Thursday, March 14, 2019

Scotland, England, I am coming for you!

It's not been a fabulous past year, which has clearly affected my mental health ... and therefore my writing frequency, which then circles back around and affects my mental health negatively. Losing your mom isn't something I would recommend, though it's been living with my dad. I don't post a lot of super-personal stuff (hard to believe, I know) on the internets, but my dad's got cancer too. His is a rare form of sinus cancer, and despite surgery, chemo and radiation, it's popped back above his eye. In true Kaelin spirit, however, he's decided to not let that stop him from doing, well, anything. In fact, he's bought himself a plane ticket and will be official videographer and merch person on my UK tour in four weeks!

I typically don't allow my family to come on business trips with me, but this is a very different situation. Plus, my dad is a silent, stoic type, so I can't imagine him being anything but fun on this trip. It will also be fun to point the audience to a merch person with an eyepatch!


Those of you who are reading this in the UK, please come say hello!! The shows in Strathpeffer, Southern Skye and Beverley are house concerts, so email me if you want details about that. The other shows are listed in more detail on our Facebook event tour. It would be FANTABULOUSLY helpful if you shared the Facebook events/graphics with your feed or tagged your friends who live in the UK. We all know that music is essentially free these days, so the best way you can support a musician is to TELL YOUR FRIENDS! Please help spread the word?

I even made Steve sit down for a silly video to promote our new tour. It shows that our cinematography is very weak, but that we are generally fun people to be around. Come say hello, UK friends!!



Here's a big link to our Tour Dates:
https://www.facebook.com/events/390530431729441/

Other ways to support us if sharing on your newsfeed is too challenging:)
Buy us a drink or a meal or a tank of petrol, and we'll be sure to shout out to you on our tour vlog ... and review a particular whisky if you like, or dedicate a castle to you.
 Venmo is @brigidkaelin
  CashMe is $brigidkaelin
 Paypal is https://paypal.me/BrigidKaelin

Monday, March 4, 2019

Me on network TV and other deep thoughts

Well, there’s a beautiful segment on me on KET that premiered this weekend, and there’s a sound byte about how when I don’t write, I don’t feel well in the head. Funny how I had to watch myself say it on TV before I realized maybe that’s why I’ve been feeling so bad lately.


It’s been a month since I blogged!

To be fair, it’s been a year, and we’re not even two months in yet. My dad’s cancer has had a recurrence, this time as a tumor in the sinus above his eye. Graham’s taken up acting (and booked a few gigs!), our au pair went on vacation (she’s back, yay!), and I’ve taken on a volunteer gig that turns out to be a full-time job, all the while trying to work my actual job, finish an album, promote my upcoming UK tour and sort out a summer Europe tour as well. I get that whole ADHD panic of I-don’t-even-know-where-to-begin and then somehow prioritize designing a graphic for a Facebook event cover of a show I’m not even singing on. FACE PALM.

Anyway, in general, life is fine. We aren’t skipping meals. We can afford childcare. The wee boys are gorgeous and sweet and lucky and privileged as anyone could wish upon their children. 

My dad seems in good spirits, though we aren’t a family to talk about our feelings (that’s David’s job). I think we’ve given up on the idea of adding on to his house and are now talking about just moving the entire family into his house so we can spend every waking and sleeping second as a family. 

That’s my update. I’ll write more, so I can take fewer meds.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

How my mother's grief helped me move forward

I don't remember my grandmother. I was 4 when she died, and all I have is a flash of dark hair, a yellow dress, some paper dolls and the smell of stale cigarettes. Going through my mom's house has given me a little glimpse here and there (my grandmother lived in the house for 25 years), but it also forces me to acknowledge that my kids won't remember my mother.

I remember the morning my grandmother died. It was Easter Sunday, April 3, 1983. I was in the dining room, hiding with my basket of chocolates when the phone rang and my mother answered. "Mom's not breathing," her brother informed her. We'd celebrated Evelyn's 63rd birthday earlier that week, and then she had not woken up that Sunday, the result of a massive heart attack in her sleep.

The funeral came. I caught chicken pox from my cousin Samantha. The sympathy cards rolled in for my mother. Most were stacked in a pile -- a pile I'm sure I'll find soon as I continue to clean out my my mother's house (she never threw out anything) -- but one, only one, my mom framed.

This was major because framing was a luxury we never really had. We had drawers and drawers and cardboard tubes full of thing she intended to frame, you know, someday when there was disposable income for that sort of thing. But she must have grabbed a cheap document frame from Woolworth's because I remember a single sheet of paper with a poem on it, written by their friend Glenn, whom we knew from such classy establishments such as the Zanzibar and Germantown Cafe:
I'm sorry. Sounds trite, doesn't it?If sugar cookies or balloons or a warm summer day could make your smile, I'd give them to you. Remember your daughter -- her laugh, her zest for life. That's your mother's legacy.
There were a few other lines in the middle, and I think I've invented the part about the "warm summer day," but I remember hiding in the dining room eating through the rest of my Easter basket and staring at this new framed artwork on the wall -- words only, and not even a card, just blank stationery and a ballpoint pen. I read that poem daily for many years and didn't understand much except that mom's friend wanted to bake her cookies (why hadn't he?), and I had something called "zest," which proved a really fun word to say but even the dictionary definition was confusing. And "legacy," was even more of a challenge for a four-year-old to comprehend.

I tried.

One day my mom took it down. I don't know why she did, and I don't know in which drawer the poem ended up, or whether it remains in a frame, replaced by a school photo or newspaper article.

Today my mom's ashes are in a beautiful sparkly urn in my dining room, surrounded by her keys (she loved her keys) and a Harry Potter Quidditch LEGO set, which she guards from baby brother fingers. I see the urn daily, and I think, "How weird, that she is there. Her body is burned, contained, but with us."

I'm not ready to let go, I like knowing she's with us for family dinners or when Graham destroys us in Monopoly. I like the boys to smile and wave to her. Every so often I put a framed photo of her next to the urn, and when I do that, I feel a lot worse. For some reason, the urn alone is okay, but the urn with the photo is too much. Then I put away the photo, but leave the urn. I wonder if my mom took away the poem for the same reason I put away Mom's photo.

Everyone has long said Graham is a miniature of David, but when I look at Graham now, I see the wide grin of my mother. Her smile is Graham's smile. I see a look of skepticism on his face, I see twinkle of mischief in his eyes, and I see a longing to be loved.

I don't need the photo. It reminds me of the past, of completion and of things that will never be. But I hear Graham's laugh, and I remember that poem, and I think I understand this zest for life and this legacy. I suddenly want sugar cookies, and I definitely want warm summer days. And I know they will come, and it will be okay.