A dollar a day . . .

. . . keeps the doctor away. (Or was that an apple? Anyway.)

Since the inception of 2011, my lil’ band has been playing a monthly gig at CityGrounds coffee bar in Lincoln Park, every second Saturday. Last month was no different, and following the long tradition of bad weather on gig days, it drizzled rain . . . and then poured rain. As the sun made its descent behind a blanket of dark clouds, Carrie crooned “Stormy Weather,” and the rain pattered on the patio, driving people inside. I thoroughly enjoyed the storm–the cool breeze was delightful, and we were safely inside the coffee shop by the time it really started coming down. I’ll take rain over heat any day, and this was much more enjoyable than ending the gig drenched in my own sweat (like the previous month–ay ay ay!).

Unlike past performances in which we’ve played in the upper room of the coffee shop, last month we played downstairs angled against the coffee bar itself, with the pastries to our backs and the whizz and staccato of the espresso machine and steamer as our percussion. It was completely lovely, and it was the most fun I’ve had at a gig to date. The vibes were just . . . vibin’, I guess.

As usual, we had our Tip-Top (an upside-down top hat) on a little table, and welcomed people to contribute to our cause, especially since we’d love to acquire enough funds to make a recording at some point soon.

Guess how much money I made?

Yup. And unless you’re thinking that the crowd was hangin’ on to their wallets a little tightly that evening, that was not the case! We were tipped quite generously, and I’m happy to say that the proceeds finished paying off our current band debt (i.e., the cost of microphones, mic stands, various cables, etc.–though we’re still mooching our PA and mixer off of the generous Petras). So after getting back in the black, $3 remained. $1 for Carrie, $1 for Eric, and $1 for me.


Needless to say, I don’t do it for the money.

Though the money does look waaaaay cooler when it’s posterized and rendered in black and white.

See? All of a sudden that dollar seems so much more . . . hip. And it’s mine. The ring is mine, Sam!

I also experienced less nerves during our last performance than possibly ever before. It is my goal to lose my stage fright by a year from now. And I don’t mean the butterflies–those are fine–I just mean the sensation that I am going to die, or possibly squawk instead of sing (and seems worse than death in the moment). See, whenever I’m in charge of starting out a song or singing the lead, there’s a sinking “whoosh!” that starts in my stomach and moves through my whole body, like the adrenaline rush you experience on a roller coaster. It takes my breath away–and I need my breath to make that first note, dang it! I want to make music unaffected by nerves–I want to be a strong performer. A confident performer. Progress is happening!

And on that note, tomorrow is . . . cha cha chaaaaaan . . . the second Saturday of September! So we’ll be back at CityGrounds. And–no surprise–Carrie tells me rain is in store for us again. If you’re in Chicago, come out and see us! Here’s our facebook event page in case you’re in the mood to RSVP and make our day by saying you’ll come.

For those of you who are nowhere near Chicago, see you Monday, and have a fabulous weekend gals and guys!


Jenna ‘Giggin’ for Dollars’ Schmatterthwaite*

P.S. Feel free to look us up and follow us on our band’s facebook page as well as our website!

*my husband’s affectionate variation on my last name

17 thoughts on “A dollar a day . . .

  1. Anon

    That is so wonderful Jenna. I am truly happy for you and smiling!

    I actually went to high school with that last name. I kid you not. hee

  2. Veronica

    That’s great that you were able to pay off your debt and still got paid a dollar! LOL, it sounds funny but that’s very cool! You need to frame that dollar girl, just like restaurants frame their first dollar. 🙂 When you say YOUR last name, do you mean you didn’t take your husband’s last name when you married? No judgment, just curious.

    1. Jenna

      You are right! I didn’t change my last name when I got married. At the time I was much more connected to my Spanish heritage, and there the women don’t change their names (the child gets both last names, but only passes on the last name of the father to their children, if that makes sense). So I guess having grown up in that culture, I didn’t really see the point of changing it. Plus, I feel pretty connected to my name. If I were to get married now, I would consider changing it, because after 10 years in the States it’s started feeling more natural to me, but that’s my story. =)

      1. Veronica

        That’s very interesting! I did not know that was part of their culture. I was happy to change my last name, but had hoped for something a little more exciting. I went from a Davis, which I consider the plainest of plain, to Miller, which probably the only reason I thought was a smidge more interesting was because it was new to me. Ha! Hey, do the women wear wedding rings on their right hands there? I knew a Spanish lady that did and I never asked her about it–at the time I assumed she just didn’t know which finger to put it on.

  3. Veronica

    Not related, but I wanted to see if you got the juicer promised by the fairy Hobmother. They are willing to give me a $50 gift certificate to Amazon but I don’t want to agree and spread the word only to find it’s a hoax for free advertising. Please let me know! 🙂

    1. Jenna

      Yes! I got the juicer about 3 days after I posted about it. It’s sitting in my kitchen right now, and I plan to make my first juice in it this weekend. It’s legit! Not sure why they’re doing these giveaways, or if it pays off in terms of a marketing strategy, but there you have it!

      1. Veronica

        Well, they asked me to link to them when I did the mention on my blog. I don’t think you did, but it might help them if they have most bloggers do that. If it’s done completely in secret, the payoff would be awfully small! Thanks for letting me know, I’ll have to get on that!

  4. Kimby

    A diller, a dollar… oh wait, that’s another thing entirely. Congratulations on making a PROFIT, Jenna!

    Re: stage fright… my piano teacher told me it was perfectly acceptable to have it. Use the “energy” from it — and make any and all butterflies fly in formation. 🙂

    1. Jenna

      Haha! Yeah, at this rate I’ll be a rich rock star within the next couple months, eh? Minus the ‘rock’ part . . . and minus the ‘rich’ part . . . and minus the ‘star’ part . . . =)

  5. Twinky

    I love that you are overcoming stage fright…. and by the way, that whoosh feeling that’s like an adrenaline rush??? that IS an adrenaline rush!!! Forced, intentional deep breathiing helps to bring it under control, or at least that’s what I used to do. Wish we could be there for all your gigs. Recording sounds like a great idea!! Luv Schmuv!

    1. Jenna

      Believe me, I love it too (the less stage fright part) . . . we’ll see after the gig tonight! (By the way, we’re singing “Denali,” which I just wrote on Tuesday! I’m pumped. Eric is playing the harmonica for it and it sounds awesome! =)

    1. Jenna

      Besides a couple jazz standards (Stormy Weather and probably one other), it’s all original songs written by the 3 of us. We’re doing two (different) 50 minute sets. A few of the songs (just live recordings using GarageBand on Eric’s Mac) are on our website, and I have a player on this blog under ‘music’ if you want to get a feel for our style. You live in the Chicago area, right? You’re definitely welcome to join us! =)

  6. Joanne

    Gah! What I wouldn’t give to be in Chicago for you performance!

    I feel like rain will set the perfect ambiance for your performance. Plus everyone wants coffee when it’s raining!


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