Category Archives: music

When and Where

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After B and I got engaged, we started the light wedding conversations all normal, newly engaged couples have. We seemed pretty much on the same page with all of the big things (including the highly cringe worthy budget conversation).

But, of course, we ran in to issues when we got to the “where.” I’m from a rural area about an hour and a half south of Chicago. My family is all located in that area. Traveling to and from the city is not difficult at all, but with gas prices being what they are and city traffic being, also, what they are… I felt pressure to have it in my hometown.

Having it in that area would save us thousands upon thousands of dollars. On the other hand, our selection of “unique” location spots would be limited to places with ugly carpets or views of parking lots. It would also force B’s significantly larger family to travel to an area where there were less hotel options.

Some hotel carpet patterns are enough to get me sea sick.

I didn’t want to pick sides. But I knew that one of our families would have to travel. In the end, we chose mine.

This decision wasn’t made without a ton of discussion between all, essentially, 6 sides. Having it in Chicago worked simply because we live here. Families not considered, we want to have a wedding that reflects our love, and the majority of that love was cultivated here. We also think it is a bigger draw to have people travel in to the city where there are a ton of hotel options, activities, and easy transportation methods.

Our second set of questions revolved around “when.” The original plan was to have an extremely extended engagement for January 2014.  Then we considered those we were asking to travel- my family. I grew up in a very rural area where snow plows are pretty much a myth. If snow did fall that morning,  we could call:

 

But how realistic is that?

So, we flipped. Spring 2013 would be too early to raise the amount of money we planned on budgeting. Fall would be both of our busy seasons for work. Summer’s too hot. We found one happy medium: September. With average highs in the mid 70s and lows in the mid 50s, I couldn’t think of a more perfect time in Chicago to throw a wedding.

Now that we knew the when and the where, we relaxed a bit. That was until I put in my first feeler email to a vendor asking about September 2013. The email started off with this paragraph:

Hi! My fiance and I are looking in to potential vendors for our 120-140 person wedding in September of 2013. I know that it’s very early in the game for us to be looking, but we’d like to get a feel of what our options are. Could you please send me more information about your space, including pricing?

In return, I got this back:

Michelle,
First of all, congrats on the engagement! What an exciting time! Secondly, you are not looking too early. September, by far, is one of our most popular months. Currently, we are booked up until August of 2013 for all Saturdays. We do have a couple of Saturdays open in September, as well as some Sundays.

I pretty much did a spit take when I read that.

The Knot had told me that I could relax for another 6 months. I didn’t have to scramble to do anything I HAD TIME! This vendor, however, threw me a major curveball. Not only did I have to start researching now… I also was already starting to compete for one of the most popular months in wedding-land.

Frack.

So, here we are, 20 months out from our wedding. That’s 626 days, to be exact. And we’re planning like it’s less than two months from now.

Brides of Chicago, you have been warned.

……………………….

In other news, I was the DJ at this Sunday’s Dance Dance Party Party. It was BANANAS. 32 girls were there. 3-2.  For the room that small and the crowds they normally draw, 32 is like inviting the entire Chinese population to move to Vermont. Either way, it was SO MUCH FUN. I’ve never sweat that much before. And it was, perhaps, because my music selection was stellar, as always. I did a Best of 2011 Dance Mix. Each song was either released as a single or on an album that came out in 2011 with one exception- a tribute to Amy Winehouse.

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My Heart Goin’ Boom Boom Boom

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Warning: This has nothing to do with my health.

Ok. I feel bad for not posting about my health on a health based blog so here’s the recipe I use to make my breakfast shakes. I swear that it keeps me full from 8am to 1pm every day and gives you three servings of fruit, 9 grams of protein, and 11 grams of very healthy fat:

In a blender, uh, blend:
3-5 strawberries
1 banana chopped
1/4 cup of dry oatmeal
1/2 cup of sugar free, natural orange juice
1 tbsp of peanut butter
You can add protein powder or supplements to this as well. I just make mine minimal as possible. I hear you can also add kale to this and never taste it, if you want your veggie fix.
Ok, now to the main part of this blog. 
After a long day of work, I headed out to the United Center to meet up with my sister, bro-in-law, and father for our second concert in the tour I’m calling “OH MY GOD. All of our idols are getting very old and out of shape. Must see them now before they die.” In May, we saw Paul Simon (brilliant!) and in July we are seeing Paul McCartney (wanna go with? buy our extra tickets here!). I think Bruce Springsteen should be next on our list if he rolls back around to Chicago for obvious reasons. 
RIP
Who was crossed off the bucket list last night? I’ll give you a guess:
Except, he now looks like this:

Eeks! When your idols begin to look like Billy Joel, you know it’s time to lay down the money for tickets.

Give up? … Need a sledgehammer? 
Wow. When did I become that lame?
It’s Peter fucking Gabriel, you fools! Bow down to the Prog Rock King. BOW DOWN. 
Except, he’s less prog rock now. Last night’s show capitalized on one of my favorite albums of last year- Scratch My Back. No drums, no guitars, and covers of other people’s tunes. In fact, he started the whole show off with a melodramatic version of David Bowie’s (ah! add him to the list!) “Heroes.” The best part?
He was backed up by a MO FO’ ORCHESTRA of epic proportions:
Eat that Paul Simon and your four man Cajun band.
Prog King played 3 hours. Yes, at his age, 3 hours. His first set were mainly covers, including “My Body is a Cage” by Arcade Fire and a Regina Spektor song. Here’s him singing “Hereos” so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about:
Amazing. Right? Wish you could have all been there to share in the joy and beauty of it all. At one point, I was sitting with my jaw opened wide- taking in every note, but consciously thinking about how this was a once in a lifetime thing.
I grew up with Peter Gabriel, or with the help of him. As one of my dad’s favorite artists, I can fondly remember him singing every word to “Blood of Eden” or “Kiss the Frog” while we were driven home from softball games or grandma’s house. In a crazy time, Peter Gabriel was always there to say goodnight to us. And there to greet us when we got back in our dad’s truck. Sharing last night’s concert with my dad brought me to tears on several occasions (once being during his first set when Gabriel spoke of his own father and played Father and Son). 
I am thankful that I have the memories of singing Dont Give Up with daddy-o and my sister at my side as the orchestra played on in the background. We rocked back and forth, alternating verses. At one moment, my dad reached over to me when the lyrics crooned, “Dont give up. You still have friends.” It was in that moment that all the saddness I had carried over the last couple of months disappeared for a second. My dad, Gabriel, and the world were reassuring me that things are going to be alright.

Fears

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Sometimes I feel like my mom can easily pick out my biggest fear and just go at it. It’s pretty much harmless. She brings up a concern and it’s like… BAM… bye-bye self-confidence and hello self-loathing. It’s like she has this special psychic power to know what’s really bothering me so she can be sure to bring it up during our weekly phone conversations.

Today’s biggest fear: That I will lose my musicianship. I’m not going to be afraid to say it here that I am frightened of not being a music teacher and not being a regular player in a band or orchestra. I miss clarinet and I am totally afraid that not playing in a band means I wont be at the same level ever again (though it wasn’t at that high of level).
It kind of culminates with the fact that I’ve been upset that I am essentially wasting the wonderful degree I got (music education) on a job that means nothing to me. Four years spent crying over playing tests, pushing through lessons with the witch, dealing with gossip and pressure, pulling through music history papers, failing at auditions, etc… And I have nothing to show for it but one year teaching under my belt.
I’d like to continue playing in some capacity. I would love to teach a couple lessons here. But I have no connections in the city and all the community bands are tucked away in the suburbs. It’s another con to put on my list regarding my new location.
I’ll figure it out. I know I will. I just need a moment to mourn my loss of the dream job I always wanted. I just need some time to realize that what I worked so hard for wasn’t what I got in the end. I just need some time to pay off the mountains of student loans I just flushed down the drain for my current desk job that’s uninspiring and unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
End of ramblings.