Monday, November 25, 2013

Smalltime adventures and how pretty is my baby?

I've been having a bit of writer's block on the ol' blog here, most likely because this is a blog of adventures and my adventures have been lacking. I like to go to bed before 9pm. I've been awake pretty much every 2 hours with the boy the past several nights.

I did manage to have a bit of fun this weekend though. David and I had a yummy dinner with friends at El Camino on Saturday night, followed by a bizarro trip to Shively where we saw a very loud (but talented) band play some 80s rock covers and make a lot of obscene jokes while two women gave a lap dance to a man in the front row. But good company always makes for good fun, so we had a blast.

Yesterday afternoon we went to Churchill Downs, which is apparently what we do now on Sundays. My standard 2/5 exacta box was not profitable, so instead, I focused on getting my money's worth out of the buffet. (Gorgonzola mac and cheese, anyone??!)

In terms of writer's block, though, I'm trying to think of how to keep the blog interesting when I'm not feeling very creative. Maybe I'll start doing what all the other bloggers do and write things like "17 Things You Need to know about ________." 

In the mean time, how beautiful is the wee boy?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Falling down the stairs and magical reflex therapy.

I am not a graceful person. Sure, I did ballet (see photo), and I was pretty good at doing the right dance steps on the right beat. But it never looked pretty. I'm also very close friends with gravity, and I've taken some mighty tumbles over the past few years.

Having been self-employed for my entire adult life and always having an individual health insurance policy, I have made a habit of just "getting over it." I don't go to the doctor because it's never been bad enough to justify the cost. So when I fell down some stairs back in June, I just tried to get over it.

Here's a picture of the bruise on my butt. Yes, I'm aware that I'm posting a picture of my butt on the internet, but I'm pretty proud of this gorgeous bruise. It was the size of a large apple, and it HURT.

That was several months ago. This week my friend Carrie finally talked me into going to a Physical Therapist (she actually called him because I'm a nervous introvert who hates the phone) because I whine a lot about how my back hurts, and I walk like Quasimodo when I first get out of bed. So I gave in and went because I'm not ready to have a hip replacement (though when I do, I'm totally going to Thailand because the cost of a surgery and 7-night stay at the hospital in Thailand is still less than my deductible/excess).

Anyway, this PT did weird magical things with my reflexes and muscles. He didn't do any scary cracks or pops, but he tapped on my neck a few times and suddenly my hip crackled a bit and went back into place. Apparently, they were completely turned the wrong way and stuck there because my muscles are all too tight (why then, is my butt not rock-hard???).

I'm doing my at-home exercises religiously because I can feel my hips trying to go back to Quasimodoville, and I much prefer being able to stand up straight.

Now I have to figure out what to do now that I can't complain about my back.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Seven interesting things about me.

I made the mistake of "liking" a friend's status (he's met the QUEEN!), so that means I was assigned a number. He gave me six. Another friend gave me eight, so I'm averaging it and making it seven. I'm pretty sure I've never participated in any Facebook status thing before, but I've really enjoyed this one. My friends, as it turns out, are fascinating.

So here are seven interesting/braggy things about me:

Q: Would you rather have a weeklong trip to France? Or a
silver bowl that lasts a lifetime?
1. My college roommate/ BFF and I met in a chat room on America Online when were 16.

2. I had Perfect Attendance from Kindergarten to 12th grade. As a reward, I got an engraved silver-plated bowl (see picture). The perfect attendance people the year before me got a trip to France. I'm still bitter about it. But back to the perfect attendance ... I have an immune system of steel.

3. From 1998-2001 I worked for CBS News (television) in New York, where I worked on CBS This Morning, various special events, and eventually the documentary unit. I left there as an Associate Producer in August of 2001.

4. I flew into Newark Airport at 8am on September 11, 2001, and watched both towers fall live from Gate 1.

5. I have played accordion, musical saw, and sung with Elvis Costello in two countries -- without a rehearsal. I still have his voicemails and text messages.

6. I graduated from New York University when I was 20 years old.

7. I am NOT outdoorsy at all, but I once climbed to the top of Mount Fuji overnight and watched the sun rise there from above the clouds.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Grieving for a friend. Nick Keir 1953-2013.

I lost a friend several months ago, and I haven't properly grieved. He lived in Scotland, so our goodbye last November was temporary. When I heard his cancer had returned and he succumbed in June, I was already miles away in my head. It was easy to pretend he was merely in another country and we just hadn't talked in a while.

Part of the beauty of art is that it allows the artist to live on years beyond his death. It's also part of art's sadness.

Today I am sad, as I listen to the beautiful music of my friend Nick Keir soaring out of my tiny living room speakers, reminding me that he once offered to bicycle across town hauling two huge stereo speakers to my Edinburgh flat when he heard we only had earbuds with us.

I am sad as I remember the time we first met. My tourmates and I knocked on Nick's door, hugged, and he handed over the keys to his flat, heading out to stay down the street with his mother. Awaiting us inside was a bottle of whisky marked "Drink me -- you know you want to."

I am sad as I listen to his version of my song, "The Ballad of Motorcycle Joe," which is the entire reason we ended up in Scotland. If Nick had not recorded that song, I don't think I'd ever have known that I had a following in the United Kingdom.

September 25, 2012 at the Leith Folk Club.
Nick, Marianne, the wee boy, and my mom.
I am sad as I remember listening in the back of the Leith Folk Club as Nick sang "Slow French Waltz," while my husband twirled me around gracefully with my nine-day-old son peacefully wrapped to my chest, sleeping through much of his first concert.

David and I knew that was a special moment, one that we'd remember forever. At the time, we thought it was a fitting tribute to our adventure in Scotland, which was coming to an end. Nick, a tall and sturdy troubador with a powerful and soothing voice, sang us out of the country as he had sung me in.

I am sad to hear his voice now.

But I am grateful to be able to share it with you. He was one of Edinburgh's most respected and loved performers, and I miss him immensely -- as do a lot of people.

Close your eyes, listen to "Fires of Edinburgh," and imagine yourself there wandering through the cobblestone streets, getting lost in the closes, staring up the volcanic rock of the castle walls, and sitting down for a pint in the back room of a pub, where a kind man with a penny whistle plays an old air for a lost friend.

Here's a fun moment from 2010, when Nick and I played guitar and musical saw together:

To buy a Nick Keir album, visit Coda Music, a brick and mortar store in Edinburgh. His music is also available on iTunes, of course.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A new normal.

"Sleep when the baby sleeps," is probably the most oft-heard piece of advice given to a new mom. And having been a new mom for over a year now, I can finally agree. The problem is that if you're baby doesn't sleep through the night for the first year, and he only catnaps during the day, then it doesn't really work.

I am not like David, who can fall asleep in precisely 17 seconds. I'm lucky if I'm asleep within half an hour, and by that point, naptime is over.

But the past week -- likely due to the time change -- I've taken to going to bed before 9:00. Last night I'm pretty sure I was asleep by 8:30.

I've also worn earplugs the past two nights, with the understanding that if the baby whines enough to wake David, then he'll wake me to go feed the boy. You see, even after fourteen months, I wake up with every whimper or sneeze, even with the wee boy two closed doors away. And that does not make for a very good night's sleep.

So the last two nights, I've slept pretty well, even with the 5:30am wakeup call. Yes, the boy is cheerful and ready to party at 5:30am. He did not get this from me.

I've determined that 8:30 pm is my new normal bedtime, and every gig I play from now on will begin at 5:30pm.

Who's into happy hour gigs in Louisville? Nashville always has early shows. What's our problem, anyway?

Friday, November 8, 2013

What should I be listening to?

A picture of the piano at Graceland.
Just because. I went there once. It was neat.
I had a business meeting with a friend yesterday who mentioned that I should blog more about music. She's totally right -- I should. Except, as I mentioned to her, when I write about music, my blog gets a decent number of hits. When I write about personal stuff, my blog gets ten times the views. Apparently, people are a lot more interested in babies and depression than in what I'm listening to.

And that's a good thing.

Because I'm not listening to anything.

It's not really by choice. I have bought music recently. I always buy my friend's new albums (most recently Adam Holmes and Wendy Colonna), and when David finds them around the house, he puts it on. But I haven't discovered anything lately on my own.

It's just like my music libido is gone.

I listen to talk radio. I read books. I read the newspaper. I read blogs. I write -- prose. I do play the piano and ukulele several times a week. But I haven't even opened iTunes in weeks, nor have unpacked the boxes of CDs that I put in storage before we moved to Scotland. Come to think of it, all my CDs may have been stolen along with our TV and booze and David's shoes. How would I know?

This isn't a proud moment for me.

So help me out here. I'm going to buy some new music. I am even going to attempt to listen to it. 

What should it be?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Our kid eats weird, which is completely normal. And other baby-led weaning stories.

Food is a hot topic for lots of people these days, and rightfully so. We've been huge proponents of eating real foods for many years. I've had a vegetable garden since I bought my first house ten years ago, and I make as much of my own food as possible -- even things like crackers and tortillas.

I haven't had as much time to do that since I had the baby, but mostly due to poor planning and PPD. But since the baby, eating properly became even more important.

We've got all kinds of annoying parenting rules, being that this is our first kid, and we care about everything far too much. One of my biggest is that the wee boy not eat crap. Now, I'm not trying to parent at you here -- I honestly don't care what you feed your little one. A lot of you probably think that what I'm about to explain is completely bizarre and maybe even unsafe and you would probably never allow your child to eat like that.

We do this weirdo thing called Baby-Led Weaning. Another word for it is most-likely "What loads of people did for centuries before baby food was actually a thing." Or "what most people the world over still do." In America, it's weird. In Louisville, at least in the mama community that I run around with, and in the United Kingdom, where the book on Baby-Led Weaning was first written, it's actually pretty normal.

I know a lot of parents who make their baby's food using a food mill or food processor to puree the family meals into little baby smoothies. That saves loads of money on jars of baby food, and it ensures that your kid is actually eating food.

Baby-Led Weaning is a little different.

We completely skipped purees. He was exclusively breastfed until he was six months old. Then at six months, we gave him a pile of whatever we were having for our meal -- roasted vegetables, lasagna, salad, whatever -- and let him feed himself. We didn't cut it up into small pieces, nor did was mash it up with a fork. Some BLW babies just play with their food for months, which is completely okay and normal. Our boy picked up a roasted carrot on day one, shoved the whole thing in his mouth, and learned how to chew.

It was all about him discovering textures, as well as his own gums, tongue, and gag reflex. He gagged here and there on occasion, but he never choked. And we never had to do the here-comes-the-airplane thing with the spoon or throw jars of baby food and spoons in the diaper bag. At restaurants, he eats whatever we're having, whether it's vietnamese soup or pad thai, and we can all actually sit and eat together, rather than one of us having to feed him first. It makes for pleasant, albeit messy, family dinners.

He also has had all kinds of crazy foods that don't come in baby food jars. Also, he just chose seaweed over cheese as a snack. I know he won't always be this good of an eater, but watching him eat a sandwich by himself as a seven-month-old been one of my favorite things about parenting.

Anyway, if you have a new little one, I recommend this book.

My 13-month-old chowing on seaweed. Thanks, Carrie, for the picture.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Random Act.

We went to a new park this morning -- well, a park I'd been to a hundred times by myself, before I ever paid attention to safety rails on stairs or the height of baby swings. Every park is new when you have a wee one with you.

It was a perfect outing, complete with my BFF from Austin, who was visiting for 36 hours. We collected leaves, counted doggies, went down the big twisty slide, pressed our noses against funny plastic bulbs, swung, and played with chalk and bubbles.

The chalk and bubbles were a treat that greeted us in a tiny little package sitting on a park bench -- a "random act of kindness" bequeathed upon us by some nice person who thought we needed some toys to play with. S/he was right, and it made us all happy.

We left the toys there for the next person to find and enjoy. Then we went out to lunch, where Lyzz from Austin proceeded to secretly buy lunch for the crew of firefighters who had ordered their food shortly after we did.

Now it's my turn to do something nice.

What can I do? How about the first three people to say they want one on this blog (not on the FB link that I post, but actually here on my Blogger site), get a free copy of my 2009 album, West 28th Street, in the post? It's not a random act, but I think you'll like it.

Happy Autumn!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Some very revealing information.

I took some highly scientific online quizzes to let you know a little more about me, you know, in case anyone cares.

What city should you live in?
My results: Paris! (duh)

What is your mental age?
My results: 47
 I'm an old soul. Or at least an older soul...

What is your physical age?
My results: 33
 Whoo hoo! This was according to my health insurance vitality assessment. So why, then, am I charged a higher rate even though I'm two years younger than I should be? Grrrr .... another blog.

Briggs Meyers Personality Test
I vascillate between INTP and INFJ pretty regularly. Shocked that I'm an introvert, but love the stage? Ah, the wonders of the spotlight.

So who else is moving to Paris with me?

Friday, November 1, 2013

It's a musical weekend.

Music tomorrow!

10:30am @ Mama's Hip. Family Music Jam! I don't often lead the Saturday classes, but I am tomorrow. Costumes welcome.  $10/family. We have shakers, tambourines, drums, some kids' songs, and some grownup songs that kids like.

9pm @ Gerstle's. Kathleen Hoye plays first, then at 10:30ish, Peter Searcy Band will be playing. I'm playing keys. Peter had to replace me when I moved to Scotland, but his current keyboard player can't make this particular gig. Brigid to the rescue! Details here.

What's the over/under on whether I'll be awake for both my 10:30am gig and my 10:30pm gig?

Also, I'm working on putting together a kids' songwriting workshop. I've had a few people ask me about doing one. Message me if your child would be interested, and let me know their age and music background. I'll work on planning it.

And one more thing: Happy birthday, Lyzz!