May 29, 2009

Exhaustion Sets In


What a week.

I've spent the last month preparing for an Exciting Musical Opportunity that took place last night. It's not the sort of thing I can explain at length here, sadly, but I'll give you all the juicy details when it all blows over. I will say that the experience has been both flattering and terrifying, and I occasionally (usually) feel totally out of my league.

That being said...

I now have a lot more faith that I'll be able to turn music into an actual career someday, which is not something Practical Stella would normally consider. Just gotta slay that debt, baby.

Anyways, now my voice is tired, my fingertips hurt, and I could use a good sleep. The only musical event on the horizon is my show at the Black Sheep next Sunday (the 7th) and then I'm pretty sure I've got nothing booked for a while.

By the way, you're all invited to that show... It's a matinee, my favourite, starting at 4pm. There will be plenty of songwriters there, and we're releasing a CD of recordings from the Gallery concert series (the church that houses the music studio where my album was recorded). And I'll be playing with my cousin Brian! He's the best.

Got all that? There will be a test later.

Unrelated: My notebook arrived in the mail and now my life is complete. I missed that pile o' papers something fierce.

So here's the deal. I'm giving myself a year to get in awesome financial shape.

Yes, it's a little (a lot) overly-optimistic, considering how tight things are around here, but I've crunched the numbers and I think I can do it. My goals are pretty simple: pay off my post-album loan (yup, it's still there), pay off my credit card, be balanced by next spring.

I've got several motivating factors pushing me, other than simple common sense.

I'd like to have a clean slate when my BH finishes his degree so that we can tackle his student debt with the ferocity of a rabid mountain lion when he starts working. I can't do that if I'm still paying off my own loans.

I'd also like to have some wiggle room if I want to record another album, which will hopefully have some grant money attached to it, but still. Albums always have unexpected hiccups and I need to be able to manage them. I also want to be able to record even without grant money, although the thought of producing another self-financed behemoth makes me want to cry.

I'd like to buy a house someday, and I'm not going to get a great mortgage if I'm dragging debt behind me on my way to get approved.

I'd like to go to Japan next year without having panic attacks about money every time I take a train. That's a really stressful way to travel.

This is my grand plan. Let's see if I can do it. Jesus, it already feels like I have a giant countdown clock looking over my shoulder. I figure that I'm never going to accomplish this without being really aggressive, so aggressive I will be. Grrrrrrr.

Also, hallelujah, the Vinyl Cafe is going to play one of my songs on their show this weekend!!! I love them with the fire of a thousand suns. I actually feel a bit guilty that I don't have a shiny new album to offer them, but I think it speaks well of the old one if they're playing it two and a half years after the release.

Three cheers for the CBC! They make this whole songwriting thing feel really damn rewarding.

May 26, 2009

Go Morty Go!


I left my notebook at a gig in Almonte last month.

For those of you who do not know me personally: I am hopelessly addicted to my notebook. Chronic listmakers get a bit twitchy when they don't have their goods with them. I don't know how I forgot to put it in my purse when we left the venue, but since I was also using it to hold my set list that night, I imagine that I forgot it on the stage. Lame.

Upon realizing that it was missing, I told myself to keep calm (after frantically not keeping calm and tearing apart my gig bag) and contacted the organizers to get it back. I hadn't heard anything since I sent off that e-mail. Something snapped in my brain today, so I made some calls, and spoke with the lovely wife of the person I was trying to reach. She's going to mail it to me, and assured me that she understood my twitchy nervousness, being a notebook addict herself. Thank goodness.

Losing my notebook for the better part of a month has made me reevaluate how I store my information. While the lists I keep may not be of value ot anyone but me, I go nuts without them. I store random phone numbers in there, addresses, recipes, songs and gift ideas among other things. I'm now in the process of getting better organized so that next time this happens, I'm not totally fucked. I feel better about it already. Operation Back-up Lists!

In completely unrelated news, Morty had a play date with a pit bull / shar pei / lab mix doggie last night and got humped so vigorously that he eventually just lay on the ground and sighed. Apparently my dog is quite the catch. I laughed so hard I nearly shot wine out of my nose. Go Morty go!

Oy. The vacation is over.

It's funny, but I only spent one week at home and going back to the office already seems strange. I think I'm destined for non-office work within the next five years. Let's call it a gut feeling.

I left you a little teaser about the good queer fun at Certain Sort Friday night, but instead of writing about it on Saturday, I hopped in a car and drove to Montreal. And then drove back. Okay, I wasn't the one driving, but all that exhausting Montreal goodness sapped me for posts.

Last year's Certain Sort is a blur, one which I will blame entirely on lychee martinis. This year I was working the door, so you'd think that I would be more careful with my booze intake. Not so! While I wasn't slurring my words, I was nowhere near sober. I was on the other side of the city from sober, really.

Luckily, the Venus Envy gals thought ahead and paired me with Heather for the evening. I love being paired with Heather. We somehow manage to have fun while simultaneously keeping each other in check. Which I think we did. Keeping each other in check, that is. The photographs indicate that we had a great deal of fun. I remember taking... Some of them. There was a lot of fab music and hot ladies and cleavage (we had agreed ahead of time that cleavage would be the uniform of those working the door; I did my best with what I had).

Most exciting though? I won the raffle! I've never won a raffle in my life, and my very first raffle prize was a dvd of lesbian boxing porn. Man, was I ever proud. When I got home, I woke up my BH to show him my loot. I think his response was a muffled groan instead of the expected, "Wow, what a delightful dvd of lesbian boxing porn you've got there!"

Hey, it was 3 AM. I can't blame him for wanting to sleep.

So that was the big ending to my week long vacation at home - I couldn't have asked for anything better. My BH and I have rented another season of Bones because we are hopelessly addicted. Television plus local asparagus will make this week go by quite nicely indeed.

I realize I've missed a million days of posting my vacation fun, but as it turns out, this week was a bit of a vacation from blogging too. It's been a really great rest, and now I'm grappling with the thought of it being over. Sigh.

Some things I did:

1. YOGA! I pulled my stomach muscles so badly that it hurts to laugh, but I didn 't hate it. One step at a time.

2. SWIMMING! My BH and I had a hot date at the local pool, and I happily swam ten laps. I think I'll go back. Public pools aren't as scary as I remember them being when I was a kid.

3. REHEARSAL! I've had practice with Brian almost every day this week, and may I say, we actually sound like we know what we're doing. Harmonies in sync and everything.

4. BONES! No, really, Bones the television show. We rented the third season on a whim and are now completely hooked. I liked the show fairly passively before, but I'm ready to catch up on a few years of back episodes now. It's too fun.

This evening is all about queer dancing at Certain Sort. I'll be working the door during the drunk shift (after midnight). Come on over and say hi!

May 19, 2009

First Official Day of Vacation


1. Took Morty to the vet, where he voided his bowels on the floor out of sheer panic. Made mental note not to take him back to the vet unless absolutely necessary. He hates it there.

2. Made lasagna!

3. Wrote a song. I also wrote a song yesterday, which was the first song I had written since October. Turns out all I need to write is a quiet space and a closed door. (And a guitar, obvs)

4. Had rehearsal with Brian. Split a bottle of wine between the two of us in between songs.

5. Pondered starting my yoga challenge as planned, and realized I was drunk. Bussed to Silver City and watched Wolverine instead.

I'm now home, ready to curl up in bed with my puppy and my sweetheart. It's been a pretty nice day off.

May 18, 2009

Vacation Brain


Tomorrow marks the start of my spring/summer vacation. I've taken the week off to relax and to get some stuff done.

I've got a few appointments lined up that I would normally put off because they fall during my work hours. I'm also planning to give yoga a fourth try. It's still likely that I'll hate it, but I'm nothing if not determined. I even bought a yoga mat! Boy, will that ever be a waste of cash if I decide that yoga isn't my style... Again.

I've scheduled a bunch of rehearsals this week with my cousin Brian, because I've finally got the time, and I don't need to push them until 8pm as I normally do. We're playing at the Black Sheep at the start of June, and there are some other interesting gig things we'd like to be prepared for. It's been really nice rehearsing with him so far, because shit, we're way ahead of schedule! Usually we plan these things a day or two before a show. This time we'll actually be ready. It's a weird feeling.

The best part of rehearsing with Brian is the walking to and from practice. He lives in Centretown, not far from me, and on a really pretty street. I'm loving my daily explorations of the neighbourhood. I'm also loving all the flowers - I have a feeling that if it wasn't for these rehearsals, I'd spend most of my time indoors cuddling the puppy and missing all the blooms.

My BH and I just got back from Dow's Lake to check out the tulips. It was pretty chilly out, but man are those flowers ever nice.

I've already got vacation brain, so I'll bid you farewell before this post degrades completely. Evening, y'all!

May 16, 2009



OMG, flowers!

Tarts n' Crafts

Some tongue

What happens when you turn 90 ... In my family, anyways.

May 15, 2009



Oops, I didn't write yesterday, as promised. My bad. I was too busy causing trouble, as I am wont to do.

My birthday was great - thanks for your well-wishes here, there and everywhere. My BH went all out, despite my feeble cries of protest that he not go overboard. We started the day with giant pieces of French toast, local maple syrup, fried bananas and tea. He gifted me that fancy Tivoli radio and a wicked label maker. I plan to make labels this evening!!! I am most excited!!!

Then I went to work, a mistake I will not replicate next year. Who knew that everyone expects you to book your birthday off? Now I know.

My BH had asked me where I wanted to go to dinner, and I requested Whalesbone, one of my very favourite Ottawa restaurants. Motherfuck, my meal was good. So was my Caesar. We floated out of there, a bit drunk and very full. Milan popped over as I was passing out on the couch to gift me a giant framed photo of Morty. Talk about a thoughtful gift.

Morty celebrated my birthday by sticking his head in between my BH and I while I was getting a birthday smooch. Thanks Morty! Nothing says birthday like a mouth full of bulldog, and a paw in your ear.

I seem to have misplaced my camera, but as soon as I find it I'll catch up on the backlog of photos I keep meaning to post here.

Enjoy the sunshine... Today is my last day of work before I take next week off. Can't freaking wait.

May 12, 2009


I have started wincing every time I open my music e-mail account. The danger with getting lots of great music news at once is being paranoid everything will fall through. So far my fears are unfounded, but still... The wincing. When I finally open my eyes, things are usually just fine.

Now I understand why people hate the dentist! Usually my appointments are no longer than 20 minutes. I leave with a free toothbrush, and I skip out of there with shiny teeth. At yesterday's routine cleaning, they found that my gums were unusually sensitive, and proceeded to spend the next hour and a half poking at them with a metal toothpick to see how much they would bleed. AWESOMENESS. My mouth is still swollen today.

I did get my free toothbrush though...

Last night the gang went to see Star Trek, which I LOVED. Entertaining, funny, and I had a good time watching the characters' personalities come out of the woodwork... Hello Spock! I'll certainly be watching it again. I guess I should mention that I'm not one to be bothered by plot inconsistencies or implausible story twists so long as the overall film is great (same reason I enjoy the Harry Potter series so much). If I couldn't turn off the critical part of my brain, I'd never be able to watch movies. I draw the line at atrociously cheesy music though - nobody should be subjected to that.

Tomorrow is my birthday, and my BH is taking me out for a night on the town... So I may or may not be able to post. I'll be back here Thursday, if not.

Bye puppies!

It turned out to be a very busy weekend - one which I'll break down in a numbered list, because you all now how much I love that.

1. Tarts n' Crafts was excellent. My co-seller and I sold more pussy pops than we could have hoped for, and there were only two left at the end of the day. Proud! I picked one up for Zoom, as promised, because chocolate pussy on a stick cures what ails ya. Or at least, it makes the bad stuff seem a lot better. I also bought a stuffed owl from my friend Haley of Swing Low Studio. The owl's new name is VEEB (loosely for Venus Envy Bursary, I added the extra E for emphasis), and Morty wants to eat him SO BAD. I actually had to hide VEEB the minute I got home, because I saw the look in Morty's eyes... It was one of lusty passion. Poor little VEEB. Destined to live on a high shelf.

2. Hung out with two good friends from my teenage days, one of which being High School Boyfriend. Gave them both a pussy pop. Ate Ethiopian food. Discussed weddings and real estate. I believe someone called me self-important, not terribly seriously, and it occurred to me that I am far less sensitive now than I am All Grown Up. Apparently things have changed since I was 16. I care 97% less about interpersonal drama. My reaction when I was younger was often to blow things out of proportion. My reaction now is to roll my eyes and boot someone in the ass. Anyway, we're all going to be at a wedding in about a month, along with everyone else we used to go to school with. It's going to be fun, although I think I will pre-drink in case my newfound maturity trips up in the face of my entire graduating class. I may or may not have been known for flashing my bits at people with my partner in crime (Hi Haley!).

3. Went to the garden centre with my mum and froze my tits off. Seriously, it was so damn cold. We picked up some veggies for planting and then went back home to dye my mum's hair. It was a great Mother's Day activity! She looks fabulous with her new colour. Turns out she didn't start getting greys until she was past forty, and I actually had to mask my disappointment. If I'm the same way, it'll be a long time to wait until I can have the silver streak I was looking forward to. I know, I plan hair styles a bit far in advance...

4. Saw Junior Boys at Babylon. People? This band rocked my pants off. True to form, I squeezed my way to the front of the stage until I was standing right in front of the band's lead singer. I was literally a few feet away - the only thing separating us was his monitor (I'm only 5'2, so I have no qualms moving steadily through the crowd until I've got a good view - being timid about it means I can't see a damn thing). It was amazing. He has such a great voice, and he really knows how to entertain. Meanwhile, his bandmate literally just played a giant computer and looked bored, occasionally flipping his hipster hair back. The singer pretty much carried the show. I guess I can sympathize a bit... This was the last night of a six-week tour. I might look bored and moody too (okay, probably not).

Tonight I'm off to see Star Trek with the gang. I used to watch the original series a bit obsessively, but never got hooked on next gen... I'm excited to see what they've done with this film.

May 7, 2009

Tarts n' Crafts


Saturday is Tarts n' Crafts, otherwise known as the Ladyfest craft sale. It's going to kick ass, so please come.

I'll be there (after 2pm) giving out info on the Venus Envy Bursery Fund. The sale runs between 10am and 5pm at the Jack Purcell Community Centre on Elgin, with a $2 admission. There will be loads of local crafty goodness for sale, not mention pussy pops (don't ask, just know that they are wicked awesome). Obviously a nice way to spend the day. Just you, the crafters, and your pussy pop. And a fuckload of people!

After the craft sale, you can mosey on down to the 4th Annual Show Tune Showdown! There is no shortage of fun happenings this weekend, I tell ya.

One of my favourite local bloggers is struggling with some difficult news, so hop on over and give her some love, if you haven't already. She got the same spunk as my favourite Cancer Cowgirl, and I have a feeling she's going to kick it in the butthole just like Ms. Carr did. Perhaps I shall buy her a pussy pop to cheer her up! I am brilliant.

Morty seems to have a sore shoulder or elbow... We can't tell which yet. We've got a vet appointment in just over a week, and until then he'll have to cut back on strenuous exercise. He's fine until he runs around for a while, and then he's all limpy. I'm a little nervous that it's dysplasia, which is very common in bulldogs. We'll have to wait and see. Poor tyke.

I have my vacation-to-do-nothing coming up soon... I'm so excited! While I'm determined to knock a few things off my To Do list, I also do not want to fill up my days with worky business. I want to sleep in, write songs, cuddle with the pup and my BH, and bake. I don't get a whole lot of vacation time with my job, and I refuse to let it slip by unappreciated. I also don't want to get saddled with endless chores. The worky stuff will only happen as long as I am getting my actual vacation fun in.


People don't usually call me in the morning hours, probably due to the fact that I am not even remotely a morning person.

Naturally, when my cell phone rang as I was squishing peanut butter onto my toast this morning, I assumed something was wrong. Not only that, but the phone was ringing with Heather's special ring tone. Something's wrong, and Heather's in trouble, said my sleepy brain. Disaster! I was already planning how I would save her while I rifled through my jean jacket to locate the phone.

In fact, Heather was fine. No need for a rescue plan. She ordered me to turn on CBC Radio 2, and BAM! There I was! They were playing one of my songs!

This is so much more awesome than a badly-planned rescue operation, I thought to myself (the fact that I was even thinking this proves how much I am NOT coherent before 10am).


Yes! Yay Tom Allen! And yay for Heather, without whom I would have had a boring tea-and-toast start to my day.

On a completely unrelated note, the washer and dryer are installed. My BH expertly hooked them up, with only one minor water explosion and swearing fit. Good thing too, because I am shit at fixing machines. My next experiment will be to see whether proper facilities will actually remove some of Morty's hair from my clothes. I'm beginning to wonder if my last washer just pushed the hairs in further.

May 5, 2009

Waaaasher Time


Well, thanks for all your nice comments on the last post! Sometimes doing crazy scary things is worthwhile, whether or not it works out in the end.

I've decided not to stress about the process and just stick to my one summer music goal: create more time and space for writing songs. The rest will come. That's the theory, at least.

We're getting our replacement washer and dryer today*. The story is long and strange, but I will say that I have never been more excited to throw on a load of underwear and socks. I'm also hoping the new machines will give us an excuse to turn the apartment upside down and do some much-needed spring reorganization. It's been a bit messy what with all the piles of clothes underfoot. Perhaps a spring re-org could be rolled into creating a songwriting space for me... ?

We have a small portable grill tucked away in the basement, and I think I'll break it out this week. I'm starting to crave BBQ again. Spicy tofu patties? Curried tilapia? Fresh veggies? Mmmmmm. Can't wait.

*A dryer! You mean next winter we won't need to fill every inch of our home with drying racks?! Amazing!

Well, thanks for all your nice comments on the last post! Sometimes doing crazy scary things is worthwhile, whether or not it works out in the end.

I've decided not to stress about the process and just stick to my one summer music goal: create more time and space for writing songs. The rest will come. That's the theory, at least.

We're getting our replacement washer and dryer today*. The story is long and strange, but I will say that I have never been more excited to throw on a load of underwear and socks. I'm also hoping the new machines will give us an excuse to turn the apartment upside down and do some much-needed spring reorganization. It's been a bit messy what with all the piles of clothes underfoot. Perhaps a spring re-org could be rolled into creating a songwriting space for me... ?

We have a small portable grill tucked away in the basement, and I think I'll break it out this week. I'm starting to crave BBQ again. Spicy tofu patties? Curried tilapia? Fresh veggies? Mmmmmm. Can't wait.

*A dryer! You mean next winter we won't need to fill every inch of our home with drying racks?! Amazing!

I did something scary this weekend. Not horror movie scary, but personal risk scary. Let me rewind.

Months ago, my BH and I were chatting about my next album and what it might sound like. He asked me who my dream producer would be, and I told him - we'll call the producer Karl. He asked why I haven't contacted him, and I responded simply that he was way too cool to talk to someone like me. I'm a huge fan of this guy, and I could see no reason why he would ever want to chat with a broke songwriter.

Fast forward to last Friday.

I was daydreaming about the album, I looked up Karl's website, and I sent 100% shameless fan mail to him. I also mentioned that I would love it if he would consider producing my next project.

Not only did he respond, telling me he had listened to (and loved) my songs, but he also called me last night to talk about the album. Called ME.

During the conversation, I had to shut down the part of my brain that was shouting "This guy is too cool for you! Don't waste his time!" It was nerve wracking, partly because I respect his work so much, and partly because I am not really ready to start recording. This is the planning phase for the album. The phase where I start writing songs and grant applications. Not the phase where I drive to Montreal and start laying down studio tracks. I mean, to be honest, I never really expected him to respond to my e-mail in the first place, so I wasn't as concerned with the timing of things.

Luckily, he was okay with that.

Now of course I am incredibly concerned with the timing of things. I'm writing up a giant to do list to avoid feeling in over my head. It's too late for that though - I feel completely in over my head.

I'm not sure yet if he'll actually end up producing me, but in the meantime he's given me loads of contacts and a few places to start from.

Scary. But really damn cool.

Met this dude. His name is Richard.

He's a hairier and hornier version of Morty. Most awesome.

My BH has only been done school for one week, and he's already morphing into the world's sexiest house-husband, if I may say so myself. Last night he made me dinner, and today he's baking cakes, pies, and vacuuming. AND THEN HE'S GOING TO LIFT SOME WEIGHTS. I'm not even kidding!


(Sorry if I'm embarrassing you BH, but you've got to acknowledge the hotness at some point...)

I'm having trouble believing it's May 1. April was the sort of month that felt like it would never end. In fact, last Tuesday I spent the entire day convinced it was Wednesday. It was so bad that when I checked the Weather Network for the forecast, I got pissed off that they were showing Tuesday's weather and not Wednesday's. I believe my exact thoughts were: "Stupid weather people... It's not that hard to get the day right."

Yeah. I'm an asshole.

I guess I don't have that much to report today. Tomorrow my BH and I are going with the in-laws to a sugar bush! I am crazy excited. Then it's Chinatown Remixed, and Bubbi's birthday. Should be a really stellar weekend,

I'm also really looking forward to a couple of weddings that are happening this summer. Isn't it cool when old friends get hitched? I'm not one for cheesy traditional stuff, but dang, I love a good quirky wedding.

(My love for weddings may or may not be related to the fact that it's the ultimate excuse to get one's drunk on. Don't judge.)