Tag Archives: music

What I’m into: One-third life crisis edition

Maybe I’m having a 1/3 life crisis? Or maybe it’s just August and as with every fresh school year, I’m craving some new-ness and a chance to prove I’ve still got some youth left in me. Thankfully, one of my college roomies spent the weekend in Des Moines and rescued me from adulthood for a wee bit!

Musical Magic 

It’s not that I’m a music festival junkie but the fact that I didn’t even really even contemplate getting tickets to 80/35 or Hinterland this year bummed me out. I tried to bring the kids to the Beaverdale Bluegrass Fest and they melted down after like 15 minutes.

Then Joe and I both saw that Nathaniel Rateliff is playing GARP at Codfish Hollow next month and he managed to snag us a pair of tickets (and overnight babysitting!!!) for the show so we can camp there. Yes! I’ve heard the atmosphere is totally magical.

Bicycle love 

I’ve been hardcore mooning over a cargo e-bike, but those ladies are expensive. I was scheming how to pay for a new model (we did not win the #tourdmparks $1K). We wandered down to Ichi Bike on my day off on Friday and one of the older model Yuba Spicy Curry dream bikes I’ve been crushing on for well over two years was there, loaded with the accessories I needed.

It was a moment of serendipity and she will be home with us soon. I’m going to hold on to my Subaru for the time being, but it’s my goal to go down to one car after I survive the winter.

Sweet kicks 

Totally late to this party, but can we talk about Dansko sandals? Backcountry Outfitters was having their sale and  I swung by because they always stock quality shoes and I needed an alternative to the croc ballet flats I keep wearing to walk Wilbur and then forgetting to take off.

These Danskos are ridiculously comfortable (podiatrist approved!) and my kind of cute. Plus, now that I know they’re a B Corporation (meets social and environmental responsibility standards) I am a total convert. I snagged mine end-of-season clearance, too. Is my grandma showing here?

Oh, and two random things I wrote elsewhere lately:
Be Blue Ribbon-Worthy in the Workplace for LIFT Iowa
Raising a Feminist Son for Des Moines Moms Blog

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Tiny undies

It’s a battle of wills around our house lately, with one potty training kid who inherited his mom’s stubborn streak and another teether who lets you know with all her lung-power her desire to stay up late and chill like her dad. I’m whispering “this is a phase” to myself over and over and over and knowing that some day, I will sleep again and won’t be lugging a travel potty with me everywhere.

Some. Fine. Day.


There is really no good time in our go-go-go schedule to start potty training, but after we went to our little triplet friends’ third birthday party and I noticed all three of them in undies, it was settled. The next day, we were ditching the diapers and rolling up the carpets. This was our third attempt, so I already had a jar of gummy worms, stickers for a chart and a bunch of tiny boy undies. This time, I had the will and there’s no looking back. We did a couple days of setting alarms and making him try every 10 minutes or so, and it gave us some momentum to commit.

Thankfully, our summer babysitter has potty trained before, and got into it, too. It’s definitely going to be a long, accident-prone road, but I’m trying not to make potty training turn us into total shut-ins and only resorting to pull-ups at night, for nap and during wedding receptions when I want to keep my sanity. Emmett may have further “christened” a Church floor in Indiana this weekend. This photo is after our rest stop pee-s negotiations on the way up. We both got what we wanted, eventually. The struggle, though. Our second week has been way harder because we’ve been out of a routine.


Thankfully, Emmett did NOT pee at the Vaudeville Mews tonight, when I took him to see the ridiculous band Koo Koo Kanga Roo (mostly because my friend Danny’s band MAIDS was opening and I can really only go to his all-ages, 6:30 p.m. shows!) Emmett ran around in circles and ate ice out of a red solo cup and then barely fought bedtime, so I’d call it a win.


Let’s hope that’s the first and last time I bring a potty seat to the Mews, although honestly those bathrooms are so scuzzy, I’d probably prefer the Baby Bjorn. Right?


Also, completely unrelated but I started “The Girls” by Emma Cline on our car ride home from Indiana and it’s been a good, quick read so far. One of those summer books everyone’s packing for vacation.



Filed under family, Uncategorized

Currently digging

I’m not going to lie, we haven’t left the house much the past 10 days, except for doctor’s appointments. I knew theoretically that breastfeeding was going to be time consuming, but I really didn’t quite understand how all encompassing it is at first. My “What to Expect in the First Year” book was even like, Yeah, nobody told you it would be like this, or if they did, you wouldn’t believe them. Sucka. 


While bumming around the house, I’ve been listening to some new-to-me music: Father John Misty. It’s kind of a psychedelic alt-folk from the guy from Fleet Foxes. So good. I’m just looping his playlist on Youtube. Anything else you’d suggest?

Ridiculously late to the game here (like, 15 years late): I was more of the Gilmore Girls generation, but I just started watching Felicity on Netflix. (You can stream 80+ episodes!) I think this will get me through some bleary-eyed pumping sessions. I don’t know if there was any debate back in the day, but I am definitely on Team Noel.

On Saturday, we were determined to get down to the Farmer’s Market for some sunshine and, of course, a papusa. Emmett obliged like a champ. I almost cried listening to a violinist play Hallelujah“on the corner. Of course.


We picked up kale from Table Top Farms, green onion sausage from Crooked Gap, red pepper chevre from Reichert’s Dairy Air and some summer squash and Joe used them all to top a pesto-sauce pizza for dinner. It wasn’t a very photogenic pizza, but it was delicious.

On the positive side, I’m enjoying being able to touch my toes once again, and when I stepped on the scale yesterday, I already weighed in at 30 pounds less than I did at my last prenatal doctor’s visit! I have a feeling the last 20 will be a lot more difficult to lose, though. Yeah, do the math, I gained 50 pounds! I am going to argue that a good portion of that was water, but it’s a good thing my 10 year high school reunion isn’t until fall.

(Fellow new moms: this essay in The Atlantic, “What Nobody Remembers About New Motherhood” is a good one.)


Filed under music, What I'm into

Room to remember


This baby is due on June 4, exactly nine years and 364 days after my father died. I remember the bright sunshine of that afternoon, and feeling helpless as I watched his life slip away on the driveway, under the bay of windows that looked out of my childhood room. It’s strange to teeter on the verge of parenthood now and the things that remind me of him.

I don’t think of my dad – Papa –  when I stand among pine trees on a hike, and the wind tickles the needles. I don’t see him in a Bluebird perched on a fence, and I don’t often visit the grave site where he is buried. Instead, it’s in things like spotting an Eames lounge like the one I used to get in trouble for twirling on as a kid. It’s in imagining his appreciation for the Saarinen-designed dorms at Drake, or wondering if he was on the S.O.M. team that designed Cap Square.

Kneeling to cover a corner of the new nursery in a coat of paint, a wave of missing him came over me like I haven’t felt for a long time. I took in the light bouncing off the primed white walls and imagined my dad in the space, assessing and appreciating as an architect would. I could practically hear him telling me to keep the walls white in the same modern aesthetic that never really worked in our house when I was growing up. (We were more handprint smudges and clutter and dust than a page from DWELL. I’m the same, still.)

In my early teens, I rebelled against the white walls in my room. I picked out a can of Martha Stewart Batter Bowl Green and my dad taught me how to roll it on by making V-shapes instead of going straight up and down. This weekend, I let the tears fall as I retraced that motion with a shade of green on the walls of the nursery.

I realized that, in a strange way, building this room has helped me to feel like my papa is a part of his grandchild’s life, even though they’ll never meet. I could almost imagine him alongside Joe and his dad, working on the electrical, or there with another paint roller, helping even though he disagreed with the shade. (The heather gray hall walls, I know he’d like.) My dad and I refinished a dresser together once, and Joe uses it in our room. I think I’ll have to play Warren Zevon’s album “The Wind” when I paint over the baby’s this weekend. I wonder what will remind my baby of me when I’m gone.

Warren Zevon: Keep Me in your Heart

Shadows are falling and I’m running out of breath
Keep me in your heart for awhile
If I leave you it doesn’t mean I love you any less
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Sometimes when you’re doing simple things around the house
Maybe you’ll think of me and smile
You know I’m tied to you like the buttons on your blouse
Keep me in your heart for awhile


Filed under At home, Baby, Life lessons

Des Moines day-date: Lunch Unplugged

I’m not a very good party-all-night person. I think I made it to 1 a.m. a couple of weeks ago, to see my friend Andy DJ at the Mews, thanks to Shirley Temples, his power pop playlist and a good crowd, but staying up has been a struggle lately. (I’m going to attempt to blame it on the bump and night classes, but I’m pretty sure I’m just solidifying my status a lame old lady.) So it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a live show, and possibly longer since I’ve seen an artist I wasn’t already familiar with.

Enter, the concert lunch date!


Joe and I met up at the Temple for Performing Arts yesterday for “Lunch Unplugged.” We went to see Mieka Pauley.

I’d never heard of her, but was intrigued by how the series described her as a singer/songwriter whosepowerful alternative style melds together soul, blues, and rock, drawing comparisons to the likes of Ben Harper, Cat Power, Neko Case and Patty Griffin. She is the winner of the first ever Starbucks Emerging Artist Award, the Rocky Mountain Folk Festival Songwriter Showcase and the Rock Boat/BMI Song Contest. Mieka has performed over 650 shows in the past four years including bills with Eric Clapton, Jason Mraz, Citizen Cope, Wyclef Jean, Black Eyed Peas, John Legend and many others. Northeast Performer calls Mieka ‘a version of Sarah McLachlan with a switchblade in her shoe’.”

It was a fun show! I’m honestly not a huge fan of the Temple’s second floor stage as a concert venue (it feels really rigid and overly polite for some of the acts I’ve seen there), but it’s right upstairs from South Union. Of course, in the winter that means a hot sandwich and a big bowl of potato pepperjack soup, which is on my shortlist of things I miss about working downtown.


Mieka has a dark sense of humor that she kept up in her between-song-banter and the lyrics themselves. She struck me as sounding like a rebellious sister of Norah Jones who I could imagine sneaking out of a bedroom window at 2 a.m. with a guitar slung over her shoulder, headed out to play a show at an underground bar in the city. Listen Mieka’s Daytrotter session.

Check out the rest of the series, which includes piano, dance, opera, Americana and and another female singer/songwriter at desmoinesperformingarts.org/LunchUnplugged. (Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door and you can BYO lunch.)

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Filed under Des Moines Dates, I love Des Moines

Playlist of the moment

I mailed out a mix CD to my dear friend from high school who I never see because she’s been in grad school in California and was in the Peace Corps in Tanzania before that. I’ve been listening to it myself on repeat pretty much since, too. It’s a little bit like knowing you’re beneath the same pale moon, listening to the same mix.

This isn’t super helpful because I’m not linking directly to the songs, I know. Sorry!

Lowery ❤ Mix, II
Kick Drum Heart, The Avett Brothers
Laredo, Band of Horses
We Are The Tide, Blind Pilot
Heart’s On Fire, Christopher Denny
This Tornado Loves You, Neko Case
Born With a Broken Heart, David Wax Museum
Fall Song, Colourmusic
See Fernando, Jenny Lewis
Come and Get It, Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed
Douglas Douglass, Pearl and the Beard (who we saw at True/False this spring)
Reverend, Pearl and the Beard
Race you, Elizabeth and the Catapult
Rainy Day Medicine, Jenna Lindbo (my friend from Girl Scouts)
Cornbread And Butterbeans, Carolina Chocolate Drops
Say Yes, Langhorne Slim

What are you listening to? I need some music suggestions!


Filed under music

True/False tuneage

My brain is still reeling from the EIGHT documentary films I saw at the True/False Film Festival this weekend in Columbia, MO. The films create this mind-boggling yo-yo effect, the way they take you on a journey through macro issues in broad scope and compelling personal narratives that will bring tears to your eyes. It’s too much for me to type now, but I’ll share in a post tomorrow!

But first, a tiny taste of True/False busker awesomeness. I fell in love with Pearl and the Beard, a Brooklyn band that played before a few of the movies this weekend.

All three of the band members have spine tinglingly amazing voices, and their songs range from rollicking to almost ethereal. This latest music video doesn’t show the band, and it’s not at all what I pictured when they played this song live, but it’s gorgeous and makes me want to give hot pink yarn to all of the little girls I know.

Check them out!

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What I’m into

Back when I worked at Juice, the staff would contribute to a weekly column of random stuff we were “into” that week. In the same spirit, here are a few things that have me smiling:

Insane Art Formed by Carving Books with Surgical Tools

I saw a link to this on a Facebook friend’s wall and the intricate nature of this art was jaw-droppingly awesome. Pinterest is full of crafts that involve repurposing old books, but this goes so far beyond anything I’ve seen before. Talk about a word or image popping out at you. Isn’t this neat? Read more about Brian Dettmer’s process.


A whopping SEVEN women I’m close to (that I know of) are pregnant right now. I will confess that baby fever is catching. I sent this Fuel/Friends “Freshly Hatched” Mix to my friend Amy whose little baby bump is super adorable. Totally excited that there was a David Wax Museum song on it!


My college BFF Amanda is getting married in the Dominican this May and we bridesmaids get to wear Kelly Green dresses for the occasion. I might already own a Kelly Green dress, but this Modcloth number is calling my name:

If I get it now, I could wear it for St. Patrick’s Day, too! Speaking of, have you listened to The Chieftains new album? They sing with all sorts of awesome indie bands.

True story: I orchestrated a big family gathering to go see The Chieftains a couple of years ago. I made little doo-dads for everyone’s lapel and tiny leprechaun hats. It was so much fun!

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Filed under At home

What more could a girl ask for in a music video?

Audrey Tautou, bicycles, the (French? I assume) countryside and a handsome man singing a song that will get stuck in your head:

Discovered while searching for pretty bikes. (Mental note to go on the Tweed Ride next year. I think we were out of town this time.)

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What I’m listening to

It feels like it’s been such a long time since I’ve sought out new music, but when I stopped by Ephemera the other day, Arin had Laura Marling streaming and I must say she is totally delightful:

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