Friday, February 23, 2018

Drawing to a close

this one's a pointless ramble.

The past 14 years I've had Shelter Valley running in my blood.
Even that first year, though I couldn't be there (I had a wedding to sing at) it was all I could think about.

It has been the weirdest of adventures.
From being thrown a job with no details on how to do it- and pulling it off in a magnificent way, to being told "you're kind of young for this other position, you'll likely not take it seriously and will move or something, I think you should volunteer in some other way". 
I always did my best.
Except when I didn't... I mean, I'm human. I let deadlines slip like any other person.

The last 4 years have been exhausting.

2014, I bought a ticket for the festival I loved so much. I took a break from the work of building a festival. I watched from the sidelines and stepped in to moderate where I could.

2015 had me sick with stress, over the moon with excitement, second guessing everything I did, slightly star struck with the people I was meeting and interacting with, sweating with stress, head in the toilet with stress. More proud than I'd ever been before in something I had done. And heartbroken over the way it all happened. I remember opening the gate for the public to come in on festival day: music was playing, people were dancing, there were tears of joy from volunteers and ticket holders. I had to run behind a tent, I couldn't stop gagging.

2016, a year of growth and excitement.

2017 more heartbreak and stress.

2 more months and this festival chapter closes at the AGM and a community concert.

I hope the joy outweighs the stress when we look back.
I think it does.

What does community look like?
How does it shape you?
How do you shape it?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

when I wrote

I'm blaming the day that I got rid of my flip phone.
On the fact that I don't take time to write anymore.Not just here, I even stopped journaling mid summer. It' just easier to stare at my smart phone and never record what's going on . Never think things through and process them.
Excuses excuses.

To say nothing of being homeless for the last year and a half.
Five beds.

Five different beds since I sold my house to take on this weirdo adventure known as life 2.0.
You can read about that here on the Ceeb. I signed something saying I wouldn't post my own story... being as they paid me for it.   (edit to add, holy crap- that article has been shared 1086 times????)

The February thaw has started and now I worry we're never finishing the house and OMG I just need to be settled somewhere and have something consistent, and need laundry to not be an issue, and I MISS MY DOGS.
Thank you hormones for this fresh burst of pity and tears.

Take a bow.

Sunday, March 12, 2017


apparently I took that last message to myself to heart.

I still don't feel "bad".
But I do feel a sense of loss.

Back to writing again, this time with a pen and paper. Journals stacking up in storage.
All my life is in storage.
2 months till we start building the house. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

letters to me

I'm releasing myself from feeling guilty about how little I write here.

Instead, I'm just going to enjoy it when I can.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cabin Fever

In my day to day, my job is people. I'm paid to know what someone wants before they want it, to read their body language because their bodies have failed them and they don't have words to tell me what they need. I'm good at it.
No. Actually, I'm great at it.
In my down time I'm with people.

People I love. But I fall into the role of service with even my closest friends.
In my volunteer time, I give my last bits of energy to more people.

I am tired.

And there's no sunlight recharging me.

I retreat.

Under my duvet, curled on a couch, book in hand, sudoko at the ready.
I don't have cabin fever, tucked away in my tiny house in a tiny town where everyone knows everyone

instead I am feverish for a cabin.
Snow falling.
A stack of books.
A snoring dog.
A cup of tea.
Waiting for spring.

Friday, December 11, 2015


As time passes, you're supposed to get better at things, right? 

Nope. Not me.
As time passes I'm getting more and more awkward. 

First a super classy non-conversation with a man that resulted in crickets chirping and me finally conceding "it's never going to happen with this one"... mind you, I'm hard headed it's taken more than 3 strikes to reach this point.

Then today a near panic attack in forced conversations... because suddenly that's a thing???

*rolling my eyes at myself*
This too shall pass.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


This week's topic was a nod to American Thanksgiving.

I am thankful to have a home, a space to call my own. Somewhere to throw my laundry in the corner, a place to leave dishes in the sink.
Thankful for the ability to provide a space for friends to crash for a night, so long as I haven't started hoarding items in the spare bedroom.
I'm thankful that after a decade of landlords cranking or shutting off my heat, I can chose to keep the heat down low to "encourage" my dog to sleep on my feet and keep warm.
I'm thankful for the safety that my small town provides, that when someone broke a window on my property, one neighbour swept up the pieces with me and another repaired it while I was at work.
I'm thankful for the war going on between my neighbours each winter- who will wake up earliest after it's snowed and shovel our elderly neighbour's sidewalk first?
I'm thankful that when my home has been "broken into" (and it's happened a few times) it's been by people who have left me gifts- one who built me a shelving unit for the laundry room, and last night- one who left me a pizza.
I don't know how I'm so lucky, but I'm so very thankful for my little space on this earth.

Friday, November 06, 2015


I can't remember people's names,
I can't remember my seven times tables,
I can't remember where I put the scissors, and I can barely piece together what I did yesterday, but I have clear moments etched in my brain with a sound track provided by the radio.

Sitting in the cold truck before school waiting for my sister, "sometimes the snow comes down in June, sometimes the sun goes round the moon".
I watch my breath fog the truck window.

Sitting in the front window display peeling wallpaper off the wall at my mother's paint shop. She prepares the sunflower border to hang in it's place. "Jimmy Rogers on the victrola up high, mama's dancing with the baby on her shoulder, sun is setting like molasses in the sky". Pieces of wallpaper backing stick under my nails as I scrape it from the wall.

Blanket over my head, reading lamp tucked under the sheet, I'm up past 1am reading again. I turn the dial to discover 640 AND 680 playing "I would walk 500 miles" at the same time.

My friend Tina and I spend 4 hours one afternoon trying to call into a radio station to dedicate a song to my neighbour. Because obviously that little Rockstar boy is waiting to hear Mr.Big's "to be with you".
We eat a lot of chips.

My nose is resting on the top shelf of my bookcase. I'm leaning poised to push the button on my tape deck at the exact second the dj is going to stop talking. I sush my sister while she plays with her hamster. I don't know how to turn off the internal mic on my ghetto blaster so we have to be quiet or I'm going to have to wait till tomorrow's top 6 at 6.
"Oh my god Becky, look at her butt. It looks like one of those rap star's girlfriend's".
I pop the tabs on the top of the cassette when I'm finished so I don't accidentally tape over it.

Today one of my favourite finds at the Blue Box or at a yard sale is the home made mix tape. I have bags of them now. I keep a bag behind the seat of my car and let myself take one out each week. I love the quirky mixes, taped from the top 20 count downs, ones with the end of a dj's intro cutting into the song.
Tapes that don't quite fit that whole last version of Paula Abdul's "one step forward, two steps back".
Each song comes on and I'm transported to a moment in my past.
Days and days of memories from each little song.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Growing up I didn’t like corn on the cob. I didn’t like the feeling of it between my teeth, wedged, stuck.
Sure, I loved husking it- who doesn’t love to strip the protective layers off, one by one? Feeling the change in the texture, the change in the sound, and the change in the resistance as you get closer to the cob. The mildly compulsive part of me loved picking each silky hair off the cob, watching to see where it connected at the kernel. Trying to keep a single thread from breaking.
As I got older and stronger I loved to see how many of those layers I could pull off at a time without suffering any paper cuts from the leaves.

The best thing that could happen as a kid, was to find that elusive “baby corn”, that little tiny corn growing side by side with the mature cob, hidden within the green leafy layers. We’d try to pick the fattest cobs at the grocery store hoping to find mama and baby corns. Announcing loudly and proudly when they were found.

Baby corns were for playing with.
NOT for eating.

I’d dry out the husks and fold and tuck the baby corn into a special husk suit or blanket and carry it around for the rest of the day.

Eventually the “baby” status would wear off and they’d become rockets tossed high into the air. Little broken bodies all over the grass.

As I got older I realized I’d been missing so much deliciousness worrying about a few bits getting stuck in my teeth. I dove into the world of corn. Corn season got me excited and I’d drag bag after bag home from the store.

Till I met a friend who found out I bought my corn at the grocery store.
Lovingly she called me a “pin head” and introduced me to the wonder of the roadside stand.
Farmers proudly bringing bins from the field to the end of their driveways.
Corn so fresh you can eat it raw.
I'm a changed woman.

Now I drive my visiting city folk down Dale Road to the driveway with the tiny chalk board simply stating “corn”.
I don’t want them to make the same mistakes I've made. I want to save them the embarrassment.

“Did you know that Lesley used to buy her corn in the grocery store? What a PIN HEAD!”

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Post - real life

Sometimes I talk in terms of things being "post-production" (show,festival,event).

I've been on spin cycle since my last blog posting. So much so, that I haven't taken the time to write about that which has eaten my days.hours.minutes.

That note about some "big news"? It's the biggest of my life.

When the board of SVFF started to break up, the last remaining members approached me and asked me if I was interested in the role of Artistic Director for the next festival. This was at the Jonathan Byrd show that I put on at the Mill, a show I was already immensely proud of putting together. (I'd never done something on that scale and I was so pleased with how it turned out)... then  I had to sit on the information for a month.

The board turned over and the last of that old board left. The new board approached me and asked me to write a proposal. .. where did I see the festival going? What did I intend to do with it?

I wrote a proposal. .. and next thing I knew I was handed a festival.

Just like that.

It has been the most ass backwards crazy ride ever.

I could go on for pages about the roadblocks left for me, the lack of information, the attacks on my work ethic, the sabotage of the position, and more... but it's not worth it. I choose to be above that crap.

I put my absolute everything into this year's festival.

And I'm so proud of what I accomplished.
Of what we accomplished.

It was beautiful.

And I'm a wreck.