Leslie Nuss



the week in review


Listening to a podcast at the moment with Paul Epworth about working in the studio. It's interesting, and always good to hear from someone who is successful in whatever field you're interested in. Put it on pause for the moment.

Was painting earlier, started a self-portrait. It started out great, I painted myself as I am today and have on a small scarf, but took a break from that, too, as it's a large canvas and I remembered the blog!

So, last weekend's shows went really well. Playing with Bill and Andrew was nice and I mentioned wanting a hand massage and afterwards a man told me he almost volunteered! So maybe next time I will actually ask for a volunteer. Some songs give me a lot of cramping and we played a cover of a Siouxie and the Banshees song--so beautiful. I might record it on the 4th ep as that thing seems to be a mess and may be better off starting over. 

Then, the show Saturday was just me, and some different songs and more intimacy/talking which was nice, too. I actually realized that I love playing at this market (and would do others) because i'm such a maker myself and definitely appreciate all the people there, and then it reminded me of more like an ancient thing-a market, not a store. I mean, markets go on all the time, but the concept is so old. It's gotta be hardwired into our DNA at this point.

One time when I did some shows in London, I did two shows at two venues in the same evening, but other than that I can't think of me actually doing back to back shows. Now I need to do 3 in a row, right? #goals

This week I started piano lessons with a local legend, "Waz" something I really wanted to do. I see the piano as sort of like tall grass, and I'm just playing around in it. I don't really know what I'm doing yet, and I like that it's kind of wild, but I suppose it will get clearer and clearer. It's another way to communicate and I am curious to see and hear what I come up with once I know a little bit more. I'd really love to create some "pieces" that have several parts-I don't even care if they have lyrics/melody. 

Waz also tuned the other piano I have, but it's a bit of a mess in that the keys "click" and Waz was so nice and understanding and not upset when I was lamenting this latest (I fear) fiasco. But, he's been thinking about what might be wrong and how to fix it. We do have a lovely piano in the dining room, but it's nice to have one in my studio, too.

I worked on a tote for my Spring collection. It would be amazing to think that I was going to make, like 50, but for now my #goal is 4. I got out my straw hats to sew the suede binding on, cut it all out, now need to finish the leather and then execute. 

Then, ok, I suppose this is exciting news. I got the 4 songs mixed! They are just awaiting the a-ok from my mentor and then...on to mastering! Now, i still need to finish the liner notes, so that's a bit of a pain, not sure why as I've done it 4 times before, but this time I don't really want to do them. Minimalism. Anyway, I really need to make that a priority. Luckily, I have the illustrator who is shepherding this project, so that's very helpful. But the songs do sound great. And onward to #2. 

In other news, I think I can finally throw clay on the wheel. Tbh, I was finding that very difficult and so many of my forms collapsed-very frustrating. Then, I just tried "one more time" and I think I got it. And made a bunch of (small) bowls yesterday. Plus, I got back the palo santo incense holders I made and the one shape I do really like, but it needs a more hip--no, scratch that, next time I won't put on "feet" and just have it be flat on the bottom. Palo Santo wood needs a special holder, so this was something needed. Ok, I just lit a piece and put it in the holder. Yea!

I called my painting mentor today just to thank him for his encouragement and suggestions and turns out he is in rehab after having his gall bladder out. (he's 90). But it was so nice to talk to him. He said that in January when he came to my studio, 

better stop. my down syndrome mentor (she's 87) is here.


show tonight


Well, was going to get this done earlier, but my daughter needed lunch money and we took a detour to an estate sale where I got a super fun pair of sneaker roller-skates for $1 and we got a painting by a local artist Jan Sullivan-giant canvas-for $60 (sort of a crime that it was so cheap). 

Then, worked on outfit/dress and voice warm up and run through the set-why did I pick these songs? is that goes through my mind. The idea was to slow things down, play slowly, as I think we all need to chill. So that part's good, but we, I say we in this instance to refer to my co-conspirators, Andrew Bray on keyboards and Bill Romer on drums. Surprisingly, they seemed into the slow bit, so we will see. It's an experiment. 

Painting, yes, still painting, but if you do a portrait of someone you know and you have mixed feelings about that person, it's a powerful experience. I am currently doing a good friend, though and have given her a halo of golden hair, "just for fun," as my mother used to say. 

It's sorta spring-y here, some shoots popping up, nice to see some green. I put out some seeds, then was running through the set and a squirrel got really interested and was looking in the windows of my studio. It was so sweet. Maybe soon I'll get bolder and open the garage door and see if some creatures venture inside. But then, it could get tense if they freak out and feel trapped. 

I'll get some video of the show, and hopefully post some songs on youtube. sorry so short, but the day goes by quick.






Alright. I'm listening to a song from the new ep, called "Writer." It sounds good, waiting on my mentor to weigh in. Super excited now. Artwork back on track, very simple for the 4 eps, then maybe a full-length cd release with all of them, maybe adding some extra tracks because I CERTAINLY HAVE THEM. I all caps'd that because I've got alternative take after alternative take for many of the tunes. 

And new songs, too.

I want to be quick today, because I'm rehearsing at 11 with the keyboardist from Specx, Andrew Bray. We have a gig next Friday and need to give it a run-through. I think we'll have some drums/percussion, too. But, as I've been spending an inordinate amount of energy on other artistic pursuits, I need to brush up.

Usually maybe I mentioned this last week, I write a list of goals for the coming year. Then, a few years ago I added 1 new year's resolution (this year's is: No More Backlog) but today I realized that for the coming year I have only 1 goal:

I'm working on calligraphy. I liked it as a kid, did it a bit, but it's kind of fun to have a pen and ink at the ready for times like this. I'm on the 10 year plan here. 


And that's all I need. It's kind of a shock for this to start to snowball, but it has. I realized that if I don't clean my brushes, but paint every day, they don't need to be cleaned, and I've saved myself a step. I acquired a painting mentor, a Professor Emeritus of Art & Design from Valparaiso University, Dick Brauer, who happens to be the father of Elizabeth Brauer Allen who is the cellist and co-partner with me in Vale of Paradise. Dick got me to start painting portraits and I am on my second one and so far, so good. Possibly I'm still developing my style, but I think I have it, so the thing is to keep going.

As a birthday present to myself, I got an old spinnet from an estate sale. I missed the Victrola which caused my birthday to take a nose dive, but I'm having the piano tuned next week by a local pianist amazing guy, Waz.  And, I'm going to ask him if he'd give me some lessons. I'm just starting (well, ok, a few years ago) to experiment and would like to write more on it. The only problem currently is it seems to stink, and I'm not sure how to clean it. I'm not one much for old house smells. 

The design stuff, i.e. clothing is still going on, but then I realized that I said I was going to bring some clothes to the Society store in Valparaiso for Spring. If that's the case, I need to get cooking. My only hesitation, is that the owner, Carey, has a complete aesthetic, which I find appealing, and I think if I want to sell more in her store, I need to fit her vision, her color schemes. I really should just make some large leather bags and charge a lot and not worry about it.

Then there's guitar, which I want to keep working on. I thought I'd work on being a better guitar player this week and then got sidetracked by kind of writing a new song. I don't honestly know if that's going to make me a better player. Ok, I just took a mental trip for a minute thinking that I might need to add a few lessons there-and I seem to be doing every thing else except that. Well, I put that on my list. 

I feel like a dilettante, but that's who I am, then, I suppose. We'll see once things start rolling out.


So yeah, my birthday, in retrospect, was great. However, getting kicked out of Black Panther because my son was being a jerk (he has Down Syndrome and is non-verbal and thought it was hilarious to make a lot of noise) and then getting in a fight with my in-laws on first glance really seemed to be awful, but then I found myself laughing the next day because I didn't know which was the worst part! The phone calls, cards and gifts-all great, lovely and appreciated. What we realized is that my son needs to get out more and control himself a bit more, too. 

So, here we are. TTG. 





my birthday!


So. It's not today, but Sunday! and, since 2005, I have not really felt like celebrating, but maybe this year I will revert to my former self like a jellyfish. It started off like this:

Fred: what do you want to do for your birthday?

Me: nnnnnnnnn  hhhhhhhhhhh

Fred: What do you want to do for your birthday? do you want to go to the Deer Path Inn with the family for brunch? 

Me: No. I don't want to drive that far just to have brunch and that place is not really my thing.

Fred: (starting to get upset) Ok, can you let me know what you want to do?

Me: I'll think about it and get back to you.

This was over several days. And, I knew that it would start off with breakfast in bed, because Ruby loves to do that/participate in that. So, I told her I'd like fruit salad and a piece of toast with fake butter and coffee and maybe juice. Nothing fancy.

Then, I thought: I'd like to do something that Harry could do also, so that meant NO to a hike in the dunes, but I thought I'd like to go ice skating and he can do that, they have some seat-y things he can get pushed in. Then lunch, I don't really care, Fred suggested pizza but there is a new restaurant nearby, maybe there. THEN, WE WILL ALL GO SEE BLACK PANTHER!!!!!!!!! And I am super excited about that. So, maybe the curse that my father put on my birthday has been broken and I'm free to enjoy it unabashedly. 

I've already written out the things I've accomplished last year and my goals for this year, but maybe I'll do it again without looking at what I wrote and see if it's the same. (probably will be, as I've read over it a few times.) Nothing earth-shattering, really. All seem very doable. 

Dinner, who cares. Fred wanted a formal dinner (or brunch) here but then Harry doesn't really sit at the table well, so I'd rather just be casual. Food not really important to me, maybe because his whole family has very strong food choices and if they like what I like, it's a very big deal. 

It's been a good few days, I can't say a week, since I just wrote the other blog post, but good. I just got back from a trek to Munster for an estate sale, mostly great stuff, one thing I probably shouldn't have bought, but a LOT of pieces of fabric, mostly wool. The lady had been a nurse and I bought the most beautiful white nurse's dress, it's a shirt dress, a uniform but it's great. 

I did want to buy the Victrola and all the records, but it was kind of a lot of money. I had never worked one before but figured it out. You have to wind the crank a few times, start the wheel spinning with your hand, then put the needle down. At first the record was playing really slowly, and I just LOVED the way the song sounded. Another lady came over and she got me out of my listening stupor to crank it some more and then it got up to speed. But it was really amazing. With all the money I have outlaid for my recordings, I really cannot afford it and that is a shame. Plus, there was a very nice sounding upright piano that I touched, and started some musical thread. Not expensive, but since we have a piano in the dining room, seems a bit extravagant, although I'd love one back here in the studio, then I could get rid of the keyboard my father bought me years ago that was too much for me--too many controls when I just wanted the most basic keyboard. 

Did a bit of shopping, Whole Foods for fruit for the fruit salad, found a cute donut store out there, got some for the birthday (Ruby will be happy.) I ate the toasted coconut one while driving around. Yum. Left some crumbs for the mouse who lives in the car, not intentionally, but you know what I mean.

Stopped by my friend Carey's shop, she's redone it. Lots more taxidermy, very beautiful. Her shop seems to be always bustling, which is encouraging, but she's really a very gifted shop keeper. 

well, much more I want to say. Have to leave in 4 minutes to show the barn to someone who wants to have an 80th birthday party for their mother in a few months. 

BUT, Ruby did write me the sweetest poem for her English class. She wrote that I'm very rarely mad (really?) and that I find everything funny and care for everything (she had said "everyone" but she wrote everything). That was all she had yesterday but she needed 5 more lines, so she wrote that I liked to design, love music, like to cook, blah blah blah. 

alright. I'm loving making my website better. I'll keep working on it. 

maybe more later, maybe not.xoxo



rainy. super rainy


So, yeah. No blog post last Friday. My daughter had the day off of school and I was in the middle of a small meltdown, which required some rest and a bit of a brain drain. 

I had written my post earlier in the week, which ended up being somewhat confronting, as I had been going through a bin I had saved of papers and ephemera from the University of Illinois, my alma mater before FIT. "how did I get here?" is a constant theme to my thoughts, and sometimes it's hard to square with the person I was and the person I am now. Sounds so self-indulgent which I think led to the meltdown.

I abandoned several career options early in my 20's, namely medical school and a career as an environmentalist to throw my hat in for fashion/accessories design and music, both of which seem to kick me to the curb at every turn despite my intentions, effort, innate ability and study. Again, very self-indulgent, as all I have to do is think of people in Syria or Africa to feel like a big baby. Growing up we were always made aware how lucky we had it, even if we didn't feel very lucky at the time. And I am incredibly lucky. So what upsets me, I think is the invisible net that has held back women for millennia and how unaware I was of it and unprepared for it and unable to escape its grasp. My fervent hope is that my daughter does not have the same struggles, though she will have different ones as she is certainly not a mini-me. 

So, why complain? I am painting-and I really love my paintings! (so that's great). And my husband loves my painting/paintings. He loves it! I am taking ceramics-and again, he loves it and we can spend a long time talking about line and shape and form and purpose and color and firing (maybe too long as he seems to have a list of things that I should make...in due time). And I make some crazy sleeve to wear in a video-and again, he loves it! And this is all well and good, but the next step of making any kind of money just seems fleeting and beyond me. Does that make me a "pure" artist? Maybe. And in many ways, the artistic expression is enough. I really do love painting. And now, at least, I really don't care if I sell any, because I am loving having them hang in my house. I love looking at them. 

But music. Music is hard. Music requires a team, it's not something I, the independent warrior can reasonably do by myself in that I don't play all instruments and have a non-working knowledge of garage band....and in protools I can hit the space bar to start and stop recording, but that's about it. The point being is that achieving what I want requires skills that I wonder if I have sometimes. Maybe I've just raised the bar for myself with this project. I think that's it, actually, as i was awake last night, educating myself on wikipedia...what started with "soft power" led to all kinds of words, eventually landing on Artist (why not read what wikipedia has to say?) and Aesthetics.

Aesthetics really made sense to me, and I think that these recordings really have to do with my aesthetic and encompasses how I want the music to sound and how I want the listener to feel. It's really not enough for me to just record the song, although that is certainly part of it. And I'm certainly guilty of listening to what other people (mainly men) have told me: how to record, how to sound, what they want to hear. But that doesn't always square with what I want to hear or what I want the listener to hear. I realized when I started, now way back in 2016 that I was primarily recording this music for women. Not that I didn't want men to listen to it, but as a woman, I wanted to make music for women. And what I wanted women to feel was good about themselves, and a whole lot of words and descriptors of what that would mean, sensual, powerful, alive, strong, beautiful, hopeful, realistic, persevering, etc. And I realized that I couldn't very well communicate that to most of the men who were playing on the records. Some men got it and some men struggled with that. 

Truth be told, one song (for certain) is more of a rocker, more of an alt-rocker, but I've been struggling with that one, too. And, my mentor keeps telling me not to put something out unless it's great, and my husband is on board there.

But then the meltdown came with my tallying up of how much money I've spent so far and not even being able to make a projection of how much more there was to spend. I've made a lot of mistakes which have been painful to acknowledge, and even if, even when it's done and great, I anticipate a less than hearty welcome due to my gender and age, which leads me in a circular spin back to painting-which is low-cost in comparison, and making my own wardrobe, since I have a studio full of wonderful fabrics just waiting for me to cut and sew. 


I can hear this shitty letter my father sent me years ago when he was trying to convince me to move back home (as if!). He typed--he typed me letters on his electric typewriter, having preferred that to hand-written letters before email due to my grandparents freak out over him being left-handed, which must have affected him, since they told him that was the hand of the devil, and, well, he turned out to be a bit devilish. But I digress.

He said something like, you've put your flag up the flagpole and no one bit. It's time to give up music and move home. (and this was after only really working hard for a couple of years at it). God he was a nasty man! I'm sure I can find the letter. Give me a minute.

ok, then 6 months later he sent me another letter:

So, even though he's been dead for...over 11 years now, he still haunts me. He wanted me to quit. Desperately. He'd make sure to come to my shows, then give me no support afterwards. He even asked if we could sing a duet together, so I let him sing with me at CB's Gallery in NYC once...also in Chicago twice, but no. He never faltered. He was always against me being in music. 

This makes me extraordinarily aware of my missteps. And painfully aware of the "talent" I seem to have wasted. Hence, the meltdown. But, I get knocked down, then I get back up, there really is no other choice. No other way.

I've saved these letters, maybe I mentioned on an earlier post? because I had thought of writing some kind of memoir. It seems that memoir writing might be more lucrative than music, haha. Though it's like scraping your bones inside your skin to relive some of these moments. These years, these experiences. 

Anyway, I haven't given up. I just decided to complete one ep at a time, instead of 4 at once. I think I'm done shooting video for the first one, "Lost" though it takes place in the snow, so maybe that song won't get released on video right away (?). Now I'm starting the next one. I think it might be for "The Subway" since it's about dreaming, and the costumes are clear: nightgowns and pajamas. I think I'll silkscreen onto fabric for the pajamas, though that will require some thought, i.e., what color fabric, what designs and what color for the silkscreens? I might shoot some footage in the actual subway--I was thinking at night, but it should be at all times of the day...and maybe some against a green screen then running footage of the subway behind it--might make it more "dream-like" Me, I'd like to make a whole buncha nightgowns, because the idea sounds great, but I have to be realistic. 

See, I feel better already. New project, new mood.




A day late


Well, we have snow, which is great, because I've been worried that winter is disappearing as we know it. But, that meant that the kids had no school yesterday, which meant that I had precious little time for thought, let alone typing. However, we did go out in the snow-deep. Pulled my son in a sled for awhile, but there was really too much snow for that, even. His grandfather took us out for a wild ride in an ATV which was great, as I had my phone and got some additional video for the song "Lost."

My son's caregiver suggested I shoot some in some kind of floaty dress, like a winter princess, but it's been hard to get one made. Though, I might make progress today. I have some silver ripstop nylon, that might be cool, as it would be outdoorsy and kind of tech and maybe even kind of cool. I really want to make another winter coat with it-think a circle, as in if you look at me, it would look like I'm in a circle, but that will be hard to do considering everything else I have going on. 

I have an antique plate strung up in a tree outside my studio windows (an all glass garage door, kind of cool) and it's nice to watch the birds come by. I really love the female cardinals, they don't seem to have many fans, but their coloring is really beautiful and I love their bright beaks. I have some chickadees and such and was told if I want bluebirds I need to put out some meal worms. I might ask my friend Nancy for some worms, as she has been attracting gobs of bluebirds to her deck on Flint Lake. She has an amazing view. Oop, I see a mommy cardinal and a bluejay. The birds are all trying to take turns and not get in each other's way too much. They walk straight down some trunks, wings out. 

My mind is consumed with generating ideas for videos. Yesterday my husband caught me acting out a potential scene for "Bell Tolls" which involves making some cool costumes. I get as excited about the costumes/clothing as I do about the video. But, then I realize you can just about insert anything into a video and it could look cool. I'm sure I'll try more and more things as time goes on.

I am also working harder on my voice. It's a muscle, is a little weak and needs some crossfit training. I have these old cassette tapes from when I made Action Hero Superstar and took voice lessons for over a year, so they are good for now. It's singing weird stuff and singing high and low, really. 

Yesterday I tried to play some piano-fooling around with a minor 7th chord, and even though my son used to tolerate my piano playing (mostly if I was playing Yankee Doodle) he abruptly came over and shut the lid on my fingers, which actually hurt. Then I had to say OWWW, because it did hurt, and then he laughed. And then I realized that he really is like a little buddha, and he was saying, "Ok, now what are you going to do? Are you going to stay cool?" And I wasn't even about to get angry with him, but I was more present to the whole encounter. It just reminded me of lifesaving, in the water, when you swim out to approach a swimmer who is in need of assistance and you get close, then sort of stop and swim a little bit away, to assess the situation. One of the things I remember most about Lifesaving is the concept of Double Drownings, where a person in danger in the water has the capacity to bring down a very good swimmer/lifeguard. Me being me, that concept has stayed with me and I think of it from time to time in dealing with other people/other situations. Maybe that's behind the phrase "Don't bring me down" in my song "Blake's England" Don't drown me, when I'm trying to save/help you, you know?

I'm also still organizing. Now I've been going through the bits and bobs in my design studio, relabeling things and reminding myself of what I have, especially as I go into Costume Shop mode. Right now my giant work table is covered with hair accessories stuff, remnants of things I did back in the day when one of my designs was on the cover of YM magazine, worn by none other than Michelle Williams. She's only gotten cooler with age, which is nice. I had no idea that my headband was going to be on the cover until they called me and asked for my information. I had just made a bunch of stuff to send over at the request/suggestion of my friend Jeffrey Marcus, whom I had worked for/made 1,000 plastic accessories (coin purses and the like) for his line Jinx. Jeffrey is now a gifted Floral Designer who always had an amazing work ethic. I did flowers with him one time in 2001 and still remember shopping with him in the floral district. What a cool job. I even bought myself some flowers today at Target of all places...

Anyway, ooh, now there is a woodpecker, or is it a Flicker at the bird feed plate. So cool, just a tiny bit of read on the head and then all black and white.

But, yes, I need to accessorize all these outfits for the videos, since I have a degree in accessories design and earned the only real money I have ever made designing them. Of course, it seems like an impossible task, but it's about breaking it down into smaller tasks, making lists, and then for me, it will be about not spending too much time getting it perfect. I can for sure make stuff that is not 100% finished-it's not like I'm going to sell it.

Today Pat Sansone of Wilco is recording some tracks for one of my songs at his studio in Nashville. I'm not there of course, but he's such a gentle beast in that he can just do one track after the next. It's quite amazing and intimidating to watch at the same time. I love the song--it's one of the first ones I wrote when I started writing again, one that had a lot of lyrics before I had something I wanted to say. Sometimes song lyrics are like nests, in that I weave bits and pieces into them, and this one is no different. I reference my old life of Action Hero Superstar, being a mother and experiencing some loss around that, my Great Aunt, life, aging, a line of Specx member Peter Kaifais'-- "Walk in Come Down" that's what he would tell us when we were coming over to rehearse, and the idea of the struggle of being a mother with any kind of ambition in addition to motherhood. 

I am going to search for the cover of the YM Magazine and add some photos to this post, but will post it right now because I have lost these posts in the past and losing this would upset me. 

I hope you are well and good and striving for good. xo Leslie


It's Friday, Baby!


Well, it’s Friday. Blog Day, and I’m in the studio with Josh. Singing a new vocal for a faster version of Anybody Out There, a song I wrote when I was in Specx that we recorded (and that Rich Kaminsky played on his best of 2016 Show, Dec. 31st, 2016). We never officially released it in a print version, so it’s ok to re-do.

The vocal is ok, but I’m at the point where I want to work my voice a bit more. Like getting in shape, it could use a bit of a workout, beyond the exercises I currently do (with irregularity.)

Josh and I have already talked about The Phantom Thread, coffee-Major Dickason’s Blend being the current pinnacle of coffee to my husband, which gives Josh a challenge to find a better one, my idea for a history of sexual harassment in the music industry book, Fiona Apple, health, and seems like so many other things.

Every week lately seems like a year. So many things going on in the news I had to quit a few people on twitter because my feed was overwhelmingly about politics. There are layers of outrage, like the 7 layers of hell and luckily I think I’ve ascended one in that I seem to be able to take more, except outrage in the music industry compelled me to finish a couple of paintings this week. I had started a series of 4 maybe last year but had been stuck with how to proceed.

Luckily (again, luckily) a 90-year old former professor of art, Dick Brauer was at my house and in my studio two weeks ago and he told me to just paint and the painting would tell me what to do, and he was of course right. He’s the father of Elizabeth Brauer Allen, who is the cello half of our Vale of Paradise duo. So, getting back to that series was/is so great, because what I really want to do is paint some huge gigantic canvasses, but I had told myself I needed to finish these first.

I’m super excited to paint a large canvas. I have some ideas, but don’t have a set vision. Well, maybe I do.  Then I’d like to do a large series of many smaller canvasses, like maybe a group of 16, or even 25. So, my work there is sort of cut out for me.

Funkhouser on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee was very funny. He basically plays a non-comedian version of himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm, so I didn’t know he’d be so so funny – his jokes were so good.

 My daughter and I are reading the Harry Potter series in tandem. She’s a few chapters ahead of me, but I thought maybe I could be the pacer horse to get her to read faster. Then, as a reward, I had told her we could watch the 1st one again, but she was trying to outsmart me by telling me she wanted to jump to the 3rd movie, so I said, ok, after we read the 3rd book. What a struggle. Those kids that love to read-how amazing. She seems determined to not like reading. And, I get it, in that TV/Videos are such an immediate consumption. But here we are.

 She and I made homemade pasta last Friday night and used the pasta machine-y thing, which I have to admit is a lot easier than hand rolling (though I love it). She also made a confession that she loves the salads I make, even though she pretends not to. Awwwww!! I make the kind where I just throw in whatever I think it needs/whatever we have. Lettuce/spinish/cole slaw (any or all) and it might have: corn, apples, cut grapes, sunflower seeds, pistachios, carrots, cucumber, olives, pickles, maybe tomatoes, though I don’t love them in a salad, chicken (or not) edamame, seaweed, avocado. YUM. I like light ranch dressing with a little Chinese hot sauce (my favorite) but Ruby’s off light ranch and likes Italian. I grew up using Wishbone Italian, so I get it/don’t want it—have had enough to last a lifetime.

 Took her to ceramics on Saturday and it was great. She had a fun time and loved the ladies and the attention and the making. She made a unicorn pig. I worked on my bowls, trimming them on the wheel. I confess that I don’t love the wheel, and last night tried it again and am moving on to hand building for the time being. She noticed that Amy only plays Beatles music in the studio and remarked, “Wow, you really have to be a Beatles fan to be here.” So cute. She scored points with Amy because she knew the song, “Here Comes the Sun.” (a fantastically great song, by the way)

I feel like I’m sitting on the bench for a few plays until Josh throws me back in the game and I sing the choruses.

My husband is very excited about my painting. Doing music is so hard, that who knows what will happen after these tracks are all done both Chicago and West Coast. TBH I don’t know how much touring I will be able to do. Play shows-sure. But if it’s: unless I play a large number of shows criss crossing the country for next to nothing no one will hear my music, then…..??? I will probably do a lot more painting!

Better go. Until next week! xo


big week


A lot was going on this week. I'll start with a Eulogy for the husband of the woman who nurtured me when I was a child, Terry Weishaar.

The adult me has this to say about him: When I met Terry in the 70's, he was the first person I had met who had red hair and was completely covered in freckles. He had a big mustache and the word that comes to mind is unicorn. I was fascinated with his freckles. Laura was my friend/big sister/mother figure who took me in.

This is a polaroid of John the cat and me. Nice pants, huh?



I spent days and weeks at her house hanging out, petting her cats, Raider and John (after John Lennon) and holding, playing with and eventually babysitting her 4 children. Terry was often at work, so I didn't see him as often, and since my own father was a bit of a bear, I was inclined to be frightened of him.

This is me, a girl named Kelly (I don't remember her, though) and Laura's first born, Cory, named after a member of Terry's favorite band, Three Dog Night. Cory was the first baby I ever held! 



However, he was a prankster and would often pummel me and grab my leg to hear me shriek, which would make him laugh and laugh. But he was incredibly good natured and, which seemed unusual to me, let Laura rule. He never seemed to override her wants, whether it concerned the house, the kids or her life. 

I took this picture of a picture from a board at Terry's wake/funeral. It captures his irreverence to life.

Laura always talked to me as if I was her age, which was great. She told me that Terry didn't really like his job, a job his father got him working in the same factory that he did, but he didn't let that prevent him from having fun. They didn't have an excess of money, but that didn't seem to matter much to them. 

It was sad to hear that he had died, having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had metastasized, but he accepted it with grace and was able to have his children and grandchildren around him. Going to the wake and funeral was so good for me. I hadn't been in touch with Laura much after moving back to the midwest and of course realized how much I missed her. I told her, "I wouldn't be the person I am if not for you," and she reminded me that I had told her that when I was in high school. The first person at my high school to win a National Honor Society scholarship, I wrote my essay about her and she told me she still had the copy I gave her. 

She knew that I needed to get out of my house desperately and she gave me a place to go. What a gift that was. She was like the good fairy who tried to lessen the curses of my father, which made life bearable. 

In this photo: Laura drove my mother down to UIUC for Mom's Day Weekend and I am proudly wearing the only garment I have ever knitted!

When I saw her again, it struck me what a good person she is. After I moved back to Chicago in 2002 I sought out a psychiatrist because I was miserable and wanted to know what was wrong with me. After many sessions of him dispelling my latest theory, he finally said, "There is nothing wrong with you. I think you are a really good person who tries to do the right thing." Laura's influence is the nurture part of nature/nurture, and while my parents had goodness in them, they had a lot of dark shadows as well. Now, Laura isn't and Terry wasn't perfect, but she does and he did radiate goodness, which coated me, like a thick layer of salve. I am forever grateful for them letting me be me and helping me become me. 

I did so many things with her, with them. And while I could list them all day, the thing I go back to is that if Terry hadn't been so easy-going, that probably wouldn't have happened. Terry tolerated the chaos, he accepted Laura for who she was, and looking back I can't find any real sexism or misogyny in him, which is remarkable.

He coached his kids' little league teams and told them to play to win, follow the rules, don't do anything dirty to the other team or your own teammates and no showboating. Lessons for life!

He was loved, will be missed, and left behind good feelings. 


I was in the studio with Josh yesterday, and resang, "Rainbow" but I think it's still not quite there. Too many words. Kind of a pain, but seems to be necessary. Ainjel sent me a track of "The Subway" complete with sounds of...the NY subway, that is ready to mix. Sounds great. I made a tote bag and wonder if I could sell more if I made them. I was going to post some photos on Instagram, but I think maybe I should do it on pinterest (but then that's another thing!) And then last night I started to work on pottery. 

Using the wheel is cool, but there are a lot of steps and it takes time. I had to switch to a wheel that goes in reverse because using my right hand as the dominant one just does not work for me. I'll post some photos on Instagram but have one for here, where you can see Amy, who owns/runs the studio (and is a huge Beatles fan) and Nancy on the right working on a formed bowl. If you look, you can see my green tote behind my cashmere wrap....





So, today is the party for my father in law's 80th birthday. I'm home cleaning so I made Fred put on the soundtrack for Moana so I could whistle (or sing) while I work. And, like clockwork, here comes the alert on my laptop to write today's blog post-beat you to it! I say.

Anyway, I love this music. The music, lyrics, performances, all stellar. But, taking a break because blog comes first.

I'm going to try my hand at some ceramics, and I'm thinking, "What the f*ck am I thinking?" because, yeah, so much time, but my friend Nancy does it, and she's a great hang I type as I drink out of a mug she lent me so I could show my husband the color of the glaze, because he's building this wood workshop for himself and wants some tile. (I thought he'd want to make it, but he just told me that I could make it, then he told me some things I could make in the ceramics studio--namely incense holders) I want to make bowls. I kind of thought, why try a million things, and why not just concentrate on one thing-bowls and get good at that. Though, to be completely honest, this mug is awesome to hold. It's a wabi sabi thing, I'll add a photo here.

So, you can see in this photo the residue of the green slime my daughter made and...well, left on this table. I thought it was cool at the time, a green for her lego constructions, but then it dried and hardened, and stained this table. Luckily, the table is a "work table" according to my husband, and therefore not precious. The top came from an old bakery in Gary, IN. Then, you can see the label maker, as I try in vain to sort and label her legos. Just looking at all of those tiny pieces sends me into fits of anxiety. I want to scream, "They need to be organized!!!!!!!!!!!!" But, if that's what I think, then that becomes another project for me, as no one else seems to care. 

So, back to the blog. 

Luckily, my husband's going to run out of money for his new woodshop and be forced to leave it empty for a few months, while he saves up to buy new equipment, which means I'll essentially have a sound stage to make music videos! My daughter got me to buy a green screen a few months ago (a large piece of green fabric) so I'm going to be working on ideas for videos, as I was told last week by someone in the industry that I'll need a video for every song on these eps (that's up to 16--some songs aren't quite gelling yet, but if all goes to plan, then 16). So now, I've got blog post Fridays and Social Media Mondays. This week I did some posts and edited some live footage from my show in December (up on youtube). Wait! I'll find the links:

https://youtu.be/DzCKh2CQW3U this is for "The Subway" which will be on the LA eps.

https://youtu.be/ZGIfi0Fs7Es this is for "Bell Tolls" which will be on the Chicago eps.

glad I checked, as I forgot to make Bell Tolls public.

So, now I need to work on learning a bit more about iMovie and lightroom for video editing. I'm starting to gather ideas, but then I had a 1/2 panic, because I realized that I'll need to make my clothes for every shoot, since I'm only wearing clothes I make. I had been starting garments and then not finishing them, but I just finished an unconstructed jacket yesterday, and am almost done with a vest. Then it's a coat, a sort of turtle neck-ish long-sleeved top...then the costumes. The house might get a little dusty in the next few months. Oh well.

On days like today, I often take this opportunity to do the cleaning that I never get around to, which subsequently then takes me all day. Then, by the time the party starts, I'm ready to relax. We're having a piano player, a local guy who seems to have played with everyone, who goes by the name Waz. He's kind of amazing and can just sit and play all night. 

Moana is a great movie, and I really loved the Grandmother coming back as a Sting Ray because I've been telling my daughter forever that my mother came back as a male cardinal. She really loved them and loved to "feed the birds" which became a duty for her. So, now my daughter will say something like, "Hey Mom! I saw Cardinal when I was X" of "I saw your mom!" which is nice because she doesn't really have any conscious memories of my mom, even though she lived in our house for 9 months on hospice. But, they were together.

If I look, I see the marks on the white walls, so I better not look too hard. Ok, deep breath.

Tomorrow is a studio day, to pick over the lyrics/lines and to have Nic play some guitar tracks. Then Josh has to go back to work so we're going to have to figure out how to finish up. I've been listening to a cd of his rough mixes in the car and I've been loving it. Videos. For every song. The industry guy told me I need 3 outfit/scene changes for every video. 16 x 3 = 48. 48 outfits? Well, I better make stuff I can wear places besides a video shoot. But, I'm sure it will snowball, well, at least I hope it will snowball once I really get started. 

I've had to stop typing as I take in the idea of making 48 costumes. Well, I have some stuff shot already, so let's say, 44 more. 

The industry guy told me that people will want to know what makes me tick. Like any clock, getting wound up and having something to do. I always have something to do. Problems to solve. 

on a last note, I sent in a request to Sony for use of two Beatles lines in a song. I'm curious to see what they say, having read the Lana Del Rey/Radiohead "Creep" story. I can easily change the lines, is my point of view, especially since the song is in development. What I don't want/need is stress or another headache or a battle. But, I'd love to use/sing the lines, because it's like loving The Beatles. As my dad used to say, "We'll see."

have a great week, if you have snow around you-get out in it!




progress is progress


In the studio

So, I’m in the studio today, Thursday, and we’re discussing the idea of internships.

And reviewing a vocal.

Can’t fight the vibe.

It’s all vibe.

I’m a big John Waite fan and trying to get the vocal right on a song I named after his amazing song, “Isn’t it Time” is a fun challenge. It’s the one song I’ve never performed live and have only sung a few times, so there was no muscle memory to guide me, but thankfully Josh is a patient guy who wants to get it right.

Getting exactly what I want after such a long time is an unbelievably good feeling. Someone else might have said, years ago, “I’m stoked,” which I always thought was a funny term.

Now Josh is on facebook trying to show me a photo of a friend who had some pet squirrels. I had no idea you could search someone’s photos like he was. I’m such a luddite. That’s because I just showed him a photo of a cat hugging a squirrel that goes in through a dog door to hang with the cat. This is all because there is now a cat in the studio. She’s incredibly beautiful and makes me want to add a cat to our menagerie.

I let Josh sift through my vocal. Once in a while I say, yea/nay but mostly I let him do his job.

It’s shocking to me that we are getting to the mix/master stage here. WTF. Now I need some music videos, and I need some concepts because it’s sort of a no brainer to shoot outside, but the weather is not great.

This song is a little country inflected. Josh just said it sounds too good. (and whaaaaat’s wrong with that?) but we are going for “cool” so I’m typing and letting him figure that out. And it has a hint of “dock of the bay” (at least in my mind)

You’d think I’d learn something about ProTools here, but no. It goes by. It’s like listening to Japanese, you keep thinking you’ll just “get” it, but no.
Pat Sansone played on this, it’s just guitar, shaker at this point. I’m laughing because now Josh says the Wurlitzer is too pretty so he’s got that muted. Whatever. I did my job. Whew.

Last night on the drive home from the studio, I listened to his mix of “I’m a Writer” not to be confused with Ainjel’s LA version which I think we will call simply, “Writer.” “I’m a Writer” is exactly what I wanted when I started working on this project which is:

1.  Songs that people will want to listen to more than once, because when I proposed making a full-length recording to my band Specx, the guitarist wanted us to make a very low-fi home recording, which I didn’t want to do. I specifically didn’t want to waste any more of my good songs. Now, you might think that writing a song is easy, and sure, I have bits floating around in my head all the time, but getting it all to come together, that is, having the right lyrics and the right melody is not always something that just magically happens in 20 minutes despite what you might read other songwriters say. For instance, this song, “Isn’t it Time” was, ok, maybe initially written in a flurry of white hot emotion, but then I thought about f*ing with it to see if I could make it better. So that part, taking it from 80% to maybe 90% or above is where the sweat comes in. You have to play around with the melody, the lyrics, the structure and be prepared to let it all go, only to come back to it. And that takes a certain amount of experience and confidence and knowledge. So, you judge for yourself. When you hear it.

Ok, that was a bit of an aside

2.  I told Kyle Paas in New York that I wanted to make music that women wanted to take their clothes off to.(I do not say this to Josh, but I have said it to Ainjel. I mean, no one has ever told me that they’ve had sex to one of my (previously released) songs. And, more sex, more good sex, more positive sex in the world is a good thing, and maybe even a public service. And I wanted to have some songs where the woman listener feels good about herself, good and empowered. Now, not all of these songs fit #2. But you can certainly put some of the songs on repeat, like “I’m a Writer” And that feels so super good. I’m no Barry White, but Barry White is the man. His voice is incomparable. And he provides a valuable service-that of bringing people together.

I don’t think I really had any other goals. But I mean, a sub-goal is for me to, of course, sound good. For the vocal to sound really good. And for that, I need to be super comfortable. And I prefer privacy. I’m like the girl in the story The Crane Maiden by Miyoko Matsutani. If I tell you that I need privacy to sing and then you don’t give it to me, that is going to be a problem.


We are moving on. I just told Josh this is going to be SO GOOD and he said, “Yeah, I think it’s going to be alright.” So modest. I feel so lucky. What an improbability, here I am!


Now we’re working on “Anybody Out There” one of the songs I wrote while I was in Specx (and recorded). Josh sped it up, and likes the tempo better now. He said if I had written this in the 90’s this song would have gotten me a record deal. Aww! (thanks, Josh). But we’ll start over and rerecord. He’s getting such good vocals out of me, and new guitars and what-have-you. But basically we’re listening, making comments, and he’s going to send me this faster version. There’s one melody run that reminds me of Everything But The Girl, a band I really loved. (it’s about 2 or 3 notes, not anything anyone would notice, I don’t think…) Ok, this song is just a typical female singer/songwriter song. Why fight it? But, no one else could have written it. I mean, it’s about motherhood, my past music career, something I admired about my Great Aunt, my son/daughter, old times, reconnecting, being positive. Update: josh just said it needs some serious “Groove Management.”


It seems easy to write a blog post from the studio. I can just report on what’s happening, and just joked that I’ll have to keep booking studio time so I can get my blog post done.


So much winning.


Ok, we’re not done. We are going to stop working on a song called “Love Can Fix” because it isn’t right and we’d have to start all over and…so I pulled up another song I wrote called “Dorian Gray.” Josh told me to go home and listen to the album So by Peter Gabriel. So was what he was going for when he did “I’m a Writer” So that’s great, because So is an album I really love.


Josh just told me he has done some work mixing Lupe Fiasco.


Ok, it’s Friday and the kids have off due to “weather” which means that while I had wanted to add to this  post, I’m going to post it as is. Have a great weekend, xo Leslie


Singing, in the mud


Went into the studio this week. Always a bit petrifying, having to rely on my voice, something that is not entirely under my control, meaning that I need to try to disregard or transcend the factors that might impact its quality, like illness, emotions, energy, stress, etc. The flu is going around and so there's that. Then, not being a vegan, and maybe eating some dairy, then there's the possibility of cloud in my voice, then there is the fight or flight of being excited and nervous at the same time. Plus, it's time and money in the studio and aware that I don't want to waste anyone's time. 

Then, it's such a relief/surprise to hear it played back and then, the "wow" moment, where I am amazed that it sounds good. Those moments of beauty, of lightness and delicateness and not just singing the melody, but something that goes beyond that. Then, trying to double the lead vocal, trying to duplicate it exactly, and then it starts all over. The mimic part, one can (headphone) on and one off, so I can hear the lead vocal and hear myself. And there it is. Telling a story through sound, setting a mood. Maybe having a map and maybe just having a destination in mind. Then harmonies. 

Then, needing to crash for a day, just being a bit exhausted from the physical demands of singing, the long drive, the existential "why am I doing this again?" whole aspect, the other people who are crucial to this project, steering the ship. Oh, and have fun, too! haha.

Then Ainjel sends me rough mixes and it's a big wow. She asked for and got some NYC Subway sounds to incorporate into a track, very fun. She is making me sound so good, I feel like it's almost a slight of hand, a magic trick, except that I did sing those tracks, I did write those songs, I did seek and find and here we are. 

Wouldn't it be nice to be heard? I doubt my ability to do more than make an amazing product. Sales-not my forté. And I am aware I don't have a big budget for promotion. And my mom always said, "It just takes one song." Do I have that one song and if so, which one is it? As my father would say, "We shall see." 

Kids off school, snow, sledding, shoveling off the frozen pond for ice skating, sledding into the brambles and ripping our coats (worth it), sleep overs, laundry, immer laundry, dog sitting, dog has anxiety after encounter with coyote and therefore a bit of high maintenance, my daughter just asked me to wear one unicorn and one rainbow earring so I do, then I tell her I forgot to give her something for Christmas, and she opens a glass rainbow ornament I got at the Welcome Home store in Nashville and she runs off to hang it on the tree. Her sleepover friend got her to watch the first Harry Potter movie, so now maybe we will read the series, but good luck getting her off her iPod touch. 

Working on getting a band together to play my next gig in March. Have not played out with a band since Specx, so should be interesting/fun, of course. 

alright, need to do some other things, this was a warm up, thanks! have a great week. xo Leslie


Fasting, Memoir, HNY!


So, today’s the day to do the blog. Here I am. Showing up even though I have only an idea of what to write. Ok first, I hope the holidays have treated you well. They can be stressful, but there is a lot of joy, too and that’s good.


I kinda sorta took a break from Instagram, so I didn’t post, but I took a picture of a gift I received (a first) because I hadn’t gotten a new sewing machine since I was a freshman in High School and I was a bit astounded. Been a bit busy, but might get the courage to try it today, as I have some time, both kids are occupied, It’s a coverlock machine, which is a kind of a serger and they can be very hard to thread and get the tension right, so requires fiddling and patience.


Today I announced that fasting is my Christmas present to myself. I’m on day 4, will end it on NYE, and maybe now the ketones are kicking in. I’d been sorta weighed down and even though I seemed cheery enough on the outside, I wasn’t cheery enough on the inside.


It takes 3 days of fasting (in my opinions) for the wheels to start turning. The first two-three are a challenge, you have to commit, you have to fight off the urge to eat for a variety of reasons and you need to get through some discomfort as your cravings ease up/disappear. There is the tiredness, too. The first extended fast I did, I did as a purist. Water and water only. Now I take some vitamins at night, and have some coffee, but strictly speaking, it’s not a “true” fast.


I’m giving my body a rest from digestion and seeing if it will do some repair work on my knee, which hurts. It’s a new hurt, and I don’t really want it to stick around if I can help it. Might need to get back to yoga or some exercise, but I’ve been kind of loving not exercising/running/swimming/biking one or more that I’ve done consistently since I was in Jr. High. It was hard at first, to not exercise. Part of my identity seemed askew. I was always a “runner,” and if I wasn’t now a “runner,” then who was I?


(Who am I?)

(Who are you? Are you nobody? Then I'm nobody, too)  


So. Maybe I already mentioned my New Year’s Resolution? I didn’t always make one, as I do a big thing on my birthday in February, but maybe for the past 4-5 years I’ve had one. It’s been some version of “Use it up/Use it or lose it” and while I still have things to give away, I’ve been really Using things up. So this year I morphed the resolution into “No Backlog” which for me means getting those tasks done that are on my mind. The photos and albums. The familial stuff I don’t really want. The papers to organize.


 It’s not really a big deal to organize my paperwork, especially my songwriting, because I usually come up with something new, but if there are really horrible lyrics, I could probably purge them. And, I have written a few poems here and there and it would be nice to compile them. I love poetry even though I don’t read it often. My mother used to recite a few Emily Dickenson poems and she was such a big fan that it was hard not to get a bit enthusiastic with her. She was passionate about the one that begins, “Will there ever be a morning, Is there such a thing as day”

Ok, I remembered that wrong: it’s actually:

Will there really be a "Morning"?
Is there such a thing as "Day"?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?

Has it feet like Water lilies?
Has it feathers like a Bird?
Is it brought from famous countries
Of which I have never heard?

Oh some Scholar! Oh some Sailor!
Oh some Wise Men from the skies!
Please to tell a little Pilgrim
Where the place called "Morning" lies! 

 --Emily Dickinson


I went to see the exhibit of some of her papers and work at the Morgan Library in Manhattan. I really liked her pressed flower book, because it showed her visual arrangements and many of the pages were beautiful for their layout and script. Beautiful script is not something that is usually practiced these days, but it can be lovely to get lost in.


So anyway, just having a small folio of my poems for my own sake would be nice. I illustrated one when I was in the 3rd grade and my teacher send it off somewhere and I got to attend the Illinois Young Authors Convention as a result. I don’t remember much about it, though there is a picture somewhere and I think I’m wearing an outfit I bought with my own money from K-Mart (I delivered the Park Forest Star newspaper twice a week starting in the 2nd grade). The dress is polyester.


I have a certificate somewhere and there was a book with all the authors’s pictures and biographies, but eventually, I got rid of it and only saved my page. I think I say I like my hamster. (I distinctly remember not having a clue what to write and my teacher had to help me.)


My father was angry at me for what he perceived to be my lateness in getting ready for the convention, which I think had some workshops and a ceremony where the authors were presented with their certificates, though I think it was held on a Sunday and I would have delivered the newspaper first and then hurried to get ready, and his admonishments made the drive to Decatur (I think it was there) less than optimal. I was never supposed to fuss about my clothing or seem to care about it in any way, though of course I did!

It bothered him to no end that when I was younger, my Great Aunt Ethel had given me a doll I named Karen and sent along matching clothing for the doll and me. The clothing was, to my young eyes, magnificent as she made just about every dress in a different style, with fun kid-centric fabric and colorful buttons. So, who wouldn't be tempted to change outfits multiple times a day? Periodically, until I was about 7, she would send a package and there would be something new for Karen and me. I suppose it wasn't fair that she didn't send my brothers hand made clothing, but I assumed it was because sewing dresses was easier and never having married, she never had a chance to make clothing for men or boys. 


Well, this is great, because I have been thinking of writing a memoir about my dad, mostly, being inspired anew by one I’m reading now, “The Only Girl in the World” by Maude Julien. My story is not as horrifying as hers is (or I hope not) but I would like to exhume the ghosts and let them rest.


I’ve strugged with this memoir for many years, and have a cache of over 40 typed letters he sent me over the years, though there were more. The first two he handed me when I was about 9 have vanished along with others that were ripped to shreds in frustration, but my first idea was to simply publish the letters and be done with it. At the time, 2002? I let a few literary friends read them,  but the way to go seems to be to start blogging. So, here I am!


I thought I’d begin with his death, in 2006. And then go forwards and backwards as the story unfolds. I have no idea how this will sound/turn out, but I’m sure I’ll learn something along the way. (I already learned something by relating that Young Authors story).

Sometime shortly after the convention, someone my father knew was visiting our house and my father gave him my certificate to laminate, which upset me. He never gave it back to me and I assumed it was lost, but after he died I found it hidden at the bottom of his dresser drawer.


Happy New Year! Here’s to a great 2018!! Love, Leslie


December really needs two more weeks


Right? Or Thanksgiving needs to be two weeks earlier. Really, I'm ok, all's well, but the kids are off school, and that's something to manage. Maybe.

Went into the studio on Monday and Tuesday, worked with Josh, went really well. I brought him a strand of purple lights for his live room-they really do make a difference and we started tackling the vocals. He had a cool idea for "Hey Lisa" and now my vocal sounds like a gothic chorus. I love a gothic chorus, some of my favorite singing memories are with my high school choir, our "singing olympian" Europe tour and assembling in Cathedrals to sing a few songs impromptu. I still remember the reverb/echo. So, that was great.

I played the rough mixes for my friend who is 70+ and she thought the two songs were really meditative and something she could picture playing in the background. Good feedback. I thought I had the artwork concept to go with these two eps, but might think about it a bit more, or just think about it and get it good and solid in my mind. 

She and I were on a small road trip to a fabric store in MI for cashmere and mohair. I found a purple mohair, seems like it's kind of old, so soft. I have no idea what I'd do with it and didn't buy it, but that doesn't mean I won't the next time I'm there. Josh said I should make some vegan bags, so I got some wool/linen to give it a try. Obviously, my problem is 24 hours in a day and 2 hands. And getting so many ideas and then of course things breaking, like my serger did last week. But it's fixed now, wasn't that hard to do, just order a part and then fiddle with it. 

She told me she thought I was a genius, which a person doesn't hear too often (one other person called me that, who said I was a genius belt designer) which (even though I filed it away) I just sort of glossed over...but we did talk about the #MeToo and what really bothers me...being that when you listen to the radio, you mostly hear songs sung by men with lyrics written by men reflecting men's experiences and viewpoints. And what happens to our collective unconscious when we absorb that? Bugs me incessantly. 

Today I made chocolate/walnut meringues. They are kind of amazing but of course not good for you at all. Superfine sugar, egg whites, cocoa, etc. But I love to make them because I get to lick the bowl, and because I love to watch the transformation of the egg white to this thick (delicious) goo. They are the bottom layer of an amazing dessert, topped with a snowball of coconut ice cream rolled in coconut, then chocolate and raspberry sauce on top. My daughter asked for whipping cream on the top of that. Hmmm. I said, well, if we're going to add whipping cream, then we really need to add a maraschino cherry. (then we can all slink off into a corner). 

My husband's family has a traditional Christmas night dinner which is kind of cool because you know what to expect, you don't have to freak out if you are hosting (which we are) and (hopefully) the dinner becomes something more than the food. I like tradition and I like presentation and I like fancy, so it's all good. There is also the white elephant gift, of drawing numbers and selecting from a pile of silly wrapped gifts, which sometimes are things from the giver's home and sometimes something bought, but since I've given away so much stuff this year, I just might have to buy something (I just thought of this, and might need to duck into Target tomorrow. AGGGH!) But, usually, it's no problem to find something to give away. 

I'm drinking a gin & tonic as I write this-it's sort of my drink, and that makes it easier to drone on and on. My husband has been ordering wine by the case, but I recently realized that I prefer a G&T to wine. And it's because my mom and my Aunt would have them when we were kids and would spend a few weeks at the Jersey shore. Ocean City, and sometimes Cape May. I loved Ocean City and the Boardwalk and everything about it. I just had mine in a Don Ho class from the Polynesian Palace in Waikiki Hawaii. 

I need to make one more batch of meringues, my daughter just threw a barbie shoe at me, better get going. I hope you are well and good and having a great week.




I am going to cheat a little bit


Ok, so Peter Gabriel is a cool dude. Maybe not 100%, because who knows, but he did do two really super cool duets. Yesterday I listened to the one with Kate Bush- "Don't Give Up" and now I'm listening to the one with Laurie Anderson, "Excellent Birds."

I would love to do a duet and have been toying with the idea. There's one song that hasn't been recorded yet for the eps that will make up Album #6 and a duet would fit nicely. But to be honest, I have to curtail my songwriting for a few weeks as the holidays are upon us and Mrs. Claus finds herself a little bit busy.

That being said, the "cheating" is that I'm going to post my year-end holiday letter that goes in the cards I send out. If you read my blog or follow me on instagram or fb or twitter, then some you know, but there are a lot of people on my list who don't do social media.

It feels so self-indulgent to write this letter, add photos to the back, make a card, etc. but then some people really like to receive it (they tell me!) So WTF. Today will be the letter. Maybe next week I'll post the photos (or not) who knows. One step at a time. 

Have a great week! Life always gives you another chance. xo Leslie


Hi and Happy Holidays 2017. It’s now December, and the photo is done. What a year this has been, right? I find myself getting worked up over twitter, deleting the app from my phone, then checking it anyway from my computer….may these trying times lead to the light!


Well, the year started off with new recordings at the studio where I made my 4th cd (Round 3) with pals of Pete Remm’s—Scott Pazera, Nic Byrd, Kevan Watson and Specx’s keyboardist Andrew Bray…so I thought, cool! (but left after 2 months-not working out)


We had a scheduled trip to our fav spot, Holbox, Mexico which was of course very lovely. Every time we return, things seem to be a little bit more fancy, but it’s still quite rustic with dirt roads, and the blue sky and calm water are heaven!


Manhattan in March-after seeing the Donald Judd house in SoHo, I decided to radically alter my relationship with my possessions, meaning –get rid of a lot! After cleaning up after my parents and my Aunt, I’m determined to not do the same to Ruby. This whole year I’ve been organizing, cleaning out, stress cleaning, re-evaluating and so on. It feels liberating as I work to only keep what is essential to me (still a lot-don’t worry!) And last week I began to feel like the chaos was finally being tamed. “Clean House, Clean Mind” is a phrase I first heard in yoga at UIUC! I think Fred is thrilled because when I met him, his philosophy was that people “shouldn’t have stuff” (just a big empty house!) Ruby says organizing is my “natural habitat.” Ha!


Then, I got to open up for Willie Nile at the Memorial Opera House, accompanied by bassist Scott Pazera. We had a great time, and even got the enthusiastic crowd to clap along. This year there were a few gigs at the Valparaiso Farmer’s Market and at the Hunt & Gather Market in Crown Point, too. I even got my own PA so now I could play just about anywhere!


Harry was in a video shoot for Opportunity Enterprises’s 50th Anniversary, but then went through a lot this year. He had surgery on his right foot to cut tendons to help him walk better, then the seizures came back for quite a while, which prompted a 3 day EEG and an MRI and a call for surgery to sever his corpus callosum (for now we are putting that on hold.) We thought about the ketogenic diet (which is mostly fat) but it would be very very stressful and fingers crossed-right now his seizures are infrequent enough that I would consider him to be doing “great,” but just read several posts on fb by parents whose kids have had the surgery and whose kids are now seizure free. It’s a tough call!


Summer started with a quick trip for three of us to Yosemite and SF. Harry was not up to the task of hiking so he stayed at home with his lovely caregiver, Sarah. Ruby was obsessed with “Free Climbing” so we checked out the face of “El Cap.” It’s slick! Once back, Ruby enthusiastically started with the French Horn but had to give it up during the school year to focus on her studies. She was also extremely fortunate to go to sleep away camp for 2 weeks at Interlochen in MI. She loved it!


Fred has been on a tear- “The Box” (house) was featured on a prominent Architecture website, richly deserved. He’s in a good spot, one employee, and in the past month has decided to add a stand-alone wood workshop next to our house. It’s being worked on right now and should be ready to use by late February. He’ll be able to make more tables and furniture and use up his stockpile of slabs. Yea!


In August, I got to drive to Nashville and work with producer Josh Shapera and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone (of Wilco). Nashville is such a cool place—loved it.. Josh had been battling an auto immune disease for years and shortly after the trip he had to slow to a crawl while he awaited a donor liver. It seemed to be touch and go for a while, and there was much at stake, mainly a lovely wife and two small children. But then a MIRACLE happened and he got a liver! And he is on the mend!! And we are going to go back into the studio again!!! Music brings a lot of people together, and making music is a joy.


Fred also got our barn re-sided and it looks pretty amazing, just in time to host 4 weddings…and one where I was the officiant! Teenage sweethearts, then apart for years, then back together for years before getting married. Lovely to be a part of…


Ruby started middle school and has adapted pretty well. School is “not her jam” but she told me she wants to be a fashion designer, which is incentive for me to work with her and get her started. She did make her Halloween costume J And she wanted me to let you all know that she got her ears pierced! She was very brave.


Sometime in there, Fred turned into an Eclipse chaser and he and I went to Jackson, WY where we were astounded by the beauty and force of nature. It’s quite something to be completely wowed by the cosmos. And we were!


Then, in September, the clean out intensified when I decided to only wear clothes that I’ve made/make.  That cut down my wardrobe in a hurry! There is some “cheating” but enough for me to wear…which prompted me to make some items to sell at a very cool local store called Society -wool wraps, ephemera and pins, belts, cosmetic bags, lotion/bath scrub…to start.  


All I would like to say about the #MeToo movement is that I’m glad women are speaking up and out. Long overdue. Let the women lead! Our culture will be richer when women’s voices and talents are heard and fully appreciated.


Then, it was off to LA where I got to work with my first ever female producer, Ainjel Emme. She has a super cool studio in East Hollywood and has been a breeze to work with. She’s finishing the tracks started in NYC—very close to done, and she got the keyboardist with Father John Misty (Jon Titterington) to play on some tracks, to boot! These projects have expanded, cost more and taken me to places I didn’t know I’d be going but I’m extremely grateful for these wonderful people and the experiences…


Ruby wants to add that Mr. B is now 7. He and Macy are still lovely and “pampered” (as Fred says) and Macy is scratching the pillow under my feet as I type this (v. annoying habit), she still manages to run under the garage door every time I try to close it, and their bark is still horrendously loud but we love them!


As I look back over the photos, I have to say it has been a fantastic year. When I’m down in the dumps, I tend to forget that, but that’s why you have to be a “big picture” kind of person, right? Despite all the swirl of crazy in the world, life is pretty good. Thank you for being a part of our lives. We wish you the very best for 2018. Xoxoxo.


awww, quick quick quick


Gig tonight, finally made this t-shirt that I've had ready to do for quite some time, will post a photo on instagram, kinda busy right now.

Gig is at the Makers' Market called Hunt & Gather, 8:30pm at the Crown Point Fairgrounds and I was told it's a party atmosphere, so that means-let's rock! And I realized that if people knew my songs, I could be up there playing the shittiest guitar and no one would care. So, everyone should learn my songs! haha.

My studio has been a complete disaster for several years, since I had moved and moved it and never got it how I wanted it, but that is ending and super exciting/freeing up some energy. I think that's why I did the t-shirt, plus, I realized I have this gig...perfect timing.

December seems to rush by in a blur. I was busy making things for the store called Society that is carrying my stuff. Then, I realized-I have a gig! need to practice. Every New Year's I have a resolution or phrase and a few years ago it was Use It Up, then maybe it was Use It Or Lose It and then Use It Up again and now it's going to be NO MORE BACKLOG. Wow, doesn't that sound great? I already wrote it out and have it hanging up. This means that the photos will go in the albums, the projects will get completed, the space will get cleared. I don't actually expect it to happen automatically, but it's something that I am chipping away at daily. 

The eps with Ainjel are still being tweaked, some more/new drums/percussion being added, more keyboards ala Jon who plays with Father John Misty (cool!) and Ainjel is going to add some bass and background vox. Can't wait to get that project knocked out/off my list. I do realize that if I didn't come up with these projects, they wouldn't need to get finished, but here we are. 

While I'd love to write more, I really need to get ready for my show and take my t-shirts to the local t-shirt printing place so I can run them through their heat-set machine. They are super nice/super cool guys Rusthead is their shop and I love hanging out with them and seeing what they are working on. 

Well-keep your head up and keep on keepin' on!



oh. this needs a title


so maybe now isn't the best time to start a blog. I mean, I'm kind of busy and all over the place. Should I design something? And if so, what. A handbag? A belt? (yes). Should I write a song? (yes) Should I play on the piano and see what happens? (yes) Should I finish the eps I've started? (yes) Should I perform my domestic duties? (yes) Should I practice for my show next week? (yes) And get an outfit together? (yes)

And then write a weekly blog, too? Hmmm. 

The other day, I got up to about 1,000 words on this to be my first official blog post, but it was dark. I thought it was dark, about my views of gender relations and I thought I didn't want to be that dark.

Then, I got terribly ill-a stomach bug from eating avocados-my body doesn't love them, and had to really slow down for 2 days. I had to lay down and I always think-oh no. Cancer. Or Lyme disease. And I think, can I get better? My daughter really comforted me. She put on warm socks, got me her blankets, a stuffed animal, put an ice pack on my head, took my temperature, got me water and wiped my nose because I started to cry because I hate being sick. And she hugged me. I know she will be good mommy now. She was so proud of herself in a nice, happy way. 

Then yesterday, stomach thing gone, but gravity was really strong. I would do one thing then have to lay down. It must be what chronic fatigue feels like. I felt so guilty, but no one seemed to mind. Thankfully my son has an after school caregiver and I was able to lay down. But I still finished a song. And did laundry. 

Now, today I'm much better. But I definitely don't want to be dark. I thought of just publishing the VM song idea I did today, so people could get an idea of what I do. But, since I had the phone on my lap, it's hard to hear. 

IN other, great and fantastic news, I heard from my producer, Josh. He is doing soooooo much better. It is a miracle and he totally makes the case for signing up to be an organ donor. He is someone truly worthy and his life makes other people happy. (I'm thinking about his family, specifically). We think we will be back in the studio in January. He wanted to start in a few weeks...but I really want him to recoup as much as possible first. Plus, the holidays are crazy. No way, no work.

So, this is this week's blog post. Still not really long enough-I did read that the idea post is about 1600 words. Here's something I made for myself awhile ago. I think it worked! xo have a great week! xo Leslie


Ok, I was just warming up


So, I think I want to be done with talking about cleaning for a while. It was a good warm up, to get me into the groove of writing on a regular basis, and thought I have a shit-ton of things (left) to write about how I feel about cleaning, I think I'm actually ready to write a "real" blog post. Woah. I put on a Spotify playlist of Women in Rock, am staring at my barbie of Empress Joan Jett and am going to charge on.

I'm sort of lazy so I'd like to write it in one go, but maybe I'll write it and then publish it on Friday, like I'm scheduled to do. 

I recently found the cd that accompanies my first solo show in 1991. It's so bad. The songs are mostly terrible, only one made it onto Heliotrope, (Dream Car--which everyone did tell me would be a hit :) but man, people were just so kind to actually listen! 

Ok, so I'm just saying that, my previous blog posts were mostly terrible also. And, fingers crossed, they won't be going forward. 

Much love!



Cassette Tapes


So. I'm listening to phone messages that I've saved on cassette tape. They are mostly from 1998-1999 but I think I have some outside that time frame. It's fun to listen to people from then-my mom, my landlord, club bookers, someone from a record label, someone from disc makers telling me how much he liked my 1st cd, magazines calling because they used an accessory in a shoot, friends of course-some telling me they left me 3 messages--who does that nowadays? Fred hears a bit and starts to laugh. Usually I used old cassette tapes, so some play out to music from that era.

I have so many cassette tapes. A box of melody ideas, old practice tapes, live tapes of shows, etc. It's hard to commit to listening to them, because they require active listening and I'm such a multi-tasker. 

the state of the eps-not much happening but I got a new vocal mix for the song "When I Wake" which sounds great. I'm sure the release will be in 2018. 

I hope you had a great holiday and are relaxing this weekend. Ours was pretty fun, my stuff turned out great. But my son wasn't quite with it so I took him to the ER yesterday for some testing. The blood work turned out fine, and that's good but I sort of wish it turned up something we could fix. 

Going to get out for a run. Hopefully I'll have more to say next week.





Late. hmm


Well, last Friday was a busy day. I had to clean the house so my husband could show it to potential clients (and get the job!) and then I had to clean our guest house and then I was exhausted. 

My son had not been doing well for a few weeks. He has epilepsy and was "seizury" and it might have been from giving him tylenol-because I just found out that tylenol can do weird things when it's being digested and so that was a major damper on my spirits. But, I'm trying different things/amino acids and such and he seems to be improving, so I'm cautiously optimistic that he'll return to his old normal. We had gone to the neurologist who seemed rather unconcerned about his deteriorated state, which was a drag. It's hard to treat a child who is non-verbal, that's for sure. But, whatever. Information abounds and all is not lost. 

So what is on my mind? Not much, haha. In a holding pattern for my recordings, but still going to the piano and trying new ideas and working on new songs. I'm grateful to be in a quiet house for the moment. What's weird is that even though I love love love music, i actually love love love silence. So I am cherishing this silence, which still has the humming of the refrigerator and the tick of the clock and whatever buzzing is in my ears. 

I volunteered to make three things for Thanksgiving. A sweet potato pie (a Mark Bittman recipe) a jello dish with an Asian flair (my sis-in-law is hosting and has assigned Asian-themed dishes) and then I asked her if she was going to have a special cocktail and she texted me one, but the two stores I went to didn't have exactly what the recipe called for, so I'm going to see if I can make some substitutions. It called for Cognac, so I got a bottle of D'usse, which when I got home, I thought I'll just put an N over the D and then cover up the e. Hahaha. N'usse or maybe keep the e. 

Time seems to fly these last 6 weeks of the year. Mrs. Claus must get busy-she usually gives the kids some custom made something (because Santa doesn't sew! duh) and I find it sort of adorable that my 11 year old is sure that Santa is going to give her a phone (MOM-all the kids have one!) Well, she did have an old phone, but got it wet. I let her sign me up for music.ly and she wants to make videos on it. 

I'm playing a gig Dec. 8th at the Hunt & Gather again. Maybe in the Spring I'll have a booth there, too. I brought 4 wool wraps to the organizer's store last Sunday and she sold 2 the same day. So I made some more and made some pins and brought them there this week. I posted a few photos on my instagram account...

Well, I hope you have a great holiday. Don't eat too much, but eat a lot, because it's tradition!





so, this week I'm going to be early, because I'm in LA and awake and going to the studio in an hour and when I get home on Thursday, I'm sure I'll be pretty busy on Friday.

So, it's great to be here/be back. I'm so thrilled to be working with Ainjel-her studio is gorgeous and has a great vibe and we are doing well. I always worry about my voice. I'm no opera singer, and yet, it "is" my instrument and as such needs to be babied, cared for, used. When I got on the plane yesterday, I felt a slight something in my throat and that's a worry. Who wants to book days into the studio to not perform well? But, then I got over it and we started working and I think I did 3 songs. I resang When I Wake, Swing for the Stars, worked on a little of Glory Days (we had done that last time) and then...she suggested I resing Shook Me...which was done, I thought. But then, yesterday, it got better. What a relief! So exciting! 

We will try to work on Subway today, and then I'd really like to work on Building's Move, though that might need to be put on a 3rd ep. (I mean 3rd of this series-I have those two other eps that I'm working on with Josh). So, that's 5 eps. 

It's cooler in LA than a few weeks ago-got a bit chilly last night and of course since I'm only wearing the clothes I make...will have to improvise. I might need to cheat and wear a long sleeved uniqlo shirt under another shirt today. 

It's such a complete luxury to be able to sit in bed and not worry that...someone will interrupt me, like a family member or animal. I've been up for hours but still will probably have to hustle to get to the studio because I'm on such a slow burn right now. 

Did I mention that I downloaded 17 hours of Voice Memos that I'd been storing on my phone? I use Voice Memos like I used to use portable cassette players-to record song ideas. Some of those 17 hours have full songs from band practice, but...wow. Got to get this sh*t out the door! 

alright. time to get ready. have a great day!


good news


So, super excited here. The producer who has taken over the "Chicago Tracks" got his liver transplant (for auto-immune disorder) and now recuperating at home. Big Yea. So glad. So, this means that eps 3 and 4 will get done sometime in the winter/spring of 2018. 

And eps 1 and 2 will probably be done around the same time. Who knows. What weights off my shoulders. Then...I can think about recording the next ones. 

I've been also working on the fashion line, which is cool. First, I'm trying to use up my supplies-which are considerable...I have fabric, leather, metal, paint, etc. Fits in with the Marie Kondo-ing of my life. For some reason I think empty will be better, more peaceful.

Not so much to say today. 






so, something that really bugs me is the lack of respect women artists get in the music industry besides those in certain genres, mostly pop. It's bugged me for a very long time, and my angst was validated by a recent article in the New York Times where the author listened to the top 150 albums by women and wrote an article that basically reaffirmed what I've long thought: that we are not heard, marginalized, harassed until we drop out, denied entry, etc. 

There are losers all around here when we are denied a say in the popular culture that is music. I think of all the men who helped me, making my records, playing in my bands-they lose too. The listeners lose out, the culture loses out. Equality loses out. It's been a hard battle, vying for relevancy in a field that is so hostile to women. When I was young, I wanted to be The Beatles! They were so cool, and I realized there weren't that many women who got the same respect/attention/etc. 

I have not even been able to read another article also in the New York Times that was about songwriters-because, while they featured 3, they were all men. No women. No doubt those male songwriters are great. But....there are no women who could join that group? 


There have been so many articles recently about harassment and for me, what bothers me the most, is that when you are harassed, you realize how hard the deck is stacked against you. You realize that no matter how smart you are, how hard you work, how talented you are, how many long and hard battles you've already fought to get where you are, you will only be viewed as a sexual object, only worthy for men's amusement, for the gatekeepers to use and cast aside (unless they let you through). It is demoralizing and debilitating and misogynistic on a level that shouldn't be. I agree with the assertion that harassment is about humiliating the victim and that it is about having power over another. Then throw in some narcissism, entitlement and patriarchy for a fuller picture. 

When I listen to the radio, what I hear is a lot of mediocre male voices. When a female voice is heard (I'm talking about genres other than pop) her voice is just so exceptional, it's an A+. And that definitely sends the wrong message out into the world. I'm actually tired of hearing about life from the male perspective. Cool songs, sure, but...time for some changes. 

And I realize that probably only a few people will hear my music. And I do it anyway. I'll play the chili cookoffs-I think no one is listening, but...people are.


Apparently making and wearing only your own clothes is going to become a thing. A friend just told me of another one who started doing this in 2016. (I knew of another women who did it a few years ago and blogged about it). I got out a pair of lasts (the form you need to make shoes) with heels-not ready to make some shoes yet but really want to because I got a pair of dead stock heels a few weeks ago. I need to make some more clothes to wear now that the weather is turning but I'm ok. Most of the stuff I've made in the past is a little bit on the weird side, so it's sort of timeless. So far the only desire I have is for some long sleeved t-shirts and I've worn a few I didn't make because I'm cold. 

I visited the Donald Judd house in SoHo a few months ago and was struck by how little was in this preserved residence. It was mostly art. For me, the struggle is getting the things to the right place/people. Recycle/trash/donate/give to a friend/sell/keep. Everything I get rid of, though, feels like a bonus. 

ok, I'm going to end here. It is a beautiful day and the fall colors are really lovely. xo


I'm late.


Right. So I'm writing on Fridays, but this past Friday I had to drive my son to Indianapolis for a Dr's appointment. It takes 8 hours to make the round trip, then you get back and blah blah blah. "Don't go to a surgeon if you don't want surgery," is how I'd characterize that day. We need to explore some more options before I will let them go into his skull. (Auto-type just put "soul" for skull and that's probably true, too)

This time, I didn't tear up, but then I had just spent 3 days in LA recording vocals. It was so nice to be there and work with my first female producer! Her live room had a super cool vibe-walls were painted black (why does that seem to be a novelty?) She could write the guide on "vibe" 

Got to stay with a friend, too, and check out her super beautiful and very cool apartment. She has impeccable taste. Every object was something I wanted to look at. I want to be her when I grow up!

I want to say something, as there has been a lot of talk around #MeToo. Speaking from experience, sexual harassment is never fun. Neither is sexual assault. Flirting is fun. The ends do not justify the means. The pain is real.

So, anyway, I've been listening to The Cars. So good. It still sounds so good. Now I have a dedicated music space, so, I need to set myself up to finish more songs. 

And in fashion news, still pushing on all fronts. For me, songwriting is theoretical, and fashion/accessory design is more scientific. I started teaching my daughter about sewing/making/designing and...I realized...I actually know a lot! Teaching was never something I thought I could do/would be good at, even though I come from line of women who did. It really is about being extremely patient. 

However...I did think about teaching a songwriting class. That, I thought would be fun. 

Ok, time to get back to work. I hope you are having a great day!



Where was I?


So, it's incredible what has happened in this world since last week. I'm glad things are finally starting to come to light and maybe, just maybe women will. Women will-be seen and taken seriously. Maybe that's it. I still don't think we are taken seriously. 

I just tore my art studio apart this morning and set up a nice music corner for myself. Finally I got a PA system so now I could do solo shows anywhere. I got out "The Complete Leslie Nuss" a notebook I made years ago with all of the songs from my releases plus other ones and am going to run through them. There are about 20 that I could probably play at any given time without much practice, but there are others that would need a review. 

My friend Mike Shimshack got excited about the idea of doing an acoustic recording so I'm thinking about that, too. Do I need another project? Probably not, but I have the songs and why not? It's really a matter of scheduling and well of course finance..but I feel compelled to get this stuff out there. I'll probably try my hand at fb or google live after I catch my breath.

LA bound, looking forward to working with Ainjel, my first female producer. Found a place to stay on Heliotrope St, didn't know the street until I booked-could not believe it! And I guess Uber will cart me around town. 

Last week's wedding went really well-the couple ended up getting married in the barn as it was raining and it was a nice, casual ceremony. They had been together as teenagers, but her mom didn't like him so she was whisked off to Nebraska! and they were reunited 14 years later. So, the marriage was a real union. They all wore converse black for the guys and baby blue/mint green for the ladies. 

Since I moved my art studio around, on the other side of this music space--it looks like a cyclone hit. Sometimes I feel like I'm living the book, "Who Moved My Cheese" or whatever it was called. But, this way you do end up reviewing your possessions and can more easily discard what doesn't serve you.

Next Friday I have to take my kid to the Dr. to review the results of an MRI-not sure how I will post, but fingers crossed I will. I do like having a routine-every Friday, I put something down. I should have some exciting news about how the recording sessions went. 

Keep your head up! Slow and steady is better than crash and burn.




Friday. Blog.


So. Rainy day. Wearing my clothes. The top from the cover of AHSS, pants I made for a show (but wore jeans instead) and the cowboy boots I made as a student at FIT (by request). 

I had a brainwave this morning to make a video of the song "She Has Gone to Heaven" that is on AHSS. Many people probably have not heard it who might own the cd because it's 2 minutes out past the last song which is called "Love Song." SHGTH is about my Great Aunt and it's something I like to play at shows to honor those who have come and gone before us. 

Anyway, I'm trying to update to a new phone-super excited as the new one has a better camera! Then = better videos and pictures! And, in keeping with my "Marie Kondo-ing" I think I will erase all the photos on the phone (they are on my laptop) and start over. I had like 5,000 photos. Who needs that many?

Tomorrow I marry Jason and Melinda. We practiced last night and it should be a fun wedding. I told her, "It can't be a snooty wedding if you are wearing camo (her dress is apparently white camo). So. I read through some wedding vows online, "cut and paste" and then personalize. Hopefully, the rain will cease, otherwise, it's either in the rain or in the barn. Either way would be cool. 

I'm going to start making my own jewelry. I am excited to melt down some old chains and try something new. I have some ideas, but it's just getting the time to make the wax. 

The state of the world is. And, for me, when I venture to have those conversations about my desires by explaining how my past experiences shape my requests, I find that I am taken care of. If I explain to people why I don't want guns on my property--even gun-loving people understand. I'm not ready to type out the whole story, but close. 

I hope you are doing well and thank you for reading. I have a show outside next Saturday, October 14th at the Farmer's Market in Valparaiso. 11-1 I believe. It's free and there are tables and benches to sit on. 





woah. Here I am again


So, I used my phone to remind me to do this. I feel like Kristin Wiig in the Target skit-"It's a Match!" I fear I will begin to set alarms for everything. But so far, just a few. 

I was contacted by a female engineer this weekend whose parents live by the shore (Lake Mi). Maybe I could record something here in my barn and she could engineer. Sounds kind of cool. Why not start a new project, hahahahaha.No, but the other one is going. Illustrator/graphic designer. Check. Trip booked to finish 4 songs. Check. Inching toward buying my own PA so I could do solo gigs, house concerts, etc. Check. 

The Marie Kondo thing is a bit messy. Luckily, I'm not worrying about it today. When you want to purge/organize, you need to pull a lot of things out and my studio does look like a cyclone hit it. My dogs are freaked because their path to the door is now a labyrinth.  For some reason Mr. B (dog) is guarding/protecting something I spray painted outside. He is guarding it. These dogs have trained themselves. I'm unpacking and things are going in several directions-use, give, sell. Then I'm pulling in supplies from my shed so I can see/use them more easily. A few years ago I bought a tremendous amount of supplies from a woman who made backpacks, etc. for Patagonia's "Made in USA" products. She could make anything! Amazement. 

I got to see Brent Shuttleworth and The Push Stars this week at Shuba's in Chicago. What a great show! I didn't know TBS, but the producer of my LESLIE NUSS cd (who now manages Brent) said that Chris Trapper is a genius songwriter. There were some really really good songs-the Irish Drinking song? Loved it and a few others. The crowd sang along and was super enthusiastic-Chicago crowds are really awesome....so all good. 

Brent and Mike got to stay with us and now want to put together a songwriter in the round in our barn. He thinks I should do  songwriter's retreat as well. We certainly could house a bunch of people tucked here and there all over the property. 

I don't want to take the time to go to an estate sale today but I might. It's a drive, but there were some cool things in the pictures. I don't need more stuff, sigh, but...."We shall see" as my brother ominously used to say. 

Back to it, 

as always, thanks for reading!


yeah, ok, once again: follow me on instagram or twitter, or fb. If you have room. It gets a little dizzying at times. "These people!" xo


Blog Started, officially.




Delays and Changes


So. luckily a few people in the music biz have told me to keep the faith and that delays are inevitable and it's not really that hard to do, but it does require constantly refiguring out a game plan. The goal is still to finish the music, but the how changes. The why or why not is there and sometimes is a factor.

What I'm trying to say is that the "Chicago" tracks are on hold now, after spending some really wonderful days in Nashville working with Pat Sansone from Wilco and producer Josh Shapera. Josh has an auto immune thing going on and needs time to rest. He's an incredible producer and our only lament was that we hadn't met before the "Chicago" tracks began, but what can you do. 

And then there's twitter, which I've been spending too much time on, though it has sharpened my focus and fed my head. I really resonate with the phrase No fks left. To give. It's powerful. What I'm saying here is that since Chicago is on hold, I decided to go back to finish the "New York" tracks with a female producer. It was shocking how easy it was to find one! And she seems really cool. And even the hub was getting it when I read a message from her. He said, "She's working twice as hard..." (not as Josh, Josh works like a maniac.) But she's on it. So wow. 

My other challenges are to only wear clothes I've made.....from here on out? Who knows. But I've been making my own clothing since high school and often it just sits in my closet. Today I'm wearing the dress from the cover of my 3rd cd with a slip underneath. It grew out of a desire for a closet cleanse. And another challenge that I've given myself which is to start a very small clothing collection for Spring 2018. 4 pieces and maybe 2 bags. I think that's doable and not too nuts. 

Then of course there is album artwork (barely started) but it's all eps so basically I'm looking at 4 eps. 

Show tonight in Crown Point. I was going to do a Facebook live, but I don't know if it will work due to wifi/4G concerns. 

In other non-type of news there are flowers and weeds everywhere around me and I'm trying my hand at making beautiful arrangements. Sometimes the weeds make the best additions. 



The state of the state


Updating my website, thought I'd write a blog post, too.