Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I think I stayed in this house just long enough to have the ultimate First World Problem: too much stuff. We don't need "Hoarders" to make us feel bad about ourselves. We just need Mandatory Move.

It's weird to think that David and I are doing the opposite of what most newlyweds do. Rather than shining up our brand new KitchenAid Mixer and wearing our Mr & Mrs Aprons (yes, we have them, and yes, we are sickeningly adorable) in our spacious 3 Bedroom house with a picket fence, we ar

e putting all our shiny new pots and pans into storage, renting out that spacious 3-bedroom to some students, and moving to a 1-bedroom apartment roughly 4000 miles away. Though the new apartment will be furnished, it will doubtfully come with the cooking equipment to which I have become accustomed.

I am a spoiled American with a nice kitchen. I am in for some culture shock.

Not that Scotland is some backward country or anything ... I'm sure I'll have a lovely electric tea kettle in my wee galley kitchen.

By this time tomorrow, neither of us will own a car (nor a truck!), and we'll be frantically weighing our suitcases.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Farewell Show Wrap-Up. Good times.

And just like that a week has flown by. I'm assuming, likewise, that the next 15 months will fly by. Right now, there are so many dreadful grownup details surrounding me, I thought I needed to stop and talk about music for a minute.

The Farewell show at the Monkey Wrench was beyond special. Thank you all so much for your obvious showing of love and support. Thank you also for believing me when I said the music would begin at 7:00pm. The first band had asked me repeatedly, "Should we hold the show? Surely, no one will be there at 7:00," and I assured them there would be a good crowd at 6:45.

When 7:00 rolled around and it was already standing-room-only, I grinned at the guitar player. He then actually asked again if we should probably hold the show 10-15 minutes. I'm pretty sure he thought I was a bossy crazy-woman when I said, "Why? It's a packed house. It's 7:01, and I'm gonna start singing whether there is a band behind me or not." I swear, I said it with a sincere smile -- I'm happy to play solo for a while -- but that show started on time, dammit.

Then I'm pretty sure I didn't leave the stage for the next five hours, jumping from band to band and guest to guest and instrument to instrument. There are some videos floating around, which I'd love to share once I get my hands on them. (If you took any, please share them!)

All in all, it reminded me of all the talent in this town. It reminded me that we are all better when we work together. Solo artist or not, musicians should shed their egos and sing a duet. It makes everyone smile, whether you're George & Tammy or Brigid & Larry.

Here's hoping I can find a George Jones somewhere in Scotland.

Thanks to my amazing musician friends for stopping by for a song on Friday. I missed Scott Lankford (who was already booked by the time I asked him about the show), but Andy Brown did a great job on drums. Cheers also to: Peter Searcy, Steve Cooley, Dan Canon, Larry Raley, Shannon Lawson, Adam Loewy, Leigh Ann Yost, Alex Wright, Katy Krekel, Adrea LaRoche, Dave Chandler, WFPK, LEO, WHAS, Louisville.com, and all the other wonderful people who love music and love Louisville. Of course I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Landlords and Leviathan, or "People Are Evil."

The eternal optimist is beginning to lose faith in people. I'm flashing back to my days as a poli-sci major discussing whether people are generally good by nature or purely self-interested. I've always believed that ultimately, people want to cooperate and help each other. This whole being-a-landlord thing, however, is leading me to believe that Hobbes was right.

It's a good thing I'm defecting to Europe, otherwise I might need to change my political affiliation to something less dependent on human nature as good.

(On that note, if you know anyone looking for a rental house:
http://louisville.craigslist.org/apa/2562544030.html. We can negotiate.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Punctuality, Passion, and Boxes.

My WFPK visit for today was re-scheduled for tomorrow. I've come to like these weekly in-studios with Mr. Kyle Meredith, and I'm pretty stoked about the song I'm singing on tomorrow's show. I've decided that my shtick is going to be to sing a song by another Louisville artist each week. I think. That's what I did last week, anyway, and that's what I'm planning on doing maƱana. We'll see if I can come up with one for next week's show. Assuming I'm still in town, that is.

Speaking of that, are you coming to my show on Friday? You can come to the Monkey Wrench any time after it opens, but the music will start at 7:00. If you know me at all, you know that when I say 7:00, I mean 7:00. We didn't even hold curtain at the wedding. Punctuality is as important as passion, at least to me.

And speaking of punctuality, maybe I should try to be more consistent with my blog posts.

And speaking of this blog, need a quick link to it? www.RedAccordionDiaries.com

Okay, back to packing up my entire life into a series of boxes.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Other great new Louisville Music

I know that only about half of you who read my blog actually live in Louisville, so I thought I'd share some more great local music by some good musicians who also happen to be good people.

Butch Rice and Danny Flanigan each have a new album out, and I was out of town for each of their CD Release Parties. Bad Brigid! Bad Brigid!

But, the best place to hear Butch's new CD, "Fall For Me," is http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/butchrice1
You can preview all the songs and the title track is free. How about that?

Danny's new CD
, "Hope is a Word," has been a long-time coming. I'm way glad it's finished because it's full of wonderful songs.

Of course, both CDs are available at earX-tacy record store, the best record store in the world. I am headed up there right now to re-stock my own CDs. Apparently, they've been out-of-stock for months. Sorry about that ... I didn't know.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Music to Pack By.

Today I'm so busy cleaning, packing, and coveting material things (ahhhh, the glorious KitchenAid Mixer, about to be packed up and sent to storage for a year! What will I do without you?) that I've decided to share some music with you rather than write a scattered blog.

Cleaning house is best done with a riveting audiobook or a great album. Today I chose music. I haven't listened to the whole thing yet, but just put Track One on and liked what I heard. I don't really do music reviews here, but I do like to share happy things.

Maybe your day needs some upbeat bluegrassy music? Here's what I'm listening to ... the new album by Storefront Congregation.

Listen online (and purchase CD if you want!) here:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stress Balls, Houses for Rent, and Shows.

I am a big ball of stress. I know things will work out because they always do. Still, I've never had more going on at once in all of my life, and that includes the times spent working in TV News productions with hard deadlines. Trying to get our house rented before we move to Scotland has been a nightmare, all for silly reasons, mostly people standing us up or leaving us hanging (no, not you, friend ... the crazy CraigsList people, obviously).

I'd like to just sit back today and read. Read novels. Read magazines. Read blogs. But I can't. Still ... what other blogs do you all read? Maybe I should update my Google Reader just in case more malaise sets in. Please advise!

Also... here a brilliant poster for the 8/26 show, designed by John Fitzgerald. www.fitzio.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stuff, stuff, more stuff. Oh, and free downloads.

HWT says that he once had a garage sale in Lubbock where he made around $1800. I think there must have been a really good exchange rate against the Texas dollar or something because that's just unheard-of. Of course, everyone else seems to have a story of making "a few hundred dollars" at yard sales. Me? I'm either pricing too low, or I just never have good stuff. Last summer I made about $110 for a week's worth of sorting, pricing, hauling, and haggling. Not. Worth. It.

I accused HWT of having had lots of tools and guns or something in order to make almost two grand at a freakin' YARD SALE!! He agreed to the tools part, but said he actually made money on CLOTHES. This makes me think that perhaps surviving on hand-me-downs and Target over the past ten years wasn't a very wise investment after all. Or maybe I'll sell his fancy name-brand stuff while he's at work this week...

But truthfully, Goodwill will be getting a lot of nice stuff soon because I just don't have the energy to put together a moving sale (or is there some other organization that gives out tax receipts to whom I should be donating??). Also, we're about to sell the truck, so if we don't get rid of this stuff soon, we'll have to start looking around for a New Friend With-a-Truck. So much to do!

Also, I shared this on my Facebook Music Page earlier today: I'm making downloads available (for free if you want, or pay me something if you want ... blogging isn't paying very well these days!) of the individual tracks off my European EP that was part of my last UK Tour.


Just because I love you all so much! Even if you don't buy my stuff at my yard sales.

Monday, August 15, 2011

How We Kept Our Wedding as Green as Possible.

Another wedding post! Sorry, but folks have been asking me to spill the details a la People Magazine. Well, maybe not THAT trashy, but apparently, wedding details are popular topics of discussion. I was at a lunch with two tables full of insanely smart and talented women last week, and somehow most of the conversation focused on weddings. Granted, it's just what was was going on with us, but I still felt guilty about it. I felt really bad for the few women at that table who didn't have wedding-on-the-brain.

Still, I'm amazed by how wonderfully our wedding came together, so I thought I'd share some tips on what we did to keep it as Green as possible.

I'm still in shock that most wedding flowers are imported from South America. We were fortunate enough to find a florist/designer who understood our desire to Keep it Local. We had three quotes and Ann Rowan James Designs was the one in the middle. It wasn't the cheapest, but she worked her a$$ off and made everything just beautiful.

Potted plants in aisles to
prevent waste. Also, both
parents walked with
the bride.

- We used potted plants to decorate the aisle and decks at the venue. I think most were rented, although some may have been herbs from my garden. Honestly, I can't remember even seeing them because I was in a daze all night, but I'm told they were perfect. Also, they were returned and re-used, rather than having been cut arrangements to be composted/trashed.

Hand-tied zinnias grown in my yard. 

- I grew my own bouquets. That could have turned out horribly. We had a backup plan, which was to call the Farmers' Market folks ahead and ask them to save any pinks, greens, and red flowers for us. Fortunately, my zinnias went crazy (and are even MORE crazy now, in case you are getting married this weekend and need a bouquet). There were six bouquets that were made from my own front yard -- zinnias and mint -- and flowers leftover to decorate the trellis and whatever else.

- Locally grown hydrangeas were also purchased to supplement the bushiness of a few things, I believe. They were in-season and organic. Perfect. Really, we didn't need to order them because there were so many hydrangea bushes around the neighborhood, we had access to plenty. I think it was just easier on the florist to have them delivered.
Unity plant w/  dirt from our hometowns.

-Unity Plant
We purchased a rosebush from a local nursery. During the ceremony, we combined Texas dirt (which David's parents brought from Lubbock) with Kentucky dirt (compost from our backyard) in a sickenly cute fashion. We later planted the roses in our front yard.

Mini-boxes to hold candy. Boxes were
made from scrap paper of various
- I made hundreds of bourbon balls in my own kitchen, using pecans grown from David's parents' front yard in Lubbock, Texas. We brought them back with us after our last visit to Lubbock.
- Of course, we used local bourbon to make the treats flavorful.
- David's mother made miniature Chinese take-out boxes for guests to take home bourbon balls in. She spent months collecting scrap paper from various projects, so that none of the boxes was made out of virgin paper. They were adorable -- and recycled.

Wedding Programs
- Instead of programs (paper waste!), we painted a giant piece of scrap plywood with Chalkboard paint. Then some good friends with more art sense than we have wrote up one giant program with everyone's names and pertinent info. The program was hammered into the ground for everyone to see.
- We also made chalkboards for signage that can be re-used by the venue for future weddings.
- We were able to re-use some handheld fans from a friend's wedding, so our guests could keep themselves cool during the ceremony.

- I borrowed my dress from my oldest friend (as in the friend I've known the longest, not actually my oldest friend). Seeing as a wedding dress is certainly only worn once, this was a perfect way to re-use and recycle.

Bride's gown borrowed. Bridesmaid's mostly purchased
at consignment shops, or borrowed.
- Most of the bridesmaids bought their dresses at a consignment shop. I'd basically said, "Wear whatever you want, as long as it is a bright, summer shade of green ... think the colors in a watermelon rind." It caused a bit of chaos at first. I thought after a while that most bridesmaids would actually prefer to be forced to buy something ugly rather than try to choose something for themselves. But it worked out gloriously, and so many people told me how pretty the greens looked up against the rolling hillside in the background.

 - The groomsmen just wore a black suit, which pretty much all of them already had.

- David ended up buying a new tuxedo for the occasion, mostly because it was actually cheaper than renting. But as a bonus, he looks super-hot in a tux, so I know I'll be taking him to some black tie event in the future.

- It was all vegetarian, and I bet that most of the guests didn't even notice that until they read this post just now. It was all finger foods -- crudite, salsa bar, cheese & crackers, brie wheels, mini capreses, tapenades, tartlets, fried mac-n-cheese balls, etc. That's probably the biggest way we made the event Green -- no meat was purchased for it.

Fried macaroni and cheese balls.
(photo by Barbara MacDonald)
Martini glasses with
(photo by
Barbara MacDonald)

Getaway Car

- Some wonderful friends surprised us with the 21C bedazzled Limousine for our getaway car. Inside awaiting us was a bottle of champagne, as well as a note explaining that they purchased carbon offsets from Terrapass.com. They knew that we were avoiding big cars because of our Green Guilt, and they found a way around it. Cheers to having good friends who care as much as we do. It was a wonderful and almost guilt-free ride back to the hotel -- the guilt came from the number of macaroni and cheese balls I consumed on the trip.

That's it for now.

New blog? Or merge 'em all?

In about fifteen days, I'll be on my fifth Trans-Atlantic flight of the year. This time I'm going to have to check a bag, though, because it's not a vacation or a tour. It's a move. Yikes! (For those of you who missed that announcement, read it here.)

I will definitely be blogging while I'm there because, well, that seems to be what I do lately. But I've been wondering if I should start a separate ex-pat blog about living in Scotland, and save this one for music-related-show-details things.

Thoughts? Ideas for a blog title?

And should I leave Blogger for WordPress? I just don't like Tumblr.

Or should I just leave it all one big blog?

So many identities to deal with!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Things I Learned on my Honeymoon

Don't get too excited ... this isn't THAT kind of post. I've just been wanting to write a play-by-play of our adventures in Belgium and the Netherlands last week, and it would take up far too much blog-space. So here's a list of things I learned:

* My iPhone's keyboard kept switching to the International AZERTY keyboard, as well as auto-correcting in French.
It's impossible to type anything quickly or efficiently under such circumstances, but also impossible to stop laughing.
* Both Dutch and Flemish are made-up languages designed to confuse tourists. Seriously, it sounds like German Pig Latin. But I love that two scarcely-spoken languages have survived, and now I want to learn conversational Flemish. Anyone?
* Skinny jeans are out, but Hammerpants are back. Especially for women. This is the truth. Don't say I didn't warn you.
* The store called "Scotch & Soda" is not as great as it sounds. We were both excited to see the sign, but it turned out to be a European Abercrombie & Fitch. I was hoping for a liquor store, or at least a J.Peterman-esque shop. But no. Nautical-themed clothing for rich young kiddos.
* Go RIGHT on the roundabout. I had a minor freak-out when HWT turned right on the roundabout. While touring in the UK, the most important thing to remember is to go LEFT on the roundabouts. That is now so driven into my instincts, that going right on the roundabouts on the Continent freaks me out.
* Continental breakfasts are still called "continental breakfasts," even when you're on the Continent, which seems a bit redundant. They do, however, include massive wheels of brie, gouda, and other cheeses, so it's not like your American Best Western. Not even close.
* Always go to the market. Americans get excited by the Farmer's Market because it's a cute throw-back to a mysterious way of life. In Europe, it's still the way of life, and you've never seen ANYTHING like the markets there.
* Don't be tempted by roseberries. They are gorgeous. They are disgusting. Unless you pretend they are nature's Sweet-Tarts. Then you might love them.
* Skip Antwerp. I know, I know, it's not its fault. It was destroyed in World War II. But that means that now, it looks like any town in Ohio. If you're looking for beautiful honeymooning Europe, skip Antwerp.
* Go to Gouda on a Thursday. Thursday is Farmers' Market Cheese Day in the picturesque town of Gouda. Little Dutch Girls wear costumes just like you'd expect and carry around wheels of Gouda. The old men at the Cheese Museum are kind, and knowledgeable, and they make the cheese and pipes and candles themselves.
* Belgian waffles are better in Belgium. That is all.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

WFPK Every Tuesday & Show tonight.

I just love Louisville. This past Tuesday I spent a few minutes on-air with Kyle Meredith talking about love, travels, cheese, and dream jobs, and you can hear it on WFPK's website. I'll be joining Kyle every Tuesday until the big move to Scotland.

Tonight, I'm joining Dewey Kincade at Zazoo's on Bauer Avenue (btw Lex & Frankfort Aves) in Louisvlle for a regular songwriter showcase he does on Thursday evenings. It was pretty last-minute, so I'm still not sure how the whole thing will work. I gather it's an in-the-round thing, which means it should be pretty laid back. I think I'll just have a guitar, which means I have to make sure to play good songs ... can't hide behind fancy piano solos, hee hee.

That's all for today. I'm moving, trying to get this house rented, and Visas sorted out. Boring grownup stuff!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In Bruges.

You may have noticed that I was strangely quiet on all things Facebook, blog, Twitter, last week. With no laptop and no phone, our purpose was twofold. First, because it was our HONEYMOON, and who wants to see what celebrity died or what the stock market did when you could be gazing into your lover's eyes and sipping foreign brews? And second (and mostly), because you would have resented us for all the luck and disgustingly cute things that surrounded us.

I'm a lucky girl as it is, but the honeymoon was just over-the-top. I even hate myself a little bit just typing about it. You've been warned. If you're in a miserable mood, please, just skip today's blog, okay? Unless you're the romantic melancholy type who needs a good reason to wallow, in which case, read on, but pour yourself a bourbon first.

We were #1 and #2 on the standby passenger list, and the flight to Amsterdam was oversold. It looked like we'd be spending a few more hours in the Detroit Delta SkyClub Lounge sipping free cocktails and chowing on cheese and kalamata olives (woe is us!). But as the doors to the flight were about to close, HWT noticed the gate agent kept paging "The Johnsons to the gate immediately." When the Johnsons failed to check in at the last minute, the Kaelin/Caldwell party was ushered on the plane.

We then toasted to the Johnsons from their First Class seats and giggled, oohed, and ahhhed, all through the warm nuts, the fine china, the spectacular surface, the legroom, the champagne, the wine, the apertifs, the ice cream sundae cart, the fettuccine alfredo, the eggs florentine, a movie, and enjoyed a long nap with our down comforters and pillows. (Remember, I warned you!)

But enough about the flight ... where did we end up? In Amsterdam, of course, but

mostly in Bruges.*

All we did was meander around and get lost in strange cities. We ate pommes frites with mayonnaise AND ketchup. We tripped on medieval cobblestone streets (like actually fell over, not with LSD or anything), and we people-watched at canal-side cafes. We went to a restaurant in Belgium that served 780 different kinds of Belgian beers. We felt terrible that we didn't know any Flemish, and we felt stupid that everyone over there speaks 10 languages. We bought a painting and chocolate. We went to Gouda and ate cheese (another blog). We stopped and smelled a hundred roses.

We didn't tweet about it at all.

It was perfect.

*I know, I know, that's a violent Colin Farrell film (not movie, it's a "film," I'm told), that's supposed to be pretty good. I've not seen it because I can't sit still long enough to watch a movie -- unless I'm flying Business Class, of course.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My secret announcement! It's a good one.

I have heard so many rumors lately that I'm having a baby that I'm starting to get paranoid. Let me assure you, perhaps by inviting you all out for a cocktail on August 26th, that I am not -- I just ate a lot of pommes frites and chocolate croissants on my honeymoon. But I do have some big news. I am moving abroad for a while. That August 26th show is a big Farewell Show. Put it in your Outlook/iCal now, please.

Again, you may have heard the rumor (although, I mostly heard it was Ireland), and if you read my blog on it's original site rather than the Facebook Auto-Import feed as a note, you may have noticed my profile change: "soon to be ex-pat, taking up residence in Edinburgh, Scotland, this September."

It's not really been a big secret, but then again we haven't really officially announced it. But yes, HWT and I are moving to Edinburgh, where he will be getting his MBA in International Business (I think that's code for James Bond Training), and I will be singing and playing and touring and maybe writing that novel, but still teaching some piano lessons to some folks back here on good ol' Skype. HWT wanted to go back to school, and I wanted to go somewhere where I have a music career. Scotland fits both.

It isn't permanent, and I know Louisville's calling us still. I have gotten more cool gig offers in Louisville this fall than I've ever been able to turn down and it kills me. But I am really looking forward to studying abroad for a year.

All that said, we now have three weeks to rent our house (3BR/2Ba with
a basement in Seneca Gardens, anyone?), sell the truck, sell the VW, find a flat in Edinburgh, and move. Hopefully we will move all our stuff to storage before we sell the truck.

I'll be talking about this more on WFPK in the 10:00 hour today with one Kyle Meredith. Maybe I'll sing a little ditty too.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Perfect Wedding.

Our wedding was perfect. I don't remember much of it, as I was assured I wouldn't. Also, people told me I wouldn't eat for all the flitting and fleeting. They were right, though I did manage to score a pile of fried macaroni & cheese balls at the end of the night (kudos to the awesome folks at Masterson's, especially Sueanna).

I also swore I wouldn't work at my own wedding, but it turned out that the only peace and quiet I had during the party was when I hopped on stage for about twenty minutes. Nervous Melvin & the Mistakes were the perfect band, and they didn't mind one bit -- nor could I stump them -- when I called out songs and keys, despite never having played with them before. Need a band? Hire them.

But anyway ... throughout this whole insane process, I learned that we have amazing friends and family. Some have Martha-Stewart-like talents to make rehearsal dinners and wedding spaces look like a magazine set. Others who are less crafty can somehow remain calm and remind us that things like centerpieces and tablecloths are not as important as remembering your vows or enjoying the day. It was lovely to know we have friends and family who can do both. Balance is everything.

I haven't seen any photos, other than the ones some family members have posted on my FB page, but I'm sure I'll have some to share soon enough.