Weekend Warrior #7

weekend-warrior

Here we are.  Another weekend is over.  If you are reading the other stories I post, you may know that I did a little shopping last week.  I have tried and tried to get myself into that kitchen.  This week, I chose another fight.  I decided to fight some inner demons.

I have been working hard on this blog.  I am pouring my heart and soul into it, and it is having positive effects in my life.  This weekend, I took a much needed break from my routine.

I have given myself a deadline for starting to work on my book.  I hope to be done with my Spring Cleaning on or before July 1st.  This way I have given myself a full 6 months for each project I am working on this year.  If I finish early, bonus.  I have no doubts that when I sit down to write, it will happen.  I am doing well with the consistency of the blog.

A discussion online made me stop and think about my progress.  I have not finished yet what I have resolved to do this year.  I am making lists and getting some of the things done, but I never finish the list.  The approach thus far has been to make the list, get done what I can, and start a new list the next day.  Or continue the same list.  The discussion I was referring to was when someone alluded to feeling like a fraud because they have not written a book yet.

I am not a fraud.  I work hard at things all the time, even if the progress is made only inside of my head.  I am also working on making myself healthier, and that is a project that has no deadline.  It is ongoing.  Deciding what is best for me to tackle on a weekly basis is moving towards completing something.  Progress is progress.  No matter how it appears to anyone else.

I did a small amount of puttering.  I did not do anything that is picture worthy.  So the progress pics will have to wait another week.  I have a few vacation days coming up in April, and I plan to use them wisely.  I am hoping to catch up on the kitchen this month and be able to move on to the rest of my home.  I am going to have to force the issue, with myself, if I am ever going to get it accomplished.  That is why I have had to give myself a deadline.  At some point, I DO have to finish the Spring Cleaning and move on to the book writing.

Writing this series is helping.  I am planning and seeing what needs to be done, and I have ideas of what I will be sharing in the pictures as I progress.  Tomorrow after work I have plans to work on a small section of the kitchen while making supper.  As I wrote somewhere earlier today on social media, the house does not bounce itself.

This weekend I caught up with some friends, and we had a fantastic time at a local board game cafe.  We hung out for the whole evening, and that included the taxi driver being pulled over by the cops for making an illegal left turn while driving us to my friend’s house.  If I had a cell phone (what! she doesn’t have a cell phone! the horror!) I would have been able to join in with the Pokemon Go the rest of them played last night.  I tried it, and we had fun just hanging out.

Today I spent some quality time chatting with family.  Then I went to see the new Smurfs movie with my husband.  It was SMURFTASTIC!  So familiar, and positive, and full of all the Smurfy jokes and Smurf magic.

I worked on myself this weekend.  I recharged my batteries and am ready to take on the next week.  I will be working on the Spring Cleaning over the next weekend, and hopefully a little bit all week.  I know it will all add up and I will get there.  So no, I am not a fraud, by any standard.  I am a person that is a work in progress, and I am going to keep working until I accomplish my goals.

I Have Arrived

First Rejection Letter

First Rejection Letter

In the journey to becoming an author, there are many roadblocks along the way.  Inspiration or the Muse must be present to begin.  Time must be set aside each day to write and practice your craft.  There is a whole different world to enter when one wants to become a published author.  WIP means “Work In Progress”.  It is the current project that is being written.  A social media presence is a must to develop your target audience.  Writer’s Block is a fear that can strike at any time, and if it takes hold, can have disastrous effects on that WIP.

If an author survives all of these obstacles, the biggest hurdle of all looms in the distance. Submissions are needed to take the scariest step of all.  Submitting the WIP for publishing.

Self-publishing is an option.  Editing is a must.  Beta readers test read the WIP and hopefully provide constructive criticism and positive feedback.  Repeat as necessary. Query letters are sent to publishing companies.

Then the waiting begins.

The self-doubting during this time, which does not always have an exact deadline for a reply can be paralyzing.  The WIP is sent out to one or many different publishers, with excited anticipation.  As the days turn into weeks, which turn into months, the feeling changes.  The belief in the WIP can fade.  Negativity creeps into the picture and can cause the author to stop writing.  This is the hardest thing a writer has to face.

It happened to me.  I wrote a poem and submitted it to my writing group.  I have experienced new friendships, answers to many questions, and support in this group.  I continue to be a member of the Ninja Writers.  I found them on facebook, and I am now a card carrying member.  I am supporting a co-operative publication.  My submission did not make the first publication.

I got my first rejection letter.  It was not the result I wanted, but it is done.  As an author, it will not be my last.  As an author, I have arrived.

Was I disappointed?  Absolutely.  Did it break my desire to keep trying?  Not a chance.  My work is just beginning as an author. There will be times when I want to give up.  If I am going to succeed, I have to be able to keep trying.  Stubborn determination twisted with an immense amount of patience will help me to persevere and succeed.

I will be looking forward to receiving my first copy of the Ninja Writers Zine.  It is called The NW.  I am planning to read it from cover to cover, more than once, so that I can up my game for the next call for submissions.  More information about it can be found at their Patreon link:

The NW

If you are interested in becoming a part of the phenomenon known as the Ninja Writers, here is a link to their facebook page:

Ninja Writers Facebook Group

It is a closed group, but the creator of the Ninja Writers, Shaunta Grimes, has given me permission to share both of these links here.  She is a published author, and leading the Ninja Writers Revolution!  She has created so many useful tools and guides for up and coming authors like me.  Thanks for giving me a place to share, learn and improve upon my writing dreams, Shaunta!  Ninja Writers Rock!

Finally, I will link the poem that I have published in January here.  It was featured on this blog, and I am proud of it whether or not it shows up anywhere else.  This is what I submitted for The NW.

Give yourself a little Grace

I will continue sharpening my writing skills until the next call for submissions.

 

 

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 7

trust-your-gut

Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Home page for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

 

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

This week I am pleased to share another of my own stories.

Here is  Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 7

The importance of happiness is not something that should be ignored in dealing with weight issues.  If I am unhappy, I will eat my feelings, and not make healthy food choices.  When I am happy, I tend to be smarter and more conscious of what I am eating.  It is not always so straightforward, though.

Happiness is linked with positivity and optimism.  Energy is higher when I am happy. Happiness can, therefore, be linked with motivation.  When I have the motivation, nothing can stand in my way.  Except for dessert.  How do I stay motivated?  The first trick is to set reasonable goals.

I am not talking about the scale, although anyone that has weight issues has a love-hate relationship with the bathroom scale.  We love it when the number on the scale is favourable; we hate it when it is not.  It is best to not weigh yourself every day, but if the scale is right there, and you are just going to peek…that can be a depressing habit.  Because we all know that weight fluctuates.  If the scale shows a plateau or a change in the wrong direction, well there is a reason to just give up and go eat everything you want.  So if you avoid the scale completely, or weigh only once a week or once a month, it is sufficient, and the number on the scale does not become an unhealthy obsession.

I am talking about doing little things to make the journey worthwhile.  Allow yourself to buy something nice once in a while.  Not food.  That is not a productive treat unless is a healthy choice.  But you’re going to eat anyway, so food is not necessarily the correct reward for someone with weight issues.

A new tube of lipstick or a new nail polish is a way to treat yourself without worrying about size.  One size fits all gifts are perfect rewards for people like me because they do not have to be fit into.  It is great to find out that you are down a size when you need to go buy a new pair of jeans or a new dress, but it can be counter-productive because the size of clothing also impacts our self-image.  If it is a larger size or the same, it implies that what you are doing is not enough, and it can also make you want to stop trying.

Grab your favourite music and go for a walk.  Music makes me happy and motivates me.  I get so many more things accomplished when I listen to music.  Buy a new album and support your favourite artist.  If you listen to that album while exercising, you are benefiting from your treat, and it is helping you on your journey.  There are lots of ways to listen to your music now, but I still buy CDs from the bands I want to support.  I buy them at a live show if I can, they get a bigger slice of the pie that way.  Food analogy.  I can’t escape desserts no matter how hard I try.  There are no calories here, though.

Last Saturday I had an errand or two.  I wanted to get a clear plastic tablecloth. A protective cover for my pretty tablecloth and some new placemats.  I ‘ve purchased two new pieces of art (I found them at the dollar store a few months ago) for my kitchen, which I can hang up when I finish spring cleaning it.

I found the stainless steel straws I have been looking for,  (PLEASE IF YOU BUY THESE ONLY DRINK COLD BEVERAGES WITH THEM).  Hot drinks ingested quickly into the stomach…that can’t end well.  The straws would possibly increase that heat, and the only way I can think of treating a burn on the inside of your stomach is aloe vera juice.  I do not know if that would even work.

The reason I have been searching for the stainless steel straws was for a Trim Healthy Mama drink I make from the plan.  It calls for apple cider vinegar, which can be nasty to the enamel on your teeth.  It is good to help with weight loss.  So I am helping my weight loss, adding less waste to the environment by using straws that I can wash and use forever, and I am saving the enamel on my teeth.

I could not pass up the sale I found on coffee.  Keurig K-cups, 75% off.  That worked out to $3.00 a box.  I stocked up.  That is a treat for me that I can be happy about.  I drink 3 k-cups a day.  Black.  I am trying 3 new kinds of coffee, and if I don’t like it, I can give it to someone else and not feel like it was an expensive thing to give away.  I hope I like them because I plan to be drinking my bargain coffee for a while.

Soul food isn’t food.  It is what makes you feel good.  Music is my soul food.  I am glad I have it because it helps me snap out of a mood, and kick into high gear.  Which is what I need to continue on my not so straight and completely not narrow path.  Stop reaching for comfort food, and stock up on your soul food.  Find whatever makes you happy, and make it a part of your new routine.  Not your meal plan.

 

 

 

 

Weekend Warrior #6

weekend-warrior

Well, I decided it was time to give a progress report.  The tunes are cranked.  I am motivated.  So what did I get done?

I have decided to publish this first thing Saturday morning so I can keep the momentum going that I found last weekend.  I worked on my kitchen DURING THE WEEK!  I am really happy with my progress.

I moved the dish drainer out of the way to create a new Coffee Station.  I blogged about that on Monday, because I was so excited that I had to share what I did.  For a recap of that short story, here is a link: Coffee Station Complete!

I washed the curtains, and they are all hung back up.  I also had to flip the windowsill decorations to match the flip of the coffee station.  The curtain has to be at the opposite side of the window, which caused the rearrangement of the items.  I have put the dish drainer on the other side of the sink.  It is a better place because the dishes are on that side of the kitchen.  Most of them.  Then I continued to the last section of the countertop.  Breadbox, toaster and blender are shuffled.  The electric stand mixer is by the dish drainer now.  It meant I could tuck the toaster beside the breadbox, instead of it being in front of the breadbox like it was before.

Then I ran out of steam.  My husband helped during the week, which can help me to get going.  I have plans to start my day with paying it forward.  I am off to help another friend in the land of blogging and website design.  I will do what I can to help, and we will see how far we get.  The last friend I helped has 2 blog posts published and is still figuring it all out.  I plan to help her again when our schedules align, and also to share her blog in the future when it is developed further.  I am also planning to share blogs from others that I help, even if they do all the work and I just gave them ideas to run with.  There is at least one person I know that is doing this, and it is nice to see them happy about their progress.

After I finish helping my friend today, I am going to go back into my kitchen, and get the house bouncing again!  I need to keep the momentum going so that I CAN finish, otherwise I will NEVER finish, and that is just not acceptable to me.  I need to do this cleaning challenge, more than ever!  I need to prepare my home for neglect while I am writing.  I know, it will still need maintenance cleaning, and I shall be looking into that when I am at that stage.  For now, I will leave you knowing I am fighting through the procrastination and laziness, doing good in the world by helping friends, and getting my kitchen ready for spring, with a promise of more pictures as I complete different areas.

I am rethinking storage in my kitchen.  I sense more reorganization in my future of 4 areas.  I have very little room for storage, so I have to plan any changes in detail before tacki\ling them because any changes are critical, and need to improve on how things are now, rather than just add more confusion and not maximize the storage space that I have available.  I am preparing to take this project on this weekend.

Have a productive Saturday!  Who knows, maybe that next Weekend Warrior will be tomorrow’s story, with those pics I am preparing to share.

The Little Blog That Could!

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The Little Blog That Could!

This adventure is growing.  One like at a time.  One laugh at a time.  One follower at a time.  One share at a time. Most importantly, one story at a time.  It has given life to an imagination.  It is a small obsession, reaching beyond what it was supposed to be.  It is gaining momentum.  Every time inspiration strikes, so do the strokes on the keyboard.  Is it going to change the world at large? Maybe.  Is it going to change my life?  It already has.

Something is happening to me.  I am gaining confidence in my abilities.  I am pushing myself to write several times a week, and I am following through with the schedule that is developing as I write.  I am watching the stats, and grinning while shaking my head at them.  They tell me that I have reached an audience in 30 different countries.  I have had more than 100 likes on this Blog, as a whole.  Most of them are from people I do not know personally.  To anyone that has looked at this blog, read any of my stories, liked, shared, commented or followed, I want to personally thank you.  It humbles me to realize that people take the time to do this, even if it is just for the few minutes they take to read what is on my mind.   I am finishing month five today.  I have been consistent and persistent.  It takes dedication.

I am having fun.  I found my passion,  I really believe it.  I want to write and share the things that matter to me here.  I want to expand my horizons, and get those books published.  I am also sharing how I am trying to live a healthier lifestyle, and how my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions are progressing.  I am writing about things that matter in my world, and from the support I see in the stats, these things matter to more people than just me.

It was a steep learning curve for me to take a run at when I started.  For me, HTML was a thing that popped up by accident on my computer when I was surfing.  Literally.  There I was, Facebooking away when suddenly, there was a box of text that appeared on top of my facebook pages.  Thank goodness I found the corner with the “X” to close it when it happened.  Which was more frequently than I want to remember.  It still scares me, when it is just there because I don’t really know what it does, or why it jumps out at me.  But I have used HTML in setting up this blog, and I would not call myself an expert in any way shape, or form, I can now say that I have used it, and that is something I wasn’t able to say six months ago.

Constructive criticism helped me to develop the page you see today.  I didn’t know anything about colour palettes for websites or branding myself as an author.  I have a long way to go yet, and lots to learn, but if it keeps being this much fun, I see me working on it for the rest of my life.  I have always had a vivid imagination and a creative artist inside of me.  When I work with beads, and I create something that is mine from concept to finished product, I get this feeling.  There is pride, but it is more than that.  It is excitement and that thing that everyone says you should base your career choices on.  That thing is passion.  I feel it even more strongly when I am writing, reading, editing, and previewing every story that I publish on this blog.  It is infectious.  It is contagious.  And it is bubbling out in every direction!

I am happier.  I am doing better at my day job.  People can see the difference in me.  I am feeling the spark of inspiration all around me, and I am fueling it with all of the creativity and optimism I can get my hands on.  I am able to process things in my everyday life, even things that I am not writing about, in a different way.  I got my optimism back.  It was missing for quite some time, but I have hope again.  I have always had faith and a belief that things would work out even when times are tough.  Now that I am working on this blog, and making plans for my future as an author, I am making one of my dreams come true.  Because I am making it happen, I KNOW that things will be better in my future.  It is up to me, and I am taking control of the next chapter in my own life.

I am a blogger, hear me type!

 

The Big 50

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When I press the publish button, this becomes my 50th blog on this website.  I give myself a gold star!  I had no idea back in November when I decided that I wanted to get my lyrics out for exposure to a possible collaboration, that I would be writing this today.  I didn’t even know I wanted to start a blog.  But here I am.

What have I learned so far?  I still love creative writing.  Whether it is about serious topics, made up things called Tish-isms, Zumba classes, or me vs the weekend, I am really enjoying this blogging thing.  I like sharing my thoughts here, and since I am Always Thinking…they will continue to accumulate.  I hope I never need a shovel for them because the snow in New Brunswick has that covered.

While I am not a fan of numbers, I have started following the stats for this project.  I am somewhat speechless at times when I am reviewing the results.  It is growing, slow but steady, in the right direction.  The likes and comments I have been getting are very encouraging, also.  This has been a positive experience.

I have written a poem, as one entry.  The lyrics page has 20 songs on it, two of which I have written this month.  They do not count as separate blog posts, they are not in the 50 count on the blog itself, but they are here also.  Since a few of the 50 are shared from another blog source, they balance that out a bit.  I can’t write this without remembering I wrote my first guest blog that was shared on another person’s website.  I never even dreamed that I would write from my heart, and that other people would read it, like what I wrote, and tell me they want to read more.  How great is that?

In the blogging world, I am finding my way.  If you are reading this, thank you for doing so.  If you are following my blog, I am following yours too.  If you have seen the tweets and facebook page, you are getting a little more of me through those different locations.  I have one story on Medium, and that is just for fun.  I hope to write more like that, and I will likely share between this blog and my medium account as I expand it.

I hope to keep growing the blog as I prepare to write my books.  I am definitely having a lot of fun, and this is good.  As long as it continues to be fun, I will keep writing.  I am certain that I will have slow times of dealing with life in the real world or the dreaded writer’s block.  It is a challenge I will have to face when that time comes.  Until then, I will keep up the positive stories, and expanding my horizons.

Thanks for reading.

Tish MacWebber

Always Thinking…

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Trust Your Gut: Bonnie’s Story

trust-your-gut

Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Home page for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

 

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

This week I am pleased to share the story of another friend.  It is written in her own words, and she submitted it earlier this week with her permission to share it as a part of the series.

Here is  Trust Your Gut: Bonnie’s Story

 

My story begins all the way back to when I was five years old. I was always small for my age until then, when my parents got divorced. All of the changes and upheaval that happens with that sort of thing, is what seems to have contributed to me eating more and gaining weight. Still, I was only chubby as a child. I wasn’t truly overweight until my preteens. I believe I was about ten years old when I realized that I was bigger than most of the kids my age, but other than some minor teasing from other kids that usually went over my head anyway, I did not feel bad about it. At age twelve, I weighed 180 pounds and that’s the age that I really started noticing how heavy I was and feeling body conscious.

I never did anything about it at that age though, except maybe some walking for exercise. Other than that, I did a lot of wishing and dreaming that I would just wake up skinny one day and everyone would like me because I wasn’t a big girl anymore. I remember feeling bad about being overweight, not being able to wear the types of clothes my friends were wearing, and receiving some teasing or comments here and there.

When I was sixteen, my mom and I joined a women’s gym together. There I learned about exercise and how beneficial, as well as fun, it could be. The first workout left me so sore I could barely move and I didn’t want to go back, it hurt so much. However, I did go back a few days later and started to realize a love for exercise I never knew I could have! The trainers there, one I’m still in touch with to this day, were so kind and really involved. They provided me with so much quality guidance that I really needed. Due to a move across town, making the trip to the gym too far for me to go, I stopped going once our one year was up there and turned to walking more for exercise. Slowly the weight I had lost from exercising at that gym for a year crept back on.

Another few years went by where I tried various things but never stuck with anything consistently, until 2009, when I was twenty. I started a weight loss journey by cutting back my calories significantly, exercising five or six days a week, and drinking Slim-Fast and changing my eating habits to include more vegetables and fruits. Soon I joined the SparkPeople website where I received support, information, and resources I needed to keep losing weight. I lost over 75 pounds during the seven months I was on there and actively working to lose weight. Right around my twenty-first birthday though, I ended up suffering from gallstones and pancreatitis, spending a whole week in the hospital and having my gallbladder removed. After that and some dramatic changes in my life that happened directly afterwards, I pretty much gave up on losing weight. I mean I tried, but my heart wasn’t in it anymore and I wasn’t consistently working on it any longer.

The next few years after that I continued to try to lose weight at different points, but it never lasted and I never stuck with it long enough to make a significant difference. Finally in May 2014, I started my final and last weight loss journey. This was it! I was going to lose the weight and keep it off! I had gained all of the weight I had lost in 2009 and then some, as it often goes. I was a whopping 309 pounds at this point, when I had sworn I would never get over three hundred pounds! I was shocked and appalled, and I knew I had no choice but to make changes so I could lose that weight. By August of 2015, I was in what is often referred to as “onederland,” finally breaking into the 190’s. It took quite a while after that to get into the 180’s, but my lowest weight was 181 in April 2016.

Enter this past summer that brought issues with my grandparents and their health, a big cross country move, having to leave behind my siblings and their kids when my parents and I moved, and so much more, I just let things go. I had just completed my first ever half marathon in May of last year, which was one of the most rewarding and invigorating experiences of my life. It was so much fun that I’m doing the same half marathon again this May. After the half marathon, the summer was full of all of these huge, and very stressful, events that kept the next few months super stressful and overwhelming. I started gaining weight back because I just felt too overwhelmed to devote the attention and dedication to my nutrition that I had before.

Even with the weight gain, I am still 60+ pounds down from my highest weight, but it has been a huge struggle to get back on track and the weight has kept creeping on due to my struggles. I know I can do it, as I proved it to be the case before, but it seems harder. I lost that momentum, I stopped being consistent, and I guess I gave up. However, I still had a huge passion to help others, and had restarted a blog for the purpose of helping other women find a way to not only lose weight, but believe in themselves, find their inner strength, and practice self-love. Still, at some points in the past few months, I have felt like a fraud because I had been struggling so much. It is all a part of my journey, so even though it felt horrible and disappointing all the same, it has been a learning experience and has made me stronger!

A positive thing that has come out of my struggles is that a little over a month ago, I made the decision to join Beachbody as a coach. Using the container system, Shakeology, and workouts they have in their programs is truly making a huge difference for me both physically and mentally. That doesn’t mean that it is easy or that the changes are instantaneous, and I am still slowly getting my nutrition back in check in addition to working out more consistently again. I am also drinking Shakeology everyday and noticing how much it makes a difference in my energy levels. I never realized how beneficial it could be! Besides that, I also have a huge support system with the coaches that are part of the team of the coach I signed up with. As a friend, she is someone I trust, feel comfortable talking to, and know she will help me the best way she can which is a huge deal to me and made the decision that much easier!

I have complete faith that I will lose the weight I’ve regained. I felt so skinny at 180-190 pounds, even though I still wanted to lose 30 more pounds. Now I glance at pictures from that low weight and wish I could be that small again. However, I can’t live in the past and I can’t beat myself up anymore. I am ready to continue moving forward, working on improving my healthy lifestyle, and helping other people do the same thing in their lives. The greatest reward for me is to help others realize how they can really live the life they dream of living, whether it be to lose weight, go after their dream career, or whatever else represents happiness and success in their lives. On SparkPeople, helping others and providing feedback was more than just helping them. It helped me to stay on track too!

Bonnie McConaughy is the owner and founder of Inspire the Best You (www.inspirethebestyou.com), where she writes about healthy living and personal growth, and provides health and wellness coaching. She is also a freelance and ghostwriter (www.bonwriterfreelance.biz).

Thank you to Bonnie for sharing your story.  You have inspired me to try harder, because like you, I know I can do this, I just have to stick with it.  Although we are travelling on different paths, there are some similarities in our journeys.  Keep working on your goals, and you will achieve them, I know it!  Something that resonates with me after reading is that you are not alone, you have a support system, and you are building your own skills to help others.  This is really a great thing,  to take what you have learned to help you guide others in their journies.  I wish you all the best, and have faith that you are going to be a success.

Honouring Lost Friends, and Making New Ones

 

Honouring Lost Friends and Making New Ones

Tish MacWebber

Not that long ago, I wrote about Dealing With Unexpected Grief.  I have lost two friends since I moved to Fredericton, and I had met them both after moving here.  One of those friends died almost a year ago.  She came to mind suddenly when I found out that a band we had seen live together the last time they were in town, was going to be putting on another show here.  I had a bit of a moment when I had a flashback to that show, and I decided to write the story I linked above.

I shared the ad for the show on my wall and asked in my comments if anyone was interested in checking them out with me.  Because of the unexpected grief, I felt I didn’t want to go by myself, in case I got too melancholy.  My friend Kathy asked me to share some of their youtube videos with her, and she decided to join me.  I was so relieved to have a friend with me, it was a show I did not want to attend alone.

 

I found out while I was getting ready to go out that the opening act was a local band, Kill Chicago.  So I jumped on Spotify and had a listen.  I liked what I heard.  So I spent a few minutes online while eating supper and saw a twitter contest for a free vinyl from Kill Chicago for the first person to tweet back.  I tweeted and was told to introduce myself and they would hook me up with a prize.  I chose a CD because I do not have a record player, and while a record is a cool prize, I am practical.

 

Kill Chicago

Kill Chicago

We arrived while they were on stage, and had to stand back a bit.  It is a narrow, long bar, and it was packed!  This made me really happy because I had seen the other band, The Stanfields play here before; in fact, this is the band I was referring to seeing with my friend before she passed away.  It was the biggest crowd I had seen show up for them, (with the exception of the night they played at The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival). I am sure Kill Chicago fans were also contributing to the turnout, but I was really pleased to see the size of the crowd that came to the live show.

During the Kill Chicago set, Kathy made a friend.  There was a woman there with a really cute purse, and boots with bling, sitting nearby.  Kathy said hi, and admired the purse.  It had a Union Jack on it and was made of canvas.  The lady said she loved it because she could throw it in the washing machine, and wanted us to feel the fabric.  My eyes saw the purse but LOVED the boots!  Tan coloured with sparkles all over them.  I would SO wear those boots. Kathy is going to try and have a friend find her that purse, which the lady bought in Freeport, USA.

I happened to see Jon Landry, before the show and said hello.  He was getting ready so sing in the next set, so I didn’t bother him too much.  I think I introduced Kathy, but I can’t remember.  I almost didn’t recognize him, it had been a few years since I saw him at the last live show I went to.

When I saw Jason MacIsaac, I said hello, introduced Kathy, and shared an awkward hug in greeting with Jason.  It would have been funny to watch, it was kind of like a do si do happened before we managed a friendly hug.  He is also in The Stanfields.   When we were growing up in Cape Breton, we used to ride the bus together to and from school.  We had a nice chat while Kill Chicago was rocking out on stage.  We were far enough back, at that point, that it was a little hard to hear at times, but we talked for a good little while.

When he came in from the cold, he couldn’t see very well.  It happens when you have glasses, they fog up.  Kathy then told us that she has a tip for that.  She told us that if you walk into a room backwards, after being out in the cold, and you give a few extra seconds before you turn around, your glasses won’t fog up.  She says it works.  I have not tried it myself yet.  When I do, I will leave a comment below on how well it works.

 

The Stanfields

The Stanfields

 

Kill Chicago finished their set, and The Stanfields had to get ready to take the stage.  I wished Jason luck for a good show and decided to head over to the merchandise table to wait for my free cd.  I had money out just in case, but I was told that it was a gift for replying to the twitter contest, and I could have it.  How awesome is that?  I then asked if the band could sign the cd for me, and most of them signed it.  We decided that this location had a better vantage point, and stayed by the table for the rest of the show. ( No Grammarly, we were not “on” the table, but beside it. LOL)

Kathy and I had a conversation earlier in the night about the heights of different people in the room.  She was feeling tall because most of the people she spends her time with are also tall, so she was realizing why people like myself think that she is tall.  I am not so lucky.  It amused me later on when a kind gentleman who was towering over everyone asked me if he was in my way.  I laughed it off, and told him, no he was fine, because really if it wasn’t him there I would have to look around other people.  It was a nice of him to ask, though.

I was approached by a different man who wanted to know if I knew the band.   I told him I did, and he asked me if I had known John Walter.  It took me a minute to place the name.  I told him I had seen him at other shows, but didn’t know him really well.  I remember the day I asked Jason what had happened.  John was a good friend to the band and was at a fair number of their shows.  He was the lead actor in their first video, The Dirtiest Drunk In The History of Liquor.  One day in November 2015, John hit a patch of black ice with his car.  He died, and I remember that it was a shock to a lot of people that knew him.  Losing a friend is a hard thing to deal with.

The young man introduced himself as Thomas.  He was looking for a safe place to stash the winter coats.  Kathy & I had put ours on the floor by the table, and so I pointed to the floor.  Thomas laughed and said, “I have never seen a finer corner to put my jacket in.” A coat check would have made money that night, for sure.  He asked if he could buy me a drink, in honour of his friend.  I accepted the offer, and he came back with a glass of draft for me.  By the time he was back, I had put two and two together, and I told him the story of missing my friend that night also.  Another friendly hug happened, the side by side kind of a hug.  (You would think I was a huggy type of person, but I’m not most of the time).  The drinks probably made me a little less worried about hugging people.  I had a few in me at that point.  He introduced me to his girlfriend.  I *think* her name was Ashley, but I am not 100% certain.  He told me they were both there to honour their friend’s memory because he was a good friend to them both, and he was with them the night they became a couple. When we were done chatting, they asked me to join them on the dance floor.  I declined, it was a little too crowded there, and I was happy in my little space by the table.  I was able to dance a little and clap and sing with the band from right where we were.

When I reflected for a moment, I do think my friend was there in spirit with me.  I say this because when we attended the show together, there was not a crowd like this time, and we did watch from the sidelines a bit before hitting the dance floor together.  It reminded me of that and thinking that she had cleared a special place from the cosmos to allow me to have a good vantage point for the show with Kathy, made me smile.

The Stanfields had one encore.  Part of it was a favourite from their self-titled debut album, Crocodile Tears. It is quite the memorable tune, and those of us that have been fans since the beginning, know all the words and sang along.  We got our coats, and I had paid Jason earlier for the new CD and DVD I wanted.  They are going to be recording a new album soon. I can’t wait to hear what they do next!   I guess it was the night of the one missing band member because I am missing one signature on the cd I bought from them too.  I’ll try to remember to bring it with me for the next show.

 

 

Kill Chicago and The Stanfields Merchandise

Swag and Merchandise I took home from the show.  Whenever I get a chance, I do like to support local talent and buy directly from the bands.  They get a little more money in their pocket that way, and I am an artist who understands that this is how you keep the bands making more music, by supporting them at live shows.

 

In summary, it was a great experience.  I always have fun when I go to see The Stanfields, and now I will try to make it out to go to see Kill Chicago when I can.  I had recognized a local celebrity at the show, a radio personality,  and we talked briefly while there.  The next day we carried on a facebook chat about the show, and he enjoyed the show,  as a fan as well.   I am glad I was able to be there.  I am also glad Kathy came with me, she is an awesome friend that I don’t get to hang out with as much as I’d like to.  Make time to do things with your friends while they are here so that you can honour them after they are gone.  Then you will have memories to smile about, and stories to share.

Thanks to Kill Chicago and The Stanfields for a fun and memorable live show.

 

It was dark when I got up before…

it-was-dark-when-i-got-up-before

…and made my way to my desk.  As a writer, you learn very quickly that when you wake up in the middle of the night and an idea is floating around in your head, it is best to write it down somewhere before it drifts off into the darkness.  It can take many forms, a dream, a nightmare, a whisper in your ear, and sometimes it could be a word or a sentence forming a complete thought.

I have learned, through my songwriting, that an idea MUST be written down the minute it happens, because the second you forget it, there is no rewind button to find it again.  So I had an idea in the middle of the night, and I came into the living room to write it down.  I have a lamp at my desk, and it is easy enough to do.  I find I sleep better after I write it down, as it won’t be lost when I need to work on it.  This is also true because I don’t fall asleep trying to memorize what I don’t want to forget.

Sometimes a good dream can make an incredible story, or a joke.  For example, I shared this story in October before I had this blog set up, before I had even thought of starting it.

So this morning, my husband tells me a story that woke me up and made me laugh. It was about a lizard named Guano. Apparently, this lizard was bad news. He said he lit granny’s chair on fire, and she was still sitting in it, and he didn’t know whose grandmother it was. Then he commented to a guy; as he saw it looking at him with one of its googly eyes as it was riding down the street on a Harley, that he didn’t know lizards drank Jack Daniels. The guy replied, ” Happens in Montreal all the time.” (We don’t live in Montreal).  Finally, he then asked why the lizard is named Guano, because he obviously is not an Iguana. The guy answered with…wait for it…”We call him Guano because he’s bat shit crazy, man!” And that, folks, is why you should write down your dreams, because sometimes, there is a good story in there, or in this case, a great punch line! It was my husband’s dream, and it was very entertaining!

If I hadn’t written it down the same day it happened, it would have been lost.  A story like that is begging to be shared.  So,  when I have an idea at work, I e-mail it to my personal  e-mail at home, to be waiting for me.  When I have an idea in the middle of the night, I make my way to a pen and paper and write it down.  It is where the song Lucky came from.  We woke up in the middle of the night to a beeping noise.  The battery on our smoke detector was losing its juice, so it started beeping at us to change it.  In the middle of the night, of course.  The first line of the song started in my head, and within a few minutes, I had written the whole song.

If you are a creative person, or if you have a problem in your life that you just can’t figure out, I have two pieces of advice for you:

1) Sleep on it.

2) When an idea strikes, no matter where it comes from, write it down!

You will thank yourself for following these two simple steps, I guarantee it!

The Story of Tish MacWebber

Once upon a time a man was introduced to his granddaughter, Patricia MacLellan.  When he met her, he called her Tish.  It stuck.  Tish MacLellan grew up in Cape Breton, in a house that used to be a church, on the world famous Cabot Trail.  She spent her summers at local beaches and at a place she calls The Cabin.  She learned to swim, and spent a lot of time rock hopping along the shores and coastlines of Cape Breton Island.  She had a wild imagination, and dreamed of owning a horse someday.  She still has her walkman with the best mixed tape ever, and it still works, even after putting all of those years and miles on it.

She loved to read, and began writing.  Creative writing is one of many hobbies that she spent her spare time on.  She kept a diary and when she got older, she called it a journal.  She enjoyed cross stitching and embroidery.  She learned to knit and to crochet.  In high school, she wrote her first song.

Her love for animals made her decide to take a pre-vet program at NSAC.  She was ill during her first year, and this delayed her completion of her B.Sc in Agriculture, majoring in Animal Science.  While studying at NSAC, she met her future husband, Roy Webber.  They dated, fell madly in love, and made it official with a wedding.  The same day they got married, there was a hurricane.  It was all very memorable, and all who attended the celebration of their marriage had a wonderful time, despite the weather.

Before the wedding happened, Tish was thinking about the name she wanted after she married Roy.  She thought it would be a fun thing to create a new last name, and they could both become the first MacWebber Clan.  Roy did not agree to this idea, and did not want to make any changes to his last name.  Not even when Tish told him that she would create a brand new tartan for the new name.  Tish decided to go the traditional route and take his last name, and legally became Patricia Webber.  It didn’t take her long to adapt to her new name.

They moved around the Maritimes so much, that Roy’s family joked about them being gypsies.  After living all over Nova Scotia, they moved to New Brunswick, shortly after a brief time living in Prince Edward Island.  In Fredericton, New Brunswick,  they made new friends, had roommates, and eventually bought their own mini home.  They had cats constantly as pets for many years.  After living in apartments for the majority of the years they were together, Tish decided that it was time, now that they have a home of their own, to get a dog.  She  looks forward to that.  She still has no horse of her own, yet, the baby barn is not quite big enough for a horse.

When Tish decided one day that it was time to take a chance and share her songwriting with the world, she thought about creating a blog.  Little did she know that it would build itself into a bigger project than she had imagined.  She had also always wanted to write a fantasy trilogy, being a fan of reading them, herself.  She asked her friends online what the best options were, and decided to go with a Blog page here, on WordPress.  Then another new friend stepped up and made her think beyond the surface of what she was building.  She revisited an old idea of hers to write her novels under a pen name, and she remembered wanting to become the first MacWebber.  So, there it was.  Tish MacWebber became her pen name.

Her beginner attempts at creating a blog page were good, but they weren’t great.  So she asked again for help, and her new friends helped her some more.  One of them took her page and changed it, and this was her new and improved starting point.  Tish absorbed all the information this friend had shared with her, and thought long and hard about the next steps.   She is very grateful for all of the help her new friends have given her, and she plans to return the favour, even if it is just by paying it forward.  When she asked about her colours, branding and logo, people liked it for different things, but it wasn’t what she needed it to be.  She kept thinking.  After about three weeks of mulling it over in her mind, things clicked into place, simultaneously.

She searched through hundreds of colour palettes, picking her favourites.  She found one that she kept referring back to, and decided that it was the one she would choose.  Then she made a tartan design.  She got her friends and family to give opinions on her progress as she tried to put the pieces all together.  Her father told her that a circle would not be wrong on a tartan, rather that it would be the french connection.  Her mother is french, so it fit.  The motto for Clan MacLellan is, “Think On.”  Her logo was developed with the phrase “Always Thinking…” because she is a dreamer that does think a lot; but also to honour her ancestors.  Her cousin helped her pick the final design, and through their online chat the “…” was added to the logo.  So that explains the colour, logo, and the circle.  But the circle is made up of diamonds.  The diamonds symbolize the marriage of all these things together, and connects all of the dots.

Tish does tend to overthink things at times.  However, when she does this in terms of being creative, and it works, it makes her feel amazing.  Being creative is her passion.   She is going to share it with the world, and see how far it will take her.