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.

“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.

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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!

Yet Another Tribute to Another Wayout Mama

I’ve been putting this off. As prepared and accepting as one can be regarding the death of a loved one, I suppose we are never really ready. We lost one of the great ones on October 25, 2012.

Faye Peterson wore many hats- literally and figuratively. She was my best friend’s mom. She was my mom’s best friend. She was my friend and 2nd mother. She was the press release office spokesperson for FDA. She owned horses. She loved her dogs. She always had a cool car, and was never afraid to press the pedal to the metal. She was an amazing linguist and loved to pick apart the English language- which was very entertaining to those with half a brain. She was a great listener and she always told you the truth, however hard it was to hear. She told you out of love. She listened out of love. She was generous and helpful.  She had big red hats, sleek Indiana Jones style hats, and everything in between. Sometimes, underneath those hats, she had purple hair. She is the first white lady I ever knew who got extensions. It looked great. She was beyond stylish, even if she was just hanging out in the kitchen, smoking Virginia Slims and having a drink.

Faye, probably making something delicious.

When I think of Wayout Mamas in my own life, Faye is at the top of my list.

We met Faye when her son, Chris, got off at my bus stop because he didn’t want to go back to his day care. Someone there had been mean to him, and is little 4 and 1/2 year old self decided to hop off at my stop. Such nerve! We tracked down Chris’ mom and she came to get him at our house. Since Chris was so against going back to daycare, my mom offered that he could just come home to our house after school. So we started watching him then- which was great for me, because we lived in a neighborhood where our youngest neighbor was around 50, save one other boy who was my brother’s age. Chris and I became fast friends. We watched him every day after school until they moved out to Fulton when Chris was starting 2nd grade. Even then, he still spent every day during our summers until we were 16. Chris and I were embroiled into each other’s lives. His parents became mine and vice-versa. We were together as much as we could be- taking all of our family vacations together and playing in bands together from small kids well into our 20’s. I will be thankful for the choice Chris made at such a young age- to choose my stop to escape his daycare. It sparked one of the best friendships between families that we have experienced.

Growing up, Faye was always so cool. Not like the other moms. She didn’t baby us. She spoke to us like adults, never dumbing down her excellent vocabulary for us. This is something both she and my mom did. If we didn’t understand something, “Look it up!” Chris and I were left with a better than average grasp of the English language, being surrounded by all these smart ladies. By the time I was a teenager, Faye and I were more like good friends than anything. From then until recent years, we’d sit and talk in her kitchen, or by phone. Either way, they were mostly marathon sessions. We’d talk about everything- music, books, tv shows, football, family, friends, relationships- you name it, we talked about it. Like I mentioned before, we would often list out all the irritating grammar mistakes people made on a regular basis. Extra points if you caught a news anchor or newspaper reporter making one of these mistakes. One of my favorites of her “most irritating” list was “for all intensive purposes”- “It’s ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES! Stupid people!” she’d rant. It was hilarious. We shared many many laughs based on simple observation of many stupid, stupid people.

So many years, so many happenings. Countless amazing memories. Sadly, when Chris passed away in 2007, Faye was probably never the same. I’m sure it was the hardest thing ever to go through, and just 5 years later, she has joined him, along with a countless menagerie of beloved animals who’ve gone on before. I know our lives will never be the same without Faye and Chris. They were family to us for so long. They still are, I know- but no words will truly be able to express the loss that I feel not having them directly in our lives.

Thank you, Faye- for always being there. Thank you for “all the beautiful things”… I wear at least one of the beautiful pieces of jewelry you have given me over the years every day. The canvas painting of all the pretty horses you gave me hangs above Patrick’s changing table and he looks at it every day. I will always tell him where it came from, and tell him all about you as he gets older. I’m so glad you got to meet him. I was so lucky to have you in my life for as long as I did. You were a tremendous friend and will not be forgotten.

Faye, Chris and I on Christmas Eve. Our Christmas Eves will never be the same without them. Faye was beyond generous and taught me the spirit of giving. And yes, this is me trying to have dark hair. It later faded to green. Nice. 🙂

And finally, here’s a song that always makes me think of you. Thank you for sharing it with me.

Balancing Act

I had to take a little break from writing. I really wanted to see how things would start to balance out, without analyzing it too much. This is my secret with most situations.  To let things sort of sway in the wind for a while until things settle down naturally, and try not to worry about it too much in the meantime! Easier said than done sometimes.

Waiting for the wind to settle down isn’t always easy.

Since last I wrote, I was in the midst of figuring out what I would do regarding going back to work… or not. In the end, I decided that it did not make sense to go back. Between my husband’s unpredictable freelancey work schedule and the cost of child care, it didn’t make sense to go back to my job. This took a tremendous leap of faith on my part. I have taken care of myself for my entire adult life. It is an absolute transition for me. Now, that said, I was definitely ready to leave my job after 18 years. Who works for the same company for 18 years anymore? There were a couple of us left. The “lifers”. Well, turns out I’m not a lifer after all. Good thing I didn’t keel over on the job! And trust me, with the stress level in that place, that was a possibility.

The job was frazzling!

Now, of course, I get to keep my awesome 2nd job- playing music. Once or twice a week to go out and rock it out- that’s just what the doctor ordered! After doing it for almost a couple of months now, it really is a balancing act of different aspects of my personality. At home, I’m sweet mama- feeding the baby, playing with him, tickling and laughing with him, reading books, bathing and rocking him to sleep. It could be no more the opposite when I go out to play music where I’m independent, fierce and ready to slay people with music. We joke that playing live music is like going to war. I really do prepare for it that way. And it’s all or nothing once you are out on that stage. People can sense weakness, and are more than willing to point it out to you with their lack of enthusiasm.

Ok, I’m not a trombonist, but this was too funny not to include as an example of how music is like going to war! ; )

It’s no joke. There’s no worse feeling than a dead room. We’ve all been there. But still and all- I’d rather play the deadest room than not play at all! It’s a part of my being that must be expressed. Music is my best friend. We go hand in hand, or we don’t go. I can’t imagine my life without it. I wouldn’t know who I was.

Alien Megan

When I first got pregnant, I was so scared that I wouldn’t be able to continue. I cried and cried. I thought that having a baby would make me come to a grinding halt. My husband tried to soothe my worries, and I have to give the band credit too. They were all so supportive and just held my slot. I had something to jump right back into once I recovered. I’m not going to lie though, I was scared to death about it, at least at first. But luckily, it has all worked out very well.  I’m not exactly where I want to be, as far as getting my bar band back in action, but that will come again. At this point, I’m getting used to the balance, still.

And yes, I do feel like I’m living a musical…. because I sing almost every sentence to Patrick. Not sure whether this is a good thing or not!

And let’s talk about that balance. All day long I have this closeness with Patrick. We are each other’s world. Our days are so nebulous. A feeding here, a nap there… the day gets away from me faster than I thought. It’s all very dreamy. Whether I’m cleaning or doing laundry while he’s napping or whatever is going on, it’s dinner time before you know it, and the day isn’t over even then! There’s still more feedings and bedtime. Luckily Patrick has been an amazing sleeper. In bed by 9:30 or 10:00pm and up at around 9:00am. But then, when it comes to performing, I have to snap to attention. It’s the only way to let go!  Sometimes when I’m on stage now, I think of Patrick  all cuddled up in my neck, the feeling of his breath on my face. And it makes me appreciate what I’m doing even more- and makes me want to be better. He makes me just a little more alive. A little more connected to what I’m doing. It’s really hard to explain. I feel much more empowered. It’s quite a thing. Before he was born (and he was coming WITH me to those gigs!) I felt like I might view my gigs as an escape. But that’s not really the case. Yes, I do have to get into another mindset, and that is refreshing in every way. But it’s not escaping him. It’s recharging myself for him. But the funny thing is, he recharges me for the music. It’s pretty amazing, and I’m finding it all so very rewarding.

When worlds collide. It’s actually kinda awesome.

Well, with all that said, I can get on with the fun stories. Stay tuned.

A Tribute to a Wayout Mama

As a young rock-n-roll chick, in the summer of 1992, I had the pleasure of meeting my very first Wayout Mama. I would be remiss if I wrote another entry of my own without acknowledging her- the original Wayout Mama!

I had been recruited by the band Lost Cause to play keyboards in their all Doors tribute band, Lizard King. Band member, Mike Hesson met me at a DC101 Battle of the Bands in Bowie, MD. We had no idea then that 20 years later we would still be playing music together, but that’s a whole other story.

Mike and I were busy working out parts to Doors songs in the garage where he and his two brothers and fellow band mates, Ray and Ben, lived. It was a warm spring day and we were hanging out, getting to know each other and learning songs. The main thing I remember about that day was working out the solo to “Light My Fire” when she walked in.

Now I’d heard about her already… and was secretly jealous of these boys. Their dad was a nationally honored banjo picker/guitarist and their mom was a singer who ran the circuit up and down the east coast in country, rock and disco bands. All three sons were musicians and had their own band. This was like the real live Partridge Family, but you know, only cooler.  While my family is made up of 70% musicians, my direct parents weren’t- though my dad did sing in choirs and play the sax for a bit. My parents were both teachers/school administrators. Not quite the rock-n-roll upbringing I craved.

In walked Frannie Hesson. She was everything I’d imagined.  She was so down-home friendly, personable and funny- and even for just being in the garage, her persona was bigger than life. She wasn’t like the other moms. I have to say, I was a little intimidated, knowing she’d been there and done that herself. Mike introduced us and she said, “Well, play me something!” So I played and sang “Melissa” by the Allman Brothers.  She then played and sang, “Bobby McGee”, by Janis Joplin. It was beautiful. I feel so lucky to have had that moment with her. It was years and years until I would see her again. Lost Cause/Lizard King went their separate ways for 10 years, reuniting under the name “The Electric Company” in around 2001.

I’d see Frannie from time to time at gigs or at one of the sons’ houses.  She’d give me little pieces of advice on stage attire and song choices, and was always encouraging. I always took everything she said to heart. Who would know better than her? There was a kinship through music- especially being a woman in music- with her. I never had to explain anything to her- she’d already lived it!

Now, when I first got pregnant, I have to admit, I was a “might bit nervous”, as Karl from Sling Blade would say. How was I going to do all this? The baby, my job, the band(s)…. oh, my!  I was talking to Ray about it and he said, “Don’t worry about it man, talk to my mom… she totally did it, and there were three of us!” I thought, “Oh, yeah… duh. It’s NOT impossible… Frannie had THREE kids and still did gigs!” I kept that in my heart and mind whenever I would worry about my situation. It was totally doable. It might take some planning, but it was going to be ok.

Two Sundays ago, we did our yearly show at Allen Pond in Bowie, MD. I was hoping I would see Frannie, as I had my little 2 month old with me, and I wanted to introduce her and pick her brain a little. I didn’t see her. Mr. Hesson and I were talking and he said in reference to my little one, “Now don’t you worry if he starts crying when you’re up there- there’s plenty of people to take care of him out here.” I laughed and said, “What would Frannie have done? Did she ever have that happen? Hey is she coming?” He didn’t know. She ended up not coming this year, and I thought, “Oh well, maybe next time.”

As fate would have it, there wouldn’t be a next time.

The following Saturday, she was the passenger in a car that was hit head-on. There is one more angelic voice in Heaven.

She left behind a musical legacy through her sons by passing along her gift to them. If I can manage that alone, I will have done my job.

Please take a moment to listen to her. You won’t be disappointed.

http://www.beallfuneral.com/sitemaker/sites/BeallF1/obit.cgi?page=video_gallery&user_id=703497

The Secret Language of Baby Sites- Baby Acronyms and Abbreviations 101

The second I got pregnant, I hit the internet. I had SO many questions then and throughout my pregnancy (and even now about his development), it was just the easiest way to access information. Sure I could search through books, but it was much easier to just enter a question in Google and wait 1 second for a slew of answers.

It’s pretty bad when you ask your doctor a question and they go to Google. Just ask my sister.

Or was it?

So you’ll have a question- “How many months pregnant am I, based on weeks?” This SEEMS like an easy question to answer, but truly it isn’t. Anyone who has ever been pregnant has probably faced this problem.

Here’s an example:

If you google, “I’m 28 weeks…” (already google has auto-populated and correctly predicted the rest of my question) “I’m 28 weeks pregnant how many months am I?”

I go to the first result and find this:

Question: “I would think I’m 7 months but my due date is dec 11 so how far along in months am I really?”

Answer: “If you divide weeks by 4 then really pregnancy is 10 months long. Our calenders actually have an average of 4.3 weeks per month. This is why converting weeks to months is so misleading. 28 wks/4 is 7 months. But your due date is 2 and a half months away. I usu take my due date and count backwards. There are 2 and a half months till you are due. 9 months minus 2 and a half says you are 6 and a half months pregnant. If you want to be technical and divide 28 weeks by 4.3 weeks that are really in a month, you still end up with 6.5 months pregnant.”

Oy vey.

The confusing math aside, this is actually very cohesive. Do you know why? This person did not find a reason to use one of the 100 useless acronyms that all the baby sites seem to use.

I was already scared and confused, and wading out into very uncharted territories, and was now faced with something like this:

Q: How do I deal with morning sickness?

You come to a forum where all the ladies are sharing their experiences and tricks. Everything is going fine until you see something like this:

I had TTC many times. It finally happened and I MC’d. It was hard on my OH and I, but we managed through it. Finally got PG again and things are going along fine, except I have terrible morning sickness. My SIL tells me that I should eat crackers. When she was PG her LO and DH were very supportive of her. My OH is always working and isn’t around to help much. Thank God I WAH because I can’t even get out of bed half the time! It’s not helping that my 10 year old DD has a project due at school every other day, it seems.

Confused? I sure was. I already didn’t feel great and now I had to go find some sort of decoder ring? It was beyond irritating. When I finally found the online Baby Acronym Decoder Ring (which I will call BADR), I was relieved on one hand. I’d REALLY tried to figure out what they could mean, very unsuccessfully.(“DD…. Doctor….. Doomsday? That can’t be right.”) I really felt like I was “not part of the club”. I was already feeling pretty unsure of myself, and now it was like being around twins who have their own language and won’t let you in on it. Pretty excluding, if you asked me. After I found out what some of the things MEANT…. I wasn’t so sure I wanted in on this club at all.

Darling Daughter? Darling DAUGHTER? Son of a Bitch!

So now I was forced to go to magical Google once again. I can’t be the only one with this problem, right?

“What does DD mean on baby sites?” 

Well, I wasn’t wrong. Many people are just as baffled and annoyed as me.

Turns out, DD means… get this… Darling Daughter/Dear Daughter. This applies to DS (son) DH (husband) etc.

Let me take a moment to contemplate this silliness.

WHO is referring to their daughter or son as “darling son” or “dear daughter”?  Unless you are living in the times of “Little Women”, MAYBE sometimes in jest, but certainly not every time. Why can’t you just say “My son” or “My daughter”? I found it so pretentious, it just made me want to leave the site forever. It made me a little sick, and made me wonder if I trusted these people’s advice at all, with BS like that going on. If you don’t know what BS means, I’ll tell you. Butterfly Snot. Didn’t see THAT coming, did you? No, we all know what it stands for,and that’s what I think a lot of these acronyms are.

Let me decode the above example for you:

I had tried to conceive many times. It finally happened and I miscarried. It was hard on my other half and I, but we managed through it. Finally got pregnant again and things are going along fine, except I have terrible morning sickness. My sister-in-law tells me that I should eat crackers. When she was pregnant her little one and darling husband were very supportive of her. My other half is always working and isn’t around to help much. Thank God I work at home because I can’t even get out of bed half the time! It’s not helping that my 10 year old darling daughter has a project due at school every other day, it seems.

To semi-quote Kramer in the Moviefone episode of Seinfeld- “Why don’t you just TELL me what you are trying to say?”

“Why don’t you just TELL me the name of the movie you’d like to see?”

Here is a list of my Top 10 most ridiculous Baby Site Acronyms (according to my BADR):

AF– Aunt Flo (which is already code! This is code upon code now! Let’s grow up ladies!) This means a woman’s period.

BD– Baby Dance. Ugh… ok, another code upon code. This means “Sex” for all you grown ups out there. Example: “I’m trying to self induce labor.” Someone could answer: “BD!” Then you exhaust your guesses (Big Dog, Balance Diapers, Bob Denver). Then you go to google, only to find out it means Baby Dance, which just means sex. “Why don’t you just TELL ME?”

BF– this one is so tricky. It could mean a few things: Best friend, Boyfriend or Breast Feed. So, you know, choose your words wisely.

BM– I don’t think you should be able to try to take over a VERY FAMOUS acronym and try to call it breast milk. Because no matter how much I KNOW you mean breast milk, there’s no way I’m not thinking about poop.There. I said it.

BFP/BFN– Big Fat Positive/Negative, in regards to pregnancy test results.

FRER– First Response Early Result. Are we really saying that often enough to acronymize it?? “My FRER was a BFN! WOOO!” I would like to kick that poster in the mouth.

DA– Darling ANYTHING. DS, DD, DH, DP (partner), DW (wife- yes some men are actually on these sites, using these stupid acronyms) DBF. Uh oh, this could be Darling Boyfriend, Darling Best Friend or Darling Breast Feed.

PG– Pregnant. I abhor this one on grammatical merit alone. You probably shouldn’t make an acronym/abbreviation out of one word, to begin with, but if you are going to, wouldn’t you at least go with the beginnings of the syllables? Preg Nant. PN. Or maybe the first 3 consonants would make sense. PRG. PG to me will always mean Parental Guidance and will bring back memories of lame movies my parents would let me see.

EWCM– Egg white cervical mucus. Ok, 1- GROSS. 2. How often are we mentioning this??

MW– Midwife. These are my initials, and therefore, throws me off. It also stands for Miracle Whip, and that makes me think of eating delicious sandwiches.

POAS– Pee on a Stick. I can’t even comment it is so stupid.

This all comes up because I recently had to look up the average length of your first period after giving birth. So please forgive this very unusually long and ranty blog.”TMI”-  I have had my AF for 10 days, which according to these crazy ladies, is totally normal.