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It’s Not This

30 May

Yesterday I sang in celebration.

Yukon Women in Music is an amazing volunteer-run society that supports women musicians.  Many of my public performances in Whitehorse have been at concerts organized by YWIM, and I’ve met some wonderful and inspiring musicians.  Last night, at a concert to mark 10 years as an official not-for-profit society, I was honoured to be asked to perform two of my songs, sharing the stage with about a dozen other women.  The room was jam-packed, both on-stage and off.

One of my favourite moments was listening to Nicole Edwards speak about starting to perform ten years ago, and how she didn’t think she could be a performer in her own right, without a band to back her up.  I could really identify with her story; in so many ways I feel like I am standing at an edge right now, realizing that I could do so much more and that the biggest obstacle I have to overcome is fear.

My least favourite moment was definitely the part where I fell off the stage. I was exchanging spots with another performer who needed the piano.  I sat down, perhaps a bit too jauntily, on a chair whose legs were precariously close to the back edge of the stage.  Thank goodness the stage was a mere 12-inches high, although I wasn’t thinking anything like that as the chair plunged backwards with me in it.  The small of my back painfully took the brunt of my fall while my head slammed into a cabinet.  I lay stunned for a while, wedged between the stage and the wall, my legs dangling awkwardly over the front of the chair.  I’m sure the entire room wanted to run over to pick me up.  I kind of wished the floor would swallow me up.

Anyway, the show must go on, and on it went.  And there really was fabulous music.  And I recovered enough to do my second song, which I wrote last month and have been waiting to post here.

A bit of background on the song: my dear friend Shannon came to visit us several years ago, and we spent many days in long and deep conversation.  During one gab-fest in which we were talking about a relationship she had ended, she made a comment that has stuck with me ever since.  “Some things that are said a relationship can never recover from,” she told me.  “They’re just too damaging.”  I’ve often thought about that insightful remark, and I think it has kept me from saying rash things in the heat of argument.

Last month her idea somehow transformed itself into the lyrics for this song, and its first public performance was at last night’s concert.

One of the ladies in the audience was kind enough to operate the camera for me.  Onstage with me are Lisa Turner (playing the brushes on her cajón — another favourite moment, with some of the ladies joining in!), Brenda Berezan, Kim Rogers, and off-camera Susan Phillips was strumming along, too.

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On my own

28 Mar

I’ve been thinking a lot lately.  Thinking about things like the difficulty of making new friends when nobody seems to have time to spend time with new people.  And about the pros and cons of different back-to-work arrangements.  And about the boundaries of being open versus over-sharing.  And about writing new music.  And about the comedy and tragedy of multiple diaper blow-outs.  And, oh, you know, stuff.

Some of this stuff would make for some good meaty blog posts, but I just don’t seem to have the energy to hash it out.  I’ll get through it eventually, though, I promise.

This past Thursday was Amanda’s last day working with our family, as she left Whitehorse on Friday to go to school in Vancouver.  She’d been with us for almost an entire year.  She witnessed a miraculous transformation in Jade and helped us find our footing in life again.  She became a dear, sweet friend and I already miss having her around.

We are just starting the process of trying to hire another helper.  Our funding agreement has changed so we’ll be getting fewer hours of support, but that’s fine because Jade no longer requires supervision every minute of the day.  I’m trying to stay very disciplined about tidying and doing dishes every evening so that things don’t get too out of hand — one reason for the lack of energy when it comes to all things bloggy.  (Michael’s home, but super busy getting work done right now, since it’s government year-end.)

So, since I’m going to be on my own (with the kids, of course) for at least a few weeks and I don’t have the wherewithal to write anything that requires thought and careful wording, I’m throwing the video of “On My Own” up here; this was the second song from the final night of the North of 60 Idol competition from way back in 2004.  Hope you enjoy.

Danny Boy, 2004

17 Mar

I got the video back from my night at The Capital.  Michael was away the first time I watched it and I confess that I was rather aghast; some of the moments I remembered being really great sounded, well… downright awful on the film.  When Michael got home we watched a few minutes together and he confirmed that there is a lot missing in the sound.    Hey, there’s only so much you can ask of the microphone on a little camera.  But what a relief to know it wasn’t just in my head!

I’m still really happy to have the video because despite the limitations in the sound, it is still educational to watch myself perform, see how I move, catch some of the mistakes I made, pay closer attention to the two pianists, and so on.  I may still be able to salvage a clip or two for you, but I’ll need a bit of time to experiment.

In the meantime, I remembered that there was some other video of me performing that I’ve never shared here.  Back in 2004 (wow, a time before blog!) Michael convinced me to participate in a “North of 60 Idol” competition organized by the Royal Canadian Legion in Yellowknife.  I thought he was nuts, since Yellowknife was a 9-hour drive from our home in Fort Liard and competing would mean travelling there four times in the course of eight weeks.  He persuaded me in the end,  telling me that I could win us the honeymoon trip we’d never had, since first place was a trip for two to Disneyland.  (I thought this was hilarious; Michael’s not a Disney fan and he’d never have chosen it as a honeymoon destination.  But I’m a Disney fan, so hey.)

This video is from the fourth and final night of the competition, when the Legion brought in some professional equipment to film it.  Each of the finalists performed two songs;  I did “Danny Boy” and “On My Own” (from Les Miserables).  How fitting is it to post Danny Boy on St. Patrick’s Day?

So Happy Paddy’s Day to all ye who celebrate it.  I think I’ll go make myself a cup of green tea since it’s the girls’ quiet time.  And maybe I’ll go dig out those pictures of our trip to Disneyland…

(Also: happy birthday, Opa!)

Yaya and me

4 Mar

Jade went to her twice-weekly motor group with Amanda this morning, so Halia and I had a little quality one-on-one time.  Since she was feeling talkative, I shot this little clip:

Jade on the radio

1 Mar

I will tell you all about my weekend soon, I promise, but today is March 1st, which marks the first day of Epilepsy Awareness Month in Canada. 

On Friday, Dave Croft from CBC came and interviewed us about our experiences with Jade and with the ketogenic diet.  The story aired today on CBC Radio North at 7:20 a.m.  We managed to get a copy of the file and I’d like to share it with you now.

Thanks to CBC for doing this story to help us raise awareness about epilepsy (and especially to Dave for making us sound far more eloquent than we were!)

My early Christmas gift to you

17 Dec

I’ve been having a little trouble getting into the Christmas spirit this year.  I’ve been going through the motions, of course, but I’ve been preparing for it almost academically.  Now, though, I think maybe my shell is starting to crack.

On Monday night I got to attend a session of the Music Yukon Songwriters Circle.  It was such fun to meet some experienced singer-songwriters, learn about how they approach songwriting, and hear a bunch of tunes in progress.  The “homework” they had given themselves from their previous session was to write a Christmas song.  I’d already been thinking about Christmas music because of this post that Jen wrote, insinuating that I could write a Christmas song.  (Thanks for planting that seed, Jen!)

Last night while I was out walking Nanuq, I got a little inkling of an idea for a tune.  But when I sat down at the piano, something entirely different from what I’d intended came out on the page.  The whole thing — lyrics, melody, accompaniment — was written in about 15 minutes.  It’s exciting when that happens, but really, it’s as if the song is coming through me rather than from me.

I’m usually not very comfortable writing about religion on the blog, perhaps because it’s a part of my life that doesn’t feel very settled.  I’m probably more surprised than you are that the title of the song is Angels are Smiling (It’s Christmas).

Thanks to Michael, who helped me record it tonight and for making suggestions on the harmony line and making me an “album cover”.  (I think it is so cool that it is now possible to write a song one night and record it — with harmony! — the next, right at home.  This technolomogy, it is a crazy thing!  Now if I could just add a cello…)

Anyway, here it is, my early Christmas gift to you.  A very simple tune; I hope you enjoy it.

Angels are Smiling (It’s Christmas)

Rock the sleeping baby,
Tuck the wee one in.
Put out the flickering candles
And let the night begin.
And now breathe a little prayer
Of thanksgiving and of light;
The angels are all smiling
For now it’s Christmas night.
The angels are all smiling
For now it’s Christmas night.

Mary’s in the stable
And Joseph’s at her side.
The baby’s in the manger,
All warm and snug inside.
And now breathe a little prayer
Of thanksgiving and of joy;
The angels are all smiling
Now for the Christmas boy.
The angels are all smiling
Now for the Christmas boy.

Behold, a star is shining
And lighting up the sky.
The day we were awaiting,
That day of joy is nigh.
And now breathe a little prayer
Of thanksgiving and of praise;
The angels are all smiling
For dawn it’s Christmas day.
The angels are all smiling
For dawn it’s Christmas day.

©2009. Fawnahareo’s Place. All rights reserved.

I defy you not to laugh

24 Aug

I have been feeling a lot of negativity lately and I’ve decided that I have to find a way to dig myself out of this hole.  I think a big part of the problem is lack of sleep, since Halia has been waking up three or four times every night for, oh, forever.  It’s just repayment from dragging her all over the world and messing with her sleep all summer.  Le sigh.

There’s not a lot I can do about lack of sleep right now (other than give up blogging/reading blogs, but that would just set off a whole other chain of crazy) but I can try to find a way to carve out some independent time, and I can try to adjust my mindset by giving myself a mental slap in the face when the pity party or frustration sets in. 

Also, writing run-on sentences helps.

Also, this:

Halia figured out how to do this last week and she’s been practicing every day since then.  If you want to get a real sense of what can change in 6 months, get a load of this video that I intended to post back in February:

There’s lots a-brewing behind the scenes these days; I’ll find a way to connect my fingers to the keyboard soon.  I promise hope.