Monday, August 26, 2019

How to make your bedroom feel like a hotel suite ... the journey, part one


My childhood bed was vintage. Antique. Actually, just “old.” My uncle slept in it when he was a kid because my parents bought my grandparents’ house: furnished. When I came around, the old twin bed became mine, complete with the mattress from 1949. I slept on that until I went to college when I was delivered to a den of luxury: the 4” college dorm bed that, to me, was the most comfortable place I’d ever slept. There was no dip in the center — no indentations at all. When I came home to visit my parents and had turned NYC-snobby, I convinced them I needed a mattress that was not fifty years old. 

Fifty years old. It weighed a ton. I know now it was probably fifty pounds worth of dust mites and other microscopic terrors, but at the time, having grown up in a house where everything was hand-me-down and forty-year-old pillows were the norm, I didn’t realize quite how disgusting it was.

At age 37, I bought my first actual bed — not vintage, not even pre-owned (but definitely IKEA). At age 41, I bought my first headboard. This afternoon I shall put that headboard together (also IKEA), and I shall sleep on a bed that is my own. 

Despite perpetual wanderlust, I’m yearning for a retreat. I have never cared about the state of my bedroom because, well, my bedroom was always a creaky bed, a dusty old mattress and my grandmothers sewing desk. Today I am desperate for a bedroom that looks straight out of an Anthropologie home catalog. 

Is this my rebellion? My mother bought her mother’s house, took the plastic off the furniture and plastered the walls with an Old Fitzgerald billboard. I bought my mother’s house and painted over her 5-colored-dining room walls with the most rebellious color I could think of: greige. 

Does hoarding skip a generation? My mother’s retreat was a couch full of dog hair and piles of newspapers. I’m longing for a white bed and floor you can eat off.

Before and after photos to follow, eventually. For now — show me photos of your bedroom? Tips on how to make your bedroom feel like a suite at the Westin? 

In the mean time, here’s my before and the first hint of where I'm going:
My parents' bedroom after I ripped out the carpet.




Mostly empty!
Floors couldn't be saved, so they were painted with Killz
to seal in the dog pee of yore.






















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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Just adding another stressful life event to my 2019, no biggie...

Ciao to the house we grew a family in!
Because life hasn't been stressful enough the past year, we've also decided we have to sell our house. We've slowly been painting everything Realtor Grey (not a real color, but should be) -- it's actually "Repose Gray" by Sherwin Williams SW7015 -- so the house is fresh and neutral for happy, new owners.

I don't have interest in staging the house or dealing with the random-hour phone calls with the nonsense that goes along with selling a house, so it's what we call "quietly on the market." It's not for sale for owner (I'm not that crazy), but I'm not ready to stick a sign in the yard. (Ann James with Kentucky Select Properties has the exclusive listing whenever/if-ever I decide to formally list it.)

My hope is to find a buyer without ever putting it on the MLS, then to turn it over to our realtor for paperwork. It's the best zip code and school district in the city, and I was beyond fortunate to live there for fifteen years. I wrote albums there, had many a fabulous party on the enormous deck, had amazing roommates in my 20s, had a baby in the dining room in my 30s and am ready to say goodbye in my 40s. No one died there (that I know of), and I have never met any ghosts. The neighbors and neighborhood are lovely, and I'm only moving half a mile away.

This little blog is an impetus for finishing up the paint job and moving my furniture over to my new house, where I've just been urban camping for months. I suppose I should sign off and go pack up the kitchen.

If anyone out there enjoys, um, packing up boxes or selling things online for other people, drop me a line :)


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

My next journey ...

This feels like a proper blog entry, and I haven't even written it. Those popular blogs-that-they-turn-into-movies are journeys, right? I'm on a journey today. Technically, I returned home from a month abroad yesterday, but it's today that the journey begins.

I have unfulfilled needs, dreams, passions, desires, recipes, DIY projects and much more trivial things too. For the past several years, my own life has been put on hold.

Maybe that seems surprising to you, dear reader, who have seen jolly photos of me enjoying a dram of whisky or gallivanting in the Alps with my genius 6-year-old. Remember the joy-filter of social media. However honest I attempt to be, I still don't want to be the constant internet whinger in your newsfeed. Posting photos of joy may be the only thing that cheers me up, and in a world where self-care has been low on the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

I've been in survival mode. Making sure my family is fed and loved and that my parents weren't forced to unnecessarily suffer. I was a death doula, and I am so grateful for that opportunity. I'm thankful to have been with them for their last choices, days, breaths, words, meals, hugs and smiles. It truly was an honor, a privilege, and I'm beyond thankful that I was able to do that for them. Not everyone's career allows such flexibility.

Still, my own needs have been unfulfilled -- purposefully, and sanctioned by a therapist -- and it is now time to begin a new journey of resconstructing my own life.

Yoga? Writing? Music? An organized pantry? What will adulthood look like for me?

Today I am searching for routine. But as someone who hates predictability, I struggle to find a self-care routine that I can actually follow. Does that even make sense? Or does it only make sense to the other ADHD-creatives out there who long for an organized life, but have zero interest in making it so?

Does anyone out there have a life syllabus for the non-independently-wealthy?

And now for random photo from delightful gig I played in Kentucky less than 24 hours after waking up in Switzerland:


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Saturday, August 10, 2019

Europe summer 2019 - travelogue

I’d originally planned for a tour this summer, but when my dad’s cancer returned, I had to stop booking shows. I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to perform at the amazing Belladrum Tartan Heart festival in Scotland, much less book an entire tour. By the time dad died, it was way too late to fill in the surrounding dates with shows, so it was either cancel the festival (as if — I’ve spent over ten years touring Europe working up the networking and playing shows to prove my worth at at a big festival — thought detour: how is it that some bands are so freaking lucky to find a manager or booking agent or exactly the right person to book them entire UK tours, the exact same venues i’ve Been dying to play for ten years and they magically have someone do all the work for them?? Y’all may be jealous of my adventures, but i’m Jealous of theirs...) or figure out some silver-lining.

In our case, the silver lining was: fuck it, let’s “summer” as a verb. I’ve always wanted to do that. I keep thinking about the narrator of Rebecca, wishing that I’d had the opportunity as a young woman to be someone’s traveling companion. I think I would have found a less-crazy husband in Monaco and avoided murder mysteries and lived a nice life on an English estate. Or at least, I would have made sure that my first husband was rich rather than a bass player, but I digress again ... sorry, the coffee in Europe is really strong.

We are summering in Europe mainly because I know how to budget travel, and also — and here’s my good fortune — we’d racked up a zillion Delta points between my husband’s weekly travel and having charged two funerals in the past year to our Delta Skymiles credit card. Here’s a referral link if you’d like to get your own Delta SkyMiles card and reap the travel rewards every time you buy a cup of coffee or an IKEA kitchen (another blog). 

So we cashed in years of point-hoarding to buy four plane tickets to Edinburgh and here we are!

I’ve admittedly been on less budget-travel mode than usual because, well, both my parents died recently and that’s fucking crazy, so I’m fully in #carpediem mode. My retail therapy is in the form of tickets to castles and picnics from the Harrod’s Food Hall. I don’t give a crap about name brand purses, but I do love a first class train ticket. We’ve all got our own priorities.

I promise to write a future blog with a detailed list of everything I packed for me and the boys, but for now, here are just some more photos:















Thursday, August 8, 2019

9 reasons I can easily travel Europe with my two small children

I’m traveling, and I have not written a thing. It’s a travesty! Instead I’ve been instagramming and helping wee Graham instagram (or instagraham hahahha!) and soaking up the culture and croissants that abound in this part of the world.

Bonjour from Paris! Someone asked me yesterday how it has been to travel with two little ones. I hadn’t thought about it as a challenge, but i recognize that many people would. A few thoughts on that:


  • Both of my kids are solidly potty-trained, so that cuts down on equipment. (Though I actually think that kids in diapers are just as easy to travel with. It’s that middle-ground where they are in underwear, but can’t hold it very long that’s challenging for travel!)
  • We packed so very very light. I brought one carry-on rolling bag for me and the kids. It’s the kind where all four wheels spin rather than the kind you have to drag — my first time traveling with that kind of suitcase, and I’ll never go back! David brought one backpack for himself. 
  • Wee Graham has a small backpack (like, 8” tall) that doubles as a daybag for us or a travel bag for the boys. 
  • There’s always activity! No one gets bored because everything is new over here. 
  • There are playgrounds everywhere. If we are walking from the Eiffel Tower to the Jardin du Luxembourg, there are about fifty playgrounds to stop along the way.
  • I didn’t bring a stroller. I made that mistake when I brought 18-month old Graham along. I wish I’d brought a carrier and ditched the stroller. This time we brought a toddler Tula for times when Angus is tired of walking or wants a nap. It means we don’t have to plan or change our day around naps. 
  • Wee bought Graham a kids pedometer, so rather than complaining about walking, he is eager to get more steps than us. Yesterday he got over 24,000. (I had a meager 19,000!)
  • I’m going into this with zero expectations and am not obsessing about a schedule. If you are someone whose child must nap between 1:15 and 3:47 then you probably wouldn’t enjoy this kind of travel. If you can roll with it, then you’ll do fine.
  • I’ve spent my whole life traveling on a student or musician budget, so I have learned how to enjoy just being in a new place rather than spending euros at every street corner. I can be happy with a baguette by the river, and I’m teaching my kids the same.
More on how to pack light in another blog. But today is my last day in Paris, so I’m not going to spend it in front of my iPad. Au revoir for now! 

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