People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobodies worries about kids listening to thousands – literally thousands – of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss.

Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

Change Is Hard/Tiring/Thrilling

“Nothing happens until something moves.”

- Einstein

The last two weeks have been quite a haul – I’ve started my new job (which I like far FAR more than I could have ever anticipated), hosted the final feast with our incredible Philly Phamily, packed up all of my stuff, deep cleaned our apartment and gone through all the fun steps required to set up a new home in a new city. It has left me with very little time to myself, let alone to write or cook. As badly as I want to blast some music and get baking I’m taking the advice from pretty much everyone I’ve spoken to during my more frazzled moments over the last month and a half and accepting that I just can’t do everything all of the time.

Right now I just have to make it to the weekend when I will greet the moving truck at our lovely new Brooklyn home and Ry and I will begin to unpack for the new adventures that lie ahead of us. Until then I’m going to keep my head down, focus on work and maybe take some notes on the noms and tunes I want to dig into once this limbo phase has passed.

In the mean time enjoy this fantastic list of the Top 20 Irish Indie Bands Nialler9 put together for eMusic or find me on Spotify. I’ve put together some totally bizarre but solid playlists during my daily commute to work.

Follow me on Spotify

“Don’t exist.
Get out, explore.
Challenge authority. Challenge yourself.
Change forever.
Become who you say you always will. Keep moving. Don’t stop. Start the revolution. Become a freedom fighter. Become a superhero. Just because everyone doesn’t know your name doesn’t mean you dont matter.
Are you happy? Have you ever been happy? What have you done today to matter? Did you exist or did you live? How did you thrive?
Become a chameleon-fit in anywhere. Be a rockstar-stand out everywhere. Do nothing, do everything. Forget everything, remember everyone. Care, don’t just pretend to. Listen to everyone. Love everyone and nothing at the same time. Its impossible to be everything,but you can’t stop trying to do it all.
All I know is that I have no idea where I am right now. I feel like I am in training for something, making progress with every step I take. I fear standing still. It is my greatest weakness.
I talk big, but often don’t follow through. That’s my biggest problem. I don’t even know what to think right now. It’s about time I start to take a jump. Fuck starting to take. Just jump-over everything. Leap.
It’s time to be aggressive. You’ve started to speak your mind, now keep going with it, but not with the intention of sparking controversy or picking a germane fight. Get your gloves on, it’s time for rebirth. There IS no room for the nice guys in the history books.
Make this moment your reckoning. Your head has been held under water for too long and now it is time to rise up and take your first true breath.
Do everything with exact calculation, nothing without meaning. Do not make careful your words, but make no excuses for what you say. Fuck em’ all. Set a goal for everyday and never be tired.”
Brian Krans, A Constant Suicide

A New Year

It was one year ago today that I got the news of my tumor. 365 days since the words “we found a mass,” drowned out all other noise in a busy emergency room. 52 weeks since everything – my body, mind, relationships, priorities – changed irrevocably. For most of that time I have been gently poking around my head and heart trying to fully understand what, other than the 6.5″ scar I now wear with pride, I am supposed to carry away from my experience.

I haven’t made any profound realizations nor done anything terribly drastic in the name of “needing to really live.” Nor have I tried to force myself to reach the kind of emotional clarity you read about in best selling memoirs. I have, however, made a very conscious effort to be present in my life – to make time for curiosity, to taste food fully, to tell my friends and family I love them, to observe the world around me, to put aside self-imposed stress in favor of indulging in silliness, to appreciate that one day last year I went to sleep with the very real chance that I wouldn’t wake up and to celebrate every day, that I did. I think the fact that my most innate reaction to what I went through is to simply go on living my life only with greater intention and purpose is a sign that I was doing an ok job before hand. While this does leave me with a comfortable sense of calm about the choices I have made and my ability to face difficulties in the future I am very much dedicated to marking the occasion as reason to slow down, spoil myself and really soak in the amazing people and places in my life.

So, now that I’ve given a year to fully recovering – with the absolutely incredible support, it should be said, of my friends, family and community – I am going to claim this next year as a year of adventure. From kitchen to concerts to starting a whole new chapter as a wife I am going to seek every opportunity afforded me because I survived, because I am lucky enough to have woken up.

2012 The Year Of Travel

“Ireland is a land of poets and legends, of dreamers and rebels. All of these have music woven through and around them. Tunes for dancing or for weeping, for battle or for love.”

2012 is off to a raring start. After two lovely weeks traveling for the holidays I came back to a bunch of unexpected travel plans. I spent most of last week in New York and I am leaving for Dublin on Monday for the week. While it’s a nice mix of work and play it is still going to be rather busy so I’m afraid I’ll be absent a little while longer. But who knows maybe I’ll get some time to write up the posts I have planned. Lots of new music to share and new recipes to put in front of you. I hope the new year is treating you fabulously.

“Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They teach you that music has boundaries. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.”

- Charley Parker

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.

- Elbert Hubbard

All the books we own, both read and unread, are the fullest expression of self we have at our disposal. … But with each passing year, and with each whimsical purchase, our libraries become more and more able to articulate who we are, whether we read the books or not.

- Nick Hornby

One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators.

I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.

—   Edward Abbey

“Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You cannot get there by bus, only by hard work, risking and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you will discover will be wonderful: Yourself.”

-       Alan Alda