Oh, Little Town of Laurel

I finally got around to doing another Christmas song for my hometown. It’s been a long time coming. I made the video “The 12 Days of Christmas, The Laurel Edition” 5 years ago, as hard as that is for even me to believe. So much has happened in those 5 years! For one, I was not a WayOutMama at that point, so it was nothing for me to take my time, collaborate with friends, record it whenever I wanted… this time around was a little more difficult.

I got the inspiration to write the words one night- that was the easy part. They just flowed out like words usually do for me. I think it was written in about 7 minutes, though I did add the tag at the end after the fact, after my mom said it needed a wrap up. So add on about 1 minute. They really do just come out that fast sometimes.

Now the implementation actually recording the song and getting footage around town was not an easy feat with a 2.5 year old and an 8 week old. I just strapped my GoPro on my head and filmed the city while I was running errands, looking much like a coal miner. I’m sure I looked pretty silly, but WayOutMama doesn’t care! The really hard part was finding time to get a recording done, so luckily Auntie Sheryl took Patrick out for a few hours so I could figure out the set up, and then after everyone was asleep, I just went for it. I did 2 full takes, but was so scared I’d wake someone up, I just went with the better of the two. Sometimes in recording, you will find that after a bunch of takes, you end up going with one of the earlier ones. Well, if you are already tired, especially. And I was! I recorded it on my iPad as troubleshooting the GoPro can be pretty time consuming. Then I spent a few hours on the editing, feeding the baby on my lap while doing so. It was a late night, and an early morning, but well worth it.

While things are a little harder to accomplish with kids, nothing is impossible. Just takes some creative time planning and a few helpful hands.

I give you, “Oh, Little Town of Laurel”.

An Obituary for a Dog

Cadence Jane 

February 14, 1997 – November 16, 2014

Picture 140

The house is a little more quiet than it has been in 15 years. The constant clicking of the nails we desperately tried to keep under control are no longer skittling across the floor like a roulette wheel in Vegas, at any given time, night or day. The barking, which could never be silenced, has ceased. She came into my life like a whirlwind, and just like that- she’s gone.

Prince really set me up for a loss when he likened the best party ever to 1999. 1999, for me, was a pretty sad year. It was the worst of times, really. A long term relationship breakup, the death of a dear friend and bandmate and the breakup of a band to name just a few of life events that were piled up on top of each other like a mountain of grief laundry that seemed un-sortable.

Several months after my friend Marc passed away, I was riding home from work when it hit me all over again. Grief is funny like that. You can think you’ve cried all you can, and then out of nowhere, there it is again. So I’m drivin’ and cryin’ (not to be confused with the band) and for no real reason took an alternate route home. That’s when I saw it- this little ball of fur rolling around on the side of the road. I thought it must have been hit. I pulled over, jumped out of my car and said, “Heyyy, puppy.” She jumped right up, not hit, just scratching her back in the gravel, a mere foot away from traffic. I said, “Come here, pup!” She did. And just like that- she was mine.

These are my buddies. And my favorite picture of them. Cady and Fisher.


Not that I didn’t half-heartedly put up a few Found Dog signs, I hoped no one would claim her. I just loved her and thought she was the best. And I think I needed her. And it was as if Marc was saying, “Here- stop crying about me, and take care of this cute little dog.” I took her to the vet, who placed her at two years, even though she appeared to be a puppy up until she was around 13. She was so well behaved those first few days. I named her “Cadence” for the King Crimson song “Cadence and Cascade” because she was as sweet as the song.

Cadence and Cascade… cool in the shade…


And she was smart, too. She could pick up a trick in less than a minute- especially if cheese was involved. She could sit, speak, turn a half back flip, dance pretty, walk across the floor on her hind legs, sit pretty and wave bye bye. She was very entertaining. She would get herself into a literal tail-spin- running around so fast that she’d tuck her butt under and scoot across the floor at lightening speed. It was hilarious. “The Butt Scoot”, we called it. But soon I learned why nobody came looking for her. While very sweet and smart, she had a few bad habits. The worst of these was the pooping. Man, could she poop. Every day. In the bathroom. For like 5 years. I tried everything, but that’s just where she wanted to go. She also liked to run, as fast and as far as she could. until she was just lost. I made her an ID tag that said “Cadence Jane ‘Cady’- She Poops”- just in case someone tried to keep her, at least they would know what they were getting into. I feel like the pooping was a control thing. She would be outside for a long time, come in, and poop the second I turned my back. But then one day, years later, just like that- she stopped.


She got loose so many times, I can’t even count them all. One particular time she even jumped into a friend of ours’ car and zoomed around the cab of his truck like the Tasmanian Devil, only to exit the truck and later be picked up by a nice police officer- who then took her to the pound. I rescued her again- 1 day before they were going to put her down. Another narrow brush with death for our crazy canine. and just like that- she was mine again.

Much to my mom’s dismay, we loved getting her up at the table. Gotta love Jen giving her rabbit ears. hahaha…



Cady really wanted to be a mother. So much so that she took my entire Beanie Baby collection and other assorted toys and put them all on the couch where she pretended to feed them, nurture them, and sometimes even move each one of them one by one to another location if we bothered them too much. This went on for years. She also fell in love with a Pee Wee Herman action figure. She took him off my bookcase and gently left him on my pillow and loved on him for weeks. He must have been pretty special to her but one day, just like that- she lost interest.

I have to say, I think she really loved that plastic dolphin puppet the most.


Cady on guard. Fisher seems to be wishing he could spray her in the face for being so strange.



Cady started getting lumps in her nipples. After a couple of minor surgeries that removed small benign tumors, the last round revealed it had changed to cancer. Cady was 9 years old at this point. Many people thought I was insane for going through with the very expensive octuple-mastectomy, but I just had a feeling that her life-force was SO STRONG, she’d live a very long time afterward should we go through with it.

My sister wrote a little calypso style song in honor of the surgery:

“Cady has no nipples… she left them at the vet…

She had to part with them… when she and cancer met!”

I’m glad I hushed the naysayers, because her life was doubled as a result. It was a hard couple of months, but she bounced back very quickly, and had a nice tummy tuck as a result. Brand new dog with a new lease on life. There was not stopping this Terminator Dog! Just like that- Cancer beaten!

This is the least graphic picture I have of the surgery. Poor girl.


Post-surgery begging. She really did bounce back fast.



When I finally saved enough and found the perfect little house, Cady, Fisher (our cat) and I moved into a cute little historic row house. Little did we know we were moving in two doors down from a convicted murderer. This man, was a “Mr. Rogers” type (“Hi, neighbor!” he’d creepily say.) who seemed strange, but harmless, ended up calling the cops on Cady, who yes, barked… but no more than any other neighborhood dog. Ok, maybe more than the average neighborhood dog. 😉

In all her glory- she loved to bark!


After a year of him calling the police, whether she barked 1 time or 200 times, I finally did a little research on him and found that he did hard time for murder. Anyone could imagine my complete freak out upon learning this. Not only was that the case, but he also seemed to be a serial plaintiff- having taken people to court 30 times in the past 5 years. This was not looking good. I had Cady on a very short leash, so to speak. I kept a “barking log” and showed the police that he was nuts. Of course they already thought he was nuts. To make a very long 2 year story short, we ended up in court, but nothing came of it as the man was moving anyway. What a jerk. Just move! Why do we have to go to court? About 2 years after he moved, the man died. And just like that, Cady -The Accused- outlived her nemesis and was free to bark again!


There’s so much to say about this amazing little dog. She was far from perfect, but what member of the family isn’t?  She was there for it all. Wrapped up in 15 years of our collective memories. I knew her days were numbered for the last few months or so. A slow decline, I would tell her, “Cady, it’s ok to go toward the light.” half joking, really, because anyone who knew her thought she’d survive an apocalypse. I just didn’t want her to have a long, lingering illness. Luckily, she went down fast, losing the ability to stand this past Saturday. But Sunday, it was apparent the time had come. Monday morning,  I made the decision to take her in and end it before things got really bad. Not being able to get up and go, knowing her, was torture for her. When she refused cheese, I knew it was time. With the help of the sweetest vet and vet tech, with me by her side, she slipped off into sleep … so sweetly and peacefully, just like her best self- just like that.


She is survived by my husband and me, our kids- so glad she was a part of their lives if only for a short time, brother Fisher (our 17 year old cat), Jessie (step-dog sister), my mom, dad, sister Mary, who was like a second mother to her, brothers, nephews and nieces, in-laws and a host of friends are all feeling the loss. She was a good girl.



I found this audio I sent to my sister who was in Amsterdam for a semester of college. She missed Cady and Fisher so much I made this little clip for her- an impromptu song called CadyNFisher. I always had my “animal audience” for all my practicing I’ve done over the years. Cady and Fisher, my little lifelong fans, ever-present. In this recording, it’s mostly the skittling of the nails on the floor and her trademark bark. It was after her surgery so I’m singing about the cone on her head, which she HATED and tried to destroy any chance she could. By the end of it, she shakes it off. haha….  Crazy dog. 🙂

Cadence Jane  (Cady)- 17 years, 9 months, 2 days. The Energizer Bunny of her Generation, The Terminator Dog, The Mother of All Beanies, Cader Tater Tot, Sweet Cadence Jane, Caydee Daydee, Cadence Jadence, Cady Jane… a dog by many names who lived a long, eventful life. May she butt-scoot across the universe and back.


Smoke and Mirrors

I’m midway through my busy season. So far, it’s gone pretty well, but not without a monkey wrench or two.

When I was told, with less than 2 weeks’ notice, that we would be shooting a video for our agency at our furthest-away gig of the year, with me being 20 weeks pregnant, I was a little worried. “Greeeeat.” I said.  A four hour ride, wait around for 4 hours, then shoot a video? Not to mention the idea of having my present condition documented and used for the next couple of years to secure future gigs, well, you can imagine my semi-panic.

My first step was to find a new blazer. I saw something online at Kohl’s, a Jennifer Lopez special. Her line of clothes is great for the curviest you. Lots of room in the bust and butt. Of course, the blazer I wanted was only available for online purchase and would never make it to me in time. We headed to Motherhood at the mall. I was reluctant to go there, because I’ve found that most of their clothing accentuates the bundle of joy in your midsection- not hide it. I told them my predicament when I got there, and the girl grabbed just the right blazer and blouse. The blazer is cut in angles in the front, the blouse, super blousey. It was a smoke and mirrors miracle.MegaCamo

So with that covered, I felt good about the entire day. Now of course, this was on a weekend when my husband was away, so I was also playing the part of “single mom”, relying on family to really help me out that weekend. I left at 10:30am and didn’t get home until almost 4 in the morning. It was a LONG DAY. Patrick was with his Aunt Sheryl and grandmother (Mi-Mi) all day (and night, almost!). I was up at 7:45am with Patrick the next morning, and had my mom come over around 9 to watch him for a few hours so that I would be able to sleep, in order to rest my voice enough to sing again at church that evening. Aunt Sheryl and Mi-Mi came over again to take care of Patrick again that evening. We all went to bed early that night! What a weekend!

The following week,, not as bad- laid some background vocals down for a project I’m working on, then the wedding gig was only about an hour away on Saturday, then church again Sunday, then rehearsal for another wedding after mass. Then another rehearsal for our next series for Sunday mass on Tuesday! Wheeew.

This weekend we head to Charlottesville for another late one. Then church the next day, followed by a rare Thursday duo gig at a local bar around 5 minutes from my house. Then another wedding Saturday (Baltimore, thank God!) and then church Sunday. And then… I CAN REST FOR REAL. 🙂

By the end of all of this, I will be 23 weeks. Right now, at 21 weeks, the baby is the size of a banana.



By week 24, a large grapefruit:



And the good news is, I’ve finally been feeling pretty good. Getting lots done around the house and hanging with Patrick- savoring giving him the attention he will have these last several months as an only child. I try to tell him about the baby, but he just doesn’t seem to get it. Maybe when I get bigger…. maybe when he can feel the baby move…. or, maybe it will be one giant surprise for him. Either way, he’ll be the best big brother. He’s already such a good buddy and caretaker to Fisher!



And Baby Makes 2



Yes, it’s true. I’m halfway through 18 weeks… it’s going by faster than it did last time, or so it seems. 

My first trimester was rough- between being nauseated, exhausted and dealing with sciatica pain (yes, already!) it was no picnic. It made for a rough couple of months, but still and all, I was able to keep up with obligations and gigs. Though, I must say, it makes it hard to take on anything else I don’t already have on the calendar. Who knows how I’ll be feeling? “Will I be able to walk that day?” has crossed my mind several times. But I suppose I should stick to the old “music heals all”. I’ve never had anything physical stop me from singing/playing, and mostly, I feel better for doing so. But you never know, and that’s what sticks in my head. When this pain strikes, there’s no hiding it. It’s like a “frickin’ laser beam” down my back and backside. 

As far as the sciatica goes, I have found a great stretch that really helps. If you have sciatic nerve trouble, please try it. It’s called “The Reverse Pigeon ” It’s actually a yoga pose I found when researching acupuncture. It’s the variation on this that I think REALLY gets in there and helps me. Hopefully, if you have this problem, it will help you too! 


Between this pose and an impromptu Reiki season at the Main Street Festival, I’ve been so much better the last couple of weeks. (Thanks, Jessica! Now YOU’RE famous! https://www.facebook.com/GentleHandsReiki?ref=br_tf ) I should also thank my friend massage therapist friend Lisa for the great sleeping advice (on side, pillow between legs at knee and ankle! https://www.facebook.com/SkyTouchTherapy ), though staying in that position while sleeping is out of my control. 😉 Whenever I wake up, which is often, I go back to it.

The pain was getting really bad. With my pregnancy with Patrick, I got it later in my pregnancy and it would only happen right before bed. Debilitating pain that reduced me to literally crawling to bed. But this time, that pain was starting as early as 11am and lasting all day, while I was trying to get all my work done, and keep up with a toddler. Not fun. But for now, it’s much, much better. I’ll take whatever I can get! 

And let’s talk dreams- oh, have they been wild. Like a double to quadruple feature every night. Plot twists, intrigue, action, adventure. Can a girl just get some rest? Apparently not. Mind is in overdrive. I told my doctor one of my latest crazy ones. The one about being a guest at a wedding and having a great time on the dance floor. After having shared a dance with Vince Vaughn (totally normal) I looked out the window to see that we were under some sort of military operation. There were troops at every window. As it turned out, they were looking for one man in particular, but we were all being questioned. Good times. 

Everything seems to be on track with the baby. We started at Oct. 24 for a due date, but due to size, now we’re going with Oct. 20. We’ll see if this one tries to top Patrick’s birth weight of 10.3. Eeesh. I hope not. We will find out what we are having on June 6. Now, that’s exciting!


WayOut Sabbatical Update

So very much has happened since last I left you. I thought I’d kick off WayOutMama 2.0 with a theme change! Change is good!

We’ve had some personal losses last year that were hard to share about in the moment, and overtook most of the year. I will share, someday. I feel it very easy to post little funnies on FB, but the deeper matters live over here. The blog is officially “back on” on all other matters.

That being said- What a whirlwind it has been. I’ll focus on the good for now.

My little one year old is now a hearty 23 month old. He is, by far the best thing ever! We have so much fun with this boy. He loves to read, loves to run and play ball. He’s learning letters like crazy, putting together little makeshift train tracks and learning how to turn on and operate mama’s keyboard, writing his own little songs. He’s named the groundhog across the street “Jo-shee” and calls for her whenever we go outside. He loves going to the local gymnasium’s open gym. Loves spending time with family and friends, and makes everyone smile. Especially in the grocery store. 🙂 He’s so friendly and so funny… a true joy to be around.

Here he is hamming it up at the gym. I got the coolest gift for Christmas- a GoPro camera- so I’m playing around with making little movies. (Thanks, husband!)

And our most recent canoe trip:

On the music front- lots of really cool stuff going on. Starting singing at Church of the Nativity in Timonium last June, and have met some of the best musicians and people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Here’s us at our Easter Service this year.

Wedding season is about to gear up, so we will be very busy. Also have a couple of duo gigs coming up which I have a ton of new songs I’ve added. Looking forward to that! Among all the last minute gigs and projects I get involved with, it’s been busy, and I hope it stays that way! 🙂

Ok, well there’s a mini-update, anyway. Looking forward to posting on the regular again! Until then!

What Happens at Story Hour, Stays at Story Hour.

Stories and Secrets!
Stories and Secrets!

I’ve been going to story hour ever since Patrick was about 3 months old. Now that he is coming up on a year old, I’ve really been thinking about how many milestones he and his Story Hour Mates have gone through together. They’ve rolled over, sat up, crawled, and are now starting to walk and talk. But also I’ve been thinking about how I have managed to keep my personal life under the radar. Like completely. And I’m not even trying.


So week in and week out, as it should be, it’s all about Patrick. He goes in, does his thing. Crawls, explores, laughs at stories and visits with friends.  All of us mothers just sit back and let the kids do their thing. We intervene if one of our kids start getting into the Story Lady’s things, but usually it’s just kind of a kid free-for-all.

Kid Free-For-All…. see what I did there?

We might talk about the kids, but not once has anyone asked my name or  what I or my husband do for a living. Is it extreme anti-social socializing. And not that everyone isn’t very friendly, they are. Everyone is VERY nice. It’s all just very surface-ey. I’m new to this, so I don’t know if there is some sort of Story Hour Etiquette or something. We just go in, play and visit, and bounce.

We are Audi 500!
We are Audi 5000!

It’s gotten to the point where I really want to just go around the room and have everyone introduce themselves. There are a couple of Story Moms who are seriously like friends to me. It’s laughable, really. So much time has gone by now…. it’s sort of uncomfortable. “Um, I know we’ve been talking for 9 months, but what’s your name?”  If I ever ran into one of them at a store or something, and introductions were in order, I’d have nothin’.

That about sums it up to the extreme.
That about sums it up to the extreme.

At the same time, it’s kind of nice having complete anonymity. None of these people can size me up because they have nothing to go on. At all. They just know I’m Patrick’s mom. They have no idea that I rock it out with a band- sing, play the piano…. have recording sessions… all these things that would shape their opinion of me. They are getting Music-Free Megan. It’s interesting, indeed. That is usually the first thing people know about me. It’s like a huge part of my personality is missing from this entire equation. In so many situations, the people who know this angle of my life will adjust so much around it, especially in group settings.  It’s really too much to deal with. And really, this is Patrick’s time.  I just sing quietly along with the others. To them, I’m just a nice mommy who probably stays at home with her baby.

Oh, no… wait… wrong picture!
Errr... ok, not this one either...
Close, but no Cigar!
Ahhh, yes. This one. This is who I am.
Ahhh, yes. This one. This is who I am to them.

I have to be careful during the music portion of the hour, though. I found myself doing polyrhythms with the maracas over “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” the other day. I think one of the nannies is onto me. I better dumb it down if I want to stay under the radar. (“1….. 3….. 1….. 3…..”)

Doesn't get more simple than this!
Doesn’t get more simple than this!

Maybe Story Hour is a blessing for all the mommies, and why it is the way it is. Maybe this is the one hour of the week when we can all escape from our duties, whatever they may be, and just…… BE.

This is actually me.... in a very relaxed state.
This is actually me…. a human bean. Bein’.

Where, oh where has WayOutMama been?

I will be elaborating on these bulleted points later, but here’s an overview at least.

  • Chasing a baby who just learned to crawl.
  • Chasing a runaway stroller.
  • Becoming a better cook. Been surprising myself, even.
  • Recording for a new client.
  • Starting back up the wedding season with Right Foot Red.
  • Doing “side man” jobs all over the place.

Here’s me sitting in with good friends, Mike’s Garage:

The New Pope

I really, really, REALLY thought he was going to be Italian. Then I see a picture of him and damned if he doesn’t look like Junior Soprano. Maybe it’s just the glasses, but close enough, I say.


So, the $1200 bucks up for grabs at http://www.fantasyconclave.com will go to someone else. I kind of can’t wait to see if someone guessed the right person AND the name he chose! Seems pretty unlikely, but I suppose we shall see. For the record, I had Scola taking the name “Peter”. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I won’t be going to the track anytime soon. 😉

A Toy and Battery

Pre-baby, I realized how annoying all the little toys are. Their weirdly recorded songs, the “no volume control” feature, and the repetitive loop they all seem to be on.

Now that I have a million of these things around, I find it’s like anything. When I worked at the copy place, I never noticed the din of machinery until the power would occasionally go out. It’s the same thing. These sounds just sort of become part of the background. We mock the songs some of the toys sing also, which is good therapy.

In our sing-songiest, over the top cheerful voices, we’ll sing, “Is there anything more FUN than playing a piaanno? How about (how about) PLAYING WITH SOME FRIENDS?” I don’t even know if I approve of the message. Don’t practice and go play with your friends? Or does it mean play the piano WITH your friends. It’s confusing.

Now…. Is there anything more fun than mocking your child’s toys? How about (how about) mocking them when the batteries run out?

When the toy’s battery starts to run out, it gets *pretty* funny. For instance, we have this little driving toy that makes car sounds and says, “Round and Round!” when you move the steering wheel. It sings little songs on the “radio” and tells you to slow down and fasten your seat belt. But when the battery runs down, the cheerful adviser becomes that drunken friend trying to lead you to their house after a party. It’s all warbley and slow… “Slooow dowowownnnn.” it tells Patrick. He just keeps trying to restart the car. Even he can tell something is wrong at 8 months old.

But then, sometimes, it gets scary. Patrick was standing in his activity center and I heard this low, horrible growl. At first I thought something was really wrong with one of our pets… I imagined the cat on the steps to the basement, the only thing between us and rabid opossum. But no, the answer was right under Patrick’s feet. His Cookie Monster with Saxophone toy was under his feet and the batteries were almost completely done. Besides scaring me half to death, it did inspire this thrown together art I came up with. So I guess it wasn’t for nothing. 🙂


Have I changed the batteries? No… besides the fact that batteries are my most forgotten item at that store, who has time to find the tiny screwdriver to unscrew the tiny screws that all toys possess? We’ll just move onto something that works.