Revisiting the Year 2000 Me- This Day 12 Years Ago

It’s days like today that I am so grateful that I keep all my old journals. All my thoughts from years gone past- whether I wrote on all the pages of a notebook, or just a few, I keep and cherish them. I love to look back on them to see where I was, compared with where I am now. Some things I have worked through and overcome. Sadly, there are themes that have continued to haunt me- things I wrote about then, still apply today. I’m workin’ on it… I swear!  Knowing is half the battle, right? ; ) But to be able to go back and randomly read something you wrote even 5, 10, or in this case 12 years ago, it’s amazing to see how you’ve grown- or haven’t.

Some things still haunt me to this day.

So today I came across a notebook called “Morning Pages”. I read a book called “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. She suggests writing in a journal in the morning when you first get up (or, if you’re me- lay in bed and scrawl sideways while trying to keep your eyes mostly shut because you REALLY don’t want to be awake- you must remember I was a 27 year old with a more than full time job, a band and a very active social life!). The goal is to write 3 hand-written pages per day. Write anything, it doesn’t matter- it is supposed to clear your mind and prepare you for a good creative-thinking day. It opens your mind while it is still fresh.

I recommend this book to any creative person.

Well, I ended up LOVING doing this. I actually almost finished my notebook, which is unheard of for me. I usually get about halfway through a notebook, if that, before it starts to lose it’s energy, and I retire it to the closet. Now, a lot of what I wrote was regular journal stuff- how much I hated work, guy trouble/then not trouble/then trouble again, thoughts on life events- my own and others, lots of inner work right there for me to relive on the pages of a 12 year old notebook. How amazing to be able to look at the then 27 year old, who was practically still a kid. I had all the tools and none of the manpower. I can look back and see how silly I was in some ways- mostly in regards to my pushing forward with music projects. The only thing that was stopping me ***spoiler alert*** was me. I was the queen of setting up my own roadblocks.

Get out of my way… me!

So at the end of the morning pages for 8/19/00- after a very mundane entry about not wanting to get up, thinking about work and how much I don’t care about it (though, I go on to write about it for 1 and a half pages), how I need to clean my place up, a little on the guy trouble front- I dive right into this with no warning, and then absolutely no explanation afterward:

“Whispering through wind has always been so easy. Just close your eyes and imagine the breeze in your hair. Look inside yourself for just a moment in your time and breathe the air I breathe. Find your inner soul- yourself as a child, yourself so clean and new with so many tears to cry and so much more to view.  The trees sing the song of my youth. I look at them as I breathe my smoke and wonder- where’s the time gone? What have I done with my mind- what will I do with this body that so graciously and unconditionally accepted me? I wonder every day- is this it? What have I learned? Just keep the door open and don’t forget to chase those leaves. *sigh*”

No caption necessary

The sigh is even written like I meant it. But that’s how writing/journaling has always been for me. Blah blah blah- and then BAM- something somewhat worthwhile spills out like lava… just flows right out- like my songs and my writings- in one fast and furious motion. Like I tuned into a special station just for me and simply transcribed the message.

I think I need to start doing morning pages again…

and to remember to keep that door open…

and to chase the leaves.

“Chase the leaves, they’ll take you home.” ~Leaf Trinity

Sigh.

The Grumbler

It’s 5am.

Really, it is not a big deal that I’m awake. I generally like this time of the morning, but usually it’s because I’ve been out all night. Not tonight- I went to sleep at 10:30pm and slept until “the grumbler” started his grumblings at around 1:30am. He has gone from “squeak box” to “the grumbler” pretty much overnight. I don’t have a song parody for the grumbler yet, but I suppose an obvious choice would be “The Gambler”. Though, I don’t think Kenny Rogers ever actually says “The Gambler” in the song. Or maybe he does:

“On a warm summer’s evenin’ on a train bound for nowhere,
I met up with the grumbler; we were both too tired to sleep.
So we took turns a starin’ out the window at the darkness
‘Til boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.”

It kind of works. Now to work on the chorus. And it’s going to need some work, alright.

“You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to feed ’em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your diapers when you’re at the changing table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the poopin’s done.”

Ok, that was way less hard than I thought it would be.

Yes, this is about right!

I don’t admit this to everyone, but I might as well come out about it publicly. It’s one less skeleton in my closet to expose when I try to run for public office. Because THAT’S my next logical step.

My very first concert was Kenny Rogers. There, I said it. Sawyer Brown opened up for him at the Capital Center in 1983 and I was there. My mom had a friend who used to take me to events… I never really knew why. Maybe she wanted to be a “big sister”. Maybe she wanted to try out having a kid before she had any of her own. All I know is that I would get an invite to all sorts of things- A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theater (2 years in a row), The Nutcracker at National Theater,  a Redskins game and Kenny Rogers. This also meant going to The American Cafe or The Old Ebbitt Grill in DC- where I would inevitably get the chili. This was also incentive as I really loved chili. While I loved music already, I was all about going to any concert, especially since I hadn’t been to a real one up until this point. Kenny Rogers was far from my first choice, but I have to say, concert on a school night? Yes, please. Chances are I hadn’t done my homework, and I probably wasn’t going to anyway.

Ha! Well here is the concert t-shirt! How beautifully 80’s.

I have to say, while I only knew a few songs (The Gambler and Lucille being most of them), it was an eye-opening evening for me. The lights- the sound system- so many people in one place to see one person. It was pretty amazing, and really got my dreams going. So, thank you, lady who took me places. And thank you, Kenny Rogers. But please, for the love of God- no more plastic surgery!

No more! Stop the insanity! You don’t look “better”, you just don’t look like you!

Back to this evening- he ate from 1:30am to about 1:50am, had a pleasant diaper change, and he went right back down. Good for him, I just wish I could go back to sleep that easily. I figured after trying to sleep for an hour, I might as well just try to stay up til the next feeding, and by then I’d be tired enough to get back to sleep. We’ll see, it’s approaching the 4 hour mark. Dag, I could have been sleeping all this time!

He’s stirring over there… the grumbler is in action. Listen as he stretches and groans and tries to wake up. Watch as he moves around, making his cradle rock, keeping him just on the edge of waking. This is better than Animal Planet.

For some reason I thought there was already a channel called Baby Planet. I guess I was wrong. Maybe there should be?

Well, it’s now 5:35am. I knew when to hold him, knew when to change him. I didn’t have to walk away or run. I didn’t count any diapers when at the changing table, he drank his bottle, and the feeding’s done.

He’s already gone back to sleep.

Now the question remains…. can I?

Rainman Tendencies

I think I used to be a regular person. I held a job and played in a band. I had a lot going on most of the time, and I liked it. So, take all that away, insert a baby, and what’s left to occupy my attention? Not much, apparently, because besides rocking back and forth, whether I’m holding a baby or not, I find myself counting. I count everything.

Definitely counting how many times I rock back and forth. Definitely.

It started with the amount of sucks the baby would take while breast feeding. We had so many issues with his stopping and starting and pretty much snacking all day long, I would count the number of times he would suck before I would have to flick him to wake up. When we first started, it was every 16-18 sucks. It slowly dwindled down to every 3 sucks. Suck, suck, suck….. flick. Suck, suck, suck…. flick. All day, every day.

1…2…3 sucks and a flick!

Then I realized I was counting other things, like rocking back and forth (that’s like a double-whammy Rainman- rocking AND counting the rocks), counting my steps, and counting the tv channels as I go through them on the remote control. I’ve even caught myself counting, and I don’t even realize I’m doing it- or what I’m even counting. Turns out, I count my breaths also. It’s crazy, I’ll notice around “26” or so… “26, 27, 28….” Did I start at 1? Because I don’t remember starting to count anything.

Wait, when did I start counting??

Clearly, my mind is searching for some sort of stimulation. July was a REALLY hard month. Besides trying to recover from a C-Section, I also had a terrible breast infection that I just finished 20 days of antibiotics TODAY. I had an abscess that had to be aspirated twice. Once that drained (it took a good week and a half) it was downgraded to my good old friend cellulitis. What a horrible ordeal. It hurt so bad that it almost completely eclipsed my C-Section recovery pain. It was so sensitive, if my hair fell down on it, it absolutely killed. It was so hard to even hold Patrick on either side. Even holding him on the non-offending side opened me up to him kicking the offending side. It. Was. The. Worst.

Even Simon agrees. The worst.

But today at my check-up, turns out I’m FINALLY all clear. He will want to see me in about 6 months to be sure I’m still clear. I’m happy to close the door on that one.

Since I have finally been feeling better, I’ve been able to take some walks, go a few places and start practicing again. I found it impossible to sit down at the piano and get back into my routine, but a last minute gig booked for August 10 has inspired me back to the keyboard. I found that I have NOT been counting other extraneous things since I started back up. Turns out, that even though I’m not conscious of counting when playing music, when taken away, that counting energy has to go somewhere. So let this be a lesson to me…. don’t stop playing music, or you might actually go mad.

Amen!

Terrible Song Parodies to Sing to Newborns

Now that’s a music snob!

I am kind of a music snob. I admit it. I’m not happy with a song unless there are at least 2 time changes and 3 unidentifiable instruments. Still and all, I’ve always played in cover bands, so I know all the “hits”. I even like a good deal of them.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…. I’m laughin’ all the way to the bank.

Nothing could prepare me for the ridiculous songs I am singing to my baby.  Of course, I change the words to suit the mood, mostly having to do with feeding. They talk about baby brain, I think the music sector of my brain is starting to suffer.

Yep.

Terrible Song #1: “That’s What Boobs are For” (to the tune of “That’s What Friends are For”) … “Keep sucking, and sucking, knowing you and always count on me…. for sure… that’s what boobs are for.”

That’s what I get for google image searching “Dionne Warwick Boobs”. Ooof.

Terrible Song #2: “These Boobs Were Made for Sucking” sung to Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Were Made for Walking”. Now this one starts out great, but goes downhill fast. “These boobs were made for sucking, and that’s just what they’ll do. (Here’s where it gets all crazy) “One of these days these boobs are going to suck all over you.” (Actually, this rings true at this point, but that’s a story for another blog!)

….. and “Nancy Sinatra Boobs”.

Terrible Song #3: “Relax, don’t chew it, you just have to suck through it.” Frankie would be proud.

…. and here’s this.

Terrible Song #4: Justin Bieber’s “Baby Baby Baby- WAH!” (we sing this one while changing diapers. He always cries so pathetically.)

What a crybaby!

Terrible Song #5: Of my terrible song parodies, I think this one is my favorite. Patrick is a little squeaky thing! So among calling him things like Squeaker and Squeaky Fromme, I’ve been singing The Who’s “Squeezebox” like this: “Mama’s got a squeak-box she wears on her chest, and when the daddy comes home he never gets no rest. ‘Cause he’s squeaking all night, and the music’s alright. Mama’s got a squeak-box, daddy never sleeps at night!”

Ok, no more google image searches. This came up after I entered “Squeezebox Boobs”. I can’t even understand what is happening here. haha

Of course, my husband’s in on the act. Actually, I think he thought of the Beiber song, but he also likes to sing, “It’s Feeding Time” instead of  “It’s Closing Time.” He goes into all these lyrics about eating food and pooping in diapers. It’s pretty awesome.

So last night, I thought, “I can do better.” So Patrick and I had a little King Crimson session (only the soft sweet songs- none of the stuff of nightmares material). He loved it. Wide eyed, looking at mama, taking it in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lws6LpUy29c

The Birth Story

Where do I even begin? With all of the events of the past few weeks,  it feels like 3 months have passed. I feel like I’ve gone through some kind of wormhole. My life has completely changed, virtually overnight. Gone are the days of customer service and working non-stop, here is today of dedicating every second of every day to a 10lb dictator. I kid, I kid, but babies are the ones in charge, make no doubt about it.

Here we have baby dictators Mussolini and Hussein. I feel bad for their parents!

But let me back up. It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t fill you in on the details of bringing Patrick into the world. So here it is- The Birth Story.

After conferring with 3 different doctors in the last week of my pregnancy, I finally made the decision to induce- something I really didn’t think I would do. My main doctor had wanted to induce me on June 17, Patrick’s due date. I thought that was too early to be talking induction. Call me old school, but I was always in the school of thought to “just let the babies come when they were ready”. After seeing my doctor on Wednesday the 20th, she absolutely pleaded with me, “If you were my sister, I’d take you to the hospital right now.”  The baby, according the sonogram, was in the 90th percentile of size. Now, we’ve known these sonograms to be wrong before. Babies I’ve known have been about a pound less than their sonogram indicated, if not more. Another doctor at the practice agreed with her, but you know, they could be in cahoots. haha… So they sent me for an emergency sonogram that day and even that doctor, (who’d make more money off me if I didn’t induce because I’d have to go back for another sonogram) gave me a semi-lecture on why I should induce.

I finally agreed that the earliest I would go in would be Thursday the 21st for cervix softening, hopefully to deliver the 22nd. I thought 5 days overdue was long enough to wait. If Patrick really was as big as they said, it could mean major complications for both of us. I checked into the hospital, and as it turned out, I was already having contractions. I was so happy, at least it was happening when it was supposed to. Well, by morning, I was 3-5 minutes apart with contractions, but had only dilated 1/2 a centimeter. We did 5 rounds of the cervix softening pill, only to get me to about 1 centimeter. Around 2pm on Friday, I started having major contractions. For 4 hours I suffered through, with still no change in the dilation department. My contractions were 1-2 minutes apart. Still only 1 centimeter.

1 centimeter after 16 hours is pretty disappointing.

Everything I’ve ever heard about contractions and labor was described as the feeling of a “wave”. You’d feel it start up,it reaches a crest, and then it would wash away, over and over like the ocean. This was not the case for me. My labor was like a tsunami wave- one constant horrible wave that just kept coming and coming and flooding my very will to live.

Non-stop rush of pain for 4 hours. And I was only halfway there.

 

I looked at my sister and said, “I can’t do this.” I decided on an epidural. Of course, the hospital was grossly overbooked, so we ended up waiting for a room to do the epidural in for about an hour. This is the only time during my entire pregnancy where I really started barking orders at people. Nobody was moving fast enough for me. I was like, “WE GOT A ROOM, LET’S GO!” The nurse was getting ready to get me in the wheelchair and wanted to talk about it. I said, “Let’s stop talking, let’s just GO!” My support team seemed to be dilly-dallying (I’m sure they weren’t, but there didn’t seem to be enough of a sense of urgency that matched my pain). “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!” I was truly the Queen of Hearts.

Release the Jabberwocky!

We finally got the room, and I had a giant needle stuck in my back by someone who looked like Doogie Houser, if we’d seen Doogie in his early 40’s. I was totally freaked out about the procedure. One move on my part and the needle could move and ruin me forever. Yikes. Too much pressure!! What if I sneezed? What if I coughed? I couldn’t cry… but I did. I cried a lot this day.

You are my doctor? Oh, boy.

The epidural was a gift from God, as one friend put it. It’s like magic. I could move my legs and feel touch, but not pain. Now onto the pitocin. They thought it would get me dilating. Well, it did, but not fast enough. All night long and we ended up getting to about 7-8 centimeters. But we were maxed out on the pitocin. We’d have to stop and start it up again after another hour. Meanwhile, poor Patrick, while not in true distress heart-wise, was in there in a landing pattern.

It seemed my body was trying to tell me something. Vaginal delivery might not be the best option.

The doctor weighed the options for us. Keep going, try to dilate more, which could take all day, and then possibly not be able to push him out. In which case, they’d have to shove him back in and do a c-section anyway, or risk breaking his shoulder to get him out. Then there was the possibility that he’d be so big he’d literally rip me in two.

At any rate, after weighing all the risks for all the options, I finally decided on a c-section. This was THE LAST thing I wanted to do. But after 40 hours already, it seemed like the safest way to go for both Patrick and me. This was 40 hours of no food  and little sleep for me, and 40 hours of confusion and God knows what else for Patrick. We’d had enough. We didn’t need it to end in injury.

They prepped me for surgery, and was about to roll me into the operating room when there was an emergency next door and we got pushed back. Unbelievable. We took this as a sign. It gave Patrick one more hour to decide. Well, he decided to stay in, and hence, the c-section was on.

Ok, so… after never having had surgery in my life, I was pretty scared. They told me everything they were going to do. My biggest concern was that the anesthesia would wear off before it was over. “No, no. That won’t happen.” On the way in to the surgery room, I said, “He better be at least 9 lbs!”

So they get me in there, and I have to lay on a table with my arms straight out like I was on a crucifix. They then loaded in the anesthetic, which made me shiver like I’ve never shivered before. They set up a blue curtain right at my chin so we couldn’t see anything and then it was on. Dear God.

After 40 hours- here we are in surgery.

To try to describe the tugging and pulling I could feel going on as they were trying to free the baby from my abdomen would be fruitless. It was surreal and pretty indescribable … and made me pretty uncomfortable. I was already upset, but when I felt a bunch of tugging, heard the doctor grunting, and then heard a loud pop, “uncomfortable” doesn’t really cover it. It was downright disturbing.

I heard the sound of what seemed to be a loud and very upset cat. It was the baby! I couldn’t believe my ears. “He sounds like Fisher!” I said. They called my husband over to see him and take pictures. I had to get sewn back up and wait to see the baby. As I was laying there, I heard them say, “He’s 10.28!!” I was like, “No way they are talking about Patrick’s weight.”  Oh, they were. His head was 14″ and his chest was 15.5″. All my misgivings about having a c-section went out the window.  I think he would have killed me coming out, or he would have been seriously injured. Thank goodness we weren’t out in the wild!

Now, the last notable thing about the end of the surgery, was that towards the end, the anesthetic was starting to wear off. I said, “I can feel this…. hello.. somebody….. anybody??” I said to my husband, “Can they hear me? I can feel this- it hurts! I need more anesthetic!” Well, they don’t give you more, because then I wouldn’t have been able to try to breast feed as soon as I could. So the anesthetic guy says, “Do you just want to go to sleep for about 5 minutes?” I was like, “YES.” So he gave me the Michael Jackson death drug, Propofal. So, you know, I can wipe that off my bucket list.

In the end, after ALL THAT…. here’s the reward… a little angel from Heaven.

Our little angel

The Waiting Game

My due date is tomorrow.

I really believed, for what ever reason, that this baby would want to come out early. But here we are, one day before “the day”. Is anything happening? According to the doctor, as of Wednesday, no. Of course, that being the case, they wanted to induce me tomorrow. I did not agree to that, I feel like Patrick should be able to pick his own day, or at least get reasonably close to that day before we start to intervene. Either way, I’m really trying to send him a telepathic eviction notice.

TIme’s up, buddy!

My usually sharp instincts have been off this last month or so. Probably longer. This is not helping in the “delivery decisions” department. I doubt myself on the simplest things, so big things are just out of the scope of trying to figure out.  I just hope Patrick has stolen all my decision making powers and will use them. Preferably this week sometime.

“Should I come out now, or later…. hmmm…. decisions, decisions.”

IN THE MEANTIME… it’s old wives tales city. “Go for walks!” “Bounce on a ball!” “Jump rope!” (omg, with these feet?  I don’t think so! I might crash through the floor!) My friend Angela said today, “Pedicure!”  Ha! Now there’s one I don’t care if it works or not! I totally went for one. I really needed it. I haven’t been able to do anything to my feet for a couple of weeks now. My pinky toenail was snaggly and painful and I couldn’t really fix it myself. I’ve still been working and preparing for this huge life event. Haven’t really had time for a treat. But I did it today, and now my toes are delivery room ready! I’m sure the nurses and doctors care.

“She’s got good lookin’ toenails?”
“Check!”
“Ok, all systems go!”

After that, the husband and I walked down to the pool. I was hoping some swimming might get things moving. We were in the pool over an hour and it’s the best I’ve felt this entire pregnancy. I felt like myself again. No limitations. Could swim just fine! And my shot on the water basketball hoop was just fine also!

I thought breast stroke would be the most inducing of all the strokes with the frog kick and whatnot, though I did try a little butterfly, because the dolphin kick seems like it might be pretty effective also. Butterfly did not last long! Just a few strokes. Patrick was like, “What the heck are you doing?”  He was moving around a lot as I swam, walked, bounced, and attempted to float. Floating was hilarious. On a regular non-pregnant day, I could float forever. But with this massive ball o’ baby weighing me down, it was a real effort to get my toes out of the water. It became like an awkward synchronized swimming move just to keep myself afloat.

Yeah, this lady’s not getting her toes out of the water either. I don’t feel so bad!

Now, with all my new-found water energy, there was nothing like the reality of getting out of the pool and realizing my true weight again. UGH. How quickly we forget. I felt like I was carrying cinder block in my bathing suit. Walking home was not fun. It’s a really long and steep hill, and was fast making me feel like I might die. We made it home though, I crashed on the couch while my husband foraged some Mexican food for us to eat. While he was gone, my stomach tightened up a lot, and has not really gone back to normal. Is this a contraction? I have no idea. I just ate my Mexi-food with tons of hot sauce.

Unfortunately, I think Patrick is fine with spicy foods as I’ve been eating it all along. I need to find something he doesn’t like.

So now what? I’m scheduled to work tomorrow…. it’s a short shift, so I suppose that’s what I’ll be doing. Just keep on keeping on.

Wooden Puppet Boy or Real, Live Boy?

Walking the line of dreams and reality

My dreams have been nothing short of pretty amazing for as long as I can remember. They have always been vivid, colorful and realistic, and I’ve always been able to remember them in great detail. Pregnancy has only enhanced all of that. The only difference is that my dreams, especially in the 1st trimester, didn’t really have much to do with me. Going to sleep was like watching action movies all night, with a cast of character of oddball “dream people”. I should have been writing them down, but really, I had no energy upon waking after all the action.

In the last  few weeks, I’ve been getting my dreams back to myself. Of course, they are back to their own zaniness and very realistic. Just last week I dreamed that the baby was coming. I was in the hospital and my OB was there. For some reason I was calling her by her first name, which I definitely do not do, and I was telling her, “He’s coming out…. I think he’s coming out!” She was still washing up, “I’m coming, I’m coming!” For some reason I had this blue towel wrapped around me, and sure enough, something was moving inside it. She opened the towel, “Well how about that! Here he is!”  I looked down to see what he looked like.

He was a Wooden Puppet Boy. Not unlike Pinocchio.

Yes, the Pinocchio from Shrek. I guess this is go with my Shrek-like feet.

He was moving around a little, but he was a Wooden Puppet Boy. I said, “Is he SUPPOSED to look like this? She assured me it was TOTALLY normal. Even “dream me” wasn’t buying it. Thank goodness I woke up, because really, it was kind of terrifying.

Now, I know that this means that I’ve still not come to terms with the realness of this whole thing. It’s all very hard to wrap my brain around. It all happens so gradually. At first, before I could feel him, it wasn’t real at all.  The baby got bigger and bigger, moving around and whatnot, which definitely makes it much more real than no movement,  but I don’t think it will be totally real to me until I see him with my own eyes.

I told my OB about the Wooden Puppet Boy dream at my appointment following the dream. She died laughing. I said, “Hopefully it will be a real live boy, and not a puppet!”

All I know is that I ache all over. Every moment of every day. My feet are permanently swollen and feel bruised, my sciatic nerve is in full effect, my ribs- ouch. The very fact that I’m carrying 25-30 extra pound in one concentrated spot is insane to me. I suppose my body is holding up pretty well, considering. I know it could be worse. But bending is pretty much over. Climbing my stairs at home (granted, they are the steepest stairs of all time) is becoming harder with every passing day. I don’t like feeling like I’m in a weakened condition.

My steep-ass stairs.

And meanwhile, little Patrick is in there doing his own thing. Making more room for himself, regardless. He has no idea that his feet don’t belong underneath my ribs, so I can’t hold it against him. He’s just doing what he’s supposed to be doing, and really, I’m thankful for that.

So a few days ago, I had another dream. I had the baby and he was, in fact, a real, live boy. He was very cute and I even got to see a fast-forward of him when he was little older. He was only about a year, but he was talking (I wish I could remember what he was saying!).  Upon waking, it did make it a little more real. I’m glad I didn’t end on the note of Wooden Puppet Boy before actually going into labor. I can’t say I wouldn’t be a little worried at that moment when they announce the baby. “It’s a………puppet!” (Somebody wake me up!)

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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