A Change Needs to Come

Earlier this week, at a public middle school in Louisville,KY, an 8th grader was arrested for having two loaded guns in his backpack. After his arrest, a friend of his explained that this young man didn’t bring the guns to school to hurt anyone, but that he brought them for self-protection on his walk home from school.

I haven’t been able to get this situation off my mind. It’s a shining example of how broken the system is. My heart breaks for this young man, who must feel like he is risking his life to get to school everyday…so much so that he brings weapons with him. He knows it is breaking the rules (how could he not?), but when you are talking about staying alive then most rules go out the window. And now, he is forced to finish his education at an alternative school where it will be an uphill battle to pull himself out of the stigma associated with it. The cycle of struggle will probably continue. All because he was trying to keep himself from getting hurt or killed while he was doing the right thing by getting an education.

I am in no way saying that it is okay to bring weapons to school. Thank goodness no one was accidentally or intentionally injured. Guns scare me especially when they get in the hands of people who don’t know how to use them or people who aren’t thinking rationally (either from drugs/alcohol or due to mental health/emotional issues). This child needs to face the consequences of his actions. And I am grateful that an alert security guard figured out something was wrong and acted quickly. But why, WHY, WHY did it get this far?! Why couldn’t he talk to a trusted teacher about his situation? Why couldn’t he go to a counselor and ask for help in finding a better solution to the problem? Why didn’t his friends feel like they should step in and alert someone? Why weren’t his parents more involved?

I am not bashing his parents…..I have no idea what their situation is. Maybe they work multiple jobs and physically aren’t around as much? Maybe they are consumed with their own problems? Maybe they are ideal parents and their son didn’t want to burden them with his troubles? Who knows? I am also not trying to be critical of his teachers. I cannot imagine what they have to deal with the in the classroom on a daily basis. All I know is that this young man was failed, collectively, by his parents, teachers, friends, the system, and by our community.

We have to do better. This is our future. This is our present. It would be so easy to say, this isn’t a concern of my family and that my kids aren’t in the public school system for this exact reason. But that doesn’t help our community, our city, or our fellow citizens. We all have to be invested and involved in creating a solution. I wish I could put out there 10 things that we each could do to change what is going on. But I don’t know what those things are. It’s frustrating and upsetting.

Also this week, I have been stewing over the situation with Colin Kaepernick. When I first heard that he sat down while they played the National Anthem before his game with the San Francisco 49ers, I was put off. Thought he was a punk. Then I started reading more. And I heard opinions from black friends. And I changed my mind. Colin Kaepernick is frustrated and upset every time he hears another story about the system failing another person. He, like me, probably didn’t know what to do to help change the situation. He, unlike me, knew that he could pull national attention to the issue by doing something drastic that would cause no one physical harm. Good for him. He isn’t the first professional athlete to use his celebrity status to take a stand. Famed son of the city of Louisville, Muhammad Ali, may be the most famous.

So how are these issues connected? I don’t know the race of the boy who brought the weapons to school, so I am hesitant to make this a race issue. I think these things are related because for anything to change and to improve, people who have power and means need to step up and do something. Colin Kaepernick doesn’t live in poverty. Neither do I. Really, we could both go on with our lives and pretend the issues that are dominating media don’t affect us. But they do affect us as a whole; as a culture; as a community; as a country.

My hope from the beginning is that Kaepernick didn’t stop with this gesture. My hope was that he could pull together other professional athletes who have the same concerns and they could create a plan to make a change. That they pool their financial resources and use their notoriety to create something good. I was happy to hear that Kaepernick has said that he will donate the first million dollars he makes this season to community organizations who are working for a change. I feel like I am trying to do my small part of helping the situation by raising children who are not so privileged that they can’t see the harm in what is going on. But, I know I should be doing more. And I want to do more. I’m just not sure what that more is and I know it isn’t going to fall into my lap. Looks like I’ve just given myself some homework. And I’m okay with that.

I know I usually tie music into my posts and there is only one song that comes to mind : A Change is Gonna Come. It was originally written and recorded by Sam Cooke in 1964 as a response to the civil rights movement. It became the anthem of the movement. The alternate version by Ben Sollee is on my regular listening rotation and it serves a reminder that it doesn’t matter if you are a southern man who was targeted because of your skin color or if you are a boy from Lexington, KY who grew up with privileges, you can still sing this song with meaning and soul while inspiring all people to work for a change. We are all in this together. Ben’s lyrics that really jump out to me are:

I just need some comfort
Some kind of belief
That this war we’re fighting
Can really bring some peace

An Open Letter To My Morning Jacket

JimOBHColor

Jim James at One Big Holiday. Photo by Kory Johnson

The Polar Vortex has hit Louisville hard, but I feel like it involves more than just the weather. I feel like I’ve been sucked into an alternate world with all these snow days and delayed openings. I love my kids, but I need them to be in school so that I can get stuff done!

However, for the first time since I became a Mom (11.5 years ago!), hubby and I got away from it all for  5 nights/6 days. It was incredible for so many reasons! I am pretty sure we wouldn’t have gone without the extra incentive from Louisville-based band, My Morning Jacket. They put together a music vacation named after one of their songs, One Big Holiday. They brought along their friends, The Flaming Lips, Mariachi El Bronx, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Rob Garza (of Thievery Corporation) and surprise guest, Bob Weir (of The Grateful Dead) to the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in Mexico from Jan 26-30.

It goes without saying that it was an unforgettable time! And I felt compelled to let MMJ know how much I appreciated it. You can read my Open Letter To My Morning Jacket on the LEO Weekly right now! I just hope that MMJ hears this so they are encouraged to do it again next year…and if they do, I advise that you get yourself there!!

photo by Kory Johnson

Pulling an all-nighter in my mid-30s. Hell yeah!

You know how I said that I had hundreds of posts and topics that had gone through my head, yet never made it to the computer? Well, the subject of this post was one that came to my attention this summer, at Forecastle Fest. I knew they had something special, even though our listening circumstances were somewhat questionable. And I wanted to tell you all, but I didn’t. But, I am now. And you can make that short 77 mile drive to Lexington to see them Saturday night at Buster’s. They are opening for a band on the move from Louisville, Houndmouth (a little more on them in a bit).

Okay…droll roll please…it’s The Wheeler Brothers. Hubby and I accidentally discovered them while in a lapse from reality. Okay, it may have been MY lapse and hubby was kind enough to go along for the ride. See, for the second year in a row, we have had to fit Forecastle in between one of our son’s baseball tournaments. It makes for an ‘interesting’ weekend of dashing here and there. And by interesting, I mean that the reality of our lives smacks us in our faces and we realize that we must miss some not-to-be-missed bands to support our son and his team. And we would not have it any other way (luckily, there was no conflict between The Avett Brothers set and baseball!). One of these bands, was Houndmouth, but I had a solution to that problem.

side note: Pleasetellmeyou’velistenedtoHoundmouth. They are from the Louisville area. Okay, they are actually from just across the river in New Albany, IN, but they hang out in Louisville all the time, so we get to claim them as our own. And they have pretty much exploded – with good reason! I could write a whole post on them, but I am banking on the fact that you’ve at least heard them on WFPK. And I should also plug their after Thanksgiving shows at Headliners – Friday Nov 29th and Sat Nov 30th. I believe that Saturday show is already sold out, so don’t wait to get your Friday tickets! Here is a little taste (they ROCK OUT live!):

Back to The Wheeler Bros….so, Houndmouth was playing this awesome late night show on The Belle of Louisville, as part of the Forecastle festivities. I knew we wouldn’t be playing baseball after midnight (when the Belle started), so I, very smartly, got us tickets. Woohoo…it’s a win-win solution! Y’all can laugh at me now. You can probably see where this is going. Ah, hindsight. Anyway, we made it to the Belle, after midnight, to hear the first of two opening bands. I started getting a little worried as the night just kept getting longer. Not to mention the fact that the Belle gets a little claustrophobic when it is filled with very young people who had been enjoying themselves all day. We should have probably cut our loses right then and there. But, we were already in….what was a few more hours?! So, we stuck it out. Opener one, done. Opener two….who are these guys? They were actually good enough to pull my mind away from the crazy reality of the situation and focus on the music. They were incredible. And just like that, The Wheeler Brothers, became a family favorite and a regular in our musical rotation. They put everything they had into their set. And I love bands like that, if you haven’t noticed. They may have a sound that is more common these days, but I gotta tell ya, they have something more.  Give their newest album, Gold Boots Glitter, a listen and you will know what I mean. They get you dancing and pushing repeat. There are so many songs that I want to feature…it is a hard, hard choice, but I gotta go with the one that really spoke to me that late night on the Belle.

Let me finish that Belle story….we persevered and walked into our house around 4am (thank goodness for kick ass babysitters!!!). But the rest of the story is that we had to be up by 6am for round 3 of baseball. Being who I am, I couldn’t actually fall asleep, for fear that we would miss the alarm. So, an all-nighter it was. It has been quite a few years since that had happened, and even then, it was probably for a teething baby. But, I’ll admit that I felt like I had cheated life. You know the saying, “there aren’t enough hours in the day”, well, I figured it out! You just can’t sleep. Then, you can do it all. Not sure if that is a good long term solution, but it worked that weekend. And so, when I heard The Wheeler Brothers sing, Sleep When I’m Dead... yeah, it kinda fit!! But my other favs are My Time and Straight and Steady.

You have to listen to this one, too. I can also relate to the early line that says “I was feeling slow from the night before, but I stood straight and steady…”

I am not that eloquent about telling you the ins and outs of why I like a band….it’s more of a feeling. And the feeling I get from The Wheeler Brothers is an energetic happiness. And that is why you should check them out. If you are headed to Lexington this weekend, let me know!! Can’t wait. But looking forward to hearing them play before 2am.

Halloween IS October 31st! (And Dr. Dog ticket giveaway!!)

Halloween is a ‘holiday’ that is always celebrated on Oct.31st – no matter if it falls on a Tuesday or if it is snowing! Traditionally, it is a celebration on the night before All Saints Day (Nov.1). This year, in Louisville, we have an interesting situation – bad weather (or more accurately, bad weather is being predicted). The weather forecasters have been telling us for a few days that we should expect rain, wind, hail, and a slight tornado risk. Sounds like JUST the type of weather I want to take my kids out in. Riiiight!

Some of the smaller, incorporated cities in the area have ‘moved’ trick or treating to Friday or Saturday night. The Mayor’s office said that government isn’t in the trick or treating business, so they weren’t making a recommendation on when people should trick or treat. So….there has been a grassroots effort to get the word out about pushing the date back one day – to Friday. I can totally appreciate the thought, idea, and effort people have put into changing it. I don’t want my kids to be in danger. I don’t want to be the bad guy and tell them that they can’t go. I don’t want to disappoint them.

But, you know what? Part of my job as a parent is to prepare my kids to be successful adults. And part of that is learning that life can’t always be perfect and sometimes you have to go with the flow. I haven’t cancelled Halloween for them – I’ve offered an alternative (to have some neighbors over, on Halloween, for chili and indoor trick or treating). The idea of Halloween is dressing up and having fun with friends. Oh, yeah….and getting gobs of candy. They will have all of that, just in a different form. And in the future, I hope the weather is perfect and they look back on this year and think of how much fun it was. Or at least have an appreciation for good Halloween weather!

I also hope they acquire skills that help them problem solve, as well as the ability to be flexible in certain situations. I think our society has set up our kids for failure in adult life by making everything perfect for them. Hello – give every kid a trophy for every sport they play, starting at age 3!! Life isn’t perfect. If this is their expectation, then they are in for a rude awakening! It is much more beneficial to help your kids navigate through life’s ups and downs with the proper tools and expectations than it is to (try to) make them happy all of the time. Give your children something they will really thank you for when they are adults.

The point of this post is not to judge other parents and their decision for their family!! The real point was to work out, for myself, why I was so against moving Halloween. And I am sharing my thought process because I am guessing that I am not alone (okay, so I am hoping that I am not alone!).

Now for the Dr. Dog ticket giveaway! My loss is your gain! I can’t use my tickets for their SOLD OUT show on Saturday night at Headliners in Louisville. So…like my Facebook page, Last Bit Of Sanity, and post what your favorite Halloween costume was as a kid. Or if you like to tweet, then you can tweet it. And if you want to double your chances, share a link to this post (tag Last Bit Of Sanity) on Facebook or Twitter. I will randomly select a winner. I will leave you with a Halloween themed Dr. Dog song, Vampire. Funny how these things come together sometimes. Ha!

Beady: Young Louisville talent with a big weekend ahead!

Shazam, Shazam….why must you fail to tell me who is responsible for the catchy tune on the radio?!  Lucky for me,  it’s because the band is a new, up and coming Louisville band – Beady.

Summer Brothers  was the song that first caught my attention when I heard it on WFPK.  You physically must turn this song up when you hear it…and by the second time you hear it, I bet you’ll be singing along, too! Take a listen here:

I decided I must find out more about the elusive local band. Why hadn’t I heard more about them?? Turns out playing local venues is somewhat of a challenge since half the band is under 18! They even had trouble finding a venue to host their CD release show. Lucky for them, Heine Brothers Coffee is a big supporter of local music and they are able to have their release show at the Loop location on Saturday at 3pm. Also, good for Beady is that WFPK is having them play Live Lunch on Friday at noon. But, you can get your sneak peek here!

Some siblings would tell you that they couldn’t wait to grow up and put some separation between themselves and their family.  Not true for Beady. The band consists of two sets of siblings….Jordan Trabue, 21, and his sister, Sarah Trabue, 16 along with Dylan Weber-Owens, 21 and his brother, Jesse Weber-Owens, 17.

Although, the set of friends have known each other “forever”, they have officially been together for about three years. This weekend, they are releasing their second album, Youngest Days. However, their first, self-titled album was recorded in a friend’s attic, where as Youngest Days was more professionally recorded (released by sonaBLAST! Records). They have also produced two impressive videos for songs on Youngest Days. It was a refreshing take on making an entrance into the music scene, because so many bands forgo the creative process that is required make videos until they have hit it big.

The video for When I’m Twenty is just cool to watch. It is simple, yet intriguing and fun. Take a look (and listen) for yourself:

Beady definitely takes its cues from the folk/alt-country scene and you can hear it in all of their songs. Shindig bears a resemblance to an Avett Brothers song and it is more than just the “pretty girls” reference! It’s the vocal harmonizing, story-telling lyrics and the engaging, foot-tapping tempo.

I love the chorus in Summer Brothers…“would you please not talk so loud, I’ve been sleepin, I’ve been dreamin of things to come”. It is fitting because I think this young band has some legs to stand on and they should be dreaming of the good things to come! I mean, who can root against them when Jordan endearingly calls his younger sister, Sarah, by her nickname of “Small Chucks” during our interview?!

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Band Info:

Beady
beadyband.com
Jordan Trabue, guitar, mandolin, banjo, vocals
Sarah  “Small Chucks” Trabue, violin, vocals
Dylan Weber-Owens, guitar, banjo, vocals
Jesse Weber-Ownens, cello, banjo, percussion, vocals

Christmas Memories and a Playlist!

Somehow, it is that time of year again! Not sure how it happened so fast this year. I can remember when I was a kid, it took FOREVER for Christmas to get here each year and now, it is like I gained a magical power somewhere along the line because all I have to do is blink and Christmas is here. Honestly, if I were doing the choosing, that is not the magical power I would choose. I think I would go with something along the lines of ending world hunger or maybe even a power that would stop my kids from fighting for just 10 minutes. But, no one asked me, so I guess I am stuck with the blink-and-before-you-know-it-another-year-is-gone power.

And this year at our house, we have reached that delicate age where our eldest “knows” about Santa, but the younger 3 still believe. I am very proud of my son…he understands that he is now one of the helpers and he does whatever he can to make sure the younger ones feel the magic of the season. But, that puts more pressure on me, because I want him to feel that magic, too….I don’t want my baby to grow up so fast!! It takes me back to when and how I found out about Santa. I gotta say, I don’t remember being traumatized by the discovery and even now when I think back on it, it doesn’t bring on any ill feelings…although it probably should, as you will see!!

I was almost 6 years old and my older brother, who was 12 at the time, insisted that Santa was actually our parents. I refused to believe him, therefore he put a plan into action. He woke me up ‘in the middle of the night’ (which probably equates to 11pm!), so that we could sit on the top steps and silently watch as my parents put out all of our Christmas gifts. Thanks, big bro! Like I said, I managed to survive and honestly don’t recall hours of tears or anything like that. The funny thing is that our parents never knew that story until recent years.

Well, I have put together a playlist of Christmas songs to help you get through the craziness of the holidays. There are some classic versions of songs, but most of them are song by our favorite musicians of recent times, such as The Head And The Heart, My Morning Jacket, fun., and She & Him. This list includes 65 songs and over 3 hours of musical holiday enjoyment, but I am sure I have missed some good ones….feel free to share your favorites with me!! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my family and friends!

I am thankful for blah, blah, blah……

Deep breath…okay, here goes. This could be the post that makes me sound like a thankless bitch….but I hope I am just saying what others are thinking. And even if no one else is thinking it, I will be thankful that my reflexes have always been good so I can duck and cover quickly.

It really gets under my skin when I see everyone on facebook and twitter posting about “30 days of thanks”. I know that sounds harsh and cold, but those posts bug me. I have bitten my tongue and sat on my fingers for as long as I can. Let me just say, I have not unfriended anyone because of their posts and I don’t have negative feelings toward any person posting these things. That’s the disclaimer…

Often, when I see one of those posts, this is how my brain translates it “My life is awesome and I have the best people for friends and family and my job rocks and my kids are the cutest and my dog is the smartest and my house perfect. And I will tell you variations of this same sentiment over and over again for my #30daysofthanks, but after these 30 days are up, then I am back to complaining and bitching about my life and I’ll be back to taking all that good shit for granted again. Oh yeah…and if your life sucks right now, sorry, but I am going to keep rubbing my good fortune in your face.”

Okay…there ya go. It’s out there. I know, I know, it’s very cynical and really might shock people who know me. It doesn’t sound like me. But, I can’t help it. I always want to post something snarky back, but I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. But I just can’t help thinking about friends who are maybe hitting some hard times right now….instead of compassion, they are getting slapped in the face by everyone flaunting their so-called wonderful life. And I also can’t help wondering what these people are doing the other 335 days of the year. How do they show their thankfulness besides typing it on their smartphones. Are they generous with sharing some of their good fortune with others, either through time or treasure? Do their everyday actions reflect that they understand and appreciate where they fall in this world?

Instead of daily postings about how fucking thankful I am that my life rocks, I hope others can see me as a positive, generous, helpful person who is compassionate and respectful of others every day of the year. We all have become more aware of childhood cancer through Lane Goodwin and I just think about how painful it must be for his friends and family to see posts like “I am thankful for my kids’ health”. Of course you are….who wouldn’t be, but why inundate people who haven’t had that luxury with a reminder of what they don’t have. Be thankful and whenever you think of how lucky you are, say a prayer for those who don’t share your circumstances.

Maybe I am just too simplistic to get into the 30 days of thanks….because, pretty much I can narrow my thanks down to friends, family and music. And that would just get boring to read day after day. Okay…rant over. And adios to those who just read it and said, “wow…I never knew she was such a thankless bitch!” And hello darlin’ to everyone else sticking around. Your prize is I’m going to tell you about one of the best bands of the year (actually, they have been together for more than 10 years!) and when and where you can see them play, you will be thankful. haha Trust me….you don’t want to miss The Features (with The Fervor and Whistle Peak) at Headliners Music Hall on Wednesday at 9pm ($12 tickets). They have energy and stage presence out the wazoo!

I have to say I have seriously enjoyed looking for a good video by The Features…I have seen them live numerous times, but I have never looked at their YouTube channel and the videos that they have made have had me laughing tonight!

This has been a wild year in so many different ways and I hope that I am able to express to each person who has been a positive part of it how thankful I am to have you in my life.  However, you won’t see any broadcasts from me on social media. ha!

(End note…..I borrowed the title from a friend’s facebook status. I read it while writing this post and it just fit! Thanks, JP!!)

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