Today, my daughter and I went to a local farm and held baby lambs.  I sat in the hay. They chewed my shoelaces. I fed them garlic. They smelled my hair. I scratched their bellies.

And for just that one hour, everything felt alright.

Reader, I sometimes think our biggest problems stem from just having too much in our lives, which for me leads to a frustrated mind. As dirty as it was sitting in a barn with animals, I walked away feeling fresh.  So with spring approaching in the coming weeks, I'm going to do some mental cleaning, allowing in only what I need.  We'll see how long it lasts, but I'm going to do my best to stick with this one. My mind could use a deep clean. There's too much clutter in there lately. 
Wishing you a clear head and warm heart. See you next Monday. -Em

Second Video Release 

If you're somebody who keeps up pictures of people who have passed away, this one's for you.  

(I sure miss you, Dad.)

Enjoy the video, Reader, and I'll see you next Monday.


Escape Artist 

I ran away to the Upper Peninsula this week.  It was a hard week at the restaurant; I thought some time with nature and family would help.

And it did.
Shikoba once said "the antidote to exhaustion isn't rest: it's nature." I believe this with my whole heart.  Sitting around the fire in the snow recharged pieces of my mind and heart that I didn't even know were empty.
Reader, we can't run away from our problems.  We can't run away from our responsibilities.  But we can allow ourselves some time to replenish our energy so that we can face the issues with a clear head.  If you too are tired and not ready to tackle problems, let's not forget about the power of escaping into nature.  It's all around us, and it's completely free.  
With that, I'm off to look at a few stars before bed.  See you next Monday. -Em

Green Bananas 

This whole week was a metaphor in practicing patience.  Nothing I was hoping to accomplish got done on time. Both on the homefront and at work: when I was ready to finish a job, I was met with obstacles that made the job undoable.
And at the end of the week, one of my employees at the restaurant asked me to run out to get 4 ripe bananas.  Easy enough. Except when I showed up at the grocery store, every damn banana was green.
I laughed as I walked out.
Reader, there's a time to hustle, and there's a time to note that the bananas are too green.  If things aren't falling into place for you either, let's keep in mind the power of patience. We don't steer the whole world on our whims.  The whole world helps to steer us.
I'm gonna try to go with the flow this week (as if there's any other choice).  I hope you have a good one, and I'll see you Monday. -Em

Video Release 

On December 5th, 2022 at Kingsize Sound Labs in Chicago, we recorded the album “Meanwhile, I Love You.” It features my old friends Gregg Ostrom, John Abbey, and Gerald Dowd.  We'll be releasing it later this year. 

We also invited Bart Bishoff to take a video of the session. Here's the first video he made.  The song is called “No One Else But You.”

If we're friends, you're probably somewhere in a verse. This song is for my people: my restaurant family, my blood family, my friends, and my husband.  I say a lot, “I wouldn't want to be here with anyone else,” and I finally found a way to put that feeling into a song.  

I'm excited to share this album. Thank you for supporting my music and keeping me going through 19 records-worth of figuring out how to take what's in my heart and turning it into music.  See you next Monday. -Em


Pleased To Meet You 

Vertigo is finally behind me. So long, room spins; hello new tunes.
I'm trying something different with this round of songs.  Rather than try to capture how I'm feeling, I'm trying to capture a sound that feels like me. That may seem like the same thing.  But oddly enough, it's not. 
What's pouring out of my fingertips and voice box lately is less like surrendering to my emotions and more like getting to know myself better.  Weird but wonderful concept. It's pretty incredible being in your 40's and becoming reacquainted with yourself. Oddly enough, it feels a lot like a return to who I used to be.
Reader, I don't know if it's because I spent the weekend playing with my little kids in the snow, or if it's because I'm trying to write songs that sound like me, but I'm experiencing a "nice to meet you" sensation with a version of myself from a long time ago.  I'm setting the intention to get to know her even more in the coming months.  I'm excited.
It's Valentine's Day tomorrow, and if you don't have a sweetheart to tell how much you love them, don't forget to tell yourself.  It's never a bad time to get to know yourself better.  See you next Monday. -Em

Scotch for Snow Cones 

On Saturday, I had a birthday. I was looking forward to inviting a couple girlfriends over to the house and having a bonfire and a little scotch out in the woods.  

But Saturday was also the only day we had to celebrate my daughter's 6th birthday.  I was disappointed and frustrated at first. But I rain-checked with my girls and celebrated my birthday with 20 kindergartners, snow cones, sledding, and a homemade "giant tubing hill cake" per her request.   

Couldn't have planned a better day for myself. 

Reader, I swear: the universe is creative in how it presents opportunities.  When plans change, we either get bitter (which I did), or we joyfully get into the new plan (which I also did).   It was a nice lesson for me about the power of rolling with the damn punches. Plus I forgot how much I like snow cones. 

Let's keep rolling with those punches this week, and I'll see you next Monday. -Em

The Vertigo Album 

It's important to have friends who think differently than you.  A friend's perspective turned my week around. 

Vertigo is having its way with me.  I'm falling over, throwing up, and having a hard time focusing on a single object for longer than a few seconds.  When I sit down at the piano to write, as nice as it feels, it's short lived. I can't spend hours mulling over melodies and lyrics like I'm accustomed to.  Tunes that would normally take me a couple days need to be finished by the time I stand up. 

I was lamenting this situation to a friend.  She said, "I think this is an incredible opportunity!"  I gave her the evil eye, and she continued, "You know...to write a vertigo album." 

I laughed. Then paused. And then I actually considered it. Damn, she's right. How cool would it be to capture this situation in song? I hugged her, and then I went home and got a few songs into the vertigo album. It's honestly a refreshing way to write, without overthinking. 

Reader, as cliché as it is to say, some of our worst times do have an upshot.  Or if not an upshot, at least a chance to shake things up.  I'm grateful to have people around me who show me other points of view. I started this week frustrated and ended it loving all my opportunities.  I'm thanking my stars tonight for friends who see things differently; I hope you have one too.

I leave you with this picture of my kids, doing their impersonation of me as a granny tonight.  Apparently I'm easily parodied these days. See you next Monday. -Em

Will Won't 

I got vertigo two weeks ago.  My doctor thinks it happened because of the recent combination of airplane travel and an ear infection.  I've been miserable, and working through the constant spinning has been hard, but I've been powering through it anyway.  Because that's what I do best. 

Power through. 

Through the years, I've counted will power as my greatest asset.  I've always figured that with a lot of determination and patience, I can accomplish anything.  And for the most part, it's been true.  It's how I've learned how strong I can be. But this week, I learned a lesson the hard way: 

Will power has to be used right. 

After two weeks of getting nowhere, I finally hit an emotional deadend.  I couldn't keep working through vertigo. Today, I redirected my energy. Rather than fight my way through the daily grind, I used will power to call every doctor in the area to find somebody who could help me find relief.  I got into a physical therapist this afternoon, and I made appointments for the rest of the week.  For the first time, I feel like I may be able to see the light at the end of this blurry tunnel. 

Reader, perseverance is an incredible trait. But it can't take you everywhere. The moral of my week is: if you're working hard but you're still just beating your head against the wall, it may be time to change course and try a path without a wall.   

I'm off to movie/junk food night with the family.  Because sometimes, you just need to resolve to have no will power at all.  See you next Monday. -Em

Mistakes Done Well 

Our family decided to give fewer material gifts for the holidays.  For the past couple years, we've been giving each other experiences.  This year, I got my mom tickets to see Judy Collins at the Old Town School of Folk Music. We went to see the show last night, and I was blown away: the woman can hit higher notes at 83 than I could in my 20s. 

Her range wasn't all that blew me away.  I couldn't get over how well she made mistakes. She forgot lyrics and had to start songs over.  During her banter, she forgot people's names mid-story and had to abandon the story and just start singing. She even forgot if she had sung the last verse to a song once, and just sang it twice to make sure she hadn't. 

Her responses were magical.  She smiled, called out her mistakes, and started laughing at herself.  Her laughter was so genuine that the whole audience was laughing along with her.  Judy's mistakes and the way she dealt with them were one of my favorite parts of the concert.  What an inspiration. 

Reader, I don't know about you, but 2023 got off to a bumpy start. I've made big errors in every sphere of my life, and I also have vertigo for the first time. If you find yourself mired in your mistakes too, let's take a lesson from ol' Judy Blue Eyes: own them and laugh.  We all make mistakes.  How we deal with them can be deflating or inspiring. It's our choice. 

Hang in there, and I'll see you next Monday.  Enjoy yet another picture from Norway (I can't stop looking at them). -Em