Bullet point solution?

I think I’ve figured out a way to post more regularly without committing to a novel every time. And for me, that’s tricky. I always want to write something of substance and I never fail to spend an inordinate amount of time proofreading to make sure there are no typos or egregious spelling or syntax mistakes (I just looked up egregious to make sure I spelled it correctly). It’s the former English major in me. So here’s what’s going to happen. I am going to make bullet points for these posts. Not actual bullet points because I don’t know how to do them on here. I will admit I have zero ability when it comes to formatting anything. I will number my brilliant and fascinating observations as of late - I will also include things I have learned. Get ready.


1.  The launch for my children’s book ‘Away But Never Gone” is coming up! For those Winnipeg peeps (or those who like to travel), it will be at 7-9 pm at McNally Robinson. There will be some sort of presentation, I have no idea what just yet. It may involve a musical number, it may not. I think I am going to have a rep from the Canadian Mental Health Association there as I do know that I will be speaking about mental health and how our approach to childhood grief and trauma can help or hinder a child’s emotional and mental development. There will be no refreshments, so bring a flask.

2. You can freeze avocados. Yes, really. Maybe I am the only one who didn’t know this. Freeze them in halves. Apparently they have decent consistency after they are frozen but I bet they don’t so you may have to use them for guacamole.

3. Ada Limon is one of the most brilliant poets I have ever read. Her book Bright Dead Things is breathtaking.

4. You can get rid of even dried oil stains of clothing with a little bit of dish soap (unfortunately, petroleum-based dish soap is required). Again, maybe I am the only one who didn’t know this. 

5. You can use glycerine to revive dried out cream eyeshadow. Too bad I threw out a bunch of MAC paint pots before I learned this. Sigh.

6. The second season of “The Handmaiden’s Tale” is incredible but harrowing. Don’t watch it if you are suffering from a bout of anxiety. It will kill you.

7. Speaking of other things that can kill you, twin eight-year old boys will sometimes make you feel like you are having heart palpitations and need to go to the hospital for an EKG (for the third time). However, said children will be so adorable and hilarious and wonderful a few moments after this health scare that you will forgive them and wonder how you managed to make such lovely human beings. 

8. Pinterest has excellent recipes. Search for Parmesan and basil roasted green beans. My child who refuses to eat most vegetables (ie. most children I know) ate almost the entire batch.

9. Blogging is both enjoyable and humiliating, just like Twitter.

10. Do not substitute arborio rice for Orzo in a recipe, particularly in a slow cooker - Google is wrong.

Ok, that’s it. You’re welcome. All two of you readers.

Go Jets go!! 








Mental health

Well, I’m certainly not proving myself to be a reliable blogger. It’s been a particularly busy time as of late with a lot of time on the road, much solo parenting while Grant has been working 12 hour days, and an unparalleled attempt to stay on top of social media. I’ve never been one for much beyond posting for friends and family on Facebook. But I’ve recently been trying to populate my Instagram page with decent photos and stories, and my Twitter feed with quasi-humorous observations which my tiny collection of followers like in even tinier numbers. I am trying to make my presence better known as I branch out into more solo work.  Sometimes it feels like pissing in the wind. Sometimes it is fascinating and enjoyable. Mostly it eats up most of my afternoons when I should be working.

So, trying to stay on top of the blog has been difficult, especially since few know I am here yet and I feel like I’m writing to almost no one. I will be announcing the existence of the website tomorrow. And then I will try to be on here more. I will refrain from trying to say the perfect thing and attempting to write lengthy prose of consequence. Maybe it will be a sentence or two sometimes. Maybe more.

For now I want to say that I have been thinking a lot about the work I and the Jennys have done in the mental health-related arena. We partner with the National Alliance on Mental Ilness (NAMI) in the U.S. and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in Canada at most of our shows to raise money and awareness of mental illness and to support these organizations that work so hard on few dollars to help those afflicted with mental health and their families. We’ve been doing this since 2014 and are so thankful to our audiences for giving so generously when we raffle off our merchandise. 

But lately I’ve been thinking of how I don’t mention my own struggles with my mental health. Part of that is because I simply don’t have the time on stage to get into it. And part of it is because even after all of I’ve spoken about on stage about the need to break down stigma, I am, to be perfectly honest, still concerned about how people will judge me based on this alone. There is so much judgment and misunderstanding about mental illness, I am reluctant to expose myself to others’ ignorance.

But I’ve started feeling more and more that it is irresponsible for me to stay silent in public spaces (even though I do mention it in some public mediums and all of my family and friends are aware). I need to be more transparent with it, mostly for me but also for those others who struggle in silence. There is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, what I say on stage is what I feel strongly and know. The brain is a organ like any other organ, that it is susceptible to biology, environment and trauma and there should be no shame attached to illnesses of the brain.

I plan on speaking more about this in the 'back story' on my website as it has been a hugely significant factor since I was a teenager. I have struggled with depression and anxiety disorder all of my life.  A few years ago I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder. It’s been a very difficult few years but I am finally doing better. I will say more about this in subsequent postings and on the ‘back story page’. My ultimate hope is to be a point of light to those still lost in profound darkness. This is mostly for you.

A good friend recently passed on this beautiful and important essay by actor Wil Wheaton on living with depression and anxiety. So much of it resonates with me. It is titled “My name is Wil Wheaton. I live with chronic depression, and I am not ashamed.” That speaks volumes to me about the society in which we live and its terrible treatment of those with mental illness. The persecution of the other has mostly been born out of ignorance. I hope by being honest about myself, I will, in some small way, spread some understanding. Stay tuned.



The man buns, the artisanal donuts, the birds,  the cliches, yes this is Portland. But it’s also diversity, clothing and FOOD. It’s a dizzying array of countless cuisines. And holy cow, I just had an amazing curry bowl at Harlow.

We had a sold out show last night at Revolution Hall and have another tonight but I have spent the day shopping consignment and vintage stores. There are about 9 coffee shops/roasters in a three block stretch. I am going to grab a latte, go to a bookstore and then head back to the hotel (McMenamins Kennedy School, both great and a little overly hipster for me). I feel old. Not a usual feeling. That’s one other thing about Portland, lots of 20 somethings. But it’s good to be here, I’m lucky to have this time to roam a bit. Lucky all round.


The first blog post! It is so incredibly exciting to have this site up and running, to have the chance to have my own creative home. It’s inspiring me to keep branching out creatively which is a tremendous relief after years of feeling blocked and stuck. More on that over time.

Right now I am in a van with Jennys Heather, Ruth and Richard driving to Port Angeles, Washington to take a ferry over to Victoria. We performed to a sold out crowd at the Benaroya in Seattle last night and it was once again an utterly amazing experience - an energetic, warm audience, a precise and resonant room, and great people at the venue. Magical. In a way, a bit tricky to start off a tour like that because a show of that variety is hard to beat. But the West Coast has always been good to us, so the coming shows in Victoria, Olympia, WA and Portland, OR will no doubt be a ton of fun. 

This kind of touring is pretty unbeatable. Away long enough to get into a groove but not so long that I feel like an absentee mother. As most parents will attest, some time away from one’s kids can be really rejuvenating, parenting being the hardest job around. But after too long it is... too long. It’s a sometimes difficult adjustment to move back and forth between these two worlds. But right now, it is mostly invigorating.

I hope to keep this blog up for the long run and not let it become dormant, like every journal I’ve attempted to fill. If you are reading this, and want to hear from me, give me a nudge. It is fulfilling to write for its own sake but it wouldn’t be a blog if I didn’t expect people to read it!

Signing off now. 5.5 hours of sleep last night has turned my brain to mush.

Oh, but before I go, I want to mention what I’ve been reading, listening to, and watching. It’s been a looong time since I’ve been able to do any of these and I am LOVING it. Truthfully I mostly haven’t listened to much music for years which is a strange thing for me given that I’ve always been such a huge music fan. But there’s something about being a musician and immersing oneself in music in one’s off time - to me it can be too much. And there are other reasons for this. More on that, too, later.

But for now, I will mention that I am listening to Day Wave, an indie rock band from California consisting of one artist (Jackson Phillips) in the studio. Emotional, haunting, lush.

Just finished reading Rohinton Mistry’s Such A Long Journey. I love Mistry, his rendering of characters is unparalleled. Like losing good friends at the end of the book.

Just watched The Handmaid’s Tale and Big Little Lies. Loved them both for their strong, complex, flawed and heroic women. The Handmaid’s Tale is visually stunning and I’m proud to say my good friend in Toronto, Chris Donaldson, is an editor on the series. It is a real work of art.

More soon! Thanks for reading.