By: Lee-Ann Cudmore, Registered Acupuncturist
*This article was published in the September 9, 2016 addition of the Grapevine
Yesterday we met the Beatles. Not the actual, legendary group, but our own personal version of the Beatles. Most people have that one band – a band that has become the soundtrack to life – for us it is Wintersleep. Memories come back when I hear their albums; my little boy twirling around in the basement singing their songs, a winter spent painting by the fire, my husband playing guitar. As new parents when we were trapped in the house weekend after weekend, we would grab a couple of beers and watch their concerts in the basement on YouTube. They have been our caffeine at times when there was nothing left in the tank, and they have bought us one more hour of sanity, tunes cranked, keeping everyone happy on long road trips.
The problem is the Beatles are supposed to be like the Yeti or Loch Ness – maybe out there wandering around but not accessible, and maybe not even real. It has always been a point of contention, because our six degrees of separation with Wintersleep is really only one degree. You must know what I am talking about – the theory that any two people in the world “can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries”. Both my sisters are friends with guys in the band. We are too closely connected to this band to be completely geeking out about seeing them. After all, I hear that they are just normal dudes who grew up in Nova Scotia and who’ve “made it”. Our Beatles are just normal down to earth Maritimers. When you meet the Beatles – be cool. Impossible.
We arrive at the TD Jazz and Blues festival in Charlottetown. I am wearing my “rocker outfit”: jeans, Blundstone boots, black leather jacket. Parker is wearing jeans, a faux flannel button-up work shirt, and his running sneakers. I say nothing about the white and bright yellow-laced runners that he is wearing as we leave the house, because I am trying not to micromanage his style and sometimes he wears his orthotics in them. We are much closer to 40 now than 20; giddy, sober adults among the hipsters and the rockers of PEI. We pay $6 each for cans of Alpine. The opening band, Andrew Waite and the Firm, play a great show. The crowd was polite but quiet. Wintersleep takes the stage and we go straight to the front. We can see everything and everyone on stage. Everything they play, the crowd goes wild for. They treat us to music from all six albums. As people maneuver through the crowd to the front, you can see the excitement on their faces and there is shoulder-patting, high-fives, and loads of smiles as people get to see their favourite band playing live. It was a great atmosphere and there is nothing like being in a crowd listening to live music. Music can bring people together; it can unite and inspire. It can be a catalyst for change. It can be a form of self-care or self-expression. It can be an outlet for stress. It teaches you that you are not alone.
Today, in preparation for our son’s seventh birthday, he picked out his first guitar – a junior-sized acoustic. He wanted one that “looked just like Daddy’s”. They played their matching guitars in the living room at the cottage for the first time, a boy and his Dad.
To the musicians out there, thank you for your gift. Whether you are a normal dude (ette) or a Yeti, somewhere out there, you are helping someone. It may be just your proud Mama, a handful of local fans, or maybe your gift will reach millions and span generations. Keep at it. Even if the music is just for you, keep playing. And fans, get out there. Buy the music, catch a show, buy the merchandise. Support your kids who want to play drums in the basement. Get back to listening to the music that made you feel alive.
Wintersleep: guys thank you! Thank you for pushing through, touring, and creating. Thank you for the sacrifice it takes to be a musician. The things and people that you miss and the gruelling schedule are things we fans sometimes forget about. Thank you for inspiring little ones to rock out, and old ones to pick up a guitar again. Your music does more for people than you will ever know. Thanks for chatting after the show.
When you meet the Beatles – be cool. Impossible.
By: Lee-Ann Cudmore Registered Acupuncturist | Call/text 902-300-5100 | valleyacu.ca
*This article was published in the Grapevine, October 6, 2016
My friends, this is not an express route, there will be stops along the way – probably a few stops that you may not want to make. Life is a ride, or maybe a highway, but remember, this is not a solo trip. We are in this together. I have gotten to an age and stage where, at any given time, there are several people in my life that are dealing with traumas. This may be due to the sheer volume of people that you acquire in your life by your mid-thirties, or it may be the interconnectedness of our lives online. We are sharing intimate personal struggles like never before, and I believe that this can be good. In our home, we are blessed to have a solid network of support, and we reciprocate. It is a two way street of support. Build yourself a safety net and when the time comes know that it is there.
Many years ago now, Parker and I spent a summer in Ireland. It was a beautiful adventure, cut short by illness and a seven day hospital stay for him. After getting out of the hospital we felt we needed to cut the trip short and just get home, and so we did. We booked the only ticket that we could, which was a flight from Dublin, to London, then London to New York. We were one step closer at that point, and at least on the right side of the ocean. We boarded a bus from New York City to Boston and then another from Boston to Bar Harbor, Maine. Then onto the ferry, which took us to Nova Scotia. The last leg of the trip was the toughest. It was back in the days of the Acadian Lines Bus and we took the ride from Yarmouth to every-little-town-along-the-way, until we arrived in Wolfville. It was not the most direct route to get home, and I wouldn’t recommend travelling that way, but we kept saying to each other “We’re going in the right direction”.
Friends, sometimes all you can do is get your bearings and point yourself in the right direction. Caregivers, friends, and family all you have to do is be there. Be there in whatever way you can. This is not a solo trip. You are not alone.
By: Lee-Ann Cudmore, Registered Acupuncturist
Call/text: 902-300-5100, valleyacu.ca
*This article was published in the Grapevine, Dec 15 2016
This holiday season I want to give you permission to give yourself, the gift of “No”. Just think that one over for a few minutes. Right now I am flying somewhere between Philadelphia and New York, for work, and writing this article. The idea has been brewing in my mind for quite a while and I am excited to start the conversation. It needs to be said out loud because people are admitting it in whispers, but the signs are there written on faces; that awful struggle to have it all, do it all, provide it all. Friends, it is OK to say no. It is time to stop wearing the idea of “busy” like it is a badge of honour. Let’s call it what it is, burn-out.
The other night I tried a new recipe, Guinness Braised Beef. Delicious. I am not a foodie or a cook. In all honesty, it is something Parker, my husband really excels at. I, on the other hand, can make a great soup, or a roasted chicken and salad, that is about the scope of my ability. So anyway, “Guinness Meat” as my kids called it, required some new skills. First off, I had to look up “Dutch Oven”, which I was slightly scared to put into Google. It said on Wikipedia that it translated into “casserole dish”. So I placed my Paderno roasting dish on the burner, popped in several teaspoons of butter, and then the chunks of beef. At the point where it was starting to smell quite good, it all went wrong. There was a cracking sound followed quickly by flames. Now I’ve had flames before, but these were serious, catch-your-kitchen-on-fire flames. I grabbed the fire extinguisher and Parker had the dish covered and controlled just before I let the fire extinguisher rip. A second attempt with a deep frying pan, made a delicious Instagram worthy meal.
Where I’m going with this is two-fold: when life throws you a curve ball or a full throttle flaming crisis, know where your fire extinguisher is and also have an exit plan. Metaphorically, and literally how will you get out of the burning kitchen? Know who you will contact: a friend/partner/parent that you can count on, to throw the lid onto your dish. It also helps if you have someone to keep you in check, someone that will let you know that you are approaching kitchen-fire status.
We, collectively as a family have been approaching burn-out over the last year. There has been too much: too much rushing, too much go-go-go. So we have adopted the word “no”. No commitments, no schedule, no nothing, especially on the weekends. It is liberating and wonderful. Work and school is busy. But life is not. We have chosen this for ourselves and our children. We have leisurely breakfasts on the weekends, coffee by the fire, picnics in the tree house, and the kids play – play uninterrupted with their toys, they have long baths, they jam in the music room, they play outdoors. “No” was the best and healthiest decision we could have made for our family. Amid a pretty rough year, I am feeling more settled, happy, and organized. I am saying “no”, so that I can say “yes” to my family.
Give yourself permission to say “no” when you need to. It is OK to have a week, a month, or a year to let everything else just wait, and when you are ready, say “yes” again.
This article is not a fire safety piece. For more information on Fire Safety please refer to your local fire department or a reputable website: