• June 10'20 Nice Bistro Whitby, ON
  • Apr.15'20 Princess M Hospital Atrium
  • Apr.11'20 HIRUT 2050 Danforth Toronto
  • Dec.14 '19 HIRUT 2050 Danforth Toronto
  • July 26 2019 Gull River, Minden ON
  • June 19, 2019 The Nice Bistro, Whitby
  • Sun.May5, 2019 Hugh's Room, Toronto
  • Sat.April 6, 2019 The Old Mill, Toronto
  • 15 marzo 2019, el gallo restaurant, san pancho, mexico
  • Feb. 26, 2019 Relish Bar/Grill, Toronto
  • Jan.23,2019 Nice Bistro, Whitby
  • Sept.29,'18 12:30-3:30pm; Glass Eagle Studio, Haliburton
  • Sept.19, 2018 Private Function, Toronto
  • July 27&28, Haliburton Arts&Crafts2-4pm
  • June 6, 2018 The Nice Bistro, Whitby, ON
  • Feb.23,2018 San Pancho Music Festival, Mexico
  • Jan.20,2018 The Old Mill Toronto, Home Smith Bar
  • Sept.30,2017 All That Jazz & More, at the Minden Legion
  • Aug. 5, 2017 Private Party, Carnarvon, ON
  • Aug. 4, 2017 Music by the Gull, Minden, ON
  • Aug. 2, 2017 The Nice Bistro, Whitby ON
  • May 17, 2017 The Nice Bistro, Whitby, ON
  • April 29, 2017 Minden Cultural Centre, Minden, ON
  • March 24,2017 The Old Mill Toronto, Home Smith Bar
  • Feb.26,2017 San Pancho Music Fest. Mexico
  • Nov.5, 2016 Radio Hall, CanoeFM, Haliburton, ON
  • Nov. 2, 2016 le Nice Bistro, Whitby, ON
  • Sept. 4, 2016 The Red Umbrella Inn, Minden, ON
  • July 26, 2016, Head Lake Park, Haliburton, ON
  • Jan. 29, 2016, The Home Smith Bar at the Old Mill, Toronto
  • Oct.23, 2015 Gate 403
  • Sept. 9 The Nice Bistro, Whitby, ON
  • August 22, Gate 403, Toronto
  • August 14, Music by the Gull, Minden, ON
  • July 29 Hugh's Room, Toronto
  • June 13, Gate 403,Toronto

Thursday, April 25, 2019


So you know how you turn on the six o'clock news once in a while, then turn it right off after 'headline' stories? - the latest murders, or idiot politicians, or world disasters? Personally, I'd rather focus elsewhere - walk, or sing, or read a good book.
But having been hit by my own evening news - i.e. cancer whacking, punching, and kicking me like a mean school bully - it's harder to turn off. Some mornings, the dread is there as soon as I awaken - a weight that sits on your head and heart, saying your life will never be the same again; in fact, may soon be over. I weep for the loss, and then move on.
It takes a very concerted 'focus elsewhere' to make my mind walk, sing or write a good book, and change the structure of my brain. Fortunately, I sing out loud in the real, outside world, which is a healing experience, but I also have had forty years of being a massage therapist, so on the mornings that the dread doesn't totally debilitate me, I know how to mentally massage myself; to go into that part of my brain and brain waves that are associated with healing, and to use that energy to focus on a specific body part.
I do this in the hope that I will shrink the wayward and out-of-control cells that somehow are currently active in me. Does it work? Don't know, but it makes me feel better, helps me to think that I still have some control, and just generally reminds me of what is important in the life: i.e. love, an intention to help, an openness to wisdom and knowledge that is available subconsciously, and an awareness that while I don't know a lot, I can be a conduit for good if I simply allow it.
So in this evening of my life (I'm not old enough for the late-night-before-the-final-big-sleep-bedtime news yet). I say, "Begone, cancer - get thee out of me!". And I've taken to my own personal "Go Shrink Me" campaign, which is to ask everyone I know not to waste energy feeling bad for me, but to spend a few seconds daily thinking of my bad baby belly and shrinking-to-elimination that demon child, which strangely, I might have foreseen in a poem, "Bad Babies" I wrote back in 1988:

So yesterday morning I woke up,
Curled on my side, as I often am,
And my eyes, when I opened them,
Beheld a strange sight.
There, between my thighs,
Was the beatific and sleeping face of a babe.
"My God!" I said, "I have given birth in the night".
I wondered if it was alright, with only its head out,
And quickly gathered it up.
I thought about the cord, and how you cut it -
I didn't really know, but I remembered all the
Natural births I'd wanted and thought: "Oh yes,
I'll just lay her on my chest. Everything is fine."
And it was.
Except for some things I noticed later,
When I held her in my arms:
She was sucking her own thumb, and continuing in her blissful sleep.
"What's wrong?" I wondered, "Doesn't she even know enough
To want her mother's breast?"
She looked a little too self-sufficient.
I worried that she was not normally needy.
And then, there were her legs: lumpy and toady -
Covered with spots and warts;
And the black hair, that was so black, and yet,
Red too.
Long and straight and fringing the underside of her chin.
A voice murmured: "A demon child."
"Oh really," I thought, "she's so cute."
And still, I had to admit, devil babies probably were cute -
They had to start somewhere.
What to do?
The others - (I'd had three other babies,
All normal, all born that night), -
Would be enough; I could toss this one -
Even the Christians would approve of that.
The problem was: I liked her.
She was cute, hair and warts notwithstanding.
And with the loving upbringing I intended,
Would prove the silly superstitions wrong.
She couldn't really be a demon, could she?

When I looked up "Bad Babies" I found this, written twenty years later, in 2008, on the day my momma died;  Today is her birthday.   no title:

Huge white panther at my side
Like a baby; fearless hide
Belly-up, inviting strokes;
And a smile that invokes
All her regal, massive power -
Set aside while we have our
Intimacy - public now -
And our comfort, showing how
Her prodigious size and strength
Would keep me safe should she
Unleash it all.
Long story short: I may die sooner rather than later, but today - at least before more chemo comes, -


I still say, like the song, "I'm gonna live 'til I die."

Friday, April 19, 2019


I wish.
One of the side-effects of chemotherapy is constipation. Not a pleasant topic, or situation.
Hey, that rhymes; I could write a song....
But no, I'll confine my creative output to this blog, and hope my body output gets moved to move too.
My sister from Calgary just phoned to check in and make sure the chemo didn't "knock the poop out of me", but I told her "Oh, would that it had!"

I will sit here in the bathroom, computer on my lap, phone by my side, foot roller running back and forth over those large intestine meridians, until I get some results.
And meanwhile, the photo below might amuse, or turn you off, but one must have a sense of humour, mustn't one?
A few years back, I was getting ready for a gig up in Minden, and I and my granddaughter, staying with me at the time, and put to work later on the door for the performance, were just goofin' around with fake poo fotos, which made us giggle a lot. Personally, I am easily amused.
Except right now, as the Queen says, we are not.
The chocolate choo-choo never came by, so after a valiant three hours, and a few phone calls and projects and books from the throne, I gave up. But they had put the fear of God into me at the Princess Margaret Hospital, saying that if nothing moves for two days, then the danger of a bowel obstruction looms.
Since that time had passed, I phoned the doctors there, and they told me I should go to Toronto General Emergency and make sure the obstruction was not happening.
Downtown hospital. Last day before a long weekend. A few loony guys and an endless parade of other people in varying stages of discomfort and pain, most of whom were seen ahead of me. Then  eight hours later, at 1AM, I am pronounced obstruction-free, just full of shit. Oh, and cancer.

Looks like a big jobbie for for SuperZoe.  I will be stepping up to be boss lady.
What a day this has been! What a rare mood I'm in! Why, it's almost like being in love.

The love goes to my son, who has been ferrying me around the city through these last few weeks, and now tonight into the wee hours. Thank you, figlio mio.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


That's the title of one of the songs for my new, upcoming CD, and it's true. I just have to sing, every day, because that is what always frees me from the madding crowd, and it's what inspires me, and makes me feel good, better, and best.
So I will keep on singing....Here are the words to the song I referenced in my last post:


Standing in the front end of a fast boat;
Skimming waves atop the big blue sea;
All the things I see out on the shore line
They don't mean a single thing to me.

Speeding over miles in just a moment;
Only thing that's real to me is now;
Where I've been and all the years that I've spent
Blowing in the wind and past this bow.

This is how I live out on the ocean;
Where problems of the world just disappear.
Where slicing through the air is all that I know,
And I have left behind me every tear.

Standing proud and tall and looking forward;
Opening my arms to what will be;
No more chasing after what the world says;
Life is sun and wind and a blue sea.
I see it in my mind and I am free.

san pancho, 7 marzo, 2019

can't remember chords.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019


I've meant to write more here, but time is just not around my life any more. So many visits to the hospital and it's a lousy way to lose your life's little allotment. I started this maybe two weeks ago:

Nobody wore German health shoes back in the 60's, did they? Or ate whole wheat bread? Or rode their bike everywhere. But I did. And I still ride, still eat only good stuff, still refuse to destroy my feet or back with bad shoes. I also swim, walk, do yoga-type exercises, take time to smell the roses and appreciate life, have good friends, etc. etc. etc.
And yet, if the genes don't fit, or perhaps if they fit too well, then you are fucked. and if the shoes fit, well, you wear them.
Got the damn bad genes, I guess, and so now, here I am, riddled with cancer.
Quelle horreur. And it's not funny. However, I think about my favourite Monty Python skit and say:
"It's only a flesh wound!!!", and get into fighting stance.
Today's precis April 16, 2019 9:30AM :
I am Orange 22 - the chemo colour unit and chair number. I feel like Dead Woman Walking, on her way to the electric chair. I sit in 22 and listen to more of the endless blather. Oh, they are all professional, friendly, and very helpful, but this is a crap hand in a crap deal, and I find myself thinking "I hate you, God" - a blasphemy that could send me to my afterlife hell, but right now I don't care. I only hope that my higher, healing self, which always took over when I was doing massage therapy for the last forty years, and which let come to life a person and awareness very different from the self I had come to know in "normal" life. Just hope the higher me takes over this process while I go away and sulk.

It's so depressing. I want to cry, but that would only depress me more. I had planned many chores to get done during this brutally boring day, but now I just want to shut the door to everything. Bad attitude, I reckon, but "to thine own self be true".
I expected, - and still do expect, - more, and better, from life.

I was part of the entertainment at this hospital a few years ago - appeared here three or four times for patients and families condemned to this health sentence. I'm not singing now; this experience is the opposite of the life-affirming privilege I have enjoyed as a musician and performer. How quickly things can change.


I did sing a bit this morning at home, when I found a tune I'd written about a month ago in Mexico - before the sounding of the death knell. It is called "Living Free", and when I think of it, I can return mentally to the beach where I was when I composed it, watching a boat skim over top the waves of the ocean, someone standing forward in the prow. I can feel the good air rushing past me when I become that boat person; I can see the shore line - even see myself standing there watching. I see the world, which the songwriter me says I'm happy to leave behind. Little did I know then that I just might have to do that. Ah, well, having a child was good; doing massage was good; my lovers - even the ones who couldn't really be there for me - they were good. And then the music. That was the night's "lovely tune". Beware, my foolish heart.

Maybe I'll listen to my own yet-to-be-released CD. I just have to wait for my sister to get here with my bag. If it's ready for manufacturing soon, I hope to celebrate its birth. If it's posthumous, then I hope everyone else celebrates it well.
Yesterday, after buying some drugs the hospital prescribed for me, I saw a Lucky Money envelope lying on the sidewalk. I know them from many years ago, when I was teaching and living in Kensington Market. They usually had a $2. bill in them for the Chinese New Year. Yesterday's envelope, when I picked it up, had a $20. in it. Lucky me, eh? Just full of luck - and now, poison drugs.

3:30PM Well, to be honest, and except for a period of time when I felt like one of the Parkdale rubbies - drunk and leaning over too much, and slurring everything I said (Wuuuuh th' heh's goin' on, ennyway, eh? Hey!! yur priddy cute, y'know? Oh oh, sorry, sorry, maaam. Don' min' mee, I'm juhsanoldrunk! Yaaaaaah. Hevva niyz day, eh?). Except for that interlude, I felt OK, - tired, but much better than I had thought would feel. It helped a lot to have sister Lucy for aid and for company, and the nurses were very helpful. I could almost say I didn't feel a damn thing. But I was pre-drugged. We'll see later, when they wear off, how I fare.
Showed a couple of the nurses the page for my benefit concert on May 5. Gotta keep on advertising...
The show must go on.   zoechilcoeveryvoice.blogspot.com   hughsroomlive.com (calendar May 5).
Got to my son's house where my daughter-in-law made a lovely soup and bread for dinner. Thank you, Morgan. Chris came home, and we had a little visit. 
And now to bed. It might be a long cold winter coming up.

The tired old lady with the bad bad baby belly, getting the poison drip

The tired old lady later that night

The relatively youngish girl last July speaking prematurely but accurately expressing the future events, and saying WTF?
but still wearing the t-shirt that says "Gracias a la vida", which means "Thanks to Life".