Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Chance Blues: Music Makes It All Better

Would it be going too far to say that music is my master, to use a phrase my son loves? That a favorite song can lift me out of the doldrums or gird me in a blanket of commiseration when I need to go through, instead of around, my own heartache?

If you know me well enough, you'd say yes.

I can be in the worst mood, feeling lost, totally adrift, and the right music can pull me back to the safety of the shore. No matter what the problem, music can overpower it, giving me a new chance to get beyond it.

Such was the case last Saturday when the hormones struck, pushing me under the tidal wave of Lost Hope and Depression. I found myself frustrated and hopeless about everything from the fact that I haven't succeeded in Life in the ways I want  to the sad existence of my four eight-year old post-baby pooch, which admittedly is waaaaaay smaller than it once was, but is. still. there.

Oh yeah. And I was also pissed off because there are people who are younger than me. How dare they be in their early 30s just starting their families when I'm in my very early 40s with a pre-pre-teen with a smart mouth?! (I must pause to say that I really wish I knew how to type an interrobang!)

So...I spent a good 45 minutes Saturday night on the way to Athens, bemoaning the sorry state of my existence and listening to my very wise husband explain to me the error of my ways, offering some pretty good advice and some crazy advice (Hire a housecleaner to clean so you can work more. Uh...I actually need to be working more first so I can pay the housekeeper.).

By the time we got to Athens, I was willing the tears pricking the backs of my eyes not to tumble forth and embarrass me in front of the friends we were meeting. I was also counting the moments until we took our seats in UGA's Hodgson Hall and  Punch Brothers came on stage. I knew the music would make it all better.

And did it ever. What an amazing bunch of talent! From the first notes of You Are to Chris Thile's playing a beautiful Bach piece by himself as the first song of their encore, I was transported. Nothing mattered more than the last note Thile sang on their song Alex. There was never anything more fun and exuberant than the raucous fun of Rye Whiskey or more beautiful than the harmonies those four sexy young gentlemen sang on their rendition of  The Beatles' Paperback Writer. When I'm listening to good music, I am right there and no where else.

No worries about anything. Just the moment.

The show flew by and while I wanted more (I always want more!), I couldn't be sad because it was absolutely one of the best shows I've seen in years. And I had seen Punch Brothers at the Variety in the fall. Better than that one, even. Except for the part where we were sitting down. I'm a get up and dance kind of girl.

Still, though.... A magical evening, made better by being with friends we don't often see, by being in Athens,  and the great drinks at Highwire after the show.

Now I'm counting down until the next show. Scott has a few coming up including a show in Nashvegas and playing at Finster Fest this spring. I can't wait. Until then, it's up to the iPod to carry me away.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Get The Party Started: iTunes Giveaway at I'm Still Standing for SITSGirls 31DBBB Participants

Shelly, special needs mom, advocate, blogger extraordinaire, and all-around amazing woman, as well as  host of the February 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge at SITSGirls wants you to come to the party. The blogging party, that is.

Over the course of the last 10 days or so (the challenge began on Feb. 1, but we only have exercises on weekdays), Shelly has led us through Darren Rowse's ProBlogger Book, one lesson at a time. So far, I've refined my elevator pitch, been reminded of the power of networking, and of using available resources like Google Alerts and forums to which you already belong, as well as using a variety of different writing techniques, like lists, to spice up your blog. I found it very useful to be reminded of the importance of internal linking which I tend to overlook, but the most important thing I've gained since starting this exercise is inspiration and a framework within which to make the changes I need to make.

For too long, I was of the mind that "If you write it, they will come." I thought about what I was writing, but not how I was presenting the information or how I was marketing it. For a while I did work to build genuine relationships with other bloggers, but I see now how much more effort is required if I want to grow this blog and build a shared community for other like-minded fellows. (For the record, I do.)

Even though I had to play catch-up because I started late and I've had other writing projects this week that caused me to do days 7 & 8 and 9 & 10 of the challenge on the same days, I'm still in the game and having fun.

And so are a lot of other bloggers! I've been impressed with both the quantity and quality of the other bloggers participating. To celebrate our making it 1/3 of the way through the challenge, Shelly is giving    away a $20 iTunes gift card to one blogger who posts about the challenge and comments on her blog.

It's still not too late to join the challenge, either...