October 15, 2011

Niagara, Nowhere


So I know I'm dropping the ball with my little corner of the interwebs over here, but admittedly I'm stretched a bit thin these days and the blog is suffering.

However! Luckily for any of you who still want some updates, I'm currently sharing a hotel room with my dear friend Shawna. And Shawna wants some goddamn updates. Who am I to deny her? Also, she's glaring at me right now.

Sorry, Shawna.

We're in Niagara Falls. My phone keeps trying to auto-correct "Niagara" to "nowhere." It's not entirely wrong. Strange place, this small-town-cum-Vegas-lookalike. What is up with this place? It's all confused. Natural beauty mixed with wax museums.

We're here for a folk festival conference. Honestly, it's worth being a folk musician just to attend these conferences with some legitimacy. They are the most fun thing... Ever. Worth the lengthy and expensive train ride. Worth the lack of sleep. Worth carting around a banjo on my back everywhere I go.

Because here? Magic happens. Magic like this impromptu jam session in the hallway of the hotel.

I counted one clarinet, two banjos, three accordions, three fiddles, one guitar, one upright bass, one small drum kit, one trombone.

This is just in the hallway. Impromptu jam. Over an hour long.

I can't believe I'm lucky enough to be in this scene.

Anyways, in other very cool news, I have a new album and it was released TODAY! People are already buying it and I'm totally fucking pumped. It's been a long time since the last one, and although it was good, this new recording makes me very proud.

I'm starting some media outreach, and the CD release party is in about a month.

You see why I haven't had time to blog? Life, she is crazy.

So it's 11pm and the parties are just starting up here. I went to bed at 4am last night and fully expect to do it again tonight. I have a set at 1am. Nutty, but so very fun.

See you on the flip side!

September 10, 2011



I'm having a great day.

I've napped in my hammock.

I've had a yummy brunch at one of my favourite brunch places.

I've snuggled with my dogs.

I'm enjoying the feeling of a freshly-shaved head (Well, half of it. Crazy haircut, you know).

I'm writing thank you notes to everyone who pre-ordered my CDs (that note on top is for a fellow blogger!).

I'm getting ready to see my girl Shawna sing tonight.

I'm loving the early fall / late summer weather. I have such a super crush on fall.

And I'm blogging.

Aaaah. Great day.

August 23, 2011

Hollow Body

So I've joined Twitter.


I think maybe I'm overwhelmed with social media. I enjoy Facebook, I keep a handle on updating my web site, I occasionally blog.... Twitter came along because I'm going to use it in place of a news section when my new web site is launched.

But hot damn, there's a lot of information to absorb. I think I'll end up being a bit shy on that part of the interwebs, although it will be great for getting the word out about the new album. It just hurts my brain to see that many updates. At least with Facebook I actually know the people I'm reading about.

Speaking of which, I've finally got dates for the CD release! Yes, dates plural. It will be a double concert so people can choose either the Friday or Saturday. I'll give y'all the details when they are ready, promise.

I'm feeling pretty wrecked about Jack Layton, but I guess there's nothing I can say that hasn't been said more eloquently elsewhere. Still, it feels like a loss for democracy to have a genuine watchdog leave the ring. Not a lot of people demanded real accountability from government - he will be missed. And that letter? Ow, my heart.

In other news, I've fallen in love with a very expensive vintage hollow body guitar. Some girls lust over shoes. Okay, I *occasionally* lust over shoes. But this guitar? Sweet fuck, I would love to cradle that baby in my arms.

Night sugars! I'm going to go dream of a pretty stringed instrument.

August 20, 2011

What is time, anyway?


Well folks, I'm feeling very full circle today.

Last week (two weeks ago? everything blends together these days) I went to my high school reunion. It was small, organized by a few friends, and we all just met at a bar to catch up. I played a few songs on the banjo and my buddies set up their band and played heavy metal into the wee hours. Pretty typical of our school, actually. Banjo and heavy metal. My ears were not happy with me the next day.

It was funny.... I'm still in touch with a few of those friends, but I've lost touch with most of them and it was fascinating to see how we've all changed / stayed the same over the last decade. I think it's safe to say we've all put on a bit of weight, changed our hair (or lost our hair, depending), matured.

But generally, it was like nothing had changed. Everyone was still fun and cool and ridiculous. The same people got inappropriately drunk and groped everyone at the table. I still swore enough to make the heavy metal dudes blush. The crazies were still crazy. It was a happy, fuzzy evening where we all remembered why we loved our school so much.

Right. So there was that.

And then today, I'm playing at the wedding of a girl I went to primary school with. We worked it out, and we've known each other for 25 years.

25 years.

That's most of my short life. And when I was chatting with her at the rehearsal, it was like nothing had changed. She's still the sweet, funny, kinda dorky girl she was then. I'm still a bit of a misfit, I still sing. Even back in primary school I was a music geek.

I'll be at the wedding in a few hours and I'll be seated with some friends I went to middle school with - grade 7 and 8. I hated those years and that school, but my friends were good ones, and I met The Colombian then too. He won't be there, but you get the time frame.


Then last weekend I played a gig with a friend I made when I was 10 at summer camp. I haven't seen him since I was 14, and there we were, laughing as if we were still lining up for food in the mess hall.

I don't know if I have a point, but it's really touching how despite getting older and branching out into new communities and friend groups, I can still feel at home with these people I've known for so long. We may not keep in regular contact, we may go 10 or 15 years without talking, but we can slide right back into things as though nothing has changed.

It feels nice.

My BH and I went to a really fun wedding in Prince Edward County last weekend. Two of our good friends were getting hitched in the backyard of the bride's parents, and I was playing a song as part of the ceremony. It was a wild and crazy night, with lots of booze, dancing, good conversations and the rare chance to see my BH all sauced.

So sauced that he invented a dance move called "the shower" and wandered around for a while "washing people's hair."

A great evening, all in all.

The county is a beautiful place. We drove around some of the small towns within the area, marvelling at how damn pretty it is out there with the vineyards and the giant oak trees. We also had lunch at the Waupoos cider place, and I fell in love with their peach / apple cider. Drooly.

The weekend ended with a very funny little twist.

We were staying at a small B&B in the main town. It was very typical - floral bedding, conservatively furnished, country style everything. A kind old lady owned the place, and she was very sweet the few times we chatted with her.

I was tidying our room, making sure we hadn't forgotten anything, when I decided to look at the floor carefully in case something had been dropped. I noticed something on the ground next to my bedside table and walked over to investigate.

It took me a minute to realize what it was, as I stood there staring, probably looking quite vacant.

Ah yes.

It was a jelly cock ring. Belonging to a previous guest, in the quaint, conservative little B&B out in the countryside. I covered it up with tissue and threw it out, lest the kind old lady think it was a doggie chew toy.

My BH and I giggled about it all the way home.


As some of you may remember, I help out with events run by Ottawa's favourite sex store, because hello, that is a totally predictable thing for a banjo player to do.

We had one of our kick-ass dance parties last Friday and it was, in my humble opinion, one of our best ever. The DJs absolutely kicked it and I discovered a whole style of music I didn't know existed (moombahton - god bless it for being so catchy). We raised some money for a good cause and danced our hearts out in the process.

My only fails of the evening were:

a. Drinking too many martinis. So many that when I got home, I looked in the bathroom mirror and said, "Why won't my face stop spinning?" (I never did get the answer. I passed out roughly 10 seconds afterwards.)

b. Forgetting pleasantries and instead of introducing myself to the DJ, I tapped him on the shoulder, gestured to his gear, and said, "Could you cut the sound for a second? I need to give away a vibrator."

How's that for a smooth line? Seriously.

Anyway, the event reminded me how lovely it is to be in my neighbourhood, in my community, in this city I'm so fond of. Ottawa's only boring if you can't be bothered to look around at all the cool stuff simmering below the surface.

In other news, my contract at work is up in a couple of weeks, and then I'm back to the more predictable flow of my old job. I don't know how I feel about that yet, but one thing's for sure: I'll have more time for gigging. Woo!

Since I have nothing else to say that is witty and exciting, here is a comic about my favourite hot sauce: TASTY FIRESTORM.

July 13, 2011

Back to life!


Hello, Internet.

My insane-o job has finally cooled down. It was a nutty, amazing and super rewarding experience, and I got to know those big old buildings on Parliament Hill really well in the process.

For a day job that sustains me while I putter away with music, I struck it pretty lucky.

As of now, I'm promised a quiet summer. I've only had a week of peace and I was already able to tie up some fairly drastic loose ends, including finalizing the graphics for the new album, finishing the mastering, working on a new web site, and booking a gig mid-August (Ottawa peeps, come hang at the Elmdale with me?).

I'm completely out of habit when it comes to blogging. Completely. But I will try some baby steps to get back into it and hopefully a few of you are still reading.

'Till next time!

June 5, 2011



Oh. My. GAWD. People.

Safe to say this new job has eaten my life. The busy period should end around mid-July. Until then, unfortunately, I will remain an unreliable blogger.

However, since my plans for today fell through, I have some time to say hello. I promise I'm still following all of you dear local bloggers, but I haven't been commenting much lately. Booo.

A week or two ago, I did manage to have a life... I attended a fabulous event called Crap Art. At Crap Art, a group of local songwriters get together and write as many songs as possible in 24 hours. Random instruments, song themes, sound effects and other craziness is encouraged.

I had a fucking BLAST.

This is my friend, the guitarron. I played it briefly before moving on to the thumb piano.

I also wrote a song on this sweet little banjolele. Funny, I have a banjolele of my own, but I've never written on it. When I get my life back, that will change.

And, since you probably miss my dogs terribly, here are some photos for you. My dear, sweet Frida:

My handsome Morty:

The album remains unfinished. I KNOW! I still have a song to mix, and I think we're going to wade into the deep end and hire an accordion player for a song that still needs some help. I'd really love to move on to mastering. One day, one day...

Until next time!

May 11, 2011

In Bed


Well, I'm still failing you as a blogger these days, but at least I have some pictures this time. I call this one "Sadface," and it's the look Frida gives me when my BH leaves for work in the morning. She sits on his side of the bed, looking morosely at the distinct lack of human under the covers.

Poor bunny.

Life is great lately, just incredibly busy. I am loving the new job despite the madness, although it means I haven't been able to finish mixing my last two songs for the album. We're still trying to work out when that's going to happen, but we're not technically behind schedule yet. In the meantime, I'm working away at getting the new music web site up and running. Bit by bit, I suppose.

Here is one of my favourite people in one of my favourite places: my producer, Dean, setting up my favourite mic in the studio. Lots of good things in one fuzzy cell phone picture.

Here he is setting up the glockenspiel. I actually ended up playing it on the album. It sounded a bit like a demented nursery rhyme for psychotic children... But in a pretty way. Y'know?

Aah, my Frida looking out the side window. Those birds are leftover Christmas decorations, but I haven't had the heart to take them down. Eventually.

We've hired a dog trainer for Morty because he's turning into a lunger. I don't mind him scaring intruders and creepy people, but I do mind him scaring... Everyone else. Our trainer is pretty hardcore. She's really training us more than she's training Morty, but that's how the system works, it seems.

In other news, it's my birthday on Friday. I got an interesting early Happy Birthday message from someone I used to know on Facebook. Shall I share it? Ahem:

Hello (Hella Stella),

Have a great birthday! Jesus died to save us from our sins by being crucified. He is so amazing!

God bless you!


Well! Nice to know she's thinking of me. Me and my corrupted soul. Do you think I should tell her how much I'm enjoying living in sin? Because here's the thing... My BH? He is so amazing too. In bed.

Anyway, I miss you, Internet. See you soon.

May 1, 2011

Good Cause


I'm sleepy.

Last night was the CD release party for a compilation album I'm on. The project is raising money for Haiti relief, and it's been in the works for about a year. I was pretty much blown away with the talent of the folks there... Seriously, what a great group of people! Ottawa musicians, man. They are something else.

We even had a Juno award winner on stage... The same lovely lady you see above. She did a wicked Nina Simone cover. Gave me goosebumps.

Here is some info on the project. The CD is great, and I'm not just saying that because I'm on it.... ;)

Each artist got a 15 minute slot, so three to four songs each. I was surprisingly nervous for my set, which seems to be happening more and more lately. Why am I only getting nervous for gigs now? I've been playing this style of music live for well over a decade. I think my brain is turning into a pansy-ass wimp. Or maybe I just don't practice enough. *ahem... ever*

Once I got on stage, all was well and I didn't even remember the nerves. Odd. Then I proceeded to get drunk on Guinness and some delicious beer that tastes like grapefruit. Stiegl? I think that's what it's called. You should try it. It's irritatingly good.

A girl I've known since we were kids came to the show.... We lost touch after high school and it was pretty great to see her there. We behaved like we hadn't lost any time at all. It's strangely heartwarming to be able to pick up with someone after a decade or so and feel like nothing has changed. I like it, even if it means I'm still the same trucker-mouthed dirtbag I was back then.

At least I'm consistent.

The new job is all-consuming, and I feel like I won't hit my stride until we're well into summer. For now I'll just flounder through and try to do my best. Did I mention 100% of my meetings are in French? Takes some getting used to, but it's actually pretty cool.

I've also got a daunting spring cleaning /renovation list that haunts me at night. So much to do, so little money.

Wait, what am I complaining about? At this time last year, we were a couple weeks away from taking possession of this house. Our first house. We had a crazy summer surrounded by sawdust and circular saws and broken glass and drywall. If doing spring cleaning is my biggest concern this year, I'll gladly take it.

In other news: what the fuck is going on with this election? Tomorrow should be quite the event. I look forward to watching the results roll in. Fingers crossed that the outcome won't make me cry.

April 25, 2011

Well Shit


Well shit.

A lot of time has passed since my last post. So much time that I can't possibly catch you up with my comings and goings. Let's just start with today and see where that takes us, yes?

First off, it's my BH's birthday today. We've had a lovely time eating lemon torte, picking up sushi, walking the dogs, picnicking with our friends over Vietnamese subs, watching Fantastic Mr. Fox, and reading. He's a laid back dude and he likes laid back birthdays. I am happy to oblige.

The album keeps on trucking. I now have two songs left to mix, and I think we can still stay on schedule if I really focus over the next month. I'm also lending my vocals this week to some friends who are recording what will no doubt be a stellar album - I'm very much looking forward to hearing the finished product.

One of my nearest and dearest, The Colombian, will be visiting me in a month. I see him so rarely, and holy hell, I am super fucking excited to catch up a bit. I'm hoping to make a trip to see him sometime next year, although that will depend on the finances, as usual.

The new job is nutters, but I'm good at it so far, and it's anything but boring. It's more event planning than communications, so I'm in a different world, employment-wise. Oh, these day jobs. They mess with the brain.

My dogs are snoring beside me, and my BH is watching a movie on his laptop. Life is good. Sorry I was away for so long, but I promise to get back into my regular blogging schedule, hopefully with pictures too.


March 30, 2011



Oh my! Here I go again with my sporadic posting. I swear I'll get back on the wagon soon.

Here is why I'm neglecting my bloggerly duties this time around:

My taxes nearly killed me this year, and I've just accepted that they will not be done on time. I don't think I've ever finished them late, but fuck it, I'd rather pay a fee than lose my brain over this.

I start my new job on Monday. I got a briefing from my new boss today.... Just a quick recap of my duties. Folks? The experience will be great, I have no doubt, but the workload might just finish me off. I will be dead to the world. (Attached to this stress: I still need to move my office and train my replacement)

I have to mix four songs before the album can move onto the next stage. But I have no time. And my producer has no time. So there they sit, waiting for some love. Poor unfinished songs.

I've become addicted to Harry Potter fan fiction. Whatever, don't judge. Something's got to take my mind off my panic-inducing To Do list.

I'm playing a gig this Saturday and although I'm pumped, there's a whole lot of stuff I need to do to prepare. No time! GAAAAH!

My backyard has become a mud pit, and as such, my house has become indescribably messy. I really need to get some grass out there. If I see another muddy paw print on my clean duvet cover, I'm going to cry.

I think there's more, but frankly, I think I've bored you enough. More soon when I've got something fun to talk about!

March 24, 2011

Feverish Tossing and Turning


Booooo, I have been felled by a nasty cold.

I stayed home from work today, but I've got three meetings tomorrow that I can't miss, so it appears that I'll be going in no matter how I feel.

Have I mentioned that I only have one more week at my current job, and then I'm off to do my six-month contract? I can't believe how quickly it happened, even with all that nonsense to find a replacement. Anyway, I'm excited, but I have no idea what to expect. I've been in my current job for four years now, and it's a little daunting to move into something completely different, away from my coworkers. I mean, totally, completely different. Thank goodness I like a challenge.

The album stuff is coming along nicely, and I actually have a gig coming up if any of you Ottawa folks want to see me play.... I'll be at Irene's on April 2nd. It will be a grand time.

Off for a night of feverish tossing and turning! Huzzah!

March 22, 2011

Sigh of Relief


Aaaaah. I am done (for now) with the studio, 6 songs finished and four more almost done. I'll need to book an evening here or there to finish up completely, but it feels good to be so far along.

Amazingly, I woke up this morning with a sore throat, and I'm currently wrapped in a blanket because I can't seem to get warm enough. If I have indeed come down with a cold, I am incredibly thankful that it waited to attack until I was done singing into a mic.

Reflecting on my recording experience this time around, it's pretty clear that I've learned a shit-ton in a short amount of time.

As I think I mentioned in an earlier post, my last album took a year to make. All the tracks except one were heavily edited and multitracked, and we let ourselves get obsessed with the details. I don't regret that at all, but it is what it is.

This album was basically recorded in three weekends. All except two of the songs were recorded live of the floor (me singing and playing at the same time) and those tracks were all meant to be scratch takes. After listening back, we decided they were actually good enough to keep.

I realize my tone of "voice" may not translate through my writing, but if I were telling you this in person, I'd sound amazed. I can't believe how quickly this album has come together. If you had told me a year ago that I'd be using live scratch tracks as the base for an entire CD, I'd have laughed you into next week. A lot of things I did this time around were techniques I had abandoned years ago, or simply ignored. Yes, it's not as polished as Sleeper was, but it's got an energy that Sleeper didn't have. I'm really proud of it.

We're still months away from having physical copies in our hot little hands, but I'll let you all know how it's going as we inch towards the goal.

I'm off to bed with the hopes of avoiding a full-blown illness.... More soon!

March 17, 2011

Strange Runes


Hello sugars!

To make up for the fact that I've been such an absentee blogger, I present to you a picture of my hair.

Or lack thereof.

Milan took it (thanks Milan!), stating that "You need a record of the fact that someone shaved strange runes into your head." What can I say? I asked for something improvised and weird, and I'm not disappointed in the least.

In other news, I have a start date for the new job. I can't believe it! Things will be mind-bogglingly busy from now until July, but I think I'll learn a lot. Not sure what they'll make of my hair, but they're just going to have deal.

I promise I'll get back to regular blogging after this weekend - my last full one in studio. I miss it already.


Remember that time I fell off the face of the earth and forgot to update my blog? Dang.

Apologies for things being a bit sparse here. Things be crazy.

I'm approaching what is likely the last block of time I've got to work on the album. I love deadlines, but man, I sure hope I get everything done!

Some other exciting things:

- I'm getting ready to start brainstorming the CD package with my graphic designer. She is scary good, and I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with.

- We've hired a trumpet player! I kept hearing the potential for muted trumpet when we listened back to certain songs, and luckily my producer knew of someone perfect.

- Looks like we're getting some fiddle too! Yeah!

- I'm waiting for manufacturing quotes, and I'm nervous about how much it's going to cost me.

On the job front, they've agreed to let me take the job, but first they need to find a replacement. You can see where this is going: they can't seem to find a replacement.


I will call on my inner Transformer if they try and back out of it. I guess we'll just wait and see.

March 7, 2011


1. I won the fight. Thanks, inner Transformer. New job for spring / summer! Woot! (picture me flexing my biceps)

2. I am so, so, so damn tired. I spent the weekend holed up in the studio, and although it was insanely productive and fun, I feel completely braindead. People have been asking me questions all morning and I've just been looking at them blankly, forgetting to respond.

3. We ended up hiring a longtime blog reader to play on the album yesterday! Hi Dave! Sometimes I forget that people actually read this thing.

4. Milan stopped by to take some photos of the studio... Maybe you'll see them here soon. My little point and click can't compete with his impressive lens. (Mind out of the gutter, y'all. I'm actually talking cameras here.)

5. My BH will be finished his housesitting stint as of tonight, and he's promised me a hot date upon his return. Yessss. He bought me tulips on Saturday, and I've gotta say, I miss the guy something fierce.

I feel like there is more to tell you, but I think I'll just stare blankly at the wall for a while and fantasize about sleep.

March 4, 2011

Giant, ass-kicking robot alien


So this job stuff has gone completely nuts. It's moving fast.

I became unhappy about my work earlier this week. Yesterday I had an interview, which went swimmingly. Today I seem to have a very cool offer for a short work term, but management has to agree to let me go. Management seems to have remembered that I am a really good employee, and they are nervous. So I still don't know where I will end up.

This whole situation is teaching me about an oft-hidden aspect of my personality:

If they don't let me take the job, they will have a full blown, claws out, teeth bared, smackdown of a fight on their hands. Why? Because when things grate on my nerves, I morph into an unpleasant person to deal with. I can feel a growl inside of me and the volume is growing. I am not scared of my managers, and I am not scared of my managers' managers. I am ready to metaphorically tackle each and every one of them until they submit and call me Madam.

In fact, this part of my personality could well be illustrated by a terrible movie I haven't even watched all the way through: Transformers.

I am a normal, reliable car. I can get people from Point A to Point B. You can count on me to do my job without guzzling too much gas. I'm even fun to drive.

However, if you fuck with me, I turn into a giant, ass-kicking robot alien that will eat you alive. Dig?

In less terrifying news, I'll be in the studio all weekend making pretty music with some of my favourite people. I have no plans to kick anyone's ass into next week while I'm there. I will return to my zen state and enjoy the calm before Monday hits.

So. How are you doing?

March 2, 2011

Because I Know

Today was an absolute bust.

It figures that as my musical life is coming together, my day job would fall to shit. The upside is that I am long overdue for a change in work, and that the places I may end up sound pretty neat.

The downside is that office drama keeps me up at night and makes me want to watch Funny Or Die videos until I fall asleep on my laptop. Anxious, angry, and frustrated: kicking around in my chest.

My BH is housesitting for the week, so it's just me and the dogs. I honestly want to do nothing more than mull a pot of wine and watch dumb movies. I know there are more productive things I could focus my energy on, but that will have to be it for now.

Le sigh.

Here is a picture of a cake, because I know you like cake.

And the cake likes you. It told me so.

Colour me shocked.

When I started up a fundraising site for my new album, hoping to cover some of the costs through fan donation, I didn't really know what to expect. The donations have been steady though, clocking in at about $1000 when I include cash contributions. That's a helpful amount of money.

Last night, I got a notification of a new donation. Someone I've never met who lives in Chicago donated $500.

I choked on my tea.

$500? You must be shitting me.

Everything checked out though, and I was left assuming the inevitable: He must be crazy. This poor, crazy fellow in Chicago crazily donated a crazy amount of money. I would have to refund it, because I would be taking advantage of him otherwise. Seeing as how he was crazy.

Luckily, I decided to send him an e-mail before hitting the refund button.

It was a difficult letter to write.

"Hi! Thanks for your generous donation! Are you crazy?"

No, that wouldn't do.

"Hello! I notice that you have donated a large sum of money to me. Is everything okay?"

No. Awkward.

I settled with, "Hello! That is a lovely donation. Let's talk."

Turns out he's not crazy, he's just a big fan.

Dudes, if I ever ask myself why I keep this songwriter thing going, remind me that some folks really REALLY dig good music. It's worth it for that reason alone.

February 24, 2011

Current Me


First of all, you guys are charming. I write what I think is the most boring post EVAR and you still comment. Love to you. Responses coming.

Other things:

I'm thinking of shaving half my head. Not the underside like I used to... Just the left half. And I want patterns shaved into it. And I'm also planning two rather large tattoos.

I've always felt that I looked too tame on the outside. Maybe this is the start of the transition towards properly reflecting my trucker mouth / dirty mind. I welcome it. Honestly, I think working a safe office job is making me go a little nutso. Time to break out! BLAMMO!

Speaking of breaking out, it looks like there might be a high school reunion for my class this summer. We all keep in touch over Facebook, but it will be very fucking strange to see everyone in person. Awesome, probably, but strange. Some of my best friends are people I knew in high school, so I see them all the time, but for the majority? I probably haven't laid eyes on them since prom. The same prom where I drank my face off, crawled around in agony on my hotel room floor, got stranded in a dive bar called the Rum Shack, and lost most of my graduating class as soon as dinner was done.

Oh yeah, THAT prom.

Don't ask me how it all played out, because I don't remember much more than that.

I wonder what my 19-year-old self would have thought of Current Me....

She would have congratulated me for nabbing such a hottie, definitely. She would be super into my bulldogs. She'd love that I'm still recording music. She'd probably think my job was suffocating, but three out of four isn't bad. Come to think of it, she'd totally high five me for buying a house in my favourite neighbourhood. Dude, I didn't do too badly!

February 23, 2011

I Need To Get Out More


I feel like my life is in a holding pattern at the moment, which is probably why I'm not blogging as much as usual. I'm going through the motions, doing my everyday stuff, but it's all overshadowed by the looming album prep.

Here's the funny thing: it's not like I'm working around the clock on the CD. Quite the opposite. The only "work" I'm doing right now is helping develop the new web site, planning finances, sorting out my promo ideas, and waiting for my next studio session. It's just that this big goal is weighing on my brain, and it will continue to do so until it's finished. I like the weight - it reminds me of what I'm good at.

The challenge is to think of other things to talk about while my thoughts are stuck on a hamster wheel.

I know... How about French verbs? Do you know how spectacularly bad I am at French verbs, even though I can understand and speak the language without much issue? It's embarrassing, frankly, but I'm too stubborn to give up this easily. Here's my problem: I look at a French verb conjugation question, my brain says "THIS IS LIKE MATH! AAAAH!" and then I freeze. No matter how many tricks I memorize, how many times I go over verb charts, my brain has a seizure and runs away.

However, because I need to improve, I also need to find a way to understand something that insists on remaining abstract and distant. My coworker suggested I start reading in French, more than just work e-mails, to normalize how all these exercises are used in regular conversation. I think that's a great idea. Here's hoping I don't crash and burn. I think I'll start with Harry Potter in French, so I like the story enough to continue.

I could also talk about my dogs, which would be strange and unusual for me.

If you've been reading here a while, you may remember that when we got Frida last year, the transition to a two-dog household was anything but smooth. Both dogs were freaked out, they didn't get along, and Morty was sad. It was the worst.

It's been almost a year since that shitty time, and dudes, it's like night and day. Not only do they love each other, but they nap together (imagine limbs all entwined, porky bulldog dreams, and nuzzling), and they occasionally share toys.


For about 8 months, whenever Frida would show interest in a toy, Morty would stroll over, knock her out of the way, and remove the plushie in question. Now, astoundingly, they can both chew on either end of a toy and be quite comfortable. It's a delightful transition.

And that concludes today's rambling post about French verbs, porky bulldogs, and heavy brains. Holy shit, I need to get out more.

February 18, 2011

Sensory Overload

More of those intense, vivid dreams. What is going on with my brain?

Photo 1: Morty playing couch monster. He squeezes himself under the couch, waits for fingers or toes to slide by, and attacks! It's his favourite game. I would like it too if I didn't get chomped on so often.

Photo 2: Studio mess. Love it.

Photo 3: Dean, being awesome. Love that guy.

Today has been a bit of a shit show, so I'm looking forward to wine and rest this evening. Even if rest comes with terrifying dreams. Do you think I could drink the dreams away? (I'll give it a shot, just for kicks)

February 16, 2011

Some Things


Some things I've been up to when I'm not crying in the studio:

Having nightmares! It's the oddest thing. They aren't monstrous or dark, but they replay uncomfortable or unpleasant events over and over in my mind. I guess all this artistic fulfillment comes with a price. My brain is rebelling.

Avoiding my taxes! On top of doing my taxes for regular job stuff, I do taxes for my music, and now taxes for the duplex. I am so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of paperwork that I'm pretending tax season isn't approaching like a steam train. *fingers in ears, lalalala*

Enjoying French lessons! I finally switched teachers after I nearly got in a shouting match with the last one. My new teacher is my age, actually helps me improve my language skills, and gets my jokes. It's the greatest thing.

Painting the kitchen! Okay, I'm not painting the kitchen... My BH is. But he's doing a lovely job. We've been dealing with a serious case of The Ugly since we moved in here - the last owner put vinyl stick flooring on the walls instead of wallpaper. For serious. What a card!

February 14, 2011

A Long One


Hello friends,

I finally have a moment to tell you about studio happenings. Where to start?

I have ten songs to record over the course of three full weekends. This past weekend was the first of those. We started off recording "scratch tracks," which is a rough version of a song done (usually) to a click track. A click track is where the metronome clicks away loudly on top of the music - we do this to help the drummer (and everyone else) stay in time. The click gets taken out once the main work is done.

We got all our scratch tracks done, all our drums done, and a few real vocals / instruments done too. In short: a very, VERY productive weekend. We were a bit flabbergasted that it went by so quickly. We even finished a song, beginning to end.

Jack, the drummer, is by far the most professional drummer I've ever worked with. Not only did he chart out every song with his full part, but he got everything on the first or second try, and nailed every idea we threw at him. I was astounded, since I've worked with some very *relaxed* drummers in the past, and most of the time it's been a bit of a headache. Jack used to be my drum teacher, so it was neat to get to know him as a studio musician this time around. He's quite the perfectionist.

Dean is my engineer and producer. He was my engineer and producer for the last album too, so this all feels very familiar. However... One major thing has changed over the past four years:

We've both gotten a lot better.

I'm not saying that to be boastful. I'm really a bit surprised by how much we've learned since the last time. To put it in perspective, the last album took a year to record. This one may be finished in a month, maybe less.

Now that the meat and potatoes explanation is out of the way, let's talk about our feelings.


This album didn't arrive with grace; it fought the whole way. As many of you know, I've been dealing with writer's block for over three years. As a songwriter, I was feeling pretty lost through the whole experience. My writer's block was kicked to the curb when a childhood friend of mine died this past summer - I had to write about it, or I was going to turn into a nervous wreak. So I wrote. And wrote. And the gates opened. And now there is an album in the works.

The song that started everything is called Timoneer, and I've had a hard time playing it since it was written. It just makes me so, so sad. But it needed to be recorded, so we dove into it yesterday with the intention of getting a scratch track finished. An hour an a half later, we had a completed song with four layers of harmony.

Dean put the song on when it was done so we could listen back in the comfort of the studio. He turned off the lights so that we wouldn't get distracted by all the mess. It was a good thing he turned them off, because I turned into a puddle as soon as the song started. I had been really focused during the recording, but now that it was done, it had the usual effect of making me feel like I'd been kicked in the stomach. I bawled my eyes out while it played, mopped up my face on my dress, and decided that now was a good time for a break.

The song is crazy good. It's just not very uplifting. Now I'm trying to decide how I can contact my friend's family to get them a copy. I think they would want it, but I don't know. I really don't know what to do about it.


"My boys" will probably also include some girls, but for now, they are very much dudes.

I have a small group of musicians on this album due to the lack of time, and although we've only had one weekend so far, I feel like adopting them all. Maybe it's just me who sees it, but there's a real connection between me and the people who are helping me get this album done. I have no idea how to thank then properly (other than pay them, of course). They are helping me reach my goals, and I would fucking throw down for them. Basically, I'm saying that I love them to pieces. Especially Dean, who seems to share my brain, and is already talking about ideas for our NEXT album when this one is done.


Well, shit. I spend a lot of my time explaining why I like having a day job, why I am happy not doing music full time, why I am good at multi-tasking, and most of it is true. But then I get into the studio and I feel like I'm finally doing something right. This is what I do best. I'm good at my day job, but I don't miss it when I leave, and it doesn't invade my brain the way studio work does. What other job makes me cry because something comes out sounding exactly the way it does in my head?

So the question becomes... Is there any way I could be supported by my music?

I'd need to get out of debt, and I'd probably need to transfer major payments over to my BH, but even then..... Who knows. It feels like a lost cause. But it's on my mind.

Thanks for being patient if you've made it to the end of this post. There are so many words in my brain right now, and it looks like a lot of them spilled onto this here blog.

More studio updates soon!

February 12, 2011

It's Coming Together


Now that the album prep is in full swing, I'm being asked a lot of questions about my plans. Titles, song arrangements, design ideas, etc.

It's been tough deciding how much info to divulge before I start to censor... And this is for a few reasons. Mainly this: I question my judgement when I get too much input.

Last time I released an album, I let others guide me through the process. I got a lot of advice, weighed my options, and tried to make the best choices given what I had been told.

The thing is, after it was all done, I realized that I would have been much happier with my original ideas. I didn't like some of the things I tried; I didn't like how I had let myself be swayed by people's comments and suggestions.

So I think I'm done. Unless I deem it completely harmless, I'm not going to share too many album details until the work is finished. When it comes to creative projects, my gut seems to know what it's doing.... And I'm thankful for that.

Some things that are moving forward:

- The new website should be up by April! Squeee!

- I'm rehearsing this week with my drummer, and we record together next weekend.

- I have another new song, and I like it.

In unrelated news, look at my adorable dogs:

January 31, 2011

Point Form


I'm starting to fall into a blogging rut as album preparations take over my brain. So... How about a point-form post?

What I've been up to:

- Went skating on the canal with Milan. He had assured me that he wasn't much of a skater, which I stopped believing after he did his seventh twirly thing and stopped on a dime. I responded by falling several times, moving at the speed of a slug, and preferring to ram into objects, people or walls instead of trying to stop. (I still don't really know how to stop)

- Helped celebrate Venus Envy's 10th anniversary at Club Saw. I co-hosted, worked the door, helped set up and tear down, and donned a shiny teal dress that might as well have been a shirt. It was a fine evening.

- I re-read the Harry Potter series in anticipation of the final movie coming out later this year. There's no denying it - I am a rabid fan.

- Took Morty to the vet. When the vet got down on her knees to whisper sweet nothings in Morty's ear, he got excited and pooped on the floor. Frida just purred happily. Those crazy bulldogs.

- Wrote another new song. Aww yeah.

More soon when I can think of something interesting to write about!

January 25, 2011



I'm home sick after a particularly vomitus evening. Is that a word? It is now, at any rate.*

I'll use the sick day(s) to plan out the album a little more.... Studio time is approaching fast, and I'm worried about being ill-prepared.

Great news: I've found a web designer. Better than that, I've found a web designer I can afford! Did I mention that the last place I called quoted me $5000 - $10,000 for what I wanted? YEAH. I nearly lost my dinner then, too. Thanks to everyone who sent along their suggestions - you are lovely.

I'm itching to show you all my new press shots, just because I'm super excited about them. However, seeing as how I very rarely post pictures of myself on here, I'll probably have to wait until the new music site is up and running. Then you'll get the full package deal.

It's tricky, this independent music stuff. I can't afford to do it full time, although I'd like to be able to. I also refuse to think of myself as an amateur just because it's not my only job, so when I take on projects, I want them to be as professional as possible. Tough line to balance when everything has a price. Am I making sense? I'm just saying that I'd really like this next album to be good.

I think I'll try to get a cup of tea down my throat before bed. Goodnight!

*I'm not pregnant! (as far as I know)

January 21, 2011

Winter Just Started


I read a lot of blogs, and on those blogs I keep hearing people say that they are ready for spring.

Ready for spring? Ready for spring??

I'm going to hope that the people writing such things live in a warm part of the US, because I am just hunkering down for winter. January is going fast, certainly, but February and March have yet to arrive. I suspect they will kick our collective asses.

I guess what I'm trying to say is.... I can't think about spring yet. Too soon.

Speaking of hunkering down, the new album seems to be shaping up around a theme of hibernation. I like that. I also got a sneak peek at my new press shots, and I am super excited to get the finished product in my hands. According to my BH, I look angry in them. Great! This album already feels a lot moodier than the last one, so bring it on.

I'm also *tentatively* talking with someone about redesigning my web site. I say *tentatively* because I don't want to jinx the process... Do you know how hard it's been to find a fully-trained web designer? Good lord, if I knew there was such a shortage, I would have gotten myself trained up ages ago. Fingers crossed that they are cool, and that I can afford their services.

This weekend I plan to clean the house. For some reason, I have trouble motivating myself to do serious cleaning on weeknights. I'm saving it all up for Sunday, I guess.

Have a good weekend!

January 17, 2011

De-Lurking, And New Hair


Dang! I missed de-lurking day! I seem to miss it every year.... It's like the Polkaroo.

Let's pretend it's actually today, shall we? Lurkers! Regulars! Pop out and say hello. :)

Some more musical things have happened. My old producer came to visit. We plied him with coffee, cinnamon buns and bulldogs. It was the perfect way to start discussing recording.

Dudes, I think I might find myself in the studio in under a month. I'll do some prep recording at home, we'll hash out our ideas in advance, and I'll be studio bound. I can't believe it's really happening. I don't have enough money to do a whole recording yet, but I'll just do what I can and figure it out as I go. Total opposite of how I did things last time. Remember, you can still donate here if you want to help support the new album!

I also did a photo shoot yesterday to get some new pictures for the album / web site. It was insanely cold and we shot everything in a dog park, so basically an open field. I couldn't feel my toes when we were done, but I'm feeling really optimistic about the pictures. I'll get to see them in about a week.

Oh, also? I got new hair. Or rather, I told my stylist to "have fun and shave something." Luckily she chose my head.

I don't know what it is, but I like it.

January 13, 2011

Debt Talk


I'm in a great mood because I just put a decent chunk of money on my credit card. I know that could change when the next bill rolls in, but for the moment, I feel financially responsible.

If you've been reading a while, you may remember that I love organizing and financial planning. Both those things are funny because while I may be organized, I'm not tidy, and while I may love financial planning, I'm bad at math. So I'm messy (but I label everything!), and very good at planning money (as long as I don't have to do multiplication).

I bring this up because a year ago, when I was finding my house and making plans to buy it, I was super on top of things. I had lists, I had savings, and I was having a great time. As often happens with house purchases, I didn't factor in a bunch of stuff when I was getting organized, and all my great lists went to shit.

I blame most of this on the renovations going over budget, the fact that we barely had a budget to begin with, and the fact that we were trying to do everything on one income. When my BH graduated and jobs weren't immediately rolling in, my stress hit the roof, and the following thing happened:

On payday, my mortgage would come out, my bills would come out, and my loan payment would come out.

Then I'd have about $100 for two weeks, with two adults, two dogs, groceries, and everything else that comes up in life.

This is a really roundabout way of explaining why my credit card got so out of hand.

It's funny because, as a financial planning geek, I could see what was happening. Obviously I didn't want to put anything new on the card, but short of living off lentils and avoiding all our friends, we would need to spend money here and there. We just held out hope that my BH would be able to find a good job, and then we'd tackle the mess.

Now my BH is working, and with his contributions, I have been able to dump money onto that card like you wouldn't believe. It feels so nice, and I'm going to keep it up until it's gone. Then I'm going to destroy my debt. Hear that, debt? I'm gonna fuck you up.


The End.

January 10, 2011

Music! Music!

Some exciting things are happening.

1. I am booking studio time. It's preemptive, because I still don't know how much recording I'll be able to do at home, but either way I will need the studio for drums, mixing and general finessing. We're looking at March or April. Holy AWESOME. I have missed those long nights at the studio, and trust me when I say I never thought I would. I'll be heading back to my home away from home, Gallery Studios in the Glebe.

2. This weekend, I am doing a photo shoot with a fabulous local photographer who will help me pick the look for my new album / web site.* I still haven't secured a web designer (I honestly can't believe how hard it's been to find someone who can do what I need) but I've got the new site planned out and it's going to be neato. I might even dabble with the Twitter, even though I hate the Twitter. We'll see if I can stand it. What do you think, media-savvy folks? Is it worth it for promotion, or will it go the way of Myspace? Because part of me thinks it's the devil.

3. I have another new song, which means not only is my writers' block gone, I am writing more than I have in about six years. Morty isn't happy about it, because it requires handling instruments, and instruments are SCARY. Poor bulldog.

*"Photo shoot" sounds very posh, I know, but I can assure you this will be anything but posh. We plan to climb onto various roofs in Centretown, wrap me in oversized coats, and snap some shots without dying. It's going to be excellent, providing I don't die.

January 7, 2011


It's really winter this time.

We had a drastic thaw not long ago, and although I'm not a huge fan of the cold, I found myself missing the snow. Part of that was because I prefer full-on winter over transition weather, but I also don't like how messy my yard gets when it's wet with no snow.

A section of the canal is even opening this weekend! (Not this section, just so we're clear)

Although I've nurtured a lifelong hatred of winter sports, I do plan on buying skates, and I also hope to learn cross-country skiing. We'll see if either of those things happen this winter.

This is a print I bought for Shawna, gave to her, and then bought one for myself because I liked it so much. Now we're art buddies.

I kinda want a spoof version that says "Do WHO you love," but that's just me.

In completely unrelated news, it feels so good not to be gigging right now. I've got something booked for April, but unless I get an irresistible offer, I'm going to stay away from shows for the winter. There's plenty on my plate without gigging - I've got an entire recording program to learn, not to mention a whole lot of songs wanting to be written. Oh, and an album to record.

What was I thinking?

Anyway, it's probably a good way to spend the winter. Maybe I'll spend every winter recording an album. I hibernate when it gets cold, so it might actually be the perfect winter activity.

Huh. I love brainstorming on the blog. Look what I come up with! WINTER RECORDING MANIA.

January 4, 2011

Resolutions, Or Something


Happy 2011, internet!

My New Years was very nice, but had some odd twists and turns. I haven't really caught up on my sleep either, so I've got zombie eyes and I'm fighting off a headache. I'm looking forward to napping, whenever that happens....

(Please let it happen.)

One good thing that came from the holiday is the fact that I finished setting up my new studio equipment. I now spend at least a few hours per week playing with my digital drum machine. Scary fun. Suppose I should actually get some recording done, though.

I took down my Christmas tree before NYE in an attempt to get the house in order, and then I regretted it almost immediately. I think I'll wait a bit longer next year. Up around Dec. 1, down around Jan. 1. That makes more sense. You only get a tree once a year, after all.

I made this bunting sometime over Christmas break with scrap paper and ribbon. It's uplifting and pretty - maybe it will stay up for winter.

CUTE. Those are some awesome bulldogs right there. They look like I interrupted an important conversation. I'd like to think it was about how to kill the resilient squeak in that yellow pig to the right.

I've been reflecting a lot on 2010, since it was a year of absolute madness, and wondering what this next year will bring. A theme kept coming back to me about how I want to live : quality over quantity. In every way possible. With material stuff, with food, with gigs, with friends. Especially friends.

I'm at the point where I'll gladly take my small, close knit group of friends over just about anything. This past year, I've caught myself holding on to old friendships that seem to have expired, hoping that they will come back to life. Maybe I'm overly sentimental, but I hate to think of friendships dying out just because of spotty communication. Friendship is something to be nurtured! Still, I'm tired of the non-responsive and the one-sided nature of this hanging on. It's such a letdown. This will be my year to let go and appreciate those I have.

I have some very simple goals for 2011, and I'm not going to sweat it if they don't pan out.

- Pay down debt. Lord knows how much or how little, but whatever I can. I want it gone, and this is the year to start.

- Create. Ideally an album, but at very least give myself room to write songs, play with new instruments, do arts and crafts, and bake. I'm already well on my way.

- Enjoy this house. It was a process to buy it and fix it, but now I want to enjoy it. I reached a major life goal in buying a duplex, and I plan to love every inch of this home. Included in this goal: buy myself a hammock when the winter is done and soak up that backyard. After all, a giant motherfucking cement garage was standing there only a year ago! Imagine that.

I guess those are my "resolutions," but whatever you want to call them, they will be rewarding to fulfill.