Monday, August 20, 2012

Birthday Week, Duluth, and Beyond

It’s my birthday week this week. What does that mean? Well, my birthday is tomorrow and for the Sunday through Saturday surrounding it, it is my birthday week. Basically that means that I don’t have to do the dishes all week, which, is HUGE for me. I hate doing the dishes.

But it also means week long celebrations and activities. Maybe that’s excessive or makes me come across as spoiled or narcissistic or something, but I think everyone should celebrate a birthday week. How often do you allow yourself to be pampered for a whole week?

So, Birthday Week kicked off yesterday with a show at The Cake Shop, the CakeIn15 headquarters, by Zoo Animal featuring Grant Cutler. This is the third show I’ve attended at The Cake Shop – which is really the living room of the two folks who run CakeIn15. It’s a great place to see a show. Super intimate and everyone just listens – which is rare these days. You bring your own drinks, they provide cupcakes, and the musicians provide great performances and Zoo Animal was fantastic. This Zoo Animal performance was just lead singer/songwriter Holly Newsom and her sometimes bandmate/sometimes album producer and also local musician, Grant Cutler. They were fantastic. She is so captivating to watch perform and, it turns out, quite hilarious when placed in a setting where conversation between the act and the audience and stories are encouraged.

And, as usual when seeing a live performance, I just want to sit at home and play my guitar and sing…but I won’t get a chance to do that until Wednesday!!! It’s torture. I did have a mini-band practice yesterday and we started working on some new songs and, well, I love writing songs. I don’t think there’s anything I find more enjoyable.

Speaking of my songs, about a week ago I performed in Duluth for the first time. I played solo and had a nice time. The husband and I drove up early and spent some time in Duluth and spent a large amount of time trying to get to some sort of lake shore. Lake Superior is very, very large and I was amazed at how difficult it was to just find a place to pull over and sit by the water. But, eventually did.



 I performed at Beaner’s Central later that night. It’s a cool little place. It sort of promotes itself as a coffee shop, but they also serve wine and beer, which is doubley nice. They have a great stage and it sounded really good in there.

Setlist for Beaner’s Central on August 10th, 2012
  • Good
  • The Party
  • Minnesota
  • The Paul Simon Song
  • Can’t Even Tell
  • Easy to Blame
  • Beg, Borrow, or Steal
  • Adore
  • Cast a Spell

We drove the 2 hours back home post-show on dark, dark, dark Highway 35. And, it was total white knuckle driving for me. It’s been a long time since I’ve driven unfamiliar roads at night in that – almost – total darkness. I’ll have to keep my fear in mind if I get to do any future regional late night touring.

Birthday Week will be capped off on Saturday, August 25th with a show that I get to play at the Turf Club. I’m really excited about this line-up and to play at the Turf Club on a Saturday night. 

In other news, there’s a lot of changes happening right now – a lot of uncertainty -  and I’m both excited and nervous. I’m really trying to take life as it comes and live in the moment and not worry too much about other things in the future…but I am a natural worrier so this is hard for me. It’s sort of like everything I’ve been saying that I want to do is setting itself up to happen and now that it’s presenting itself, it’s scary. It is so engrained in my brain that things are supposed to go a certain way in life and there are rules and by whatever age you are supposed to be doing this or that and, with the birthday tomorrow, it’s hard not to assess where I am in life and really look at it and to make sure I am truly comfortable with where I am and what I’m doing. Honestly, I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do in this life.

But, on Saturday I went out to see my dad again. He’s not doing well and it’s one of those things that for me is happening behind the scenes and I don’t talk about that much. People, like my co-workers, have no idea. Certain friends have no idea. It’s one of those things that I feel if I talk about it then it’s real. So, instead, I choose to ignore it or hide it. And in doing so, I am ignoring and hiding him and I feel terrible.

He’s already legally blind and has a leg amputated. He was living in an assisted living facility. He was, I think, happy there. He had his own room with all of his own stuff. He said the food was good. He had made some friends. He could go for walks.

But then he fell and broke his arm. This left him unable to be as mobile as he likes to because he can’t use the walker or wheel the wheelchair.

And then a week later, while sitting on his bed after lifting weights, one of the weights fell on his good leg and broke it. So, being that he is now completely immobile and too much for the nurses at the assisted living place, he has been moved to a nursing home and he is miserable. He can’t do anything on his own. He just gets placed in his wheelchair (which he can’t move) and sits there all day staring at the television he can barely see.

And there’s nothing me or my siblings can do.

None of us have the money to place him in some super fancy place or to take him in ourselves and hire at home nursing care.

For a man that was always active and outside 90% of the time to suddenly be stuck in a wheelchair unable to move and indoors all the time…I can’t even imagine what he’s going through. And it’s not like his mind is gone. He’s still there.

So he just sits.

The doctors say that they might have to take the other leg, as well, because the diabetes that started this whole mess in the first place is not letting it heal. Dad actually says he’d prefer if they’d just go ahead and take it so he can get the other prosthetic and maybe start to try to walk again instead of waiting 8 weeks to see if this one is going to heal and then getting it removed.

It’s all just so very weird and it makes me so sad.

He worked all his life. Put in overtime every single week. Went in at 4am came home at 5pm. Never went on vacation and never called in sick. And now there he is. That life of hard work gave him…that.

When I say I don’t know what I want in life, I do know I don’t want that. I don’t want to slave away at a job and then to one day find myself stuck in a wheelchair in a nursing home just withering away.

Sorry to get so down. Everything with my dad has been weighing on me and I just needed to put it somewhere.


This blog is all over the place today. That's what happens when I don't update often. There are a million other things I want to write about, but I should probably save it for later.

So, yeah, it’s Birthday Week and it’s Monday and I really don’t want to work today. It’s absolutely perfect outside. I want to be home with the windows open writing songs.

I want to be a musician. That is what I want. I want to make a living with music. I don’t need to be rich. I just want to be able to survive solely on making music.

That is what I want.

I jokingly said to my husband last week that I wish someone would pay me to sing songs to dogs. I think I’d be the happiest person in the world if that happened.

I think I'll leave you with this video today. This is Holly Newsom of Zoo Animal singing her song "Dream On" acapella and on ice skates. I'm pretty sure I've posted it before. It's a beautiful song. 

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