Wednesday, January 31, 2018

UK TOUR - Bristol wrapup days 1/2

OUR UPDATES! Lots of TMI here, per usual.

Most important thing to note: I SLEPT 9 hours straight last night and woke up on my own. I'm pretty sure I woke up in the exact same position in which I first closed my eyes. IT WAS AMAZING. This morning I brushed my teeth without anyone tugging at my ankles or grabbing my breasts. Speaking of breasts, OUCH! I spent 3 days away from Angus in late December, and I only had to hand express once. But this time -- only a month later -- I was rock-hard-engorged-leaking-through-my-sweater by the time we landed in Bristol, a mere 18 hours after I'd last nursed the wee one. I knew he was growth-spurting before I left, but OMG, ouch ouch ouch. Poor Steve Cooley knows more about my breast ducts than he cares too. It's been sad watching the liquid gold go down the drain, but I haven't had time to grab any cabbage leaves yet down it goes. Oddly, I'm not worried about drying up completely because breastfeeding remains the one thing about motherhood that apparently is natural and easy for me. Everything else is a crapshoot, but I'm good at making milk.

ANYWAY - last night's show was fun because it was hosted by a good friend (whom I met on Couchsurfing 10 years ago, of all places!) and we had a blast playing at Grounded in Horfield. Neil sung 4 beautiful songs, and I loved listening to him. I bragged on Steve enough to embarrass him, and he was jet-lagged enough to tell some grand stories about his previous UK tours.

We left Atlanta at 6pm for Amsterdam, and arrived in Bristol at 10am Bristol time (5am Louisville time), but i was able to sleep about 4 hours on the flight, which is pretty much what I sleep at home on average. While Steve got a nap, I had Neil drag me ALL over city centre Bristol. We walked about 5-6 miles through beautiful city and showed me the sights and we climbed Cabot Tower (109 steps according to Wikipedia, but I counted more...) and saw all the way to the Welsh Mountains and it was just a blast. Speaking of Wales, Pip's Real Hot Chocolate Co was at my show last night!!! He's a friend I met in Crumlin a zillion years ago, and it was DELICIOUS (literally, thank you for the chocolate!) to see him.

Also, Alan George Downie appeared at our gig last night, which surprised me more than any surprise visitor ever has (and i've had an odd amount of surprise visitors in my life!!). This was crazy because I last saw Alan on Thursday when he sat in the front row at SOLD OUT!! Brigid Kaelin - Send-off to Scotland! -- and though he is actually FROM Scotland, he's lived in Louisville since the 1960s. I know him from my dad's days working at AIR DEVIL'S INN, and it was Alan who booked me my first gig in Louisville at ADI. AND HE'S HERE IN ENGLAND!
So crazy.

Anyway, I'm perky as can be on 9 hours of sleep and one cuppa. Off to buy a guitar now (long story, but we didn't bring one from home), and we'll catch up later!

Tonight's show is at Mr. Wolf's Bristol : SongSmith Brigid Kaelin/Where The Night Falls/Howard Silverman is the event page. We'll be appearing on Bradley Stoke Radio Studio in the 6:00 hour GMT. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

UK Tour - airplanes and club lounges!

Greetings from the Atlanta airport Delta Sky Club in Terminal E! We have a 3-hour layover before our flight to Amsterdam, and we are spending those 3 hours watching people load baggage onto an enormous plane. They are in the cold rain, while we are sipping cappuccinos and refilling soup bowls and hitting the cookie bar. We are not even partaking in the complimentary beverages because I honestly just don't feel like drinking. Angus nursed all night, and I'm pretty sure a sip of alcohol would put me right to sleep at this point. I'm tired, and I've got a Transatlantic flight ahead of me -- and I'm flying COACH!

I know, I know. Most people fly coach. I've been fortunate to land some pretty sweet upgrades in my past, but tonight's flight is full, alas, so not even The Secret will help me this time.

Here's a funny thing, though: I'm really, really looking forward to tonight's sleep because I suspect it will be better than the last month's sleep with the teething toddler. Who looks forward to an overnight flight in coach? MOTHERS!!!

Saying goodbye was not tearful today, and for that, I am grateful. Steve and I took an Uber from my house to avoid any tearful moments at TSA. Graham had his fair share of, "Mommy, please don't go" moments, but Angus wasn't sure what was happening. He was pretty happy in his daddy's arms, so that was good.

I have downloaded Lonely Planet England and spent the flight to Atlanta informing Steve of various and interesting facts about the southern England ("Look, did you know Banksy is from Bristol?!"). He was less than impressed about all facts shared, but that is just how Steve is. I love that about him. I'm plotting which castles and henges we will be able to visit while still maintaining radio appearances and gig punctuality.

It should be a fun time. I hope I have the energy to maintain good social media and blogging fun on my way.

Thanks for a wonderful send-off show to the awesome people who bought advance tickets to the concert at the Bard's Town. It was a blast, and we'll do it again sometime.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Interrupt a man.

My sweet little privileged boys playing in the show!
Every woman I know is on fire lately. Whether that means finally seeking out therapy or finally calling out nonsense and bad behavior when you see it, it means a change is not just a'coming; it is a'here. And I LOVE IT. It's empowering and it's a weight off my shoulders I never realized was there.

When my second-born was revealed to have a penis, I was incredibly relieved. I knew, right then, that his life would be significantly better than if he'd been born with a vagina. I knew that I'd have an easier job as a parent, not having to explain every nuance of dressing, catcalling, expressing yourself, being careful, being smart in class, but not raising your hand all the time -- all those things that women have dealt with and all the burdens we have shouldered. In that same moment of relief, I also felt massive responsibility to try to make these fortunate middle-class white males I would raise to try to understand just a fraction of what women go through on a day to day basis.

My #metoo anger comes out in frustration sometimes. My 5-year-old will behave like a typical impatient 5-year-old and interrupt me. When I'm feeling ragey, I'll respond, "NEVER INTERRUPT A WOMAN." I know that "never interrupt" would be good enough, but I add those two words because I feel some need to over-correct thousands of years of systemic sexism. My sweet boy is told not to refer to game pieces as "guys" or animals at the zoo as "him," because I want him to learn that "male" is not the default. I also want him to be a strong leader, but to recognize his own privilege -- and that he must offer helping hands to those not beginning life on a pedestal. When his friends in his preschool get upset that I make all the monkeys jumping on the bed GIRLS ("she fell off and bumped her head"), I feel a little smile of "now you know what it's like!" before obviously remembering that the 3-year-olds are not, in fact, the enemy.

But their parents are! Even if it's me.

Today I ask you to interrupt a man -- or at the very least call them out. Speak up for us. I've seen too many men out there going on and on about things they clearly don't understand, assuming that our powers are balanced from the get-go. They are not. If you're an artist on a bill with almost entirely men, SAY SOMETHING. Promoters seem to think that if they throw a few women on a festival line-up that they are being woke and making sure there is representation. That's not good enough! Don't make us compete with each other for a few token spots, while a bunch of white guys get to play the same three chords with the same beards and same flannel shirts and have the arts scene be okay with that. Don't make us sound ungrateful when we *are* the token woman: SAY SOMETHING. Don't sit back and agree with me on Facebook without doing anything about it: SAY SOMETHING.

And of course -- same goes for race. I'm not perfect, but I'm trying to get better. Know better, do better. If you didn't know before, now you do. It's okay to improve yourself. That's what we're all out to do, right?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Inspector Gadget coats and packing skillz

Photo has NOTHING to do with the blog,
but look how cute my boys are. 
You guys, I'm the queen of packing, and I'm starting to get verrrrrrrry excited about packing for my upcoming tour. I don't like to check a bag, and I also like to make sure I bring an accordion and plenty of CDs. That doesn't leave much room for clothes, and this is a winter tour, requiring more than a couple of layers. But I once packed for myself and a toddler for a month in Europe with just one carry-on, so I've got this, people. I've got it.

Part of my excitement is that I got that awesome Baubax bomber jacket that has, like, 15 pockets for various devices, which eliminates the need for a carry-on on a flight. I'm pretty excited to model it for you all because it's, like, this jacket that I invented in my head ages ago on some RyanAir flight where I had to buy a seat for my accordion because it was cheaper than paying for it as a carry-on , but I didn't have to put in any effort to make it happen. Instead someone else is getting rich, but at least I get my Inspector Gadget jacket.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Yoga and Broadway daydreams.

No babysitter means Angus comes with me
to fix a leaky pipe.
I stopped going to yoga because it was too expensive to both hire a babysitter *and* pay for yoga. Not going to yoga means I get zero alone time, which makes me a bad person and worse mother. It also meant I stopped writing in my journal, which means the kooky thoughts are stuck swirling around in my brain/blog instead of safely released into the wilds of a Moleskine. It also means I'M NOT AS STRONG AS I WAS THIS SUMMER.

I never told you the actual reason I started going to yoga. Remember that time when I auditioned for the national tour of a Broadway show back when I was 5 months postpartum? Well, I never shared the end of that story, which was that they called back a few weeks later and asked me if I was available to jump on the tour. I initially declined it for personal reasons (I wouldn't trade even a starring role in The Sound of Music in the West End of London for time spent with my mom!), but then discussed potentially jumping on the tour for a few weeks (obviously that didn't happen).

But the demands of doing 8 Broadway shows a week meant that I needed to get in shape: quickly. I needed to be able to dance for 2 hours a night. And so I started power yoga, which ended up being something I absolutely loved.

And now I've been off the yoga for several months, and all I can think is, "There's no way I could do a Broadway show if London calls!"

On that note, we are interviewing au pairs because I need live-in help with my schedule and weekly solo parenting. How else will I get in shape to tap dance???

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Time management tips for working from home

You're in luck -- my January 25th send-off show at the Bard's Town is SOLD OUT, so you don't have to listen to me ask you to come to the show. And when my head isn't stressed out with MusicianAnxiety (also known as HostAnxiety aka will anyone come tonight will anyone show up will it be a totally empty room after all my hard work), I can instead focus on delightful little blogs like this one.

In recent years, we've seen more and more people work remotely or become self-employed, whether it's a CTO working from home on a snow day or a LulaRoe rep tweeting from the toilet (and you can easily reverse those situations -- we've all done it, right?), but I somehow STILL find it difficult. I had finally figured out good time management, and then I went and had kids: FOILED!

I'm not someone who thrives under structure, in general, but I am someone who NEEDS structure in my life currently. Today I'm re-examining ideas of how to provide structure to my work-from-home days.

Also, if anyone is procrastinating on your work by reading this, why don't you just come over and plug in your laptop in my dining room and be my office-mate for the morning? There is a toddler tickling my toes at the moment, but I will probably give into screen time soon, or letting him put a thousand crayons down the heat register.

My favorite work-from-home tips that I am writing today mostly to REMIND MYSELF:

  1. Set a timer for small tasks. 
  2. Don't use a power cord on your laptop -- you won't have time to get distracted.
  3. If you have some real goals for the day, then don't check email until you've conquered at least 2 of them.
  4. If the house is dirty, then go to a coffeeshop. Otherwise you'll just get frustrated and spend all morning doing dishes. Alternatively, create an actual home office and shut yourself away from laundry.
  5. Schedule lunch. (This does not work for me because I am always hungry and the REFRIGERATOR IS ALWAYS THERE, but I'm working on it.)
  6. Make your ToDo list at the end of the workday. If you do it the night before (and you are me), you'll lie awake fretting about all you have to do. If you make it in the morning, you'll waste valuable time organizing and categorizing your list instead of actually doing things.
  7. Separate your To Do List by category, and choose 1-2 items from each category according to priority. If you finish those, then go back.
  8. Schedule your social media posts. This means you won't get sucked into a Twitter discussion or Facebook war, and you can plan your posts for the most effective time of day.
  9. Schedule a break or exercise or a walk. Also something I struggle with, mostly because I don't have reliable childcare, but also because when I'm good at guilt-tripping myself into working longer hours.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

It's Just a Thing.

Is that you in the soldout Headliners crowd??
me and Kimmet Cantwell!
That has been my mantra lately. Repeat to self: it's just a thing.

A lot of things have been malfunctioning lately -- furnaces, tires, car batteries, toilets, pipes that burst even though I did the whole leave-the-water-dripping thing because it's JUST SO COLD!

But it's just a thing. Right?

We are all safe and alive and enjoying every minute despite the chaos.

Christmas was an adventure. We rented a minivan and drove 1100 miles to Lubbock, Texas, with the whole crew: me, David, Graham, Angus, my mom and dad. David's family lives in Lubbock and hosted us all in their big ol' house, which was full of bourbon, fun, laughs, naps, plastic balls (Angus got a lot of balls for Christmas), and collectible Santas. We had a blast.

I flew back early because I had several holiday gigs, including the sold-out night at Headliners starring Back 2 Mac, the Fleetwood Mac Tribute Band that I was in in 2010-2011, before moving to Scotland, when Natalie Bajandas took over the Christine McVie parts. Her vacation was my gain, as I got to sub for her! It was magically fun, and though I would never try to take over her role in the band -- that's not cool, -- I do hope I get a chance to sub again sometime!

I'd forgotten how great a little external validation can feel, even though I know I shouldn't depend on that for happiness. But the thunderous applause, cheers, and being surrounded by people telling me how awesome I was, was, well, pretty nice. Even the guy who mysteriously told me, "Everyone wanted you to fail! I mean, EVERYONE! But you nailed it, Brigid, you absolutely slayed!" I genuinely think he meant it as a compliment, but I had to question whether anyone actually gave a crap about how I was going to perform. I mean, I wasn't nervous about it -- should I have been? Nah, I know I can sing and play those parts. C-Mac's vocal range is spot on with mine, and you can't go wrong with those songs. They are just too good!

Joe Mays took video, so I'm hoping to share some fun video from the show.

Anyway, the days off from parenting were soul-refreshing, and it was incredibly feel-goody to be more than just a mother again. Now my kids are back, and adorable and loving, albeit mischievous and slightly annoying. But really -- that's the good stuff, right? Everything else: it's just a thing.

Put January 25 on your calendar for a special, intimate, ticketed event in the Highlands. It's a send-off show for my United Kingdom tour, with a Burns Night theme featuring some somewhat-local scotch ... how is that even possible?!?!?! You'll see.

Ray Rizzo & Kimmet Cantwell