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.

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