Zoë’s Music

Here are a couple of songs Zoë has published on her YouTube channel.  Yesterday, she recorded a cover.

And an original she recorded in late summer.



My last post was about the effects of low income (in our case the roller coaster effect) on the education and health of families. For our family, it also puts our lives under the microscope for us to show us what is really important and what is just junk.

I can bemoan the last decade of living at the beach as pure hell, but it hasn’t been.  It’s given us moxie to know that we can push forwards through anything.  In the long run, the ups and downs have also taught us that we have each others’ back.  I realize that we have always had love but there is more to marriage than just love.  Anyone who has been married more than a month knows that, so I won’t tread down that path today. I can say we both had a lot to learn, as we married and had children very early in our relationship, so we had to discover about our strengths and weaknesses while getting to know each other and raise kids.  I am so grateful that we made it through the hills and valleys of the last 15 years.

Our family is truly the center of our lives.  Seeing them grow up into the people they are destined to be is amazing.  Listening to them breathe while they are sleeping is heaven. Even when we are arguing with them, there is love and dedication.  Feeding them good, wholesome food, while sitting around our table talking and laughing is the best feeling ever for me.  Geoff and I laugh that we have raised a bunch of nerds because of all the debates that go on at the table during our meals.  We love it.

imageThis time has also shown how we want to create our future and also progress in our careers.  In regards to Geoff’s music, it’s time to transform his sound.  Here, at the beach, the need has been for cover songs.  My dyslexic husband, who said he could never learn lyrics, has conquered his inability to remember lyrics.  He has a notebook that is 5+ inches thick of songs that he now performs.  That seems like nothing, but for those with dyslexia, learning that many songs is a gigantic accomplishment.  Without that, he would have never been able to even tryout for NBC’s The Voice.  Even then, he did not use his battle with Addison’s Disease, severe eczema or his dyslexia as “his story” that shows like The Voice build around their contestants.  He did not want to say a word about any of those challenges to bring focus to himself.  One day, he will publicly talk about it when it is the right time for him.

For me, this pressure that makes “diamonds out of coal,” is changing and returning me to my love of natural health and healing.  I am not going to be peddling anyone else’s wares from now on, unless it is a product that is complementary to what I am creating in my own work.  As I delve into my studies of Aromatherapy, I realize how much I already know from my past experience in working in the natural body care industry.  So, look out for new and exciting things coming from me regarding Aromatherapy and Herbalism!  And by the way, diamonds really are not made from coal.

All in all, new chapters are starting for our family.  Geoff is working on reinventing his sound. I am working on my love of natural health.  The kids are doing great in school.  The 9 chapters of “Life at the Beach” look to be coming to an end.  It is time.

Breathing through it all, coming full circle, puppies, plus other musings

As you might know, this last year and a half has been crazy for us.  I can’t believe I haven’t even had a breath to be able to post on here, although I don’t think I had the brainpower, either.  We are still working through a lot of the issues that developed during the “record label gone bad” era of 2013-2014.  Hoping to have complete, no looking back, closure on that soon.

Grad school took a lot out of me this last year.  It gave me a lot, but it took so much more.  It wasn’t for me.  That doesn’t mean school isn’t for me, but getting my MBA at a very typical business school is not the path that I ever need to take again.  More on that in a moment.

Years like this last one make you realize what is important to you.  They also refocus you.  While in grad school, I rejoined Arbonne, as I had posted in November.  In doing so, my life was returned to me full circle, but on a different path.  Earlier this year, I was introduced to a company called Neal’s Yard Remedies and in the U.S. it is Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic.  It is the most amazing, ethical company I have ever seen and I left Arbonne immediately as a working consultant.

With NYRO, I am not selling my soul for a dollar.  Nothing against Arbonne or any other company but after being in the natural healthy & beauty industry, I know too much to really be able to “love” a company that’s not completely the real deal, where I am concerned. Full disclosure is incredibly important to me regarding ingredients in products.  Fair Trade, non-GMO and organic are also important to me. Safe practices in education for the consultant and consumer regarding product usage are also high on my list of priorities.  I am promoting the life that I want to live and not some product line that is overpriced, selling someone a magic oil or asking anyone to join something that I am not fully comfortable with.

Once that occurred there was a snowball effect.  I realized that I was really struggling through my MBA.  I had great grades besides 1 C in my second accounting class, but even I hated being around me while in grad school.  Because NYRO is based on aromatherapy, I realized I could go back to one of my first loves. I re-applied to aromatherapy school and was accepted! (I had originally applied to the same school in 2001-2002.)  I start in the fall and cannot wait.  It has been my lifelong dream to become a Registered Aromatherapist and either a Master Herbalist or go into Holistic Nutrition.  First, aromatherapy.

Now, the dog.  Let’s just say that the kids have been begging for a puppy, especially River.  All she wanted was a dog.  Nothing more.  So, we started looking.  And we tried to foster through the local no-kill shelter.  But the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, a musician friend of Geoff’s said his neighbors had 2 corgi puppies.  I started texting the owner.  On St. Patrick’s Day, we went to see the two, only to make a decision on which one we wanted.  Little did we know we’d come home with the runt of the litter in our arms, but she stole our heart and the breeder said we could take her home.  Her name is Lili.

wpid-img_20150521_234454.jpgI had never really paid much attention to corgis at all and now we see them everywhere in the media.  Plus, everyone who meets her loves her little bouncy craziness.  She’s stinking adorable, although I can’t wait for her to get through the ankle biting, pooping in the house stage.  Those habits are insane.  Plus, she thinks she can make friends with Bella, our almost 22 year old cat by barking loudly at her.  Well, first of all, Bella can’t hear much anymore, but she can still hiss and swipe at a feisty puppy.

So now we have a 5 month old puppy, 21+ year old cat, 3 year old guinea pigs, plus the 2 year old, almost 9, 12 & 14 year olds.  Life is certainly never boring and many times, head-spinningly loud.  When Geoff wants quiet, I think he must be in the wrong damn house!  When is that ever going to happen?  That’s why I try to get up before everyone, so that I can at least have 45 minutes with no one talking to me and drink my coffee.  That rarely happens and no one understands my glare at them over my mug in the morning.

One thing I know about the last year is that I don’t want our income based solely on music.  It’s to volatile and the highs and lows are too much to handle, especially mentally and health-wise.  We cannot live another year like that.  We have lived 9 years with music being “it” for income. It’s a roller-coaster that I want off of.  That doesn’t mean that I want Geoff to stop music or that I will stop running the “back-end” of things, but it means that it’s going to be balanced as soon as it possibly can with my income.  I want to “give” Geoff the ability to perform when and where he wants to, not just “gigging” because he has to.

I am excited about my new path because it allows me the flexibility to still be mom to these growing kids. Life with them under our roof doesn’t last too long and I want to be with them, even when we are getting on each others’ nerves, while we have a chance.

River will be in 9th grade this year and already have 6 credits going in .  That means that she can graduate at 16.  The same with Zoë when she is heading into high school.  They will do associates degrees through dual enrollment until they are 18, but it makes me realize how time really does fly. Hunter has just a little bit more of elementary school and Zuri is still a little, head-strong fireball.

I hope to be posting more over the coming weeks and months. Time to get my head out of the sand and move forwards.

What a bumpy year

If anyone had told me how many twists and turns 2014 would take, I would have laughed and quite possibly hid under my covers for 365 days.  Geoff and I have been down many crazy paths before, but this one took the cake.  Overall, it drew us closer together, therefore I am grateful.  All I have to say to the Universe is, “Thanks for the lessons. We learned them.  Let’s move forward!”

We saw the loss of the record company that produced Geoff’s album.  In that, we saw a good guy go bad (really bad) and how one person’s actions can destroy so much.  On the flip side, we saw that you have to have serious internal controls in a company and if you have someone (especially the president) in the company saying, “Oh, just give him/her some more time, they will get it done…” that means that your warning lights should be going off loudly and that the person in charge is not focusing on the business as s/he should be.  When the warning lights do go off, don’t let someone keep you from blowing the whistle on the whole damn thing.  Not blowing the whistle can cause so much more destruction than the damage that is temporary when you do speak up.

That loss is what prompted me to go to business school to get my MBA.  I was tired of being pushed to the side and not included in business decisions.  My MBA is my “middle finger” to those who kept me from being more involved in the business last year because they were more “experienced.”  Well, hell, look where their experience got us.  I have a list a mile long of things that need to be corrected (many of them already done) and things that should have been done that weren’t.

We are thankful for those that reached out with love and support so that we did not fall completely.  Some people in this world have giant hearts.  They are angels on Earth.

Note to artists of any kind: Take business classes.  Be able to run your own business so that you can have more control of what goes on.  It is what we are requiring of our children.  They have the opportunity to get their AA’s in Business Administration before they finish high school.  One of them actually loves her high school finance class (and she’s in 6th grade).  She is thinking about going to business school.  I never thought I’d say this because I was so anti-business school while I was in my undergraduate studies, but I am damn proud of her!  And it means that there is a fall back when there aren’t opportunities in their artistic fields.

My beautiful, spunky mother-in-law, Josephine Pickett Morton passed away a month and 2 days ago.  I still have not had time to mourn the loss of my only mother figure in my life.  She always called.  She always laughed.  She always said, “I love you.”  I miss her every day, but I have not been able to slow down and really cry.  She knew it was her time because she called all of her kids and talked to them that morning.  She was very clear in her message to be good to each other.  Less than an hour later, she was gone.  For her, it was a blessing to go like that.  I am so glad she did not suffer.  There’s just a lot of people who miss her dearly.

The week we went to Baltimore was a whirlwind and we came back to Geoff jumping on stage that night and me jumping into my classwork.  We still haven’t recovered from traveling.

Then comes the final punch in the stomach.  We worked our butts off, had support and kept moving.  We thought we had Geoff booked for a month at the restaurant.  He walked in one day to set up and they said that they are changing things up and do not need him anymore.  No notice whatsoever was given.  We had already been working on future plans, but the cushion was yanked out from under us.  It wasn’t a thick cushion at all and I believe it was crippling our forward movement.

Lots of good things have happened this year, too, including getting through this year and learning a great deal. It is simply time to move on to bigger and better things.  Being a big fish in a small pond can cripple your career and it was never part of our master plan anyway.  We have also learned that having a tight inner circle is quite important to one’s personal and business life. We are developing that right now because it’s true that “No man is an island…”  We have definitely learned that one this year.

Come on 2015!  You cannot get here soon enough!