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Best Laid Plans

It's hard to believe that it has been nearly four years since I started this blog.

I was so invigorated by my plans for it at the outset (see my first post) and by my life-changing plans in general. I was all set to move my creativity up the chain of priorities. I was nervous and excited and committed. I had a capital P plan.

Unfortunately, Life had other plans for me (all of us).

But, the year 2020 was going to be my year (!) From June to September there was to be a Western Canadian tour of my show Grade 8 to Fringe Festivals (Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton, Vancouver) with house concerts and a few venue appearances along the way to celebrate and support my most recent recording project, Lara Loves Leonard (a CD collection of Leonard Cohen's songs and poetry). set for a release date of May 2020.

Of course, none of that happened. My dear father, Gus, passed away in late February and Covid-19 lockdowns followed just two weeks after. Covid hit everyone hard (with the exception of Big Grocery, Big Gas and Big Amazon) but for me the choice was clear, I'd have to put my life on hold and care for my mother. There is so much to sort through once a parent (or anyone) dies. My life really became about that. In many ways I became my father's avatar. I spent a year sifting, finalising, shredding and purging. There were doctors and lawyers, alarms and disputes. There was cooking, cleaning and caring for. It was daunting. And all this while I was grieving my father and best friend. I constantly felt like I was drowning.

In spite of the continued lockdowns, I tried to find ways to finish the album, to be creative and to connect to people. What a bizarre time that first year and a half of the pandemic was. All I got any good at, in that time, was cancelling things. Things would open up - so I'd schedule a concert and then there would be a new lockdown issued days before the event. Or, I would have an outdoor concert set only to have a cancellation due to rain. I finally got the video for the first single for the Leonard project filmed in June of 2021 and three days later my mother, who since February 2021 had been in a retirement residence, fell on her face and fractured the top two vertebrae in her neck. It was a devastating injury that required serious rehabilitation management. Everything stopped, for me, again.

Finally, in the fall of 2021, with my mother's improving health, I felt it was possible to move to New Brunswick, to the house I had purchased early in the Spring. It was a run down, old place with literally almost everything needing to be done to fix and cheer it up. But, I told myself I would take a year to work on it, get some work, and then get back to my creative projects.

Unfortunately, in March of 2022, before I was even finished unpacking, I slipped and fell walking on the TransCanada Trail and broke my wrist. The break was bad, though thankfully did not require surgery, and the damage to the tissues of the hand and wrist was worse. It took me almost a year to recover. I'm so grateful for the excellent work of the medical professionals who shepherded me through the whole experience. Even now, I'm still working on the rehab with about 10% to go.

Cast selfie (April 2022):

A brave face (determined to be optimistic!!) and sunburst/forget-me-not LH marker art .

For the past year, I've been focusing on getting the necessary work done at my place. It has been slow going. In Sept. 2022 Hurricane Fiona devastated my property, taking down a row of 28 trees. About half of them pulled the roots right up out of the ground. For a month or so, my property looked liked a logging camp. It was shocking and demoralising, it hit me hard. The trees had provided a curtain that created a real sense of privacy and remove. Their loss left me feeling exposed and made the dowdy nature of the house, barn and property obvious from the road - a call to action if you ever saw one!

Here I am a year later settled into a nice routine of work (teaching adults in preparation for their GED exams), home improvements (right now getting ready to paint the barn - this weekend if the weather cooperates), and creative projects (music, writing and visual arts - the whole ball of wax!). So, I'm ready to throw myself into the fray again. To get my thoughts and ideas out there. To bring to fruition projects that have stalled in the face of all that the last four years has brought.

And, it feels good. So good to feel the vistas are opening again - inside and outside. I'm bringing all the optimism I can muster to the journey, knowing all the while that:

"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans".

Allan Saunders 1959/John Lennon 1980

After the hurricane (Sept. 2022)

that's my driveway and my barn under all of those trees!!


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