Forgive Others; Forgive Yourself.

Whomever said that life isn’t easy wasn’t being facetious. Just when you think you’ve got life in hand, *THWACK*! Reality bitch slaps you back down to earth. I promise you that when you neglect yourself or others, in favour of whatever seems more important at the moment…that shit will come back to haunt you with a vengeance. So what do you do now? Well, you start sweeping up. Sometimes there’s enough pieces to put stuff back together. Sometimes there’s not. Most of the time you’ll be asked to forgive. If you’re like me, you’ll find it hardest to forgive yourself. Even when you’re not the one who pulled the last maneuver that brought the whole house down. You’ll find some way of making yourself feel culpable.

So forgive,

And make art.

And continue to love.

And get on with it.



RE:connection The Pussy Riot Project

Last night’s release gig at Tower of Song was amazing. We played with/for lovely folks, raised some money to go to The Voice Project, who are the official fund gatherers for the pussy riot campaign. Also last night at 11pm, Emily released the companion album on bandcamp which she has been curating over the last several months. 14 amazing tacks, including a song I wrote for the project, pay what you want…please go and get it! Lets keep our fingers crossed that the remaining members of Pussy Riot will be released before Christmas!

Much love and happiness to you this Christmas and New Year as always! See you soon! xoxoxLo.

Crossing Over with Tideford Organics

I’m often asked to review products on one of my blogs or give an opinion. I turn down most companies, mainly because I believe in clean, healthy food. It’s the kind of food we planted and harvested on the farm in West Virginia where I grew up, and the kind of food I prepare for my own family still. I could never be bothered to review products that don’t fit into that profile, and sadly, many do not. Enter Tideford Organics. A most unusual company. Unusual in all the best ways.

If you haven’t yet heard of Tideford Organics, they have been around since 1996 and were built on a commitment to organic food and the environment. They are now in a purpose built factory in Devon and designing food that tastes like you made it at home. If you haven’t already read it, here is my review of the products I was sent.

Back in October, one of my friends/readers saw that Tideford was looking for food bloggers to review their new line. Normally, I would pass the link on to another blogger, but I found Tideford intriguing. I’d seen their products while perusing the gluten-free tag on the Ocado website. I always look at the ingredients lists of products if they are available and was impressed by the fact that their soups and sauces seemed to be all prepared from fresh organic ingredients. So I agreed to review all the gluten-free vegetarian items that they’d like to send my way.

A few weeks after my review went live, you can imagine my surprise when I got another email from Tideford saying they were sending me a second batch of goodies that had been “tweaked in response to your comments on your blog.” What? I was stunned. Where was the normal “thank you for your review, we’ll take your comments into consideration” or the dreaded “like us on facebook you could win in a £250 voucher!”  I told you they were unusual! I was also amazed at how much they’d accomplished with just a few lines of suggestion. For that is what it was, only suggestion, I had no idea that after a 3rd batch tasting and discussions with the managing director that we’d be in negotiations for my consulting on next season’s line.

So there it is. I’ve now crossed over from independent reviewer to consultant. I thought you should know, and I’m hoping to be able to share as much of the experience as possible in the coming months. I’m headed down to Devon on Thursday next and cannot wait to meet up with the team. I’m so pleased at the prospect of working with a company that holds the same ideals about food that I do. Stay tuned for the next chapter!

Too Many Careers? (Diversifying Your Talents and Energy)

I’ve always been creative. I can’t remember a time in my life when I’ve been satisfied just doing a task. I was the kid who liked to mow the lawn in circular patterns (much to the dismay of my parents) and fold and stack the towels in different ways as to make patterns. I have certainly come to love order in my life more and more as I’ve gotten older, but one fact remains, everything I do has a creative edge to it.

Growing up my Mum was incredibly creative. We had little money but she was always fixing, fabricating, painting, and we KNEW that she could do/fix anything. She had many careers over the course of my time at home from circuit board solderer, landscaper, horse trainer, maid, seamstress, vet tech and the list goes on and on. Now she and my father buy houses and redo them. (they’ve also set up an animal shelter/hospital) They can take a house with walls that are bulging out from water damage and transform it into a show-piece in a matter of a month. The living spaces they create are astounding.

I suppose I never thought having just one career was an option. I was interested in so many things and I was poor. Necessity will lead one in all kinds of directions. I needed to be able to do whatever interesting job that came my way and that’s just what I did. I started as a waitress, and then worked in a food packing plant, a old fashioned meat market, a grocery store, a catering business, a hot deli, preparing food for cancer drug studies, line cook, head of a restaurant, private chef, food consultant (all the while gigging weekly with music, writing songs and studying nutrition at university) Then I hit a bit of an impasse. I’d always had trouble with maths in school even though I was in honours English, and I found that as the maths and chem at university got harder, I just couldn’t hack it. By this time I had tired of the long exhausting hours of food service and was working at a jewellery store. My boss talked to me about studying gemmology (the study of diamonds and gemstones) and so I started studying at the Gemological Institute of America. I then also decided that it’d be a good idea to study to become a jeweller, so became an apprentice. It never occurred to me that it was a weird thing to do having just failed to complete my bachelor’s degree in nutrition, I just went with it. I was interested, it was a job, and it was creative.

Now years later, I’m still a professional musician, still a jeweller, and still a chef. I do none of these jobs full-time but I’m able to do one or the other based on where my life is at the moment. For example, for the last three years I’ve been raising a little dude, and as he gets older I’m taking on more and more work. I’m working on a children’s album and an accompanying children’s book, my jewellery designs as well as fine vintage items, various food production/consultant projects and a clean-eating allergy friendly cookbook. I’m so thankful at this point that I do all that I do and none of the time I spent in my lifetime learning these things seems wasted. I may have seemed like a bit of a career philanderer in the past, but now it all makes sense. Now I ask you, how many careers is too many?

The lovely painting at the top of this blog posting is from flickr and created by Paulo Colachino. It is licensed    under creative commons. Please click the painting to see more of Paulo’s work! 

A Song for Donna

Hi there! It’s been a long long long long time since I posted on this blog. There’s lots of reasons I could give…one being the little man that I gave birth to in Nov. 09, another was me thinking that I could could stop taking my meeds and still function. I started to wonder when I could no longer focus my eyes or think straight though a very very foggy brain. I hadn’t realized over the last 14 months how affected I was until I started feeling better. So now that I am, it’s time to get onto more important things! Let’s talk about my lovely friend Donna DeLorme!

Donna was diagnosed with MS in 1996, after a few bouts with optic neuritis. She was told that her MS was relapsing-remitting and that she would not likely have many problems. This wasn’t to be so, and just two years later she started having tingling and numbness in her right hand, a foot that dragged when she was tired, and blurred vision. As with anyone with a busy life, (I’ve been guilty of this for the entirety of my life so far) she ignored her body and symptoms and continued to work, even taking a very stressful job ’99. Within two weeks, she was blind in one eye, could barely walk and could not move the right side of her body.

Donna is one of the bravest people I know. She managed to keep her independence for many years by setting up a business and working from home. She eschewed the MS injections as they were not helping and making her feel horribly ill. She’s managed all this time with supplements and exercises, diet modifications and lots and lots of water…but unfortunately MS has her firmly in it’s grip and last year after quite a long stint in a care facility, she truly thought that she wouldn’t be able to come home again and would have to give up her beloved kittehs, Pita and Pepper. I’m sure it was through sheer force of will that Donna did come home, she managed to get things sorted with the help of friends and family and move into an apartment better suited to her needs and arrange just enough home care to get by.

Last July Donna went to Costa Rica to undergo Angioplasty treatment (read about CCSVI here) but was under-treated according to her latest diagnostics. Angioplasty for CCSVI is a hot topic, and is quite controversial, and many countries, including Canada do not allow the procedure. Here in Britain, the first treatments were done at a private clinic in Ediburgh in October of last year. So though you can have the procedure in the UK, it is not something available under the NHS.

We all had such great hopes for her treatment in Costa Rica, and to anyone who knows Donna, just the dramatic change in the way she looked after treatment was enough to make us believers. Unfortunately, her symptoms didn’t improve enough to give her the life-changing results that we were all hoping for. She needs further treatment and perhaps stents to keep the veins open and the blood flowing and that means a second treatment in America. Family and a few friends paid for the last procedure, and cannot afford to do so a second time.

Here’s where you come in! This is your chance to make a real change in the life of someone wonderful….someone who is a huge supporter of great music, a fighter, a lover, a loyal friend, someone who doesn’t take life for granted. So many of us never think about getting out of bed in the morning, being able to take ourselves to the bathroom, or make ourselves and our loved ones a meal. I can’t imagine not being able to reach out an pick up my son, to throw him up in the air while he squeals with delight…so many things
that I do without thinking on a day to day basis that are a struggle or just plain impossible for Donna. we’re putting together a wonderful compilation of great music…songs donated by some of the best musicians that can be found. All proceeds will go to help pay for Donna’s procedure. In the meantime, read her story, peruse her blog, and give a little something to help her out. Just a quid if you’ve not got much…believe me, it’ll help. We’ll let you know when we get the comp underway! Thanks for listening and for your help! Much love, Lo.