Monday, January 15, 2018

Inspector Gadget coats and packing skillz

Photo has NOTHING to do with the blog,
but look how cute my boys are. 
You guys, I'm the queen of packing, and I'm starting to get verrrrrrrry excited about packing for my upcoming tour. I don't like to check a bag, and I also like to make sure I bring an accordion and plenty of CDs. That doesn't leave much room for clothes, and this is a winter tour, requiring more than a couple of layers. But I once packed for myself and a toddler for a month in Europe with just one carry-on, so I've got this, people. I've got it.

Part of my excitement is that I got that awesome Baubax bomber jacket that has, like, 15 pockets for various devices, which eliminates the need for a carry-on on a flight. I'm pretty excited to model it for you all because it's, like, this jacket that I invented in my head ages ago on some RyanAir flight where I had to buy a seat for my accordion because it was cheaper than paying for it as a carry-on , but I didn't have to put in any effort to make it happen. Instead someone else is getting rich, but at least I get my Inspector Gadget jacket.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Yoga and Broadway daydreams.

No babysitter means Angus comes with me
to fix a leaky pipe.
I stopped going to yoga because it was too expensive to both hire a babysitter *and* pay for yoga. Not going to yoga means I get zero alone time, which makes me a bad person and worse mother. It also meant I stopped writing in my journal, which means the kooky thoughts are stuck swirling around in my brain/blog instead of safely released into the wilds of a Moleskine. It also means I'M NOT AS STRONG AS I WAS THIS SUMMER.

I never told you the actual reason I started going to yoga. Remember that time when I auditioned for the national tour of a Broadway show back when I was 5 months postpartum? Well, I never shared the end of that story, which was that they called back a few weeks later and asked me if I was available to jump on the tour. I initially declined it for personal reasons (I wouldn't trade even a starring role in The Sound of Music in the West End of London for time spent with my mom!), but then discussed potentially jumping on the tour for a few weeks (obviously that didn't happen).

But the demands of doing 8 Broadway shows a week meant that I needed to get in shape: quickly. I needed to be able to dance for 2 hours a night. And so I started power yoga, which ended up being something I absolutely loved.

And now I've been off the yoga for several months, and all I can think is, "There's no way I could do a Broadway show if London calls!"

On that note, we are interviewing au pairs because I need live-in help with my schedule and weekly solo parenting. How else will I get in shape to tap dance???

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Time management tips for working from home

You're in luck -- my January 25th send-off show at the Bard's Town is SOLD OUT, so you don't have to listen to me ask you to come to the show. And when my head isn't stressed out with MusicianAnxiety (also known as HostAnxiety aka will anyone come tonight will anyone show up will it be a totally empty room after all my hard work), I can instead focus on delightful little blogs like this one.

In recent years, we've seen more and more people work remotely or become self-employed, whether it's a CTO working from home on a snow day or a LulaRoe rep tweeting from the toilet (and you can easily reverse those situations -- we've all done it, right?), but I somehow STILL find it difficult. I had finally figured out good time management, and then I went and had kids: FOILED!

I'm not someone who thrives under structure, in general, but I am someone who NEEDS structure in my life currently. Today I'm re-examining ideas of how to provide structure to my work-from-home days.

Also, if anyone is procrastinating on your work by reading this, why don't you just come over and plug in your laptop in my dining room and be my office-mate for the morning? There is a toddler tickling my toes at the moment, but I will probably give into screen time soon, or letting him put a thousand crayons down the heat register.

My favorite work-from-home tips that I am writing today mostly to REMIND MYSELF:

  1. Set a timer for small tasks. 
  2. Don't use a power cord on your laptop -- you won't have time to get distracted.
  3. If you have some real goals for the day, then don't check email until you've conquered at least 2 of them.
  4. If the house is dirty, then go to a coffeeshop. Otherwise you'll just get frustrated and spend all morning doing dishes. Alternatively, create an actual home office and shut yourself away from laundry.
  5. Schedule lunch. (This does not work for me because I am always hungry and the REFRIGERATOR IS ALWAYS THERE, but I'm working on it.)
  6. Make your ToDo list at the end of the workday. If you do it the night before (and you are me), you'll lie awake fretting about all you have to do. If you make it in the morning, you'll waste valuable time organizing and categorizing your list instead of actually doing things.
  7. Separate your To Do List by category, and choose 1-2 items from each category according to priority. If you finish those, then go back.
  8. Schedule your social media posts. This means you won't get sucked into a Twitter discussion or Facebook war, and you can plan your posts for the most effective time of day.
  9. Schedule a break or exercise or a walk. Also something I struggle with, mostly because I don't have reliable childcare, but also because when I'm good at guilt-tripping myself into working longer hours.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

It's Just a Thing.

Is that you in the soldout Headliners crowd??
me and Kimmet Cantwell!
That has been my mantra lately. Repeat to self: it's just a thing.

A lot of things have been malfunctioning lately -- furnaces, tires, car batteries, toilets, pipes that burst even though I did the whole leave-the-water-dripping thing because it's JUST SO COLD!

But it's just a thing. Right?

We are all safe and alive and enjoying every minute despite the chaos.

Christmas was an adventure. We rented a minivan and drove 1100 miles to Lubbock, Texas, with the whole crew: me, David, Graham, Angus, my mom and dad. David's family lives in Lubbock and hosted us all in their big ol' house, which was full of bourbon, fun, laughs, naps, plastic balls (Angus got a lot of balls for Christmas), and collectible Santas. We had a blast.

I flew back early because I had several holiday gigs, including the sold-out night at Headliners starring Back 2 Mac, the Fleetwood Mac Tribute Band that I was in in 2010-2011, before moving to Scotland, when Natalie Bajandas took over the Christine McVie parts. Her vacation was my gain, as I got to sub for her! It was magically fun, and though I would never try to take over her role in the band -- that's not cool, -- I do hope I get a chance to sub again sometime!

I'd forgotten how great a little external validation can feel, even though I know I shouldn't depend on that for happiness. But the thunderous applause, cheers, and being surrounded by people telling me how awesome I was, was, well, pretty nice. Even the guy who mysteriously told me, "Everyone wanted you to fail! I mean, EVERYONE! But you nailed it, Brigid, you absolutely slayed!" I genuinely think he meant it as a compliment, but I had to question whether anyone actually gave a crap about how I was going to perform. I mean, I wasn't nervous about it -- should I have been? Nah, I know I can sing and play those parts. C-Mac's vocal range is spot on with mine, and you can't go wrong with those songs. They are just too good!

Joe Mays took video, so I'm hoping to share some fun video from the show.

Anyway, the days off from parenting were soul-refreshing, and it was incredibly feel-goody to be more than just a mother again. Now my kids are back, and adorable and loving, albeit mischievous and slightly annoying. But really -- that's the good stuff, right? Everything else: it's just a thing.

Put January 25 on your calendar for a special, intimate, ticketed event in the Highlands. It's a send-off show for my United Kingdom tour, with a Burns Night theme featuring some somewhat-local scotch ... how is that even possible?!?!?! You'll see.

Ray Rizzo & Kimmet Cantwell

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Don't Let a Day Go By.

2017! What a crazy year. Can I tell you how I'd mentally prepared for this to be the absolute worst year? And it's not like it was amazing, but MY MOM IS STILL ALIVE! (Hi, Mom, this must be weird for you to be reading. Sorry. But I'm glad you're here!)

We spent this year how people should spend every year -- savoring every minute and always telling people you love them.

Here's one of my favorite Peter Searcy songs -- and #funfact: he and I recorded this in the same studio in LA where Michael Jackson made THRILLER. It's just acoustic guitar and piano, with classic Searcy vocals and classic Kaelin harmonies.


Thursday, December 21, 2017

UK TOUR DATES announced!!

Come see us? We are a fun duo. Video below to learn a bit more about the new album and who we are...

I've got a proper press release for UK media, but if you're reading this abroad and you have a friend in the media, newspapers, blog, podcast, radio show, music promoter, music fan, or anyone else who might enjoy a fun show that's smart and sassy and a little bluegrassy, then please connect us! Indie artists like me can't afford the fancy publicists and management that other Europe-touring musicians I know have -- they've just got access to resources that we don't, and it makes a big difference in their reach. I happen to know that we are just as talented (and honestly, Steve Cooley is more talented than anyone put together). Even just a friend with a blog who posts a wee bit about our show is a huge help to getting bums in the seats. SEE YOU SOON!!!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Earth-obsessed + Brigid's Gift Ideas #1

Did y'all see that video of the turtle with a straw up its nose? It made its way around Facebook about a year ago, and it has haunted me ever since. I can get a little obsessive about trying to save the world (re: taking PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN LOUISVILLE -- something that is just not done), using cloth diapers most of the time, not eating meat, recycling (duh, don't even climate-change-deniers recycle by now?), feeling guilty about oil miles when I buy bananas, and even having a home birth (though truthfully I wouldn't have had kids at all if I wanted to be really helpful to the planet). Anyway, you see how I can be obsessive?

Our family's latest thing is carrying around a set of bamboo utensils with us at all times and making sure we also have an aluminum straw. Remembering to use them has been a challenge, but I imagine I'll get used to it. Friends in Europe or California are probably not at all surprised or weirded out by this because y'all figured that out, like, 15 years ago. But Americans are slow adopters at things that are good for the world.

Anyway, aside from remembering to use the straw, it'll also be a challenge to NOT LOSE IT. Like, if I'm at Twig and Leaf and we all extract our reusable straws, then will we actually remember to return it to the diaper bag? So far, so good. Just think of all the turtles I've saved!

So that's my gift idea for you.  If anyone knows of a local shop that sells them, let me know, and I'll edit this post to include it. (#oilmiles)

Inspector Gadget coats and packing skillz

Photo has NOTHING to do with the blog, but look how cute my boys are.  You guys, I'm the queen of packing, and I'm starting to g...