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Updated: 2018-03-06T01:17:22.351-08:00


Well, that pretty much wraps it up.


NEW YEAR'S DAY, 2018I kinda lost interest in this whole blogging thing.  Reasons include laziness, shifting priorities, and no longer feeling the need to fill the world with more word pollution.  It's not like I'm getting paid to spew more words out onto the internets.  I don't really care anymore to shout just to hear my own voice.Anyways.  I can't say 2017 was a horrible year.  It was a very very weird year.  Just so weird.  One of my musical heroes died a shocking and terrible death, and it has broken my heart.  Do you know how often there's a song in my head, and it's Chris Cornell's voice?  Months later, I've been able to listen to him and it stings.  I am grateful to have recorded music though.  His musicianship lives on.  I miss him so much.  It hurts deeply to know that there will be nothing more.  It hurts me so horribly that he took his own life.  It will always hurt.  I never met the man, but this will always hurt. One of my entertainment heroes continued to disappoint me deeply and seriously, if he was my friend I'd be staging an intervention.  The guy who throws hard things at his wife is not the victim, and I know his life has been rough, but he is not the object of pity.  He needs to clean himself up, get healthy, apologize, and stop believing his own hype.  FINALLY the world started listening to what women have been whispering to each other forever: that we generally are mishandled and abused and mistreated by a lot of men who probably don't even have a clue about how much damage they are inflicting, and worse, do not care. There is a mentally addled buffoon of a reality TV star ineptly running the country to the south of us. I do not understand how this cruel bullying ass-grabbing racist still has an approval rating of any kind.  I am baffled by what people will believe just simply by being told it's true. I spent a whole summer with my leg in a cast.  I broke my ankle in three places.  You'd think this would be a horse related injury, but nope.  I friggin stepped crooked on the stairs in my own house and ended up with a metal plate, six screws, and a huge bolt in my ankle. So I spent a lot of time reading and thinking about my mental health. Sometimes I did these two things at the same time.My kids have become young adults.  Today we are packing two cars full of boxes in preparation for moving the young lady into a beautiful little apartment with her awesome boyfriend.  I have spent months preparing myself for this.  They just got the place with two weeks to pack, so it's been an accelerated acceptance process for her dad and I.  Is she ready?  Well heck, who is, ever?  Yeah, at 23 I was raising my first baby, as in, HER, but just because my uterus produced a child does not mean I was mature.  It was just what I did.  No regrets here.  But she is as ready as she'll ever be.  The world grows us up, and she won't grow up any faster if she stays living with us.  Meanwhile, the boy has been in his apartment for a year, but still gets his mail here, and there is no pressure to make any permanent decision.  They will still have bedrooms here and can stay over whenever they want or need to.  Best of all, the kids are five blocks away from each other.  We have to drive an hour to get there, but they are close together. My dog is old, my horses are all teenaged, and I love them all so much, we are all a death-do-us-part situation.  I might start teaching lessons next year if I'm well enough, but I might go more in a therapy direction.  These horses have been such good therapy for me.  I love just being in the barn, even if I am too weak to work like I used to, even when I could only stand on one foot. Soon it will be just me and my old feller in this house, mixing records and cooking for musicians.  Can you believe that?  If anybody had even suggested five years ago that I'd be cooking meals for people who[...]

Saying goodbye to a hero: Chris Cornell 1964-2017


(I don't know why I didn't hit the button on this post.  Maybe I was just too traumatized and couldn't do it.  Anyways.  Here it is.)I cannot believe I am typing this.  One of my favourite musicians died a week ago and I am still trying to figure out how to grieve. Mourning a person you never met is strange and painful. I never met him, he didn't know I existed, but he was seriously part of my life.  How weird is that?  He sang the soundtrack of my adult life. I was a college student, at the pub with my buddies, when I first heard the glorious menacing roar of drop tuning and weird time signatures, and that indescribable voice.  (That voice came out of a physically beautiful man, and you know I have a weakness for men with long dark hair and pretty eyes.)I was in the passenger seat when a song on the radio made my unborn baby kick inside me, and my young husband drove with his hand on my belly.  I can still see the orange glow of the car stereo in the dark that night.  I called the baby the little spoon man.  She came out a Soundgarden fan. I was driving a different car, devastated by the news that Soundgarden was over.  I respected them for calling it quits before they all started hating each other, but I by then I'd decided they were one of my favourite bands and I was pretty damn upset about it.I was in a stadium with my husband and our two kids to see and hear Audioslave.  Amazed by those four musicians.  The kids were 11 and 9 at the time.  They rocked their little heads off.  At one point Chris Cornell came out with just his acoustic guitar and played Black Hole Sun.  When they played Like A Stone, I am pretty sure the whole audience sang it back to him.  It was beautiful.  And when they played Killing In The Name Of, he put so much fire and guts into it, we felt like the building was vibrating with energy.I was in bed for a month, sweating out a drug meant to stabilize my mood disorder, soothed by a song about someone else's Black Days. Then I wept in a stadium for that same song, because I survived and my favourite band was reunited and I was with my family. My daughter and son have grown up and become adults listening to him. It's been Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden, Audioslave, The White Stripes, Rage Against the Machine (when they were old enough to handle the words), and Big Wreck.  Those were always in our CD players as the kids were growing up.  When his Songbook album came out, I had it in the player in our room for about 6 months.  I never got tired of it.  Voice and guitar.  That was all we needed.  I loved this man's voice, his words, his guitar playing, his face, his hair, his eyes, his shriek and growl and whisper. I can't fathom that his voice and his words will be silent. There won't be another concert. There won't be any more music. I feel like a family friend died.  Aren't we lucky to be living in a world where recording has been invented?What really tears the guts out of me is that his death has been ruled a suicide.I hate to say it, I really do, but I know that feeling, that there is no other option.  I don't know what kept me from executing that final option.  I'd like to say it was the love of my family, and the love of God.  But this man also had a family he loved.  I don't know if he believed in God but I reckon he at least didn't not-believe.  How was I able to finally get away from that cliff and he couldn't?  From reading so many comments on blogs and instagram, I can see that I am not alone here.  So many others have come forward and shared how Chris Cornell's music was their outlet, or the feeling that they weren't the only ones felt that way, or that a song actually helped them stay alive.  How tragic that he couldn't do the same.  It's just heartbreaking.  Losing him is so hard as it is, and this just makes it unbearable. &nbs[...]

Hey, Christmas is a Thing That is Happening Again this year, just like it does every year!


It's December 23rd today, and I am quite surprised at myself: there's a nicely decorated Christmas tree, and lights on the porch, and decorations in more than one part of the house, AND a few wrapped presents under the tree!!!  This does not happen very often!  Of course, the tree is the same endearingly pathetic little thing we've had for 25 years, ever since our brother-in-law pulled it out of their closet, complete with tinsel and ornaments still attached!  This tree is imperfect and lopsided and stunted, and hey, aren't we all, in some way??I can't post pictures.  I think it has something to do with my computer and my gadget phone being little kids in grade 7 who have decided to not ever speak to each other ever again.  So you will have to use your imagination here, ok?We inherited Granny's ornaments from the 70s.  There was a stretch of time when the tree stayed up all winter after the folks left for Florider, and the sort of stayed there for, oh I don't know, a couple years?  Because none of us are really very attentive to non-essential functions?  So the shiny plastic bobbles (I know, it's baubles but I like the way bobbles looks) faded in the sun in places.  I like them better this way.  They have a kind of oil-slick look. We ran out of Christmas tree real estate, so I just hung them wherever I could.  Like, off the arms of the ceiling lamps.  And dangling from the plant hangers.  I like it like that and am considering just living year round with a strange solar system of shiny objects hanging off the kitchen ceiling lamp. Or, I might just be too lazy in January to take them down.  Either way.  But seriously, people, I DECORATED FOR CHRISTMAS.So we won't be having a virtual Christmas blog party this year… I mean, I can only handle so much, y'know?You might be wondering what's up with me.Well heck, what's happening in general, seeing as how 2016 has been rather unbelievable in many ways.  Does it seem to anyone else that the world has crossed over into an alternate universe?I was just thinking the other day… in 2015, Lemmy had a birthday, the next day Christmas, and the next day, croaked.  And then all hell broke loose.  Seriously.  Like Lemmy was holding the world together and we never considered that all this time Motorhead was keeping everything on a somewhat steady pace.  After that, David Bowie, and then Prince, and for the rest of the year we have been holding our breath.  We have to accept that our musical and entertainment heroes and trail blazers are aging.  You know what happens when we age?  Well, eventually, we die.  All those artists we looked up to, it turns out, are human like the rest of us, and we will all expire.  Deal with it.  You know what else famous artists do?  They DISAPPOINT US.I've been known to develop very strong admiration for people I don't actually know.  Usually this isn't negative.  I like being a "fan" even though I suspect the root word is "fanatic".  I like admiring musicians or actors.  I could easily be naive enough to elevate them too much.  But I make myself do reality checks.  Despite that, I care too much.  Let's just say, we won't mention any names, but say I really like an actor whose name rhymes with DONNY HEP.  (Okay, full disclosure, I'm talking about JOHNNY DEPP.)  Let's imagine that for a couple of decades, I thoroughly enjoyed not just his acting, but his interviews, and duh, photos.  I liked his mind, and I liked his face.  I liked his wife-person too.  All good.But then, just imagine that lovely wife-person is no longer attached to him. (As in, he and Vanessa Paradis broke up.)  Well that's a drag, I liked them together.  But then there's a new woman in his life.  (As in, Amber Heard.)  Don't know much about her, other than she is very pretty and much younger than him.  Right around [...]

Just a reminder that apples ACTUALLY FOR REAL GROW ON TREES!


I'm emerging from my blog-apathy to tell you that this planet is beautiful and amazing.  I mean, as far as humans go, the world is a steaming pile of garbage, generally, and that covers some damage to this wonderful planet as well. However, an apple tree recently reminded me that sometimes nature is oblivious to some awful things.  In no particular order...-wars-women being treated poorly by men-men getting away with it-people who aren't white being treated badly by white people-white people getting away with it-animals being abused-children being abused-leadership power being abused-humans being gullible enough to believe anything they're told - especially when what they're told is mean spirited and cruel and degrading and potentially harmful-being surrounded by all this crap on TV and movies and newspapers and the internets-humans consuming shamelessly-humans generating garbageDid I cover it all?  If I left something out, please don't add it in the comments.  I just wanted to get that out of the way and then NOT think about it anymore.  That stuff is all over the news, and it's hard to get away from it.  Let's take a break.Down the road and around the corner, there's a tiny little farm.  The house is old and kinda rickety, but it's obviously cared for, with new siding and a nice side porch.  The yard is clean, the flowers look happy, and there's a vegetable garden.  There are also about five apple trees along the side of the road. I like to walk my dog that direction.  This street is the next best thing to living in the country, and I often need that.This time of year, the apple trees are so heavy with fruit that it falls off the branches.  There are apples in the ditch, smelling sweet and rotten and slightly fermented in the sun.  It's been an abnormally hot September.  Cars drive over ripe apples that have rolled onto the road.  Pavement applesauce. It bothers me to waste food in any case, but I thought at least, I could grab a few that landed on the ground with very little damage, and take them out to the farm to give my horses.  I'm pretty sure that would be ok, right?  Maybe it looks weird in this privileged country, to be scavenging apples off the side of the road, but where's the shame in that, right?  I don't think it's stealing, is it? Well, happily, I found out that the owners don't mind if someone picks apples.  They're not doing it, somebody might as well.  At the very least, it'll clean up the grass a little, make it easier to mow.I filled a bag with the small red apples, with a tinge of paleness on one side, and little bumps on the bottom.  I ate a few.  They were just a little bit sour under the sweetness.  My dad ate a few.  They were good.  I gave the horses one each for a couple days and they chewed and slobbered blissfully. I grabbed a few hard little yellow apples.  The horses loved them.  They are very hard and bitter, so probably what my grandmothers would have called baking apples.  I might not get around to baking them. One tree has big red apples.  I'd taken a few out of the grass, but one day a beautiful apple fell out of the tree right in front of me.  I stuck that one in my pocket.  Later, when I ate it, I felt like all of nature was singing to me that the world is still good, and the planet isn't done yet, and there is sweetness and perfection in the humblest places!  It was possibly the best apple I've ever eaten.  (No wonder the horses looked ecstatically happy!)  That apple was so good, I hoped God won't chase me out of the garden or something. I haven't been down that direction for a few days.  I think tomorrow I'll take the Pug down the road, with a bag over my shoulder, and a hoodie with really big pockets. [...]

As of TODAY we've been married for TWENTY FIVE YEARS!


There may be a lot of nastiness out there in the world…

Sometimes people are awful….

You'll feel let down and disappointed…

That's life.

Sickness and health, good and bad.

That's what we have lived through, the big man and I, for all these years.

Tonight we take out younguns out for a nice dinner and then the young lady will take our 25th anniversary portraits in the sunset-lit hay field across the road.  I'll be wearing cowboy boots like I did on Canada Day 25 years ago.

When we got married in the park beside the river in Smallburg we didn't have any inkling we'd end up living in Smallburg all this time later.  There was no way to predict the craziness life would serve us. or the incredible blessings.

Hug your loved ones, everybody!



Suitcases, mostly full and hanging out on an empty bed.

Fancy clothes hanging on a hook behind the door, garment bag sprawled over the arm of the couch in the spare room.

Bathroom stuff all over the counter top, medications all over the kitchen counter top.

Boots all shined up.

Tomorrow's clothes set on the chair in the bedroom, ready to slip into at dark o'clock in the morning.

Dog resting his chin on my leg as I type this, looking veeeeeery concerned and slightly annoyed.

I have been either not able to decide what to write about lately, or else just plain not feeling like writing anything.  So I haven't been very active here in blog world.  But as of tomorrow morning Jethro and I are heading off to Calgary.  Our lovely young adult daughter will be holding down the fort for us -- well, Dobby is the official guard dog around here, but he'll show her what to do.  They'll be fine.

My official attitude this spring is, I HAVE NO CRAPS LEFT TO GIVE.  Therefore I do not give a crap.  So my horses are crusty and dirty and shedding hair constantly?  I don't care.  Barnyard is a soggy manure bog?  There's enough s**t there that I do not have to give any.  Packing for five days in a different province?  I don't give a ****  I mean, I care.  But not enough to get all twisted up over it.  I didn't buy any new clothes.  I borrowed a thrift store dress and the rest of the time it'll be leggings, cowboy boots and a baggy top.  I have gained some weight in the last few months (I blame the drugs, of course) and although it's tempting to fuss and fret over that, what-friggen-ever.  So what if my nice clothes don't fit. I have a poncho.  I'll be fine.  Anxiety over travelling and flying?  Well as much as I blame the drugs, sometimes it's nice to have a little orange bottle of pills that your doctor told you to take if you need them.

Calgary, people.  If there's one place in this whole country where you can wear beat up cowboy boots all weekend, it's this one.  I'm bringing my pretty shoes for the Saturday night dinner but otherwise, boots it is.  Jethro is not nominated this year, so the pressure is off and all we have to do is cheer for the artists we worked with in our recording studio last year!

(If you're interested to know, look out for Emilie Claire Barlow's album "Clear Day" in Vocal Jazz; Robi Botos for "Movin' Forward" in Solo Jazz; Mark Kelso and the Jazz Exiles, "Stealing From My Youth" in Group Jazz; and "Refined" by Don Amero in both Aboriginal Album and Adult Contemporary.  Yep, we did a lot of Jazz records last year.)

I'm grateful that I do feel better than I did a year ago, even if I'm not totally well yet.  I can walk a straight line and I'm not shaking and trembling. So I'm a little puffier and fluffier.  What's a little padding compared to that awful feeling.  And I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna puke up anything I eat, even if I feel like it, so hey, it's all good.

 Most of all I get to hang around with my favourite guy.  We have fun together, and I am always proud of him!  This is a celebration of this industry's accomplishments… or basically, "Hey everybody, we're all survived the music business for another year!!!"

 It's a work trip, but yeah, once a year work involves free drinks.

Hey -- want to see?  Go to Instagram and look up "hickchic" of course!

2016 GRAMMY AWARDS it's a national holiday it's worldwide it's music's biggest night...


New! Improved! Now includes photos and bonus captions!!!Hello and welcome to the Hick Chic Grammy Awards coverage - as it happens! It's the red carpet show right now. I'm watching Demi Lovato's face moving while no words are coming out.  Makes for a pretty mysterious interview. Here's where I confess that I don't know who half the nominees are.  Who are all these younguns???  I need to get out from under the rock more often and know what's going on out there.  Or not. Get off my lawn. Most importantly, JOHNNY DEPP IS HERE and he apparently has a band with Alice Cooper. And Joe Perry. HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS EXISTS????? Hollywood Vampires.  I can believe that.  See this is why I have to watch the Grammys.  Okay so we've got two minutes to go and the hype man is hyping.  The dog is cuddled up, Jethro's got his drink, and let's have some awkward live TV moments!Oh it's the Taylor Swift show.  And they cut away to the pre show again.  Geez people.  We're watching an info block about the song she's performing.  Which we can't see. Singing!On the live stream we can choose what camera to watch and right now we're seeing guys with lanyards and headsets.  Now we're seeing Taylor and Selena cuddling and Taylor looks like Anna Wintour.  A girl nearby sees herself in the monitor and "Oh my god guys we're on the camera"  and then Selena looks up and then Taylor looks up and smiles.  I'm getting the feeling the live stream is not the actual show????? DAMMIT.  And here we are with no TV.  Hey, remember when we used to watch TV by plugging it in and turning it on?  This is totally anticlimactic and annoying.  All we can see is John Legend and Chrissy Teigen covered in glitter and applauding.  They're not annoying.  But this whole TV computer thing where we refuse to get cable and don't have an antenna is a load of stupid. Well Jethro seems to have found the right place to watch this thing, and we've got some young buff fella (that would be Sam Hunt) and Carrie Underwood singing, but all we can hear is the house audio, not the broadcast.  Whatever. SINGING.Carrie appears to be wearing a figure skating workout dress over her undies?  I don't know.  All that fiddling around with websites and this is what we get.  Is he a lost Hemsworth?  Well that happened. He looks good in this colour.  But those pants just don't fit.  He probably hates shopping.Oh gawd there's Arianna Grande.  Is she for real?  Where's the string in her back hahaha.  Ah she's a little doll. Okay we've got sound!!!!! High quality karaoke.  It's the Weeknd. He's so cute but I hate his hair.  I wanna drive a dinky car up the back and fling it off the front.  Dukes of Hazzard style.  He can't feel his face but just  for the first verse and chorus, then his face appears to be functioning again, so he will now sing beside a piano and cello. Stephen Moccio is playing piano (I think so, I can't hear it) and he is not wearing a scarf but his jacket is sparkly and his hair is magnificent so that's good.Jethro is playing his favourite game where he shatters my illusions and tells me it's taped.  He does this to me all the time and I can't tell anymore if he's full of it or not.  The cello is mic'd.  Or at least it appears to be.  I know nothing. We can't hear LL Cool J.  But he looks nice.  Jethro is snarkily face-booking about the sound with his people.  That'll learn 'em.Apparently Andra Day is a big deal but we can't tell.  The piano track is up but the vocal mic is not happening.  There's some echoing stuff that might be her voice.  She is wearing something very white and fluffy. Now there's a blonde girl but I don't know who she is -  Ellie Goulding maybe?  Oh there's he[...]

A week's worth of 2016


Yeah it's pretty much the same.

Since I don't make "resolutions" because I believe that's just a great way to disappoint yourself, I like to make one simple goal. One year it was "Go to bed before 11:00"  and one year it was "Have a more beautiful house."  This year it's even simpler: one word.


What is most important?  What needs attention now, and what can wait?

It's actually not simple at all.  It can get into time management and house keeping and relationships and money.  But in a totally paradoxical way, it absolutely can be simple and easy, because it's about importance.

I'll tell you what though, I really tend to make my couch-blanket-dog combo very important.  Right now at this moment I'm okay with that.

The 2015 Provide Your Own Blog Party Christmas Holiday Adventure!!!


Hi folks.  We're doing things a little different this year! Our Annual Blog Party post will be a more collaborative effort.  Sometimes we gotta change things up.  You're going to help me with this.  Ready?  Of course you're ready.  You're always ready for a party.

What would you bring to a party?

Please bring the imaginary version of that.  To the comments section.  It's imaginary so go nuts!  Bring whatever you think my Blog Christmas party needs!  It doesn't even have to be food and drink related.  Surprise me.

And WHO would you bring to my party?  

This year I would like to bring the new Prime Minister and more importantly, fellow Christmas Baby, Justin Trudeau.   Let's bring Justin's brother, Alexandre, too!  He's also a Christmas Baby! And while we're at it, let's bring Annie Lennox, because she's not just awesome, she's also a Christmas Baby!

Of course I'm going to invite Johnny Depp because duh.  No brainer.

How about we ask Tilda Swinton to join us?  She could wear head to toe silver sparkles and be our own ethereal disco ball of happiness.  And Dolly Parton.  Because why wouldn't we want Dolly Parton to be here?

Who else do you think would add some life to the party?

How is your Christmas season going?

You good?  You tired?  Have you at any point decked halls, gone for a sleigh ride or slept in heavenly peace?

Let's have a competition for worst Christmas song or movie.

Go for it!  Don't hold back here.  This is important.  Like, I thought The Holiday was a huge waste of both Jack Black and Kate Winslet but I really like the little English cottage.  (Which I have recently read was fake.  Why do I look at the internet at all?  Dream crusher.)

Tell me what you liked about 2015?

I can tell you what I liked about this year: I got a house to live in.  If nothing else good happened, that would do.

Got any plans for 2016?

I think this year I'd like to get my s**t together.  That's a worthy goal, not?  Just vague enough that a year from now, I can find a way to say, yeah man.  I really got it together.

Let's party out this year ok?  I'll keep checking in until New Year's Eve, which is tomorrow.

Bring the party to me, people!!!!


Hey you all. Merry Christmas!



- turning 45.  I've never been 45 years old before.  Should be interesting.

- waking up in my own house on Christmas morning. We always spent it at the farm.  Except that one time we went to Florida.  That was weird!

- spending Christmas Eve after church at the farm with the folks… and then going home.  To our own house.  Where we will wake up the next morning.

- having the extended family over for a meal on Christmas Day.

- getting in a car to go to the barn to do chores.

- being in town.

-walking our dog down to the river.  Which is not frozen over yet.  Because we are having a wet green Christmas.  Which is not a first.  It's disorienting and convenient and non-scenic but we've done this before.  Just not this close to a river within walking distance.

If you're looking for a blog party, it'll happen between the 26th and the 30th.  Keep checking ok? I must go clean my actual real house.  Hey, we even set up our pathetic little Christmas tree in our upstairs TV room.  And there's a tiny one on top of a speaker in the control room.  And cards all over the top of the upright piano.  THIS IS ALL REAL.  Hey we even put up…. ready for this…. Christmas lights.  First time ever.  LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE.  Our Smallburg neighbours will keep thinking we're normal.  Shhhhhh.  We're keeping it quiet as long as possible.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!  I hope you find some heavenly peace.

It's just a truck. It does not have feelings. It is not a living thing.


 We decommissioned my pickup truck.  We retired it.  We parked it in front of my dad's shop, pulled all the funny pins out of the headliner, took off the plates, and walked away.  It's over.  And I'm sad, dammit. You know how ever since I started writing this blog, ten years ago, I've been driving the same truck?  The behemoth formerly known as the Mothertrucker, then affectionately renamed The HONEYBADGER. 1989 GMC Sierra.  Burgundy and silver, extended cab, long box.  Extra leaf springs on the back, supposedly to make it capable of carrying more weight, but most of the time just made it look extra badass.  I put fancy taillights on it and had my husband take my picture leaning on the tailgate, looking all sneaky.  People recognized this ridiculous rolling display of overcompensation.  They'd see the red GMC logo coming at them from between the squinty square headlights and they'd wave.  There goes Heidi. summer 2015 - the most badass truck ever.  A little too badass actually.  The rougher and uglier it got over the years, the more fun it was.  There is something gloriously liberating about driving a vehicle that just does not give a crap anymore. After the paint job when we first got the truck, I swear I physically felt every little scratch and poke and dent, but eventually the fear fades.  I mean, obviously you don't want to get hit, but I'm just saying, dirt roads aren't cause for anxiety because what's a coating of dust going to do?  A trip through the pasture to load up some good three year old compost out of the pile?  No problem.  Even though I carried a can of wet wipes and spent a lot of toonies on vacuuming -- I'm still a GIRL after all, geez -- I just did not worry about the wear and tear of life.  Heck, this truck got hit a lot while we owned it.  Once, we got a different door, painted it silver, and kept going.  Another time, my son got rear-ended at low speed on his way home from school, by another, newer and shinier truck.  The other guy straightened out his front license plate, they both shrugged, exchanged info, and kept going. Things would sometimes fall off my truck, but if it was anything important I'd just throw it in the box and head on my way.  Things would sometimes stop working.  Occasionally if I left it long enough, things would sort of fix themselves up.  Yeah, I don't know either.  I carried so much stuff in this truck.  In the box, and in the cab.  Dirty things in the box.  Dog and kids and groceries in the cab.Dobby's last truck ride.  The sagging headliner was held up by buttons from my childhood collection.  As if that wasn't enough of an indication of a borderline hoarding problem, I also stashed little pieces of other vehicles in it… the chrome trim piece from a Pontiac Beaumont (Canadian version of Chevy Chevelle) which wasn't worth anything to my ol' man's flea market stuff because it's broken and now only says BEAUMO.  I hid that in the cubby hole.  And the window crank from the same car found its way into the door pocket of my truck before the car itself went to the scrap yard.  It's like I'm still twelve, scavenging in the long grass.  I found an unlucky rabbit's tail a few years ago.  That rode around in the dash cubby with my insurance and ownership slips as well as an extra pen.  I covered the front seat with a rag rug, complete with carefully stitched holes for the seat belts. My truck was an environmental disaster.  There is no reason for any vehicle to suck down that much fuel, especially in return for so little relative power, in this day and age.  It's a dinosaur.  It's way too much truck for a small [...]

A Hick, a House, a River, a Pug, a Family, a Really Nasty Old Pickup Truck… life in Smallburg...


I would like to share the view from my front porch, in the first week of September, shortly after we moved into our new home:Yes, if I sit on the steps of my front porch, I see a hay field. I live in town.  That is a fact.  Am I okay with this?  Y'know what, I am!  I can see a field and trees.  There's a river close to my house, and it's surrounded by crop fields because it's flood plain, and there can't be any buildings.  To get to our house, you'd have to cross one of two bridges, because of the river on one side and the train track on the other.  It's like an island.  The other end of our street eventually ends up at a dirt road.  This is as country as you can get and still have fast internet. Best part of all?  My husband shares this home with me.  And our two younguns, one working for a living and getting her business going, the other here on weekends while he's in college.  And the Pug of course.  And a lot of music gear. It's been a loooong time with him working in the city while we lived on the farm.  We're out of the city.  We are no longer commercial property owners in Toronto and couldn't be happier about that.  He still has to drive in to do recording quite a bit but generally he's working from home.  We have just unloaded a huge amount of stress. Technically, we live in town.  I have less wide open space - unless I focus on that flood plain field across the road.  But even though the neighbours are closer, this place feels very private.  Our backyard is surrounded by evergreen trees and lilac bushes, but there's enough space that I don't feel crowded.  Well, honestly, even at the farm I could feel a little crowded.  It's a busy farm area and I could see like, nine other barns from the farmyard.  I'm just kinda weird in the way that I don't want my neighbours too close.  It's okay, though.  I see trees when I look out the window. But the house… wow.  May I brag?  I have to.  I waited six years to get my own house.  I love this house.  Oh my gosh.  I love the high ceilings and the 105-year-old woodwork.  I love all the old-house mysteries.  I am more amused than annoyed at the slant of the kitchen floor.  I love the front porch!  And the back porch!  And the flowerbeds!  I love the cellar with ceilings high enough for my men to stand up straight!  I love the four bedrooms!  I love the little yellow bathroom!  I love the pocket doors downstairs!  I love the super creepy attic with the prohibitively steep narrow stairwell!  I love the front room with the landing and dark stained bannister on the stairwell!  I love the side entrance with the cute 70s panelling with little foxes and deer on it, where I keep my barn clothes. I just realized that my house has three staircases.  Geez. It turns out this 1910 house and the much older farmhouse have a few things in common. The farmhouse has this quirky stairwell and landing combo, where you can walk up a few steps to the landing, then either turn left to go upstairs, or go down the steps on the other side, and you're in the bathroom.  This house has a quirky stairwell and landing combo, where you can walk up a few steps to the landing, then either turn left to go upstairs, or go down the steps on the other side, and you're in the kitchen. Another commonality would be old plaster walls held together by wallpaper.  The farmhouse has some uniquely bumpy walls.  My house has some obvious lath board under the plaster but I like it.  Half my house has been drywalled.  Which is fine.  There might even be insulation in those rooms. &nb[...]

This is the day that my life changes!


Today, I am going to go over to OUR NEW HOUSE and have a little look around.  I'm going to look in closets and cupboards and corners.  I'm going to say, "Hello, beautiful house.  We are your new people!"

I imagined this ever since we moved into the farmhouse six years ago.  Back then, I imagined a whole other farm.  Well, that didn't happen.  It's okay.  The grandparents won't make my horses homeless.  A week ago today I had a small mental meltdown between the barn and the house.  How am I going to manage my horses from town?  How am I going to survive in town?  What if I don't feel well enough to drive out here? What if I don't have wheels to get out here?  What if I can't get to the farm and dad isn't home and nobody can do chores?

Okay, by the time I got to the door of the house, I had quickly processed most of that and talked myself back into solidity.  These are problems that mostly have solutions, and either way, not likely to actual disasters.  Not ideal, of course not.  But it's okay.  It's not so bad.

Most important of all?  My husband and I will be together more.  We need that.  This has been brutal.  He still has to go into the city to record in a big room - in fact, he's got 14 days booked in Toronto in September.  But the rest of the time, home.

I'm surrounded by boxes and chaos and my dog is not happy about this.  The next week is going to be insane.  This is a big move.  We have to disentangle our belongings from my mom's stuff, and move all the gear we're keeping from the studio to the new property.  Fortunately I've been feeling steadily better but I'm not up for heaving furniture.  I am going to be the traffic director.

I am totally overwhelmed.

I am extremely excited.

I'm not as scared as I was a couple months ago.

This is really happening.

Today my dog is TEN YEARS OLD!!!


Can you believe this adorable little feller is ten years old?  Dobby True Soul of Abbs, oh yes he actually has a full name,  has reached the double digits.  He's a little old man dog now!


(photo by Selina Bailey)

Dobby has claimed many firsts:

First house dog
First paid for dog
First small dog
First dog of a specific breed
First dog to actually get trained for a specific purpose (which was therapy dog, and then I decided maybe he could just be MY therapy dog, and he's been excellent at it.)

Right now, he is curled up on my left foot, snoring gently, but ready to leap up and bark like crazy until whatever got his attention gets scared away.  He's been pretty rustled up by all the boxes and suitcases around the house lately.  I keep telling him we are taking him with us!!!  

He's been a town dog, and then a country dog, and he's about to become both.  I plan to bring him with me to the farm regularly.  I mean, somebody has to bark at all the things, right?  And Grandma needs to have her pug time.  

I think I'm always going to have a dog in the house.  Preferably a pug.  I type this despite the fact that he just stretched and tooted.  Man, even his farts are cute.  Usually.  

He's been such a blessing to our family.  

I wonder if in October we'll have to have a big anniversary party, marking the ten years he's been in our lives.  But, he doesn't know.  We're making a big deal out of him today but he just turns his head sideways and wags his little curly tail.  It's like throwing a first birthday party for a baby -- the child does not know why there's been a cake placed in front of him.  It's not for the baby.  It's for the parents. Dog birthday parties?  Nah.  Just give him extra belly rubs.  

Maybe an extra chewy bone. 

update - he got a RIDE IN THE TRUCK!  We went down the town line, then down the next concession road, and back on the highway home.  He doesn't care if we ended up where we started, he got a ride in the truck and had a big doggy grin on his flat face the whole time.  

That rare moment when Heidi The Hick gets political…and there are cowboy hats involved.


Here in Canada, elections are like national entertainment.  Between federal and provincial and municipal, I feel like we head off to vote once a year. Keep in mind, in Canada, we don't really vote for a person, we vote against another person.  Can you guess that I don't really know or care much about politics?  I care enough to go vote.  I was lucky to be born in a place where I can choose who will be working for me. And of course, being me, I just can't take any of it all that seriously. The kids and I watched the last bit of the televised debate last night.Bucky - wearing his tin foil hatSelina - skeptical, bewilderedme - giggling, confusedI'm not proud, but I'm not ashamed.  Here's our cast of characters:Justin Trudeau, Liberal.  Elizabeth May, Green Party.  Tom Mulcair, New Democrat Party. Stephen Harper, Conservative.Of course, being me, I can't just keep it to the debate when there is photographic evidence from the Calgary Stampede.  Because this blog is primarily concerned with the countrified stylishness, let's take a look at how our leaders wear a cowboy hat.  I do believe this is a reasonable indicator of who deserves my vote.  First of all, Stephen Harper, current holder of the position, who has clearly been taking Smiling Lessons.  Next, Tom Mulcair, who has a great beard.  And Justin Trudeau, who, in case you don't know, was raised by a Prime Minister and in case you haven't noticed, is pretty.I have just reduced all three of these fine gentleman to their looks.  It's like being a girl in grade 8 all over again.  Geez.  Unapologetic examination of their looks:  I think they all look pretty decent in the above pictures.  Harper appears to be in a good mood.  Although it's hard to tell with him.  His mouth is going up at the corners so that's definitely a positive mood indicator.  Mulcair looks all business but with the possibility of a sly joke, so he's all ready for his Dodge Ram truck commercial.  Trudeau is giving us a chance to admire his thoughtful eyebrows.  Most importantly, they are all exhibiting good hat skills.  They paid attention when they were shown how to set the hatband on their foreheads first, then place it on the head properly, so it actually stays on.  Good job, fellas.  And yes, many people have remarked on Harper being the only black hat.  Hmmmm.  Is he really evil, or is he just going for a vibe here?  You decide, Canada.  It's a democracy.  But then things go slightly wrong for MulcairNotice that Harper and Trudeau are demonstrating good hat technique, but Tommy there seems to have lost control of his hat band.  That's pushed back a little too far on his head.  Any further and I'd have to give him a stern talking-to like I plan to have with Madonna one of these days.  I'll give him points for the fancy wild rag around his neck though.  I'm assuming that's a real silk wild rag.  Y'know, the kind I've never seen in Ontario.  And they're all smiling.  One major problem, obviously, is that nobody even bothered to find out if Elizabeth May knows how to wear a cowboy hat.  I'm not even sure if she was there.  To be honest, I'm not positive that all these pictures came from 2015.  I'm too lazy to do my research.  I do have one picture of Liz in a hat.  She appears to be wearing a Canadian Broadcasting Corp apron while making pancake batter.  I'm sure there's a joke in there but I can't find it.  Hat skills: is that pink?  Or is it white with the red apron reflected on it? &nbs[...]

Here is the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT I've been waiting SIX YEARS to make!!!


I've been mentally composing this post for weeks, no, years, and I'm just gonna go for it okay?WE SOLD OUR RECORDING STUDIO.  WE HAVE BOUGHT A NEW PLACE TO LIVE AND WORK!!!!That's right -- we'll be in our own home again!!  I can finally stop having dreams and nightmares about the cute bungalow we sold.  I can stop dreaming and obsessing, both waking and sleeping, about whatever home would be ours in the future.  It's really happening.  It's for real.  The deal is firm.  The sorting and purging and packing up of our belongings has been started, and about a month from now, we'll be moving into OUR NEW HOME!  And Jethro will drastically cut his commuting time!I can say, for real, that this house, our new house, our home, is gorgeous and perfect and wonderful… the kind of house I'd ooh and ahh over and wish, faintly, that someday I could live in a house that pretty.  Dream come true?  Pretty much, yeah!I AM NOT KIDDING, THIS IS OUR FRONT PORCH!!!There is only one flaw with this place.  One problem, one serious flaw.  It does not have a barn and pasture.Yep… we're moving… are you ready for this?  Deep breath… to town.AAAAAAAUUUUGGGGHHHHHH!BUT WAIT! It's okay!Whaaaaat?  Heidi the Hick is moving to town and it's okay?  Yes it's okay.  But what about my need for wide open spaces and surrounded by fields and horses in sight and a clear view of the horizon? We found the perfect town lot.  I mean, if you have to live in town, this is the place.   It's on a side street that gets very little traffic, because the road heads out of town to a dirt road, and there's a nasty old wooden plank single lane train bridge that has to be crossed before you reach the side road, so most people just avoid taking that road into town unless they have to.Our house is between bridges; the "Thunder Bridge" on the way out of town, and a bigger bridge over the river on the town side.  There's one house between us and the river.  Then the river curves around so that across the road, we've got two small houses and then acres of flood plain before a lovely view of the riverbank.  This means that even though I'll be technically living in town… I'm still looking out my window at a hay field!!That flood plain means there won't be any construction across from us.  And there won't be anything built behind us either, because there's a train track back there. It's a landlocked obscure little street. We've got municipal water service, but all the houses are on septic systems.  (This is really why we ended up with the place; it was sold to someone else for a couple weeks, but after the septic inspection they decided against it.  So we were like, heck, septic system needs replacing in ten years?  Hell that's better than s***ting in a bucket!  Let's put in another offer!!!!)I am obviously not going to be thrilled about leaving the farm.  I love the farm.  I love being in the country and I love this specific property.  But, it's still here.  The horses will stay here, and I am only a 7 minute drive away from them.  It's not ideal, but it's something I can do.  They won't suffer.  They might not even figure out that I don't live in the house across the lane from the barn anymore.  The farm is still going to be part of my life, just as it has been for my entire life. Here's the thing… my husband, for over five years, has been working in Toronto.  That's almost two hours away from here.  And I can't be inconvenienced to do a 7 minute drive, there and back, twice a day? &nb[...]



First of all, I missed Johnny's birthday this year.  I mean, I didn't blog about it.  Selina and I had a pathetically fangirly moment where one said Hey it's Johnny Depp's birthday  and the other said, Hey it's Matt Bellamy's birthday  and then we both squeal-giggled. Johnny don't look so dubious.  He is brilliant, and a perfectly good choice for a celebrity crush.  And listen, pal, nice try with the not-trying.  Takes more than that to scare me off. So it's not like I totally forgot about my non-biological half-twin. In a neat coincidence, we're both poking around in the world of real estate.  It really is a coincidence, seriously, I'm not putting any kind of symbolism on this.  Do you have any idea how many properties are for sale, always?  I do this thing every day, and lately it's been several times a day, which I call "The S***s and Giggles Real Estate Tour".  I get out my iGadget, dial up and I check out what's up.  I've been doing this for years.  I know what the insides of several houses in the nearby town look like.  It's borderline unhealthy.  But I'm going at it with a new intensity.  Please don't ask. I don't consider myself a superstitious person, but I just don't want to blab about anything that might not end up being a thing. But today, as I take my regular afternoon chill-out therapy time with the dog on my feet, I find out on the internets that our man Johnny is selling his magnificent French estate. It's not totally awful, right?  We could graze a few critters on that lawn. (Still not going to talk about why real estate is such a preoccupation.  I will.  Later.)Did you know that after a property is "sold" it is still on the websites as being for sale?  That kind of freaks me out.  I also didn't know that after a place is sold, agents can still take clients to view it.  Whaaaaat.  Weird. can we get a pool boy too?I wonder, every time I look at an ad, what happened.  Are the sellers sad to leave their home?  Are they freakin' totally ready to get the heck out of there?  Did they outgrow it?  Why are they selling and moving out? This was the Paradis-Depp family home.  He's selling it with much of his personal belongings included.  Wow.  Seriously.  If we all got together and scraped up 24 Million, we could hang around in the Pirate Themed Wine Cellar OF COURSE DUH and dine in the restaurant and sleep in the old church.  It's like, a tiny hamlet.  It's a rock star pirate amusement park.  There's a freakin' art studio.  I mean.  Really.GUYS I FOUND ALL THE RUMI'm pretty sure I could shoehorn a grand piano and a digital console in one of those buildings.  And there'd have to be room for two medium sized Appaloosas and a small pony, right?I know this sounds creepy… Okay, it IS creepy… I just want to go there and look at all his books.  Not only because I would love to know what he reads.  I just love books. Like, I really really love books.  And guitars.  And candles.  I love all the stuff.  Of course, my writer's brain takes over.  I admit, I'm probably more heartbroken over the Johnny and Vanessa split than they are.  In my mind, Amber (about whom I have still not made up my mind although I'm leaning towards she's cool) put her foot down, tossed her magnificent blonde mane to one side, and said, "I can't even remember how many homes you have.  We have.  We should sell something.  And then buy a pet velociraptor."  [...]

My life is Therapy


That's what I do with my time these days: THERAPY. horse petting therapydog therapyApartment Therapy reading therapygroup therapylying down therapyslow motion garden therapynovel reading therapyart therapywriting therapyhot beverage and comedy therapyInstagram therapySo you get the idea.I sat on my horse the other day.  This was a huge event.  At times, when things in general are pretty okay, it's normal to be on a horse several times every week.  They're not always long rides, but I have tried to get on each horse at least twice a week.  Sometimes I rode two in one day.  Sometimes rode one horse twice.  It's not an impossible schedule and nowhere near what a professional trainer would put in, but it kept the horses and me in decent shape.  And now I look back, now when things are, in general, pretty okay in terms of yes I am still alive and I can leave the house regularly … I'm looking back and wondering why I berated myself for not riding enough.  It was never enough.  Not enough training, not enough barn cleaning, not enough gardening, not enough dishes and laundry and housework being done. You know how long it was since my last ride?Eight months.Wow.It's not the first time I've had a long time off.  Basically, extreme winters, a couple bouts of mental illness (I blame the drugs) and two pregnancies.  I have been enjoying my horses, relieved to not be working.  I worry about the loss of income, but I don't bring that into the barn with me.  They always seem happy to see me and I love any moment I have with them.  I'm feeling better enough now that it's been really bugging me that I'm not sitting on a horse. I got Selina to saddle Phoenix for me.  She saddled Copper for herself.  Copper doesn't deal well with time off -- she is a horse who is always better with regular work to get the energy levelled out -- but Phoenix is the kind of horse you can leave in the field like he's retired, and he's the same.  He's consistent and reliable.  Above all, I trust him.  Maybe I shouldn't.  I mean, can we trust any horse, really?  And we did have our difficulties a few years ago.  But I go out to the barn, and his eyes and ears are on me.  I rub his forehead, which always seems to be right there in front of me.  He blinks his big eyes at me, slowly, and I know I'm crazy but I feel like he's giving me this vibe that he knows I'm weak right now, and he'll take care of me. I dragged myself into the saddle.  It used to be easy.  I settled in and remembered that last summer I was getting accustomed to this new saddle with its high cantle and deep seat.  The fenders aren't worked in yet; I had to reach down to get my feet in and the world tilted too much.  It was all very weird.  The ground was far away.  I didn't understand how this could be so familiar, something I've done all my life, and yet so foreign. (Is THIS how it is to sit on a horse for the first time?)I wasn't planning on going anywhere.  I intended to literally just sit there.  Phoenix didn't move.  I rubbed his neck.  He rested a hoof, I felt insecure, pressed my foot into his side, and he set on all four again.  Meanwhile Selina and Copper were practicing backing up and taking little steps forward without any head flinging or bit worrying or foot stamping, while keeping her in view of the geldings.  We'll work on the herd bound thing later.   Basically, she was convincing the little mare that everything is okay and there's no n[...]

My daughter, the ADULT.


Here's a self-portrait Selina took on her birthday.  She's so sassy and slightly awkward and… kind of amazing.  Yesterday was my first born child's birthday.  She is TWENTY-ONE.  She's a young lady.  She's a woman of her own.  She's creative and funny and sometimes she's a forgetful spazz but she's always good hearted and kind. Legally, she's been an adult for three years already.  She's been legally allowed to drink alcohol for two years, although it's just not her thing, and she got through two years of college without anybody talking her into drinking.  She's pretty good at using her stubbornness for good rather than evil. She gave me a ride to my group therapy class (I mean, that's a good thing for a young person to do, right?  Take mom in for mental health help?) and then she got her passport photos taken, which of course made her look sweaty and tired and slightly ill, even though she wasn't any of those things.  It's like magic.  After she came to get me, we went to the Samsonite outlet and picked out her new suitcase.  Next week I'll have enough money to pay for it.  The saleswoman remembered us from her 19th birthday gift two years ago.  Same routine: stick a label with her name on it and set it aside until we come back.  This is just one more reason why I like that small city. Then we went to Complacent Joe's for lunch.  It used to Crabby Joe's, but they just did a huge renovation, so it's all slick sports bar with "luxury" finishes that will probably look like crap in five years.  All of the sarcastic signs about good food and bad service are gone.  There are a few snarky notes in the menu but that's it.  Of course we laughed about this.  We ate our lunch while working up bits about how Crabby Joe made enough money that he's just not grumpy anymore.  And then we split a chocolate cake. I absolutely love this person.  She is someone I choose to spend time with, and how convenient that she's my kid! I've been needing a lot of help, and she's been a life saver.  She never complains about doing my barn chores if I'm not well.  She helps out with the garden.  I couldn't do it without her and my ol man.  Meanwhile she's been working away on her professional website, getting ready to present her art to the world, and run a business.  Oh, and also working part time at the church camp.  And cleaning the house.  And watching her favourite YouTube people do funny things.  And taking photos and cuddling the dog. Today, she drove her brother to work and then took the Jetta for an oil change.  They will split the bill because they share the car and they are both, y'know, adults.  A few hours later, she's off to the other city, the bigger one, with all of her passport papers signed and ready to go. She hugged the pug once more, sprawled on the foot of my bed, then flung her hair over her shoulder and grinned and said something like, "look at me, all ADULTY, driving around getting my stuff together like an ADULT!"That's my kid.  Wow.[...]

Not showing up for work: Johnny Depp is not hanging around my place, honest, I'm not hiding him.


I haven't worked in… six months.  There are times I seriously question whether I ever did really have a job type thing or if I made that all up and believe it because it sounds like fun.  I can't imagine going back to work.  I can get the chores done, but the thought of being upright for two hours, long enough to get the horses and barn ready, and get through a lesson, is exhausting.  I'm working on convincing myself to just sit on a horse.  Not go anywhere, just sit. I might need different drugs.  I'm broke, I'm tired, and I'm indecisive.  But despite all that, I'm actually doing much better than I was half a year ago. Meanwhile, Johnny Depp bags off work for a week, and it's plastered all over the news.  Yesterday it broke, and there was talk of him holed up somewhere with no electricity that can only be accessed by donkey, or something, hiding from his wife.  Oh the speculation! Well settle down, world, because he has conveniently arrived where he's supposed to be: back in Australia to resume shooting the 5th Pirates movie.You know I fall for this stuff.  I get my news off internet entertainment sites.  Right now that's  the only news I care about or can emotionally handle.  There are people in this world who make a career out of making headlines about The Famous.  If Johnny disappears, it's news.  If he shows up the next day, as if all it took was a little disruption in the news ripples, that's even better. "EVERYTHING'S FINE."I'd link to something but I seem to have busted my computer, or maybe I broke the internet, I don't know how this crap works.  Feel free to assume that I got my information wrong and don't know what I'm talking about, okay?So awhile back, on the set of THE FIFTH PIRATES OR THE CARIBBEAN MOVIE, Johnny had some kind of mishap that resulted in a broken hand.Here's what I took from that: another Pirates movie!  Heck yes!  I don't care if it sucks.  Gimme my Captain Jack.  You know how I am like that. Accidents happen, and I'm sure there's a whole crew of people tasked with keeping everybody undamaged, but occasionally something happens.  I don't know what it was here.  Maybe it didn't even happen on the actual set. Here he is getting on a plane to go fly to some hand fixing hospital somewhere.  I can get behind the duct tape arrangement.  I was raised on a farm; this isn't the first time I've seen someone literally tape their hand back together and head off to the hand fixing doctor.  And of course that's usually accompanied by the "Awright catchyalater, I'm aright seeyasoon."About two years ago, he was still his crazy looking normal.  He looked like he got a bag of hand me downs from somebody's uncle, and the day of the Grammys he was like, aw crap, I gotta present a thing at that thing today, what's in the bag here… everything.  I'm just gonna wear it all.  And then snickers to himself as he imagines how all the tabloids are going to rip a strip off him for it, and how many worst dressed lists he'll end up on.  But then...He showed up to another thing, looking pale and waxy.  I'm not entirely convinced that's not a wax figure up there.  And it got worse.  Last fall he was staggering and stuttering and it may not have been cute or funny.  It would worry me greatly if he were an actual friend of mine. I'd be wanting to check on him and see if he's okay.  He's not looking okay.   The thing is, I see movie star[...]

THIS is happening


As much as I still don't enjoy spring like normal people do, some really cool stuff has been going on at the Ol Homestead.  First of all, these two teenagers got kicked out of mom's pen and had to get their own apartment.BECAUSE MAMA HAD TRIPLETS!This is the first time new goat kids have been born at our place.  Usually their people have them moved up to the river where they spend summer by the time the babies arrive.  SURPRISE! Mildred looked like she had maybe a little goat or two in there, but she is just very good at her job.  Then three days later, our friend came out to do her chores and there was a tiny wet goat kid in the next pen.  She had to figure out who the baby belonged to, and it wasn't the one she expected.  So first-time mother Lucy got off to a bit of a confused start, but we have them in their own pen now, the baby has figured out where milk comes from and the mother has figured out that the whole process is okay, and everybody is alive.  Phoenix would now like to remind us all what it's all about.RELAX.  Seriously.  Why so stressful?  (He is a horse, he has no idea what the word taxes  means and he never has to pay bills with no income - he has no concept of income, so really, why wouldn't he relax, right?)  He's totally IN THE MOMENT.This is simply a great thing to see in the morning.  These critters know how to enjoy a nice day.  Here's Parker whinnying to me as I walk in the gate.  Then I sat on the floor of the shed, half in the sunshine, and watched horses chew hay.  [...]

Good Friday


My mom, being an adult who gets to make her own choices, decided not to go to Good Friday service at church.  It's too depressing.  It's like going to the same funeral every year.  It's horrific, all the torture and anguish and death.

This morning I told my husband, as we were getting ready to go.  He agreed.  "Yeah, every year, Jesus keeps getting killed!"

Every year.

I read the book, I know how it ends.

Well, we can look forward to the part 2 of the ending, when everything is all beams of light, but today… sadness.

To which my response is… "Well I'm already depressed."  What's the worst that can happen, right?

I'm glad I went.  As I've been going through this last bout of depression, I have noticed, with great relief, that I haven't felt alone.  I feel God's presence, which sounds strange considering how bad it was,  but it's true.  And I've felt the care of my church family.

I haven't been to church much since last fall.  There were a lot of Sundays that I needed to be lying down, like I was every other morning.  And there were a lot of Sundays when I couldn't face anybody. It's not that I didn't want to see them, I just couldn't handle it, all the emotions, all the explanations.  I needed quiet, and stuck to a very small circle of people, occasionally letting one more person in at a time depending on how strong I was feeling at the time.  Through all of that, I am absolutely sure that I could feel the prayers.  What an amazing feeling.

Mennonites didn't used to celebrate Lent, I guess because the idea was that we lived a pretty sparse life all the time. What would you give up?  Well, I grew up with cars and a black and white TV and jeans.  Somewhere along the line this thing called Lent crept into our worship services around the end of winter, just like the odd concept of Advent showed up at the beginning of winter.  I haven't really adjusted to it, but I have to say, this year more than ever, I've relished the chance to really meditate on what it means to suffer.

So I went this morning, sat quietly, listened to the readings, read the hymns, and had a good think about how awful life can be, and how it could be worse, and that I'm not alone.

And the story doesn't end.  It never ends.  It never will end.

This is us at the Junos, 2015


Friday eveningSaturdaySaturday eveningHow do ya like the big man's silvery pinstriped cowboy shirt?  And my $25 "vintage" dress?Here's me being sassy then laughing about it.Sunday (telecast)Here we are on the red carpet!  (You can't even tell how tired I was feeling!  Thanks, make up!)This is me having my picture taken "with" Alanis.  Yep, that's our height difference, with me in huge heeled boots...Official photographer picture, which I will eventually pay for and get it for real without the watermark.  Y'know, I'm pretty sure that scarf was even when I left the hotel.  Can't take me anywhere.  And yes, I was wearing fuzzy mitts.  I had a toque in my bag too, just in case some idiot decided to take the carpet outdoors.  It was a fun-stressful weekend.  Jethro didn't win the Juno but we are totally okay with that because any one of those 5 guys could have taken it and we'd have been happy.  We got to hang with our kids (Bucky would rather not have his picture up on this site though, so you'll just have to imagine how cool the kids looked.)  I survived!  It's now Friday, a full week later, and I still have not recovered, but I made it through.  And had a good time.  I did not fall over.  I did not fall asleep in my french fries after the concert.    I didn't go to any parties - I sent my daughter instead.  Turns out she's good at schmoozing too.  The future is bright.  We got home on Monday to a barnyard full of stink and tumbleweeds of horsehair.  Home sweet home![...]

I'm getting out of bed and I'm packing the nice clothes… Juno Awards 2015!


After spending most of February in my bedroom, wearing my Pook suit, under a comforter, with the door shut and the baseboard heater on and the dog curled up on my feet, it's time to get up and clean up and go party in a large building in close proximity to Rock Stars!Up here in Ontario, it turns out February was the coldest month in…EVER.Today, I am packing suitcases.  It's that time of year again… sigh, gotta take a shower and brush our hair and put on our "nice clothes" oh what a pain… I'M KIDDING this will never get boring!!!!There he is, top 5 in Canada!This nomination means that we get some free tickets!  And also, it's happening only an hour from the Ol Homestead, so no plane tickets! This will be much less costly, which is good with the crap year we've had, but, we've learned that it's worth it to book The Good Hotel where All The Important People are staying. This is a business trip.  There is partying going on, but it's business.  You have to make opportunities to bump into people in the elevator, and honestly, there are some people we genuinely like, and we only see them once a year at the Junos! It also means, being nominated, a walk down the red carpet. Or, for me, this year, a wobble down the red carpet.You might be wondering how I'm doing.  (Awww, that's so thoughtful of you!)  I'm okay.  I'm doing.  Y'know? I'm okay.  And that's good.  I'm in this weird state where my mental state seems to much better, although I still have to talk myself down and give myself speeches about how okay everything really actually is, reminding myself that I am not dying and the world is not trying to kill me and the worst is not happening.  But I still feel like this medication is dragging on me.  It's helping in the way it's supposed to, but I'm tiiiiiired.  I wear out way too easily.  I've never been a person with loads of inexhaustible energy.  I have limits, I know where they are, and I try not to push beyond them until I absolutely have to.  But normally I can work.  And I do.  Not these days.The good news is, I'm back up to twice daily barn chores and one slow walk around the yard with the Pug.  The bad news is, I have to go lie down after that.  But hey, more good news, I don't feel like puking all the time!  However, my diet has changed because I don't want any meat that wasn't swimming in its life.  Also, no sweet potatoes.  Weird.  Why that?  I don't know.  And I haven't been eating wheat either, so I'm like a picky 5 year old.  Next, I'll be refusing to eat anything red.  It's probably not a bad way to eat but it is inconvenient, especially when you live with a bunch of meat eating Mennonites -- of which I used to be.  Meat eating, that is.  I'm still Mennonite.  Wheat flour or no, I'm gonna eat that apple pie!  There's no beef in it, right?The hardest thing to deal with is the unsteadiness.  It's getting better, but for most of the last two months, I aim to walk in a straight line but take a few steps sideways first.  I'm not dizzy.  I just can't get my feet to go where they're supposed to go.  At least now I don't have to get through the house by hanging onto furniture.  I feel solid enough to walk past the horses without wondering if I'll end up under their hooves.  I'm very fortunate to have such gentle[...]

2015 HICK CHIC OSCAR REPORT! (Because this is what I can contribute to the world…)


Buckle up and get comfy, this will be a long ride.  But it's okay because you didn't have to sit through almost 4 hours of OSCAR OSCAR OSCAR because I DID.  I used my commercial breaks wisely and got my jammies on and my teeth brushed and got to bed… around midnight. Of course, I didn't get off my ass and leave the farm to spend money and time on watching movies.  I meant to.  I just had kind of a tough year.  But I made up for it. LET'S DO THIS.NEIL PATRICK HARRIS.  As is totally predictable, there's a pile of grumbling about how boring he was as a host, to which I call BS.  Of course he didn't go for nasty acidic jokes.  He's NPH!  That's not his style.  He's a song and dance, smirk and smile, pull a coin out of your ear kind of entertainer.  Geez people, we already did the nasty host routine and everybody bitched about it.  You hire Seth MacFarlane, you get what you hired, so you choose NPH and you get grown-up Doogie Howser! See?He is cheesy and charming! He's adorable!Besides, his first joke was about Hollywood's Whitest  Brightest, which was perfectly justified because geez, you'd think only white people were in movies in 2014. I thought he was fantastic and I want him to host everything in my life.  Here is a list of events I want Neil to host:- The Juno Awards.  Whyyyyyy can't NPH be Canadian, whyyyyyy!??- The New Hamburg Fall Fair- The Mennonite Relief Sale Pie Auction (c'mon it'd be epic.)- My next descent down the stairs- when I get back to work, every riding lesson. - If I ever get to another horse show, he needs to host that too.  Every time someone goes into the ring."She's known as the Hick, he's the most popular horse on Facebook.  Heidi and Phoenix!"  Sure we won't get our trailers out of the show grounds until dusk but it'll be so worth it!Anyways.  His opening number was all about how much we love Moving Pictures, which I thought was kinda old timey in a sweet way.  It also involved Anna Kendrick, which was okay, and THEN oh my gosh, JACK BLACK interrupted the whole thing with the snarky side of the business: an interlude of cynical backlash about how nobody cares about movies and everybody just watches crap on their gadget-phones.  And it was done in pure Jack Black hyperbole.  But then all is well and we love Moving Pictures after all, and on with the show. Lupita came out to present the first award.  Can we pause for a moment to sigh contentedly?She's just so so so lovely.  Her dress is basically made of pearls, and she is luminous, and I honestly think she comes off as a very positive and decent person.  I want to believe that Lupita is the real deal and sticks around - without showbiz destroying her!!!JK Simmons won Best Supporting for Whiplash.  Apparently this is a movie about a scary music instructor.  Hmmm.  He seems like a nice fella who plays scary very well.  Here he is with his lovely wife.His speech was the first of many personal messages, in his case, that if you're lucky enough to have living parents, call them, don't text them or email, talk to them.  (And a couple hours later my mom yelled up the stairs to tell me that my dog asked her to let him out for a wiz.  I did not text her back, I actually answered with my voice.  My dog keeps emailing her, lazy critter.  Haha)Then Maro[...]