short post // exercise

photo I heard someone once say, “Exercise is the most under-used anti-depressant.”

With each step, I think, “Everything is going to be OK, everything is going to be OK.”

And, it is.

Posted in Active living | 4 Comments


IMG_9176 IMG_9177 IMG_9179 IMG_9180 IMG_9192 IMG_9193 I was feeling like I had painted myself into a corner.

Correction, am feeling like that.

I mean, with all this talk about “dream big!” and “think positive!”, and “I Heart Cape Breton,” what do you do as the “positive, young-person blogger,” when life is routine, when life isn’t amazing, but merely the normal everyday schlep, where little things get on your nerves, where hope may be in short supply, when you make Sidekicks for dinner, when you’re feeling down?

Well, you hide. So I was doing that. I was feeling uncomfortable with any sort of public persona. Didn’t want to talk to anyone, use up my energy. Didn’t want to use my blog as a venting place, especially as now I’m using it as a selling place, a URL that’s attached to my products. Oh geez, I thought, what if I’m kvetching and bitching about something mundane, and someone reads it who has come here from seeing my blog address on a bumper sticker, and I totally don’t live up to their expectations? What then? And the panic sets in. I better prepare posts! But that’s not what I do, really. I just write.

That almighty power of “possibly disappointing people,” oh my, does it ever have a hold on me sometimes.

But the problem with having once had depression is, when this sort of thought pattern and behaviour lasts for a couple of weeks, I get antsy. I get worried. “Is this IT again? Am I falling down that hole again?” It’s so hard to know, because it could just be normal, seasonal, PMS, ordinary. Or, not.

But one thing I do know, is I’m done hiding. Because hiding doesn’t make the world go away. It doesn’t make the events (all the amazing events that happen around here, that I want to attend and support, but do not have the energy most of the time, to do) go away. It just means that I’m alone, and despite needing some alone time, that gets old fast. I mean, I don’t want my entire life on the Internet, or up for public scrutiny. But, there’s got to be a balance.

So here I am. I’m positive, still, and interested in community, still, and all that good stuff. I still “heart” Cape Breton. But I’ve got my days weeks too, where I just want to focus on my own life. My homework, my drive to school, my fella, my friends. Maybe take a picture of something I see during the day and write a couple of lines and share that. And that’s OK.

And if you’re still reading, that’s rad. I thank you. If I’m not your cup of tea, if you’re not looking for pictures and thoughts about one chick’s life in North Sydney, doing her best in life, but trying not to stress either, and making Sidekicks for dinner a lot more often than she’d like to admit, I recommend Cape Breton Partnership’s NextGen Connect Email Newsletter. They do an amazing job of sharing positive stories.

I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, do you!?! 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments

this week

photo I’ve been in “the cave” a week now. It’s good. Less Facebook (although, yes, you’ll still see me post some things, and pop up here and there – due to the fact that I run the “Dream Big” group on there, and that my class also uses Facebook to communicate, I can’t really give it up entirely), less Instagram, less checking emails and social media stuff past 7 pm. Fewer blog posts, at least for now. (I think I’ll go with one a week for a little bit, and see how that is.)

More: work done. More just spacing out and staring at the walls, while cuddled up with my mister. More thoughts entertained privately, not shared as “status updates.” More space in my mind for my own thoughts and my own ideas, instead of scanning and collecting little bits of everyone else’s lives, as if that horde of tiny data would somehow replace face-to-face conversations over coffee, or hugs. More appreciating the wind on my face, the slow and quiet moments, and not feeling like I “have” to check my phone every ten minutes.

Here are a few photos I took this week. Really, as you’ll see, one main reason I’m not posting as much is that I don’t have much to post! I’m living the un-glamourous life of a busy student, with time for my studies and time for making supper (but not my own lunch – I buy that, as you’ll see).

20131107-111447.jpg Frosty grass seen on one of my morning walks.


20131107-190116.jpg Mmm nom nom… NSCC’s culinary arts students cook our lunches.


20131107-190224.jpg A few weeks ago our class took a tour of Pictou’s Advocate Printing. They sent us a little present this week – a spider that they cut. It didn’t come with instructions though! We’re still working on putting it together. #whatdesignstudentsdoforfun

20131107-190311.jpg The drive home is often into the dark.

20131107-190328.jpg And sometimes I eat lunch at my desk. So glamourous! 🙂

Enjoy your weekend, especially if you’re taking in some of the rad Nova Scotia Music Week shows!

Posted in Day to Day Life, Education, Leah's thoughts, Outdoors | Tagged , | Leave a comment

into the cave

IMG_8975 IMG_8977

Last week my teacher, Heather Kennedy MacIsaac, decided to ‘treat’ us in her Design Culture class. We spend so much time on the computer, either researching, or editing, that it’s a real joy to bust out the art supplies and just make stuff. She gave it the educational twist by playing a movie about the mysteries of the ancient cave paintings, while we made our own versions of ancient-looking pictographs with some acrylic paints, our hands, some brushes, and even some sticks and leaves from the woods outside the school. Once they dried, we crumpled up the heavy-duty paper bag material they were painted on to add more “cave wall” texture.

IMG_8979 IMG_8980 IMG_8985 She also showed us this website, which is a virtual tour of the Lascaux caves in France. The music is quiet and gentle, and it is a bit trippy to watch this. It feels like you’re going down inside of a body, maybe the body of the earth?

This time of year, the darkening, when November is upon us, feels like the perfect time to go ‘into the cave,’ and that’s exactly how I’m feeling these days. As in, I want to curl up with a blanket in our home, and tidy what’s in my ‘cave’ of an office, and as in I want to shut off social media and spend time in meditation or in sleep.

And while I won’t be doing that completely, (I don’t think my teachers would accept “gone to the cave for a week” as an acceptable excuse, and I also don’t think I could go a full week without Facebook!) it is good to remind myself that life goes in cycles, with some busy in the outside world, and some more retreating.

Thinking about ancient sites of earth-worship reminds me, too, of one of my favourite books, “Travelling with Pomegranates” by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor. It’s a dual memoir of a mother and daughter who travel together to Greece and France to find sites where the ancients worshipped goddesses, and if you’re looking for a read both light, and deep, check this one out.

Posted in Art, Design, Education, Leah's thoughts, Religion and Faith, Women + kids | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

about the Twitter conversation with Carman Pirie


On Monday I was checking out the Twitter feed of a Halifax-based web designer whose work I admire, Carman Pirie of Kula Partners. As I was scrolling through, I saw a tweet he wrote where he said,

Despite the fact that I don’t actually know much about the bridge protest issue, I wrote back,

And it went from there. You can see the whole conversation by clicking here. At the point where he said the thing about year-long kitchen parties and pogey dying in the 90’s, I took a screenshot and posted it to my Facebook timeline. I got about 15 comments on it, varying from “what an ass” to “Far from being entitled, Cape Breton workers have a long history of labor struggle. Coal and steel workers knew that the only concessions they won were the concessions they fought for. The Company didn’t give anything away.” (Thanks for that Randy!)

People were pissed. One woman I know said she was going to write to the companies who Mr. Pirie designs for and tell them about his opinion on Cape Breton, and how much it angered her. A few others asked for the name of his company so that they might never hire him. More shared the photo on their own timeline with their own thoughts.

It made me pretty angry too, but I spent enough time in chat rooms in my teenage years to know that no-one really wins a battle of wits on the Internet. And I had other stuff to do (like, uh, attending school so I can get a year-round job, yo). And so I’ve been mulling it since Monday. Feeling pissed off and unsure what to do, since I didn’t want to spend any more energy on a centuries-old argument. And, although I don’t know Mr. Pirie, I’m willing to bet he’s not actually out to get Cape Bretoners, and I have a feeling it’s more that he gets a kick out of saying controversial stuff and riling people up. (I happen to love someone a bit like that.) And, I don’t want my blog and my timeline to be full of angry crap; I prefer positivity, on the whole.

But seriously. Why is it OK to say that shit? What, uh, entitles him to accuse an entire island of people of basically being year-round drunks and bums? It’s a stereotype. And it’s as bad, I’d argue, as the ones about blacks or Native people, the kind of stereotypes I won’t even repeat here, and that no-one in their right mind goes around spouting on social media, especially the social media attached to their business and real name.

It’s one of the great questions of our time… what is a valid joke, and what is offensive?

I, for one, felt like when someone insults your family… It’s like, no dude, I’m allowed to do that, but you? Back off.



Posted in Towns + communities | 6 Comments

six movies, four containing Hugh Grant

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 11.35.06 AM In no particular order:

  1. Bridget Jones’ Diary
  2. Bridget Jones 2: The Edge of Reason
  3. Sense and Sensibility
  4. Four Weddings and a Funeral
  5. Admission
  6. I Give It A Year

In other words, it was a glorious weekend. Much needed. Will be repeated as necessary. Bring it on, Autumn. I’ll take all the rain and gloom I can get!


Posted in Day to Day Life | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

book launch + office thoughts



20131025-090040.jpg Basically… it was really fun.

I got asked to sign a bunch of books. I got to eat some delicious treats. My boyfriend and his family came out to the library on a weeknight to listen to people reading stories (you may not realize how amazing that is!). Well, his mom is fairly likely to do that anyway, but certainly Adam and his father were showing me just how much they love me, by giving up time on the sofa watching sports, which is their favourite enjoyable activity of an average weeknight.

Also my own dad, his girlfriend, and my brother came by too. Even though at the time I was a little nervous (preparing to read, talking to other folks), and couldn’t really give them my full and undivided attention, I’m so glad they were there and that they made the time to come. It really means a lot to an artist of any kind, for whom most work is done alone, to have friends and family come out to see them read or perform or present or .. whatever!

So anyway. The book is launched! If you’re wondering where you can get it, you’ll be able to buy it soon on the Third Person Press website, as well as in stores around the island. I’ll let you know when I know which stores.


And now it’s the weekend! Well, close enough. Due to a conference out at school today, my classes were cancelled, so I’ve got the day at home. I’m slowly but surely working on getting my office organized. Right now the office feels like (and is!) just a big jumble of: desks (I have two), books, mini piles of papers, random receipts, bags of stuff brought from my mother’s house and left in the corner because I was too busy at the time to go through them, art supplies, binders, a milk crate, a plant, and more. So much more.

What I want it to be: organized, but with empty space for working in. I want to have the important things and places easy to reach but still out of the way. I want it to be somehow open to inspiration and play, but also not cluttered and cranky-making.

I’ll get there. I hope.

It’s amazing how much other things take priority, or at least how much I think they should. This office has been my workspace for a year now, and yes, it’s gotten a little more organized than it was at the beginning. (The recyclables have moved down to the basement, for example.) And it’s great to have a whole room to myself, that I can just shut the door on and walk away when I need to cook supper. That’s something I’ve always wanted and am so grateful for.

But the “just dump it in the office and sort it later” mindset has gotten me to this point where everywhere I look there is a mess, and instead of feeling productive when I sit down at my computer, I feel frustrated. And there is so little time in the day to tackle these messes!! Between the everyday things that need to be done (eat, use the bathroom, keep clean, go to school, do my homework, spend time with my partner), it feels like the time that is left over to take care of my own creative life and my own creative space is miniscule, and fractured in between all these other things. Do you feel that way? Sometimes I really do. And I feel helpless, unable to say no to stuff, or in some way gain control over my own day-to-day schedule. I crave, with a passion I used to reserve for chocolate or my boyfriend, several uninterrupted blocks of hours to just figure this shit out. To sort the papers, organize the receipts, clear the space.

To that end I’ve signed up for two online courses. (The wonderful thing about online courses is they are self-paced!) One is Elise Blaha Cripe’s “I Choose: Inspiration and Motivation to Make Goal-Setting Fun.” And the other is Tiffany Han’s “How To Say No.” Elise’s cost $15 and Tiffany’s cost $25 (both US dollars). So far, money well spent.

And, today, I do have an uninterrupted block of hours. So without further ado, have a great weekend! I gotta get to work.

Posted in Day to Day Life, Leah's thoughts, Work, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments