Month: September 2017

I Miss Sleep!

I have been having trouble getting enough sleep between checking out other bands and clubs at night and working my day job. It is a very full life with little time for anything else; but I enjoy it as long as I get inspiration for my songwriting. If you hide your head in the sand, nothing will come to you. You need to get out and experience the world around.

I am not sure what healthy sleep is but I know I am not getting it. I feel tired in the morning and not well rested. I have trouble getting out of bed. Sound familiar? Many people suffer from a lack of good sleep and by that I mean a full seven to eight hours and nothing less. Sleep deprivation causes all kinds of problems in the physical arena, but I am most concerned about mood, stamina, and alertness. When you lack these, you are not operating at optimum level.

I know the protocol; I have read it all online at https://www.berightlight.com/what-is-healthy-sleep/. You dim the lights and maintain a soft, cozy, and comfortable environment. You don’t eat or drink for an hour before bed and you stop all that texting and reading on your cell phone if you expect to nod off promptly. It shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes. As for me, I have all kinds of thoughts going around in my head or I hear music. It is so hard to stop the din if you have had a busy day.

Friends suggest I eat dinner earlier and not when I get home from clubbing or socializing. I get it. They also recommend more exercise earlier in the day, perhaps the morning, so I can tire my body out. It is important to do everything I mentioned as a routine and you will therefore clock your required sleeping hours. They promise me more energy as a result which seems like a contradiction, but it is not.

I have a plan that I will execute starting tonight so I can report back to you shortly. I expect to wake up refreshed and start a new life—one of well-being, strength, purpose, and….sleep! I don’t want to sacrifice my lifestyle and think that only a few adjustments will be necessary. I always thought a drink or two would send you to slumberland a few hours later, but it is not always the case. It works the reverse if you have too many. The beer is the first think to go. Next, I vow to get home at least one hour earlier if I am out with friends. I get revved up so to speak. I need time to wind down. I also know not to start writing a song or reviewing music I have heard recently as it keeps me awake for a long time.

There you have my advice in a nutshell, or blog, on healthy sleep and why it is so important to your life.

It Started out Good…

My life revolves around music – listening, writing, and sharing with friends. I am always open to new artists. I can enjoy my favorites when I am alone or at a social gathering. Each offers an authentic experience. Music helps me find my groove. When something is that important to you, it becomes incorporated in your life 24/7. When I want to relax, I find a quiet spot and put the earphones on. When I am hyper it goes on loud and clear. Then there are the contemplative times when I am writing music and/or lyrics. If I get a creative surge, I can go for hours without a break. I think you get the basic picture. We all have our own unique way of indulging in our passion. Music to me is the essence of life. I feel like I am going around with background music like in a movie. I can hum to myself and compose as I meander about town.

There is also a novelty side to all this when I want to have some fun. Recently, I had the wild idea to record a song with friends using random sounds in the mix to make it really different. I wrote some goofy lyrics that set the mood for us to innovate and improvise. I am not sure which was worse! I had hopes for the natural sounds, some of them industrial and recognizable like a roaring vacuum cleaner, an electric mixer on high, and a toaster popping up every ten seconds (that took some editing). Other sounds you would simply have to guess. A prominent element was a clicking sound that came from a friend wearing soccer cleats. While it sounds ridiculous and farfetched, it was the most effective sound in the experiment.

The quality and clarity was due to walking quickly across a wooden floor. It might have been even louder on tile or marble. It would have been better to be consistent with this musical direction and try all possibilities for comparison. I had envisioned a medley of odd sounds with the cleats as the central motif. My friend did his best, but I would have preferred someone more imagination. We had borrowed them for a friend and he later told us he wore soccer cleats for wide feet. Such are the restraints we encountered that wacky day. Our most important musician was a real novice.

After the song had been recorded and edited by one friend with the necessary audio equipment, we all sat around to evaluate our effort. We were not at all surprised that the “music” was not very good. It had started out well and I had the best intentions as the ring leader of the project, but ultimately it failed to impress. I guess there is always a next time. At least we had a great time. There is a lot to say about the value of having fun as a group.

Unwanted Guests!!!

As a singer, songwriter, and musician, I live a different kind of life from most. I am either practicing, entertaining, performing, researching and listening to my favorite genre of music, or attending concerts, large and small. I am always out it seems. I crave some time at home. A little relaxation should spark my creativity. I get enough stimulation in the world, but I have to digest it and turn it into something valuable.

When at home, I like a clean and tidy apartment. I do regular vacuuming but the old boy is breaking down. I don’t have the funds right now to buy a state-of-the-art Shark. This is one of the best brands around and they have every model from an upright to a canister. They’ve received top marks from The Vacuum Challenge as well. Someday I will get one and make my work easier. My old model seems to smell as if the motor were burning out. I feel sorry for it. I have the Shark at the top of my wish list and everyone knows about it!

The other day at home, while resting from a busy day, I spotted a cockroach running across the kitchen floor. This must be where he lives. Yikes. Roaches denote dirtiness, the kind you never want to encounter at home. Maybe I forgot to clean along the baseboards, under the stove and refrigerator, and below the sink. I expect to see a few carcasses there. Horrors. I called my mom in a panic, but I knew what to do. I had to catch it or run out and buy a bug spray for this particular creature. I could also call an exterminator which seemed to be the best idea of them all. After he rid my place of nastiness, I would vacuum up.

As I moaned and groaned on the phone for about an hour, mom gave up and offered to send enough money for both the new Shark and the professional exterminator. Parents can jump in when you really need them. While I like being independent and on my own at this stage in my life, I welcome the help. I will accept the money with gratitude and proceed to order my vacuum on line. In a few days, I will deal with all future problems, including roach infestation.

I went ahead and called the exterminator that day, hoping he would be able to send a bill. I wanted all roaches to be gone! He agreed to come in two hours so I could restore my previous state of calm. I couldn’t wait. Once the roach was out of there, I could breathe again. I first had to wait a couple of hours for the poison to dispel. I went for a walk and stopped by the local music store. They sell sheet music, new and old, and various instruments. I tried out a few guitars and then chatted with the owner about our common interests. It was soon time to return home and get back to normal life – sans roaches.

Should I Get a Real Job?

It is hard to make a living as a singer, songwriter, and musician unless you get a record contract, write for the top-tier, and hit it big. Well, I have my dreams and have moved to the coast to be near the heart of the industry. So far, I have been doing fine. However, I worry about downtimes and the possibility of having to take a “real job.” Creative people aren’t keen on ordinary day jobs as you can imagine. They don’t fit into a rigid corporate environment, the legal or medical spheres, and probably are not suited for sales. If you have to make a living, you must compromise. Maybe the high-tech world has a place for an “artist.” However, I don‘t exactly have advanced computer skills.

Giving it a lot of thought while daydreaming about the future, I took a long, hard look at my past. Have I done anything that I could resurrect and make it into a career? Suddenly, I remember that as a high school student, I took a lot of shop classes to avoid math and science. They taught wood working and welding, great skills for a guy, but what about a young girl? I wasn’t going in this direction for sure as my music aptitude appeared quite young. I did it to enjoy myself and help dad around the house. I had a brainstorm. I would look into apprenticeships first and then research qualifications to be a union welder at Rate My Welder and find out what the professionals make.

I learned a lot in the process, enough to determine whether or not I would ever consider this possibility. It was odd for sure, but not improbable. More and more women are entering the field, something unheard of decades ago. Union membership means better money and benefits. I am a little concerned that I would have to go to a trade or vocational school to bring my skills up to par. I wouldn’t mind if it were short term and didn’t cost a bundle. I read that scholarships are readily available. After training, I would seek certification.

Meanwhile, I got excited about the world of welding. After all, welding helps build the world. Many types of manufacturing require joining metal part such as the auto industry and housing construction. I was pleased to see that statistics show that welders are still in demand. They can work independently and go freelance or join a crew. I know that you have to be physically and mentally fit and I presume that I would quality. It is not for the clumsy and careless. I know from personal experience, that you can’t learn welding from a book. It pays to accept a variety of jobs to hone your skill at handling various types of equipment for MIG, TIG, arc and more. If you market yourself properly, you can command a salary of about $75,000 to $85,000 depending upon where you live. It sounds pretty good.