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.

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 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.