Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas commercials to make you cry.

Today I've got absolutely nothing deep or wise to share with you. I've been working on developing some sort of self-care routine, which, apparently, does not involve as much blogging as I would like. But priorities, right?

In the mean time, it's Christmas, and I feel the need to look at John Lewis ads.
John Lewis is a department store in the UK. It's huge, it has a haberdashery, and it's got the best commercials I've ever seen, always guaranteed to make you weepy.


Here is one for this year:


Here's my favorite ever:


Seriously, that one. Tears!!

This week in Louisville:

12/23 at 10:30am Holiday singalong at Mama's Hip! $10/family. No signup required.
12/23 at 7pm (I play at 8) at Headliners Music Hall. $10/person or FREE with new or gently used blanket to donate. Johnny Berry headlines. Just decided to make this a band show, so I called out a couple of friends to play with me. Bring your dancing boots!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Establishing a self-care routine while parenting and working from home. Impossible?


Louisville! I'm playing at Headliner's next week. So maybe if you're in town, you can come? 

Facebook event for more details and tickets. I play first -- at 8:00. Doors at 7. Then I'm just gonna hang out and dance because that's what one should do at these sorts of events.

103.9 The Hawk presents Johnny Berry Presents Honky Tonk Holidaze
featuring Steve Cooley, Jeff Guernsey, Emily Portman, Stephen Couch, Ricky Puckett & Dave Johnson with Brigid Kaelin and a special appearance by Hillybilly Santy Claus
Wednesday, December 23
Doors 7PM Show 8PM
$10 or free with a new or gently used blanket for Salvation Army
18+


What else has been going on?

Poor puppy was sick last week.
No one got anything done:(
I'm trying to establish some kind of routine for myself. Pre-motherhood, it wasn't much of a challenge. Or, rather, a routine wasn't really necessary to my actually getting things done. I've never enjoyed linear work or workdays. Some might call it ADHD, but even in school (and I was a straight-A student, people) I always had a million books or projects or whatnot going at once. I'd do half a math assignment, start the english paper, come back to math -- it worked for me. 

I'm starting to realize now that I need a routine. There just isn't enough time to myself to work the way I used to work. All internet searches for daily routine or self-care routine or whatnot lead me to the conclusion that none of these people have children. Of course it would be great to "start the day with 30 minutes of exercise, followed by a 10-minute meditation session and a 20-minute hot shower!" I read one yesterday that continued this fantasy of "not doing anything but rehearsing or writing music until noon." It's laughable. But it's a really nice thought, people.

I am stuck in this little world of self-employed-work-from-home-parent. That is vastly different from work-from-home-parent or stay-at-home-parent or work-away-from-home-parent. 

Anyway ... trying to find a little room for self-care in the midst of winter illnesses and holiday stress and thousands of dollars in unexpected home repairs has me, um, a little stressed out. Anyone out there have it all figured out? Can you just print me a little PDF, so I can tick off the items nicely? Thanks. I'm working on my own, but I'm sure you have much better graphic design skills.

Maybe I just need a little more coffee.

Reminder: Family Music Jam this week is WEDNESDAY 12/16. 10:30am. Drop-in. Come sing holiday tunes with me:) $10/family at Mama's Hip. www.mamas-hip.com 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ukuleles for preschoolers! And potential class in Louisville?

Playing music with your kiddo is the best. Also, I know
this is a banjo, not a uke, but the Wee Boy is asleep with
a cold right now, so I shan't bother him for a photo shoot.
People ask me ALL the time if I will take their 5-year-old on as a piano student, and I always suggest waiting until the child is 7. I'll write another blog about all the reasons why, but today I wanted to throw out the alternative that I usually suggest: buy a ukulele.

Once you are able to communicate with your kiddo that perhaps s/he shouldn't throw it across the room, then you are fine to get an actual, real, will-even-stay-in-tune ukulele. Then grab a book or get on the YouTube or sign up for a Parent/Child Intro-to-Uke class to get them started. Louisville friends, Guitar Emporium has many ukuleles in the $40-55 range that would be perfect. I stopped by this week to check out their selection and was pleasantly surprised with the choices in stock.

On that note, Louisville parents, I'm considering offering a Parent/Child intro-to-ukulele class specifically for those families who might be welcoming a uke into their families this holiday season.

I'm always hesitant to offer new classes, but several parents have asked me about teaching such a class. So maybe get in touch if this is something you'd be interested in? I'm looking at doing a 4-week class in January either on Monday or Thursdays, early-afternoons, location TBA, but in the Highlands/40205 area for sure (I'm car-free, remember?) Probably a 6-children limit. 45-minute class. Aimed at ages 4ish-5ish. One day I'll work out a group piano class for preschoolers, which I find more effective and a better use of your money than private lessons at that age, but for now: ukuleles for wee fingers, it is.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Candlelighting and free music and funny videos and stuff.

It's that time of year! I didn't make it home from my gig with The Birdies until after sundown, but we didn't let that stop us from eating all of Grandma's homemade latkes. Here's Grandma (my mom is now known as Grandma instead of Mom because the circle of life and all) passing down a bit o' culture to her grandson:
   


















Speaking of The Birdies, we played two SOLD OUT shows this weekend at Indiana University SE, singing with a 15+ piece band and spreading holiday cheer. Here's a much more calm version of us on the radio singing a version of Silver Bells with the addition of our Hanukkah verse at the end:


And OF COURSE .. here are my two classic Hanukkah tunes. Available as free downloads here:


Or just watch the silly videos on the ol' YouTube:






Happy Hanukkah, y'all! It's been quite a year.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Road trips, Nashville with the Wee Boy, Free music, and an alligator.

Last night I cooked a dinner, and two of the dishes had only one ingredient. It was completely amazing. Don't get me wrong, I like Thanksgiving food. I like it a lot. It's comfort food (i.e. the Kids' menu in adult portions), and it tastes delicious. We ate Thanksgiving food or road trip food or takeout-because-we-didn't-want-to-mess-up-our-kitchen-for-the-Airbnbers food for at least week. Macaroni and Cheese is amazing, but it is not a vegetable. Last night we had curried quinoa, roasted butternut squash, and Brussels sprouts. I could feel every cell in my body thanking me with each bite.

Anyone else still hungover from Thanksgiving? We had a fun holiday. We traveled to Arkansas and spent 5 days with David's family in a condo. My introvert self was a little freaked out by the close quarters, but the company was good. The Wee Boy had an absolutely blast playing non-stop with his cousins, yelling to wake everyone up as early as possible, and eating sugar all week. He also pet an alligator, which you've already seen if you follow me on Instagram:


We also learned that he inherited our weak stomachs for car rides. The boy is an amazing traveler on planes and trains, but take this boy on a car trip and yikes! I lifted my screen-time rules and let him watch the iPad about 30 minutes into our journey, and he puked EVERYWHERE shortly thereafter. I ended up reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz aloud to him to kill time, which was, honestly, mostly delightful. He really liked it, particularly the Winged Monkeys and "the soldier with the green whiskers."

I got a little accidental down time yesterday, when the horrendous driving weather forced our hand. We stopped for the evening in Nashville, exhausted and ready for bed. After a swim in the hotel pool and a little alone time, I felt reinvigorated and wanted to show the Wee Boy a honky tonk. I had never even thought about it, but it turns out that most of the honky tonks on Lower Broadway are all ages before 6pm. We wandered to the Second Fiddle, danced, clapped, tipped, and eventually settled in at Robert's Western World for some comfort food and some comfort music. The Wee Boy, of course, is no stranger to live music, but he was still mesmerized. We left just before it turned 21+ and pretty much went straight to bed.

I'm now plotting the next time we can get down to Nashville for an entire day of honky-tonkin' with the Wee Boy. I don't know why I had never thought of that before.

Speaking of country music, it's time again to start forcing you to listen to my Hanukkah music. Here's a free download or listen to "Blue Dreidel No. 9" from a Christmas Compilation (I know, I know, ironic?):



Also: Louisville parents: Bring your kiddo to Mama's Hip on Wednesday morning for Family Music Jam! 10:30am, drop-in, lots of fun. $10/family. Pretty please?? We have so much fun there.

The Return of Elvis Costello [in my life]

I just LOVE a good rock and roll show, especially a band that knows how to integrate a real piano player. That Steve Nieve is magical, and I...