Thursday, January 30, 2014

Full band show on Friday 1/31!

I'm playing a full-band show tomorrow evening in Louisville. I'm super excited, and I don't think that's the caffeine talking (I'm pretty sure they didn't give me decaf like I asked!!!). Thank you to Alex Wright for asking me to play his CD release show. It means a lot to me. I can't tell you how glad I am to be playing tomorrow night as opposed to going to bed at 8:30.


Buy tickets in advance (they are cheaper than at the door):

New Vintage. Show at 8:30 (my band is 2nd).

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A genius device that my favorite British grocery added to their carts.

I love my iPhone. It's magical in so many ways. But one thing I prefer to write down by hand is my grocery list. Sure, it's nice to be able to keep a note that you always have with you for those times when you make an unexpected trip to the store and don't have a little notebook with you. Still, I really like a handwritten grocery list.

In today's short blog, I bring you the genius thing our local grocery store did, in hopes that our Kroger could, perhaps, not only improve the store layout, but also our shopping carts: put small built-in clipboards to the front of your shopping carts.

I'm sure I took a photo of a Waitrose shopping trolley while I lived in Edinburgh, but I can't find it right now amongst the thousands of photos I've got. A google image search for Waitrose shopping carts shows Princess Kate, so I thought I'd just use this image to point out what I'm talking about.

Ignore her perfect blow-out and adorable ballet flats, and instead focus on the clipboard that is so conveniently and permanently attached to the front of the cart! So simple, and yet so comforting.

I know, I know, I should just ask Siri if I've gotten everything I need at the store. I swear I am a huge lover of technology. But I really love crossing things off a list, and who doesn't love a good clipboard?


I'm playing a show on Friday!! A full-band show. And rehearsal sounded fantastic. It's in Louisville this Friday, January 31, doors at 8:30. The New Vintage (the old Uncle Pleasants). Advance tix are $8 (it's $12 at the door) available here:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Burns Supper on a snowy January night.

This past Saturday was not only my half-birthday, but it was also Burns Night. January 25 is the Scottish bard's birthday, and a few years after he died his friends started celebrating his life with a Burns Supper.

Swede and turnip.
When we lived in Edinburgh, we went to a huge Burns Supper hosted by the University. Kilts were worn. The haggis processed in with a bagpiper. Poetry was read. Toasts were given. Massive amounts of whisky were consumed (except by me because I was 7 weeks pregnant). There was dancing and a tearful chorus of "Auld Lang Syne."

David and I have wanted to host a proper Burns Supper for many years -- even before we moved to Scotland. With the baby (my excuse for everything), we just didn't have the energy to do it this year. We did, however, have a couple of friends over while I made vegetarian haggis and neeps and tatties. It didn't taste like the haggis at the Baked Potato Shop, but it was decent enough. The whisky was sublime, and we played Nick Keir albums in the background all evening. It's hard not to get sentimental when toasting to friends near, far, and gone.

Our simple Burns Supper Menu:

"What IS this thing?"
  • Vegetarian Haggis -- because no one wants REAL haggis. 
  • Neeps and Tatties -- mashed potatoes, with a turnip or rutubaga added
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts -- because we needed something green on the plate
  • Scottish Shortbread -- the yummiest three-ingredient dessert you'll ever find
  • Whisky or whisky-based cocktail -- David made Rob Roys for all. It might be my new favorite drink.

It was a fun night. Now for the traditional Burns Night toast: Next year in Edinburgh!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Fun times at the Library's 1000 Books Before Kindergarten.

According to my social media feed, this is all that's going on in the world:
  1. Everyone in my neighborhood is getting lost because the grocery store is rearranging its aisles.
  2. Taylor Swift has a new hairdo.
  3. Everyone with a baby is tired.
  4. Everyone else is cold.
  5. EVERYONE has cabin fever.
We managed to borrow a car this weekend, so we got over our own cabin fever for a while. On Saturday we went to the library for the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten event kick-off. The mayor read a children's book to a bunch of super-excited kiddos. There was a stage performance of "Harold and the Purple Crayon," which we didn't stay for because 16-month-olds just don't appreciate theatre. Well, 16-month-olds who desperately need a nap don't get it, anyway.

I'm pretty sure the wee boy has already ready a thousand books (it's really only 3 a day for a year, and you can read the same book), but I loved getting him a reading log and his very own library card!

The best part of the weekend was the children's section of the main library, where they had HUNDREDS of BRAND NEW BOARD BOOKS. We checked out about six, and each one was totally brand new. Like, we cracked the spine open, and some of the pages stuck together, and there were no spills or rips or dirt smudges. We brought home six brand new books! Now we are just trying to keep them fresh having read them all a zillion times already.

I've got to say, the wee boy is really social and doesn't like to be left alone with a stack of toys. But if there's anything that WILL occupy him for a few minutes by himself, it's a big stack of books. I've caught him just sitting on the floor, flipping through pages, saying things like, "Fish! Boat! Horsie! Elephant! Baby!" to himself. It's pretty cute.

My brain is fried from lack of sleep, so I'm going to sign off before I start babbling even more...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

1000th Blog Post!

It's my 1000th blog post! Yes, you read that right. One thousand. All this blogging nonsense began in 2006 when I was one of fifty people in the country singing in the semi-finals of the 4th season of Nashville Star. Starting a MySpace blog seemed the easiest way of keeping people informed of the crazy goings-on of reality television. MySpace, I tell you! How's that for old-school?

Who knew that over the years, I'd be sharing news of world tours, a wedding, international moves, childbirth, and my deepest darkest secrets? Even crazier, who knew that anyone out there would be reading it?

But there you are, and I thank you much for sticking by me, even though I'm not doing so much traveling, singing, or cooking anymore.

Like this blog? Follow The Red Accordion Diaries on Bloglovin'.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hilarious thing my kiddo now does.

For the past few days, the wee boy has been doing something that I find completely hilarious, though David does not. The boy has turned into a surly teenager and calls his father by his first name.

Just a minute ago he got his head stuck in a chair (that's another story), and called out, "David! David! David!" Last night when he awoke for the third time -- and "mommy" wasn't the one to come to him -- he called out, "David!"

I knew he was precocious, but this is too much.

I guess I now have to just join the forces of mothers around the world and refer to my husband as "Daddy" from now on.

I really like saying the name "David" though. It ends in "-id" just like my name does. No one ever spells his name Davette though... go figure. And it's a lovely name.  I mean, the best husbands in the world are named David, according to this highly scientific article.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

10 Things I Learned from Online Moms' Groups (or "Why I Left My Online Moms' Groups")

Today I made a big decision I'd been tortured over for several months: I left most of my online mommy groups.

I joined them originally because it was super-annoying to constantly read Facebook updates from my friends when all they talked about was their babies. Particularly eye-roll-inducing were the statuses about morning sickness or poop or naps or rashes.

When I became pregnant, I sought out several online groups for:
  1.  support and ...
  2.  a safe place to post about morning sickness or poop or naps or rashes, thereby ...
  3. keeping my regular Facebook feed free of the super-annoying baby statuses I had come to hate.
It was pretty useful. My baby didn't sleep much, and I found great support from several women I'd actually consider friends now. They helped me through some pretty rough patches. I also found it a safe place to discuss PPD issues, as I wasn't comfortable discussing my mental health in the local face-to-face groups. (The first time I went to a new moms' group in Louisville, I met two other new moms who told me immediately that they had both of my CDs. So, yeah, I wasn't about to sit there and start sobbing in front of them. I returned to online groups for my confessions.)

Then came the drama. The judging. The bullying. The she-said-this-about-you. The confessions. I spoke up once or twice on some threads, then started just scrolling along, trying to ignore the nonsense, and stick to honest questions about my baby.

But lately I've found myself wanting to catch up on the story lines, the drama, the moles, the shocking revelations and plot twists. I've decided that, despite having met a lot of really nice and helpful women, I just don't have time for negativity anymore. And I've got Netflix if I want to catch up on Melrose Place for a healthy dose of drama. (Does Netflix have MP? Is that a totally outdated reference?)

I don't have a therapist (yet), but I'm pretty sure if I did, s/he would tell me to leave the groups.

So with a swift click of a button, I am gone. If I am ever to get pregnant again (still TBD), I will not be joining a "Due in September" or whatever group.

Here are some bits of wisdom I've learned from my time in moms' groups:
Focusing on positive moments like
this one, rather than online drama --
however riveting that drama may be.
  1. Don't talk religion, politics, or vaccinations.
  2. There is always a troll.
  3. Whatever main group you join will eventually split up into several small ones, often many times over.
  4. If you say something about another momma -- even if said momma is not in the group or has blocked you -- it will get back to her.
  5. There are a lot of genuinely wonderful women in them.
  6. You don't need to stay in the groups to maintain contact with the nice ones
  7. For every adorable photo you post of your baby, someone will comment on how dirty your house is or how his socks don't match or how he's too young to be having cereal.
  8. Sometimes other people point out safety issues that you didn't know about and actually really appreciate.
  9. Sometimes they don't point them out so nicely.
    and the biggest lesson, by far...

  10. Just because you have babies the same age doesn't mean you actually have anything in common.

That said, I'm staying in the local Moms' groups.*  I mean, I don't want to clutter your Facebook feed with poop statuses.

And wasn't the whole point of seeking out other moms to talk about motherhood and our babies? Time to focus on the wee boy a little more. Enjoy some cute pics, won't you?

*Speaking of local moms' Facebook groups, here is a terrific article about Shannon Stone. I owe a lot of my sanity to her and her work.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Treats from abroad!

Lookie what I got in the mail a few weeks ago and COMPLETELY FORGOT TO MENTION. Thanks to Brandi, an absolutely fantabulous blog-reader, who posted my favorite chocolate bars from the UK. I'm not normally a candy bar girl, but I was obsessed with these during my last tour. Of course, I was in my second trimester of pregnancy during that tour, so that probably explains the sweet tooth. Still, I miss the gorgeous selection of Cadbury that you can find at any gas station in Scotland.

Thanks much!

Monday, January 13, 2014

The best gig I ever had.

After I graduated from NYU, I got a job offer from a major television network. The only caveat was that the pay was $22,000 a year (with no health insurance or other benefits). And yes, the job was in Manhattan. Such a salary meant I couldn't afford to live anywhere in New York City, mostly because no landlord would rent to me unless I made forty times a month's rent.

Just when I was ready give up and move back to Kentucky, a former boss made me what I considered an absolute dream offer: I could live in the basement of her garden apartment on the Upper West Side rent-free in exchange for helping out with the kids.

I could still keep my television job (she worked in TV too, so understood the occasional late-nights or weird hours), as the family had a daytime nanny as well, but I would be there in the early mornings and the after-work hours.

I thought I had the greatest deal in the world. Now that I'm a mom, I am pretty sure that she had the greatest deal in the world.

It must have been so nice for them to have a built-in babysitter, even if it was just for after the kids went to bed. If she and her husband decided they wanted to go out to dinner or a movie, they could just check if I was in for the night (I usually was because, um, I made $22,000 a year in New York City, so who could afford to go out??). They always had a college-educated, CPR-trained, nice girl from Kentucky, who totally adored their kiddos, available. I had free cable and a furnished room. I had two really cool and smart grownup housemates (though I usually kept to myself because I was still kind of shy). And I had two really fun kiddo housemates.

Nowadays, I totally dream of finding the perfect person to put up in my basement bedroom. Someone who isn't at all a full-time nanny, but could babysit a few set hours each week. Mostly, I dream of someone who could be sort of on call -- someone who just might happen to be available if I wanted to, say, go to the gym while the baby took a nap. Or go to the grocery without bringing a diaper bag. Or pop out for a post-bedtime nightcap with my husband. Or play with the baby while I wrote a new song.

Sigh. Maybe instead I should just look for a family who wants to let us move into their basement.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The crazy is coming back.

I'm trying to relax, but I feel the crazy coming back. Maybe it's the winter. Maybe it's that I left my SAD lamp in Scotland. Most likely, it's that I'm creatively constipated.

Sounds gross, right?

Well, I've got all kinds of things I want -- need -- to do, artistically, but I am just unable to make them happen at the moment because of the age-old issue of being primary caregiver to my little one (and being unable to afford daycare at the moment). Pregnancy put a big ol' halt to my career trajectory, like it does for so many women, and it frustrates me to no end.

Of course, I'm totally happy that I get to spend so much time with the wee boy. I really do try to enjoy every single minute with him. I just put him down for a nap, and he fell asleep in my arms so sweetly that I almost didn't want to put him down.

But ... I need to do more.

Hence, the crazy is coming back.

I wrote this lyric about someone else once:
I used to make plans, now all I make are lists
And vegetable soup and two or three kids
This morning as I've made four separate lists, only one of which had anything to do with my career, and that lyric is hitting far too close to home.

I'll get over it, I'm sure. Believe me, I know that I'm not the only woman to suffer the career/family issue.

I just really had hoped someone would have solved it by the time I became a family woman. 

If you need a melancholy track for a cloudy day, have a listen here:

Monday, January 6, 2014

Free show on Tuesday.

Business first: 

Tomorrow evening (Tuesday 1/7) I'll be at Clifton's Pizza on Frankfort Avenue playing Danny Flanigan's songwriter night from 8:00-10:00. It's free and family-friendly, and they have excellent food there. I think even my wee boy will be there, if anyone needs some baby cuddles (just wash your hands first, please, because there's a funk going 'round!). It's a last-minute show, filling in for my friend Butch Ross, who couldn't make it up from Chattanooga as planned, so sorry I couldn't tell you about it until now.

I've also got a band show on the books -- January 31 at the New Vintage (the old Uncle Pleasants)

What else is going on? My horrible little sleeper slept from 10p to 6a last night without a peep. Yes, I woke up at 4:48am with horrible anxiety, glued to the monitor (we finally got a monitor a few weeks ago), wondering why he wasn't moving. But I did get to sleep six hours in a row before that, so that's pretty fab, especially considering how horrible he's been sleeping the past couple of months.


British friends, that is -17 Celsius ...  I repeat, SEVENTEEN DEGREES BELOW ZERO. So just stop it right there with your weather complaints, please. And could one of you please work on getting me and David and the wee boy some new visas, so we can come back? The only way I'd venture outside today would be to catch a plane somewhere else.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Reflection and my boy's best party trick.

It takes me a while to admit certain things about myself. I didn't realize that I was, um, a country singer until iTunes classified my first record as country. I'd always thought country music was that super twangy and over-produced stuff, and I didn't want to be associated with that crap (even if I secretly like some of it). It turns out that most of the singer-songwriters I grew up listening to are country singers, and I probably should have embraced that a lot sooner.

And now it's occurring to me that I should probably also embrace being a mommy blogger. Country musicians and mommy bloggers still have bad connotations to me. But it's what I sing. And it's what I want to blog about because, well, that's what's going on in my life right now. Write about what you know, right?

Maybe if I'd admitted both of these things sooner, I would be more successful at both.

I promise not to write only about the wee boy and his magnificence, but I'm going to stop hesitating to write about parenting stuff just because it's isolating to my non-parent friends.

By the way, have you seen this yet?

My 15-month-old may not sleep through the night yet, but he knows about 75 words (at last count) and two state capitals (Texas and Kentucky). And he knows what Santa says and where your belly button is. I'm pretty sure I'd prefer a sleepr