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.

SAMSUNG

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.

SAMSUNG

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.

omg3

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.

“Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.” – Carl Sandberg

It’s December 13th and while my house should be emitting the lovely scents of the season- cinnamon, pine , clove or cookies baking- my house is reeking of something else entirely. ONIONS.

It STINKS in here!

It STINKS in here!

I kept seeing this thing going around on Facebook about how you should cut an onion in half and put them in several rooms in your house to fight the flu and other cold-like viruses. According to these posts, back in 1919, 40 million people worldwide died from the flu, and while they were trying to figure out how to fix the problem, they turned to the farmers to see if they had any bright ideas. While visiting farmers, while many of them had succumbed to the flu, one family didn’t. Turns out the wife had placed a cut onion in the rooms in their house, and when the scientists examined one of the onions, it was dripping with the flu virus. Well, lets just say I wish I had checked with snopes.com before I cut up onion and put it in my house. The story is false. I have no one but myself to blame.

Looks harmless enough

Looks harmless enough

As I write, my eyes are filled with tears and the house is filled with the glorious stench of raw onion, which really kind of smells like some weird body odor. It’s as if Santa himself might have been exercising vigorously in my living room. It’s disgusting.

Sweaty Santa

Sweaty Santa

It’s not that the onions soak up the virus, I think the way this might actually work is that if anyone (carrying the flu virus or not) comes for a visit, they will not want to stay long. This doesn’t give the flu virus time to latch onto anything. If I were the flu, I wouldn’t want to be here. If you are looking for a way to send any visitors packing, I have found your solution!

Send your friends and family packing with the smell of onion!

Send your friends and family packing with the smell of onion!

Supermom- 0
Onion- 1

"I am, I am, I am Supermom- and I can do anything." (except rid the house of stinky onions)

“I am, I am, I am Supermom- and I can do anything.” (except rid the house of onion aftermath)

Sadly, I really felt good about what I was doing at the time. I carefully cut the onion in two, placed one in the living room and one in our office. I thought, this is such a great thing! I’m protecting my 5 month old from a virus! And it’s natural! I am a good person. I’m making the environment better for my family and for the planet.

I am a good person, who now smells like onions.

I am a good person, who now smells like onions.

I was pretty pleased with myself until the baby started crying. And then my eyes started to water… and then that smell… that SMELL. We live in a cozy, close quarters kind of space. It did not take long for the room to fill up and irritate the crap out of everyone. I’m glad I discontinued this practice in less than a half an hour.

Now, to neutralize the smell. I’ll be sure to snopes any solution before I try anything. Lesson learned.

no_onions

T’was the Season of Retail Hell

The season is upon us. As I give thanks and reflect on all the blessings in my life, I think about one of the biggest ones- besides my son, that is.

Number 1 Blessing!

I will NOT be working retail this season. Oh, HALLELUJAH.

Finally, I can just relax and enjoy the holiday. This will be the first time in probably 22 years. This is counting mall jobs as a teenager, and really, those probably count the most! The mall at Christmastime is ALWAYS a disaster. I remember working at Express at the Laurel Mall during the Christmas rush. SWEATERS EVERYWHERE. We would have to stay for hours after closing just to get the store in order, only for a bunch of ladies to come in and destroy it again the next day. And this is where I turn completely sexist…. ladies ruin perfectly good piles of clothing. Men do not. It’s a studied (by me) fact. I worked at Express (womens) and then Structure (mens). VERY little clean up for the guys. If they don’t remotely like it, they are not going to touch it. And if they remotely like it, then they MIGHT unfold it, but only if they know they are going to try it on. It didn’t take long for me to recognize this fact and transfer next door out of sheer laziness. But of course, during the holidays, all the ladies were shopping for men, so even Structure was a mess. The ladies need to see each size opened up, and for some reason, Every. Single. Possible. Color. IT’S THE SAME SWEATER, JUST A DIFFERENT COLOR!!! And don’t try to clean as they rip them apart. They find this obnoxious. Well, we were even because I found THEM obnoxious also.

Yes, this about sums it up.

I’ve never folded so many sweaters, though. For real. We had these little boards to help us get the “perfect fold”. For someone who hated doing her own laundry, and was lucky if her clothes made it into a drawer, this was a nightmare of a job.

By the next season I had managed to get myself into a great job with the “cool kids” over at Camelot Music. Now, this was not NEARLY as bad as the clothing. At least I loved music and the revolving door of freakish customers, but Christmas is Christmas. And nobody is harder on merchandise than the customers of a music store. CDs EVERYWHERE. And don’t get me started on that bargain bin… or the lines… the lines! Or the people who don’t know what they are looking for, so they try to sing it for you. It was kind of a fun game. I was pretty good at picking out horribly sung tunes. The worst was when they didn’t know any words. It was like, “Can you remember ONE WORD? Just ONE would help tremendously.”

At least we had cases for ours, but this is what it FELT like!

The next 18 years of my Christmas retail life took place in a copy/shipping store. And while I’m not going to say the name, as I have recently left and who knows what legalities are involved, draw your own conclusions. That said, HOLY CRAP. Calendars, calendars, calendars. Did I say calendars??? We were SURROUNDED by people’s 13 photos (1 for each month and 1 for the cover), tucked away in an envelope, which was HOPEFULLY labeled correctly. Some years we’d make hundreds in a day. When we got a huge contract as a 3 party vendor, it was thousands. Can you imagine? And I’d say, with all the printer/copiers went through, about 15-25% were redone due to quality issues. So we’d have tons of re-dos also floating around. It’s amazing how well it DID work, really.

“I sure hope those pictures have some customer identification on the other side!”

Now, over the years, these calendar projects started to dwindle. A lot. Last year, I ended up only doing about 5 personally. Of course, they added a whole other ball of wax- shipping. So the focus turned to packing and shipping most things great and small. Some items would take a half hour or more to pack. It is an INCREDIBLE situation. The lifting, the wrapping, the sizing, tracking “missing” packages, walking people through forms-most of whom have never shipped and have no idea how much it costs- “It’s HOW MUCH???? OH, NO. I’m not doing that. Unpack my things and give them back!” You might say, why don’t you tell them the price first? Well, until it’s in its exact box, all packed up, the weight and dimensions may change, leaving LOTS of room for quoting mishaps. It was THE. WORST. And how about those days when you were about to close up, and 5 minutes before close, in walks a couple with 5 large boxes, stuffing hanging out of them. Worst packing job ever, and the customers thinks they are “good to go”. “No, it’s fine, they’re just pillows. They can go as is.” they’d say. “I’m sorry, sir, this doesn’t meet our packing standards.”

“Oh, yeah. That should make it just fine……NOT.”

“What do you mean? THEY’RE JUST PILLOWS!” he’d rage, in full-on Christmas Fury. I’d try reasoning. “OK, let me break it down- these boxes could easily get caught on a conveyor belt and hold up the progress of ALL the packages. I can’t accept it.” “This is ridiculous!!!” he’d shout and storm out. “No, you are ridiculous. And by the way, Merry Christmas!!!” I WISH I could have said.  That job tested my patience at every turn. But especially during the holidays.

I looked at the calendar the other day to see what day Christmas falls on this year. Tuesday. So I would have had to have worked Sunday, Monday (Christmas Eve), off Christmas and right back to work on Wednesday. It would have been the worst.

So while I’m not working the full time day job, I do have some gigs- some holiday parties and a wedding. So that’s perfect. Go spread a little Christmas cheer, collect some dough and be on my way. That’s how work SHOULD be. I’m so blessed to be able to do what I love now and not miss moments like this with the little one:

And big thanks to my husband, for which none of this would be possible! His job has also a tremendous blessing! And on to getting the house together for Christmas… and to get creative on the gifts front! Not having a full time day job does have it’s drawbacks- all worth it, though!

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