And in the world of music…

I’ve got to give an update about how my St. Patrick’s Day show went.

I honestly did not know how I would feel during or after singing and performing for 3 sets. It takes a lot of energy to get up there and do what I do. I thought I would be ok, but then maybe would collapse after all. Only way to know is try. These long distance gigs are hard because we are gone for a good 12 hours total. It’s pretty exhausting. And I’m already  tired most of the time!

I have to say, adrenaline is an amazing thing. The drive down was good, and once there, it’s all gear up to the time we go on. Being on stage was an adrenaline rush that lasted me the whole way home. I did go right to bed when I got home, and slept pretty soundly. So really, it went on as per usual. I was less tired than I normally am.  The only thing I can say is that I found it took a little more time to adjust to my breath. I was a little breathless after a couple of challenging songs, but even that subsided pretty quickly as I found ways to compensate.

Now, what was little Patrick doing during all this? For the first set, he was moving right along with me, and then I think he was either deeply listening or maybe just fell asleep. I can’t imagine what my regular speaking voice turned crazy belting voice singing “Separate Ways” sounds like from inside the womb. What a welcome into the world.

Here’s “Separate Ways”…. because it rocks and this video is AWESOME.  : )

“Call the fire department- it’s outta control”- Heartburn and Clinton Cankles

Heartburn. I never had it before Tuesday night. I’ve had it once a day ever since.

At first I didn’t even know what to think. I’ve always thought that heartburn was a chest thing, but for me, it starts at the base of the throat and burns like holy hell. But it’s worse than burning… it’s like an all-encompassing pain that brings tears to my eyes. It makes my whole head reverberate. My husband said, “Go take some Tums!” I found the bottle in the bathroom, only to find one lonely singular Tum in the bottom of the bottle, as if it were a terrible prisoner and banished to an isolation cell. I promptly gave it the death penalty and sent it to a death of consumption. By me. “Thanks for the TUM.” I called from the bathroom, in my best bitchy pregnant voice.

Since then I’ve had a bout a day for 3 days in a row. I’m not convinced it’s even food related. I’ve eaten many of the same things, sometimes with a reaction, sometimes not. I almost feel like it’s a stress thing. IS that even a thing? I don’t know enough about it. I’ve read of some remedies that may or may not work. Eat small meals, avoid these foods, don’t drink alcohol (come on! haha) Finally, something spoke to me: drink chocolate milk. There’s something I can get behind! So I got a bottle and it really did help. I also picked up a whole new bottled prison of Tums for emergencies. I don’t like to do too much of one thing, so I hope I will only need the Tums sparingly.

And while I’m in a complaining mode, I may as well get it all out. Let’s talk about ankle swelling.

Standing on your feet all day is no easy feat (grrroan).  At about 5 hours in, I check my ankles and, sure enough, I’ve turned into Hillary Clinton from the knees down. I almost prefer this to my younger years when Hillary was in her early 40’s and I was in my early 20’s, and we bore a striking resemblance to each other. It was pretty annoying, really. People would stop me, like they were the first to figure it out. I could call it a mile away. A person would get “the look” and I’d stop them in their tracks.

“I KNOW.” I’d say.

“You know what? I didn’t say anything.”

“Just don’t say it.”

“I was just going to s—”

“No, seriously- I know and I’m not happy about it.”

“But you don’t even know what I’m going to say!”

PAUSE.

I then, with smug shame, would say those two words I didn’t want to hear, just to make them feel dumb, and make myself seem like I’d just hiked down Witch Mountain.

“HILLARY. CLINTON.”

Most people were astounded that I read their minds, but really, when something like that happens to you 3 times a day, you start to catch on. Hillary and I had similar hair, eyes and smile. The only thing I could do to set myself apart from her was cut my hair, and can you guess? Hillary cut her hair too. I’d let it grow, she’d let it grow, I’d cut it really short- so would she. I couldn’t escape it. Luckily, before she started to look older, I was able to cash in on a $250 look alike contest at a gas station. So I guess it wasn’t for all for nothing. Though I suppose I would have probably paid $250 to not have the comparison in the first place!

May of '93 was a do I didn't do. Thank God. What IS that?? I wasn't nearly as poofy as she was- I was more of a "Hillary caught after a rainstorm" type. But the lengths in those several years, always the same. I finally just died my hair red. That was it's own disaster.

Luckily having Clinton cankles (which I will refer to forevermore as “Clankles”) isn’t something people can readily see, since I always wear pants at work. I can’t imagine what I would do to the person who says, “Hey, you remind me of Hillary Clinton…. from the knees down.” I WILL stomp you. Who better than me with my giant Clankles?? You do not want to feel the wrath. Trust me.

“It doesn’t get any better.”

Tired and Sore

I’ve heard all these mommies gushing about their pregnancies over the years, and I think to myself, “I must be one selfish bitch!” Because really, this whole time has been kind of a pity party, and I’m the only one invited. I don’t bother others with it. I know I’m being overly emotional. The crying, the worrying… the sheer exhaustion of it all. But I haven’t slowed down, I just keep going. I have to. Instead of sitting around and dwelling on the all the ways things will change, I have just sort of put my feelings on the back burner. Let’s face it, I can’t trust hardly any of my emotions right now anyway. It’s like a super PMS when you make hasty decisions like cutting all your hair off or breaking up with a boyfriend over something silly. Best to wait until you are a normal person again before making any serious decisions. And I am not a normal person. I have, indeed, been body-snatched.

Well finally, someone told me some truth.

Over this past weekend 22 friends and family met up for a fun little weekend in the mountains. It was so good to see everyone and hang out, watching the kids of good friends play together made me think about my little one and how he would fit into the mix some day.  One friend, Ashley, asked how I was doing. I said, “I’m mostly just tired.. but lately my whole stomach and ribs feels like sore, like I’ve been doing sit-ups overnight. So, tired and sore I guess.” She replied without a thought, “It doesn’t get any better, just more interesting.” Jo Lee, another friend laughed and chimed in, “That’s the most honest advice I’ve ever heard! So many mothers downplay the hardships of pregnancy, and it makes you second-guess your own feelings.” She’s right. I think they both are.

Maybe moms forget what it was like, or they just had a completely different experience than me, but I don’t think this is something I will nostalgically look back on. But this whole time, I’ve been kind of down on myself based on the feelings regarding pregnancy of others. And I’ve never really allowed myself to fall into the old “comparison trap”- but then again, I’ve never been body snatched before, either.

I guess my takeaway from all this is just to do what I’ve always done in every aspect of my life thus far: Go with the flow and try to do the right thing. Don’t waste time dwelling on the negative and comparing myself to others. Just be the best me I can be.

Meanwhile, tomorrow marks a really interesting milestone for my little Patrick and me. I’m playing, funny enough, a St. Patrick’s Day gig. Now that he’s really moving around and reacting to outside sounds, this will be the first show with the full band where I will be able to really feel his reaction to the music- drums, bass, guitar, keys….the works. It’s going to be very interesting. I kind of can’t wait!

Wish me the luck of the Irish, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I think my Patrick might look like this little guy... especially if he gets my pointy ears!

“I got 99 problems but a b!tch ain’t one…”

When you hear what I’m about to talk about, your reaction might be, “Wow. Harsh.” I quote Jay-Z, mostly in jest. The truth of the matter is, I REALLY wanted my baby to be a boy.

I’ve said before that I go through phases of journaling like crazy. I kept every one, and sometimes read them to see what I was thinking and feeling, and to see how things have changed in my life. I came across a journal from early 2008 recently and started reading. In between the regular work complaints and random gig stories I found something very interesting. I was writing about the possibility of kids and said, “I can really see myself with a little boy.” This was before my dear nephew came into the world in October of 2008, who solidified that feeling for me. But there it was on paper… one of those things you write down that even surprises yourself.

When we found out I was pregnant, my husband and I were in total agreement- we wanted a boy. The more we talked about it, the more scared I got that it wasn’t a boy. While we had a name picked out for a boy, I couldn’t even think of one for a girl. Nothing was jumping out at me. I already felt guilty for thinking things like, “What if it’s a girl??” as if that was some sort of death sentence! I REALLY wanted a boy. And let me say, it’s not that I’m against girls, I just didn’t want to have one first.

Oh, the horror. haha

I had to do a little self investigation as to why I felt so strongly about it. I suppose mostly it has to do with the fact that that is how I was raised. In my family, it’s boy, girl, boy, girl. In my extended family, my dad is one of 12. Their family started off with a boy, who sadly passed away at the age of 5. Of the remaining 11, 8 of them had boys first. Maybe it’s just a family thing? Or could it be that growing up with an older brother and best friends who were boys set a precedent of comfort around males for me, never truly feeling like one of the girls. While I rebelled in middle school and tried to turn around the tomboy thing by hanging out with chicks and going to mall and whatnot, I definitely fell back into the comfort zone of hanging with the guys, where there seemed to be no pressure.  There was less drama (ok a LITTLE less drama) but at least I understood it.  This spilled over into my adult life- I’ve been in many bands over the last 20 years and have mostly been the only girl within 100 feet. Hanging with the guys is a part of life and I’m glad my husband is understanding of that. Not many men are.

Now it’s not to say I haven’t had or don’t have girlfriends. Funny- many were younger sisters themselves, and it was as if we had a sacred bond that only little sisters can understand. The Little Sisters of Brothers Club. We didn’t have to explain much to each other to be understood, it was already there. The sisters with younger brothers had an understanding as well. Interestingly, the friends who most fascinated me were the all-girl families. I loved visiting their boy-free houses, as if it was some sort of scientific reconnaissance mission. These homes had a completely different feel and outlook. Strange things were afoot. We could play/dance/act/sing freely without having to lock some boy out of the room. A tease-free environment- a totally different way of life. They were fun places to visit, but home is where the teasing is. I think it was a learning experience for all involved. I remember teaching my girlfriend how to spit, while she taught me how to put on mascara.

But back to the story at hand. The time came for the big sonogram- the one where you find out the sex. We weren’t going to find out, but at the last minute, we just had to. I couldn’t not know. Once the sonogram tech said she could tell us 10 seconds into the procedure, my husband said, “It’s got to be a boy, because that was awfully quick.” She said, “I don’t know.. I’m good!” We decided right then and there to confirm, and there it was…. “It’s a boy!” she said, and I heard myself rejoice, “THANK GOD!!” haha… how’s that for a reaction?

So, like in Go Fish, “I got what I wanted.” I was so much more relieved about EVERYTHING just knowing.

Now that people are starting to ask me if I know what I’m having, I say, “It’s a boy.” I’ve had a lot of mixed reactions. Some people are genuinely happy, but most people assume I wanted a girl, which is so funny to me. They ask apprehensively, “Is that what you wanted?” Or a disappointed, “Ohhhh.” I laugh and say either, “It’s ok… I wanted a boy!” or, in more relaxed situations, you know, the Jay-Z line- “I got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one.”

And in the world of music…

So I have this upcoming recording gig for a Prog project, or “progject” as I like to say. I got an email the other day from the writer/artist/engineer with a game plan and possible dates. He wants to get me in soon as I’m expecting. I have to say these music guys have really been very supportive of my… ahem… condition. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. I just assumed they’d all write me off. “She’s done.” they’d say. But they’ve all surprised me. I have agents trying to be all careful booking me, padding time before and after I’m due. I guess that’s a good thing. I envision myself playing til the bitter end, maybe even going into labor on stage. While it’s thoughtful, I realize it’s possible that maybe they are just trying to avoid a scene.

Here's MIA giving it her all when she was due to have a baby. I feel like I can do that. I guess we'll see!

But back to the progject at hand. This new recording is something that’s going to be pressed to vinyl, which is exciting for me as I never thought I’d ever be on an actual RECORD. I missed the boat on that one, due to the timing and placement of my musical life. We started as kids on homemade “demo tapes” in the 80’s and  finally graduated to CDs. It was really something to be on a CD. Now that’s nothin’. It’s cooler now to just have a file on iTunes. Hard to even think about, as it was a dream as a kid to make “an album”.  A real record with a cool album cover and all the lyrics inside, intertwined with pictures and artwork. An mp3 isn’t anything you can hold in your hand, or see for that matter. Technology really weirds me out. If I even start to try to figure it out, insanity starts to kick in. How does it all work? My mind wanders to Tron-like silliness and the thought is gone.

At any rate, I’m keeping busy at 6 months- just as I planned. Got the recording gig, a big St. Patrick’s Day gig way far in away in Virginia… not to mention a slew of my own songs that have needed attention for much too long now. I feel like time is running out. I won’t be so footloose and fancy free anymore- no running out to the studio at 8pm on weeknight and staying til all hours. I have to get this all in while I can.

It’s not you, it’s me- I’m pregnant.

It is not easy working with the public when someone is inside of you, kicking unidentifiable inner body parts you didn’t even know you had. Trying to come up with solutions to problems for customers when you are pretty sure your “craw” has just been located by a foot (or hand) is near impossible. When I wasn’t showing, this was a real problem. I was “that one”. The one you didn’t want helping you. “I’ll wait for so-and-so.” Fine. Good. Wait for so-and-so. I’ve got my own problems, namely the future UFC fighter that’s already training 10 hours a day in my soccer ball sized uterus!

Here's what I imagine is going on in there.

It really took forever for me to pop out. 5 1/2 months and nobody even asked if I was pregnant. Now, I’m not complaining. I was so worried with my height (I’m 5’1) that I was just going to explode in the weight department. Luckily, so far this has not been the case. But once I started to show, I took to wearing very obvious maternity clothes at work. This is an absolute ploy on my part. People need to know what they are dealing with. I’m not some moseying dummy, I’m just pregnant.

Usually, it is not an easy feat to deal with the public day in and day out.  Now that I’m showing, things have changed. It’s actually been a kind of a nice talking point. Most everyone seems to be so happy for me and can’t wait to ask me a million questions, and share their experiences. So far this is not annoying for me. I know many pregnant women complain about the intrusion and the unwanted advice, but I welcome it.

Of course being me, things had to get weird. Just yesterday I had an African woman with a very thick accent throwing out blessings like beads at Mardi Gras, touching my stomach and rejoicing. “GOD BLESS YOU! GOD BLESS YOU! GOD BLESS YOU!” each time touching my belly. While kind of sweet, I have to say, it was a little awkward.

“You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”

David Byrne wasn’t kidding around. How many times have we all just stopped, looked around and wondered, “My God, what have I done?” or, “Am I right, or am I wrong?” How many times have we uttered to ourselves with self-disapproval, accompanied by a full on head shake, “Same as it ever was… same as it ever was.” One thing is for sure- there IS water on the bottom of the ocean. And the hopeful advice at the end of the song holds true- “Time isn’t holding us, time isn’t after us, time isn’t holding us, time doesn’t hold you back.”

This song, oddly, has been a good luck song for me over the years. Whenever I hear it, I know whatever I’m worrying about is nothing to worry about at all. This was first brought to my attention when I was in high school, stressing out over my first leading role in the musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” I hadn’t heard it for a LONG time on the radio. It was well out of rotation for years at that point, but there it was, just when I was stressing out the most. It made me smile. Byrne’s delivery is comical, but has such depth. It made me forget for 3.5 minutes about my fears. Of course, those fears crept back up on me about the show. “My God, what have I done?” Then I heard it again. Different station. I felt like someone was trying to tell me something, as I hadn’t heard that song for so many years, and here it was twice in a matter of hours.  I aced my show and was elated. The next day, before show number 2, I started freaking out again. You guess what song I heard again- Once in a Lifetime. I aced the second show and learned a few things along the way about what I wanted out of my life.

“Time isn’t holding us, time isn’t after us, time doesn’t hold you back…”

I have never lived my life by a timeline.

While I know this was frustrating for my parents, both teachers who saw nothing but promise and talent in me, I just wasn’t willing to go the path of most of my friends. I was not interested in school, though I did give it the old college try. Literally.  In two years, after I completed all my music theories along with some other key courses I wanted to take, I realized  that all I wanted to do was play music. Music has always been the driving force in my life, and I have done everything to this day to support and protect that. I have worked a semi-professional job for all these years to support myself and for health insurance. I have excelled at my job, but in my heart it is the sideline. A place I have to be right now. I never jumped around from job to job because I figured I’d never be fully invested in any conventional job I might have. What did it matter? “Same as it ever was.” While I have gone through many bouts of feeling mundane, it has been a very flexible job that has served my higher purpose. I have been able to cultivate projects, play in some the best area venues, play a good deal up and down the east coast, record albums, become a studio musician for hire, make good money at what I love doing. Amazing. Now only if it were a little more steady!

I spent my 20’s and much of my 30’s living life and having fun. Flitting here and there, networking, playing music, having tons of fun, but being loyal to my job. I had a few long-term relationships, but took a 2 year break from dating anyone. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Journaling, for me,  has been an amazing tool for figuring it all out. So has songwriting. In my early 30’s I started to get more serious about music as a viable career choice. I was making almost as much at music than I was at my regular job. When I was 36, I bought a house, all by myself. I was a success. Finally. “My God, what have I done?” I don’t know if I was more proud or more scared to death!

A true GenX-er, I had been putting off the growing up for quite some time. It was the first step I took to being a “normal person”. I laugh, because I’m still far from “normal”. But by buying the house I started thinking about letting other things in that maybe I’d kept at arms length before.   The possibility of a real adult relationship- and maybe children someday. I’d always said, “I don’t know, maybe someday….” in regards to those things. 3 years later I’m married and pregnant for the first time. The little boy who is currently kicking the crap out of my lower abdomen will be born in June. “How did I get here?”  I’m sure my son will be asking himself the same question soon enough.

Well that’s a little about my background. Now on the fun stuff!!!

Aside

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