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.

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By week 24, a large grapefruit:

 

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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!

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And Baby Makes 2

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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.

MEME---Undercover-dog

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.

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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.

PopeJunior

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. 🙂

CookieMonster1

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.

I Should’a Just Gone To Chipotle

I am new to this housewife thang. I’m not much of a cook. It’s not been something I’ve ever had time for, or really enjoyed for that matter. The kitchen is not a place where my creativity wants to shine. So be it. Before all this (marriage, baby) my life consisted of working like crazy, playing gigs, hanging out with friends, and living off a steady diet of a combination of Tastee Diner food and scraps from my mom.

Tastee Diner: The source of many a meal.

Tastee Diner: The source of many a meal.

But, like many things, sometimes I get the old 7 year (or ‘month’ in this case) itch to do something crazy. Much like when every few years I crochet up a storm of blankets and scarves. They come whizzing out of my hands like notes on the piano usually do. So every now and then I get a great idea. This time it was,  “Why would I spend $7.50 per Burrito Bol at Chipotle when I can just as easily make it at home?”

I didn’t say I was thinking clearly.

So I started with the guacamole. Between the peeling and the chopping of avacados, onion, garlic, feeding the baby, diaper change and a soothing, it took an hour and a half from the time I started. Now, it did taste pretty good. I got some pre-made guacamole concoction from Harris Teeter to go in it… though, if I’d spent just an hour longer I PROBABLY could have made that too.

So after several “testings” of the guac, I moved on to the rest. I’d gotten as many of the spices I could find to follow a “from scratch” recipe I found online for the Chipotle Restaurant Recipes. I couldn’t find all the ingredients, so I had to improvise a little. It wasn’t exactly like Chipotle, but you know, good enough. So I’m mixing up all these spices then coated the chicken and beef. I probably should have left it marinating overnight, but whatever. A half hour is good enough, right?  Got the black beans, the onions/peppers, the corn, the rice going either on the stove top/microwave.

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I actually bought pre-grated cheese, because the last time I grated something, we may or may not have had an extra piece of me in our meal. So gross.

Not my thumb, but you get the point.

Not my thumb, but you get the point.

Ok, so between more diapers and feeding and baby attention giving, the dinner was ready 2 hours later. So that was 3 and a half hours total time. Was it good? Sure. A little different than Chipotle, but not in a bad way. Did it cost less? Nope. Did it take way longer? Yep. Did I feel good or accomplished for doing this? Not really. Especially with all the dishes and pans I dirtied up.

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It did feed us for 2 days, though, so that was good. Also, if I hadn’t had done this, I wouldn’t have this picture. Please note a very stealthy and jawa-esque dog waiting in the wings for any and all droppage.

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Cady the Stealthy Jawa. Pinpoint eyes and white mouth.

In summary, 5 hours after I started the dinner project, my comment on the evening was, “Well, I’m never doing that again. I should’a just gone to Chipotle.”

Kneegate the RG3 Rumors

It was the beginning of the 2nd quarter when I started saying, “Oh no…. he’s got to get off that knee.” By the half, I thought, “Surely they will put Cousins in.” Nope. I found myself wondering beyond all belief how they could let him stay in, sometimes very out loud, and at the television.

See, this RG3 kid has some serious heart. We saw it in the game against the Ravens. He will stand ’til he can’t stands no more, to loosely quote Popeye. In this recent game against the Seahawks, he was willing to go out there and give it everything in his being when the physical part of him was failing and finally gave out completely in one buckling collapse.

RG3 takes an involuntary knee. Photo credit: my husband

RG3 takes an involuntary knee. Photo credit: my husband

I understand now what I didn’t at first. The only way I could even begin to contemplate the actions of RG3 and the coaching staff, I had to try to put it in my own realm of understanding, then it started to come clear. RG3 said something that resonated with me. “There was no way I was coming out of the game.”

I understand the “warrior mentality”. In my musical life,  I have performed under complete physical duress before, knowing I was only going to make myself worse, but unwilling to give into the notion that I couldn’t or wouldn’t do it. I have WILLED myself through what most people could not have. I have sung through the double sinus infections, bronchitis, an almost complete vocal loss, ear infections… and for what? Not to make myself worse, or out of selfishness, but because I had to. For my own spirit, I had to.  It’s what I have trained to do, other people were relying on me. I HAD TO. I have never called out of a gig in my life for any reason. Not for illness, nor for deaths of loved ones. And I have to tell you, none of us do. We show up. We are in it together. We are a team, and we support each other through everything from illness to heartache… and we are happy to do it. There is more going on than just simply playing a few tunes. This is what makes us feel alive- it is our purpose. I’ve said it before, “Playing music is like going to war.” If that is true for us, I can only imagine that is what it is like for these football players. It is their lives- their war that they are more than willing to fight in every week of the season. Just like us, but with more running and tackling.

I remember once  in the middle of a huge gig run, (we had like, 4 in a row after a full weekend.) I lost my voice almost completely and the doctor said rest it for 2 weeks. I told him I had 4 upcoming shows that weekend. I said, “I can’t NOT do it.” He said, “I really don’t recommend it, but if you HAVE to… don’t talk all week, if you have to speak, speak softly. Don’t whisper. Drink more water than you think you ever could and sleep as much as you can.” Of course I did. I did anything I had to do to sing. I still do.

Now if I had done serious damage that weekend of shows, it would have been on me. And I took full responsibility for my decision. Luckily the rest and the quiet payed off. Against the odds, I did it. If I had done damage, it wasn’t out of some selfish action, like RG3 is being accused of, it was out of dedication. Dedication that is blinding sometimes, but dedication nonetheless.

Trying to wrap my brain understand Shanahan’s decision to keep him in the game didn’t come easy, but I again draw from my own experience.

I was pregnant just last year. My regular day job was a physically taxing job. Standing all day, lots of lifting, lots of running here and there. It was my warrior mentality that kicked in there as well. I worked like a dog. During this time, I was also playing gigs up until my 8th month. But I didn’t call out once for not feeling well (even though I wasn’t). Around month 7, I did have a 3 days forced (and believe me, kicking and screaming forced) bed-rest due to a bout with cellulitis in my already swollen foot. It was everything in my power to just lay there, but I had to. It was a potentially dangerous situation. But I was back on my feet before I knew it and continued to work 2 days past my due date. My manager kept asking me, “Are you ok? Can you still do this?” “YES.” I would say. “I AM FINE.” There was nothing he could do but just believe me. He checked in with me every day, sometimes more than once. That’s all he could do. Check in with me and trust that I was in touch enough with myself to answer honestly. The doctors had to trust my self assessment and decision as well.  Luckily, nothing went down at work. I didn’t go into labor or anything crazy. Had I gone into labor, would the company have chastised my manager for allowing me to be there? He did everything he could to ensure I was ok. Shanahan did the same with RG3, and if accounts are accurate, with the doctor as well. If he had limped around, all game, blew out his knee, but we won, we might be hearing a different tune. These players and coaches are damned either way, it seems. You are either weak for giving up, or a hero for championing through. Make up your minds.

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Our Hero. (with another hero in the background- London Fletcher!) photo credit: my husband

So what’s the lesson here? The problem with the warrior mentality is that you don’t know how much is too much until it’s too late. I could easily be voiceless today with some of the things I’ve put myself through. I count myself lucky. RG3 wasn’t lucky this time. But he’s got some serious heart. I hope, as all the fans do, that his recovery is swift and effective, as opposed to what we are all bracing ourselves for.

Lastly, I wish that everyone would just stop with the speculation and the blaming. The rumor mill doesn’t do anyone any good. RG3 did what he had to do. He’s walking his path and he’ll take whatever comes his way with the same calm and positivity that has lead him to this point.

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Can’t wait to see that confident smile again. photo credit: my husband

Lastly, here is my video/song/tribute to London Fletcher, another team leader who deserves major credit. Go Skins!

WayOutMama 2012 in review

A big thanks to everyone who reads my blog!  2012 was one of my biggest to date- Married in November 2011, sold my old truck (to get something with a back seat) to welcome my first baby in June. Left a job I had for 18 years to take care of my baby and play music as full time as possible. It’s been a whirl-wind of change, which is something I’m not entirely used to, but I have to say, I welcome.

Here are some stats that you all were a part of this past year. Thanks for reading. It means the world!

2013 brings new and exciting musical endeavors and a concerted effort to post at least once a week with my progress!

Happy New Year!

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,700 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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