Happy New Year?

Happy New Year! 2016 wasn’t so awful on a personal level for me, but I certainly shared the collective pain of losing an absurd amount of pop culture heroes and possibly losing our nation’s democracy in the coming years. I’m very anxious about what is on the political and social horizon, but overall 2016 was a year of visible personal growth. I have grown in mostly good ways, with the exception of my actual mass. The year was heavy, man. I was asleep when 2016 finally expired, but I woke up determined not to let my skepticism of a happier year deter me from making “resolutions.” Since New Year’s resolutions are usually canned before trees bud in the spring, I regard these promises as my annual renewal, necessary for survival. Some of these practices that I’m implementing might fade away, but I’m inspired right now and they’re useful right now. No matter what goes on in a year, the last few months are always particularly crazy. In November I had surgery, a long weekend away, and Thanksgiving getting in the way of taking care of myself. (Not to mention the horror show that unfolded on November 8.) In December I was frantically trying to be an adequate preschool mom, preparing for holiday gifts, managing every day life, and trying unsuccessfully to avoid the constant influx of cookies. My life isn’t the epitome of hardship, but if I fail to take care of myself, the small world around me will cave in.

I am worried about our country in a way that is new and scary to me. I am trying to understand where everyone is coming from and the blindness of privilege that so many possess, myself included. For the first time in my life, I made phone calls to help with the election because I wanted my daughter to grow up knowing that I did something to try to prevent this nightmare that we hopefully survive from unfolding. I set up my donations for organizations that are threatened by the coming administration. I made it my mission to learn more so I can do more to make the world better. I don’t feel persuasive enough to change minds, but I do feel passionate enough about fighting for justice to educate myself to do whatever I can to keep our society moving forward. I know I can do more, but I often feel guilty about the privilege of being in a relatively comfortable position when others are worried about basic human rights being taken away. I feel guilty about having debt but still being able to do most of what I want to do with my life. I’m afraid that these liberties will end, but if the worst thing that happens to me is having to actually pay attention to grocery store sales, I’m still in an enviable place compared to those who may lose their healthcare or marriage rights. Of course, we may all be doomed if war is declared, and I’m not confident that our President-Elect has our best interests at heart. I’m terrified.

Guilt and anxiety have been dominating the emotions of most people I know. It almost feels immoral to ponder resolutions right now. What kind of monster worries about losing 20 pounds when our world is filled with senseless violence and injustice? No one should care about your daily green smoothies when your black friends are still dealing with racist bullshit in the 21st century.

Today I am grateful for Audre Lorde. She said, “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” I am going to find a way to display these words in my home where I will see them every day. I have always believed that people must take care of themselves in order to care for others, but to call it an act of political warfare makes me feel deliriously empowered. Sitting in my bed, scrolling through Twitter, and crying about babies dying in ravaged cities is not helping. I need to stay informed, but I cannot will the earth to peace with anxious ruminations. Getting enough sleep, exercising, eating well, and feeling content seem to be luxurious, but giving yourself the gift of self-care enables you to charge forward with purpose and determination.

Tonight I did all of the “selfish” things I wanted to do. I know that sticking with it on January 1 is easier than some other days will be this year, but I feel the need to document how gorgeous it feels to have “indulged” in self-care. Some of it was as sexy as self-care gets. I took a hot bath with a Sunnyside Bubble Bar from Lush while reading about Carrie Fisher’s affair with Harrison Ford in her most recent book, The Princess Diarist. But before that, I had to give my four year old a bath. I let her play with her tub toys while I completed a ten-minute-yoga-routine-for-small-spaces that I found on YouTube. It isn’t easy to practice asanas in a narrow bathroom while keeping a keen eye on your kid to make sure she isn’t drowning during suspiciously quiet moments, but it worked out fine. Both bath times reflected a part of my resolution to take care of myself. I want to do yoga every day. I am capable of much more than a ten minute routine, but I can’t make excuses about time or space if there is such a thing as a ten-minute-yoga-routine-for-small-spaces video on YouTube. Reading and using the products that I buy to take care of my body are also resolutions that I honored this evening. My skin is so soft and I smell like citrus oils and happiness. This will not be the part of my nightly routine, but using my time creatively to fit moments like these in, must be a part of my daily process. When I wake up in the morning, I want to have a plan. When I go to sleep at night, I want to feel content knowing that I learned more about the world and did something to make it better. A bubble bath and some light reading are not going to change the world, but I used the holiday to rest for tomorrow where there is a plan and purpose that I am prepared to take on.

2017 Resolutions

– Read daily. Get off of the dang Internet and read books! Read fun books, classic literature, poetry, history, and more. Never stop learning about different cultures and perspectives. It is so important to have empathy for everyone and an understanding of where people come from.
– Yoga daily. Strength training and cardio need to be a regular part of my life, but yoga is essential every day.
– Preparation. Meal planning, scheduled writing, getting things done in the early morning hours when no one else is awake and requiring my attention.
– Read news in the AM only. Treat news like coffee – none after 3PM or I will be up all night, unproductively worrying about things I can’t control. Trust that friends will let me know if there’s something I must know at later hour. If it isn’t life-threatening, the news will still exist in the morning, perhaps more accurately after facts have been filtered. (We should hope, anyway.)
– Be an activist. I will not tolerate hatred or injustice on any level. I’m not assertive or confrontational, but I will learn how to handle even the most subtle attacks on human rights. It’s going to take a lot of learning and bravery, but the safety and basic welfare of our society is worth the effort.

 

 

Advertisements

Almost 4 and Almost 40

When I was 25, I worked with a woman named Donna. She was in her forties, married without children, loved Gilmore Girls, and liked to tell people how she wore a tiara when she cleaned the house. Donna also told all of the young women that being 40 is the best thing to ever happen to her or any woman. “You stop caring what other people think. You do you. It’s glorious.” Older friends have confirmed this to be true, and have added, “50 is even better.”

Of course, I doubted all of them. I loved the idea of shedding my insecurities and just living without crippling anxiety, but being the young woman that I was, I also thought it wasn’t possible to be truly happy and at peace with myself if I’m … elderly. I’ve always felt older than my biological age, but the thought of looking the part was depressing. I longed to be beautiful and successful and exciting and fun. I focused on everything I thought I wasn’t with little regard for who I could be if I channeled my energy on appreciating my gifts. I have gifts? I have gifts! Also, you don’t realize how young 40 is until it’s staring at you in the face. I know you’re right around the corner, 40, and I’ve got my eye cream on. I’m comfortable, but not in a way that suggests that I’ve given up on my appearance or goals or anything else. I am comfortable knowing that every day, I’m more at peace with who I am and more in touch with what I want from this world.

Every year that passes, I see my peers freak out a little about hurtling towards 40, but this landslide seems to have the opposite effect on me. I am looking forward to turning 40 in a year and a half. I feel like I will have earned my confidence. I will own every feature and flaw. Maybe I won’t care anyone thinks of me. I’m getting there.

I spent so many years trying to fit in until I realized I don’t even like all of these people I’m trying to befriend. I can’t call myself a misanthrope, but people were often disappointing. I held out hope that they’d be better. Without too much cynicism, I’ve learned not to expect much from others. They’re not the ones I need to worry about. As soon as I stopped worrying about the people who aren’t worth my time, they seemed to drop off. My friendscape was suddenly illuminated by all of the absolutely wonderful people that I’m lucky to have in my life.

In my early thirties, the shedding of insecurities was beginning. I was unhappy at my job and a stressful period in my marriage had just ended. My husband started working for a great company, but it left me home alone most of the time. I took advantage of our dual income sans children and started going on trips. I went to so many concerts and so many states. I went to cities and restaurants that my husband would never set foot in so I could have what I wanted without compromise. It was a great taste of freedom to do whatever I wanted. Then I had a kid.

Having a baby is life changing, but no one can understand the degree until they’re in the trenches. With husband working many hours of overtime, I was struggling in those first few weeks. I had postpartum depression, job anxiety, and the standard lack of sleep standing in the way of my sanity. Things got better and better (and sometimes harder, but still better) until motherhood was finally the core of my existence. My daughter will always be the most important person in my life. Since hearing Michelle Obama say this about her own daughters, I’ve been telling my girl that she is “the heart of my heart.” That will never change, but I know that the same way our relationship grew stronger with time, her growing independence will create a wedge between us. As much as motherhood is the central part of my being right now, I know in my heart that I need to continue to grow so that I am not completely lost when my sweet chick is ready to fly. This day is far off but it will come too soon. I will be in my mid-fifties when she is done with high school. Young enough to still enjoy life, but perhaps not young enough to *start* loving myself. I’m so glad that I’m learning now, to love myself. Donna would say, “see? You’re close to forty and you don’t care what other people think.” Maybe that is true, but I think for now I’m finally more concerned with what I think about me. If you think “I love me” sounds arrogant or narcissistic, you’re missing the point. It’s a good thing I don’t care what you think. I love me.


My daughter is close to four years old. She wants to be a “doggy doctor and mommy” when she grows up. She also speaks about her future as if I will still live with her when she is an adult. It’s so beautiful that for now it’s unimaginable that we wouldn’t be together forever. I’m everything to her (for now) as she is to me (forever).

As I watch her grow little by little every day, I worry so much about all of the painful bullshit she has to go through to get to where I am now. The petty drama of elementary school. The downright mean girls of middle school. The pressure of grades and friends and boys in high school. Navigating complicated relationships in adulthood. I worry because I’m her mom, but I know she’s going to make it through.

Sweet daughter of mine,
You are bright, funny, and kind. I tell you about these beautiful qualities whenever I see them on display, but you’re going to go through spells when you doubt yourself. Then you will keep going anyway. Women always do. Women get better. Every woman I know is the best ever version of herself. We are always solving problems, learning, and growing. You, my love, are going to be fine. My gorgeous tiny warrior who will fight for the right to wear a corduroy dress in August, who doesn’t let a day go by without giggling about butts, who sings poetic prattle during playtime, you are going to be just fine. I wish you could understand the comfort of 40 when you are struggling through the agony of 12 (and 15 and 19 and…), but no one can, until they’re there. Until then, enjoy your precious childhood as much as you can. I will do everything in my power to make your childhood beautiful. I will do whatever I can to help you see your bravery, wit, compassion, humor, and beauty. You are a marvel. I know it will take time, but I hope you grow up to love yourself as much as I love you.

Happy (early) birthday, darling girl.

Social Media Break

I need to actually say it outloud to keep myself accountable. By all means, call me out if you see me online this weekend!

I need a break from Twitter because the news is giving me great anxiety. I like being informed but it’s all just too much lately. I can’t do anything to save the world this weekend, so I’m going to try to save my sanity instead.

I need a break from Facebook because I don’t need to know every thought of every person I know. It’s stressful to know what everyone is really thinking. I want to like everyone, but everyone makes it hard as hell.  I’ll be back next week, looking for baby pictures, cat videos, and other pleasant things. I’ll be hiding the shit out of political posts and hateful opinions.

I don’t need a break from Instagram. This is the only one that makes me happy 99% of the time. But if I look at this app, I’ll be tempted to look at the others. This social media addiction is real, dude.

I have work to do online, but I’m not doing it this weekend. I have a house to clean, but it’s all going to wait until tomorrow. I’m logging off, getting cleaned up after a long day of work, giving my kid a bath, and then we are going to get cozy for the night. The whole world might end while we are snuggling in bed with books, but I wouldn’t be able to stop it from happening by refreshing Twitter and worrying anyway. This weekend is about books, connecting with my family, playing outside, swimming, and letting my eyes take in the beauty of the world without an iPhone obstructing the view.

IMG_2344

 

RIP Prince & A Love Letter To My Music People

I was driving when I learned that Prince died. I immediately plugged my phone into the car to play his music, letting those amazing songs transport me back to childhood. I was singing along, sad, but happy to know that these songs will always be a part of me. What a wonderfully weird little dude. He was strange and colorful and undeniably sexual. I didn’t know what I was singing about when I was a little kid in the 80’s, but as I grew older, I learned to appreciate the beauty of unabashed desire. A few weeks ago, I tweeted that I was “singing Little Red Corvette, baby you’re much too fast, while driving the speed limit in my Toyota RAV4. This is it. This pretty much sums me up.” With the exception of a few years after high school, I’ve lived a cautious life, doing things I thought I was supposed to do according to my family and society. The whole time, my jealous eyes have been fixed on those who drive much too fast. Before hearing about Prince’s death today, I was struggling with the same stifling fear that has always stopped me from taking risks. Driving home today, I listened to the music that I played when I was a fearless child full of hope and possibility. I was almost home when Purple Rain began to play, but I had to pull over and cry.

In my most angst-ridden days of high school, I tortured my unlicensed best friend who I drove to school every morning by playing Jeff Buckley’s Grace over and over again. “The moaning! How can you stand it?” she would yell. I just smiled at her because I wasn’t going to stop singing just to ask “How can you not?!” It helped that he was beautiful. I’ve always been a sucker for a pretty frontman or songwriter, but if he was just a pretty face, I wouldn’t have been so invested. “This beautiful, beautiful song was created from his pain!” She agreed that it was painful and made me promise to put fun music on after school. Later, she told me that she isn’t a music person. My mind was completely boggled. How can that be? It turns out, she’s not an anomaly. There are other people who listen to music passively without letting lyrics alter the course of their life, or at least invoke the possibility of doing so. Fortunately, my social circle has been expanded with other music people. These friends know why I have to see my favorite band every time their tour bus rolls into my town. We buy music and merch at shows because we want them to keep touring. Forever. They’re not allowed to die. You hear that, Old 97s? You’re not allowed to die. My music friends understand.

In the last few years, (ugh, yes, years) I’ve been pondering my unfulfilled desires. When brave, creative spirits like Prince and David Bowie depart the earth, I feel especially ashamed for not living life more fully. I am not nearly as talented as these iconic artists, but knowing that they will never create again, sparks an urgency to create without fear, or in spite of it. Music makes me dream. As the musicians of my childhood start to die, I understand that I don’t have forever to turn my dreams into something tangible. I won’t be leaving a catalog of genius recordings behind, but I hope that at least one person, hopefully my daughter, will find beauty in something that once only existed in my mind.

As we process the death of another musical icon, I am profoundly moved by my love for music and my gratitude for music friends. I call myself an agnostic, but there is a divinity that I turn to when I need to celebrate, to cope, to mourn. Music is my God and my faith is abiding.

RIP, Prince Rogers Nelson.

The People I’ve Unfriended On Facebook

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. It’s becoming less loving and more hateful as time goes on, but it has also become a primary point of contact for many people who I want to keep in my life. There are plenty of people who I am “friends” with who I wouldn’t call real life friends, but I keep them around anyway. I enjoy seeing pictures of things that make people happy, like babies and puppies and fun getaways. I don’t mind civil political disagreements, but I tend to hide posts that will make me angry or sad. Some people I hide completely, but I still would smile and say hi to them if I ran into them somewhere. Then there are the people I have unfriended. The list of people who I have unfriended is pretty short, but they all had to go.

1. Family members. Yup. I unfriended close family members. Several years ago, Facebook was kind of fun. I could be irreverent or post about politics without wondering who was taking notes for the next holiday dinner debate. That eventually changed when more family members boarded the FB train. I love my dad dearly, but his political posts made me crazy. His need to comment on everything I posted was sweet when it had to do with family things, but maddening most other times. I know. I’m a monster for unfriending my dad (and other family members). But I promised to email pictures of my daughter and I see him many times each week. We’re better with the in-person relationship that we’ve had since I was born than with the Internetting thing.

mulr7bss5hnfa

2. Mean Girls. I ran into a girl from high school shortly after unfriending her on Facebook. She actually asked me about it, which could have been a little bit awkward, but I just told her that I was downsizing my friends list to include mostly family and very close friends. The real reason? She was the kind of person who would take pictures of strangers and ridicule their appearance. She was a girl who ridiculed *my* appearance in high school. I could see that she hadn’t changed. I just wasn’t interested in her mean-spirited posts. There was another acquaintance that I unfriended who commented often on my posts. I thought we were friends, but I could sense the negativity building for months before she said something intentionally to hurt my feelings. At one point, I respected her opinions because she is a super smart lady, but all respect flew out the window when I realized that she just isn’t a good person. Finally, another mean girl who never posted a thing, but lurked in silent judgement had to go. We met each other a couple of times but every encounter produced stay-away-vibes that I’ve learned to listen to. Yes I could have hid them, but if people feel completely toxic to me, I feel better distancing myself as much as possible.

3bha2cmtt2ei0

3. The celebrity crush. When a musician I love joined Facebook, I did not dare friend request him. Then I noticed him accepting a smattering of my friends on Facebook, so I decided it was harmless and sent the request. He’s awful cute and charming and makes me feel like a million bucks when he talks to me, so it was very exciting. I think he’s pretty great, but I don’t know who he really is and he doesn’t care who I really am, which is completely expected, normal, and fine. I don’t want to be the creep checking out his friend list and family photos. I realized that I had an unhealthy obsession and decided that his personal life was none of my business. I just want to watch him play music while I sing along with friends, not worrying about looking like a dork. Shows are much more enjoyable now that I’m not worried about being interesting or exceedingly unattractive should I garner his attention. This is fortunate since my mind goes blank when he does speak to me, even when I’m not worried about being a weird troll of a human. Since we’ve met enough times, I can’t go back to being an anonymous fan, but I can own that I’m just a fan who really digs him, his band, and their music.

cyudhvmiogetu

There you have it. If you are my Facebook friend and want to stay that way, don’t be an overly political family member, a bitch, or someone I might have a stupid crush on.

2015 | Mom Stuff

Since 2016 is starting with fevers, sore throats, and the family’s collective need for a good long nap, this portion of my year in review is just going to be a quick free write. Brevity is never a promise.

It’s so awesome to be little M’s mom and it’s an exciting time in her life. In 2015, she shined in gymnastics class, went to her first “real” concert, went to her first MLB game, had her first ever first day of school, enjoyed an end of summer birthday pool party, and was a darling little flower girl in her second cousin’s wedding.

IMG_4441

This little girl is something else. I don’t like to use this space to share too much of her life, but she brings such light and joy to my world every day. She is funny and kind. She loves music, books, princesses, and Star Wars, even though she just saw parts of A New Hope last night. During that viewing, she was barely paying attention. Instead, she pretended to be Princess Leia and she needed to “save” Luke and “Prince Solo.” After watching Leia record her message to Obi Wan, she told me I was R2D2 and she needed to put a DDD (DVD) in my robot body. Finally, she became bored and created a song and dance called, “Wookie Butt.”

Three year olds are funny but they are also nice to have around for over-the-top compliments. Sometimes they are nice and make sense. “Oh Mommy, your necklace is very beautiful and sparkly!” Other times, I take notes of her sincerity and imagine a dash of irony and sarcasm as she repeats the same things in about 10 years. “Those sweatpants look fancy, mom!” It’s so sweet that she means that now.

Whenever I am having a hard time as a parent, I try to take a step back and imagine how hard it must be to be three. It has to be hard to have this intense need to play squashed by rules and rulers. She needs to explore and let her imagination run wild, but sometimes, we have appointments that we need to be on time for. Sometimes, she needs to not get her outfit dirty until we get through the afternoon, so no, she is not allowed to paint in her flower girl dress “like Rapunzel.”

IMG_4644

One brilliant thing about being a mom is learning what I already know. I teach her how to take care of herself, but do I do those things? I always tell her to take a deep breath when calming her down from a meltdown.  Do I take a deep breath and tell myself that things are going to be okay?  I need to start listening to my inner mom voice instead of my inner mean girl voice.

I am glad that I had her when I did because I am old enough to have friends with kids who are in high school. Kids who I remember being squishy little babies are getting ready to fly away and lead their own lives. I feel much more patient knowing that the next fifteen or so years are going to pass before I can ever iron out all of my worries and insecurities as a parent. So, cliches be damned, I need to embrace the moment, even if we seriously need to GO. NOW.

IMG_3971

My only parenting “resolutions” are to continue to love her, to educate myself about the choices that I make for her, and to be kinder to myself when I don’t know the answers. I want her to grow up to be kind, ambitious, and confident. I want her to know what she wants and to go after it. I know that she is going to have to learn some of these things on her own, but I want her to always feel my love and support guiding her along the way.

2015 | The Year In Music

It’s December 31, 2015. The house is quiet and clean. My plans for tonight include watching a movie with my little family of three and going to bed at our regular time. We’re all fighting a bug if we need an excuse, but the truth is we’re just not into New Year’s Eve anyway. After four Christmas gatherings, I am partied out.

Rather than create a list of resolutions, I’m just going to reflect upon 2015 and appreciate the joys and lessons of the year. In this first post, I remember the music.

It’s tough for me to get out at night, but I aim to go to at least one show/month. This year, I made it to twelve. Goal achieved.

The only music that I saw in the early winter months of 2015 were a couple of Juice Box Jams meetups. This is a cute, local event for kids in Annapolis that features about three children’s groups/singers. The kids can play with blocks and legos or have their face painted if they’re not moved to dance. My kid is usually singing and dancing, just like her mama.

IMG_2776

In May, I was thrilled to take my two and a half year old daughter to her very first concert. My friends Sheila and Leanah joined us to see Ingrid Michaelson at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia. We purchased seats but planned to sit on the lawn, just in case my little one needed to get up and move around a lot. We decided to see how she would do in the seats when we realized it was pretty damp and cold outside of the pavillion area. This sweet, musical child of mine was mesmerized by both the opening band and Ingrid. When she recognized a song from a movie that she loves, she gasped and looked to me with the happiest eyes I’d ever seen. This night was magical for both of us.

Shows usually pick up in the summertime and this year, I was happy to kick off my summer of music with my imaginary friend Susan. She exists but the nickname is a story for another time. Susan flew in from Colorado and we drove to lovely Charlottesville, Virginia to see Ryan Adams and Jenny Lewis. It was worth the drive to see Jenny for the first time and Ryan for the third. Before the show, we had some cocktails on a rooftop and I felt like that person I used to be who did this sort of thing all of the time. Susan and I had a blast listening to the music, buying stupid tee shirts, and afterwards, singing our own songs with an audience of UVA college kids. Yay, cocktails.

IMG_0159

A few weeks later, friends Melissa and Michelle joined me at the Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis to see Rhett Miller. Why does this guy have to be so charming and ridiculously good looking? I should stop getting in the meet and greet line and embarrassing myself with inappropriate ramblings, but not until we take a photo where I don’t look like a total dork. *So, sorry about the rest of our lives in the awkward grin and bear it line, Rhett.* He was performing the usual great variety of his solo/band catalog, but it was really nice to hear songs from his most recent release, The Traveler. It ranks high on my list of favorite Rhett Miller solo albums, but I’ll never be able to choose my top three.

FullSizeRender

I don’t want to name the next artist that I saw because he was really awful. He’s usually really fun with an irreverent sense of humor and a seriously seductive smolder. On this night, he seemed to be in a pretty bad place. The audience was uncomfortable. I hope it was just an off night and that he’s doing okay. While the show left me feeling a little sad for the performer, it was still a nice time to get out with some girlfriends.

Next up, another show at Wolf Trap in Virginia to see Brandi Carlile. First Aid Kit opened, so that was really great even if the audience was chatty. (Rude. And they had no idea what they were missing.) Brandi’s last album was a celebration of love and rock and roll. I just love The Firewatcher’s Daughter. I first saw Brandi Carlile at Rams Head Live in Baltimore when she was touring to promote her debut album. I don’t know her, but I was so happy to see how her audience had grown into a pavillion filled with fans singing her songs back to her. That same week, The Supreme Court legalized gay marriage and I couldn’t help but cheer for her and every other person who finally felt their love validated by the nation.

On July 4th, I sent my little one off to a BBQ with her aunt and uncle while my husband, brother, and I went to the Foo Fighters Festival at RFK stadium. The stadium is in shambles, but the show was fantastic. Gary Clark Jr., Joan Jett, Heart, and a bunch of other bands played seriously fun rock and roll but obviously, Foo was the highlight of the night. Everyone knows by now how Dave Grohl emerged on his throne of guitars, seated to rock after breaking his leg at a previous show. I’m used to seeing shows at smaller venues where I can have a guitar inches from my face for $20, but Foo Fighters know how to engage thousands in a stadium as if they were in the front row, even when their frontman is incapacitated.

IMG_1770

My kid was treated to her second show of the year/her life when Scars on 45 played a free show for WTMD radio. She sat on my shoulders so that at least one of us could see, and danced to the music with her cute little sound-reducing headphones. My friend Sheila drove up to see the show with us, so as far as my little girl knows, concerts mean Sheila time. They closed the show with a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way which sent me into a month-long love affair with 70s music that I hadn’t listened to for far too long.

The next show was Delta Spirit at 6th & I. I attended a book reading at this historic synagogue, but this was my first rock show in this beautiful space. I’m pretty sure we had a blast, but what I remember the most about this night was heading to a hotel where some young Democrat club was having a GOP debate/final Daily Show with Jon Stewart viewing. I sniffled a little and shed a few tears in a bar while watching Jon Stewart bid his adoring viewers farewell after 16 years.

A few weeks later, I returned to DC with Melissa to see The Fratellis at 9:30 Club. Melissa said about Jon Fratelli,  “I love the way he plays guitar.” I replied, “I love the way he moves.” We were standing relatively still on the floor with jumping beans that resembled people, but this band had a way of moving everyone in the room. Yowza. I have been listening to all of their music, but particularly their latest album, Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied, incessantly since the show. If the little one is in the car, I just cough strategically or turn down the volume when there’s a phrase that I don’t want her repeating at preschool. If I remember, anyway. Her favorite song is “Baby Don’t You Lie To Me” and my heart soars when I hear her singing along.

In October, my friends Marie and Cindy drove into town from Pennsylvania to see me, Sheila, and Melissa – oh! And our favorites, the Old 97s. We never miss a 97s show because they never disappoint. As usual, a great time was had by all, thanks to the ever-rocking band and the heavy handed bartender. The quote of the night comes from Marie who said while poking my cheeks, “I can’t feel my faaaaaaaace!”

IMG_4545

Ken is walking away. Rhett is triumphant. Philip is a hologram.

On a bummer of a day during the summer of 2015, an old Nada Surf song started to play and it put a smile on my sad face. Their whole catalog has been back in heavy rotation ever since. When I couldn’t sleep at night, their album Let Go kept me company. I was really looking forward to their show. When the date finally arrived in November, Melissa and I journeyed to the U Street Music Hall. We were both tired and sad and stressed that day. There was unbelievable traffic and confusion on the way and we walked right by the venue while trying to find it. In between the opening band and Nada Surf’s set, our troubles were put into perspective with the horrifying news of the terrorist attacks in Paris. When the band came out, we put our phones away. All of the sadness melted away, at least for an hour and a half or so, as we fell into their glorious rock and soul-soothing pop songs. This band really has a way of making everything better. I’m so glad there’s more to come in 2016.

The final show for 2015 was a gathering to see Carbon Leaf‘s annual Christmas show in Annapolis. It has become a tradition to see this show each year with Robin, Sheila, and Melissa. I realize that I would go to many shows alone if I didn’t have the latter two in my life. As usual, we had a fantastic time. Before the show, we always meet at our favorite wine bar to enjoy excellent reds, delicious food, and the best company.

Each of us have our favorite bands, but we all know that the music is secondary to the extraordinary gift of having girlfriends to share it with.

IMG_3426

Here’s to more musical adventures in 2016.