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

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.

Why Does It Have To End Like This?!

Look at me, overachieving! I haven’t posted in months and now am going for 2 posts in 2 days. Unfortunately, this post isn’t a pleasant one and I wish I didn’t have to do it. But I feel compelled because what happened last night was disturbing, upsetting, and people need to know about it. Before I get started, I want to say that I spoke to the manager and I also looked at how to reach the owners with no luck. I would love to speak to the owners, so if anyone has direct contact info, please pass it on!! I also want to point out that I slept on the situation and didn’t immediate pull out the laptop to write an emotionally charged rant.

A few times a month, hubby and I will order take out from Sapporo Sushi. We love their quality of sushi and it is also close to our house. We have never had an issue. Last night, I wish I could say the same was true. I had just picked up the middle son from a party, so he went with me to get the carry-out that hubby had already ordered. It wasn’t ready, even after we had been waiting 15 mins. And that was unusual. I was about to ask the host, when he took a phone call. From what I could hear on my end, he indicated that the person who came in right before me had been given the wrong carry out order (mine!). They instructed him to come back and they would take care of it. Fine. Mistakes happen. I get that.

Life is full of mistakes. What is important is how those mistakes are handled. I walked up to the host to inquire about my food. He explained what had happened and then said, ‘but they are on their way back, so as soon as they get here you will have your food.’ I thought for a second and then said that I didn’t know that I wanted to take food that had left the restaurant and gone to someone else’s house. The host said they would inspect it and remake anything that needed to be remade. I sat down, consulted with hubby via text, and decided I wanted all new food. In fact, I was disturbed and disgusted that they even considered giving me food that had left their control. Honestly, it made me question all of their practices. Hello, Health Department! Luckily, when I let them know that I wanted all new food, they were completely agreeable.

The other customer came in, got his correct food and was told, by the host, that they had already reversed all of the charges on his credit card for his troubles and their mistake. In fact, the customer must have felt guilty because he turned and apologized for yelling at them so much over the phone (blaming a low blood sugar issue). Meanwhile, I am still waiting, with a very sleepy, slightly grumpy 9 year old. However, hearing that they handled the situation the right way with the other wronged customer, I had the same expectations for my situation.

Finally, after we had been sitting there for 45 minutes (!!!), the host brought out our food and said “here ya go”. Like it was no big deal. Like we hadn’t been sitting there forever, waiting for them to correct their mistake. Like I hadn’t heard everything they said to the other wrong customer. I looked at him and said, “what about compensation?” We had a slight stare down, then he turned and called someone. He came back, ask for my card again and I was relieved that they were going to take care of us. We love Saporro. I didn’t want this one mistake to color our opinion of the restaurant. The host said okay, we will take 15% off your bill. Um. What? Maybe I didn’t hear you right. Did you say fifty percent? Oh. No. You said fifteen percent? Dude – you realize that is just like pouring salt into my wounds. 15% not enough for someone who has been patiently and respectfully waiting with her 9 year old, who is so tired, he has put his head down on the table, for 45 minutes for you all to fix YOUR mistake. And if that isn’t enough, the person who was affected just the same as I was, got his entire meal free of charge.

What the fuck?! What was different about the two situations?! He yelled and must have come unglued. I remained respectful and calm. He had to bring his food back. I waited, with child in tow, for 45mins for my food. He was a man. I am, obviously, not.

At this point, I’ll admit that my fiery redhead temper started to show. I could feel my blood pressure rising and my chest and cheeks getting red. The store was full. I could have made a big stink and called a lot of attention to the situation (hello…they wanted me to take old food!), but I also knew that my son was watching how I handled the situation. I wanted to be an example to him on how to handle conflict. I wanted to show him that things can been worked out without having to yell and scream and bully someone into doing what you want them to do. I wanted him to see that restaurants respect and value their loyal costumers whom they depend on. I wanted him to see that if you make a mistake, you own up to it and fix it at your cost – you don’t try to cover it up or pass it onto someone else. And I wanted him to see that men and women are treated equally.

Unfortunately, my son learned none of those lessons last night. After the host refused to change his 15% offer, saying it was the best he could do, I challenged him (in a calm voice, no yelling involved) on how the other customer received his entire order free of charge. The host said that customer had talked to the manager. I said okay, where is the manager? I was told the manager wasn’t actually there, and that the host would call her and then I could talk to her. He made it clear that he was not going to talk to her about the situation. Whatever. She apologized for the issues and offered the same 15%. I calmly told her what was going on and she got defensive and said that they would never expect me to take the original food. I told her that was what the host suggested, but I moved on. I asked her about the other customer who got his entire order taken care of. She said that he had to bring it back in, like me waiting there with my son for 45 mins was no big deal. I explained that we were loyal customers and just wanted to have this situation fixed. I would have been happy with a gift card for our next visit. I would have been happy with 50% off. I would have been happy with a true apology.

I got none of that. Finally, I said to her that they were about to lose our business for good and that I would be very vocal about it, telling my friends on social media, at Eater Louisville, on Louisville Hotbytes, etc. She then said, “Go ahead, tell your friends.” I promptly hung up, grabbed the food, and my son’s hand and walked out for the last time.

I am disappointed and disgusted (on so many levels) at the treatment I received. Eating out is a luxury and it is expensive. Why places think they can treat people so poorly and still get their business is beyond me. For sushi, I guess we will be hitting up Oishii Sushi and Dragon King’s Daughter. We love them both, although they are slightly further away. Now that distance doesn’t seem like anything.

In contrast to this occurrence, just a few weeks ago, I had one of the best customer services experiences ever. I was at Stevens & Stevens Deli, a place I go to once a month or so. When I walk in, they all know me and are friendly. They ask how my kids are – even more specifically to see how my youngest likes Kindergarten. I love walking in that place!! Well, that day, their credit card processing was messed on up their computers. They couldn’t get it to work when I was trying to pay. I felt bad, because I had no cash on me. The manager said, ‘Don’t worry about it. You can pay for it next time.’ Wow. Now that is full service customer service. Kudos to Stevens & Stevens for winning at being awesome!

What do I want to happen from all of this? I am not sure. I feel like maybe things could be smoothed over if Sapporo reached out to us. Maybe. But, honestly, I want this story to be spread around. After reading some reviews on Yelp, Urban Spoon, etc, it is obvious that others have had bad customer services experiences there also (don’t worry – my review will be going up soon!). So, let’s make it known to Saporro that we don’t like it and our money won’t be going to them anymore. Share this story with your friends. Think twice before going there next time. Make them change. And I just hope that what my son learns from this isn’t that it’s okay to defer responsibly for your mistakes, that you don’t have to treat people with respect, and that loyalty means nothing. Maybe he will see that often times actions speak louder than words. Sayonara, Sapporo.

(No Longer) Dead To The World

I am still alive! I have not been taken down by my foursome. It isn’t for a lack of trying! My pre-teen likes to remind me daily of my ‘great parenting’ (in case your phone isn’t displaying the font correctly, that is written in the oozing sarcasm font), my 2nd boy has perfected the playing of the middle child card, my daughter is 7 going on 17, at least in her mind, and my baby has up and left me to enter Kindergarten. Oh yeah, and the start of the school year also brought us the gift of the stomach bug. All except my darling daughter got it. My theory is that she is so mean that she scared it away.

The point is, I am still here. Still listening to music. Still going to live shows. Still writing about parenting and music. Well, okay, you got me on that one. In my head, I have written hundreds of posts. Unfortunately, they haven’t gotten out of my head nor can you read my mind. So they have done no one any good. Part of me feels like a slacker, but you know what, the other part of me says screw it. I am a busy Mom of 4 who is trying to balance parenting, wife-ing, working, socializing, and everything-else-including-the-kitchen-sink-ing. Speaking of sinking, I realize lately this blog has been totally lacking my attention. I miss it. I miss you all. I miss talking about music that I love. I miss finding new bands to share with you all.

So, I am back. Part of the reason I had to come out of my blog-ernation (I was going to say hibernation, but if you have seen me around, hibernation couldn’t be further from the truth. It only pertains to the blog…hence the cute, made up name), is because one of my all time favorite bands in coming to town this weekend. And you shouldn’t miss it. And I apologize for all the shows I failed to tell you about. Wow….there were some good ones, too. Anyway…back to the show this weekend….

Ha Ha Tonka is playing at Headliners on Saturday night. These guys are just amazing. I’ve written about them a ton! They are extremely talented musicians and vocalists as well as downright nice guys. Come one now…they pulled me on stage at Uncle Slayton’s a few birthdays ago to sing me Happy Birthday!! There is no video (that I am aware of), but many of you were in attendance and can confirm this wasn’t just a happening in one of my dreams! They also win the title of hottest concert I have ever attended. It was in Lawrence, KS (we just happened to be visiting good friends out there). Actually, now that I think about it, they are in a tie with My Morning Jacket at The Palace for that title. Anyway, good times were had by all and we left with a glistening that you normally acquire from the sauna.

Ha Ha Tonka is out touring in support of their new album, Lessons. Brian Roberts, lead singer, has said that he got inspiration from the album after hearing an NPR interview with the late illustrator and renowned children’s author, Maurice Sendak (you know – Where The Wild Things Are and Little Bear, amongst others). These guys will get anyone moving. They rock hard. I have written about them a number of times. I like their new stuff. It’s one of those albums that really grows on you the more you listen to it. And I have been listening plenty!

Also, these guys are BIG St. Louis Cardinal fans and this girl, who is a BIG Yankees fan will be cheering on the Cardinals with them this week! 😉

This is a video of one of their new songs – Dead To The World. And I glad that I am no longer dead to the (blogging) world! I can’t wait to feel their energy Saturday night at Headliners!! See you there?

“…cups of who cares…”

My kids are at wonderful ages (10, 8, 7, 5). They are out of the baby phase, but not yet to that scarey teenager territory. They also GET things. You know….the older two boys are into sports and were totally into the NCAA Basketball Championship this year (woohoo…shout out to our favorite DI team, the Louisville Cards!!). My daughter also was excited to follow the sucess of the Lady Cards. And my youngest little man is still my music lover and he is forever asking if a show is ‘for grown ups only’.

One of the joys of parenting is watching your child’s face light up when they meet someone they admire. And what is even better is when those idols are friendly and approachable. I am forever grateful to all of the current and former Bellarmine basketball players and coaches (especially those connected to the 2011 National Championship team) who have made my oldest two feel like a million bucks when they invite them into the locker room before a game or make a point to call them by name and say hello to them. I like to think of these people as accessible idols.

My youngest has had a major thing for Josh Ritter ever since we saw him play an in-store at ear-X-tacy. He was only 2 and in a sling but kept yelling ‘lalas’ during Josh’s performance because that was one of the few ‘words’ he said at the time. We were able to meet Josh afterwards and he was amazing with the kids. They all got high fives and guitar pics from Josh! And it made a lasting impression on my budding musician.

My little man has a room full of music posters…including one of Josh’s. He is learning to play guitar and has even composed his own song. When asked who his favorite musician is, he always says “Josh Ritter”. Not that I don’t love Josh, but it always comes as a surprise because he has met and hung out with other talented musicians, like Ben Sollee, The Head And The Heart and Patrick Hallahan (drummer of My Morning Jacket). It isn’t like Josh is the only musician he has met….but Josh clearly stand out in his mind.

We surprised our newly turned 5 year old with tickets to Josh’s April 19th show in Louisville for his birthday. He turn five at the beginning of April and (not knowing we already had tickets), he asked us if he could change his birthday to April 19 so that he could see Josh for his birthday gift. So sweet. We will be sitting in the 2nd row and I will probably spend more time watching my little man’s face instead of enjoying Josh’s usual smile, but I am pretty sure they will both be sporting big smiles!

 I hope to have a fabulous post-show update where I can gush about those smiles meeting and talking again, but you will just have to stay tuned. If you haven’t already listened to Josh, you should do so now. He has a great voice and I am really digging his new album, The Beast In Its Tracks. This new song, Joy To You Baby, is one of my all time favorites of his. (You will also “get’ the title to this entry…yes, it is a song lyric. 😉 )

If you can’t make the show or just want some good lunch time music on Friday, you can also tune into 91.9 WFPK, where Josh will be playing on Live Lunch at noon (you can stream it live from their site or app, in case you aren’t in Louisville!).

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?!

IMG_3974

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!!)

I was supposed to run for President in 2012.

Tomorrow is election day. A Presidential election, at that. Is it bad that I feel fortunate not to live in an ‘important’ state such as Ohio? I have friends there who had received 12 political phone calls THIS MORNING!!! There was a time when I couldn’t get enough of the political game! In fact, it all started before I was enough old enough to vote. When I was in high school, my best friend and I hatched a plan that in the year 2012, we would run on a ticket since we would be 35 in the year 2012. Ha…how things have changed and somehow time has stood still because there is no way I am really 35!!

One thing that hasn’t changed is how serious I take my right and obligation to vote. I have voted in every election that I was eligible for since I turned 18. Sometimes that included voting by absentee ballot, sometimes that included driving to multiple voting locations after moving into a new precinct, sometimes that meant bring all 4 kids with me. Although the last one was often a pain….contrary to popular belief, becoming a mother does not include gaining a set of eyes in the back of your head. Therefore, trying to concentrate on the ballot in front of you can become quite the challenge when you bring four young children with you to vote.

But, pain or not, bringing the kids with me is something I will always do. In fact, on primary days, I wait until they are off school to ensure they can still go. I clearly remember going with my parents to vote when I was young and I think it had a large impact on my feelings surrounding voting today. I want to help instill that same since of duty in my children that my parents did for me.

One of our favorite family stories surrounding voting happened during the last Presidential election. I made the big effort to get all 4 children out the door…they were ages 6, 4, 2 and newborn at the time and getting out the door was always a challenge!! Anyway, we got to our voting place and the oldest two boys were given Kids’ Vote ballots to fill out. Not wanting to miss out on something, their 2 yr old sister said she wanted one also. Of course, I had to help them fill it out (I won’t tell who they voted for, but I approved.)  And when it got to be my daughter’s turn, I asked her who she wanted me to check off. She looked at me and shook her head. She didn’t want either one of the options. I was started to get antsy to be done and pushed her to pick one. Again, she shook her head and said “I want Fancy Nancy!” And that is who I wrote it!! To fully appreciate the story, you need to know that Fancy Nancy is a character in a children’s book series who has red, curly hair and likes everything fancy. You also need to know that that description pretty much fits my daughter as well!!

Tomorrow is the big day and I don’t care who you vote for (well, I do, but….), JUST VOTE!!! Let your voice be heard. Here is another plea from a friend and amazing musician to vote. Please watch this video…words can’t describe how moving it is. Ben Sollee made his way to the Lincoln Memorial recently and sang his song, A Few Honest Words, even after being relocated by security. As you can see, the lyrics make this song very fitting this time of the year.

A Few Honest Words

If you’re going to lead my country,
If you’re gonna say it’s free
I’m gonna need
a little honesty

Just a few honest words
It shouldn’t be that hard
Just a few honest words
Is all I need

I don’t need no handshake
No firm look in the eye
Don’t tell me what you think I,
I ought to hear

I don’t need no high life
No fancy premiers
Just tell me what you really think
Without fear

Just a few honest words
It shouldn’t be that hard
Just a few honest words
Is all I need

Love is a bitter food
You’ve learned to eat
You still don’t know, oh,
Where it grows

And our love of freedom
Holds a veil over our eyes
Rights that are given
Can be taken away

Just a few honest words
It shouldn’t be that hard
Just a few honest words
Is all I need

We don’t choose our leaders
The choose themselves
Tell me again
About democracy

Edward Sharpe: review & ticket giveaway!!

A few months ago, I heard the song Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros for the first time. Around the same time, I heard that the band had recently stopped in Louisville, sans show, and hung out with Jim James and Patrick Hallahan of My Morning Jacket. Apparently, they were chilling at the Holy Grale. If you have ever been, then you know how small it is (if you haven’t been…shame on you!!), so it is pretty amusing that Edward Sharpe party of 12, plus Jim and Patrick decided to hang there. That’s right, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are made up of 12 people, including 2 drummers. I never really understood the whole 2 drummers thing, but it totally works for them! I immediate bought tickets to their show at Iroquois Amphitheater and then ordered their CD.

My Morning Jacket isn’ the only band who has taken notice of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.  In April 2011, the band joined Mumford & Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show on the Railroad Revival Tour

Well, fast forward a few months and real life has jumped in the way of fun and it was looking like the show wasn’t going to be in the cards. But then musical magic happened and all things were good again! Hubby and I headed down to the Southern Ground Food and Music Fest in Nashville (another post is coming on that!), and to our pleasant surprise, we were going to get to see Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros after all. And not just see them, but be close enough to touch them!

All I could think about was that Louisville was in for a treat and I was doing to do whatever it took to make sure I saw them again at Iroquois. They were incredible live! It was fabulous to see Edward and Jade singing, dancing, running, and interacting all over the stage. They had everyone in the audience on their feet dancing…their youthful enthusiasm was definitely contagious and I can’t wait to catch it again in a couple of days.

I find it very fitting that their song, Man on Fire, starts with the following lyrics, because you can tell that those lyrics are also the philosophy of the band.

I’m a man on fire
Walking through your street
With one guitar
And two dancing feet
Only one desire
That’s left in me
I want the whole damn world
To come dance with me

And lucky for you, I have two tickets to giveaway for the show so you can experience their spirited singing and entertaining for yourself! Just post on the Last Bit of Sanity facebook page that you want to win. To double your chances, share this on facebook and/or twitter (and while you are at it, check out some of the amazing pictures I got)! A winner will be announced on Wednesday by noon! Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are playing at Iroquois Amphitheater on Wednesday Sept 26th at 8pm. They are being supported by Clap Your Hands  Say Yeah! Tickets are $30.

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