Friday, 19 July 2013

Creativity takes Courage

My Handsome Man is an exceptional pianist. As a teen he even made a living as a musician, but it wasn't the career path deigned for him. Instead he entered into the forefront of the IT field. It is very difficult for someone so musical to suppress that part of themselves, but he thrived in IT. He has produced other people's musical and creative works over the years and has played in some rocking hobby bands but nothing to the extent he craved. Recently he decided to hire a wonderful local musician to teach him jazz piano and is throwing himself into it heart and soul (or should I say Body and Soul?). He has dabbled in other projects over the years, but the fact he chose as an adult to dive into something creative he's always wanted to explore really inspired me. In fact, it was the catalyst to me starting this blog. I have wanted to write the book so many people have asked me to write for many years now, but have quite frankly been intimidated. Handsome Man making his musical dreams come true inspired me to do the same with my own artistic craving. This may not be a book, but it is a fabulous venue to recount my tales, my very own creative outlet and I must admit I'm loving this journalistic journey.
Handsome Man is not the only person in my life whose choice to explore their creative side has inspired me. Below are the stories of two wonderful and very different people whom I respect, admire and in terms of chasing my dream, try to emulate. I hope you'll learn to love them as much as I have!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

We Be Jammin'

3 amazing women bringing open jams to a venue near you!

This Jazz Brat loves live music and I have found the best place to go for some jazz or funk is ANYWHERE there is an open jam session. Three of the best (and very different) jams in the city are all hosted by extraordinary women with wonderful tales to tell, and conveniently all on different days! I was able to get out to all three this past week and I'm still grinning ear to ear.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Daddy's Girl

 Daddy as a young man at Fisherman's Bay

A few weeks from now will mark the 24th anniversary of my father's death. Remembering losing him is still so painfully raw that I usually chose to remember only his life not his death. But in the last few years I have come to understand his death was as much a part of his wonderful affect on me as his life and parenting.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

OMG its OMD, and my discovery of musical diversity through Blondie

Handsome Man, knowing Once an 80's girl, Always an 80's girl, surprised me a while back with tix to see Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (OMD ) at Danforth Music Hall next week. 

I am so excited! But be forewarned, its made me nostalgic!

My parents were children of the 1920s and 30s, Jazz was their Pop music. While I was growing up, Dad was always humming or whistling some Duke Ellington tune or quoting Lady Day, and Mom was always tapping her toes to something on the radio.I'm the youngest of 9 children, and my brothers and sisters are much older than I am. They came of age in the late 50s and 60s, so their music, Beatles, Stones, Cars, Yes permeated my infancy and childhood. The 80s is when I discovered music that was mine. With the foundation of my parents and siblings music I was able to be open to anything and everything musically, and discovered myself as well as my musical taste in that much-maligned decade.

TD Jazz Fest 2013 and how amazing Jazz can be tainted by Age-ism

Fear Not The Sneer

One of the truly wonderful things about living in T-Dot is the abundance of festivals during the summer months. Go away for a weekend and you're sure to miss something incredible. The last week of June (June 20th-29th) was the ever increasingly amazing TD Jazz Fest. Major headliners like Smokey Robinson paired with Martha and the Vandellas (FREE CONCERT!), to Willie Nelson,Steve Martin and Nikki Yanovsky, fabulous well known local talent such as Ori Dagen , Mike Murley, Danny MarksNorman Marshall Villeneuve along with amazing out of towners and up and coming locals made for a fabulous run. Montreal, I have incredible memories of The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal but look out- you may be de-throned as King of the Canadian Jazz Festivals in the near future!

The Disney Lady

I'm a single mom of adult children having forms of autism, and have custody of my 3 year old granddaughter, so not surprisingly I was assessed earlier this year as having stress levels on par with a front line soldier. It was suggested I find ways to reduce my stress (HA!). I am very lucky to have an extraordinary man in my life ( from here-on-in named 'Handsome Man' in all blog posts ). He invited me down to Sarasota Florida for a week of R&R. This sounded too good to be true, and it nearly was. My 19 year old, 200+lb son Eric is severely autistic, and he has been in and out of crisis for the last 2 years. This means Eric's anxiety levels have been so high that he would go several days without sleep, has been hospitalized twice, developed agoraphobia and separation anxiety, and when overwhelmed, could become extremely violent. Although his anxiety was being managed, I was not sure I'd be able to take advantage of the wonderful battery recharger called a 'vacation'.

Monday, 8 July 2013

JazzFm Jazz Safari

I have never had a lot of money to throw around, but that 1/16 of me that is Scottish knows how to use the  little I have to the most advantage. My children never go without, I've learned to make incredible gourmet meals from nothing (regular quote from Handsome Man 'Really? I had all these ingredients in MY fridge?' ), I find a way to enjoy music and the arts without breaking the budget, and I find a way to SUPPORT the arts that in their way support me. 

Autism Moms Unite at The Iron Bridge Inn!

One of the overnight stops on the drive home from Florida with My Handsome Man was Mercer PA. A wonderful town. Our hotel was well appointed, but we thought we`d try a local restaurant for dinner. The concierge had some great recommendations and we settled on Iron Bridge Inn, located oddly enough beside a beautiful Iron Bridge spanning a quaint little river. We found a wonderful booth, completely surrounded by warm oak, almost as if we were in our own separate dining room. Its was kitcshy and romantic all at the same time. Our waitress arrived with our menus, and took our drink orders. I as usual had wine (hence days of Whine and Rosè!), while handsome man ordered the best named beer EVER!