Month: May 2012

Love and Shortbread and a woman named Betty.

I sit here with tears rolling down my face, missing someone harder than I ever have.  A red duo-tang tight in my arms, in it’s pages, memories of a woman I think about daily.  A woman who inspires me even though she is no longer here, a woman who would be telling me to smarten up and stop feeling sorry for myself, a woman who could give you a hug,  followed by a laugh, washing away all your fears.

Today I started beating myself up again for not earning enough as an artist, not doing enough to succeed. I dreaded opening my mail box knowing there would be bills inside, bills I might not be able to pay. Questioning why I keep doing this if all I do is struggle.  I put the key in the lock, turned and took a deep breath as I opened the door. Stuffed snugly in that mailbox, amongst the bills was a white padded envelope.  My Mom had told me something special was on it’s way.  Something one of a kind.  I had no clue what she was sending me, but it was my Mom and I figured it would be something sent out of love.  I wasn’t expecting this.  I wasn’t expecting for my Grandmother to jump out at me.

As I pulled back the front red cover, I saw the title Recipes By Grandma and to the right of it, there she was in a black and white photo, in an apron flashing her famous smile.  Instantly I was overwhelmed by how much I missed her, how long it’s been since I last heard her laugh.  When we were kids, we couldn’t wait to go visit her, at Christmas we didn’t care about gifts, it was her shortbreads, the mittens and the thick handmade socks that we wanted.  Each birthday for as long as I can remember, she gave me a tea cup and saucer, all of which I still use.  She taught me how to knit and how to bake.  She taught me that nothing is so bad that you can’t find humour in it.  She taught me that I was important. I wished I could have been a better granddaughter, but I won’t fail to make her proud.

This book, this treasure is from my Aunt Margie.  My aunt is a beautiful, generous woman who put this book together with her own hands.  It contains all of my Grandma’s recipes (in her handwriting) and photos of her taken throughout her life.  I recently told a dear friend that I was working on two cookbook ideas.  One is almost written, the second was a book I wanted to do of home style cooking, converting my Grandmother’s recipes to Vegan versions.  A week later, I hold the original recipes in my hands.  Aunt Margie, you have no idea how much I cherish you or how much I love that you made me this book?  Do you know I think about her every day, do you know I talk about her every single week? Do you know that every person who knows me, knows a Betty story?  Earlier today on my Facebook I said I needed inspiration. My inspiration has arrived.  You have both inspired me.  This book wasn’t just about recipes, inside are photos I adore and others I have never seen before.  The pages are bursting of Grandma Betty and Aunt Margie’s love.  Aunt Margie even wrote a poem.  I am going to reprint it here. Aunt Margie,  I hope you don’t mind.  It is the most beautiful thing anyone has written to me. Thank you.  I love you!

The letter/poem.

Dear Carolina,

My Mother – your Grandmother – one of the same
What a beautiful woman with a wonderful name
She cooked, she baked, she whistled, she sewed
In her wee wee house by the side of the road
She had many children and loved every one
But she adore her grandchildren each time they come
Her past time was knitting scarfs, mitts and socks
Which everyone received in their own special box
She never missed a birthday – everyone got a card
Enclosed was some money – on her pension – that was hard
But that did not stop her – our angel of old
Who had a memorable laugh and a heart of gold
I often sit and ponder over a cup of tea
and hear her words come back to me
“A pinch of this and a handful of that
and make sure that pastry is rolled out flat”
The thick Scottish brogue she used once in awhile
She had a pretty round face and a welcoming smile
She sang like a bird – could carry a tune
And if she could afford it – she would give you the moon
So enjoy this booklet I had fun putting together
It hold memories of Elizabeth – a wonderful treasure


Join us during Pride for a Spoken Work Musical Jam accompanied by Amoeba Starfish at the Clean Sober and Proud Place, The Community Cafe, Paul Kane Parkade (east of Yonge, north side of Welleseley).

Our fabulous, damned and beautiful committee members will each be reading.

Writer, editor, poet, literary reviewer, horror know-it-all, Lizzie Violet is the dark little girl, with a crooked smile. A lover of all things creepy, including horror silent movies, she is also a well known Zombiephile. She is currently working on a novel, a poetry manuscript and the latest book she edited, Best New Werewolf Tales, Volume One can be found at

Since returning to the world of performance, she has featured at Tumultuous Tuesdays, hosted The Beautiful & The Damned, co-produced Wonder Women IV, Get Your Groove on, with upcoming features for the Plasticine reading series, The Beautiful & The Damned and many others…

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When you love someone, tell them. Circumstances should never be a factor.

My Dealing Michelle posted the below picture on my Facebook wall today.  When I saw it, it reminded me of someone who holds a special place in my heart and that I love how goofy they are.  That and one of my dearest friends, who had the Kahona’s today to tell someone how she felt about them,  got me thinking about love.

Have you ever loved someone so much your heart feels like it will burst from your chest, yet are terrified to tell them because you aren’t sure if they will reject you.  When you love someone, shouldn’t you be able to tell them, no matter what the circumstances are?  Why are we as humans so afraid to express this?  Animals have no fear expressing love or showing affection, yet as these creatures who are supposedly superior or rather think we are, we either can’t express our natural instincts for affection or when told by someone, rather than accept the possibilities, will run.

Of late I have also questioned this ‘in love’ deal.  Does it really exist? Isn’t it better to be with someone who is your best friend, who you have fun with, are happy with, who you love and trust, rather than seeking out that Snuffalupogus ‘in love’.  I personally think we have been programmed by fiction and ‘romantic comedies’ to think you aren’t with The One, unless you are feeling that magical emotion.

Personally I’m tired of having to hide the way I feel because saying it might be viewed as inappropriate or I might be rejected by that other person.  I am not one to give my love freely and if I do love you, there is a really good reason behind my emotions and if we continue to be in each others lives, love comes into play at some point.  Whether  a lover, friend or family, we as beings are built to feel this.

So… feel it I will.  And say it without fear.

Tell someone you love them.  Tell someone how beautiful you think they are and do it with a brave heart.

life with more cowbell

Heather Hill launched her new CD, Leuty Station, at the Drake Underground last night – and what a night!

Met my pal Lizzie Violet out front and we stopped by the merch table to visit Meghan Morrison, who co-wrote “Wading Through Normal” with Hill and producer Orville Heyn for this record. I picked up a copy of Leuty Station, as well as Hill’s NYC recording of her debut CD Listen. Listening to Leuty Station as I write this – and I love that Hill included a lyrics booklet with this CD!

Micah Barnes opened with a fabulous set of  jazz and R&B numbers, accompanying himself on a gorgeous baby grand. Sexy, playful and charming, Barnes gave us a few mini-sets, rising in between to chat with the audience from the centre microphone and introduce the next theme. I’m always a sucker for songs about love. And New…

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life with more cowbell

I normally would have posted this on Thursday, the day after the actual event, but Wednesday night had so much cookin’ with the sculpture exhibit and all, that I wanted to do both events justice and post separate blogs.

Singer/songwriter Ellie Anderson ( organized Get Your Groove On – and had her organizer chops really put to the test when she discovered the original venue, Jang Bang Bar, was in the dark and had to quickly relocate the event. And relocate it she did: to the upstairs front room at The Central.

Just like Wonder Women IV featured four hot women, you could just as well say Get Your Groove On featured three hot women and three hot guys. Anderson and the three guys did round robin acoustic sets – showcasing an amazing variety of sounds, all with distinctive voices. As I write this post, I’m feeling inspired…

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Cytopoetics Events

Another great week is ahead of us, as the weather (finally?) turns spring-like for good, and the poetry heats up as well. This is the time of year when slam teams are chosen, festivals start to take place and hungry poets share their words both inside and outside. It’s an exciting time. So let’s see what’s up in the world of spoken word and poetry slam in the Greater Toronto Area for the next seven days:


Work In Progress - a free forumThe Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts continues this week with Work in Progress – a free forum “that critically engages the intersections between collaborative artistic practices, class, and working conditions for community engaged artists.” Local spoken word artists Mahlikah Awe:ri (Red Slam Collective) and Greg Frankson (Cytopoetics) will sit on the panel. It takes place at The 519 Church Street Community Centre from 7-9pm.


The weekly edition of the

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40 Things I’ve Learned, in no particular order but the one they came to me in, by Kat Leonard:

1.  You won’t end up with the friends you started with.

2.  Keep friends in whose company you like yourself.

3.  I’m lucky.   Part of being lucky is realizing that you are.

4.  Love feels even better going out than coming in.

5.  My gut serves me best but my mind provides a worthy and engaging opponent.

6.  Self-Doubt will keep you humble if it doesn’t paralyze you.

7.  You can’t blame someone for not reacting the way you would.

8.  No one can make you feel any particular way without your permission.

9.  Maintain high hopes and low expectations.  Also, early is on time and on time is late!

10.  If you know enough to say sorry while you’re doing it, DON’T DO IT!  Duh!

11.  All that glitters can be worn…

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Upcoming in May

Upcoming in May!!!

This Wednesday am reading at the Jang Bang bar for the Gorgeous Ellie Anderson! At Get Your Groove On!

Though not hosting this month, would love to see you at the monthly event I run called The Beautiful & The Damned on May 10 at Zelda’s!

AND if that wasn’t enough… another great reading series I’m involved with. The Plasticine Reading Series at Paupers. (I won’t be at this one, but it’s a great series to support!)

May is all about Lizzie 😉

life with more cowbell

Such a good time at Last Temptation Acoustic Wednesday last night, a new-ish open mic event in Kensington Market, hosted by singer/songwriter Jessica Speziale – with last night’s feature performer Kat Leonard (who performed on the eve of her birthday!) – and hanging out with my pal Lizzie Violet.

Jessica kicked off the evening with “Brace Yourself,” the first track off her CD Dear Reverie. I’d only ever heard her with her band, but there was nothing lost on this acoustic set of original tunes. This lady is a sultry bluesy powerhouse – and she can belt it! A bit later, she performed “Don’t Look Down,” my favourite ballad from the CD.

Next up were some open mic folks, starting with Toronto actor/musician Stephen MacDonald, a tall, slender young man in black with a smooth, soothing voice. Stephen performed a set of original tunes on a well-loved brunette guitar…

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