money well-spent. Like, therapy. I mean, it's cheaper than a co-pay, and it definitely lowers my blood pressure.

I don't feel completely guilty because I used a visa gift card from two birthdays ago (I'm a saver, folks!). But still ... I totally got sucked in by the Anthropologie psychologist store-planners, I know.

My house smells amazing though. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fancy bus apps and economics.

This morning I went to ridetarc.org to poke around and see what improvements had been made since the last time I rode the bus here (well, that wasn't the last time, but it should have been). I was really hoping for an app that would display the ETAs for every bus in town.

Sound like too much to ask?  Well, in Edinburgh (yes, yes, I know you -- you're sick of me saying, "Well, in Edinburgh..." but too bad, it's my blog!), we had this handy app that would do just that. It would find our location and tell us how many minutes away each of the various buses was. As long as I had 3 minutes (or 6 minutes when I was hugely pregnant), we could easily make it from our flat to the bus stop without a worry or a wait.

I don't actually want a car
, but I would very much like to be able to ride the bus with that kind of convenience. Yes, I understand supply and demand. But David isn't the only person in the Highlands who is heading downtown for work this morning, right? Is there some sort of car-free day scheduled where everyone who lives off Bardstown Road will just take the bus for once?

I bet most Louisville readers don't even know how much TARC costs these days, but I can tell you that it's still a lot cheaper than driving a car.

Thinking positively, the Trip Planner on TARC's website is very helpful, even if it forewarns you of long rides that don't actually come when scheduled. Anyway, yes, I know the folks at TARC are working hard and doing good things for the city. I just wish more citizens would use the bus, so I can get all these things I like to whine about.

I'm considering a trip across the park today, but I'm a bit scared of trips that involve a transfer. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Freak of the Mommy Groups.

I am the freak of my online moms' group. I joined it last winter because I was thousands of miles away from friends and family and hadn't told anyone I was pregnant. It was a place to read, vent, and interact with other pregnant women, some of whom were first-time-moms and others having their fifth. I've kept up with one of the groups, despite David's warnings to stop reading things on the interwebs.

For the most part, it's been entertaining and helpful. At the very least, it keeps me from posting obnoxious baby posts on my regular Facebook feed. It's also made it clear that I run in totally different circles than the rest of the world, if this particular group is any kind of accurate sample.


It's made me think of my friends here, the amazing Louisville community, and how we must all be freaky. I don't mean to sound all sanctimommy (Have you SEEN that page? It's hilarious.), but I think I live in a bizarro bubble, where pretty much all of my parent friends are cloth-diapering, vegetarian, gardening, locavores -- or at least two out of four. Don't get me wrong, my house is a wreck and we only just hung something on the nursery wall and finished building the change table LAST WEEK (he'll be one on Monday).

Anyway, I think it's time for me to expand my horizons.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Ceremony of a Croissant.

This time a year ago, I was several days past my due date with several more days before the wee boy was actually born. Because everyone told me my life would never be the same once he came, I took up a habit of taking myself out to breakfast and a fancy coffee drink (decaf, of course) every day I was "overdue." The ceremony was wonderful -- an excuse to order chocolate croissants or extra cream cheese because, well, I'd eaten really healthily the entire pregnancy and I deserved a treat or six.

This morning I decided to revive that tradition, only this time, I took the wee boy with me. He's really quite good company, as long as he gets his own food. We strolled up to North End Cafe in our neighborhood and ordered a huge breakfast. The wee boy walked to the window where he watched cars drive by while he played vroom-vroom with his Hot Wheels. He also showed off the latest trick my parents taught him: he dances on command. It's pretty ridiculous.

I've been taking a much-needed break from email and voicemail and all that, limiting the Facebook time, and trying to get some things done around the house in between piano lessons. Who knew closet organization could be so therapeutic?

What's your late summer ceremony? 

Monday, September 9, 2013

A mental break. And a castle for good measure.

I've sworn to take some time off of social media this week and try to find some balance in my crazed life. Our home life is changing, now that David is out of town on business (rather than up at Heine Brothers on business). I'm trying to figure out how to maintain my own identity without being able to cry to David that he needs to take the clingy baby for an hour.

Part of why I agreed to lead the Tuesday morning Family Music Jam at Mama's Hip (tomorrow at 10:30 and $10/family) is because I need to commit to a weekly outing. We choose to live car-free, which I love. BUT it is very easy to stay at home all the time, especially when I work from my basement home studio. I need something to get me out of the house, and more importantly, to interact with other mums.

I'll keep this short today because I'm going to try NOT to work so much. Yes, this blog is fun, but it's still work. As long as I don't have a new album for you, all I've got to make you remember me is this blog. But this momma needs a mental break.

We'll see how this goes. I'm not good at relaxing. But I'm going to try.

I miss Scotland a lot, so I'm going to leave you with this. Sigh.

Friday, September 6, 2013

New year, new beginnings.

Happy new year! I've always been a big proponent of the new year actually beginning in September. No other time of the year do I actually feel the seasons changing, time moving on, and the clock turning over. I'm sure it was just that September was always the time of year when you went from being in one grade to the next. Shiny new spiral notebooks equal a fresh start. But there's something about this time of year that just feels refreshing.

Last year, my wee boy was born on 29 Elul 5772 -- which I think means Rosh Hashanah Eve, or New Year's Eve in Judaism. I don't understand the algorithms of the Jewish calendar, but I do know that it means the wee boy gets two birthdays. (His Gregorian birthday isn't until September 16.) That was a pretty big change for me and David.

This year, David begins a new job next week, ending months of self-employment. I have mixed feelings. His home consultant business is really picking up, and he's having to turn down contracts. I'll miss getting the occasional chance to sleep in, while David takes the boy downstairs to play in the morning hours, what with us both working from home. I'll miss flexible schedules where -- with both of us being self-employed -- we can take a last-minute road trip. I'll miss David, as he'll be traveling quite a bit (come over and play with me, won't you?).

What I won't miss? The stress of two self-employed adults trying to support a family. Our awful individual health insurance policy. That's pretty much it, but those are two pretty big ones.

Yes, I think it's going to be a good year, 5774. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pinterest Parties, Motherhood, and some cute pictures.

I'm feeling decidedly un-motherly today. At least, unmotherly in the fact that all of the women on my mom's groups are posting photos of their Pinterest-worthy birthday parties. The wee boy will be one in less than two weeks, and, despite my intentions, I've got nothing planned.

Deep down, I understand that cupcakes that match bunting (I didn't even know what bunting was until very recently) that match invitations (like, not an evite, but actual printed invitations!!) that match hats that match goody bags that match the tutu around the birthday boy's high chair ... well, that they aren't at all what defines me as a mother. But still ... I feel like my family expects a bit more than some cucumber sandwiches and Four Roses.

Then again, that actually sounds like a pretty good birthday party.

Hmmmm, maybe we ought to actually set a date and attempt a party.

Here are some recent pics taken by a good friend while we were in Baltimore.







Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Busy busy weekend & Headliners setlist.

What a busy weekend! I had a rehearsal, a recording session, a birthday party, a retirement party, and a FULL BAND SHOW AT MY FAVORITE STAGE IN LOUISVILLE! Sorry for the shouting, folks, but it has been years since I played a full band show at Headliners. And years since I played a PUBLIC full band show in the United States. That calls for some capital letters.

Lots of folks were out there with cameras, and here's one of my faves. It was taken by the mother of Holly Stewart, whose music you should check out, especially if you're in Nashville or NYC.

It was great fun. Here's a setlist, for those of you keeping track of that sort of thing. I played some tunes you haven't heard before, unless you are in my band. If anyone out there took any video, would you please send it to me? I wish I'd thought to hire someone for the evening. I need more videos of me and my band!



Headliners September 1, 2013

Whisky in the Faucet
Get your hands off my Man
You make me go to church
Something Bad/Watch Out
Done With All that Now
Gypsy Lover 
Future Mr Used to Be
Hold me like that old guitar
Yesterday - musical saw
Kentucky Waltz
Annie Oakley
  
Now... where am I playing next?
I'll be playing some solo accordion for a couple of hours at THE BIG HUSH ... a secret party this coming Saturday, September 7. Details below.

Kindergarten and Cargo Bikes!

My wee boy started KINDERGARTEN this week! It's great to have him back on a schedule because he loves routine and structure and rules an...