Friday, August 31, 2018

Happy Birthday To Me a.k.a. cloaks and drama

I didn't plan to post anything about it, but then this playfully disastrous part of my personality started knocking at my mind's door. At first it did a gentle tap-tapping and within minutes it was almost like the pounding noise of a fist against a locked door!  

Yes, in less than an hour and a half, I will cross the finish line of the probable last of the ten-year age milestones :) It's scary stuff, folks :)

But I've noticed that in the weeks leading up to tomorrow and soon-to-be midnight, I've kind of stoked myself with a few things I hope to accomplish in the coming months. I want to visit wolves.  As everyone who knows me knows, I love these majestic and vilified beautiful animals. If I could, I'd travel to Minnesota where I'd have the best chance to see and hear them. And the mentioning of that state gives me a great opportunity to tell you there is a wonderful, hard-working organization there called "Howling For Wolves" (please look up their address and website on my animal ministry blog  at  http://animalministry.blogspot.com.) 

I'd also like to make one more trek to the beach and take in the energy and power of the ocean ... I prefer lovely Folly Beach and its wonderful beachfront hotel, where I visited a few years ago with my best friend with whom I hope to have more adventures and special memories. Also, I want to get a band jam together soon and enjoy the camaraderie that a group of musicians has when playing together.  We are needing a drummer; a small kit should be fine!

In other realms, I will continue to admire Willow, my beautiful tree and her little offspring and my indoor rubber tree, Rub-A-Dub. Ruby, my dog who happily responds when I call her "Ruby", "Ruby Dog", and "Rubinski" will soon be eleven years old and is so smart she can even tell what I'm saying when I spell words backward ... she is a joy and leaps with excitement when I say the letters R - A - C, as she loves to ride.

This post may, on the surface, sound a little silly, but it is merely wearing a cloak of silly disguise; remove the cloak and you'll see a woman of renewed spirit and dedication to what she deems important, needed, wanted. Yes, you'll also see a woman whose cloak has dropped to the floor, leaving her quite ... well ... visible :)

It's 11:11, an auspicious number, and I want to post this before the calendar changes to September 1, so I'd better do that now :)


Sunday, August 19, 2018

Aretha Franklin ...

Here is my favorite quote by this great lady:

"Soul is something creative, something active.  Soul is honesty.  I sing to people about what matters.  I sing to people who accept it like it is.  There are tears when it's sad and smiles when it's happy.  It seems simple to me, but to some, feelings take courage". 

Amen.  

Monday, July 9, 2018

Precious and Profound --

The beautiful poem/quote below resonates perfectly with my own thoughts, stirrings, wonder, and sense of true communion. As you read it, take in the words and the picture it paints; be moved by it and feel the connection between self and the profundity and majesty of our fellow creatures.
                                                             
... Clara


The Summer Day ...

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down,
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

  ~ Mary Oliver ~



Monday, June 18, 2018

"Only You" Song and Video


Dear Readers,
Here is the link to my rendition of "Only You". It's a joyful work of audio and video; I hope you enjoy it.   
Clara


https://youtu.be/lHGhhVE7MZM





A writing by Pema Chodron


This profound writing by Pema Chodron, a wonderful and wise Buddhist nun and teacher. 

What Is Freedom --
But it's not impermanence per se, or even knowing we're going to die, that is the cause of our suffering, the Buddha taught. Rather, it's our resistance to the fundamental uncertainty of our situation. Our discomfort arises from all of our efforts to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant okayness. When we resist change, it's called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that's called enlightenment, or awakening, to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness. Another word for this is freedom -- freedom from struggling against the fundamental ambiguity of being human.
       
         ~Pema Chödrön  

Thank you, Ike, for sending me this post.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sizzling Summer Update ...


Here is a quote by Charlie Musselwhite, the fabulous blues harmonica player who is sometimes referred to as "Memphis Charlie" and who has a fascinating bio. The quote speaks of the blues genre and says exactly what is true and it was offered by Dan Forte, ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award winner for excellence in music journalism.  It says: "The blues is your buddy in good times and your comforter in bad times. It empowers you to keep going. It is secular spiritual music, the gospel blues. It's music from the heart instead of the head." To which I say "Amen".

I write, sing, and play other genres of music -- each for its own reason and purpose ... love songs to tell my secrets, jazz as a mental work-out, latinesque for its excitement ... but blues is exactly what Charlie says it is and that's why I love it.  



Saturday, May 12, 2018

Ruby Speaks ...

Rrf!  Hello Folks ... Ruby here!
Thank you for waiting so patiently for me to speak. Now that I have your attention, I hardly know where to begin :)  Look at my close-up picture for a few moments and you may think you see my lips moving :)

Yes, I have my service vest, after having visited doctors' offices and businesses around town for a while, I took the plunge and am service dog for Clara in a supportive way ... and also, in a general sense, for Gerald, who for some time now has not been able to walk more than a few steps even with his walker, but cannot use a wheelchair because it would be difficult to get someone to transfer him in and out of the chair due to his weight (a hefty medical person needs to bring a chair out to the car each time). So we have a car now in addition to Clara's truck. The car was originally bought to be a Rubymobile because it's hard for me to climb up and safely get down the step of the truck. But the Rubymobile also transports Gerald whenever he has an appointment. He requires considerable help in getting in and out of the car. Once at the appointment, he needs additional help and that's majorly where I come in. Everyone oohs and aahs and sort of reverently moves out of the way of our entourage as Clara, doctors, aides, and I help him to his destination.


Stepping back in time a few months, I was blessed at the Blessing Of The Animals service at Westside UU Church during October. It was a lovely service and Rev. Carol obviously enjoyed planning and conducting it.  

I'm now ten years old (January 1st) with a sketchy background and I look like the jet black German Shepherd that I am with some wolfy possibilities and colorations between my toes. I understand many words even when they are spelled (even spelled backwards) and when I growl it is the most fearsome, gutteral, baritone lyrical semi-howl sound. I only growl when I hear other dogs barking or yapping.

Recently I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Rev. Jenny at Borderland Tees in south Knoxville. Folks, if your organization wants awesome tee shirts at great prices, Borderland is the place to go. Rev. Jenny is a community pastor; she and her partner Bob have employed and assisted, with ongoing success, members of society who are on the fringes (borders) of society. I had a great time there being welcomed and petted :)

Now, I've held back this post until I could tell you something definite about Clara's new music video.  I love music and will stop whatever I'm doing, even if I'm napping, to come into Clara's music studio and sit right next to the amplifier.  She recently recorded two songs at Songwriters Recording Studio in Knoxville, with multi-talented William (Sandy) Garrett at the helm. One of the songs is a re-make of her original "Conversation". The other is an amazing, spellbinding (see I told you I know a lot of words) arrangement of the song from the '50s, "Only You"; it is featured on the video. There are special reasons that Clara chose to do this song and I am inwardly smiling as I think of what a beautiful, romantic song it is. HP Video of Knoxville is preparing the video and the YouTube link will be posted on this blog soon!

I am so enjoying this opportunity to write this guest post here and would like to remind everybody to please adopt a shelter animal. I was a shelter animal and so lucky that Clara walked in and saw me (I was depressed and wouldn't even look at her that day). She took a leap of faith and filled out the papers ... and here we are, the perfect match of human and canine :)    

Thank you for reading my guest post.
Ruby Dog

Rrf!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day 2018 and an Update...

I haven't posted here for a while, partly due to a couple of medical issues -- and they work as a team :) Also, time seems to be flying by. But there is a good reason, too:  I've been working on two songs to record later this week. One is the '50s hit cover song "Only You"; the other is a re-make (and re-structured version) of one of my originals, "Conversation". Vastly different from each other in genre and mood, they do go well together in expressing the singularity and attributes of the emotion that goes with my desire to sing and play them. 

My dog, Ruby, is wonderful ... she is a darling, affectionate, and super intelligent being and is now also a service dog.

Today is Earth Day and my thoughts and feelings about it are hopeful, painful, fearful, and apologetic to our Earth Mother. Of course, humans are what have brought conditions to a woeful level for our planet, ourselves, and the myriad of non-human inhabitants. We've seen the widely circulated picture of polar bears in the ocean looking for ice floes that are no longer there. We've read about the plight of bumble and honey bees. There are so many other examples of animal suffering and exploitation, environmental destruction, and threats to our own existence, brought about by ignorance and apathy ... and corporate and political greed. Even so, I can make myself say "Happy Earth Day" because I know that there are a great many of us who care about our planet and fellow beings. Let's make our voices be heard in whatever ways we can!  And let's vote for our environment. Earth is our home, we need to protect it.

Please send comments to the blog rather than my email address so that others can see what you say. It's easy ... just click on "anonymous". I always like to hear from you.



Sunday, February 25, 2018

Yearnings ...

Deeply touching Nature,
The call of the wolves resonating with me.
Music for spirit, drums pulsing rhythm,
My body's earthy yet celestial response.

Flowers grace the bank of the brook,
Butterflies of every color
Swirl and dance in delight,
Around my face.

And love for my soul, oh yes!
Magical kisses on my lips, arms around me,
Like gentle rain on a Spring day.
What a marvelous dream it is.

And needed -- a little more time,
A little more time, please ...
For all of this to manifest.
How wondrous, How very wondrous it will be!


                    ...  Clara the Lady Wolf






Sunday, February 4, 2018

Here is the link to my music video "Fantastik Five-Clara the Lady Wolf"


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c76mqe3-1II





Clara's Eleven Imperatives ... aka Commandments, Requests

There are eleven instead of ten because  1) I want to avoid any hint of religiosity and 2) I like the number 11; I think it is auspicious. So here, in random order, are my Eleven Imperatives:

  1.    Show gratitude and give thanks to the Great Source of All/God/the Great Spirit/the Great Energy for life and all that is good.

  2.    Be compassionate and kind to all living beings.

  3.    Thank a tree (for oxygen, shade, beauty). Save a tree. Hug a tree if you’d like to. Trees like hugs and they are good listeners if you need someone to talk to.

  4.    Be loyal and kind to that special human with whom you are in love.

  5.    Become an environmental activist—Save honeybees, bumblebees, crickets, praying mantises, stink bugs (friendly), cicadas (friendly and attractive), beneficial lady bugs, and necessary earth worms (after a heavy rain, I often rescue those who get stranded on pavement and put them back in the grass). Do not let insecticide companies spray your yard with poison. Pick up and properly dispose of litter.

  6.    Become a humane activist—Save domestic animals (dogs, cats, horses) in our country where they are often neglected and intentionally hurt and in other parts of the world where they are raised in brutal circumstances to be eaten or otherwise exploited by humans. Appreciate and re-establish predator animals such as the majestic wolf to restore what humans have destroyed in Nature’s balance. Leave wild animals such as bears, horses, deer undisturbed in their natural habitat and do not harm or mistreat them. Help legislate for cows, pigs, sheep, chickens who are victims of a brutal industry and are not protected from cruelty by any laws. Consider switching to a diet that is largely plant-based.
 
  7.    Send vibes of civility out into the world. Love is the only way to conquer hate. Love is the ONLY antidote for hate.

  8.    Celebrate music, the true universal language. Even the planets sing as they spin and rotate in the heavens. Join in and play a musical instrument. Drum on a hand drum. Sing and give it your best effort. Tap your foot.  


  9.    Speak out for peace for our planet. Peace instead of war should be the motto.   

 10.   Do aerobic dancing every day. Dance, dance, dance! 

 11.   Meditate. Breathe deeply … inhale, exhale.  Do it unhurriedly.  Meditation can involve spoken prayer, silence, surrender to the will of the Universe, gratitude.





Monday, January 8, 2018

January 8th … My Mother’s Birthday

January 8th … My Mother’s Birthday! Her birthday is always two weeks to the day after Christmas Day and one week to the day after New Year’s Day. It’s a special day to me, as my mother was an extraordinary person and she was a loving mom.  Her “momness”  didn’t take the form of hugs and kisses. Rather it was a blend of her willingness to defend me against the bullies when I was a young child, her support of my academic activities and special projects (she would sit and physically help me to paste segments of my little elementary school booklets that I would prepare and turn in for extra credits), and perhaps most notable of all, she promoted me and my musical abilities unceasingly and enthusiastically; she believed in me.There could never be a cheerleader more devoted, consistent, and sacrificing as my mother!

Today I’m thinking of her birth in1913, into a large and poor family; both her parents were immigrants. She came into this world a helpless, innocent infant and it seems odd for me to try and picture her that way. 

Her life was made very difficult by my only sibling for whom she made egregious, tremendous personal sacrifices … and she suffered prolonged periods of painful heartache over him. As the Universe is always aware, and often providing solutions and outcomes, a young man who was considered a “transient” came to my sibling’s California apartment a few months before his 41st birthday and murdered him on New Year’s Eve. My mother mourned his violent death, though her life gradually became her own again and I felt greatly relieved for her sake. 

She was a very friendly and generous person and a strong, resourceful woman whom I will always admire. She would be 105 years old today.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MA!



Saturday, October 14, 2017

A Guest Post

by Ruby Dog

My person (Clara), asked me to post a few words about a misadventure she had recently, in the hopes that others may be alerted and avoid injury.  Did you ever notice the mini curbs that are overly plentiful in many parking lots? Some of them are even placed where it's necessary to straddle them in order to get to your destination. Well, about a month ago, my person was carrying a bag of dog food back to the large pet supply store where she had bought it. She parked up next to the store's entrance and put the bag up against her left shoulder. When she had taken two or three steps toward the door, she went flying through the air (having tripped on one of those tricky mini curbs) and landed hard on the cement sidewalk.  Her right side sustained significant injury...especially her knee which now looks very weird in its effort to heal.  I asked her to post a picture of it, but she said that would not be a nice thing to do. I say exactly what is on my mind at all times, but she says that being tasteful is important. I'm trying to learn about "tasteful" and how different its meaning is from "tasty" (about which I'm knowledgeable). Anyway, humans, be careful of those pesky mini curbs or whatever the parking lot designers call them.

On the lighter side, I've had a nice summer -- played a lot of "fetch the stick" and barked at a lot of noisy vehicles that went past the yard. Also I went for numerous rides in the car; I get very excited when I sense that we're going out in the car. I'm so glad that Clara adopted me :)

And I'd like to remind everyone to please care about dogs ... and all the other animals who are your fellow beings. Clara's Animal Ministry blog is at http://animalministry.blogspot.com  and her Healing The Earth Family blog is at http://healingtheearthfamily.blogspot.com.  She has a nice music video called "Fantastic Five"on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c76mqe3-1II .

I've enjoyed speaking here (ruf)!
Love, Ruby

Friday, September 22, 2017

my September song ...

Dear Readers, 
I've been out of touch for a couple of months and it seems like much longer. I hope that people still read blogs.

I was honored to be doing what I could to assist my beloved closest friend through a surgery and hospital stay. He is recovering well now at home and I'm so proud of him and his courage and wonderful spirit. 

Another person in my realm was distressed recently when told a needed hip replacement couldn't be done because of some other existing health concerns. He is now getting in-home health therapy which is a welcomed step forward.

Shifting gears, I'm wondering if there is anything that the general populace can do to help unite people together and gather the momentum to promote peace? Peace is cool (war isn't).  It would be a comforting contrast to current news items.  I'd love to hear songs like we heard in the '60s .... "Love Train" and "He's Not Heavy He's My Brother", "Blowin' In The Wind", "Imagine", and many other of the wonderful songs of that time.  I think we truly can say that the hippies had it right! These songs are beautiful, humane, inspiring, exciting, and could really do some good now. We would hope for radio stations with the courage to play them. We humans need universal love, compassion for each other and for our fellow beings the animals, respect for our planet, and a sense of gratitude for life itself and all that is beautiful.

I'd like to write a little joyful thing here. I always have a little reservoir of joy on hand, just waiting to make an appearance. Here we are in the initial days of autumn (Autumnal Equinox) ... equal daylight and darkness on the 22nd! And no matter what the circumstances, Nature offers comfort and balance and good energy.Trees are magic in their ability to absorb our concerns and take us in under their comforting boughs. My personal immediate advice includes hugging a tree and petting a dog or cat. My dog, Ruby, is like a psychologist, able to look into my eyes and lift up my thoughts. Also, I find that doing something nice for somebody really does give me joy. So, with gratitude, I thank anyone who is reading this blog. And I thank everyone who promotes kindness today.



Monday, July 24, 2017

"Words that we say weave a pattern of lace".

Hello dear friends and readers one and all,

This post's title is a lyric line from my song "Conversation".  I haven't posted in a while.  My muse was always with me but I had tons of mundane tasks that are now either done and out of the way or piled up in a dusty stack in a remote corner of my mind (I was going to say "brain" but realized that could sound a bit scary :) I've just taken a deep, wonderful breath ... aahhh. Now to weave some amazing thoughts into our pattern of lace.


I'd like to first tell you about my dog's sitter and friend, Jennifer the Pet Nanny. Jennifer took the lovely picture you'll see currently at the top of the pix column; in it Ruby was in the process of lifting her right paw to shake hands.  Jennifer is such a loving, capable, pleasant  person that I highly recommend her for anyone in the Knoxville area who has a pet needing regular or occasional care and companionship.  Her contact number is (865) 216-6118.


I'd like to share with you some quotes that I particularly like, each one is on a different emotional level and is personally special to me.


The first is:


"Even this late it happens;

The coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
Stars gather, dreams pour into your  pillows". ... by Mark Strand.     

The second is:


"The wondrous voice, the voice of the one who attends to the cries of the world,

The noble voice, the voice of the rising tide surpassing all the sounds of the world,
Let our mind be attuned to that voice.
Put aside all doubt and meditate on the pure and holy nature of the one who regards the cries of the world,
Because that is our reliance in situations of pain, distress, calamity, death.
Perfect in all merits, beholding all sentient beings with compassionate eyes,
Making the ocean of blessing limitless,
Before this one, we should incline." ... by Thich Nhat Hanh.

The third is:


"Soul is something creative, something active. Soul is honesty.  I sing to people about what matters.  I sing to people who accept it like it is. There are tears when it's sad and smiles when it's happy.  It seems simple to me, but to some, feelings take courage"... by Aretha Franklin.


And to those awesome words I'd like to add my own little one-liner: "We are all in the same cosmic canoe'"... Clara the Lady Wolf.


Please, if you haven't, check out my music video "Fantastik Five".  And  if you like it, click on the You Tube "Like" tab.  Please also send your blog comments to the blog; it's easy, just click on Anonymous.  Thank you :)  Peace and blessings.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Thoughts About My Dad ...

The upcoming Father's Day weekend lends itself well to memories; my father passed away in 1996.  I think about him often ... Daddy was, in many ways, unique. While I was growing up, most of my time was spent away from home with my mother, who took me hither and yon to do music performances.  So I  had a kind of "double life" :)  An interesting couple, my mother and my father were from different worlds ... she was a city girl and he was a country boy. In those days "country" meant where there were few vehicles and mostly woods and ponds and swamps (real swamps with skunk cabbages growing).    

Every day when Daddy would get home from work he would go outdoors and busy himself with his garden, which was more like a mini farm.  He loved trees and could identify every tree; he spent many hours building and remodeling bird houses to hang in some of the trees.  In wintertime, he would be shoveling snow, putting down ashes or sand to make the walkways safe. When he did get to spend time with me, he would tell me about Nature and things like putting mud on insect bites and bee stings so they would stop hurting. He delighted in making little jokes about some of my mother's visiting relatives; the jokes would be little rhymes usually. He was not the warm and fuzzy type of father (no hugs) but he put much effort into teaching me ... conveying Native American lore and he knew a lot about animals, both wild and domestic. He would go out of his way to help an injured or lost dog or cat. We went hiking often. There were, at that time, ponds and creeks that lent themselves to his obvious respect and reverence. He could predict the weather with uncanny accuracy.


A few years ago while going through some very old photographs, I came across one of him, sitting on the back steps of what was then his parents' house (ours was next door and the properties were connected into one huge area of land).  In the photograph, he was carefully holding a baby on his lap. The baby, who was dressed in a knitted outfit complete with ruffled cap, was about seven or eight months. On the back of the picture he had written "This is me holding MY baby -- this is the only baby I've ever held". When I read that I felt very touched by the image of this young man with his thick, unruly hair, holding what was, perhaps in his mind, the most fragile thing he had ever held.


He was a very talented hockey player and could ice skate so swiftly and well, it was fascinating to me. He had also been a softball player and a saxophone player before getting married. Active always, he could run up the hill leading to our house in the middle of winter when it was slick with ice; his philosophy was that if he kept running, his pace would propel him too fast to slip and fall. I remember hearing him say that many times to people who would be struggling up the hill (either on foot or with their cars). "Just run" he would sometimes call out to them. They would be in disbelief seeing him glide by :) To me it seemed to be a lesson in perseverance and rising to the challenge.

    
These are nice memories to recall. Thank you, Daddy.
And happy Father's Day to all dads.  


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Delightfully eclectic!

Tonight I am in "picture mode" and so have posted a few new, exciting pictures.  I just thought of one additional one I should put up there ... it isn't exactly a picture, but is actually a promo for me and my music.  It will probably not be easy to take your eyes off the gorgeous wolf that meets your gaze as soon as you log onto the site :)  He/she is amazing!

Also tonight I'm focusing my thoughts, hopes, and dreams on wondrous things ... such as the pictures, and the theme of today which is "Mothers".  I said a meditation this morning in honor of those of us whose moms are deceased, focusing on my own mom and the mom of my best friend.  Both were amazing women who dealt with hardship, yet remained faithful and kind to all. 

Tomorrow we will again, undoubtedly, find ourselves shocked by the latest crazy antics in Washington DC, but I'm ever hopeful something and/or somebody will pull us up and out of that mire and into the Light of Peace.  Two things that best promote the possibility of peace (besides prayer and meditation) are Nature and Music.  So I will put up my little jpeg music promo (that is very newsy and sort of cute) and also a picture that may be surprising though pleasant to see ... it's a current and very classy photo of Mr. Putin playing some of his favorite music on his grand piano.  

One more bit of news !  Currently (here in Knoxville) work is being done on a video that will feature five of my recorded songs, with a myriad of exciting visual offerings, and awesome production.  The songs were recorded at Songwriters Recording Studio here in Knoxville,  with multi-talented Sandy Garrett at the helm.  The video production is being handled by HPVideo in Knoxville, where Ben and Tom's expert talents will put together "Fantastik Five" (that's the working title) by Clara ... the Lady Wolf.  It will go up on YouTube and on this blog and perhaps elsewhere.

Now I need to get those remaining two pictures up! 


Sunday, April 23, 2017

"Never In A Million Years"

This post will be a bit of whimsy and nostalgia. I'm placing it here as the first post so that people will be curious and log onto the blog and see the post about Leo and his rescue organization which is directly after this one :)

This post will require a bit of imaging. Most people who are acquainted with me know that my childhood and youth (well, most of my life) was in music performance at venues of many descriptions. My mother was a very active "stage mom"  :) When I was 19 years old and had left my home of origin (actually, had been run off by my sibling who was not a nice person), my mom saw an ad in the newspaper about a vocal group looking for an additional singer who can do harmonies. She renewed her interest in being backstage and insisted that I inquire and I found myself with three guys who were going to sing and one additional guy who was a talented piano player. The building was very old and in the center of New Haven (CT), about two or three floors up in an old building. The floors were that nice, worn-looking kind of wood. I didn't really want to be doing this kind of music... I was 19 and these guys were in their mid-thirties (old) and the piano player, Tony, must have been in his 50s. They called what we were doing "progressive jazz"; of course I was much more enthused about rock and roll. Well, we practiced there and at each other's houses for a while, then added our own instruments ... me on piano, Charlie on guitar, and Geno on bass ... or sometimes Charlie would play the bass and Geno would play some kind of hand rhythm instrument ... later Ray entered the scene and played drums. By this time I was really enjoying the harmonies ... very close jazz chords on some terrific old (at that time) songs ... and Tony kept saying "Rock won't last, it won't last!" This is all leading up to what I want to tell you :)

One night while we were in the old building, we heard footsteps coming up the stairs.  It was a  smiling middle-age man of stocky build and I think he was carrying in his own huge stand-up bass. The guys knew him and asked him if he'd like to do a song and in a split second he responded by saying "Sure" and I heard my very first vocal and bass solo as he launched into a spell-binding rendition of "Never In A Million Years". I'd never heard the song before.  It was mesmerizing to me and at that moment, the bass became a much-loved instrument to me. I later realized that the bass sound is very important to me when I play piano or my split keyboard (which has a bass function). As a matter of fact, a saxophone player who came to my house five or six years ago, jubilantly exclaimed "A keyboard player with a left hand!"  

The song "Never In A Million Years" has stayed alive somewhere in the background of my mind and, recently, I looked for the lyrics on the Internet.  I made myself a lead sheet and have added the song to my repertoire :)    


D.E.L.T.A. Rescue Needs Help ...

D.E.L.T.A. Rescue (Dedication and Everlasting Love To Animals) Needs Help!  This is the largest "no kill and care-for-life" animal sanctuary of its kind in the world, home to more than 1500 animals who had been abandoned in the wilderness.  Located in a lovely high desert area of Los Angeles, it's surrounded by rolling hills.

Founded by Leo Grillo, it is a genuine 501(c)3 non-profit organization and has an "A" top charity rating. (Guide Star is one of the reliable ways to look up financial information about non-profit organizations ... especially look at the fund-raising expenditures). D.E.L.T.A. Rescue has two veterinary hospitals and a full-time veterinary staff on the premises and state-of-the-art equipment to provide care for each animal's needs. In 1979, Leo put his career on hold when he began rescuing dogs, puppies, and cats who had been dropped off and abandoned in the wilderness. He says that people told him he was a "fool" to devote his life to rescuing animals, but he stayed with it for going on forty years.

I heard from Leo recently and he is urgently hoping for some new donors, because many of his long-time donors have grown old and passed away. He says that he can't compete for funds with organizations that have professional fund-raisers and who have very effective television ads. He is asking each person who reads his appeal (let this post serve as a part of his appeal, please), to tell another person ... and pass the word along.

The work he has done and is doing is vital and admirable. This is a very good man.  The website is at http://www.deltarescue.org. Donations can be made on the site via Pay Pal or can be mailed by postal mail to D.E.L.T.A. Rescue, c/o  Leo Grillo, P.O. Box 9, Glendale, CA 91209.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

"A Real Little Trooper"

I wonder if anyone still uses that old phrase (the title of this post) ... so often said backstage during the old show biz days :)

I meant to put up this post recently when I wrote a couple of others. This one is in the "Nature's Wonders" category of my mind. It's about a poinsettia plant that I bought three or four Decembers ago either at the grocery store or Kmart; it summered outdoors and then came in each autumn just before the frosts would begin. I would bring in the scraggly (neglected) plant because it was clinging to life so valiantly; I admired that.

Last summer's drought hurt and even killed some of the plantings I attempted to keep watered, dragging the hoses around the property in the intense heat each day. The poinsettia was not on my plant priority list but, somehow, it managed to catch enough water spray when I when I watered my other outside plants to hang on ...  and it still had a leaf or two when autumn arrived, so I brought it indoors in November so it wouldn't freeze. It stands on a table with my houseplants here on my sun porch and now has a full crop of leaves on new branches and bright red brachts with the little yellow flower centers.  It looks proud :)  All this with no special care except weekly watering.  

I admire and respect the life force ... the courage and determination an organism (including human) can have under adverse conditions, in order to endure, grow, blossom, and fulfill its purpose.  And so I've named this plant "Little Trooper" :)  


Monday, March 6, 2017

Fierce Love!

"The Divine is with us, my friends, if we
only bring our attention there. Take heart.
Be courageous and brave. Practice
faith and patience as you Stand with Fierce Love.  When the consciousness is kept on God, you
will have no fears; every obstacle will then
be overcome by courage and
faith."     ~ Paramahansa Yogananda

Thank you, Ike, for sending out that quote.

Fierce Love is passionate and unconditional.  For me, it is the only kind of love that I can really call "love".  Fierce love does not back down or shrivel up; it lasts through the storm and administers caring; it is honest and palpable.  It is the way I live and breathe and, at times, pull myself or another back from the abyss.  It gives me courage. Fierce love is the real deal.
 ~ Clara the Lady Wolf

  

Friday, February 17, 2017

Important Stuff Of Many Colors !

Dear Readers,
I always do my writing and then add pictures, if any. This time it had to be done in reverse order, as I couldn't wait to see these photos on my screen :) They run the gamut in terms of feelings, importance, and you-name-it. Rather than do a bunch of individual posts to cover each topic, I think I'll sort of ravel on, putting each subject in a different color font and, of course, dividing up the paragraphs.
  
The first photo you'll see covers the space of a double column and I hope it is readable; in case not, I'll type the words here: "A white Rose to honor and hold in loving memory the dogs and all other animals who suffer and die torturous deaths by the hands of persons who are intentionally cruel. May civility and compassion for all beings enter the hearts of all humans"... Clara ... the Lady Wolf.

As an animal advocate and humane educator all of my adult life, I have known of many, many intentional cruelty and neglect cases foisted upon our fellow-beings, the animals. Each one is heart-breaking and sometimes justice is done. We learn of cases of starving horses, cruelties inflicted on farmed animals, and the killing off of wolves and other wildlife. Most frequently though, we hear of cases involving dogs -- man's best friend. And the catalyst for this post does/did involve dogs. About a year ago, I read a carefully documented investigative article that detailed a horrifying, violent, protracted death inflicted on a docile small collie dog and other dogs who had been waiting to be reclaimed by their owners at the dog pound in a small town in Texas.  The crime was, in essence a "fun" exercise, carried out at the city garbage dump where no one would see or hear the activities and the dog's cries. The perpetrator was/is an employee of a branch of the federal government; this particular man and his "trainees" were referred to as a "rogue" agency because it basically has little or no accountability, although it is under the umbrella of the Department of the Interior. What he did I would like to be asked about by media, in whom I could confide. For months I wrote to and called various animal help groups in the hopes that someone would raise this issue within the government realm and prosecute the guilty.That did not happen. So I mourned in silence and my health declined. I also realized that talking about it could put me in jeopardy, but I would like to talk with sincerely interested media and advocacy groups.  

Very recently I decided to place a beautifully-shaped boulder and the sign bearing a white rose, to honor the little collie and other animals who fall into cruel hands. Here is something we all can do:  Please tell others about the need for civility ... and compassion for all living beings.

Ruby, my dog adopted in late May of last year, just celebrated her ninth birthday on January 1st. She's a wonderful girl and I am blessed to have her. She has a huge understanding of the English vocabulary, so I often need to spell words, especially about going "out in the car" which she loves.  Some words I need to spell backward; "car" becomes "rac", for example.  

For the past eight or so weeks, I've been doing my own aerobics routine in the sitting room where my stereo is located. I raised the chandelier so it's out of my way. I did it because I was being overtaken by some kind of arthritis, from toes to knees to hips, even a couple of my fingers.  I take anti-inflammatory supplements, and for a while was relying sometimes on WD-40 (which does clear up a balky joint just as it would a rusty hinge). My motto is "whatever works". My range of motion has increased greatly; my pain is rarely thought about, but I know I need to regularly work those joints. I was always one for aerobics, so I know the routines. I'd recommend it for arthritis ... just start off slow and gradually increase the level of vigor. I've always loved to dance, so this is the best medicine (besides my supplements) for me.  Maybe for you too?     

My new CD "Early In The Morning" is here; contact me for it ... also I have a few copies of the previous one "Fantastik" !
As my readers know, I'm a songwriter, musician, singer, and piano teacher. Life needs music!  (865) 659-5383. You'll see my truck is shakin' his tail feathers with new tail-gate decals.

Our weather is majorly doing flip-flops; our political environment is turbulent. Let's hope our planet's health, the well-being of humans and our fellow beings will be salvaged. Let's hope for peace. Peace is cool; war isn't. Let's all meditate on peace, civility, compassion, and clear heads.       

Blessings and peace to all ...
Amen.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Very newsy news coming soon!

Dear Readers,
I've got some news items I'll be writing about here this week.  Please check back soon.   Meanwhile, feel free to check my newly redone personal website at http://www.claralandau.com.  It's got a totally new look and a new song player with your favorites AND my newest recordings (many that are on my Early In The Morning double CD album).  There is much more to come, though, so check back here on LW's Notes soon :)
Oooohhh!  Oooohhh!  (I love to say that and I love to sing it)!  



Saturday, December 31, 2016

A New Year!

Wishing for one and all -- peace and blessings in the New Year.  Welcome to 2017 ... may it be a time of peaceful resolution, good will, ethics, wisdom.  May there be compassion for all living beings.



Small Talk !

Here we are on the cusp of a new year, perhaps sighing with relief that 2016 will be over; hopefully, feeling some optimism or at least neutrality at the thought of the "changing of the calendars" ritual :)  I re-discovered something this morning that  I'd like to share with you, for what it's worth. 

My day started with my planned trip to Kroger's at Northshore.  I went mid-morning so I could avoid the crush of crowds later on. Once in the store, I set about looking at my list and decided to go first to the deli counter where there was nobody in line.  I needed to buy 5 or 6 slices of chicken for Ruby, my dog (I don't eat meat, haven't since 1980 but dogs are carnivores, so I buy her chicken and give her a slice each morning to have with her dog food). When I walked up to the counter, I saw that the lady employee in the department had on a "top hat" that said "happy new year) and she also was wearing some matching very glitzy neck jewelry.  She looked festive!  I could not help but smile, actually a big grin, and told her that I liked her holiday gear. She smiled back and said "Well if I have to be here, I figured I could have fun too". I quickly agreed and then, while she was slicing the rest of Ruby's deli treat, she and a co-worker (also decked out with top hat, etc.) were talking briefly about someone with an attitude who was annoyed and they agreed "she" would get over it.  Not one to be shy among strangers, I chimed in "Sounds like you're talking about a moody boss". My lady (now done with the slicing) said "It's my dog. She got mad at me this morning because I left earlier than usual and she turned away and refused to look at me". I said "OK, then it is the boss.  My dog acts the same way if I have to leave the house more often than she thinks I should". We laughed and went into a full conversation and she asked me what part of the north I'm from. I replied "Oh, it still shows?" Yes, so I told her I'm from Connecticut but have been here 30 years and she told me that she is from Washington, DC -- was born in Nashville, but has never been back there since. We both agreed that we like it here and the only thing we miss is the ocean. The point I'm steering toward here is that when I had to turn away and leave the deli department, both of us felt sort of a sense of separation, even loss; our conversation and liberty to just speak and share and smile had really lifted the day for her and for me.  

I often talk to people in the grocery store and in other public places, parking lots, etc. I used to talk with lots of people at airports during all the years I flew everywhere. I have thought that conversing with strangers is more important to me now because of the limited opportunities I have these days to talk with people in person. But I think there is more to it than that. Even for someone like me who is capable of enjoying her own company, I think that face-to-face small talk is getting scarcer and I miss it, as we spend more and more time with our faces buried in our computers, communicating, yes, though at a different level through a different medium.  

Suppose we were to try to have more in-person, face-to-face conversation and friendly telephone calls (like in the "olden" days)? We can see the person's facial expressions and they can see ours; most importantly (to me) it will be good to hear the inflection in a person's voice. It's a thought :) So I thought I'd bring it to the table :) Small talk !    



Friday, December 23, 2016

"Early In The Morning" - my new and final CD album!

Yes! Yes!  My new CD album is finely-crafted  double album "Early In The Morning".  It contains some awesome surprises (that you will never hear elsewhere)"Pride and Joy" and "Out Of Nowhere". And beyond those, along with some favorites of assorted genres. I've prepared a typed insert for the inside back of the disc; it tells how and why each song was chosen for this project.  When I finished writing it, I had to smile at the truths it conveys. So it's definitely worth a read. All songs are representative of my biographical life (in random not chronological order). Along with my most recent original "Early In The Morning" (the morning is my most creative time) are awesome cover songs "Since I Fell For You", there are special tributes to cosmic travelers, my beautiful companions (you must hear "Dixie Lee's Song"), a precious person, and wonderful emotional and spiritual elements that have shaped, elevated, and enriched my life.

Humor interweaves there, too in songs like Pride And Joy.  Listen to the CDs to identify my awesome life enhancersThe album (with a total of 16 songs) came into being via the very artistic and capable hands of William (Sandy) Garrett of Songwriters Recording Studio in Knoxville, whose amazing talents are without limit. He did the recording and mastering of the songs and a beautiful job on the album's graphic design. His website is at www.songrecord.com. The albums are ready now!  Please contact me at (865) 659-5383 if you'd like to get one. 





Sunday, December 11, 2016

A thought, a wish, a prayer ...

May we extend well-wishes of unbounded friendliness to all beings;
May all beings be free of danger and harm;
May all beings be happy and peaceful in heart and mind;
May all beings be strong in body and spirit;
And may all beings live with ease.
And as we wish these things for ourselves and others, so too do we wish them especially for those who are in need.

Thank you, Ike, for sending out this quote. Yes, may all beings be at peace. This is a wonderful wish at any time and perhaps especially now amidst all the turbulence juxtaposed to our hoped-for holiday cheer. The very thought, the very wish, the very prayer for all beings ... the people, the animals, the trees, all the living elements of Nature safely clothed in wondrous peace! Amen.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Questioning Our Values … and much more


Our  country is and has been very divided and the corruption in politics has been shown to have been running rampant for quite a while. Some of the questions that come to mind might be: What are our values and priorities? Can and will our government reduce the reality of the wealthiest 1% elite financial system? Can we lower the volume on considering ourselves (and boasting that we are) the top-dog of all nations?  Do we regret the fruits of starting wars for nefarious or unsubstantiated reasons?  Do we believe government and corporations should not have the right to trample on the lands and rights of citizens?  Will our infrastructure be fixed? Should citizens know what's going on within federal agencies such as FDA, CIA, Dept. of Interior's Wildlife Dept. and others that have serious shadows via rogue factions in some of their activities?  I'm just tip-toeing through the tangled mess of issues that I've become aware of.

We have a new president now and he and the congress have a mammoth job ahead of them in working toward unifying and fixing so many facets of our country. I believe the time has come for each one of us, as citizens, to abandon hate, political violence, corporate greed, bullying, unaccountability, and anything else that could invite negative energies and destructive actions. It's time to let the dust settle and then for government and citizens to adopt an attitude of ethics and peace.

As a nation, we need to seek and legislate for solutions that will be helpful to middle-class American citizens who are in an economic, healthcare, and employment squeeze-play. Also as a nation, we need to seek and legislate for what will be positive solutions for Planet Earth's well-being.

Worldwide, a peaceful human co-existence is the only way for our planet and all of its people and interconnected life forms to survive. Most Americans are nice people ... and most people in other nations are nice people. I'm asking us to put aside residual and/or unclear thoughts about other established countries and their perceived positions as friends or enemies. Rather, consider that most of them are very much like us under the skin. Peaceful discussion is always a good idea. Even people in war-torn areas and suppressed nations have feelings like we would have if we were in their situations.

Also, please consider the birds flying in the sky, our wonderful fellow creatures THE ANIMALS who DO NOT have a vote in human politics, NATURE'S SUPREME ARTWORK the flowers, adorable bumble bees, butterflies and honey bees currently being wiped out by insecticides, THE TREES who give us shade and beauty and who supply us with oxygen so we (even asthmatics like me) can breathe, the wondrous beauties of nature on Earth. Consider the CHILDREN. Should all THE INNOCENTS I've just mentioned suffer and be annihilated because of our behaviors, political gestures, and choices? Better to choose a compassionate, ethical course of interactions ... so that life at a cellular level can have a chance to survive and so that our planet will never be made devoid of life. Whether the  human race evolves or devolves, depends on the choices our human species will make now. There is a whole lot riding on our planet's big picture. We each and collectively can heal ourselves and our world if we really want to. If we really, really want to.

Please check out my Healing The Earth Family blog and listen to the song that is included called 'I Love All The Voices"; it is at http://healingtheearthfamily.blogspot.com.