Kerri Ough - a work in progress...

It Was Up & It Was Down, But It Was Nothing in Between

If I had to sum up 2014 in one word I think it would be: adventure. Not always the adventure I was seeking I but it was a year of new and exciting & painful and treacherous events. In anticipation of a busy December I wrote my year in review blog post at the end of November. In eleven months, I already felt like I’d had an entire year’s worth of adventure to comment on. Today, January 1st, 2015, I happily bid adieu to the year behind me, and am hopeful that 2015 will improve on many levels.

Instead of listing the chronological details, I think I can sum up the year in a few categories:

Winter

My first full winter spent in my new home in St. John’s Newfoundland was, in short: long. Brian and I spent an adventurous albeit terrifying day without power on an island in the Atlantic ocean, also without power, in 20-below conditions. By the middle of winter, I had experienced no fewer than five powerful blizzards that resulted in towering snow piles in front of my house. I had shovelled so much snow my biceps were ready for a fitness competition. I’ve always known I was a Canadian, but this year in Newfoundland, I really feel I earned it. In May, I was still bundling up in my down parka (a coat I couldn’t wear when I lived in Toronto, because it never truly got cold enough.) I think the last time I wore my winter boots was June 6th. And then the sun came out and a whole new batch of adventures opened up.

My Life in Newfoundland

In a short 18-month span, I feel Newfoundland has convinced me to stay. I got the best and worst Canadian winter I’ve lived through, I’ve seen icebergs, upon icebergs, upon icebergs, from as far north as Bonavista (in May 2014) right to the St. John’s Harbour mere minutes from my door. For weeks, I watched these magnificent beauties roll through the province, in awe at their size, and sheer power. The way they sparkled under a roaring June sun, or how the air would freeze as I would step closer to one in an inlet in Quidi Vidi village. Beyond icebergs I saw the most heavenly (and apparently rare) humpback whale double breach (and snapped a photo of it!) while on a boat tour in the North Atlantic. I watched puffins do their puffin thing time and again, and I hiked the stunning and scenic east coast trail time and again. I saw moose near and far, visited Cape St. Mary’s where 20,000 sea birds visit and live every year – took spectacular photos and hosted a dozen visitors from Ontario. And finally I enjoyed meals at some of the finest restaurants I’ve ever visited: Mallard Cottage & Chinched Bistro being my favourite two thus far. Yes, St. John’s, Yes Newfoundland, you have won me over, in thick and thin, I love you.

blog iceberg victoria

Health

In May, I landed in St. John’s after 2 months of tour, at the beginning of a six-month journey through the most difficult bout of nerve pain that was caused by a bulged disc in my lower back. My body started to seize up in April while on multiple lengthy travel days. Egged on by a 24-hour journey home from Australia followed by flights to Belize and back, then finally a tour of 5-10 hour drives in the Prairies of Canada, my leg, and lower back were just finished. In June, at the peak of the pain, I landed in the ER trying to find relief through medications. I had to delay flights home and was laid up at my little sister’s house until I could sit long enough to fly home to Newfoundland. In August, I was starting to feel like myself again, walking, stretching, seeing a chiropractor and doing physiotherapy. In September I fell ill with a terrible, throat-burning cough. I lost my voice, and threw out my fragile but healing bulging disc. I flew home (bumped up to first class) to St. John’s in tears, and was forced to spend our month off on the floor, recuperating all over again.  October was looking up, and by early November Brian I decided to take a last-minute trip to Paris and London to celebrate our anniversary. Finally I could travel without fear of torturing my back. Just as we finished booking the last hotel in England, my CT scan results on my back pain came back to reveal a massive and silent kidney stone in my ureter. hahahahaha. Upon my return from Paris, my next weeks would include: a utereoscopy, a stent to drain my kidney, lithroscopy (surgery) to remove the stone imbedded in my ureter, a second stent to help heal my ureter post-op, and eventually stent removal, an early Christmas present. To say that 2014 was a painful year for me would be an understatement. Nerve pain & kidney stones:  things a 34-year old woman

Career

This, now 8-year adventure never ceases to amaze me. My best friends Caroline and Sue, and I continue to write music, record music and tour music across the world. New markets keep our calendars full, and the Canadian government, the Ontario government and a few associated granting agencies help subsidize some of the most expensive expenses a band has. I could spend a series of posts on what it’s like being a touring Canadian musician, and hopefully I will. For now, I leave you with this thought. First you need the band and the desire to spend half your life touring. Second you need some help planning and organizing  tours and overseeing the strategy of touring and recording. We have Helen, our manager from Six Shooter Records, who is like a fourth Good Loveley. She is a support, a force, and a talent we could not live without. Then there’s our team of agents in Canada, the USA, Australia and the UK and next year, Europe. And then there are the musicians we tour and record with: Steve, Paul, Ben, MJ, Robbie, Christine, Adam and Les. We have a new CD in the works, and a whole whack of touring plans for the next few years. It’s exciting, and it’s busy and I love it.

Travel

In January I visited Wyoming, South and North Dakota with my band. In March we toured Australia. April was spent, first in Belize on vacation with my husband and second, on tour in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In May, Brian and I went to Bonavista, NL. In June I didn’t go anywhere. I was broken and trying to heal. In July and August there was more touring to Alberta, Washington State and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Early September had me back in Alberta, and then in late September, a trip to Gros Morne National Park was stifled by my recurring back issue. October was spent in Ontario and Newfoundland, and November was split between Paris, London and the Health Sciences Centre in St. John’s, NL. The end of November and December was spent touring Florida, Detroit and Ontario. Finally, I was back home in Newfoundland for the end of December, and with the help of a couple of houseguests for 10 days, I had the best, simplest and most festive Christmas and New Year’s Eve I could have dreamed of.

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