A busy weekend

My day off begins with sunshine, warmth and a smile. Today, I am going to find birthday presents for two people. One, a very close friend and two, my husband. I am not really a lover of shopping. I like to know what I am going for, find it after having a massive trying on session in one shop, buy it and come home, unless it’s clothes for me. Then I like to go to one shop, find it, try it on, pay for it and come home. There is nothing more tedious than traipsing around a myriad of shops in search of something that fits or looks right. I sound like a dream shopper for the man in tow, but believe me I’m not, because invariably I end up going everywhere to find one thing. I am so fussy about my clothes and if I buy something I don’t feel comfortable in, it stays in the wardrobe. Hence the tedious traipsing.

Today though, I have people to buy for and I know which shops I am hitting. The ideas for gifts aren’t definite. I am trying to remain open minded so it could all change by the end of the day.

The weekend was busy with gigs. I had a Valentine’s dinner dance on Friday and as usual, it was a night for romantic slushy songs. It’s the only night of the year I can sing so many slow songs and get away with it. Asking for requests usually brings “lady in red”, irrelevant that I am a woman singing about another woman. No one cares as long as it’s heard and danced to. Saturday though, made a Valentine’s change. Another friend has her birthday the day after her husbands, so they had a joint birthday party and asked me to sing. Very few slow songs that night. Instead they partied, ate, drank and danced the night away, culminating in my friends favourite song, “Raining men.” image

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They loved my mic stand and pretended to be either lead or backing singers. It made me smile. A great night had by all and Happy birthday guys. Hope the heads weren’t too sore the next day.

Unfortunately, my hubby and I couldn’t celebrate Valentine’s this year. Usually we go out the day before or after, but the day before I was working and the day after was a collapse day. That’s what happens when you work all day and most of the night for 48 hours. Oh well, next year it is.

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Fasting again

For a day off, yesterday proved to be a really busy day. The vampires were out in the morning drawing blood for a cholesterol test. I spent too much money on new clothes and then I played taxi service for my hubby before joining him in the evening for dinner and raising money for charity. It was a good night with good friends and lots of laughter. The whole theme of the evening was Ye Olde English Night, with lots of old songs with changed lyrics to suit the occasion. There was a fining system where people had to pay fines for various misdemeanours or sometimes for being too good. Anyone who snitched on someone else also got fined and it became quite loud and hilarious.

Mondays, however, have been designated as fasting days and after a disastrous weekend, where I put on almost a Kilo in 2 days, I was quite desperate to get back to it. With a dinner booked for the evening, there was little point though, so today is the day. Being a vegan means that my two meals can be low calorie as long as I miss out the carbs, so I intend to make a huge batch of chilli today and can’t wait to scoff it.

Chilli made with different beans is one of my favourite dishes. It took me a long time to develope the taste for this Mexican dish. While a meat eater I always found it on the hot side and because there is no sweetness to it, I was not a great lover. Enter my husband, who loves chilli and it was necessary to like it. Thus over time I was converted and when I decided to become a vegan, I had to find a good substitute to the carnivore variety.

I really like this 5:2 fasting diet, because I don’t feel deprived. I do get tired and with gigs this week and working day and night, I am a little worried about how I will cope. Also because Of missing my fast day yesterday, I have to do my 2 fast days close together. Only one eating day between them, which could spell trouble. My poor hubby might be in for a rough time. I will try desperately not to snap his head off, whilst in the throws of tiredness, but can’t promise I will be completely sane. Bless him. Duck love, duck!!

Music and Memories

Oh my goodness. What a mare. I managed to log myself out of my blog and having never done that before, I couldn’t remember my login details. It’s taken me three days to sort it out, because getting back in is not obvious at all. Anyway, here I am once again.

Today is Saturday and the day for my radio show. It’s a chat show, where I invite local people to come and talk about themselves, their businesses and interests. I have featured authors, charities, complimentary health practitioners, singers, artists and many more interesting people. They each choose 3 songs that they love and it’s a fantastic way to learn about people.

One of the best things, is the varied choices of music. We had a large glut of the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, but mostly it shows just how wide our tastes are. Even in the pop field, there are so many genres and no two people have chosen the same 3 songs. Young people can choose old songs and older people choose new ones. Each tune carries a memory and the ones that stick are associated with happy times.

Although we have our favourite sad songs, it seems the ones that define our lives are the ones that call to mind our happiest memories. Teenage years feature really high, as does the “our song”, when we have met our life partner.

I truly love my show on a Saturday and meeting such an eclectic group of people and I love their differing tastes in music, because people’s choices fascinate me. Today I will be playing Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, which apart from being an all time great, is a personal favourite. It reminds me of my teenage years living in a huge farmhouse with my family. My brother would belt this out as loud as he could from his bedroom at the back and the house was so big, that no one in the front could hear it. Good memories of my brother in his Led Zeppelin phase. He even got a perm to look like Robert Plant and I liked it. I was young and always impressed by my big brother.

Good music equals happy memories.

Tiredness versus Blogging

The idea of my blog is for me to write everyday but, yesterday was impossible.  So I ask myself, is it really possible to commit to this everyday?  Even today I have the perfect excuse not to bother and that excuse is exhaustion.    It is a very content exhaustion that stems from work well done but nevertheless it’s hard to write when all I want to do is switch off my brain and sleep.  It is however, only 6.30 and I am sure, most will agree, that’s it’s too early.

As someone that has hereditary high cholesterol, despite being a vegan and not eating much fat at all, I have decided to up my exercise level in order to try and reduce this potentially dangerous substance in my body.  Reassured by my instructor that Zumba would be beneficial to my weak, held together with titanium rods back, I enrolled in her class.  The first week was great.  I kept the intensity low as I was a little worried and was pleasantly surprised that I was not at all stiff or aching the next morning.

Feeling that I was onto a winner, I boldly attended another class on Thursday night and, having been lulled into a false sense of security by my previous success, entered into it with more verve.  Mistake!! Two thirds of the class later and I was in pain.  My back hurt and the pain shot down my leg and into my foot.  Perfect indicators that a I am not as strong as I would like to be and time to tone it down a bit.  Lesson learnt.  Zumba needs to remain low impact.

Once home the pain travelled upwards and I went to bed wincing with a migraine.  I awoke on Friday to find my shoulders had elevated to my ears with tension and my brain was groggy.  My eyes felt cloudy and I struggled to get out of bed.  After a tedious lunchtime meeting that went on far too long and then teaching a vocal session, I tried to prepare for my evening gig.  On taking my brand new dress out of the washing machine, I found splashes of blue dye all over the light pink material.  The conclusion is that dyeing other clothes in the machine to give them extra life, has in fact cost me more.  So gutted about my dress,  I hurriedly hunted for something else to wear.

Time was of the essence, as I had a long drive ahead, so I threw things into bags, chose clothes that would do, although not perfect, and shoved my gear into the car.  Feeling that the day had gone from bad to worse and dreading the drive ahead, I called my husband on my hands free.  Even that wasn’t working properly and I hung up, unable to have my little moan and feeling very frustrated.

Working day and night is difficult for anyone and it often seems to be a case of feast or famine. It’s either sit around all day and earn nothing or run around like crazy and earn well.  If only there was something in the middle.

It was at this point that I decided I needed to calm down and be grateful instead of harassed and stressed.  So I sang and warmed up my voice, gave thanks for the beautiful countryside and the fantastic gig I was going to and guess what?  It worked.

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i arrived at my destination easily, met some fantastic people, giggled with friends and enjoyed the fabulous singers that were also on the show.   My first set was a little gentle, starting with Dock of a bay and ending with the classical Nella Fantasia, but the final set was a blast.  There was no way I was letting those people sit down.  I played and sang one dance tune after another until, not only they were breathless, but so was I.  They called for more as I tried to leave and I gave them a rendition of All that Jazz from Chicago.  They even danced to that.

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There are times in a performers life when you wish you had stayed at home.  The audience is surly and doesn’t  want to know you, and nothing you do is right. These are the worst times because an act is only as good as their audience.  It can be demoralising, frustrating and kick your self esteem from under you.  Many people think we do the job because we are confident and want the acclaim. Some of us do, I suppose, but I do it because music is my passion, my voice is my gift and I am lucky enough to be able to earn a living from it.  It has kept my family fed and clothed and taken me to some wonderful places.

In truth, performers put themselves up for more ridicule and criticism than any other career.  Our spirits can take a nose dive with every negative comment because our talent is so personal to us.  However, even if no one makes a comment, you always know when it’s a good gig and the feeling of warmth that emanates from a crowd that is enjoying your show, is second to none.  Last night was one of those.

I drove the long journey home on a high, knowing I had done my job.  The adrenalin gave me enough energy to make it and even though it was really late, it still took me a long time to wind down enough to sleep.

Today, I hosted my radio show and had a great time, but now, there is no adrenalin.  Tomorrow is a day off,  my body is going into relax or relapse mode and my brain is shutting down all functions apart from the necessary.

Is is it possible to blog when exhausted?  Yes.  My feelings of gratefulness abound and I am so happy that being grateful turned a disaster of a day into a night that I will remember for a long time.