Apparently that thing I mentioned about bad days needing to end was untrue. Sometimes they just continue. They make bad day babies. They multiply.
It's okay. My days aren't actually that awful, they're just UGH. Really. All I can think to describe them is this sound.
Or maybe GAAAAAH.
Last night I froze approximately ten million blueberries. It was oddly taxing, because I had to freeze them first on a cookie sheet so they wouldn't all stick together. It took four full cookie sheets of blueberries to get the whole batch done, and then I had to transfer them into freezer bags. Except that I was out of freezer bags and so I had to run around finding old ones and washing them out. And I cut up my fingers on the ice.
At one point I lost the pen I was making a list with. I found it later in the freezer.
But by that point, I had lost the list.
I'm heading up to the house in the woods tonight, and I really hope my mood improves. I think I'm just a bit burned out with the combination of work (while my boss is on vacation, so I'm doing an extra job), no partner at home, and my rambunctious puppy. I miss my BH. He's technically not that far away, but I miss seeing him when I get home. He's so damn good looking.
Tomorrow we're going to a crazy awesome wedding. I'm playing this song as the bride comes down the aisle. Then we're going to eat pie and sri lankan buffet and dance our hearts out.
That should scare the UGH right out of me.
Apparently that thing I mentioned about bad days needing to end was untrue. Sometimes they just continue. They make bad day babies. They multiply.
Yesterday was one of those off days. It went by too slowly, and a bunch of little things went wrong. The morning puppy walk was a disaster. I messed stuff up at work. I got a migraine.
But now it's over! That's the great thing about a bad day. Eventually, it has to end.
My glorious time alone in the apartment was short-lived. As in, one full evening. One full evening without my dog and my man.
It became clear pretty quickly that Morty is not really a country dog. He's a bowling ball of energy, drool and love, but he's not a country dog. The dog that came with the house in the woods is Morty's opposite: old, calm, happy to wander in the forest for hours unattended (also eats poo. unrelated, but GROSS). They get along, yes, but the combination of giant puppy and quiet country dog became a bit too much for my BH.
So much for my songwriting time.
It's nice to have Morty at home with me. I miss him like crazy when he's gone. But I'm a bit sad that my creative time died so fast. I honestly have no idea how I'm going to write another album's worth of songs. I think it's actually giving me anxiety.
Perhaps the answer is this: Don't think about it. Don't attach a timeline to an album. Don't attach any expectations. Just wait for the right time, the right songs, and the means.
Self? Are you listening? Because this is good advice. Take it.
Isn't he the greatest? Seriously.
That is one happy dog.
Thanks for the photos, Milan!
That was a wet weekend.
So this house in the woods my BH is looking after? It's new. Like, two months old.
As such, it doesn't really have a yard yet. Last week, the yard was still just a big pile of dirt. If you combine the dirt with the incessant rain, you get....Yes... A giant mud slide! A giant, shoe-stealing, skirt-ruining party of a mud slide.
Did I mention that we're taking care of two doggies as well? Doggies that like to run around in the mud? Doggies that like to run around in new houses afterwards?
Anyways. I'll let you put all those things together. The short version of the story is this: I'm pretty grimy, and my BH is a little more stressed out than usual. He has also become an expert at wielding a mop and a towel simultaneously.
But the good news is that Milan was able to come up with us yesterday, and I believe he actually got a photo of Morty swimming. Swimming! My bulldog! On camera! Imagine that. I'm harassing him for the pictures.
Unfortunately, the adorable doggie swim time was interrupted by a canoe, of all things. A canoe that was quietly floating by. An innocent canoe, you could say. I think the two people paddling were on a date.
Morty lacks the social grace to recognize any of these things. He decided the canoe was a threat to our safety barked angrily at the poor canoeists until they changed direction. The girl was genuinely scared, despite my insistence that Morty was just being an asshole. Away went the canoe.
Morty stood in the water and snarled victoriously. I hung my head in shame. SUPER AWKWARD.
In non-muddy news, my BH and I finally made it out to the Landsdowne Farmer's Market. Holy local fruit, batman! We picked up some cherries, blackberries, plums, and apricots (hands down my fave).
I've already eaten everything. I'm sure you would expect no less from me.
There were loads of you there last night! For some reason I wasn't expecting such a giant crowd. And actually, I think most of you were there to listen, which was great. Made me wonder if I should have chosen a more exciting post, like the one Nat did about crazy sex (props to Nat!).
Actually, I liked the one I read, in the end. It was just such a ridiculous sequence of events. On Christmas fucking Eve, of all times. Plus I got to say "exploding poo" and "crackhouse" and "naked" within the same five minutes. Granted, I'm used to hiding behind an instrument when I'm in front of a crowd. For some reason it's easier to focus on a banjo than on a wrinkly piece of paper.
It was great to meet some new people too, and I loved hearing everyone read. I completely lost my shit during XUP's bit (by the way, I call her Urban Pedestrian, because I'm a rebel. Zoop is too close to Zoom for me). When she said "The ugly black dog was so excited he was trying to mount the baby" I think Evey had to hold me down so I didn't disturb the crowd.
Milan was whizzing around taking pictures the whole time... You can see some of them on the Raw Sugar Facebook group. Actually, there was an entire table of pretty women with pretty cameras. There are probably great shots from the evening all over the internets.
I did end up bringing Morty by the cafe after everything was over. He made googly eyes at the kid with curly hair and then proceeded to get spooked and crawled onto my head. He seems to like crawling onto my head, which would be fine if he wasn't a fifty pound bulldog. However, because he IS a fifty pound bulldog, I end up with a lot of shoulder sprains and sideways looks. "Why is that bulldog sitting on that girl's head?" Yeah, I know. He's a little protective.
There were a bunch of you I didn't get to meet though, sadly. Are y'all out there? Are you lurking? How did you like the evening?
My BH and I are hanging out in the woods this weekend, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to post. If not, try not to despair at the rain. Do what I do. PLAY TWISTER. (That reminds me... Can anyone recommend a great board game that two people can play? I need to increase my stash if we're going to have more rainy weekends like this one.)
It's Blog Out Loud tonight! I'm pumped!
I think I've even decided on a post, but I'll keep it to myself in case I change my mind. Thanks to Lynn, by the way, for making this all happen.
Meeting local bloggers at the breakfasts has always been fun, so I'm looking forward to meeting more of you this evening. And since Morty will be within trotting distance from the venue, I may grab him near the end so y'all can squish his rolls in person. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.
(Edit: It's possible Morty won't be within trotting distance after all... I'll play the squishing part by ear)
Morty was home last night, and wow, it is so much more fun to curl up in bed when there is a puppy around. I know he kicks me in the face, and snores, and barks in his sleep, and drools, and clings to my head, and pushes me off the mattress.... But he is just so snuggly! I'm hooked. What can I say?
Also, it's kinda funny when he hears something in the night and then stands over my head to growl into the darkness. He's a bit protective.
So... It turns out all this walking I do (to and from work, about an hour a day) is really fucking up my legs. I have problems with my legs and feet as it is; compressed nerves and numbness and other nastiness. But in the past few months, it has elevated to stabbing pain and swelling. I don't really want to stop walking, so I'm doing stretches and massage, but I huuuurt. And it blows.
Done complaining for now, thanks.
I'll be seeing some of you this evening... In case you want to say hi, I'm the short young'un with a skunk stripe of platinum in her hair. I'll probably be saying something crass. Just so you know.
My BH is out in the woods house sitting for the next three weeks. He's taking Morty with him about half the time.
This means that last night, I found myself in a completely empty house. Since we moved in to this apartment, I can count the number of times I've been alone on one hand.
Some weird stuff happened.
First, I decided to cook a lot of food. That's not weird, per se, but considering that nobody was there to help me eat, it wasn't totally logical. Still. A big batch of zucchini latkes and enough waffles to feed an army. Into the freezer they go!
Then I ate a bowl of lime sorbet.
I wrote half a song. It's so easy to write when nobody is around.
Wandered around for a while, wondering what to do.
Took out my label maker and labeled all of my tea containers.
Wandered around some more.
Called my BH. Made him give Morty big kisses for me.
Went to bed.
I think, with some practice, I will get better at being alone. I already have a long list of things I'd like to organize, which excited me to no end. That label maker is going to get a workout! Also, mopping should be a lot easier.
Added bonus: It's only been one evening and I already feel more creative. Strange!
I guess I'm not really selling y'all on the exciting life of a songwriter, huh?
I take that back. Waffles are WAY exciting.
Guess what? Morty can swim!
We had read that most bulldogs sink like stones in the water, so we weren't too enthusiastic about getting our Morty to a lake. No need to test out his abilities if they are likely to end with a traumatic fear of water.
Then, yesterday we were on a small stroll in the Gatineau hills when Morty's dog friend jumped into the nearby river. Without even thinking, Morty followed her in and looked up at me with a look of total surprise. He was paddling! He makes the greatest face when he swims.... His eyes bug out and he squishes his lips together like he's concentrating REALLY HARD.
It was seriously the cutest thing. And he does a lot of cute things.
I was starting to feel comfortable with him in the water when he got ambitious and dove off a dock. The water was waaay too deep and he started sinking like, well, a bulldog. Yes, I jumped in with my jeans on and got him out. He still went back in and swam some more afterwards, which I'm thrilled about.
It was a wet ride home, but no worries. My bulldog did the Concentrated Doggie Paddle! I can deal with a little river water.
Okay, full disclosure: The ride home would have been a bit better if he hadn't run through a muddy swamp on the way to the car, but that's what towels are for. Towels and steam cleaners.
Hey, look at these two lovely people I had dinner with the other night. The talented Ian, the magnificent Shawna. I am a lucky girl.
So, most of you are familiar with my cousin Brian right? The one who plays in my band? The highly skilled interpreter of Prince covers?
Brian is also a massage therapist. He has a studio in his home, and works from there while also doing his musical thing. Today, I mosied on over to his place and got a much-needed massage on my legs, which have a habit of going numb.
Dudes. DUDES. Do you need a massage therapist? Because Brian gave me one of the best massages I've ever had, and not only that, but he sang along to a wicked playlist of songs the entire time. My favourite line of the session was the following: "This is going to sound weird, but now I'm going to have to punch you in the butt for a while. It will help, I promise."
And it did!
Brian lives in Centretown and is a registered MT. E-mail me (hello.hella.stella [at] gmail [dot] com) and I'll give you his digits. The man kicks (and punches) ass, people. Don't be shy.
Last night was my final night of the Blues fest. I had fun, but holy hell, I'm glad to be done. My body was not happy about the late nights and early mornings. I saw the National and K'naan yesterday, and while I adore the National, K'naan blew them out of the water. He is so fracking amazing, I got all bouncy and bopped along like the short white chick I am. Fitting.
I ended up with a total of two lost cell phones in my possession over the course of the festival. One has already been picked up by its owner, and the other one belongs to a spacey hippie who is going to be tough to contact. We've played phone tag through her spacey hippie friends, but the girl no longer has her own phone with which to call me. When I finally got through to one of her friends and told them about the lost phone, she said "Duuuuuuude, you are totally like the fairy of lost cell phones, man!"
Mmmm hmmm. Yes. That's me. All I need now is a fucking tutu.
I'm off to a drunken wedding shower in a moment. I'm not really doing my body any favours this week. Here's to weddings and booze! It must be summer.
Oh, Toots and the Maytals blew my mind. Xavier Rudd was great too, but seriously. Toots all the way.
Tonight I'm seeing The National and K'naan, and let me tell you, people just give me blank stares when I say that I'm going to see someone other than Kiss. I know Kiss is legendary. I know they're insane. But K'naan and The National are pretty much the perfect bill for me, so that's why I paid the big bucks. Not for the old dudes with makeup.
Besides which, I'm already totally freaked out about the sheer number of people who will be there tonight. I would not willingly wander over to the main stage. It remains to be seen whether or not I'll even be able to HEAR K'naan over the Kiss madness.
I freaking hope so. Because K'naan? I love him.
I've been going to bed so late this week, and I can already feel it in my throat. Every time I deprive myself of sleep, I get sick. It's pretty predictable, but sucky nonetheless. I should be able to do some napping this weekend - in fact, I'll have to make it happen, because I don't want to be smacked down with a giant cold.
... Especially since I've got a wild wedding coming up that requires me to get my dance on. Gotta fight for your right to party, nece-pas?
My dad is in Italy right now teaching a maskmaking workshop. Just hearing about it makes me want to travel. After my trip to India, I was happy to stay home for a while... But now the bug is back!
Tonight I'm seeing Toots and the Maytals at the fest (anyone else?), even though it's pretty cold out today. I'l just layer up and accept that I'm not going to look even remotely sexy. That's okay... I'm not sure sexy is the point of outdoor music festivals.
Speaking of which, I've seen a bunch of people at the festival wearing high heels and mini skirts... Anyone care to enlighten me on the logic? You know, since we're all standing in what is essentially a muddy field? Just sayin'.
A few of you have asked if I'm playing any Ottawa dates, and the answer is YES! I'm playing at Irene's with one of my favourite bands, The Gruff. The show is on Wednesday, August 19, and you're all invited to come rock the fuck out.
Well, it's folk, actually... So rock out quietly.
The gig in Toronto was good, but the highlight by far was getting to catch up with some of my favourite folks during the 12 hours I was actually in the city.
My voice was tired and at the last minute, I changed my skirt into a shirt because I thought I looked tarty. Hopefully the switch dialed down the tartiness a bit. The venue was great, complete with a creepy stone basement, and the two boys on the bill were kick ass. The room was pretty full too, which is always a good thing. However, I didn't get to bed until 3am, which is something I haven't done in a while. The train ride home was essentially a long, uncomfortable sleep.
I really need to go to Toronto with no agenda. I never get to do half the stuff I want to when I'm there. I could just walk around my fave neighbourhoods for days... And did you hear? Pages is closing! I'd like to get back there before it shuts down for good. I stopped by right before I caught my train and stocked up on Fomato cards. They have become a bit of an obsession for me.
The reason I came back as quickly as I did was because of the Bluesfest... I didn't want to miss Neko Case and Ani Difranco. I'm glad I came back. My BH and I found Milan and we all enjoyed some tunage until the festival finished. I loved Neko's set - she's really phenomenal. But Ani? Kicked such ass that I found myself transforming into a screaming 12-year-old girl again. Seeing her happy like that actually choked me up. Spoken like the rabid fan I am. Her new songs were great, too.
My only complaint is that the jerk next to me blew his cigarette smoke into my face for most of the concert. My angry glares didn't seem to register with him. Hey dude? You are a Grade A jackass.
I have two more nights of Bluesfest and then I'm done... In the end, I'm relieved I didn't go for the full pass, because I would have burned right out. A few key shows will suit me fine.
Last night we walked down to Bluesfest and saw two shows: Iron & Wine, and Ben Harper.
I was actually most excited for Iron & Wine, but I ended up leaving the show early due to extreme boredom.
Not the fault of songwriter Mr. Beam necessarily, but he didn't have a band with him, and he was getting overpowered by the louder stages. I think his show would have been better in an intimate setting, where the chit chat and quiet songs can be appreciated. Instead, his music was drowned out by Metric and the HOARDES OF YELLING HIPSTERS that seem to have swallowed the festival whole.
Sorry if I sound naive, but I had no clue we had that many hipsters in Ottawa until last night. There were approximately 1 million. I don't event think it's the style that bugs me... It's more the spandex, bad tattoos and sunglasses at night phenomena. Drives me up the fucking wall. So melodramatic it hurts. Also? The clothes are generally unkind to anyone with curves. That's enough to turn me off. I love me some curves.
I think I'm done complaining about The Youth These Days. Apologies.
Anyway, we wandered down to the main stage to see Ben Harper. After a bit of jockeying to find a good place to stand, we ended up really enjoying the show. Ben Harper is like sex on a stick, frankly. The dude is hot. But his band was also a real treat... They were really tight and super skilled. I haven't listened to his music in, oh, ten years? More? Didn't stop me from enjoying it.
Then we went home and had some overdue birthday cake for two buddies, and I passed out sometime around 1am. Really, really sleepy today. I need to get a better sleep tonight, or Toronto is going to be a faceplant.
So folks, I'm reading at Blog Out Loud, but I don't know what to read. No idea. Do y'all have any favourite themes that I write about to help me narrow down my choices?
I'm getting excited for:
- Songwriting time while my BH is house sitting. Oh, to be able to play guitar without a puppy howling outside the door! It's going to be like Christmas but I'll be alone and there will be no snow. So... Nothing like Christmas at all. But at least there will be music.
- A wedding coming up in a few weeks that promises to TOTALLY KICK ASS. No catty bitches this time, just love sweet love. And pie. You know how I feel about pie. We've also been encouraged to wear something colourful, which means I get to break out my fuchsia silk dress from a couple summers ago.
- Bluesfest. I'm going to give it another try, because the lineup is calling my name. I cannot resist. In fact, I'll be there tonight! Iron and Wine, anyone?
- This Saturday in Toronto. I haven't played a gig in Toronto in a long time, and I've never played at this particular venue. A bunch of folks are coming out for the show too, so it will be great to see them! I shall issue myself a challange to stay sober and behave. HAH! Just kidding. That would be completely out of character.
Turns out I have a lot of pictures just sitting around on my camera. Why not show them to you folks, am I right?
This is me taking a picture of my sister whilst drunk in Peterborough. That's why you can see my finger instead of her lovely face. Beer is a dangerous thing. So are fingers!
This is Heather and I wearing sparkly wrestling masks in the kitchen. Then we went and drank White Russians with our neighbours across the street. I love living where I live.
Last night I got this insane idea that I needed to make a gigantic dinner and use up just about everything we had in our fridge.
I guess this isn't really so unusual... I love to cook, and I especially love to cook stuff I know my BH will enjoy. I tend to give myself a mental high-five when I make something that gets the "this is reeeeeally good" reaction (hint: using chipotle increases the odds significantly).
But dudes, I think I spent three hours cooking and cleaning. There were potato wedges, roasted beets and radishes, a giant green salad, and about thirty mini-quiches. I was toast by the end of it. Remind me to read this post next time I tackle a four-course meal for two. I did four effing sink-loads of dishes.
In other news...
I recently joined zip.ca, and have been loving the random movies that show up in my mailbox every few days.
Yesterday, I finally got around to watching Shut Up And Sing, which was surprisingly excellent and made me want to run out and buy every Dixie Chicks album I could get my hands on. If you want to see a nasty side of the music industry, and an even nastier side of "redneck bullshit" (my favourite line in the film), I recommend this little movie. You don't even have to like the band to watch it, but I bet that you'll think pretty highly of them by the end of it.
Peterborough wasn't so bad.
This time I was actually there on a Saturday, when shops are open. Usually I am there on a Sunday, when church is open. I am not terribly church-y.
I scored some sweet buys. BodyGlide, as recommended by a blogger friend. Two sparkly wresting masks, which I have no plans for.... I'll either give them as gifts or use them at Halloween. They are crazy awesome. I also spent an hour in an antique store perusing their collection of vintage Playboy and Penthouse magazines, although I ended up buying a washboard instead. That store had to oddest collection of antiques, including a lunchbox in the shape of a sandwich. Probably should have bought that too.
Now I am back home and full of dim sum. We took Morty to the park and he ran his face off. We were also planning on going to see the new Transformers movie until I let it slip that I actually wasn't nuts about the last film, and now my BH is refusing to go in protest.*
So basically a normal Sunday.
I have a gig in Toronto next Saturday that I'm really pumped for, because I get to visit Shawna and wander around some of my favourite Toronto neighbourhoods. Do you live in Toronto? Come to the gig! It'll be rad.
*Although, in retrospect, I never made it a secret that I didn't like the movie.... I distinctly remember making barfing sounds throughout the screening.
So it looks like I'll be driving to Peterborough with my mom this evening, driving back tomorrow night after we've cuddled some adorable new baby cheeks brought into the world by my cousin and his wifey.
Can I be frank? I'm not the biggest fan of Peterborough. I like to wander around the downtown, but that only takes about five minutes, and then I want to leave. Once I tried to find a place that sold coffee on Sunday morning, thinking I would surprise my BH. Nothing was open.
The town is entirely the wrong size for my brain - Ottawa is GOOD small, but I tend not to enjoy cities that are any smaller than Ottawa. I like to move up in size. Montreal. Toronto. My memory of Vancouver is a bit fuzzy, but you get the picture. Although I really liked Halifax.
The fact that I have a good deal of family in Peterborough is about the only reason I don't go mental when we visit. Even then, I go a bit mental.
Luckily, I'll be staying with my sister tonight, and she has two newly-adopted kittens for me to play with. Although I grew up with cats, I've gotten very used to my giant, growly bulldog. I'll have to remind myself to be delicate with the kittens. They are not made of steel, as is Morty, and his Ass of Danger.
Oh, I will miss him this evening. He is such a cuddle bunny when he's tired.
*Stella digresses into visions of her giant, drooling puppy*
I was nodding along, jumping in where I could. But in the back of my mind, there was a timer ticking away.
Have y'all met my dad? He's a special guy. He's worked in theatre his whole life, and he's not afraid of muscling his way backstage if he wants to chat to the folks in charge. I also needed someone to help me take all my gear home, since I am without car. As always.
This is why I knew it would only be a matter of seconds before my dad talked his way past the security guard. He would use my instruments as proof that he needed to be back there. He would probably bring my BH, who would be quietly squirming while my dad does his smooth talking. My BH prefers not to muscle his way backstage, but wouldn't deny my dad the pleasure.
I didn't doubt that my dad would show up; I was just hoping that he didn't stroll in while this great conversation was happening. How many times am I going to get to chat with folks like that? Not often, that's for sure. I was soaking it in.
Stuart finished his story, we all laughed, and then I heard it. My dad patting the security guard on the shoulder and saying, "Thanks, I'll just go in for a minute and find her!"
I just shook my head and said, "Guys, I think you're about to meet my dad."
Yes, my dad met the whole gang backstage, as did my BH. When my dad informed me that he had all the goods on the number of CDs I had sold, Hawksley looked over with wide eyes and said, "He sounds just like my dad. They should meet!"
Today I'm feeling a bit worse for wear. I didn't drink much on Canada Day, but I was exhausted and still managed to stay up too late. Now I'm doubly exhausted and I don't know when I'm going to get a nap in. I may even be leaving for Peterborough after work tomorrow. Triple the tired.
To be honest, I'm feeling a bit sad. The show may have been stressful and crazy, but it was a wonderful experience. It was amazing to meet such an inspiring songwriter. It was humbling and exciting. Now that it's over, I can't help but feel that I won't be able to top it. We were listening to a Hawksley CD in the car yesterday and I got all choked up. I'm too broke to record and I can't seem to make time to write songs. It's a bummer to remember that after such a high.
I think I'll just have to focus on some aggressive grant writing, and make sure I have the space I need to keep the songs coming. If my next album does as well as my last one, maybe there's a chance I could do this sort of gigging a little more often. I love music and I'm not planning on stopping, ever. I'm going to keep working for every step forward. It's the way I've always done it, and it seems to be working.
I wanted to write a big post with pictures, but alas, the pictures from last night are not on my camera. Until they get mailed to me, you will have to just imagine it. Besides, I am about to run off to do some Canada Day celebrating, so I'll have to be brief.
Last night was like the first night but 100 times more amazing. I performed better, I felt more at ease, I talked more with Stuart and Hawksley, and I sold more CDs than I have ever sold in one night. It was a transforming experience, and dudes, the audience really seemed to like it.
Also, I baked Hawksley some cookies. Hey, I figured this was my one chance to get him to remember me, and I figured that fresh chocolate chip cookies and a card with a bulldog on it are both winning ideas. It worked out very well, other than the fact that the cookies didn't rise and looked like creepy chocolaty lumps. I apologized in the card, obvs.
There was a strong blogging contingent in the crowd, including Jo, Zoom and the GC, Milan and Evey. Am I missing anyone? That was the best audience I've ever played for, and I mean it. Even my grade 7 computers teacher was there! Holy assballs!
More soon.... I am being ushered out the door. For now, beer is in order.