Saturday, September 21, 2019

Graham's career, which is quickly outpacing my own.

Summer is almost over, and as we settle into pumpkin spice season, I have far too many emotions to control. I used to love the smell of fresh notebooks and sharpened pencils, but now it just reminds me that my mother is not here to complain that notebooks are made for the right-handed. And my dad is not here to say, "Y'all stop fighting," whenever I complained of having to pay my quarterly taxes.

I do have some good news to share soon -- and that mostly revolves around Graham. Graham has grown into the most magical child I could have imagined, and I'm bursting with excitement to share his announcements. I'm also imploding that my parents aren't here to cheer him on in all the magic that he's created.

I'm doing some writing on my own and some recording, but I'm also taking some private time to focus on my kids. Graham has his own career blowing up, and Angus is a charming 3-year-old whose life has thus-far been completely overshadowed by cancerous grandparents. I'm looking forward to getting to know him.

Check back here often for a big announcement from Graham.

And if you'd like to jump on the I knew Graham before he was famous train, then you can follow him here. I'm learning how to be a good stage mom, but let me defensively assure you that his Instagram account and book reviews are all him. I monitor it because I'm not a novice when it comes to scary-internet-worlds, but he writes posts by himself (i always announce myself when it's me who's posting). The other social media i'm still trying to figure out how to manage -- but most things are going to be auto-imported from Instagram, his platform of choice.

other media platforms that i have not yet announced, but whose handle i've grabbed:    ...

Friday, September 13, 2019

My house is for sale! And I'm becoming a recluse.

 I played my last public show of the year last night. It was good fun, and it was so nice to see so many smiling faces. Thanks to those of you who ventured out on a 100-degree weeknight. It was particularly cool to play Headliners with a super-quiet and listening-room type of audience. I love that stage, but it’s historically not the room for stage banter. Steve Cooley played his original banjo compositions to a room full of people hanging on to every note. That was a delight.

Honestly I’m kind of tired of playing public shows where I invest all my time and energy into marketing and begging people on Facebook to leave their houses and come out. It’s exhausting. House concerts have long been a favorite of mine because the crowd, while much smaller than a club venue, is typically 50x more appreciative and has 50x more fun. I make friends. I tell stories. I hear stories. I play music the way I believe music was meant to be shared: troubadour-style.

All that to say, that I’d love to plan a tour entirely of house concerts. But I’m also hesitant to make any plans at all right now. For the first time since before I had children, I am somewhat free. 

The death of both of my parents in less than a year was awful, but it has yielded a new freedom. I’m no longer bound to Louisville, and I’m not driving to doctors and hospitals five times a week. I’ve cut back on my teaching time significantly, meaning I can focus more on session work that can be done remotely. I mean, I still have to earn a living, but it doesn’t have to be in one place. 

That said, this fall will bring me to several new places — for work, but also for smiles. I’ll be in Telluride, the Dominican Republic, and Texas, and I’m writing you today from Nashville, where I had a last-minute job pop up. It’s good to be able to run down to Nashville without worrying you’ll miss too much (though childcare is always a challenge, I’ve got an amazing flexible babysitter). 

Through all that threatening to sell my house off-market, we went and made such an ugly mess of moving boxes that we just decided to move out completely and go ahead and list the house officially. So if you’d like to buy the childhood home of one Graham Caldwell, whose career I can tell you with full confidence will be more epic than mine, then that might prove a good investment. I’m ready to divest of “things” and concentrate on as many experiences as I can collect and give.


Here's my house listing! That would be a good way to support a local artist -- the house is valued higher than listed price, so it's kind of a deal. It appraised at $255k three years ago, before we put on a new roof and some other upgrades. Plus, it's in the Highlands and you don't really need a car there.

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Monday, August 26, 2019

How to make your bedroom feel like a hotel suite ... the journey, part one

My childhood bed was vintage. Antique. Actually, just “old.” My uncle slept in it when he was a kid because my parents bought my grandparents’ house: furnished. When I came around, the old twin bed became mine, complete with the mattress from 1949. I slept on that until I went to college when I was delivered to a den of luxury: the 4” college dorm bed that, to me, was the most comfortable place I’d ever slept. There was no dip in the center — no indentations at all. When I came home to visit my parents and had turned NYC-snobby, I convinced them I needed a mattress that was not fifty years old. 

Fifty years old. It weighed a ton. I know now it was probably fifty pounds worth of dust mites and other microscopic terrors, but at the time, having grown up in a house where everything was hand-me-down and forty-year-old pillows were the norm, I didn’t realize quite how disgusting it was.

At age 37, I bought my first actual bed — not vintage, not even pre-owned (but definitely IKEA). At age 41, I bought my first headboard. This afternoon I shall put that headboard together (also IKEA), and I shall sleep on a bed that is my own. 

Despite perpetual wanderlust, I’m yearning for a retreat. I have never cared about the state of my bedroom because, well, my bedroom was always a creaky bed, a dusty old mattress and my grandmothers sewing desk. Today I am desperate for a bedroom that looks straight out of an Anthropologie home catalog. 

Is this my rebellion? My mother bought her mother’s house, took the plastic off the furniture and plastered the walls with an Old Fitzgerald billboard. I bought my mother’s house and painted over her 5-colored-dining room walls with the most rebellious color I could think of: greige. 

Does hoarding skip a generation? My mother’s retreat was a couch full of dog hair and piles of newspapers. I’m longing for a white bed and floor you can eat off.

Before and after photos to follow, eventually. For now — show me photos of your bedroom? Tips on how to make your bedroom feel like a suite at the Westin? 

In the mean time, here’s my before and the first hint of where I'm going:
My parents' bedroom after I ripped out the carpet.

Mostly empty!
Floors couldn't be saved, so they were painted with Killz
to seal in the dog pee of yore.

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