Friday, June 23, 2017

Some gratitudes and a sneak preview of 8-year-old me video.


Shocker, but now that I have a new album finished and shrink-wrapped, I am feeling better all-round. It's solstice week, which always cheers me up, even when I have to put myself to bed at 7pm because wee Angus has been whimpering every 30 minutes from (I think) a tooth that just won't poke through.

More things I'm thankful for:

1) My sister-in-law, who is in the basement. Her presence both gives me another adult to talk to while David is traveling, but also is teaching me what it's like to have a sibling. I know how to share, but conflict-resolution has never been my strong game. Also, I tend to assume that one disagreement means we hate each other forever. I'm learning that siblings don't operate that way -- that it's possible to have a spat and then play Lego ten minutes later like nothing happened.

2) Instacart. You guys -- I get my groceries delivered. It's not quite as simple as the perfect Waitrose delivery service we had in Scotland, but it saved me mental anguish and trip to the store with two kiddos. Combining Instacart with Fresh20 is keeping me sane. I also had a promo code HELLOLOU that did something, but I'm not sure what.

3) Health, happy babies. My kids, you all. They don't sleep. They wake up with the sun. But oh my goodness, are they wonderful, smart, and empathetic. Wee Angus got shots today (you see, it's possible to have a home birth, but still like vaccinations), and Graham held his hands and snuggled him the whole time. Siblings -- who knew??

Also, I dug out a hilariously awful home video of me doing a gymnastics competition when I was 7 or 8. I am SO BAD. I put it on the internet, but it's an unsearchable private link that I will only release to PledgeMusic pledgers when I reach 75%. Pre-order the album, please? I'm at 72%, so I'm hoping to hit my goal by early next week and then stop trying to sell you things. Here's a sneak peak:

Monday, June 19, 2017

New CD available for PRE-ORDER!!!


MY NEW CD IS AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER! I've got several boxes of nicely shrink-wrapped 12-song albums in my living room, but I can't mail out a single one until I reach my PledgeMusic goal.

Won't you please support an independent musician, a woman-business-owner, a working mother, and someone who generally tries to spread love and smiles in the community? The minute I hit my goal, I'll mail these CDs. So those of you who pre-order it will be the absolute first to get a copy. Thank you so much! And if you can't pledge, please spread the word, or get in touch about hosting a house concert for my summer tour.

Click here: http://www.pledgemusic.com/brigidkaelin

And don't forget to watch the video for some hilarious outtakes that show how nearly-impossible it is to be a work-at-home-parent. Please also consider "liking" my Facebook page because, believe it or not, those numbers actually help make me look good to venues and media outlets. It's also a wonderful and easy way to spread the word.

Here's the album cover, shot in Amsterdam, and designed by Al Moreschi:






Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Yoga shorts for the win.

I was absent from yoga for much of May, and my mental health has suffered for it. It wasn't for lack of effort on my part -- it was for lack of childcare. My nanny-type-person (she's not an actual nanny, but we have a good barter thing going on) was gone for a month, and it just is not in the budget to go to a yoga class AND pay a babysitter.

Anyway, my childcare is back, and I went to yoga this morning! And get this -- I went to yoga in YOGA SHORTS, which are now my new favorite thing in the world. It's basically like doing yoga in your underwear, and that's awesome and freeing and sweaty and feels good. I'm over the yoga pants, y'all.

Also, I didn't realize that it was an internet-viral-worthy thing to reveal that you haven't shaved your legs in years, like that fitness blogger who made headlines a few weeks ago. Like, is that how I should have been marketing myself??? Typical me -- timing just always SLIGHTLY off. Can someone out there help me craft a blog or press release that'll go viral that says "musician uses album cover image where she's not wearing any makeup" ?? You know, it'll say have a clickbait article that's, like, "This indie musician is raising eyebrows with her scandalous album cover image" and then the whole thing is SHE'S NOT WEARING MAKEUP OMG OMG OMG HOW CRAZY IS THAT? Any publicists out there want to take that and run with it? I'll even delete this blog if you think it's ruining the effect.

Anyhoo ... check back for an announcement about how to pre-order my new album! It's a fun one.

Monday, June 12, 2017

BIG NEWS! And cover artwork photos.

I've finished my album! YESSSSSSSS! Completely. Artwork, production, shrink-wrap -- it's finished. I'm working my tail off on some fun ways to roll out the release, and I'll have something fun to announce later this week. I know, I know, the slow-release is all the rage these days with albums. You're "supposed" to have product in hand a good six months before you release the thing. I'm supposed to be teasing you with videos and telling you you can't buy product for months and months. But I'm not doing things by the book because I'm Brigid Kaelin, and carpe diem, etc.

Have a look at a bunch of the images that were up for cover artwork, along with the standard promotional photos:



Monday, June 5, 2017

EPCOT Sparkling Dessert Party Review

EPCOT is my favorite part of DisneyWorld. Specifically, the World Showcase is wonderful because it lightly satiates my wanderlust and in time with my attention disorder. I can walk from Mexico to Italy leisurely in ten minutes. We didn't get to spend enough time at the various countries because we were tired and also a ride broke down on us, wasting an hour of our day.

Rather than buying souvenirs for ourselves on this trip, David and I opted to buy an experience. We splurged and bought 2 tickets to the Sparkling Dessert Party. It's normally sold out, but people often give up their reservations the day before rather than pay a change fee. While sitting on the Boardwalk watching the IllumiNations show, I found two tickets to the Dessert Party and bought them (#buyitnow!). They were $49 each, BUT ...

It was an Open Bar of CHAMPAGNE, which has been my go-to drink for the past couple of years (besides gin & tonics -- I know, I know, I have really backed away from the whisky lately) and it was an All You Can Eat Dessert Buffet, made up of one dessert from each of the EPCOT countries. And it was GOOD. I'm sure lots of people did not get their money's worth, but David and I had both been 1) not really drinking much this year and 2) avoiding sweets for a while. We decided to go to town on both (within reason on the alcohol, but not within reason on the dessert). Then we sat there, stuffed, and had a front row place to watch the fireworks.

Angus came along, strapped on David's back and chowing on watermelon because he doesn't yet know that Strawberry Shortcake exists.

It was fantastic, and considering we each had a few glasses of champagne (with various syrup flavors they provided to make 'em extra fancy), which was great for relaxing after a stressful day at Disney, and we used up probably 10 plates worth of desserts. Seriously.

The Strawberry Shortcake from the US was David's favorite.
I liked the little ganache torts from France.
And the chocolate fudge thing that came with vanilla bean ice cream that I think was from the UK.
And the Pretzels and Fondue that we had to pretend we were eating dinner too...
And the cannolis from Italy ... mmmmmmmm.
And it was all-vegetarian, except for the rice-krispie treats.



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The cutest thing you've ever seen.

So much to report! I have a date for my CD Release party. More about that later, but mark down July 28 in Louisville. I unplugged for an entire week -- deleted social media off my phone and didn't Instagram a single adorable image from our trip to DisneyWorld last week. I'm slowly creeping back in and have many thoughts on my internet cleanse and its effects (both good and bad). I'm solo parenting hard, and I'm fighting sleep depravation and a need to WORK. But before I write the myriad of Disney blogs I have to share, I feel the need to stop everything and tell you that today is: PRESCHOOL PROM.

Graham's older cousin was in our wedding, and we have the size 4T tuxedo he wore for it. Thus, today, I give you Grahaminatux or THE CUTEST THING EVER:

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Family talk in business situations and gender.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See?? TMI again!!!

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

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


Monday, May 8, 2017

Derby wrapup and links

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

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

 It's here: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/patsykaelin

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

Disney photos promised!


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Derby photos and gigs and day drinking and naps.

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



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

Here are some more pics from our fun Derby weeks:

We went to the backside of Churchill Downs on Monday morning and ended up on the front page of Kentucky.com: http://www.kentucky.com/latest-news/article147872519.html has some cute video of Graham meeting a thoroughbred named More the Wild or More Than Wild. I am not sure which.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Last-minute Disney Trip: crazy or genius?

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

But we're GOING! For REAL!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Voicemails, anti-depressants, Target and a gig.

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

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

I'm busy.

Friday, April 21
8:00p-10:00p
Goodwood Brewery
636 E Main St, Louisville, KY 40202 
I'm playing music with Dennis Ledford.
Alanna Fugate has been booking bands at Goodwood, and that means there's lots of good live music. I'm happy to be playing a public show, as lately I've been slammed with corporate parties (I love those, but y'all can't attend them!).

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

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

Friday, April 14, 2017

Deli dreams and Family Photos.

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

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

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

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



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

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






Tuesday, April 11, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Deep thoughts for the day.

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

List of good things.

It is a known fact that positive thoughts are better than negative thoughts. I understand this, but it's very hard to live it. Things that are GOOD in my present:
The fam!

1) My 4.5-year-old mowed 1/3 of my lawn yesterday. Sure, I sort of Tom-Sawyered him in a "Oh, this is so fun!" kind of way. But he's genuinely curious and very strong. We have one of those old-fashioned reel mowers, and this kid is SUCH a rule-follower that he wouldn't dare step over a chalk-line if I told him not to. Seriously, my friends clench their teeth when they watch him speed off in his scooter, only to then relax when he stops at every driveway, alley and stop sign. I told him not to go anywhere near the blade, and he mowed like a pro. I don't have a photo because, for once, I left my phone inside to enjoy the sweet moments with my children. He asked for 25cents for each time he mows the lawn, though, so we'll probably do it again on Friday.

2) My mom went to swim practice on Sunday and swam laps for 40 minutes. Most likely, that is more than you could swim. She took 2 weeks off scheduled chemo, so has been feeling better for it. I hate that it's the chemo, not the cancer, that is bringing her down.

3) Graham's passport is expiring, so I'm renewing it. This has me daydreaming and pinteresting all kinds of castles and adventures.

4) I'm still going to yoga, but have been trying to be honest with myself and do work when necessary. Yesterday, I had a babysitter for yoga, but it occurred to me that I had a zillion contracts to work on and websites to re-build and taxes to do, so I took that 90 minutes and worked on Brigid Kaelin LLC stuff instead.

5) I still journal in the 15 minutes before yoga, and apparently my fellow yogis don't think I'm a jerk for it. Instead, someone told me they "love your practice of journaling before class and try to respect your space." Yoga people, man -- aren't they great?

6) I went to a THERAPIST yesterday. Are you all breathing a huge sigh of relief for me? I swear, some of you read me like you read Jenny Lawson, just waiting for a breakdown, right? I'm doing okay, but I'm aware that my support system is either dying or has moved abroad or travels a lot or lives many states away. Apparently I need to reach out for help more and also to think about whom I could call at 3am if I needed. I know a zillion people, but I don't know anyone I could call at 3am. This is not a cry for help; it's an acknowledgment that maybe that is a negative about being an only child. Hmmmmmmm. (Insert rubbing chin emoji) I still feel that the $135 spent on therapy could perhaps have been better spent on several flights of champagne with Tara Anderson (she's really smart and good company), so maybe I'll see if I could charge a trip to Louvino to my HSA.

7) My piano is in tune, and I have been playing it more often. Funny how that works, eh? Seriously, though, I played Rhapsody in Blue in its entirely (though several sections slower than I used to be able to play them) this weekend while David got the kids ready for bed. It was so satisfying. I do love me some Gershwin.

UPCOMING GIGS:

April 2, 2017
WFPK's KENTUCKY HOMEFRONT
at Adath Jeshurun Synagoge on Woodbourne Avenue
adathjeshurun.com/radio
6:30-9:00
Tribute to Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen
I'm singing "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" and "Famous Blue Raincoat"

April 9, 2017
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
at Headliners Music Hall, Louisville
http://headlinerslouisville.com/event/the-music-of-jesus-christ-superstar-2/
(and April 14 & 15 in Berea, KY and Madison, IN)

I'm also playing 3 private events on Derby weekend, but have room for more... HIRE ME!

xoxo
Brigid

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

8 Self-Care Things That Are Keeping Me Sane.

I'm not in the photo much -- but here I am!
I'm going a little stir-crazy not having a record to tour and promote -- it's still one bass part away from finished, but time is conspiring against me. In the mean time, I've been doing ALL I can to promote my own self-care. Life is tough now, and there are a few things that have kept me sane:

1. Yoga. I'm not sure if it's the endorphins of exercise, the mindfulness of breathing, or the simple fact that with yoga I get an hour without anyone grabbing my nipples, but I leave feeling better. When I find I've gone a few days without going to the studio (simply doing a podcast at home does not have the same effect, as you might conclude from watching the time-lapse video of my toddler grabbing me while I'm bending), I am irritable and not a great parent -- not a great person, honestly. I'm moody, negative, and can throw a tantrum over a crushed Cheerio on the floor or a 4-year-old who decides it's Naked Time. 

2. The Fresh 20. I've been using this meal planning site for going on two years now. Whenever I stray from planning, the family suffers. We spend more than we should at the grocery, or we order takeout because there's nothing to eat. We also eat less nutritious meals, or we end up just grazing all week. Or it's breakfast for every meal. I tried out multiple meal planning websites, and TheFresh20.com is the only one I remotely enjoyed. It's probably an 80-90% success rate on the "Would I order this at a restaurant?" scale by which we judge recipes. I've only had one meal the whole time that I straight up did not like. We subscribe to the Vegetarian annual plan. I don't put ANY thought into dinner now, and I know that I have the ingredients on hand to cook a well-balanced meal every night. It helps that my kids are not picky eaters. The shopping list also means I can send someone else to the store for me. I haven't used Kroger ClickList yet, but I've got a good friend who combines TheFresh20 with the Kroger ClickList and declared it a life-changer. 

Yummy quinoa vegetable bowl.
3. Journaling. Writing has always been the single-most important thing to my sanity. Since having a baby, I simply have not had a good routine and haven't been able to journal. I like doing morning pages -- something I got from The Artist's Way many years ago -- but my kids get up too early for me to do anything in the morning. I've taken to arriving at yoga 15 minutes early and bringing my journal. I sit there, ignore everyone, and just write -- mostly nonsense, occasionally lyrics. I am sure that I look like a jerk with my pen and my notebook in my corner, but it helps immensely. I am actually able to empty my mind a little during the poses because I got a lot of the To Do list out in my morning pages. Also, if I don't go to yoga, I don't write. Then I really am a jerk.

4. Antidepressants. I should have led with this because if we are being completely honest, it's the Prozac that got me enough willpower to sign up for yoga and then leave the house in the first place. I've never had a problem being honest, so I probably should have made this my #1. But I just thought about it, and I don't feel like re-ordering my list. Because it's a blog, and I'm not going to edit if I'm not getting paid.

Me, playing a German polka gig.
5. Work. I'm gigging a lot. Not as much as I would like. But my work is my passion, and I am renewed when I do it. Music is probably the only thing that allows me to zone out and be in the moment.

6. Pinterest. I can check all the other social media apps on my phone, but when I open Pinterest, I actually feel my heart rate slowing and myself relaxing. I think it's like opening a trashy magazine on an airplane. I just look at things -- pretty things, good ideas, lists made by other people. I have no false dreams of crafting tiny hats that look like vegetables, but it makes me happy to see photos of other people's good ideas. Talk about distraction.

7. Novels. Whether it's an audiobook or a late-night Kindle purchase, I am a novel fiend. When I'm not doing great mentally, I like to read really easy books. Now that I'm a mom, I somehow like mysteries -- total #mombooks. I also really enjoy British chick-lit, though I wish there was a better name for it. What else ... Maisie Dobbs and Agatha Raisin books have been perfect distractions over the past 4.5 years since the first wee boy was born. 

8. A cuppa. Tea. Oh, how I love tea. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Henna art and Irish Butter.

This weekend I hired a henna artist -- the amazing Rose Flowers of Bohemian Monkey (aren't all of those words absolutely delightful??) to decorate my mom's beautiful bald cancer head. I scrolled through Pinterest looking at pretty chemo crowns, and now my entire Pinterest feed is stunning hairless paintings. It's the definition of bittersweet.

Farmers' Market in Bruges. Roseberries. 
Anyway, it was a perfect continental spread, though for just 3 adults and 2 kids, I definitely over-bought. My inspiration for brunches is forever the Best Western in Bruges. Best Western sounds like it would be tacky, but can I tell you it was the absolutely most spectacular breakfast spread I've ever encountered -- hotel or otherwise. From sliced Muenster to an entire wheel of Brie, from hard boiled eggs to sliced watermelon, from yogurt to fresh muesli, and miles of croissants... oh, my goodness it was everything. We honeymooned in Bruges, and I am forever trying to re-create that breakfast buffet, even if it's just for a henna-decorating morning. I apparently didn't take any photos of that breakfast, so it lives entirely in my mind, but here are some grand photos of Bruges anyway. I haven't used my passport in a while, so I'm living in my iPhotos.
 

Also, I've raised a butter snob. When asked by our hostess, "What would you like on your bagel, Graham?" my 4-year-old responded, "Do you have Kerry Gold?"

Thankfully, our host is British, so she knows her butter.

"I most certainly do," she grinned, basically confirming why we are friends -- and also that Graham's expectations are sky-high.

Enjoy the beautiful henna tiara. I think next time, she'll go full-on cap:

Some gratitudes and a sneak preview of 8-year-old me video.

Shocker, but now that I have a new album finished and shrink-wrapped, I am feeling better all-round. It's solstice week, which alway...