Accidental Fudge

Updates Thursdays

Tag: music (page 1 of 4)

Birthday Reflections

As I mentioned in last week’s post, my birthday was on Saturday, and as a present to myself, I took a five-day weekend. I feel like I managed a pretty good balance between packing in the things I wanted to do and taking time to take it easy. Here are some thoughts and highlights from my birthday week:

  1. I got a ton of things done around the house. Not quite as many things as I was initially planning on, but I still made some significant progress. I’m pleased with and proud of the work I did.
  2. Friday was the day of celebrating with friends. I got breakfast with a friend from work who had also taken the day off. In the evening, I met up with some friends for drinks, and then some more folks joined us for pizza and sangria. It was fantastic, and I felt (still feel) very loved.
  3. Saturday was the day of celebrating with my partner. It didn’t go quite according to plan (the weather was threatening thunderstorms that never came but that made us want to stay closer to home), but it was a really lovely day.
  4. Sunday, I went to see Wonder Woman. I have so many feelings about Wonder Woman, but a lot of them are summed up in this lovely tweet that’s been floating around the interwebs:

    18881965_10101501193224038_4932193380804183827_n

    “I’ve lived to see my childhood princesses become generals.”

  5. Monday night, I had the privilege of playing an Acoustic Explosion show at Sylvie’s here in Chicago, along with three of my songwriting classmates and a couple of other cool acts. Four of the seven performers had June birthdays, which added to the fun. I went last (at 10:30 pm – way past my bedtime), which meant I was two drinks into the evening before I got up on stage; apparently, that is the magic number for me to relax enough to perform my songs at a reasonable pace. I actually had to cut a song out of my set because I hadn’t blasted through all of the things I’d prepared! Below are the two new songs I played in my set; the rest of the set was older material that’s already elsewhere on my SoundCloud page.

Where Did the Week Go?

It’s been a busy week. Possibly not much busier than weeks usually are, but the fact that it’s been in the upper 80s and humid in Chicago the past couple of days has made everything feels pretty overwhelming. In any case, here are a few of the highlights from the past week, complete with photos:

  • I got a tattoo on Saturday! An apprentice tattooer I’ve been following on Instagram had posted some flash that I thought looked great, and now I have a happy little plant on my ankle:

    Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 7.28.23 PM

    It’s my first color tattoo, and the first one somewhere other than my forearms. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out, and it’s healing nicely.

  • We got to see one of our favorite folk duos twice last week! Wednesday night, we went to a songwriting workshop put on by Mouths of Babes titled The Political is Personal. It was inspiring and got me halfway to finishing my assignment for my regular songwriting class. Then on Sunday, we got to see them play at SPACE in Evanston. It was (predictably) a fabulous show.

    Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 7.33.35 PM

  • I finished another nearly-two-year-old knitting project, though this one was much smaller than a sweater. A couple of summers ago, I bought a tiny owl kit from MochiMochiLand at our local yarn store. I knit the body of one owl at knit night the evening I bought it, and hadn’t picked it back up since. Over the weekend, I dug it out. I finished the first owl, and then started on another one:

    Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 7.37.05 PM

    I finished the second owl last night, and found a spot for them with my favorite old wooden owl (that used to belong to my grandparents) on the shelf we refer to as our owlery:

    Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 7.39.19 PM

    They were a lot of fun to knit, and I’m glad to finally have them done!

I’m Back!

As some of you noticed, there was no blog post last week. My apologies for that! Last Tuesday night the blog went down for some reason, and in trying to fix it Wednesday, I inadvertently deleted the whole thing. Thankfully, the folks at my web host were able to restore from an earlier backup. Lesson learned not to try to fix this sort of thing by myself!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. Some highlights:

  1. My octave mandolin arrived. She needed new strings, but since fixing that I’ve been having a blast with her. She still needs a name. 
  2. A new person started on my team at work, to take over the bulk of my customer service responsibilities so that I can focus on my new job. She’s very eager and determined to learn, which is great. 
  3. We rearranged our apartment over the weekend, then went on a trip to IKEA on Monday to pick up new shelving. Wednesday we put everything together, and it looks so nice in our apartment now!

Happy Moments in Mania

My apologies for the slightly late post today, friends. I have been feeling under the weather, and forgot until late last night that today was Thursday and that I should have written and scheduled a blog post earlier in the day.

Despite the fact that I have a cold and am allergic to everything outside, and despite the fact that this, combined with the stress of the new job, has been making me feel very tired a lot of time, I seem to be on a bit of a manic upswing. In recent history, mania has often been marked by uncontrolled anxiety and has not been very fun, but this time around there have been some happy things happening. Here are a few of them:

  • I ordered a new octave mandolin. A few years ago, the octave mandolin that I had met a very sad end (my failure to properly humidify it combined with a too-long stint outside waiting for a bus doing a polar vortex = some major cracks in the top). I’ve missed having one around ever since, but a new one has been quite a ways out of my price range. I found one on eBay this last week by an American builder who’s known for his eccentric designs that are a bit rough around the edges but that sound very nice. So that should be coming sometime next week; I’m very excited!
  • I have a new musical guilty pleasure: the punk-pop band PWR BTTM. (Yes, that is pronounced the way you think it is. Yes, they are super gay and gender transgressive, and it’s wonderful.)
  • Last night, I joined my partner and one of our good friends at the recording of Greg Proops’s podcast, The Smartest Man in the World (AKA Proopcast). My partner and the friend we went with listen to the podcast regularly. I sometimes listen, but rarely to an entire episode (they’re long…funny, but long), and I wasn’t sure how I was going to do sitting through the recording of a whole show. I enjoy his humor and his social commentary, but I definitely tend to zone out after a while when listening to the podcast. The live show was super fun, though, and I stayed engaged the whole time. If you ever get an opportunity to go to one of Greg Proops’s shows, I’d recommend it.

Performance Anxiety

Monday night, I had a gig.

It was not my first gig. It wasn’t even my first gig at this particular venue. But I was really, really nervous.

Now, I have stage fright. It’s a thing, but I expect it, and I know it’ll usually be gone by about ten minutes after I get off the stage. Usually it doesn’t hit me all that hard or for all that long.

But Monday night was different. Maybe it was because I’ve been so damn anxious about everything else lately. Maybe it was because I was playing a set comprised entirely of brand new songs. I don’t know. But I was barely able to eat dinner, and I felt sick to my stomach, and I really had no idea how I was going to make it through all seven songs in my set.

Still, I got up on stage, and I did it. I got through everything. I rushed through almost all of it, but since no one else in the room had ever heard the songs before, no one was really the wiser. The last song in the set, I had to start over after a few measures when I realized I had started singing it up to high, but by that point I was determined to just get it done, so I didn’t let it bother me too much.

I stayed nervous through at least half of the next musician’s 25 minute set. I’m not sure if the anxiety faded on its own, or if it was aided by the Jack and Coke I was drinking, but thankfully, I was able to enjoy the rest of the evening’s performances.

People occasionally tell me they could never get up on stage and perform something they’d written. Now, I’m not a seasoned performer by any means, but I’ve played a fair number of class showcases and a handful of small gigs, which is apparently enough to impress people. The truth is, though, every time I’m going to get on stage, I wonder what the fuck I think I’m doing. I don’t do it because I really enjoy it. I write because I enjoy it, and I enjoy whatever positive feedback I might get after a set, but the actual process of performing is not a thing I find particularly fun. I do it because it makes me uncomfortable. I do it because writing songs just for myself sometimes feels unsatisfying, and while I’m terrified to put my soul out on display by performing what I’ve written, I like knowing I’m not creating in a vacuum.

So if you’re a creative person who’s been wondering if they should share their creativity with the world: the decision is ultimately up to you, but I recommend trying it at least once. It might not be a thing you enjoy doing, but you might find that you and I have something in common, that doing a thing that scares you precisely because it scares you can teach you a lot about yourself and the people you surround yourself with.

But enough of me rambling. How about some weird music? For the curious, if you follow the links to the SoundCloud pages for each song, I’ve posted the lyrics in the descriptions. Here’s the playlist of the whole set, which for whatever reason SoundCloud has ordered backwards:

Exhausted

I’m tired this week. I don’t know if it’s the weather, or the shorter days, or regular old Bipolar bullshit, but I feel like I’m spending most of my time completely exhausted.

In light of that, this is going to be a short blog, but I’m going to try to make it a relatively happy one, because I’m sure we could all use a little light this week. So here’s a list of three reasons I’m smiling today:

  1. My partner and I were able to get our passport applications in earlier this week. It took us a couple of tries to find a location where we could do it, but once we got to the right place, the woman who helped us was wonderful. It ended up being a lot less of a chore than we expected.
  2. The new Mouths of Babes album. Because I backed the Kickstarter, I got to download the album early (the official release date isn’t until next month). It’s SO GOOD. I’m listening to it as I write this. I expected nothing less than excellent from them, of course  and they delivered!
  3. The Slow Holler Tarot. It’s been a great week for Kickstarter rewards arriving! I backed this Kickstarter last year, and as of last night, the deck is finally in my hands. It’s everything I was hoping for and then some.

    Slow Holler Tarot

    I got the Kickstarter-only option of a canvas case, and wow! It’s beautiful.

Dealing with Disappointment

In last week’s blog, I mentioned that I was preparing to play my longest-yet set on Sunday. I spend a fair bit of time practicing, there were a handful of people who were planning to come see me…and then, as I was on my way to the venue, I got a Facebook message informing me that the bar had double-booked, and my set had been cancelled.

As you might imagine, I was disappointed. My immediate reaction was to turn around and run home, where I would have spent the evening sulking. Thankfully, my partner had a rather clearer head in the moment than I did, and suggested we try to meet up for drinks with one of the friends who had been planning to come to the show.

Our friend was up for drinks, and while I was still super disappointed, I actually ended up having a really lovely evening. I was able to get past being angry pretty quickly. It made me particularly thankful for friends who are super supportive and who were angry on my behalf.

I ended up spending Tuesday evening recording most of the songs that would have been in my set. Most of them had been posted somewhere on my SoundCloud page in the past, but I had a few new ones to post by the end my little recording session, and because I don’t have much else to write about this week, I’m going to post them here, too.

This first song is one that I wrote back in the songwriting class I took in January/February. We were given the assignment of being “dream collectors.” I posted on Facebook asking my friends to tell me their most interesting dreams. I got a bunch of fantastic responses, and it was hard to choose just a few for the song, and harder still to distill them down to a verse each, but I’m really pleased with the result.

This song is one that I wrote in my most recent songwriting class. The assignment was to write a “nice” breakup song: the sort where you wish the other person well. I think this song might make me seem more evolved and less grudge-holding than I sometimes am, but oh, well.

And finally, here’s another one I wrote in the most recent songwriting session. This is one of the weirder songs I’ve ever written, musically. It started as a word list, and turned into something that’s one part theology, one part blasphemy, and one part social commentary.

Momentum

Despite the fact that the entire rest of my work team was on vacation last week, making for a rather sleepy week at the office, it feels like my life is really picking up speed.

I’m less than 50 days out from chest masculinization surgery. There are a handful of details to finish nailing down between now and then, but for the most part, it looks like it really is going to happen. It’s starting to feel real. It still feels like it’s a long way off, but then I start looking at the actual numbers, and really…it’s coming up faster than I think I’m allowing myself to process.

I’m playing two different shows in the next couple of weeks. Sunday night I’ll be playing my longest on-stage set ever (a whopping 45 minutes). I was asked to do the show with one week’s notice, and in a moment of madness, I agreed. I’ll manage to get everything polished enough to play by then, but it’s definitely nerve-wracking. It might be my last big show of the year, depending on how recovery goes after surgery, so there’s also some self-inflicted pressure there, to go out with a bang.

In a few weeks, I’ll be participating in a show comprised entirely of covers of songs written by one of my dear songwriting friends. So that’s two additional songs I need to get cemented in my head within the next few weeks. I’m excited and honored to have been asked to participate, and I think it’ll be a really fun night. I never really do covers, because I generally feel like I can’t do another musician’s work justice. So it’s an exciting challenge.

I’m trying to cherish all the time I’m spending playing my guitar right now, since it’s going to be a major challenge (and for a while, an impossibility) post-op.

I’ve been a little down the past few days, for no real reason I can figure aside from the cyclical nature of my brain. But I’m aware that things are falling into place, and that’s a comforting thing to realize.

Happiness Is…

After being completely miserable with a cold last week, this week is shaping up to be truly fantastic. I am genuinely happy, and here a handful of reasons specific to this week:

  1. I’m mostly over my cold. I’m still a little sniffly and coughing a bit, but compared to last week, I feel great. I’m ready for it to be gone altogether, but I’m not forgetting to be grateful for simple things, like being able to breathe through my nose 90% of the time.
  2. Work is dull, but the rest of my week is not. I’m the only person from my team at work who isn’t on vacation this week. There are things I could be working on (and I am working on some of them), but mostly it’s just boring. Which is fine (it’s less stressful than the norm, for sure). The rest of my week, though, is full of friends and music and knitting and it’s just plain wonderful.
  3. I’m feeling inspired. This is largely due to the fact that my week has been full of people and events that inspire creativity. Last week I was invited to join a new D&D-type game that’s just getting off the ground, and I spent a substantial chunk of the beginning of the week digging into the character I came up with, writing up a back story. I haven’t written prose outside of the blog in a while, and it’s been ages since I’ve done much fiction writing, so that was a lot of fun! This week has been a lot of music (thanks, Joe!) and hanging out with other people who like to create, which generally does a good job of feeding my own creative impulses.
  4. I’m feeling connected. I am, at the core, an introvert. But my relationships with other people are incredibly important to me, and I feel like I’ve been able to foster new connections and strengthen old ones this week, and it’s helping me get out of my head.
  5. I’m feeling extraordinarily lucky. Things are, for the most part, going really well right now. And a lot of places this week has taken me have made me feel like I really do lead a very charmed life. Gratitude is not hard to find in weeks like this one.

Short and Sweet

I realize I’m a little late posting this today. Sorry about that! The cold I thought I’d managed to kick last week came back with a vengeance, and I have spent the past few days feeling pretty miserable. I still sound horrible today, but at least I’m back at  work and feeling a little more human.

That said, I don’t actually have a whole lot to write about. So here’s a quick list of things I’m looking forward to in the near future:

  1. Top surgery is now officially less than two months away. I’m in the process of pulling together the documentation I need to bring to my next visit with the surgeon. I’m looking forward to getting it all over with, and I am looking forward to having three whole weeks off from work.
  2. One of our favorite folk musicians is playing a couple of places in town in the next couple of weeks. It’s always a pleasure to hear him play, and it looks like we’ll be able to catch a couple of his shows.
  3. More than anything, at the moment I am looking forward to a weekend spend hanging out with my partner (whose birthday is tomorrow!) as we both work on recovering from our respective colds.
Older posts

© 2017 Accidental Fudge

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑