And in the world of music…..

I had my final recording session the other night before baby comes. 9 months pregnant and recording. I love my life. I can’t wait to tell Patrick someday of what things were like just before he was born. He’s already been so many places and been a part of so many things. What a fun way to enter the world. I hope he agrees!

I’d like to portray the session like I was Carly Simon in this picture. Looking pretty comfortable, lots of light, controlled environment. Carly has it good. It’s all squeaky clean. This is not usually the case.

See, the life of a regular musician is one that is filled with sketch-ball scenarios. It’s seedy. It’s dirty. It’s honest and doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. Now don’t get me wrong. This is what I LOVE about this business. I’ll never forget my first bar gig when I was 19. It was a biker bar in Olney, MD.  I was singing “Sara” by Fleetwood Mac, a very soothing song. A fight broke out and some guy got thrown out of the bar by his belt buckle and boot straps. It was straight out of a movie. I was hooked. I have never met more interesting people from different walks of life than I have in this in this business.

After we finally were able to get a date together for recording, I received the email with directions to the studio. “It’s hard to tell you exactly where the studio is, so just park in the liquor store parking lot and call one of us to come get you.” If I had not been working with Dan for 4 years, I might have been shakin’ in my boots. If this was a first encounter, I’d definitely think twice about going… at least alone! But I know the guy, and went along with it. He’s never lead me astray, and I knew had nothing to worry about. But I loved the sketchiness already.

I got to the liquor store parking lot and reached for my phone. 1/2 to no bars reception. Perfect. I drove around the lot until I had one bar. I texted Dan as it wouldn’t let me call. I tried to call the studio owner. Call dropped. I decided to just sit and wait. I watched a groundhog snacking on grass and running in between construction equipment. I may or may not have heard the song from Deliverance in the distance.

After about 15 minutes of groundhog and people watching, some guy in a station wagon pulls up to me. He kind of looked like if Matthew McConaughey was playing the part of a liquor store parking lot studio owner. He pulled up next to me and said, “Are you Megan?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “I’m Cliff. I have to go do something real quick and then I’ll show you where to go.”  “Okie dokie.” He drove to the other side of the parking lot, said something to someone, came back and I followed him behind some dump trucks next to this sheddish thing. It’s kind of like 2 sheds put together to make one big shed. Or maybe one half garage. Any way you slice it- sketchy. And I like it.

I’ve already been laughing at how funny this whole scenario is. I think of how my mom would be clutching her purse if she were me. No, she would have never gone in the first place. Or if she had, she would have never gotten out of the car. But, no, not me. I got out of the truck and follow him behind the shed,  like a dumb girl in a horror movie. We get to the door of the studio and walk in. It’s like the most awesome room ever- 70’s Central with afghans on the walls for extra soundproofing, drums set up, a Rhodes keyboard and crazy synth on top ready to go, a wall of ALBUMS. Who has a wall of albums?? This guy! He had a huge board, and an analog tape set up, at least 12 tracks. Maybe 16. (Not my bag, baby.)

After taking this picture I said, “He looks like a robot!” I don’t know how it became a “he”. Pretty sure robots aren’t gender specific.

It was all very relaxed. Cliff and I talked kids and music. Dan got there shortly thereafter. We caught up a bit and came up with a plan for the night and pretty much got straight to work. Of course, we had to shut the AC off whenever we were recording, so it was getting a little hot in there for the 9 months pregnant chick. Even though I’d stood all day at work, I had to continue to stand for the session. They tried to get me to sit, but between cutting off my air passage and causing a possible sciatic outburst, I knew I had to stand, tired as I was.

We all had a ton of fun, lots of laughs and really got through a lot pretty quickly. Thanks to Cliff, who was just great at what he did, and to Dan for coaching me through some changed parts on the fly. And thanks to both of them for not abducting me and selling me to the highest bidder.  ; )

So I’m done with all my music duties until after the baby comes. Feels very weird not having to prepare for anything music-related. Now it’s all about baby. “My God…. how did I get here?”

It’s the Final Countdown… to baby and baby brain

You know, not to quote “Europe” or anything, but here we are. Quoting Europe. And now, I place a link for you to listen while you read- if you dare. It’s a cover of “The Final Countdown”, which is called, “the worst cover ever!” It really is horrible, but I love it.

I’ll be 37 weeks in tomorrow. That is what is considered “full term”… so I could go at any time, really. Last week I really felt that way- it didn’t seem like my stomach would hold much more, but I’ve seemed to have plateaued again in the “uncomfortable” department. I’m not nearly as uncomfortable as I was last week. Even though my stomach is rock hard at all times and poor little Patrick is just struggling to move around. He just pushes and pushes his little butt up against my stomach like he’s making his own room. I think this is a good sign, he will make his way in life just fine- making room for himself.

I think Patrick is going to be his own leader!

Right now, I’m trying desperately to tie up all my loose ends. Financial things, work/insurance/hospital things, baby room things all topping this list. I’m hanging in there at work. I’m surprised at how productive I’ve been able to be. In some ways I’m 10 times dumber than usual, in other ways, I’m like a multitasking powerhouse. I can’t believe the amount of things I’ve kept track of. I can’t believe some of the things I’ve forgotten! Surprising myself in every way these days.

Here are the ways I am dumb:

1. Someone asked me for the fax number, and I confidently started to recite my mom’s phone number. (I stopped when every co-worker of mine looked at me in surprise. “Go do something else, preggo.” one said.  haha)

2. I have a get a new pin number every 20 minutes, because my brain can’t hold onto them. (We need a new number every day to access everything on the computer. Non-pregnant, I may have to get a new number 2 times in a day.)

3. I’m notorious for going to get something and then having no idea what I was looking for when I actually get to the location. Now, this is something that happened to me occasionally over the years, but it is 98% more common these days.

4. We have automatic lights that come on when you walk into an office at work. I’ve found myself walking into my kitchen and waiting, much too long, for the lights to come on. Then I remember, “Oh, yeah. I have to turn these on with my actual hand.” It’s not the fact that I think the lights are going to turn on automatically at home. It’s the amount of time and actual arm movements trying to get the non-existent censor to turn the light on that worries me.

5. I forget to bring everything to the car on the way into work, and then when leaving work, I have to go back into the store 1-2 times for forgotten items. It’s maddening, and I only have my stupid brain and it’s thinking to blame.

Sometimes I have to put myself in time out!

Overall I’m really proud of myself for having lasted this long at work, and not screwing up too many things. I’ve really done a good job of keeping it together. One challenge I have in my life is that I do not tend to ask for much help. I’m happy just to take care of business and keep on moving.  I tend to want to power through and get things done on my own, no matter how high the obstacle. This pregnancy has forced me into a position of having to ask for help, which is a lesson I have needed to learn. Having limitations has been a hard thing for me to deal with, but it’s actually helping me grow. Who’d have thought?

I still feel a little defeated, but I’m only one person. No, wait… I’m two right now, which is even harder than being one!

When Worlds Collide

Some days, my identity lies in being an ever-growing first time mama. Other days, I’m just a free-spirited musician. Not that I’m exactly trying, but I tend to separate and compartmentalize the two identities pretty well. But sometimes it’s hard to do, especially when the two worlds come crashing together like they did this past Friday.

I had my 33 week sonogram in the morning, and then had my last gig before the baby comes that night. It was interesting shifting gears like that, but I guess it’s something I’m going to have to get used to.

It was a bitter sweet day for sure. I have never, in 20 years, NOT had a gig for 3 solid months. I have to admit it is a very hard thing for me to even think about, and must also admit I have specifically tried not to let my mind dwell on it, or my hormones get the best of me. It’s especially hard because I FINALLY have my own group together, and we are just starting to really gel. I really feel like we could step it up in the next year and really get somewhere. Of course, I have this sort of forced hiatus coming up… but I suppose I could use the time to my advantage. Start booking now for late summer and fall and come back more focused than ever.

On the mama front, it’s just all unexplored territory, so I don’t even know what to think. Before I got pregnant, I actually said out loud- “Ok, whatever little soul comes down to be my child better be ready to just go along for the ride. This is not going to be normal.” So, hopefully Patrick will just be cool. haha… Of course, I realize that once I have him, it will be hard to leave him for the evening, but at least it will be for something I love to do.

Swimming right along

Friday’s gig was great. It wasn’t the biggest crowd we’ve played for, but every person in there was having a great time. So many people had such nice things to say. It was a good “going away for now” gig. Not too much pressure- minus the camera man in my face for an entire set- documenting the 8 month pregnant chick singing songs like “Possum Kingdom”, “Just Dance” and “Killin’ in the Name Of”. It was a great night for cutting loose and just going for it. We did many songs we’ve never tried before… which is one of my favorite things to do in life. It’s better than a thrill ride.

To quote my sister upon sledding down a cliff at the age of three, “First I said, ‘Wee’. Then I said, ‘Whoa.'”

It’s surprising to me how much stronger my voice feels. I feel like I have no limitations. I can go as high as a want, as strong or softly as want, whenever I want. My range has grown. This goes against every single thing I’ve read about pregnancy and singing. I just hope that I keep it after the pregnancy! I’m hoping that all the compensating I’ve had to do breathing wise will make me that much stronger later. I’m also kind of hoping it will help me in the delivery room! (Eeeek.)

Maybe I can just sing through the pain.

As the big day approaches, I wonder how this is all going to work out. I know deep down it WILL all work out and that all of this may be the thing I need to really push me in the music world. Nothing like a little mouth to feed for inspiration to get serious. I’m such a creature of habit, it’s hard to look past the hurdles and just envision the prize. That’s what I’ve been working on the most- just getting myself in the right mindset to positively move towards putting all my energies into being a good new mom and a serious musician.

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