Friday, November 14, 2014

Worth The Wait ...

... for me, and I hope for my friends, fans, and all like-minded souls: my video entitled “Love vs Warzilla”.  I think it’s an important message.  We filmed this (it’s a speech that is scripted and delivered by me) back in August.  Then a number of circumstances stalled it.  But now it’s up and running!  In it you will learn how it got its name ... and other bold things are touched on, as well.  It feels like it's a brave video and it certainly gives a great deal of transparency to my feelings.  If you watch it, please view it all the way to the end to hear my song "I Love All The Voices".  Also on YouTube are music videos for two of my other songs ... “Dance with Me” (a “large” equally romantic and ethereal song that alludes to Life being the ultimate dance partner)  and “That’s The Way You Make Me Feel” (a sensuous song with techy facets).  All  video production was done by Dr. Donovan Stewart, who is an exceptionally fine chiropractor and luthier.  My songs, including the song at the end of the speech (I Love All The Voices) , were recorded and mastered at Songwriters Studio here in Knoxville with phenomenally talented William (Sandy) Garrett at the helm. You can access the videos by doing a Google search for Love vs Warzilla Clara the Lady Wolf youtube, Dance With Me Clara the Lady Wolf youtube, and That’s The Way You Make Me Feel Clara the Lady Wolf youtube. 

The speech's link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOCCFYEZU88

The others are:
Dance With Me www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7T9FeK5e4c 
and
That's The Way You Make Me Feel
www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwXKGnpO3VE

   

The Pause That Refreshes ...

We’re having a “leaf storm”; it’s raining down a steady downpour of leaves ... mostly maple. They are swirling and twirling and even floating sideways on their way to the already blanketed ground.  Last night I brought in the last of my flowering plants and salvaged the remaining roses from three of my rose bushes, in anticipation of the impending freeze.  Here in Tennessee, we’re getting a sizable taste of a Canadian “arctic blast”.  I have the first crowd of guests at my bird feeder.

Heading toward the Thanksgiving holiday, there is so much in the natural world to observe and take in, so much more than the mundane activities and plans for how we will “spend” the holiday.  And more to the point, Thanksgiving Day ought to be a day that lives up to its name, even amid the store displays that seek to propel us right past Thanksgiving as if it’s a mere doorway or turnstile to the glitzy season beyond.  

Folks, let’s slow down the momentum.  Today is a fine day for watching leaves dance to the ground, for some “me time” reading or going for a walk, for meditation that gathers thoughts and feelings from all parts of my being and centers and quiets them in such a liberating way, for writing a blog post, for making pancakes with maple syrup, for hugging and petting a dog or cat, for playing piano and lifting up the voice in song, for re-constituting self. How about you? I invite you to take a day for yourself, doing things that give you pause and gentle inspiration and gratitude and joy.  



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Two And A Half Days Of Bliss ...

Picture escaping land-locked Knoxville and spending time with the exhilarating, exciting, mesmerizing and revitalizing ocean ... then add to that scene your best friend who also is exhilarating, exciting, mesmerizing and revitalizing :)  I'm describing Folly Beach and my best friend, William (Sandy).  So that's why I'm using the word "bliss" in this post's title.  We had a memorable and wonderful time and I've put up several Folly pictures (please scroll all the way down).  

We are pictured at Loggerheads Beach Grill, a great place to dine, hear awesome music, and enjoy the comfortable and friendly (even dog-friendly) atmosphere.  

Ralph (Sandy named him) is a friendly fellow (or maybe even a lady bird), and a member of one of the local and as yet unidentified bird species there. Very vocal and friendly, these birds seemed somewhat like crows, ravens, and starlings, and yet a breed apart. 

The picture of the sunset shows, in the lower left-hand corner, a surfer who was there the entire day.

It was very hard to leave that wonderful place (the Tides Hotel is very accommodating, comfortable, and nice and all rooms are oceanfront). Sweet memories, very sweet memories.  

   

Couchie --

I have to include a few words about my new couch!  To start with, I love it.  I found it in the clearance section at Brown Squirrel.  It called out to me from its position toward the back of the area where it was surrounded by other chairs and sofas.  I don't know quite how to sing the praises of a couch, except to say it's welcoming, very welcoming :)  It's a great place to visit in-between the harshness of newscasts about politicians, IS, and ebola.  Let's think of pleasant things whenever we can.


Get A Very Nice CD -- Help A Great Charity!

My legacy CD "Lifescape -- Dreams, Innovation, Feelings" is now available! Proceeds from CD sales will be donated to Sweet Relief, the wonderful charity that helps aging and ailing musicians in need.  Along with the CD (which has seventeen songs) I will also provide a copy of my very newest song "Dance With Me", while supplies last.  DWM flew into my head sort of as a caboose to "Lifescape"; I love the song and I think you will too.  Please contact me at claralandau@yahoo.com for ordering info and remittance address.  $12 cash, check, or paypal.  


Attitude Of Gratitude ...

One day a couple of weeks ago, I did something I hadn't done in quite a while (and something I ought to do much more often).  I went to my favorite park and walked and recited aloud the things for which I am thankful.  I spoke the thoughts as they occurred to me -- a walking meditation.  And as I walked and talked, my words were heard only by the elements, the Great Energy, and myself. This particular park is where I've often sought comfort; the trees are willing to absorb my sadness and my concerns and eager to help me celebrate my joys.

I write of this so that it might be helpful and beneficial to others -- maybe to you. Walking among the trees, audibly speaking or whispering thanks, is an empowering and liberating thing to do :)




Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Amazing Birthday Ride !

A couple of weeks ago, I realized I wanted to do something BIG to celebrate my (then) upcoming birthday. Something different and exciting, but not dangerous.  Something friendly and kind but not common. I had seen the large bus that is parked in the Bearden section of Kingston  Pike in Knoxville (TN). And I had noticed that, after a while, a second bus had joined the first one.  Both of them are wildly and beautifully painted all over with colorful designs and phrases promoting love and peace.  So yes, this would be the perfect plan ... an exciting birthday treat without my needing to parachute out of an airplane :)  I made the call, reserved one of the buses, and Dixie Lee and I boarded the bus at 2:30 yesterday (September 1st) in front of our house. Dixie Lee, herself, had celebrated her own birthday recently ... her 12th, so she is an aging doggie but nonetheless took everything in stride and enjoyed the adventure.  

Our driver, whose name is Carlene, is a wonderful lady and a very skilled bus driver. As we drove around, I felt good as I realized I was sort of giving a gift to the community as well as myself.  People beeped their horns, waved their hands, and smiled ... as the Big Love Bus, with its complete set of sound effects and music, wove its way from one end of town to another. Something so cheerful was and is so majorly needed. We made a few scheduled stops, first going through a church parking lot where the few people still inside had been alerted that we'd be driving through (we sounded the sirens, bells, and whistles for their amusement); then we headed "north" and stopped in front of my best friend's house ... he came strolling across his lawn, camera in hand, and took some great pictures of the bus and one of me on the bus stairway. I asked Carlene to "play the animal sounds" and there was a chorus of moos, roars, and all sorts of animal noise, which was tolerated cheerfully by my friend and his neighbors  :)  We needed to be on our way to our next stop, the home of one of my stellar piano students.  On our approach, the bus zoomed past her house because we didn't see the house number in time, so we had to drive around and around to find a road that would loop back and that was wide enough to accommodate a turning bus. Finally we did get on the correct road again and, as we approached the house this time, Carlene said excitedly, "Oh, you're gonna love this ... it's so CUTE"! From her vantage point in the driver's seat, she could see the people in the yard and when we got there, my student and her boyfriend and their three dogs were in the yard, each wearing a little party hat. One of the dogs had her hat partially removed and was busily trying to eat it.  It was a fun stop for all of us.


How awesome to be a kid again for the hours we were on the Big Love Bus! The Bus has its own website and I think you can read its telephone number in one of the pictures I will post.  For those near Knoxville, I wholeheartedly recommend you check out the Big Love Bus :)    


 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Love & the Earth Family --

Well, if there is anything that can upstage Fear and its consequences, it would be Love.  And I'd like to tell you about the program I've recently created to promote love ... the altruistic kind (although I'm a fan of the personal format too).  

Love & the Earth Family is a free program for organizations, clubs, and groups.  It's designed for adults, but I also have a version for kids.  The presentation promotes kindness, respect, outreach, and love ... for ourselves and all creatures, all beings. Included are the speaker (that would be me), print handouts, a beautiful film, and inspiring music.  I'll be offering this locally and regionally (Knoxville, TN area).  Why am I doing this?  I think my answer to that would be that I'm doing it out of a sense of personal gratitude.  For more info, please contact me at claralandau@yahoo.com. 

   

Primal Stuff ...

Two primal emotional forces --  love and fear -- are experienced in personal relationships, of course, but also on a grand scale in terms of national and international relations.  I spent some time this afternoon trying to understand how fear (certainly not love) could be an operative in the current abhorrent mass killings in Iraq.  Some of the internet comments following the news article cite age-old cultural and religious hatreds as the cause. While I know this is true, to me the causative vibe is that of a seething, virulent offshoot of fear, perhaps one that can pass from generation to generation.  It was terrible to see all those young unarmed men being marched to their deaths where they were shot repeatedly by hooded executioners -- who are probably also young men.

I'm thinking, too, of the situation in our own country involving Sgt. Bergdahl, the recently returned American POW. Whatever the circumstances of his capture turn out to be, the overwhelming majority of news item comments lost no time in hurling judgement, condemnation, and hatred on this young man and his family.  I believe that this is a wrong thing to be doing.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dreams, Innovations, Feelings ...

Recently, when thinking about music (well, that's nothing new!) I marveled at how some songs have the power to live, endure, inspire, and even blossom anew, long after their composers have left the earthly scene. Two of the songs I included on my legacy CD (which I'll be delighted to talk about in a moment) are old covers, written back in the 1930s and for which I got licenses to record.  I did change some of the lyrics -- not so much to make them contemporary, but so that they would more closely describe my own life happenings and experiences. And so, each of them lends itself well to me :) Those cover songs are Blue Moon by Rodgers & Hart and It Had To Be You by Jones & Kahn; I truly had an enjoyable time creating my arrangements of these evergreens. The other songs on the CD are among the very best of my originals. There are seventeen tracks in all.  

"Lifescape ... Dreams, Innovations, Feelings" is the CD title ... and the solo artist (vocals & keyboard recorded in real time) is yours truly, Clara ... the Lady Wolf.  Choosing songs to include was fun, though presented a few challenges because there are many more good ones than what could fit on a CD.  So I like each chosen song for the special feelings I have attached to it. Moods run the gamut (passion, pain, love, hope, and humor) and genres are blues, jazz, ballads, latinesque, and a couple that I would classify as inspirational. The project was expertly handled from inception to completion -- recording, mastering, art work and graphics design, and packaging -- by Songwriters Recording Studio in Knoxville, with creative, musical, technical genius William (Sandy) Garrett at the helm. I'm delighted with the CD  :)

As I said at the beginning of this post, some songs have the ability to seemingly live forever ... and that's a really good thing. I hope that many years from now, people will be listening, humming, singing, whistling, smiling, weeping, working, dancing, romancing, even exercising ... to my music! Of course, there's no need to wait -- now could be an excellent time.   :)

For more info, contact me via Comments or send an e-mail to claralandau@yahoo.com. 


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Spring! Spring! Spring ...

... is in the air, and on the ground, and in the trees and birds and animals ... and people!  The daffodils are up.  All of Nature is awakening.  Since this winter had many times of brutal cold and wintry weather, some evergreen shrubs are busy now refurbishing and replacing leaves that were damaged by deep frosts. They seem to be taking it in stride.  The harsh winter makes the arrival of this spring even sweeter than usual :)

Today the clocks did indeed "spring forward"!  It's amazing how the growing daylight hours energize us and make everything more do-able :)


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Red Rose For Me ...

Today was a strange, surreal day of introspection, coming to self-terms, and finding comfort ... on a very deep and profound level.  
  
I, a teacher (music, holistic, and humane education), realize that life places me in a position to always be teaching, even when doing so is the farthest thing from my mind.  Maybe we all are teachers; certainly we all are students ... of Life.  

This morning I went to the chiropractic clinic that has taken on the task of mending my body’s neurological system and some of its joints.  I expected there would be more people than usual at the clinic due to the media clamor about the imminent, colossal snow storm.  Yes, there were throngs of people ... adults and some little children too.  The place, usually serene with inspiring music playing, was full of human voices.  I knew I had to make the best of the situation and I took my place in the long line.  After a while, I really looked at some of the individuals.  I noticed that some of them were looking too.  I was overtaken by a feeling of community with these people ... all of whom were unknown to me.  Each one is there to be comforted, to find a few minutes of peace, to feel hope .  I realized that each one there has his or her own situation and health concern.  I was seeing through eyes that realized we are all creatures hoping for pain relief, a friendly word, and freedom from the grip of illness. 

There was a woman there with three little girls.  The children were very talkative and, surprisingly, not irritating as young kids can be in confined, crowded situations.  One of the children kept pointing at items people had or wore and would exclaim “phone”, “hat”, and then as she looked at my hands, “nail paint”.  As the line moved along, the lady with the girls moved too and they were one space behind me.  So when my table became available, they were next. I heard the mom say “Go to that one (table), next to the Girl”.  The Girl?  Yes, that’s what she called me.  I lifted my head up and said to her “I need to thank you for calling me a ‘girl’ at my age of ...”. She smiled and said “well, she is at a stage where she identifies everybody as a boy or girl"; the child spoke up and said “And I like her nice ponytail”.  

I’m relating all of this to, somehow, create a backdrop for some health info I received yesterday that relates to the ways cumulative heavy-duty stress can find ways to manifest into illnesses that have names -- names that can shake up the status quo, can re-shuffle the deck, can validate those Google searches for symptoms.   When I took the test and was alerted about the probability of diabetes, I thought about  the humor, profundity, implications, irony, beauty of life ... all these things and more.  As I left the chiropractic clinic today, I told the pleasant, helpful woman at the front desk what I had learned yesterday and she said “would it be OK if I say a prayer for your well-being”?  I nodded my assent and she clasped my hands in hers and said aloud a brief, sincere petition on my behalf.  How nice that was. 

I will continue my life-style of exercise and veggie-ism and meditation.  And I will do something more ... I will remember to love myself as a spiritual being.  I bought myself a beautiful Valentine that has a red rose on its cover and a loving message inside. 

Addendum:  6/15/14

I had learned that a high glucose reading could be related to other factors, as the first test was done during the very initial phase of what turned out to be a heavy asthma bout ... so the reading number, itself, was not definitive. More recently I was re-tested and am now on a diabetes med.  I have renewed respect for some advice given to me a couple of years ago by a wise person who said "cherish each day". Amen.  Yes, an attitude of gratitude!  

(Don't) Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow --

During my years as a child musical performer living in New England, one of the songs chosen for me to sing, in season, was Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.  The first two blocks of lyrics are “Oh, the weather outside is frightful, But the fire is so delightful, So since we’ve no place to go, Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.  It doesn’t show signs of stopping, So I brought some corn for popping, The lights are turned way down low, So let it snow, let it snow, let it snow".  Then the words go on to be smoochie.  

Well, and this is quite believable in the Northeast, every time I sang that song on stage or radio, it would snow almost immediately.  Really.  So I got to really dislike the song and so did some other  people :)  Now, here in the South, when we have a snow event, that song stands on the side-lines of my memory and I envision it with its thumbs in its ears and its other fingers wiggling in mockery as it says in sing-song manner,  “nanni-nanni-foo-foo”; that’s the kid-style taunt that was in style back in the day.

I once wrote a brilliant blog post about snowflakes.  It was quite lyrical.  The gist of it was that there are two kinds of snowflakes: the big, friendly flakes that float down from the sky and gently land on your nose, forehead, and arms. They seem to be saying a smiling “hello”.  Often they are sent so that an oncoming snow event will appear to be benign (sort of like the harmless scout ants that are sent into a kitchen to precede a mass invasion by the entire voracious ant colony).  Anyway, the big friendly snowflakes are very pretty.  But then there are the little nippers – the small, fierce flakes that are driven from the sky en masse ... they sting and ping when they hit your face.  The little nippers mean business and they devote themselves to clogging driveways and roads and making five-foot snow drifts in some places.  

This is the South and Spring is supposed to be just around the corner ... I hope it is :)


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Music & Meaning ... New Recordings!

Following several weeks of practice and lots of edits on arrangements, I recorded four songs last evening at Songwriters Recording Studio.  Each of the songs is way, way different from the others ... in genre, character, mood.  So I had a good amount of angst about how well I'd be able to get them done.  They turned out nicely and credit for much of that success goes to William (Sandy) Garrett, Songwriters' talented, helpful, patient, gracious man at the helm.

The first two songs are new originals:  "Reverie On Wings" (genre unknown to me at this time so someone tell me, please) and "I Can't Stop The Pain" (eight-bar blues).  Then there is a re-make of "That's The Way You Make Me Feel" (twelve-bar blues original that now has a quirky, fun new intro) and "It Had To Be You" (beloved old cover ballad).   


Musical creation shapes my life and gives it expression, gives it voice -- indeed, it makes my life much easier to live.    I'm very thankful !  



Whether The Weather ...

When I lived in New England, I thought of the month of April as the portal to Spring; often April was moody and deliberately disappointed me ... and would bring a huge snow storm during the month's first week. When I moved to Knoxville, Tennessee in October of 1986, I didn't know what to expect from Winter (I am using upper case here for seasonal names because the seasons' dramatic, mischievous, and sometimes devious qualities resemble personalities). That December, Knoxville had balmy temperatures and frequent warm rains.  Wonderful, I thought ... this beats those horrible Connecticut weather conditions.  Then, in April, a huge and week-long snow and ice storm paralyzed the area.  All the colorful tulips and daffodils stood frozen, encased in ice for days and then turned to mush when the freeze finally yielded to more moderate temperatures.   There went, for me, any semblance of predictability for southern weather.  

Recently we have had weeks of very low temperatures, with a couple of incidences of thawing days for good measure. Today I look out the windows and see a snowy landscape with more snow still coming down. The birds jockey for position on my bird feeder which is stocked with seeds and suet. I gathered myself away from the window when my favorite cardinal repeatedly was bullied off the feeder by a much larger bird whom I think is a starling.  "There is plenty for all" I keep saying aloud to myself; it doesn't matter ... they are just being birds.  

Speaking of birds, the day before yesterday (one of the aforementioned thawing days), a huge flock of robins was in my yard and treetops ... and the birds were on the ground searching the grasses for insects.  I think they were robins who migrated back here too soon.  Or maybe they were northern robins who got a late start on coming south.  Anyway, I thought of them today and wondered how they are faring in this intense wintry weather. Remember that old ironic expression "This is for the birds"?   One bird flew into my garage today during the moment or two I had the door opened.  He flew around in a couple of circles and then went back outside.   

Day before yesterday, my herb seed catalog arrived in the mail ... from Horizon Herbs (a wonderful company). The months, the seasons, even the years, are like revolving doors ... with each revolution bringing some newness into the mix.  Years ago I was taught that this newness that is introduced in each cyclic recapitulation is called "epi-genesis".   One more month of winter, folks.  Here in the south, my southern portal to Spring is late February and the advent of March.  So help is on the way and before we know it, it will be time to break out those breezy, happy warm weather clothes.

    

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The REAL Down And Dirty Blues !

This morning I spent a couple of hours at the dealership with my truck. When I arrived in the customers' waiting lounge, I grabbed a chair in one of the "business" cubicles, as far away as possible from the mindless clamor of the television set.  Within moments I was writing a new post for my blog.

Everyone knows I love Blues music.  I love it because it is pure, heartfelt, goes right to the core of the issue, puts it out there where the light of day can get at it ... and makes me feel good, or at least, better.


There exists a different kind of "blues" though ... and I speak now of clinical depression.  That's the real down and dirty kind of blues.  Rough to go through, it tends to revisit when it wants to. When it lifts, though, the feeling is wonderful, bright, and peaceful. 


An artist needs contact with the extremes of both joy and sadness; that is where creativity is born -- at that intersection, that juncture.    


I've got four songs preparing for recording.  Two of them (originals) came out of my most recent bout with depression.  The first one, "Reverie On Wings" (alternate title "Let's Do It'), is a rhythmic and eclectic offering about escape and freedom -- or what I should call "flying the coop".  It is about trying to handle perceived confinement in an upbeat way that cuts through fog, clutter, and density.  The second one came while I sipped my orange juice during the morning hours on December 31st, when the depression episode was fully engaged and very heavy.  The song is eight-bar blues and it lyrically talks about pain -- the nature of it, the spirit of it, and the depths of it, and so the song is named "I Can't Stop The Pain".  At first, I set it up in a minor chord format, but it was too "laden", dark, so I changed it so it presents in C major, though with some minor chord passages.  The third song is an ancient cover that I've always liked and could relate to in an abstract way.   "It Had To Be You" is timely now in a more literal way and it feels good to do it.  And fourthly, my 12-bar "That's The Way You Make Me Feel" blues original is ready to be re-recorded -- this time with a more robust character, more initiative!


While deeply honoring the work and talents of all the early blues musicians and those current artists whose efforts have nurtured and maintained the genre, I'm an innovative soul ... and so I take liberties and add my own musical touch :)


And so this morning produced for me the writing of this post, a pleasant visit with my co-visitors at the dealership, and my happily-repaired truck !  And, amazingly, the outdoor temperature had soared to 40+ degrees :)




Monday, December 23, 2013

Memories Of Santa ...

Christmastime, for me, brings many memories of  childhood Christmases.   It was celebrated in our  home in a cultural, rather than religious way, although I was always asked by neighborhood churches to play piano at their holiday programs.  At our house -- full of hustle and bustle -- there were family members from both my parents' families, who would come by to visit and bring me gifts.  My mother, always the gracious hostess, would manage to serve a bountiful dinner to any and all who showed up.  I remember my great-aunts; they were ladies on my father's side who were elegantly dressed and coiffed; they almost always brought me coloring books.  My great uncles were scarcer and, when they were in attendance, were on the quiet side. My "regular" aunts and uncles, though, were quite lively and interesting ... they were from my mother's side. One such uncle, I clearly recall, was the bad boy of the family and brought with him an air of scary excitement when he appeared at the door.  Sometimes I would hide when he visited.  

As I grew up and into my teens, my own friends and their families became most of my Christmas and holidays weren't celebrated much anymore in my own home, due to family problems.  Later, I was married and holidays revolved around children.  So the essence of my own, personal Christmastime nostalgia centers on the magical years during which I was from about age seven through nine.  And the "event" that stands out in my memory and makes me smile was brought about by my father.

Daddy, though very personable and well-liked, was not a warm and fuzzy person; my relationship with him was one I'd describe as an aloof friendship; he would occasionally buy me a treat or spend a few minutes talking with me.  So I was greatly surprised and touched by the playfulness of his Christmas spirit, which appeared two Christmases in a row back then.  

Lying in my bed on Christmas Eve, I wanted to believe Santa Claus was coming, even though the logistics didn't make sense to me.  My mother would tell me to go to bed because she thought she had heard Santa's bells and she didn't want him to skip our house.  I would lie there with my own version of sugar plums dancing in my head :)  And this I was doing.  I had heard my parents' voices talking in muted tones in the kitchen.  All at once, I heard the sound of bells jingling outside.  They sounded very clear and sharp in the cold New England night air, especially as there was snow on the ground.  I listened --  the bells paused -- and then began jingling again, this time under my window and then moving toward our backyard.  How exciting! Could it be Santa?  But I resisted the urge to sit up in my bed, let alone look out the window.  I didn't want to break the spell!  I realized in those moments, that my serious, aloof father was playing Santa because his own inner child wanted to bring me Christmas delight :)  I was thrilled and so happy.  He repeated the performance the following year, running (my father was athletic) across our land jingling the bells  :)         

Now, many years later, the family scene has completely changed, and with it Christmas.   Now it's mostly a quiet time.  My dog, in her twelfth year, prances in her red sweater.  I dress Fiona, my ficus tree, in colored lights. We play some holiday music.  I make a quiche that has become traditional for me over the last 20 or more years.  I enjoy exchanging holiday greetings with friends and strangers.  But in the distant past lies that spark ... my memories of Santa, that warms the magic of Christmas Eve for me.    


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Yips And Howls ...

... well, I AM the Lady Wolf, so yips and howls prevail sometimes :)

First The Yips --  I'm getting ready to record two new songs.  Song inspirations, whether originals or covers, almost always come to me in twos and usually are very contrasting from each other in terms of mood, tempo, concept, genre.  I'll be practicing my arrangements of them again tonight before bedtime as that familiar excitement mounts!   

A Yip That Is A Tip -- Today I found a wonderful place to shop for Christmas items and gifts and trees.  It is the KARM (Knox Area Rescue Ministries) Christmas Store on Downtown West in west Knoxville.  The array of items is wonderful and so much fun to explore.  Perhaps best of all, the proceeds go toward the meals that KARM provides for the homeless and hungry here in Knoxville.  If you want a great holiday tree or gift or novelty item at an unbelievably low price, you will love the KARM Christmas Store.  Also, it is spacious and not crowded.  

Holiday Spirit --  We're about to enter the official week before Christmas. This year I've been so involved in my residential move -- getting this place ready  (lots of repairs and updates were needed) and closing and saying goodbye to my former residence (my favorite charming window where I liked to sit, my shrubs and trees that could not be moved, the Loft where I wrote many a spirited blog post) -- that I didn't know if I'd have any holiday spark. But I do ... and am pleased about that.  Gearing myself up for it.  I plan to make my traditional holiday quiche and some other goodies.  

Greater Good -- This organization's website is another awesome place to shop, especially if you like to shop on the Internet. Gifts of every kind are offered by groups served under the umbrella of The Greater Good, such as the Rainforest site, the Animal Rescue site, and others. I ordered and promptly received a wonderful bracelet for myself that is engraved with the words "Bless This Woman".  This classy bracelet helps me remember that I'm a woman even when I'm hoisting heavy boxes and moving furniture.  I like being a woman; in fact, sometimes I love it :) So I wear my bracelet proudly!  Their website is at http://www.greatergood.com.  The other organizations I've just mentioned are at http://www.therainforestsite.com/click and http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/click. Visiting these sites daily and clicking on their buttons saves acreage in the rainforest and provides food for shelter animals, respectively.

And Now, A Howl Of Sadness -- The Federal government has voted to permanently remove all gray wolves from protection, meaning these beautiful animals are now being murdered by the hundreds, by all kinds of unsavory methods.  This is our government bowing to the special interest groups -- namely, people who like to shoot at live targets and cattle ranchers who have an unrelenting hatred for all wolves (cattle ranchers have always had the legal right to shoot any wolf who was thought to pose a danger to cattle).  Wolves have just found their way back from the brink of extinction and now are being destroyed again.  As of last evening, the Feds were collecting public comments regarding also removing the red wolf from protection.  I sent in my comment, which boiled down to "For God's sake, don't kill the wolves!"  Actually I said more than that, but I did include that phrase.  Please, if you care about the wild, intelligent, mystical, beautiful wolf, check out the website of the hard-working group, Howling For Wolves at http://www.howlingforwolves.org, located in Minnesota.

The Night Sky --  It has been so beautiful this week, especially with yesterday's full moon and nearby Jupiter, whose moons can be seen swirling around the planet, even with my little binoculars!

Wishing To All The Very Best --  For this holiday season and the new year.  Let's sing, dance, have joy, meditate, mindfully help those less fortunate -- and pray for peace, compassion, and good will.         


Friday, November 15, 2013

Back In Blogland :) Clara's Autumnal Post --

My last post mentioned my previous absence and here I am again after another bunch of months away from my blog.  Apologies to readers and to my blog, itself.  The myriad of reasons I didn't post in such a long time includes the fact that I was doing a lot of introspection that was better left publicly unsaid.  On the heels of that came sweeping changes in my personal life, including a residential move.  Since February I've been preparing the house I now live in and going through separation anxiety with my former residence.  I'm a very sentimental person and that sentiment runs deep.  The new abode is much, much larger than the old one.   And it even has modern electrical outlets !  It's very nice :)

A persistent stream of family crises involving relatives hit the scene, too. For the most part those matters are still manifesting -- are unresolved, except in my mind -- where I've turned the corner and am good with that wonderful axiom "It is what it is"  :)  Tra la!  And I'm blessed to have the very most wonderful of friends with whom I can share life's ups and downs.

Here's some happy news I can give my readers who followed my posts about my dog's (past) serious medical problem:  She is in great shape now and, in August, celebrated her 11th birthday!  Dixie Lee is showing signs of age, but still scouts the yard tracking the scents of rabbits and squirrels; and she can break into an easy gallop in a split second when she wants to.
    
A couple of months ago I recorded two songs at Songwriters' Studio; they are my original "A New Face On The Blues" and my arrangement of cover "Blue Moon".  I need to put them up on my Reverbnation page. They turned out really well :)

I  now have three pianos (plus my Yamaha keyboard).  They are Buddy, Bunkie, and Bonnie.  Bunkie was in residence here when I moved in.  He's a great piano, though way different in style and character than Buddy the baby grand.  And Bonnie came to me via a neighbor on  my former street, who didn't want her anymore.  

Please do check out my website at http://www.claralandau.com -- which I updated yesterday -- new pictures, text edits, and some new stuff! 

Yes, I'm as upset as everyone about current and recent politics ... NSA spying , the Obamacare tax mandate, and an article I read a few days ago that reports on government vehicles and weapons being turned over to local police departments to use on Main Street, USA.  This points to the prediction I made months ago (when I hoped to be wrong) about local police departments being sort of "deputized" by the feds in order to prevent any perceived overt action of citizens against government policies.  

I'm ready to start jamming again, so I'd love to be in touch with musicians who are like-minded. I've got the space here now to jam; I also would love to find or form a hand-drum circle.  

We're heading into the "holiday season" ... hard to believe; it seems like yesterday was mid-summer.   Thanksgiving is, in my opinion, the most worthy of all holidays!  I know we should be thankful every day and I am, but I think that designating and celebrating a day in the spirit of thankfulness is a really good thing!   I wish a gracious and joyful Thanksgiving to each and all. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Full Moon Of May's Dwindling Days ...

 ... is in the astrological sign of Sagittarius (the moon is always full in the opposite sign of where the Sun is ... hence Sagittarius the 9th sign/Gemini the 3rd sign, with the moon in a fire sign and the sun in an air sign.   

I have put my newest song “Vanishing Freedom” up on my Reverbnation page at http://www.reverbnation.com/clarasolobluesjazzandexoticmixes.  Different in character and genre than my usual stuff, it provides me with an opportunity to vent some of my thoughts and feelings about what the government has done and continues to do with our lives, the earth, logic, and ethics. I think it’s worth a listen and hope you’ll tune in :)

Over the past weeks and months I’ve been putting a lot of time and work into a different kind of project that I’m really looking forward to unveiling via this blog, when its time is right. Yes, I’m excited about it and will post about it as soon as I can. My above comments about the astrological signs bring to mind the concept of “cusps”.   My project is on the cusp of becoming news!

Drum circle, anyone? I’m eager to find or form a recreational and/or shamanic drum circle so my wonderful djembe Ruby and loyal hand-drum Gabriel can meet and enjoy the camaraderie of other drums :) The two circles I used to attend are no longer meeting.  I drum almost every day as part of my meditation. The drumming puts and keeps me in the moment and is very soothing in a quietly exciting way.  Playing piano or keyboard and singing also provides me with a blissed-out though different kind of feeling; the hand-drum is especially centering.  If you're in the Knoxville area and are interested, please let me know.

I found a wonderful organization that is working to save U.S. wolves from annihilation. Howling For The Wolves has a marvelous website at http://www.howlingforwolves.org/  To help rescue and protect U.S. horses from slaughter and inhumane transport, please check out all-volunteer Southern Winds Equine Rescue at http://www.southernwindsequinerescue.org/ .

Peace, love, light, and blessings!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sugar, Spice And A Toss Of The Dice!

Welcome back, dear readers!  If you had deserted my blog I wouldn't have blamed you.  I haven't posted to this, my original blog, in a year or so.  I'll try and make my posts stimulating and I'd like to strike some balance between serious and inane :)

420 --

Yes, April 20th is the long-established day that honors the amazing, yet vilified Cannabis plant, which was re-named marijuana many years ago by our government in the effort to misrepresent it and make it sound foreign and scary.  My comments about it here aren't from the perspective of a user, but rather, from the standpoint of an herbal and wildflower enthusiast who thinks that God knew what He/She was doing when He/She created the Earth and populated it with plants and animals.  The Cannabis plant is among the most versatile, useful, and beneficial in this world.  Fortunately (although 75 years late) its prohibition, persecution, and blatantly untrue bad press are showing signs of ceasing, with two progressive states declaring it a legal plant and many other states coming forth with various decriminalization measures.  You can follow this progress by going to the website of NORML at http://norml.org/.  Anyone who wants to know the truth about what happened 75 years ago -- and how and why the government escalated its persecution and imprisonment of cannabis users -- to include seizing their homes and cars -- can refer to the History Channel's documentary and several other historical publications.  It's obvious that the federal government  had deemed itself wiser and mightier than the earth's Creator and that it was accountable to no one.

New Song --

I've written another new song (not sure where my music reporting left off in my earlier blogging).  This song is not in my usual blues, jazz, ballad, spiritual, light classic genres; it is a protest song.  Instead of being played on guitar like most protest songs of the past that I've heard, it is done on the piano.  For recording purposes, I'll play it on my split keyboard so I can use the bass feature, too.  The name of the song is Vanishing Freedom.  The song's content covers some challenging territory and, yet, remains lyrical.  When I get it done, I'll put it up on my website and on Reverbnation.

Reverbnation --

Some months ago I joined Reverbnation and have some songs up there on my page.  The title of my account there is "Clara (Solo) Blues, jazz, and Exotic Mixes".  I hope you'll visit.
http://www.reverbnation.com/clarasolobluesjazzandexoticmixes   

Facebook Artist Page --

When I joined Reverbnation, I found that my days as a FB hold-out (I didn't want to join) were over because Reverbnation considers a subscriber having a FB page as a given.  So I created, with the help of a dear friend, an "artist" FB page.  The artist pages are somewhat different from the regular FB accounts.  I'm still learning the drill as far as how to navigate the page and how to post to other people's regular FB pages.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/claras-music/378791192206945

Two New CDs --

During the past year, I did two new music CDs.  They are both for sale on  my new and improved website at www.claralandau.com.   The first, "Clara (solo) The Journey and The Gem" has some truly mesmerizing songs ... some originals and some awesome covers.  The second, "Songs for Spirit" is a collection of original spiritual (not religious) songs ... and one of the songs is by my friend, Sandy Garrett.  His song is absolutely beautiful and I dare say that mine are nice too :)  You can hear some of my stuff on my website's Song Page link, but you will need to get the CDs to hear some of the most delectable renderings.

New U.S. Secretary Of The Interior --

The appointment of new U.S. secretary of the interior Sally Jewell took place last week.  She replaces Ken Salazar.  This change in leadership governing our public lands and environment has been needed ever since  Salazar took hold of the reins; the role he chose to play was disastrous for the environment and endangered species.  I am especially hopeful that Secretary Jewell will return protection to U.S. wolves (who were removed from the Endangered List during the final moments of W's presidency and are currently being pursued and killed).  Also I'm hoping that Secretary Jewell will put a stop to the horrendous helicopter wild horse round-ups that lead many terrified adult horses and new foals to their deaths ... and that she will protect U.S. horses from being barbarically slaughtered in the U.S. or across the borders in Canada and Mexico.

Our Fellow-Beings the Non-Human Animals --

A recent mailing from ASPCA about the rise in animal cruelty, including instances of cruelty involving many species of animals -- seems to echo the violence being perpetrated on humans by other humans.  Also, I've got a mailing from WSPA that speaks of the routine very inhumane treatment of animals who are considered "food" and food-producing units.  It doesn't need to be this way. Why are so many members of our species so hell-bent on cruelty?  Where is the compassion?

My Magazine Article --

About six months ago, I finally wrote my article that chronicles my other-dimensional experiences ... events that were uplifting, amazing and, in several instances, saved my life.  I don't know what publication to submit it to.  It's entitled "An Angel At My Shoulder", though it's about many circumstances and spiritual beings.  But I feel the title is appropriate and the term "angel" fits well my benefactor and guardian (several years ago I wrote a song by the same title).  The article is, at once, shamanic and mystical and enthralling.  Perhaps I'll publish it on my blog.  Please let me know if you have an ideal publication in mind that might be suitable for it.

Update On Dixie Lee --

My beautiful dog is doing fine following the very difficult year she/we had with her fistula situation.  She miraculously recovered during summer of 2012 and has been well ever since -- all traces of the condition are gone!  She is looking forward to her 11th birthday this August.  For those of you who are interested in the science of numbers, 11 is a mystical number and one with which I'm very familiar in the best sense of the word : )

Blog Post Reprint --

This would be a good time for me to reprint my long-ago published post that lends some levity (and truth) to our current national and world conditions.  Here it is (reprinted from an earlier post that appeared in my now-deleted "Classic Clara" blog).



A Novel Thought And Suggestion on Peace & Good Will --

(The following post is re-printed here from my Classic Clara Blog; dated August 20, 2010).

A (seemingly) comedic, yet profound thought regarding the attainability of world peace recently occurred to me.  It would involve the combination of a worldwide, simultaneous internet and television airing (with loud speakers in every public location) of a dance video such as the one done a year or so ago at the Liverpool station, London ... see/hear/enjoy it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ3d3KigPQM ... coupled with a blanketing, global aerial spraying of a concentrated essence of cannabis, dropping and shooting down from thousands of planes onto warring people.  Just picture it!  All at once, the music and sweet smell would take over and carnage would grind to a halt!  Everybody would enjoy and benefit from the uniting energy of music and dance and mellowing out in a friendly manner.  Soldiers would lay down their artillery and begin dancing together ... or just sit under a tree (or half-destroyed building) and smile sweetly.  Military people, civilian people, crooks, police, robbers, scammers, presidents, dictators, misers, terrorists, politicians, overly competitive sports rivals, tabloid publishers, lawyers, abusers, pimps, warmongers, and people who cannot act in a civil manner ... all would, at least temporarily, feel too good to fight.  Animals would come out of hiding and new vegetation would begin to sprout, as the animal and plant life that takes such an undeserved beating during our stupid human wars and "no tree left standing" (indeed nothing vertical left standing) campaigns could, at last, have a respite.  Of course, this peaceful "cure" would need to be re-applied, as needed.

Well, it's been said that we can't bomb the world to peace even if we bomb the world to pieces (and that is true), but, aside from medical supplies and food, no one has tried bombing with something that has the intrinsic value of promoting peace for its very own sake.  Yes, yes ... it's a radical idea :)  Actually, isn't peace itself a radical idea in this world?  But I'm ever hopeful :)


Friday, April 19, 2013

Lady Wolf's Notes Returning!

Here we are in April of 2013 and I haven't written to this blog in months.  I've got many updates to post and will be putting them all together and posting them within the next few days.  Meanwhile, if I still have faithful readers, I thank you.  Please stay tuned...
Thanks,
Clara

Monday, July 16, 2012

Catching Up ...

I haven't posted on this blog for quite a while. It is my original blog.  If you have time to scroll back to older posts, there are some really spirited ones.

Please also visit my revised website at www.claralandau.com.

Meanwhile, I thought you might enjoy seeing a close-up photo of my Dixie Lee!

Thanks for looking in on us :)


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ode To Harmony--Much More Than A Song

The harmony of the spheres and as above, so below.
Hear my Ode To Harmony lyric set to music on the song page of my website at www.claralandau.com. Copyright 2010 Clara Landau.

Spirit, spirit, spirit sings. Clears my mind of noisy things.
Gone now, clashings, Fears can cease.
Welcome, welcome ... sweet, sweet peace.

With compassion I will try, To ease the pain of those who cry.
When some wrongness, harm I see,
I won't turn away, uncaringly.

Make it right, I'll try my best, Til it's right I cannot rest.
Make it right, I'll do my best,
In the doing, I am blest.

Love can blossom like a flower ... Fill us with an awesome power!

Freedom, freedom, freedom rings! Spirit, spirit, spirit sings!
Wondrous harmonies release ...
Each and all to sweet, sweet peace.

My vision: A world in which the people of all races, faiths, and demographics and the animals of all species (flying, crawling, running, walking, swimming, slithering, galloping, hopping), all the flora and fauna of Nature and Creation ... will live according to the divine truism that we are all part of each other, connected at a cellular level. In the beauty of that light, we would/could/will find that love, compassion, cooperation, and respect can sustain and protect us (all).


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just A Word About Love --

Love. We need it. We don't have enough of it. We need to reach out and help love along. If feels more important now than ever before.