Tuesday, November 30, 2010

even the great big sky.. it sheds a tear

from...Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 11:23am

the last month has been hard. ... probably the hardest in my life. i find that with each day, it somehow seems to hurt just a little bit more. The reality of death can be so bitter.

I am doing alright, i suppose. Funny, I never thought that I would be dealing with this now when things were going so well for my dad. Acceptance is a thing i never have struggled with; but, now I feel very childlike. I suppose just knowing that my dad will never be there when I have a silly question about how to fix something, or why do i have to do this that way, etc... or just knowing that I will never have another opportunity to hear his voice again is pretty hard to swallow. I know that life is never forever. I can rationalize everything to the ninth degree.... but at the end of the day, the bottom line is that it stinks that my dad passed away. and i feel sad. It's not a bad thing and if I wasn't sad, I suppose, I would be worried.

Beyond my own grief is the constant worry about my mom. I am usually very good at cheering people up, helping them cope, being a support system. And while I think that I have been all these things for her.. she is so broken about this. I fear that her sadness will take her away from this world too. I don't know if I could manage that... not now. i try not to think that way but it pops into my mind. And I know one day that will be the reality. But focusing on it really doesn't do me any good. I am grateful for my sisters and their help. They have been with my mom, helping round the house, there for company, etc.. and it's even harder on them because they see what she is going through first hand while dealing with their own sorrow. I believe that both of them are up for sainthood if there is a poll. :) seriously.

I dont think that there is a magical time limit on how long one should be sad for. I suppose that it will get easier and lighter over time.. Holidays are one of my most favorite times of of the year and I am feeling pretty heavy about them. I am usually Fa-La-la-la-lahing my way through the world right about now, but my Fa-la-la-la is a bit broken. I am so darn thankful for all those acting classes so I can smile with my upper teeth and get through singing Christmas songs in lessons. I put up a little tree in the Caboose to try to get in the spirit.. and my dad would think it was pretty cool.. but every now and again i find myself with a quiver in my lip and my eyes welling up waiting for me to let free.. and the thoughts of Christmas morning without him crushes my breath.. and darn it if these thoughts do not pop up at the damnedest times...like walking to the bus.. cleaning the house.. and i get pretty good at keeping it together.. but other times.. i just cry and just let myself go..

I read that dealing with death is just another adventure in getting older.. then why do i feel so young and so uncertain of how to act, be, think, feel, hope... reading books on grief isn't really helping me. They depress me a little more, actually. I dont think that there is a magic pill or formula that I must follow to grieve. i think what I am going through is pretty normal and i just have to learn this very hard lesson of letting go.

I am very lucky to have such good friends that have helped me with many endeavors this year. It amazes me how many people care about my little projects and my heart. I am humbled, grateful, and honored to have that.

As this day ends, only one more month to go for 2010. I look forward to this year ending.. it was a tough one. While lots of positive stuff happened (opened the Caboose!, new CD, successful summer camps, tour to Chicago, excellent visits with family and friends), I lost so many precious things... my dad, two friends from my childhood, and in a lessor spectrum of value, my favorite brooch and pashmina, both gifts from my dear sister in music. I have learned very hard business lessons, relationship lessons, and personal lessons about being generous to a fault. I truly believe that every experience changes you.. shifting sands, tide and time, sun and storms... and as this year draws to an end, i have more than few scars from the gale in 2010.

I look forward to 2011 and its new adventures. More music, more friends, more experiences! Come hell or high water I will have that new CD finished that I have been talking about. We will go on tour. and the Caboose will be rocking with more music then Country Village has ever heard! I am sure my happy Fae-self will get back to her regular scheduled program of cheer and sunshine...and hope that i can be half as good of a friend as mine have been to me...

"Tough times never last... but tough people do."

This I will not forget.

now.. to the future....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

wisdom from a rooster...

As many of you know, I work and teach at Country Village, a little shopping village with trees, ponds, shops, ducks, geese, and chickens. My daily life includes many a serenade by my feathered friends, the roosters. Yesterday, as I sipped my Americano from the Village Bean and watched the infamous "Phyllis Diller" rooster, and I heard more than just his top 40 hit "Coc-a-doodle-doo". The rooster was perched up on a flowerpot staring into the window of Bella & Max. I thought for a moment he was intrigued by the colours of the kids clothing in the store; but can roosters even see colours? Then it dawned on me. He was looking at the rooster he saw in the window, getting frustrated and flustered by the moment, at himself.

Wild, I thought as I put down my latest edition of "Joyfully Jobless", a publication that encourages self-employment and living your dream. How often we are up against ourselves in our day. We can be our own worst enemy. Self-image, self esteem... a frustration of our lack of something, and the feeling of hopelessness that this mirror gazing can conjure…

"Mirror Mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?"... There are days when we may see a great beauty and days when we see a Bloody Mary.

Perhaps I haven't been drinking enough Bloody Marys lately since I have been seriously busy over the last 4 months. Busy in good ways, but I have not had a whole lot of personal time to pause, chill, paint, hit my reset button. I have been extremely hard on myself during all this. While confidence is usually not an issue, I have, at times, doubted my abilities, my knowledge, and have even begin to wonder if I am doing enough. I am working against myself in those times. Not being gentle and forgiving with what the day brings, internalizing too much. Seeing this rooster hit my reset button. I realised that the only person who ever truly judges me, is me.

The rooster eventually walked my way and hung out between the tables and chairs where I was sitting. He faced the brick wall as he groomed himself; making little clicks and grunts as if he was finishing a conversation in his head. It reminded me of all the internal chatter that one can have when leaving a stressful moment, the round and round of thought on repeat playing in the mind. 'Oh, I should have done that, perhaps if I had done this, what if this had happened....' If one continues to follow that worrisome path, one becomes the raving rooster, with daily rants in the mirror and cock-eyed self-perceptions. Hmm... sorta makes chicken little look like a Zen Buddhist.

So, as I finished my last sips of coffee, I looked at my feather friend and thanked him. Things always happen for a reason. And if we are lucky, and really paying attention, we can learn the darndest things from the most ordinary of situations. “It's elementary, my dear Watson!” Let the bad ‘stuff’ fall away from the brow and shoulders, stay focused on the positive and continue to generate good thoughts... after all, the wise TUT says, “Thoughts become things. Choose good ones!”


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Are We Just 15 Seconds?

According to Wikipedia, a JUDGEMENT is a balanced weighing up of evidence to form a decision or opinion...

Other sources call it "..The act of forming an opinion with or without knowledge."

I am guilty of such a thing when buying wine. Oh, the pretty label will sometimes sway the soul to purchase the bottle, not really giving any thought to the taste of the product inside...

A book.. The attractive cover will sometimes draw me in and fortunately I have been lucky with my attractions...

15 seconds of a song... I have a problem with this. I love music and I don't take the subject lightly. How in the world can we judge a song in 15 seconds? How is it that 15 seconds makes or breaks a performer, their vision, their passion, and their voice...

Entering in competition is something that I almost never do. I hate popularity contests and have never felt that I needed the validation of the public to tell me that I was a good songwriter or not. I am not mainstream, top 40. And I never want to be. I am just a woman who loves music and sings from the heart. The judging process in the Lilith Fair competition for many reasons saddens me. Firstly, you have to vote for songs that don't particularly move you, secondly, you don't have to listen to the entire song, thirdly, most people pass their judgments on tunes that are not professionally recorded, home recorded, or perhaps too quiet the instant that it starts. From looking at the standings, it appears that many just say, 'crap' and push them aside. WhaT? Indie music is just that... INDIE. That means we make it up as we go along, we have to do the very best that we can with what we have, we may not be shiny and polished but if you truly look, you will see the sparkling treasure just below the water's edge.

I have found several songs in this competition that are true treasures! These songs are truthful and from the heart and moved me. They aren't polished and overproduced. They do not sound like everything else that is played on the radio. They are raw and real and I wished that more people gave them a chance.

I find that, just with anything, many people will try to be something that they are not. They will focus their energies to fulfill a certain look or sound that is marketable, thus shelving their artistic integrity for fame. One of my favorite quotes is from Miles Davis who said, ".. You have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself." Be yourself. Or figure out who that person is artistically! You are worth the exploration and being you IS enough. There are a whole bunch of carbon copies in this world. It’s the ones who allow themselves to be vulnerable, to find their voice, to shine their light, that move me. And I applaud you.

"Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got!" -Janis Joplin

15 Seconds... doesn't make or break me. I long to live in a society with a longer attention span and patience. I continue to support those who are pushing the 'norm' and being true to who they are. I cheer on the ones that perhaps are rough around the edges yet have a truth that is clearer than any million dollar studio album produced. Let your light shine. You are worth it...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Music Origins are a Mystery....

"Overcome with delight or overcome with grief, a person howls. A child listens to the modulations and textures in her parents voice. Life is so good that one person is unable to keep from dancing, and another is unable to keep from joining them with clapping and stomping. Is music making the enactment of the desire to return to those moments? Music - invisible, fleeting and ghostly..." Kerria Locca from the liner notes on "Black Mirror"

A few weeks ago when I was playing up in Victoria, I met a fellow by the name of Kin. He told me of a project that he was working on, "what was the first song?" What an amazing thing to think about. Our evolution .. our music.. our song. What was it?

Certainly this idea brought forth a crazy journal entry involving prehistoric 'Bam-Bams' and Flintstones jokes.. but then I started to take this more seriously... It actually made me wonder about life without music. What if we had never knew or thought about singing, tapping our toes, clapping our hands!? what if there were no dancing? no evolution of emotion though sound and movement? what if life was just a linear day without elevations of tone, breath, or rhythms... wow. what a different world this would be.

As many of you know I am a bit of a global wander in the musical world. I love to listen to songs from far away places perhaps because I can live within the daydreams of one day seeing and experiencing a streetside concert of locals ala Buena Vista Social Club.. or a busker singing his heart out somewhere in Spain, dancing with the locals in Cameroon or Zanzibar... and of course, hearing a local session in some small pub in Ireland. Such dialects in music.. such life songs that keep history alive just like great stories retold over and over and over again...

I went to the library yesterday and, while perusing the world music section, I came across this album "Black Mirror - Reflections in Global Music (1918-1955)" It is a 24 track Cd with tunes from all over the world that have been captured from old vinyl.. It is AMAZING. From an ancient Syrian violin piece to a Ukrainian melody that will capture your soul.. to an actual recording of Burmese musician just 'jammin' in Myanmar. It's great. Most tracks are traditional, so we get to place an ear up to a window into these far away lands.

How grateful I am to have music! To have this mysterious ghost of our ancestors' ancestors reverberating through my ears and soul. How wonderful to have the ability to flash back into another time just by hearing a familiar tune. Joni said it best..."Songs are like tattoos..." Certain songs are like smells, or photographs that transport me vividly to a day in my past... But mostly.. to hear the old tunes.. I mean the ones from say the 12th Century and much before that! To know these songs is to know that these tunes were sung and performed and sung and performed over and over again to make it to us today...
musical archeology. wow. what a wonderful idea. perhaps I want to do that when i grow up! :)

what was the first song? perhaps I will never know.. but I am thankful to the one who decided that tone and rhythm could be paired together. I am thankful that it wasn't just a fad and that tunes were created for joy, sorrow, love, prayer, beauty, and battle. I am grateful for the singers and players who kept and keep the traditions alive. Just as I am grateful for the singer I am listening to as I write this. Recorded in 1919 in Greece, I wonder if she ever dreamed that someone in 2010 would be listening to her heartfelt song. I wish she could know that her voice has moved me...

music is a beautiful mystery!

Monday, March 22, 2010


by Rudyard Kipling


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

RPM challenge number 4 complete... and next?

Wow. this year just about kicked my butt. I really had to pull it together, dig deep and hope the muse would guide me. With that being said, this year's RPM challenge became the most personal one yet.

At SoulFood this coming Saturday, I will have it available for sale by donation (recommended $5). 10 songs, lots of personal mojo.. if you wanted to know more about me, you will most likely do so by the end of the album.

The tracks and the stories are as follows:

01 True
A common relationship story.. a flame so burns bright, a life in a fairytale; but, winds come in and the flame flickers uncontrollably. Eventually the flame gets snuffed out by another's hands. Several years go by, and the memory returns...

02 Sage
Originally titled, Man on the Bus, this is a part of a journal entry I made over a year ago while on the bus people watching. This man was wonderful. Old, full of wisdom, with eyes of sunset and wind. The recording that I did for RPM vexes me only in the way that I sang too quickly the word Duwamish. I told myself not to labour over it since this will be one that I will likely want to rerecord anyway. So I hope that I do not offend anyone with this.

03 Orion
I started the lyrics for this tune the night of my wedding shower in Tulsa in the last few days of November 2005. I labour over love songs about Adam since I feel I can never communicate the actual grandeur of the love I feel for him.

04 Sunny
written new the last week of February when I had to go into work and I just wanted to be outside, ride a bike, fall into warm grass and watch spring unfold.

05 North
An anthem for the immigrant. Okay, it's really about me and my love of Canada. It is still my home. Yes, I stole a few words from the national anthem but it was necessary to quote it, in my opinion...AND, as my dear Joni once said, "I stole a lot of lines to sing..." (from the song California), I think I can live with it. I recently sent this song, with the encouragement of friends, to CBC radio. *fingers crossed*

06 Someday
A memory came to me about a morning, from several years back, when i had a huge fight with my ex. I knew that I would have to leave him, and I also knew that I would have to leave Victoria too.. forever hopeful, yet tangled in sadness is a common theme in my writing. :)

07 Hope
at 5am on October 23, 2009 I received a text message from a dear friend, "Quick! turn on the TV!! GreenBean on FIRE! Terrible! Burning Through!!!" It was true. The GreenBean and the 3 businesses that were thier neighbours where completely taken by fire. Over 100 firefighters were called in to try to save it. It was one of the saddest days of my life. The GreenBean CoffeHouse had been such a big part of our start in Seattle. Our film festival found its home there, I played a monthly gig in its wonderful acoustic walls, plus, we had so many friends that this place was the catalyst for. We believed in the message that the coffeehouse stood by, "sit long and talk much" The night of the fire, Captain, Doug & I attended a bit of a wake at the offices for the Bean and experienced all the wonderful stories that people shared about what the Bean meant to them... it was filled with love and HOPE. I'll never forget the 40 or so people jammed in this little office talking, crying, sharing, laughing about the feeling that the Bean generated. It was so much more than those 4 walls and coffee.
As we left the meeting, we walked near the Bean and saw that it was still smoking due to hot spots. We could see the night sky though the broken windows, up where the roof should have been, and I saw a star fall. About a week later, I started writing a song but was hung up on so much emotion. I had to shelve it for a few months. I decided that the 23rd of February would be 5 months since the Greenbean was a victim of arson so I unearthed it. It came together and I felt that it deserved to be the title track to the album.
I performed Hope for the first time at Soul Food's open mic on Saturday, March 6, 2010 and was hit with so much emotion sharing it for the first time with the public. I was fighting back tears as I sang it. I have never had that happen to me before. It was a challenging, yet truly a freeing experience to be so truthful on stage.
The GreenBean has reopened due the generosity of another coffeehouse called the Sip & Ship. The Bean moved into one of the two Sip & Ship locations to run the business until the Bean finds another home to call their own in Greenwood. The arsonist was caught after destroying 4 businesses and delivering severe damage to 10 other locations.

08 Grace
2008 was a very hard year for my family and me. My dad was very sick fighting cancer and we were uncertain of the outcome. During one of the many flights back and forth to Tulsa, I wrote this poem about my Dad. I was unable to anything with it due to its level of emotion. On February 12, 2010 my dad celebrated his 69th birthday. I finally find the music to put to this poem that I wrote so long ago. Love you, Daddio!

09 Enough
Oh, self image. Something I have had a terrible relationship with just about all my life. Boys, magazines, movies, diets, eating disorders, new hair styles, bad fashion choices... *sigh* Been through it all!! And eventually one learns the truth.

10 Home
A song about being in love with a place long after the relationship expired. I fell in love with a boy. Made a home. I fell in love with that place. The boy.. well, he didn't treat me so great after awhile. But we stayed together for a long time...
Perhaps I was more in love with my home than him... without him, I never would have known Home.

That's it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

. muse .

Oh, Muse... where have you gone?

working hard on this year's RPM challenge.
Just posted 2 tunes on the site.

An anthem for the immigrant. Okay, it's really about me and my love of Canada. It is still my home. Yes, I stole a few words from the national anthem but it was necessary to quote it, in my opinion...AND, as my dear Joni once said, "I stole a lot of lines to sing..." (from the song California), I think I can live with it.

Man on the Bus (Sage Song)
This is actually part of a journal entry I made over a year ago while on the bus people watching. This man was wonderful. Old, full of wisdom, with eyes of sunset and wind. The recording that I did for RPM vexes me only in the way that I sang too quickly the word Duwamish. I told myself not to labour over it since this will be one that I will likely want to rerecord anyway. So I hope that I do not offend anyone with this.

enough play time.
back to writing...

here.. musey, musey , musey!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

teach street

I'm a Voice Lessons teacher in Seattle, WA.


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