First off: Happy New Year! (Albeit late!) I haven’t been too dedicated to updating content here (isn’t this my usual story? Ha ha!) The good news is that I’m in the process of changing that. Since mid-2016, I’ve been working on rebranding everything about Carrie Day, and though it is exciting — and a process that requires me to really think about what I want to do next, and how I want to present that to you — it is also a process that requires lining up schedules with the key people helping me, and making decisions in areas such as colour schemes, props, visuals, what sort of stories do I want the visuals to tell and how they will support the music, hair, dress, style, palette, musical direction, target market, future performances, video projects, short vs long term goals, where to invest the most time at this time, etc, etc, etc. It’s pretty exciting to have a larger picture and direction of what I want to do going forward. Now to make it happen!
I’ve missed making videos! To ring in the new year, I recorded a little video of one of my favourite seasonal songs, and though I posted it on social media sites, I forgot to post it here. So here it is:
I also have quite a few demos of songs and thought it would be fun to make little videos to them. Here is the first:
I have some shows coming up in Hinton and Edson, and once the details are fixed, I’ll update them here! It’s been awhile since I’ve performed in other areas besides my home town, and it will be good to get back on the road!
There have been many world changes lately, and I feel like I should say something about the current world affairs, but aren’t we all exhausted by them by now? There is much talk going on in the world centered around US politics, and for good reason. There is a notable divide, even in the smallest of circles. All I can say about it is this: get off your screens, take a break from the news, go outside, hang out with some trees, pet a dog, walk until you can feel your legs wanting to give in, think about your short time here on earth, think about what earth actually is, think about your ancestors and where they came from, make eye contact with strangers and smile. We are all made of the same stuff, and we all have the same basic needs. There is no need for division. None. It can be, and should be, simple: love yourself, love others, love nature. Oh, and choose where you put your dollar: there is power in that. There are several small grocery shops locally owned, and the vibe in them is far more relaxing than that of Costco. My boycott list continues to grow the more I educate myself on how things are produced, and where things come from. I haven’t shopped at bigbox stores for almost two decades, because I don’t want to inadvertently support child and slave labor. We (my loved ones and I) have all we need and lack nothing.
Okay, that’s that. I’m going to optimize what little time I have left of this quiet morning to devote on my music. I’ve got some great projects coming: Flashback Friday Song/Videos, new photos of the new look, and some snippets of home recordings of my latest songs. Stay tuned, and keep in touch!
Oh my goodness! Hello! I hope that everyone had a great summer! I was a little sad to see it come and go so quickly! I think that Summer is my favourite of all seasons. I loved working in the vegetable garden and tending to the flowers. I loved the early mornings, waking up with the sun, being barefoot, and feeling the sun beating down. I loved the lazy feeling days of not having to rush to get my daughter to school. I loved the heat, the outdoor pools, and the sprinkler. I loved the electrical storms, and night time rains. I loved the road trips and family visits. I loved so much about this past summer – it was a good one! This photo from one of our road trips. Look at those cumulus clouds! *SIGH!*
I have to say, Autumn is a beauty of a season too. Who could think otherwise, with all of the glorious colours of late? I took this photo on a recent puppy walk. Speaking of that, walking our puppy has been one of the greatest changes to my routine. We’ve had her for almost 10 months, and everyday for 10 months (well, almost everyday), I have walked with her. There is something to be said for habit, movement, routine, breathing outside air, and feeling the elements on your skin first thing in the morning, each and every day. Walking has become my quiet time; my prayer. And though I have a giant stride and a fast pace, and likely look like I’m on a mission to get somewhere, walking has a weird way of slowing down my thoughts and allowing the time and space to reflect on all the things that seem to slip away without having been given the time of day.
Projects-wise, I’ve got quite a few things on the go, and that feels exciting! I love having new work to focus on, grow from, be inspired by, and collaborate with others on. We began working on content for a new EPK (Electronic Press Kit). The biggest element for this is the filming and recording of one of my songs, live off the floor. I’ve been working with Edmonton’s NTT Films (great guys!). We are now at the editing stages, which is a fun process! I’m excited to share the finished footage with you all soon!
I’m also going to be heading into the recording studio soon to record a couple of demos, live off the floor!! This is super exciting for me! I always feel that their is a certain “life” and “essence” to live recordings, and I haven’t done too many of them yet in my studio career. “Fly and Drift” from my 2010 release was recorded live off the floor. I find it to have the qualities I mention that might not have been captured if we recorded it in the usual way: bed tracks and then overdubs. If you like, you can listen to it here:
Lastly, I feel as creative as ever lately, and am reveling in that. It has been a long time coming, it seems. Though I feel that I’m on an overall high, my writing has been more contemplative and introspective than usual. I’m okay with that. My latest songs lend themselves to a song cycle project that I’ve been wanting to write for some time. The songs of the cycle will tell stories of various journeys and struggles, and the characters will develop in some way. They may circle back to a similar place that they were at the start, but with new understandings and insights. Some of the songs will be art songs and their lyrics will be more poetic, compared to the standard lyric outline of Verse-Chorus-Bridge. Some of songs will tell clear stories. Others may be vague so that the listener can plug their own story in. The commonality is that none of the songs will be arranged/composed/recorded with radio in mind (which will be a refreshing process, in a way, I think – more like my early work, perhaps). And the songs will belong together in a way that isn’t unlike an album, but will be somehow different. I hope that the song cylce as a whole will tell a greater story. Maybe it is a lofty project for where I’m at as a writer, but I feel that it’s time to get started!
Well, I should sign off here. I hope that you are all well and happy. There is much to grieve in the world lately, and much to have trepidation towards. As you have likely noticed, I don’t write about much other than the creative process, and the things I find beautiful and pleasant in my simple life. (I’m pretty boring in general, aren’t I?! 🙂 ) I try to keep my larger viewpoints to myself. I will say this, though: with all my heart and being, I hope that we will all try to take care of one another as a people as best as we can, that we will learn from the great teachers before us, and the role models we encounter in our everyday. I hope that we can lead by example, and be as kind and loving and patient as we can with one another, and with ourselves. With ourselves first!! And i hope that we take advantage of the free information at our fingertips, and that we educate ourselves on topics in which we are ignorant, and in the process of doing so, that we practice discernment! Ignorance leads to fear, and fear never has a good outcome.
Oh, one last thing: During the last phase of the Cold War as a kid in the mid-late eighties, it wasn’t uncommon that I would lie awake at night, sick with worry for the future of our world. I didn’t understand the workings of politics (nor do I now) – my fear stemmed solely from snippets I caught of the news and conversations among adults. I feel like that 9 year old kid again; I have that very same unease. It is a strange time in the world right now. I hope that we move forward with love in our hearts, and with determination and strength to do what feels most right. Also, (and dammit, I’ve been holding back, but can’t any longer): it is with every single cell of my non-confrontational and quiet self that I hope that a particular excuse of a man who is somehow one of the US presidential candidates stops lying to himself and others, and sees himself for the highly incompetent (and horrible) person he really is, and steps down. Or in the very least, stubs his toe really badly, which sets off a chain reaction of unfortunate, annoying and painful events, which lead to him having to step down. Okay, before I go really out of character, I’m really signing off.
Much love and care, thank you for stopping by, and Happy Autumn!
Good morning! This is my morning look – isn’t it hilarious!? Hair that goes everywhere, face still somewhat crumpled up. Since cutting my hair in the fall, it has really taken a life of it’s own, and has brought a lot of morning laughter to my daughter and me. (It has brought some frustration as well, like when I have somewhere to go first thing in the morning, and no amount of combing helps, and no hat fits! Ha ha!!) Well, I wanted to start this off on a happy free-spirited note, because it may not stay there, or it may… I don’t know. I’ve had some ups and downs moving through the last few months, facing challenges and set-backs, and have been wondering how to march on. And that’s okay. Lately I’ve been allowing myself to be on “both sides”, and to feel both the frustrations and the joys of being an artist.
The fall was tough on me for reasons that seemed real at the time, though I can’t quite put my finger on any one of them at this time. (Isn’t time a funny thing? It softens and blurs simply by passing by.) But I do recall that things were in such a state that I knew that I needed to do something to change up my daily life. I was in a rut. Not knowing what exactly I should do to create the change I felt I needed, I decided to be still and listen to my gut with the fierceness that comes when one doesn’t know what else to do, though feels they must do something. And this is what my gut told me to do: get a puppy! And that is what I did! Isn’t she sweet!? This is a recent photo of her at 7 months old. We got her when she was just a little pup at a mere 8 weeks. We named her Kira, and she is a beautiful little critter with a wonderful personality. She makes me laugh and smile every single day, and she gets me out moving. Not only that, I’ve had to structure my days around her care (especially when she was small), which means that my days are generally more productive. I’ve walked many a mile with Kira. We’ve walked walks that have been so long that my muscles ached and my thoughts slowed down. (What a glorious feeling that is.) We’ve met lots of dogs and their owners, and sometimes lack of. Once we were chased by a stray dog that was seeming to want to protect its territory – that gave us both quite the adrenaline rush! We’ve walked until I’ve thought I wouldn’t and couldn’t walk any more, over icy paths in early spring when careful footing is required, up and down the river bank for the simple pleasure of exhilaration, and we’ve walked until we’ve both wanted to lie down and rest. Then that second wind kicks in and we make our way home. I’m so grateful that I listened to my gut; Kira came to us just when she was supposed to. And I know this is cliche to say, but I’ll say it anyway: she’s the best thing to have happened to me; she’s my best friend.
Moving through winter (along with my puppy!), I decided to implement a few things into daily life to help me through the times when I was feeling uninspired and discouraged. The biggest thing I did (and firstly I should say that I didn’t think that I would ever in my life do this, nor that it would be something that I would have thought would counter feeling uninspired and discouraged. Never, ever have I previously had that thought). Okay, so here it is: the biggest thing I did was I gave up wine. I GAVE UP MY HAPPY JUICE! I completely GAVE UP DRINKING WINE! Wine was how I spent my evenings! Wine was my unwinding! Wine was my joy! (So I believed.) Wine started to feel like a necessity. I started to sulk if there was no wine! And because of that, I gave it up. I haven’t said that I quit wine, because that is a hard, ugly word: quit. Blech. No, I haven’t quit, but I’ve taken a break, and to be honest, I haven’t missed it. Wine hasn’t been in the house since some time in mid-December, and the last partial bottle of it was poured down the sink. I haven’t ordered a glass of wine when out of the house. I have had a few small sips since, at social gatherings when I didn’t feel like going into detail about taking a break from it, or when it felt rude to not accept it. Oh, and once then there was the time when I was very curious about a certain wine that I’d heard rave reviews about so I had a small taste. But, I’ve not had no where near the ol’ 9 oz glass, nor felt the desire to have one. That is a change that I feel good about. I sleep better and my mind is far less foggy. Am I happier? I don’t know. I nicknamed wine “happy juice” because it was good at creating the illusion. Am I going to go back to consuming wine? I don’t know… Not yet is the only thing I know for sure.
Now for the other things that I started to do early this year… Let’s see… Maybe I’ll list them. Before I do that, I’ll say that in doing these exercises I’ve had notable results with regard to lower levels of stress, better sleep, better productivity, less negative emotions, and an overall better feeling of wellness. I encourage you to implement them into your life too! (You may sub out the activities for whatever it is that you like to do – I think that should work, as long as the activity is healthy and creative.) Okay, so here are:
1) I’ve been writing everyday (or almost everyday!), and a lot of what I’m writing isn’t any good, but once in awhile there will be a line or two that makes my heart leap! As well as bits of lyrics and song ideas, I’ve come up with interesting concepts for books, short stories, blogs and blog posts. As well as that sort of writing, at the end of the day (or the morning of the next day), I write about all of the things I’m grateful for.
2) Each day, I play my instruments. Sometimes I practice them: technique and reading. Sometimes I just play. This time feels sacred to me. The sessions don’t have to be long, just regular. Sometimes I write while I practice, and sometimes I just close my eyes and get lost in sound, and revel in that rare and fleeting space where thoughts seem to cease.
3) Each day I give (or throw) something away. Stuff piles up quick. Clutter makes me feel uneasy. Messy rooms make me not want to go in them. I have a bag called “The Goodwill Bag” and every other day something goes into this bag until it is full. Then I take it to Goodwill and start over with a new bag. I also have a “Recycle Bag” and a “Shredding Box.” Papers and junk make their way into their respective places regularly. When clutter stays under control, it seems like I’m able to feel more able to get work done as a result. The space feels freer. The air seems lighter. I feel better able to work and create.
So that’s it! Those are the three things I do each day (or mostly each day), as well as a good long walk with Kira, and usually a bit of yoga or stretching. I feel pretty good most days, and I feel that this past winter is the first winter in a long time (maybe ever) that the blues were kept somewhat at bay. And being able to work from home has made a big difference in my ability to manage my time. (I’m very grateful for my day job!)
I should also mention that I had two extremely fun and exciting performances in March! One was with The Hinton Performing Arts Society with the trio of Thom Golub on bass and Thom Bennett on drums. (The photo is from that night.) What a great show that was! I met such lovely folks, and we were treated with such warmth and kindness. It was a great time, and I feel inspired to perform more shows with the trio! The second March show was for the lovely people of Forestburg for The Forestburg Concert Series. This was a solo show and I always feel a little excited-nervous when playing solo. The audience was so warm and receptive that I forgot about my nerves and just enjoyed myself. They took great care of me too, and that made the experience heart-warming and inspiring for me. I met people that I hope to see again. I was told some stories that I’ll never forget. Some that made me weep later. And we laughed together at things that will always make me chuckle upon remembering. March was a great month. I feel so lucky at times. I took the photo on the right, in the hotel room after the Forestburg show, after jumping up and down squealing in happiness. (Sometimes there is so much joy that that is all one can do.)
In April I had one show in Edmonton at Cafe Blackbird. It was a great fun, and I’ll be doing it again at the end of July! (Stay tuned for show details that absolutely will get added to the calendar on this site, because that part of the site is high-functioning again, which makes me extremely happy! Woohoo!) Also in April I attended the CD release concert of my mentor/idol/co-writer Rob Heath. He did a fantastic job on his new album, The Key. He has recently shared the news that some of the songs he co-wrote with many Edmonton-based songwriters are getting regular airplay on Americana stations in the USA! I’m so grateful that one of those songs is our song “Drive.” His version is pretty darn stellar! The album is full of great songs such high quality; I dream to write such songs one day!
Well, now it is May. The yard work has been started. I’ve been planning what tasks I hope to accomplish with the yard this year. I’ve gotten a few things done, and am trying not to feel discouraged with the huge jobs left. I will feel much better when the gardens are planted and some flowers are potted. The recent rainfalls have set me back a bit, as has Kira making a mess of some of my perennials and trees and rock beds. But that’s okay. We need the rain, and Kira’s so darn cute, it’s hard to be upset with her.
Oh! I almost forgot! I bought a new guitar and amp from my friends at Sound Extractor. It has been so much fun playing around with new sounds! Isn’t it a beauty of a set up?
I’ve been thinking about how to move forward in music. What will my next projects be? What do I want to say in my next songs? What do I want to accomplish? Where do I see myself in the coming months? In the next year, or two years? What sorts of performances do I want to give and for what sorts of audiences? It is often murky, tricky water that we artists have to swim in, and that makes navigating a challenge. Most times I’m up for the challenges, though lately I’ve been feeling a little lost and alone. I’m still hoping for collaborations. A “school” to be lost together with, or to be finding our way with. I love people! Sometimes I forget how much I love people because I spend so much darn time by myself. (Okay, I’m starting to use the word “darn” too often and in close succession. Time to stop writing and go do something else.)
One last thing: I’m so grateful for my friend Jamie Price of Must Be Tuesday who has fixed some funny things that were happening with the “shows” plugin on my website, and for doing some other website upkeep for me. I can’t wait to spend more time on my site, now that is functioning properly again! We have decided to keep each other accountable, and to meet up every other week to get some music biz tasks done. Most of this blog post was written yesterday in Jamie’s company. That was pretty sweet! Jamie makes for good company. Maybe we are the start of the “school.”
Okay, that’s it for now – it’s time to go play an instrument. Be well, and remember to take the time to do what you love. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Looking back, it was a good year, for the most part! I would say the first 9/12ths of the year were excellent! The last quarter was somewhat disappointing, on both broad and narrow spectrums. The refugee crisis and related world affairs have been disheartening. Social media–albeit useful in bringing awareness–is a conduit for spreading hate and negativity; both had spread like wild fire, and it was a difficult time for anyone to not harbor fear and/or fear-based emotions. I was finding it hard to take at times, and had been feeling pretty helpless and needing to withdraw/refrain from social media and listening to the news on the radio. Any efforts seemed futile in the grand scheme of things, though I was invited to join a couple of Syrian Refugee Sponsorship groups and I did join, and have been working with them in sponsoring some families to come to Canada. It is amazing to see the generosity and team work of people coming together in community, with care and compassion. That has been inspiring! But it has also made me question why there is such a great divide. Why do some people feel compelled to help, and others not? And why do some people choose to help certain groups of people, and not others? These are some of the things I had been pondering in the latter part of 2015; not exactly light and happy thoughts to go out with, but important ones, one could say.
I’ve had some personal disappointments at around this same time and I think that that was the tipping point to burnout and illness. I rarely get anything more than the common cold, though ended up getting some sort of flu that has had a pretty strong grip on my health. Whatever I have been recently struggling with has really made me appreciative for the fact that I rarely get anything more than the common cold! All in all, it was a great year, health-wise: I was able to make weekly videos, perform without any trouble, and work my other jobs. I am looking forward to feeling 100% again! 🙂
I had set out in early 2015 with The Video-a-Week Challenge. I had been wanting to learn Pro Tools since purchasing it in early 2012, though every time I fired it up I became anxious. I didn’t know where to begin! I didn’t even know what to search for on the Internet, because I didn’t know the right lingo and technical terms. So, I would usually shut it down, having gotten nothing done and having wasted a bunch of time. The Video-a-Week challenge kept me focused and excited, and I very gradually learned my way around the basics of Pro Tools. While doing so, I learned more about myself and who I am as an artist. Sometimes I didn’t like what I’d discovered — like my obvious ahead-of-the-beat tendency. But that is part of learning and growing; seeing both strengths and weaknesses, and working on the latter while honing the former. I met some great people that checked-in with me as each video was posted (I miss those weekly interactions)! And I felt really supported by many of my followers (thank you, everyone)! I posted 43 videos throughout the year, and made a few more that I didn’t get around to posting. I learned so much about so many things, and not only that, my efforts in learning Pro Tools paid off in a way that I didn’t anticipate: I got offered a job.
If someone had told me a year ago that by September 2015 I would have a job doing audio editing and podcast publishing, I would have laughed — really hard. But here I am doing just that: editing and publishing audio, right from the same small home studio in which I created the weekly challenge videos. And I love it! It is work that has challenged me, and continues to. AND, I’m getting to be pretty good at it! My clients are all in the health and fitness realm, so the content I edit is really inspiring and packed with facts and advice. It has been a great change in my livelihood, and I’m super grateful that I plugged away and didn’t give up on the challenge when the going got tough, which at times, it certainly did!
Now, let’s see… I had started working on the EP, Chasing Rainbows at the end of 2014, and I finished it up in early 2015, then released it into the world in May. What a journey it is to record and release music… It doesn’t get any easier with time, and each time I make a new recording, I’m surprised by the amount of work. Even though I have gotten more comfortable with the process–and better at it–I am still my harshest critic and easily get wrapped up in both the most minute details and the big picture! It isn’t unlike me to question the importance of a few notes and then in the next breath what wonder what the heck I’m doing with my life. But I always come back to this: I love creating new music, and somehow, despite the many, many hardships involved, I want to keep creating it. I was happy with the finished product Chasing Rainbows, with my favourite tracks from the album being this one and this one. When we lost Robin Williams, I really wanted to learn, arrange and record What a Wonderful World, so I did that, and included it on the EP, as a small tribute to him. (I can’t think of Robin Williams without also thinking of that song, and the movie Good Morning, Vietnam.)
I performed quite a bit throughout 2015, with the highlight being the EP Release Concert in Edmonton. I enjoyed performing with the band, so very much! I hope to do more shows with them! This is an image from the EP Release Concert concert at Convocation Hall. I hadn’t been on that stage since studying at the University of Alberta. And when I last performed there (in the late 90s), the music I was playing was classical piano repertoire. (I didn’t know back then that I would become a singer-songwriter. And I also didn’t know how to play guitar! At that time, I was also extremely shy and had terrible stage fright, and the thought of being a performer would not have entered my mind, I’m sure.) It was absolutely magical to be back on stage at Convocation Hall, and to be performing my original material. It was definitely a highlight to my year.
Shortly after the release of Chasing Rainbows, I attended an Alberta songwriting camp at OCL Studios in Calgary. It was one of the greatest songwriting experiences I’ve had, and I’m so grateful I was among the ten Alberta songwriters selected to attend. We wrote 9 songs in three days. I made some amazing friends and have been making plans to do more co-writing with them. It was a beautiful place to hang out in, and I loved every minute of my time there. 🙂
A little later in the year–in the month of July–I got the AMAZING opportunity to assist at Sound Extractor Studios in Edmonton, on a session with Keith Urban and his bandmates!! (Unbelievable, right???) Well, it really did happen! It was one of the greatest days of 2015 (or maybe my whole life to-date), and I will never forget how classy and kind all of these guys were. I didn’t do much other than answer the door, show people in, prepare snacks, and answer the phone. But, I got to be a fly on the wall while Keith worked. He is incredible, and so are his band members. This really was a great day – one that I won’t forget easily (even with my sub par memory)!
In September of 2015, I entered the All-Albertan Song Contest with a new song that I wrote called “My Sweet Alberta”, and it made it to the Top 6! That was an exciting time for me, and though I didn’t place any higher than Top 6, I got some great feedback on my song, lots of support from my fans, and it was exciting to be part of the contest! If you like, you can listen to “My Sweet Alberta” right here:
In October, I got the new audio editing job! (I trained for the job for part of August and all of September.) In October I also wrote a new new song! (I hope to write more songs like this one.)
In November, I began doing a little bit of work as an accompanist for an adult choir, and so far I love it! I haven’t done any accompanying work for a number of years and it is nice to brush up on my piano playing skills.
In December, I performed at the Royal Alberta Museum Closing Party. The day after the final performance, I got the flu that I am still trying to shake off! I had to cancel a couple of December performances for the first time in my career! Fortunately I have been able to get through my recent ones.
So, with health in mind, I think that I will begin 2016 by making rest a priority. And I also hope to write more. And perform more. And sell more of my music so that I can justify making more of it! And I want to continue to learn about recording, and I’ll probably make some more videos of some sort to help me with that. I also hope to update my website more frequently. 🙂
And these are some smaller, general goals that I also want to focus on:
Get outside and move around in some way, everyday.
Cook something healthy, everyday.
Hug and be kind, everyday.
Spend quality time with my loved ones, everyday.
Write something, even if only a few words, everyday.
Laugh and smile, even if just a little, everyday.
Play music and practice, everyday.
Sketch/draw, just a little, everyday.
I’m wishing all of you, all the very best in 2016!! Whatever it is that makes your heart sore and brings you peace; do that! Time goes by so quickly — it’s important to make the time to do what we love to do.
Thank you for stopping by, and for sharing in this journey called “LIFE” with me!
My best wishes for a very Happy New Year! 2016, here we come!
Well, I looked back at my last post, in which I wrote that I was going to be writing posts more often, and (gulp)… Quite a lot of time has passed since then…
Sometimes–often times–I spend time wondering why it is such a challenge to carve out a career as a musician. Of course there are many factors that come into play; general ones that impact many, and then individual ones according to where someone is at in their life. I’ve been trying to reflect on what sort of career I want to have and how I can achieve it. To be honest, I’ve been discouraged lately. I’ve done a lot of work to create new work (recordings and projects), though I haven’t figured out how to create more traction, more mobility, more opportunities to get my music “out there”. There are many things I could do more of (like write more frequent blog posts!), though I also feel that there is so much to do that at times I don’t know where to spend my time.
So, instead of plowing forward without having a plan, I’ve been quieter and more contemplative, and trying to assess where I’m at in life and in music. I like hard work — I find it satisfying in and of itself. Though, I get more out of working hard and achieving something tangible. I need to figure out how to do that!
The weekly video project has kept me focused on improving my skills as a musician, arranger and user of Pro Tools. I’ve enjoyed the few hours each week that I set aside to record the video. The latest one was extremely fun!
It’s amazing that the year is wrapping up on this challenge. What am I going to do instead? A couple of my music friends and I recently joked that I’ll keep going, but instead of a video a week, I do one a day! Or two a day! Or one every minute! (And so our joking went on, getting more and more ridiculous!)
What I really hope to do is to tour more. That isn’t an easy thing to think about doing at this time in my life, but I think it won’t be too long that I can really set out on regular road trips and musical adventures!
We’ve been blessed with a beautiful autumn, and I’ve been spending many hours outside running, walking, hiking and cycling. That has felt great! Also, as of a few weeks ago, I was hired as an audio editor and tech assistant to some companies that publish regular podcasts. That has been extremely exciting, and it is the perfect sort of job for a musician in that it’s fairly flexible and can be done from home.
I have some exciting in Alberta coming up in December – March. I’m looking forward to them, and am going to be spending some time booking a few more.
Well, that’s it for now, friends. Enjoy the rest of autumn!
I’ve made a new goal of writing here a little more frequently, so here goes!
The spring and summer seasons have been amazing this year. We are halfway into summer (sob!) and it has been a wonderful one. The gardens are doing well (despite the little moisture we are having), and we have been eating a variety of veggies already! There has been a good balance of family/fun/work/play, and of goal-setting and project-starting; all things that keep me happy and vibrant feeling!
I’ve been taking the time to ride my bike a fair bit. I love bike riding. It makes me feel free! I’ve also been doing other fun things (mostly because I have a child, but also because it’s just fun to have fun). We’ve flown kites, played skipping games, gone on long river valley bike rides and nature walks, and hung out at playgrounds. One day my child will be grown up and I might not do those things as often (sob!). Nah… I’m still going to them.
Lately I’ve been setting aside time to do a little writing. I try to do a little each day. Some days are better than others, but all writing sessions are good. It’s a time that I look forward to, and it’s usually late at night during those hours when the house is still and the magpies are asleep, and I usually wake up early (thanks to the magpies), so I usually have to find time for a nap, which is another thing I love about summer – siestas! I would like to write at least a song a month. I think that isn’t too lofty of a goal.
Today I posted my 26th video in the challenge I started in the early new year of posting a video to YouTube each week, and writing about the process in each video’s description. I can’t believe that I’m halfway there!! When I began the challenge, I was apprehensive and nervous, and I thought I might be becoming a little more crazy than usual. But halfway into it, I’m grateful that I pushed myself, and I really look forward to Tuesdays, which is the day I use to record and edit the videos. The challenge has been so good for me in so many ways! I’ve learned so much about technology, artistry, and myself as a person. If you like, you can follow the challenge here. This is the video for Week #26:
Well, I’ll sign off for now, but I will see you soon!
Thanks for stopping by!
What a great month of May so far! The busyness of working April’s “promo machine”(mailouts, deliveries, interviews, phone calls, emails, social media, etc) was wrapped up with a beautiful concert in the beautiful Convocation Hall on the U of A Campus. It was dreamlike for me to be back on the stage where I performed many times before while a student in the BMus program. Even some of my fellow alumni attended, which made it even more surreal. The band was amazing, the audience was amazing, and I think that this is the first band concert I’ve given in which I’ve had fun from the beginning to end. What a fantastic feeling that is! I can’t wait until next time!
The last couple of weeks have been busy with yard work and gardening! I’ve added to my vegetable plot this year, and also added some new fruit trees to the property. I am excited!
I’ll add some photos and more text to this post soon! If you’d like to follow my weekly Video-a-Week challenge on YouTube, you may do so here. I write a bit of a blog in each week’s video description, and it’s a nice way of keeping in touch!
Lastly (for now), if you’d like to purchase Chasing Rainbows directly from me, please send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. And here it is on the ol’ iTunes!
We’ve had a beautiful Autumn in Edmonton this year! Usually heavy frost and bitter winds speed up the process of the leaves changing colour and falling from the trees. Usually the grass browns sooner. This year the mild weather has allowed the leaves to hang on and slowly change colour. The grass is still green. The skies have been sunny and blue. I can’t imagine a more lovely palette than the one nature has given us this year. I remember one such Autumn, back in 2000; mild up until early November. I think that was the last Autumn that I collected leaves that I later used in collages. This year I have done the same. I’ve pressed hundreds of leaves in books. I’ve enjoyed collecting them, marveling at their beauty, and it will be lovely to work with them once they have dried.
I’m feeling grateful for having had a lot of inspiration and energy lately. I have been spending a fair bit of time in the kitchen, creating all sorts of different things. I find that this sort of creativity helps unblock other sorts of creativity. It’s a good flow to be in! Below is a snapshot of some of the baking I did the other night. The house smelled great the whole next day! (And we’ve been eating yummy treats all week.) 🙂
Recently I’ve felt inspired to work with paint and paper, and one afternoon I made this collage. The small inscription at the bottom is from a Yogi Tea Bag, with an inscription that reads: “The moment you love, you are unlimited.” I brewed a cup of tea from that teabag back in March, and then I wrote a song called “Love”, and that song has been the kick-start to my latest recording project that I’ve titled Chasing Rainbows; an EP of seven songs that I began recording them a few months ago. I’m really enjoying the process of recording this time around: I don’t have any deadlines, and because it is thus far a self-funded project, I can pace myself, and really savour the processes.
I’m working at putting together new merchandise that will be made available for purchase, and all proceeds from sales will aid in the making of Chasing Rainbows. (Links and details will follow shortly!) Happy end of Autumn, and thank you for stopping by!
Be well, my friends. 🙂
I just got back from a wonderful week in the Kootenays, where my older brother lives with his family on their little farm. There were many wonderful things to do like canoeing, catching painted turtles, riding horses, and cycling, as well as simply relaxing with the family and the animals. My brother and his family have a lifestyle that is inspiring for me: they work extremely hard and live close to nature, with a love and reverence for the wilderness and the land. They grow much of their produce, including the biggest, juiciest strawberries I’ve ever eaten. My sister-in-law bakes bread weekly, with sprouted grains and multigrain flour that is milled right at home in their kitchen. They try to support local stores and producers when making food/product purchases. They have a deep understanding of where our food comes from, and they don’t take for granted how accessible most things are for many of us in North America.
Being an avid hunter (and fisherman), my brother has built several tree stands where he can watch the wildlife and plan for hunting season. (He does not fish nor hunt for sport – any game he may acquire is used to sustain his family.) The photo above was snapped from the top of one of my brother’s tree stands, which he built out of fallen trees, and in such a way that the tree it is built in is completely unharmed. It’s difficult to see how high up this is (we estimated around 35 feet, though it felt like more), and I wish that I took a photo of it from ground level to show its magnificence and smart craftsmanship. I have a fear of heights, and this stand is high enough to have caused my palms and the bottoms of my feet to sweat. The tree grows in a valley and opposite of the ladder is a fairly steep decline into the valley (which you can’t help but notice while climbing up the ladder). It amazes me that my brother built this stand. He said, “I had a vision, I made a drawing, and then I built it. I had to do it!” He used pulleys and rope, and all kinds of climbing gear. (Did I mention he’s as strong as an ox? He showed me photos of the pack of logs and lumber he hauled up on his back – so heavy were the loads that the pack tore and required heavy duty repairing.)
Though it was somewhat difficult to overcome my fear of heights, I’m glad that I did. The view was astounding, and the quiet peacefulness of nature was calming (until I had to make my way down, which I did slowly but surely, and somewhat sweatily). 🙂 Since being home, I’ve baked a batch of sourdough bread (with sourdough starter provided by my sister-in-law), I began an exercise routine (also provided by my sister-in-law – she’s as fit as a fiddle!), and I built a clothesline. I feel well-nourished in body/mind/spirit, and inspired beyond words. I have been reminded again: life is what we make it.
And now I’m going to let go of the reins for a bit of a “gloat session”. My brother and sister-in-law are both teachers and basketball coaches. They can run for miles and miles without tiring, and cycle up and down huge hills on mountain passes. They are amazing parents to two awesome teen-aged girls. My sister-in-law has created a self-sustaining ecosystem out of their great, big yard and garden, operating at a degree that would make David Suzuki proud. She recently told my daughter (and my daughter told me that it was the most favourite thing that her auntie has said to her): “Everything has a purpose in this world.” My brother is an appreciator of art, be it literature or classical music. He is a writer of stories – the way he weaves words together tugs at the heartstrings, without the reader even realizing it. He’s a musician, and a songwriter, a cook and a baker, and has a knack for pretty much everything. On top of all of this, he’s currently a part-time student working on a Masters in Education. I’ve looked up to my big brother from the time I was old enough to walk, and I still do. 🙂
My four brothers are all special to me, and one day I’ll write a little something about each of the other three. One thing is certain: I’m one lucky sister. 🙂
There is no other feeling quite like that feeling we get when we exhale our last big sigh of relief, when we know that Spring is finally here to stay! For us Albertans, that is usually in June. We get teased throughout May, with hints of warmth, and even heat, as we did this May. Though Spring doesn’t really settle in until June. I have learned over the years not to get overly excited too soon. Previous years I would start spring cleaning in March; everything from washing windows to washing the interior of my van (all of that salt and gravel buildup from months of winter driving drives me bonkers, but what drives me more bonkers is having to deal with it all over again because of a somewhat freak April snowfall). Now, after many years of disappointment (for example, snow in not only April, but May too) the spring cleaning starts much later, and I don’t put the winter clothes away at all – I just move them to a nearby easily accessible closet, because you just never know, when it comes to Alberta weather. For the last three years there has been little Springtime disappointment; hopes are not crushed, as hope is no longer a feeling I implement regarding the oncoming of Spring. I invoke patience instead, and then anticipation as we all get ready to let go with that last big sigh!
Indeed Spring has Sprung! What a great feeling! Breathing in warmth! Waking up to birds! Waking up with the sun! (Actually, this last part is hard to love at first, but you get used to it!) This time of year I always have these grandiose visions of how my vegetable garden and flower pots will look, which new trees will be purchased and planted, and what area of my backyard I will focus my landscaping love on. This time of year, my imagination teams up with my still-learning green thumb, and have a heck of a great time together! I go to my favourite seed and flower stores, I research plants and gardening, I visit landscaping centres! I find these places invigorating as do all lovers of Spring!. One day while perusing the perennials at Apache Seeds, a man around my age, in an old ball cap and track pants (he didn’t look like the gardening type at all! No offense to him, but he kind of looked like a tough guy) came over to tell me about Gazanias. “They are great fillers if you have space to fill in your beds or pots, and they are the cutest things! They have these pointy buds that open up when the sun comes out and close up again when the sun goes down! They’re just the sweetest little flower with a big wide circular bloom that NEVER fades. I’ve been all over the city looking for them and this is the first place I’ve found them at. You’ll have to get some – you won’t be disappointed!” He was not at all a tough guy, nor was he an employee acting as a customer to encourage other customers to buy plants, he was just a true Spring enthusiast, with a deep love for Gazanias! And so, upon his recommendation, I purchased some Gazanias for the first time, and they are everything I was told they would be! With my first project of planting the flower pots completed — and looking lovely — I decided to tackle Project Two: Raised Garden Boxes.
There is a very slim time frame in which we can plant in Alberta if we want to have something to harvest before the first frost. In getting started on the raised garden boxes, I burned the midnight oil to research what materials are best for building garden boxes, and where to purchase and haul enough soil for them, as well as what grows well in them, if landscaping fabric should be used in the bottoms, etc, etc. I don’t know if I learned anything, though I was reminded of this: there are oodles of conflicting views on everything under the sun, on the Internet. I made some drawings and showed them to my dad the next morning, and he did the building (bless his grumpy self), my partner in crime did the hauling (bless his willingness and his truck), and we both did the filling (thanks to the storm blowing in, we got done fast!). Because of the storm and potential rain, I decided to put tarps over both of the garden boxes to keep the soil dry and ready to plant the next evening, except that I didn’t have any tarps. And so my racing brain decided to use blue recycle bags. I cut down two of the seams so I would be able to open them up and cover more surface and use fewer bags. (It’s such a habit to always think about the environment, and this was good thinking until I realized that the bags would then be useless later in their old bag form … They ended up in a recycling bag once they were done being tarps…). Oh well… I got the garden boxes covered just before the storm hit, and retired that evening drenched in both sweat and rain, yet feeling good about the work that was done. We had to race against the rain again the following evening. Along with the help of my daughter, both boxes were planted just in time! The boxes with their neat little rows of planted, lightly covered and tapped down seeds were picturesque, and a fell into one of the best sleeps I’ve had in weeks, dreaming of all of the delicious veggies we would soon be eating.
In the morning, I looked out and smiled at the sun, greeted the birds, beamed down at my flower pots of cute little Gazanias, stepped out onto the rain-sparkled grass, and just as I was breathing in the fresh spring air, right then and there, I spotted a cat, and I just knew. I JUST KNEW. My dash to the backyard was Olympic-like, and my love for animals was almost totally quelled upon arrival to the garden boxes. Our neighbourhood cat found not just one, but TWO of the greatest, biggest, cleanest, sent-from-heaven-litter boxes, a mere hop-skip-and-jump from home. And unbeknownst, this little cat stirred up all of the neat little rows of seeds, just like that, just because it could. With a mixture of deflation and rage, off I ran to my computer where I learned from David Suzuki how to make a spray out of lemon oil and cinnamon and other things I can’t remember because I was not in a state to remember anything! Once the entire backyard was sprayed with this delicious smelling cat-repelling spray, I headed back to Apache Seeds to purchase chicken wire. Let me tell you, chicken wire is no easy thing to wrestle with, snip, bend and place on top of garden boxes. I looked like I wrestled with the cat itself by the time I was done. Rather than let my feelings of deflation take over, I talked myself into looking on the bright side, and with forced optimism, convinced myself that the cat is a small cat, a living thing with feelings, that didn’t mean to do harm, and perhaps didn’t do much harm. For instance, I didn’t find any cat droppings, nor sign of spray, just lots of cute little innocent paw prints, and some swirled around rows of seeds. No biggie! Not only that, I was able to replant the beans and peas that the cat innocently un-planted, and what did it matter if my rows of spinach and lettuce and chard and turnip and all the other things I planted didn’t grow in rows? So, I called it a day and let things be, and focused my green thumb/imagination duo on other areas of the yard.
The third project I decided to start was to fill all of the settled areas in the rock pathway I made in 2008. Six years of settling means many areas that need filling. This is no easy task since it requires removing the stones, rolling back the landscaping fabric, hauling dirt (from the leftover pile from 2008, which means it is no longer a dirt pile — it is also a weed pile. An additional step of pulling out the weeds and roots from the dirt pile is required), dumping the dirt, leveling the dirt, grading the dirt, replacing the landscaping fabric, and putting the rocks back, only after the rocks are washed. (The last step of washing the rocks seems ridiculous maybe. But it is necessary and kind of hard to explain…) This third project is a somewhat sad and unrewarding one, though since the garden box experience, I’ve become pretty good at forcing optimism, and I feel lots of excitement for next Spring, when the rock pathway is not only finished, but also speckled with shrubs and hostas and ferns that will look as beautifully placed and cultivated as the photos I see all over the web, such as this one:
Now the fourth project is also somewhat sad and unrewarding. It is titled, “Removing Unwanted Things — Namely Dandelions — from the Lawn.” This means cutting out mushrooms and dandelions, one by one, with various tools and lots of patience. A couple of times in previous years I’ve had the lawn treated with dandelion killer, but each time I’ve had it done, I feel incredibly guilty that I had spent money endorsing a company that causes harm to the earth because people like me that want weed free lawns. Not only that, the mushrooms seemed to thrive on the dandelion killer. I’ve been working on cultivating a “oneness” attitude towards both dandelions and mushrooms, which is somewhat similar to “forced optimism”. And one dandelion/mushroom at a time, I work towards a green lawn (which is almost futile because I think both species grow at a speed that just about beats my most frantic work mode), all the while designing in my mind a future Zen-like yard, like this one (well, maybe not quite): Sigh… One day… Or rather, one Spring…
It has been a few weeks since the garden boxes were planted, and yesterday was the first weeding session. I had to wrestle with the chicken wire once again. After a large amount of humongous broad leaf weeds were removed, tiny, random, and mostly unidentifiable vegetable plants were left. Yet I remain optimistic! There is a lot of growing season left, and not only that, I accidentally pulled out a radish that despite being small, was tasty!
When reading this, one may think that gardening and yard work is all I do. It isn’t. If it was, I’d post photos that I took rather than photos I found on the Internet! 🙂 I’ve been busy wrapping up the teaching year; prepping students for exams and performances, which requires extra lessons and more admin work than other parts of the year. It has also been a busy time for me musically. I’ve been busking for the first time at the Downtown Farmer’s Market — it’s so much fun! — and I recently played a House Concert in Calgary. Prior to that, I performed at a New Thought Conference, which was a whole other blog post of experiences that I may one day get to. There are a few small festival performances coming up! (I’ll update the shows soon, and in the meantime, please check out my Facebook Page since I’m pretty good about giving a heads-up there.
I feel that some quiet time is needed, as some sort of shift is happening for me artistically/musically. I’m going to be doing a major update of my website as things shift into place. Patience and optimism (not always forced!) are the traits I will rely on as I let projects unfold, which will allow new goals to be set and hard work to be done. Life is good, even with a yard and garden that look nothing like my imagination projected! 🙂
Thanks for stopping by! Happy Spring!