Sampson napping on his favorite rug

Sampson napping on  his favorite rug
happy, happy, happy

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lady Wolf's Notes Says "Good-Night" --

Created in August of 2007, Lady Wolf's Notes is now publishing what I believe (I could change my mind) will be its final post. This year is and has been a time of change for me in various ways, so when all my dust settles, I may revive this blog. The blog has had a good run. I've deleted the more trivial posts and will keep the rest of the Notes up here. I hope you'll enjoy reading or re-reading some of the older posts ... just scroll back and you'll find them. Thank you for being one of my valued readers.

Beach Trip Wraps Up Summer --

I had a very nice several days at Fort Morgan in Gulf Shores, Alabama. What a lovely and friendly area it is. A particularly delightful place where we got some wonderful food was King Neptune on Route 59; the staff was chatty and the restaurant and bar were cozy and neighborly. The charming rental house is on a secluded section of the beach at historic Fort Morgan. Except for an occasional person walking his or her dog in the evening, the beach was unpopulated (the way I like it). Early morning dawned on a beautiful, shimmering sea. As the tide came in, waves hurled themselves against the shore, as they've done for eons. Mesmerizing. I could watch and listen forever.

Interestingly, on the drive home (I drove the ten hours straight through to the beach and, again, when heading homeward), we encountered a weird situation somewhere in central-to-northern Alabama. It persisted over an approximate 100-mile area: Bugs! Clouds of these weird bugs began pelting the truck. They were skinny dark brown bugs with pinchers. I had to stop at a rest area to try and clean them off the windshield. I had plenty of company, as the other drivers were trying to clear their windshields, as well. While we did so, swarms were landing all around us and we discovered that these bugs would bite. As mysteriously as we drove into the bugs' turf, we eventually drove out of it and into a monsoon rain which finished cleansing the truck's windows, hood, and grill.

While at the beach, my asthma was completely gone; it returned somewhere in the Chattanooga area. Those healing ocean ions have amazing power.

Well, now, summer has ended and autumn is officially here. Soon it will be time to bring the houseplants indoors. On the autumnal equinox we had equal hours of daylight and darkness and now we march forward each day into earlier and deepening nightfall. Eternal, the rolling cadence of time ... and the mysterious and mystical ocean.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Civility And The Earth Family –

Saddening are some of the cruel comments that some people post in response to media news articles. Whether bigoted and/or hate-filled, response comments done anonymously enable writers to feel no need to be civil, accountable, or respectful; and so, their writings and ramblings exhibit a bad case of ugliness. Remember the "old days" when no letter-to the-editor would be published without the name of a real person whose authenticity was verified by the publisher?

There is, indeed, a thread of violence. Today, most of us probably consider ourselves adherents to the concept of civility. But there is still too much hate around, folks. It seems that it is time for us to realize that we need to work together for the greater good. We are all in the same life boat, the same cosmic canoe!

Sweet Home (away from home) Alabama –

Soon, soon, soon!

These days I remind Dixie Lee that she will again be a "beach doggie"! I’m so looking forward to my pilgrimage to the beach. I am needing the healing energy and wonderful ions of the surf, the visual connection to the rest of the Universe, as I gaze at the vanishing point on the horizon, where the water meets the sky. I’m especially fond of the early mornings there and I love to greet the day at the ocean’s edge.
 

Does This Make Sense?

In Knoxville it’s now against the law to park your car on your front lawn; if your neighbor reports that you are parking there, you will receive a citation. However, there is no bite at all in anti-littering laws – no effort to enforce them. People who are slobs can and do throw fast-food trays, wrappers, drink cups (sometimes whole bags of them), and beer bottles out of car windows onto lawns, flower beds, and driveways.

I implore fast-food restaurants to please install one or two easily accessible trash receptacles at their restaurants’ exit driveways. This would remove, perhaps, ten or twenty percent of the rubbish from our streets. The other 80 or 90 percent of the stuff being thrown out of car windows needs to be seriously addressed by law enforcement.

Forget the frivolous and elitist law-making and put a stop to littering instead.

The Orb –

The Orb Spider and its web...are among the most beautiful vestiges of September. If you see an elaborate, artistic, and carefully-woven web, an Orb is nearby. There are several versions of this remarkable and attractive spider. The one I’m most familiar with is striped. I believe they are all large. Their webs are often strung on carport posts and porches. My carport now has one so I know autumn is here, even if not officially :)
 

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Poignant News –

Seeing the news photo of the Millwood Road animal shelter (humane society) building destroyed by today’s flames, brings back a flood of memories to me (and I’m sure to many others, too). For 13 years I was associated with the humane society ... for the first three years as a hands-on volunteer (walking dogs and cleaning their cages) and then as education director, traveling with my program to schools and organizations throughout Knox and contiguous counties. I kept doing it because I wanted to save animals’ lives by promoting responsible pet ownership and spay/neuter. I did bring the message to hundreds of classrooms, youth organizations, and civic groups until my job was eliminated in early 2004.

Thousands of animals came through the doors of that old building each year. The lucky minority were adopted ... the rest were dispatched when their time was up – or sooner if they were "owner surrendered". Of all the situations there that broke my heart, it was the suffering of the house-trained adult dogs, who were in the top tier of the old cement cages, that was the saddest; they had no access to the outdoors. I still see images of them and their distress, in my mind’s eye.

The news photo shows the large holly tree as it still stands next to the building, a silent witness to so much. The news article says that an arson investigator has been called in.

Employees had sometimes talked among themselves about "seeing" animals who were no longer there, moving about in the euthanasia room; the employees concluded that it must be an "energy field". I never went inside that room.

So, goodbye to the corridors and rooms where lives were extinguished, and the spirits of many, many animals roamed. The news article says that the fire left only the outer walls of the building remaining.

Summer’s Hush –

August is here ... golden August. The fruit of the gardens is abundant, the wildflowers are forming seed heads and pods. My favorite wildflowers are orange glory and purple ironweeds. The ironweeds are the late bloomers and just getting ready to blossom here in Tennessee.

Kids and teachers are getting ready to go back to school. Oh, I remember what a painful thing it was to relinquish summer when I was a child. I suspect that hasn’t changed for today’s kids, especially here in Tennessee, where school resumes in early August. Where I lived (Connecticut), school would re-open on the Wednesday after Labor Day. Always. That seemed much more logical to me. My birthday is September 1st, so as my excitement would mount with my own special day approaching, it was juxtaposed with my sadness about school’s re-opening. I remember that bittersweet emotional conflict – year after year!. I liked school, for the most part, and was a good student; it was just the loss of my personal freedom that bothered me. I’m the same way now, definitely a free spirit. Oh, to be a butterfly, flitting from flower to flower, following my bliss! Well, to some extent, that’s what I do.


Anyway, August is kind of nostalgic and soft and golden, a time to hold onto in one’s memory. It’s a nice month. All of nature is looking forward now to resting, after its vigorous growth, budding, blooming, and propagation. Nature is a great teacher and I am nature’s daughter. August is a nice month.



“That Old Black Magic” –

I’m talking about the song, written by composer Harold Arlen and lyricist Johnny Mercer in 1942, for the film "Star Spangled Rhythm". I happened to hear a piped-in version of it recently while at Savelli’s Restaurant. Never before having realized what technical potential is there in that song, I’m having a lot of fun with it now. Lots of nooks and crannies support all kinds of little riffs and bass lines and the lyrics are fun to sing, too. Add this to my covers list :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Quiet Miracles –

It is a bit after 5 p.m. on Friday, July 24th and I’m sitting in the sanctuary of TVUUC. There is an exquisite labyrinth set up in the sanctuary. If I felt more steady on my feet at the moment, I would walk it. Well, it’s good to sit here and just breathe ... in: "Peace", out: "Yes". "Peace – Yes." That is my personal meditation and it works well for me; I even use it to ease my asthma.

It feels quietly exciting to sit here – I’m in the seat I always used until that morning last July 27th when I got up and changed seats and sat in the one directly behind it. I’ve said before that I did that "for some inexplicable reason", but that’s not quite true. That morning, something ("the small voice"), had made me edgy and told me to change seats; actually, it had almost shouted that instruction. And because I listened and heeded, I am able to be here this evening. But that is not what inspired this post's title.


There are many activities, a special service, and a guitar concert scheduled for this weekend and Monday. They are intended to celebrate the church’s spiritual triumph over the intent of the man who wanted to kill us all – the triumph of love over hate. They are intended, also, to pour out our thanks to the community of Knoxville churches and individuals that gave us so much support in the days and weeks following the shootings. My own personal preference is the reverent, centering approach we have this evening. It seems certain that the media will be here on Sunday and Monday. There will be a lot of people, maybe even throngs, as was the case one year ago. I’ve wondered, worried about how the events may affect the families of those who were slain.


I was injured. I was able to walk ... no, crawl, out of the sanctuary that morning, deafened; I was able to shakily stand on my feet, and able to put myself on auto-pilot to drive myself home ... after which I collapsed and found myself in a crescendo of almost indescribable physical and emotional pain, the ramifications of which evolved over several months. How I resisted it. How I hated to be a victim – I hated it. When the migrating pellets caused my eye to hemorrhage on election day morning, that happening brought me to my emotional knees. I wondered if I was losing my eye (my good eye). I learned that I would need to stay behind dark glasses and/or dodge people for a month. It was frightening to look at myself in the mirror, so I certainly didn't want to frighten others. But a miracle happened. Two miracles (or a two-part miracle)!


One beautiful afternoon when the neighborhood was quiet and no one else was around, I was sitting in my backyard on the old wrought iron bench, situated under a very old (and wise) maple tree. I had my dog with me. I became aware of a peaceful feeling – it felt almost alien ... and so calming. In that moment, a perfectly shaped, golden leaf fluttered down from the maple tree and gently brushed my arm as it came to rest on my left hand. I understood this leaf to be a very special gift. The moment was a time of enlightenment and communion.


After a while, I got up and went into the house, where I stood in front of my full-length mirror, looked into the reflection of my face, and heard myself saying aloud "I love you – no matter how you look. I treasure every part of you and the miracle that you are still functioning as a living unit." I remember those as my exact words. From that moment, I’ve had a new regard and respect for myself ... and for my music and general imprint on the world.


I became gentle with myself and used (my own) healing touch on my forehead and eye. I made peace with my pellets, which responded by quietly settling down. Of course, during that month away from church (while my eye recovered), the other congregants had moved on in their own individual and communal ways of healing. When I did return in mid-December, there was a sea of new faces; there were throngs of people. For a while, I felt like a stranger, out of cadence with everyone else. My drama has been and is amazing.

Meanwhile, my quiet, miracle messenger maple leaf is in a picture frame, pressed under glass for all time to come, and hanging on my bedroom wall. The memory of its gentle stroke upon my hand reminds me that my life ... and life itself (in the continuum) will go on ... yes, changed, but ever vital and precious.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Days Of Innocence –

Occasionally my mind opens up its picture album and diary and I get to re-experience some long-ago scenes. Mid-summer, during my childhood, was a time that I savored. I would say that I was what was known then as a "tom-boy", climbing trees where I’d hang by my knees or sit nestled where a comfy limb joined the tree’s main trunk, and read a book or eat berries. I vividly remember, though, that when I occasionally wore pants instead of a dress (little girls mostly wore dresses when I was a child), I’d always make sure I had a ribbon in my hair or laced into my shoes, to indicate to people that I was a girl (in case they failed to notice my long, braided hair, which boys of that time did not wear).

Many a summer evening, my mother would send me out into the yard to pick dandelion greens for salad. I think my father tried his hand at making dandelion wine. I recall that, at that time and place, dandelions were not disdained or poisoned – they were eaten and made into wine; sometimes they were just welcomed as part of the lawn, for their cheerful flowers and the fuzzy seed heads that we children loved to play with. I still like dandelions.

Often my father would enlist my help with his huge garden and he would teach me about plants and their care. My mother had been a "city girl", but she had adapted to life in the country. From mid-July on through September, she would spend days at a time in the kitchen, canning vegetables and fruit that would be stored in a special room in our basement. The basement was old-style, as the house had been built in 1938. It had places where coal chutes had been, before the heating system had been converted from coal to oil. The basement was spooky, even after I’d become an adult. My mother loved to make things out of cement. Making her own wooden forms, she fashioned many little "steps" and garden edgings, and even dug and cemented (sides and bottom) of a children’s pool, which I’d say was about 8'x10' and perhaps almost (an uneven) 3' in depth.

Lest this all appear to be a picture-book scene, I need to add that we always seemed to have an over-abundance of visitors – my parents’ friends, relatives, acquaintances – sometimes the house was like a train station; it also had its share of quarrels and the air was always blue with cigarette smoke. I didn’t mind the visitors much, except for when my cousins would be there for a day or several days. They were fun for the first hour or so, but would interfere with my treasured hours at the piano. Sometimes I would find my solitude and escape by getting "lost" on the property, usually in a tree.

Twice per summer, my mother would take me to the beach, which I loved. It was only about 25 or 30 minutes away by car, but that was before she got her driver’s license, so we had to travel by bus. When you travel by bus, it seems like a long journey.


Of course, there was always the possibility of one of the year-round music performances that my mother had me booked for. Some of them involved real travel; some of them were back-to-back. They were kind of the reassuring bits of punctuation, sprinkled across the scenes I’ve just described, sort of a reaffirmation – of what, I’m not sure. It sometimes felt like I was living two lives.

Funny how each season has memories that can tiptoe across that threshold; how all those threads are firmly woven together.



 

Monday, June 22, 2009

End-Of-Month Round-Up Of Thoughts & Happenings ...

Nature is, at once, beautifully delicate and very ruggedly designed. Nature tells me secrets and I try to listen; there is so much to learn. Recent violent storms tearing through the area brought flooding, toppled trees, and some scary moments. And there is the excitement, the drama!

I finally did manage to get the Myspace page closed. My house projects are completed except for the carport which is to be installed in a week or two. The front circular driveway came out great, thanks to the expertise of the Daco Company crew.

I was very saddened when my little foster-care birdlets deceased, during their third day in my care. They had been eating and seemingly making progress; then, sometime during the night, the friskier one went; around noon the next day, the quiet one followed. Maybe when I changed out their soiled nesting material, it was a mistake to do so. Maybe it was because they matured enough to realize I wasn’t one of their kind. Whatever the reason for their demise, I miss them and wish that they had survived.


Dennis, my prison pen-pal, has done marvelously on his academic studies, even got a score of 100 on his math final; he will be graduating soon and I’m very proud of him.


Summer is here, there is no doubt. Happy Summer Solstice to one and all!


Angels, Heroes, & Upcoming Anniversary of July 27th...

Somehow the upcoming first anniversary of the shootings at my church suggests to me that this would be a good time for me to acknowledge and honor my life's heroes ...

My mother, who had an amazingly giving and generous spirit and who was my cheerleader and promoter.

My paternal grandmother, who was my childhood playmate and talented mentor.

The men at TVUUC who saved my life on July 27, 2008.

The people who work as advocates for and rescuers of animals and our earth.

The musicial artists who write, sing, and play about truth in their music; the visual artists who state truth in their drawings and paintings.

Philip, my multi-talented friend who was also my ardent and steadfast fan.

Gerald, who has humor and a generous heart.

Harry, who I'll always remember for his vision, sensitivity, and honesty.

Dr. Griffith and Dr. Stewart, who are very kind and very wise.

Diana, who has integrity, courage, and strength.

My guardian angel(s) who come to my rescue every time I call.

My beautiful Dixie Lee.

Myself, for my fortitude and (what I believe is) a gentle heart.

~To all that is good, thanks be for the breath of life~

And my heartfelt thanks to my circle of friends for their love, loyalty, and encouragement.




Comfort Zone –

Lately I’ve found myself occasionally visiting the nearby Shoney’s. In years past, the Shoney Restaurant on the other side of town was where my mother liked to go for our weekly dinner date. She had a favorite server and thoroughly enjoyed dining there. Daughter Shara and I often went there for breakfast, even during her rebellious teen years; having breakfast there was a shared experience we both enjoyed. Maybe those memories now send me to the nearby Shoney’s, in order to reminisce. I don’t mean for this to sound like a Shoney’s commercial. Actually, the veggie bar isn’t as good as it used to be (when it was strictly a veggie bar); also, the number of meal choices has diminished.

But, it is still "homey". Last week I went in and sat down and a woman across the aisle looked at me and exclaimed "Great tat!", referring to the wolf tattoo I have on my left arm. She then proudly revealed her own tattoo (of a unicorn) just above her chest cleavage. The parade of people is varied and fun to observe!

Magic, Blessed Little Creatures –

Lightning Bugs! Where I grew up, that’s what they are called. I’ve heard them called "Fireflies" in other locales. They can be seen now, gracing the night with their magic. I love them! It’s impossible to not have one’s spirit enriched while gazing at lightning bugs. I’ll copy and paste a segment of an item I wrote about them back in 1998 in my newsletter, Janna Publications (named for a sweet, smart little dog who sat in the executive director’s chair!). At the time, there was an industry campaign to collect and harm the little insects. Here is what I wrote:

"How They Light Up The Night! ... During the month of June, the annual ritual is begun by those innocuous little creatures–the lightning bugs, or fireflies as they are called in some parts of the country. At dusk, their blinking lights emerge from grass and garden. As the evening wears on, they rise in a great twinkling wave, higher and higher from the ground. Then, just before midnight, they are among the treetops, where they signal to each other in a spectacular, quietly-frenzied display!

Would you want them to disappear? Would you wish them harmed? No, neither would we. Nor do we want to know the mechanical intricacies of their lighting apparatus. But, this summer, a more elaborate version of last year’s newspaper ad appeared in print, urging people to catch these insects, freeze them, and cash them in for payment by the ounce; the ad also said to "avoid thawing or they will become worthless". Worthless? This strikes us as crass, crude, cruel, and ridiculous. We think that their aesthetic worth is singularly phenomenal."

Yes, phenomenal ... and magic!

Lance, Moby, and Noah –

My beloved truck, Lance, and Jerry’s ‘85 Buick, Moby, have been joined by a 2005 Avalanche whose name is Noah. When I can find a place to park them in a row, facing forward, I’ll take their picture and call it "The Fleet"!

It turns out that Chevy’s Avalanche is a very hot (I don't mean "stolen") vehicle – so much in demand that car salesmen have a list for waiting customers who are trying to locate an available Avalanche vehicle. I think the 2005 - 2007 models may have some advantage over the current year’s model, in terms of quality. I’m delighted with the acquisition!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Circus Is In Town –

What a week last week was...and its events aren’t over! All at the same time, a fence company came and moved my dog’s chain link fence and posts; the carport salesman came to take measurements, etc. in preparation of installing a second carport; the Avalanche came home from the dealership; the paving company came and dug out, graveled, and rolled the front parking spot which has now been extended into a semi-circle. And today a tree company came and did some major pruning on a tree that had limbs lying on my house’s service wires. The paving crew and the fence-moving crew were, literally, here at the same time, vying for the limited parking space and jockeying their vehicles and equipment around to accommodate each other, me, Jerry, and our neighbors who share the main driveway. It was a circus. Then, just as the paving guys were about to call for the tar truck to come, the sky turned black and the wind came up. Yep ... a big storm was blowing in, with lots of rain, thunder, and lightning. So they couldn’t complete the job. That night we had some more soaking rains, so the following day the situation had to dry out. That day, being Friday, means that my next shot at getting the parking area asphalted will be tomorrow (Monday). I’m hoping, hoping, hoping!

“You’re Being Chirped!”

And ... on Saturday, I noticed that for the second day in a row, there was evidence of birds having perched on one of the center beams of the existing carport. The evidence was also on the new vehicle. I washed off the truck and backed it out from under the carport so I could also rinse the beam with the garden hose. Having done that, I realized I had to stuff some soft, pliable material into the narrow space above the beam so that the birds wouldn’t hang out there again. Climbing on my little ladder, I could almost reach high enough to place a piece of bubble wrap in the opening. But I found that I am not tall enough, plus I thought I might fall off the little ladder. I heard sounds coming from my neighbor’s back yard, though I couldn’t see through the hedges. Venturing a plaintive call, I said "Chris, are you over there?" "Yeah"... the welcomed response. I briefly told him what I was trying to do and he came right over to help. He easily was tall enough to reach the beam and insert the bubble wrap. But – whoa – "there are birds in there", he called out to me. They hadn't been fazed by the garden hose spray. What a place to locate baby birds...above vehicles and a hard gravel surface below. One by one, he removed the two babies (needing to temporarily unscrew one side of the beam to get the bird who was stuck in the crevice), whose nest was minimal and flimsy, and placed them in my hands.

Yes, I am hand-feeding two baby birds in my kitchen. That first night I almost didn’t expect them to be OK. As of today, though, they seem to be thriving. And very vocal! I think they are about 7 days old, one being a bit smaller and less developed than the other ... maybe a late-blooming egg. The smaller bird seems to be more "mindful" and was more eager to eat from moment one. The other one is feistier and more active.

Anyway, Chris installed bubble wrap in all the carport center beam openings, to avoid further problems. I’m hoping these two little birdies will make it. They and I are trying our best. And so, Jerry periodically calls out to me "you’re being chirped", when the birdettes signal for food.

Dixie Lee On WVLT’s “Volzeye” –

I submitted two of her photos and they are both up there on the site. The picture of her wearing her hat (it’s also on this blog) pulled in at least one vote (I didn’t know there was voting for this event, entitled "Dog Days Of Summer"). Lots of people sent in pictures of their dogs.

Words —

I’d like to publish here a little poem (I’ve written many ... some serious, some comical) entitled "Words". Sometimes I’m even more aware than usual of the power of words. Words create and project energies. When we string words into a sentence, we create something that has power, sometimes enough power to take on a life of its own. What we say can be for the good or can be destructive. Truly, words can be weapons, words can be tools, words can be caresses. How wonderful to caress someone with words, and to be so caressed, so positively stroked!

Here is the funny little poem written a number of years ago (it almost qualifies as a limerick except for its rhythm):

WORDS
Light on their feet,
Or as heavy as they can be,
Lofty and good, Base and bad,
Bold, playful, somber, sad...
Not bland or namby-pamby.

 
 

Month Modes –

No one commented on my end-of-May’s post about how each of the months on the calendar brings with it a mood, mode, feeling, theme of its own. I mentioned May being merry and June being sultry. I’d really like to know if other people ascribe moods to specific months. Here’s another one of mine: September – blissful. And another: March – energized. And another: April – tricky. Just think of the descriptive word that immediately comes to mind about a particular month!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Damn Those Musicians –

Who knows why memories of certain experiences drift back into our minds at times that don’t seem to make any sense in terms of connection? I guess I’m assuming this happens to other people, besides me. My mind is a veritable well with an accompanying apparatus that often vigorously dips down into it ... drawing up, from various levels ... happenings and feelings from my lifescape.

This morning, while driving down North Broadway here in Knoxville, I could hear the words of a job interviewer (I don’t know what her real title was) from eight or nine years ago. At the time, I was still the roving, roaming, itinerant humane education director for a local non-profit organization, visiting schools and organizations in Knox and contiguous counties with my program. The "EF" employee (initials of recruiter organization), who later served as interviewer, contacted me and asked if I would please consider coming in and applying for a part-time job with her organization – a job that would involve my working with inner-city youth. I loved that prospect, so I figured why not complete the application? Soon I had my initial meeting with her. Her eagerness for me to be a serious job candidate was evident and a bit disconcerting, as she later phoned me to ask me to please remain interested in the position.

At last, the day of my defining interview arrived and I sweetly and sincerely accepted the invitation into her office. A few moments into our talk, she said "I know, and you admit here (on my paperwork), that you’re a musician!". Then, without stopping, she went on: "Don’t you think you would be a bad influence on children?" Well, it was really, what would be referred to in the vernacular, a "sucker shot" -- one that definitely caught me unprepared.

In that moment, I realized she’d never intended to consider me for the job and had, in fact, put a lot of effort into bringing me to that place and time. Possibly so that she could say that to me? Who knows? Maybe I fulfilled some obscure category on her EOE documentation; is there one for "musician"?. Anyway, I remember looking at her and managing to say "I consider music a positive thing", then getting up and leaving ... bewildered on my drive home.

I don’t know who was hired for that job, but odds are that he or she boasted of having a tin ear.

 

Strolling Through The Park –

"I was strolling through the park one day,
In the merry, merry month of May,
I was taken by surprise, By a pair of roguish eyes,
In a moment my poor heart was stole away!"

Music and Lyrics were composed by by Ed Haley in 1884; the song’s genre was/is "parlor song" and it has an additional verse. BTW (this is an aside) I came across alternate, parody lyrics entitled While Strolling In Iraq One Day on The Boot Newt Sing-A-Long Blog at bootnewt.blogspot.com; I'm guessing those lyrics were written during the presidential campaign.

Anyway...

Dixie Lee and I took our Thursday outing today...we went to one of several parks we enjoy. Suddenly, the lines of this little song began to play in my head and soon I was singing it as we walked. I felt very uninhibited and the little melody continued on, again and again. May really is a "merry" month. Spring has grabbed hold with a firm and lovely grip and the little flora faeries have begun their seasonal dance among the flowers. Now, as the merry month draws to a close, the sultry (I always think of the month of June as sultry, seductive...that’s why the opening line in my song "That’s The Way You Make Me Feel" is "Like a sweet, summer day sometime in June" -- hear it on my Song Page link at www.claralandau.com). I guess it naturally follows that we could ascribe one-word "mood tags" for each month. I’d be very interested in hearing your ideas about that, dear reader. What is the general tone of July, of September, the rest of them? Well, it’s kind of hard, when we’re standing here and straddling the line between being merry and being sultry, to imagine the mood tone for any other time. But let me know if you can!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Gate-Keepers, Step Aside –

"Animal People" is a newspaper publication about and for individuals and organizations that work to help animals – through advocacy, rescue, and/or education ... animal-oriented people ... in short, "animal-people". I had subscribed to Animal People for the ten years during which I was education director and traveling public speaker for a regional humane organization.

Recently, when I completed and recorded my classical music composition Requiem For Animals, I sent a news item about it, as well as a letter-to-the editor, to Animal People, so that the editor/publisher could choose the format he preferred to include in an upcoming issue. The items described the musical work and the fact that I was offering it as a gift to humane organizations that might want to use it as a film score or for an educational project. When the next issue rolled out, Requiem For Animals was not mentioned at all. Rather, I received an e-mail from the editor/publisher, rejecting my news item and letter and dissing the concept of my musical gift offer, in general. His tone, while polite, flexed the muscle of censorship and gate-keeping. He also suggested that I contact each organization individually. (!) Left on my own, without recourse to a widely distributed animal advocacy avenue, I’ve been contacting those organizations I find on the Internet via e-mail and postal mail, as time and postage money permit, but there is no way I can even know about the existence of many worthwhile organizations and certainly no way I can contact each of them.

How sad that the role of "watchdog", guardian, and gate-keeper would be so staunchly policed, that something of beauty and value (and free of cost) would be kept from those who might want and benefit from it.

Comprised of interwoven segments that tell a story and characterize states of being ... and consciousness... from the perspective of an animal, the Requiem For Animals musical drama attempts to portray the moment of birth, early life in the natural environment, the advent of danger (by way of man), death, the following quietude, the re-awakening, and the celebration of life in the cosmos.

I would like to tell the animal advocacy community – the animal-people organizations -- that Requiem For Animals is a professional, production-quality musical work that I am offering free, for use in their programming efforts. There are no hitches or catches. Requiem For Animals can be heard on my website at www.claralandau.com on the "Song Page" link. I will send a free copy of the CD to organizations that contact me at (865) 522-0204 claralandau@comcast.net and request it.

So, gate-keepers, step aside; let’s open the gates of information!


Starkly, With Finesse –

I guess that phrase and post title flew into my head because (I hope) it describes, succinctly, the relation, the balance, between me and the written word. (see Gate-Keeper post).



Flower Power –

One needs only to deeply inhale the wondrously beautiful perfume of the Mock Orange blossom (now abloom in profusion) or take in the visual feast of a velvety Rose garden, to be assured that, whatever is going on in the world of humans, Nature can and does upstage us – skillfully, eloquently, and with such drama!



Who Knoo?

That I might get a new vehicle?

That we’d have two straight weeks of rain in east Tennessee?

That the economy would start to improve?

That Chrysler would file for bankruptcy?

That I'd receive Victoria’s Secret mauve, lacey underwear for Mother’s Day?

That I'd receive a bottle of (immunity-boosting) food-grade H202 (hydrogen
peroxide) for Mother’s Day?

That I'd love sci-fi TV series "Moonlight" and its handsome starring vampire?

That I would be pet-sitting a 19-year-old adorable little dog?


Loft Office –

Clarence III and Dexter March and all their peripherals have been moved and are now located in my loft office, which is also known as "Dixie Towers" because my dog, Dixie Lee, loves to hang out up here. Jerry calls my office "Cape Canaveral" because he thinks it’s techy-looking. It is office-y enough, though also a quiet place with a nice, soft, creative vibe. Another plus is that my bedroom (where the computer equipment formerly was situated), now looks like a bedroom (a girl’s BR). And I love it!



Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth & Her Day --

Frequently, the link between nature and many of my song lyrics reminds me how intricately the process of creativity is wired into me and rooted in natural things. I'm glad that we honor our Earth on Earth Day. More and more people are beginning to care about our planet ... our home, during the other days of the year, too.

Yes, I know that there still are blockheads who drive by and throw their fast-food wrappers, trays, drink cups, and other trash along the roadway and in people's yards. When picking up neighborhood litter, I also find discarded un-winning lottery tickets and scratch-off sheets, probably tossed angrily from a car window (now we know that people are probably scratching off their lottery tickets while driving their vehicles!) Or, maybe it seems expedient to get rid of gambling evidence on the way home, in an effort to hide the ticket purchases from a spouse who might not approve? How devious of me to think of that! :)

While on the topic of litter, I remember the time I first drove across the state line from Virginia into Tennessee (back in 1986 when I was moving here from Connecticut). I was immediately startled by two things (almost simultaneously): the litter and the aggressive, very fast drivers.

Anyway -- if you, dear reader, are among those who do your part to preserve our planet by lessening your footprint (and by cleaning up others' footprints), I sincerely admire, appreciate, and thank you.

The 21 Polo Ponies --

Bless those dear, innocent animals. I've looked in the mainstream news for updates; the absence is very noticeable. Media sources, last Sunday, promised that conclusive test results would be available by week's end. Well, I guess that's tomorrow. I remember thinking, at the time, that a week gives a time and strategy buffer to whoever is responsible for poisoning the horses. A web search today found a report that says no cause of death has been determined, although blood was in the horses' lungs. Further, the report said that a Florida pharmacy made a mistake in the horses' medication. It also said that no ingredients were made public. My first question is: Was this really medication (if so, for what?) or was it a steroid or pain-numbing drug? My second question is: Why isn't this story still "news"? I hope the outcome will not be squelched or convoluted in a cover-up. Accountability is needed. Truth is needed.

These Days A-Rushing --

I recently entered a deposit twice in my check book. Thankfully, I discovered the error before it created problems -- the discovery was made on a weekend when I couldn't do anything about it, which was nerve-rattling to someone like me who accounts for every penny when I reconcile my accounts. Hurrying from one task, one errand ... to another, like a tape on fast-forward. Rushing, rushing, rushing! I want to stop rushing. Breathe in -- "peace", breathe out -- "peace". Peace ... that one word, said mentally, helps me so much. Time to put on the brakes and breathe peace.

Yowie-Zowie --

Spring is here! Or maybe it's Sprummer -- because it is hot. The weather here in east Tennessee is erratic and interesting. You just never know what it really will be, until it arrives :)




Blissful Heart --

Last week in church, the choir sang a D. Brunner song called "In Safety and Bliss". The simple, yet profound line of lyric that brought tears of appreciation to my eyes, was "May all creatures be of blissful heart". It's a beautiful wish.


Opulent Pink --

Every so often, I post about a frivolity. It seems to serve a purpose similar to that of "comic relief". Something to giggle, twitter, smirk, or smile about -- to "gentle-ize my personal world (I'm inventing words again). The color pink is known to psychologically soften and gentle-ize people's emotions and moods -- well, I'm in favor of that. Recently, I bought a beautiful pink-peach-yellow blend rose bush, which is now planted in my front garden. A few days later found me in Walgreen's, selecting a "new shade" of Revlon polish for my toenails. Who knows why painted toenails can do so much to delight a woman?! The shade is called Opulent Pink! Not long ago, I painted the long wall of my bedroom in a light pink shade that I got at Home Depot. Soon, I'm going to move my computer stuff out of my bedroom and into my loft office, so I then can enjoy my "girly" bedroom.




Friday, April 10, 2009

Mad Moments –

While basking yesterday in the warmth and comfort of the sun, my memory of the weather we'd had a couple of days earlier seemed almost surreal. It had been pretty weird; my lilac bush was wrapped up in a bedsheet like a mummy to protect its flowers from freezing and I’d covered a bunch of other plants. Tuesday was the epitome of weather weirdness. It was like a maniacal strobe and effects machine gone awry – with rotating bouts of sunshine, hail, darkened skies, and snowfall. This afternoon, we are watching the advance of severe thunder storms and tornadoes, as they make their way across Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia.

Maybe Nature needs to play sometimes – to have her mad moments, just like the rest of us. It's as good an explanation as any.


Jamming –

It felt good to jam with a band-in-the-making last Saturday. Although they don’t do my musical genre-of-choice, (they do southern rock), it was a fun day and their wives served up some great food. The music had a lot of repeat patterns and became almost like a meditation. Yamaha (my keyboard) said to me, "What have you got me doing now?" I replied, "Just do it, you'll never have it this easy again".

Knox area musicians – I’d love to get together with a local or regional blues and/or jazz band or with musical individuals. If this describes you, please contact me. There’s something magical about the energy that flows among musicians when they play together.

Please check out my website at www.claralandau.com.

Bless The Lawnmowers –

I refer to the squad of commercial cutting, mowing, whacking, blowing machines that I damn, as they shriek, roar, and whine over the grass in the adjoining yards. These are city lots, so how big do you think they are? There are five men commanding the machines! The deafening noise is punctuated by the occasional shrill tweet of whistles the men use to signal to each other. How ludicrous it seems. Anyway, they seem determined and I'm sure they will beat that lawn into submission. When they are done, they will go away and once again we'll be able to hear the birds chirping and our own thoughts taking shape in our minds.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Why Write A Blog?

You probably have guessed, at this point, that, among other things, I also am a philosopher. I post to this blog when the spirit moves me to write – relatively often. As my regular readers know, I’m not shy about airing my opinions and sharing my experiences with a wide audience.

Often, we see people who send comments, especially inflammatory comments, in response to widely-read, online newspaper articles. Hiding behind an ego-stroking fake name, a pseudonym, it is easy for them to hurl insults back and forth, as no one knows who they are. I always use my own name, in the interests of accountability and credibility. That’s my old-school training, I guess, but it lets me and others know that my feelings and opinions are authentically mine. And that's why I write a blog.

U.S. Wolves & the Endangered Species List –

Here is a copy of my letter, recently postal-mailed to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar. My letter seeks to keep the wolf protected, as ranchers already have the legal right to kill any wolf who may bother said rancher’s cattle. Please note that our Secretary of the Interior is a senator from Colorado, where there is significant special interest effort to lobby against the wolf. I sent a similar letter to President Barack Obama, asking him to overturn the Salazar decision. If you would like to protect the wolves from widespread and indiscriminate destruction (including pups and expectant mothers), please consider writing on their behalf.

Here is my letter:

Secretary Ken Salazar
U.S. Department of the Interior

1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Salazar:

In order to avoid a disastrous and barbaric mass destruction of U.S. wolves, please withdraw the plan to remove the protected status from this historically persecuted animal. Please conduct the rigorous kind of scientific review that President Obama has championed on other environmental and ethical issues in the past, rather than implementing the Bush-administration’s concept of wolf-killing, sadly so typical of that administration’s catering to special-interest lobbyists and of the smorgasbord of colossal damage for which it is responsible.

I well remember the sincerity, care, and insight with which President Obama voted on environmental and humane legislation while he was in the Senate. I am aware that our country is currently trying to solve a myriad of major problems – problems largely created by the previous administration – but we must not take our eyes off other important situations, such as the survival of the U.S. wolf. The last time wolves lost their protection, 110 of them were riddled with bullets within 120 days. I implore you to preserve what we still have left of our country’s environmental and natural heritage.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,


Clara M. Landau, Ph.D.


The “Dance, Dance, Dance” Link –

The post title is mine, not the dance troupe's. I came across this link recently. It’s great fun to watch, again and again.

The info about it says it is a commercial that was shot at the Liverpool Street Subway Station in London on January 15th. Only the dancers knew what was to happen; the general public didn't have a clue what was about to unfold. The link is on YouTube at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ3d3KigPQM.

Enjoy!


Pre-storm –

There was one such time recently; it lasted between two and four minutes, during which the wind rose in the dramatic crescendo of waves and swirls that prefaces rain. It whistled in little howling voices and pushed us around on our porch balcony. It pulled my hair outward and upward. Dixie Lee’s ears blew backward and were close against her head. Small tree branches snapped and flew around before landing on the balcony floor and the ground below. We were too excited to go indoors, in too much wonderment to hide.

I swear we both morphed (at least in spirit) into wild beasts, with our fur ruffled and rippling, all senses at the ready, standing on our craggy cliff, our faces forward in the currents of wind and energy.

You probably can tell that I’m excited and energized by storms and weather phenomena and sometimes I seek them out, but this one came calling at my address. Dixie Lee and I stayed on the porch balcony until the danger point was nigh, at which time we ducked indoors and listened to the rain on the metal roof.


Song Population –

I wonder if there are millions or even billions of songs that have been composed and are still known throughout the world. Just closing my eyes for a few minutes and letting that mental ticker-tape of song titles travel across my mind makes me realize the incalculable amount of creative energy that has gone into song writing through the ages. I’ve contributed majorly, even disproportionately to the song population (if we were to imagine for a moment that everyone had a permit to give birth to two songs). Fortunately, the realm of artistic creativity doesn’t work that way!

And, to sum up on a kinda-sorta frivolous note: Two song titles popped up in my head, as dueling opposites of each other ... at opposite ends of the music spectrum in the world of cover songs (songs composed by other people); they are "Who Let The Dogs Out?" and "Let’s Build A Stairway To The Stars." Think of these as bookends to the vast library of songs out there in the world, and you may smile!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday Journey To The Park in Threesome –

Today my daughter, the lovely Shara, drove down from Maggie Valley, NC to visit with me. I’m always ecstatic when she comes because we get a chance to girl-talk, shop, sip cups of tea, and go to lunch. We did those things today. And – we decided to drive to the park and do some walking. We didn’t want to disappoint Dixie Lee, my dog (see photographs of), so decided to take her along with us. The only wrinkle in the plan was the need to fit an 80-pound dog who is accustomed to riding with a seat belt wrapped around her, along with Shara and me, in the 2-seater cab of my truck. I was the driver; Shara had to wedge herself in the middle of the seat of the vehicle, somehow co-existing with a five-speed floor-shift. It was a comic and amusing ride, really a lot of fun. Our walk was great and there were a number of other people in the park with their dogs. When we ran out of steam, we carefully loaded ourselves back into my truck and drove back home. Along the way, Shara athletically managed to snap a picture of herself with my cell phone, next to Dixie Lee, who, by that time, was slightly drooling. What a great day that came to an end too soon, as always, as the hands of the clock spun around. And, as always, I waved goodbye and shed tears, as I watched Shara’s car drive out of sight on her journey home.

Predatory –

I’ve recently been told, in carefully chosen, delicate terms, that I am ... er, hmm, well ... seeking to entice a troubled, struggling man onto an erring path; the concept was articulated to me by said individual. Gosh ... I was told that he "can feel the tension" and needs to "distance" himself! Well, that certainly was unexpected, but I have thought of a rebuttal of sorts: Should it not be in my nature to fix my sight on the quarry? After all, I’m the Lady Wolf, not the Lady Deer or the Lady Salamander! My ego is tempted to flex its muscle and smirk "Sorry you just can’t deal with it' (it being that quietly elusive temptress quality that I find myself momentarily wishing to possess)! :)


Oak Leaf Friday –

Yesterday I spent the entire day clearing out oak leaves that had covered my flower beds, wedged themselves between, over, and under the gazillion rocks that border the walkway and garden, carpeted the front lawn, and tangled themselves intricately in the branches of my shrubs. Did I neglect to do leaf removal in the autumn? No, it had been thoroughly done by a handyman leaf service in November and again in January. Do I have oak trees? No, but the large yard perched on an incline across the street has oak trees. Why am I writing about this? Just to vent, I guess. The people who live there watch ever so gleefully each year as tons of oak leaves swirl, dance, and gust from their yard into their neighbors’ yards, those adjoining and those that are here on the downslope across the roadway. I’ve seen the oak owners strolling around their yard, winking at the brown, crispy leaves and waving "bon voyage". The "plus" is (and this is really a stretch but I was determined to find a plus) in finding that sometimes the bogged-down leaves have insulated a tender plant or an interesting caterpillar from the winter cold.

One Year Anniversary!

It’s been one year since computer Clarence III was vacuumed and bit the dust and replacement computer, Dexter March, came on the scene. They are both HPs. Clarence has since been repaired, I’m happy to say, and joins Dexter in celebration :)

The March Of The Seasons!

Spring is definitely in the air. My song "Spring Is In The Air" is on my "Is She Calling You?" CD. It’s light classical and I will put it up on my website for the next few months.

“Requiem For Animals” – Gift Offering

"Requiem For Animals" is my new classical music piece that I am offering to non-profit animal advocacy organizations as a gift. Use it as a film score, education tool, documentary background. Hear it on my website, which will soon be moved to www.claralandau.com on the link entitled "Passion & Compassion". If you like what you hear and want a CD of the song, contact me and I’ll send you one, absolutely free.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bumper Stickers, Messages, and the Quality of “Wild” –

Today I saw a truck in the shopping center parking lot that was loaded (as is mine, though at the opposite side of the spectrum) with bumper stickers. I did not want to stick around until the truck’s owner showed up – to see his/her face and eyes and countenance.

The messages were pregnant with blatant and bold hate and intolerance. The one that hit me first and hardest was "Liberals are terrorists". Others included a little rhyme, "I won’t hide my white pride", "Seal our borders", and a message that was nastily directed (in a racial sense) at those who voted for President Obama. It saddened me to read them, so I made a conscious effort to re-direct my attention and thoughts to the quest for positive and longed-for solutions to this kind of blind hatred and intolerance. What a wonderful world we could have if we were to replace all hatred with compassion. Picture it!

Bumper stickers are the one way we can and do "advertise" what matters to us, what we believe, the way we think, where our spirit resides. Bumper stickers do affect people who see them. How often have you giggled when you found yourself waiting in traffic in back of a vehicle with humorous bumper stickers? Or shifted your thinking while viewing profoundly inspiring bumper stickers? Seen any political bumper stickers that were either to your liking or kind of got your hackles up?

Most of my bumper stickers are about kindness to animals, compassion in general, love, and beauty. One of them has an inviting message about Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. Another of them (one of my oldest and original bumper stickers that I’ve had to shellac to help preserve it from the elements) says "Wild Women Don’t Get The Blues" (though I assure you they definitely do get the blues). Women tend to like that bumper sticker and view it with humor, sort of in a way that is equal to a wink. During the first couple of years my truck wore the message, I had two incidents involving gentlemen who were incensed by it. One shouted to me in traffic on the Kingston Pike, "You will burn in hell!" The other said something equally harsh about damnation. Another time, in front of the post office on Sutherland, a young man asked, in a very sincere tone, "Is it true that wild women don’t get the blues?" I replied, "It’s not true". He responded in a thoughtful tone and with downcast eyes, "I didn’t think so...wild men get the blues, too". Poor kid, I thought – he must be going through something.

Those zealots of judgement (I like the "e" in the word "judgement") among us who see things totally in polarized black and white – superior and inferior – bad and good – those who put disparaging labels on others for the sake of elevating themselves, apparently equate the word "wild" with "immoral" or "wicked". No! "Wild" means wild – untamed, free, natural, able to make one’s own decisions and travel on one’s own path, able to respect, honor and be at one with nature, able to be humane and human, able to recognize one’s interconnectedness with the rest of creation, able to err and forgive oneself (and others). I will strive to live out my days as a wild woman in all those ways.


Mattresses –

A year or so ago when Jerry bought himself a new mattress, I figured I’d keep up with the Joneses and get one for myself, too. Never mind that my ten or so year-old pink Jamison mattress still was fine. That decision? Bad, bad, bad. I was bad. I bought myself what was touted as a real deal, mattressly speaking. I won’t tell you where it was bought, but the initials BB do come to mind. The delivery men brought in the new sleep pad and carried away my faithful pink Jamison. I promptly had to go to Home Depot and have a thick piece of plywood cut to measurements to fit my bed, under the new mattress (the previous mattress had not needed one).

Today I went to one of the three furniture stores in the area that carry the Jamison brand, blissfully tried out the dozen or so of the samples there, and put in my order for a nice new Jamison. It is white...pink is no longer available. Anyway, it is scheduled to arrive next Saturday. Yippee! So, wherever you are, pink 1990s Jamison, I'm sorry I sent you away. Today I tried to set that right.




Our Economy, Ourselves –

Recently, while talking with a friend about the economy, job situation, and such, one of us mentioned that people may now begin (as they did in the "olden" days) to repair and maintain what they have, rather than throwing it away and buying a new one (of anything, but specifically vehicles). My truck is a 1991, which he already knew. As the conversation continued, I ventured that maybe some people snicker about my truck’s age, though not in my presence (because I’m so fiercely in love with my truck, Lance, about whom some of my earlier posts speak). "Well", I said, "we could say that’s how I walk my talk, or in this case, drive my talk". (I'm not shy about airing my disapproval of discarding things instead of maintaining them, of buying a new vehicle every couple of years, of manufacturing gazillions of new cars every year and filling up landfills with cast-offs.) Also, what I was referring to were the twin realities of our population growing exponentially (here in the U.S. as well as in what we think of as third-world countries) and our being among the most insatiable users of resources and a major influence in getting the people of other nations to follow our example as users. All facets of our economy have, over the years, become driven by blatant materialism and keeping the market glutted with products. So now we are seeing that train coming to a screeching halt, even jumping off the track. I often think in terms of imaging and that is the picture our predicament brings to my mind. I believe it will take a major shift in the way we view things and the way we do things ... and setting things in a direction that is more congruent with sincere bipartisan efforts to bridge the chasm between rich and poor.

House Concerts –

I’m getting word out in whatever ways I can that I’m wanting to do house concerts; you could say I’m soliciting them, because I am :) I’m eager to begin doing music performances again – at events, classy venues, people’s homes.



The Tragedy In Australia –

So sad that the people and animals in Victoria State, Australia have been devastated by recent wildfires. Following what must have been a truly hellish scene, the coming together, interaction, and compassion among people and between species, is the one precious and beautiful positive to surface in the aftermath.



Friday, January 30, 2009

Dennis, My Prison Pen-Pal –

Can you picture a flute made out of five cardboard cores of toilet paper rolls and scotch tape? He has fashioned the instrument as a close-to-exact replica of a real longitudinal (ala Native American) flute. He says "It was tuned to C , with the embouchure hole 48 mm from the closed end", adding "I took off (with a nail clipper!) about 1.5 cm to bring it up to a D". The five cardboard cores were saved and accumulated over a period of time, probably while the concept formed in his mind. A while back, he was attempting to root orange seeds in dampened paper towel, but he had to scrap the project because prison policy did not allow it. Imagine what life must be like for a prison inmate who, like Dennis, is a creative and talented musician. The tedium must be very difficult; yet, he’s come up with some remarkable art work, too (see picture of treble clef). I’ve been exchanging letters with him now, through a church program, for almost a year; I’m sure I get as much out of it as he does.

“Requiem For Animals” –

Five score sheets written in my brand of musical shorthand on pink note paper mounted on taped-together cereal box panels, are the original notation mode of my classical piece, "Requiem For Animals". The piano piece (which will easily and beautifully lend itself to full orchestration) drifted into the creative side of my head during late December and early January. Honoring the lives of animals, it is comprised of several interwoven segments that tell a story ... and characterize states of being and consciousness, from the perspective of an animal. The musical drama attempts to portray the moment of birth, early life in the natural environment, the advent of danger (by way of man), death, the following quietude, the re-awakening, the celebration of life in the cosmos.

I would love to have a humanitarian organization use this musical piece for a documentary, film score, or fundraising effort. It will be my gift. That was my intent from the moment of its conception.



And –

Five (5) cover songs, too! I recorded them the same evening as "Requiem". I did not get mechanical licenses for them, so can’t market them, but will play them for personal enjoyment. They are songs that have special sentimental meaning for me. One of them is a jazzed-up version of a song my mother sang to me when I was a young child. Some of them could be in or approaching the public domain – they are old.


Please Take A Moment –

Here are some sites you’ll want to visit if you care about animals –


Voice Of The Animal (education)
http://www.voiceoftheanimal.org

Wolf Haven International
http://www.wolfhaven.org

The Golden Carrot (horse rescue and retirement)
http://www.thegoldencarrot.org

Mid-Atlantic Horse Rescue
http://www.midatlantichorserescue.org

Higher Ground (animal advocacy)
http://www.higherground-animaladvocacy.org

S.A.V.E. (education)
http://www.savinganimalsviaeducation.org

Last Chance For Animals
http://www.lcanimal.org

In Defense Of Animals
http://www.idausa.org

Horse Haven Of Tennessee
http://www.horsehavenoftn.com/

American Anti-Vivisection Society
http://www.aavs.org

Justice For Shadow
http://www.justiceforshadow.com

International Aid For Korean Animals
http://www.koreananimals.org

Defenders Of Wildlife
http://www.defenders.org


Thank you for caring :)

Believe It Or Not ~

Believe it or not, it's time to haul out my "Spring Is In The Air" classical song. I know it’s cold outside and many areas have snow and ice and power outages; yet, spring is in the air if you look and listen closely to Nature. In many ways, this is the most delicious time of year ... the very anticipation of early Spring! You know the saying "It’s always darkest before dawn"? Well, we could also say "It’s always bleakest before beautiful".

New Endeavors –

"Women In Music with Laney Goodman" is aired on many NPR stations across the country. I’ve just mailed in my 2nd submission and hope my music will be on her program.

I recently purchased the software for Music Time Deluxe, to make sheet music for at least 30 of my original songs. It comes with a 281-page user’s manual and is reputed to be easy to use. I need to get started with it soon.


A New Old CD Masterpiece –

"Chicago Blues Masters" – a Muddy Waters & Memphis Slim CD – what a find! I got it at McKay’s Used Books & CDs last week.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

A New Year, Promises, Resolutions, House-Cleaning –

Welcoming 2009 by watching several marathon "Twilight Zone" episodes and then switching to Anderson Cooper’s Time Square gala television show a few minutes before midnight to watch the ball come down when the clock struck 12, I woke my dog to let her know it was an important moment. Yes, a quiet way to usher in the new year, but it works for me!

I was happy to bid farewell to 2008. Although I feel all the shoes haven’t yet dropped regarding the extent of economic woes – and all the broken systems and ills in our country and in the world, I’m hopeful that things will begin to get better and more humane.

I did make some promises to myself about things that will be good for me and others, and have a beneficial ripple effect in general. Sometimes I do this during the year, at various and sporadic times. So I don’t know if these qualify as "resolutions". They are promises. And that makes them more important for me to keep. I mean, when you make a promise, you should always make good on your word, right? That’s the way it feels to me.

Usually during the beginning of January, I clean out my files and closets and storage areas, sorting and re-arranging things. I haven’t done that yet...am "late" this January, but it’s on the verge of happening.

Again, I am attuned. The march of the seasons! The cocoon of Winter will soon give way to the birth of Spring. How lyrical it all is!

The Dancing Pot –

"The pot is dancing!", my grandmother would excitedly exclaim. A very young child, I would respond with wide-eyed glee, as the pot did, indeed, dance to a loud, lively tempo, on the old coal and wood-burning stove in my grandmother’s kitchen. A magnificent piece of invention and wearing a handsome gird of chromed steel all around the top, the stove stood on four sturdy, fancily-curved legs and had four round steel ‘plates’ on top, which were opened with a heavy-duty latching tool. I don’t know what the stove lids and opener tool were actually called. Venting the smoke from the stove to the outdoors was a fat galvanized pipe; it had a damper lever on it. The surface of the stove would sometimes glow red with heat and the lids had to be opened with care, to tend the fire within. Crackling and popping noises could be heard, depending on what fuel was being burned. My grandmother’s kitchen was such a blessed and magical place.

Once in a great while, the modern and lovely electric range in my kitchen produces a dancing pot; it is a rare happening – comical and poetic in a way.




Have You Noticed?

Have you noticed ...

- My revised website (at
http://claralandau.home.comcast.net)?

- That insurance companies run our health care ‘system’ (and decide who will live or die)?

- That women’s dresses (and other clothing) sizes have shrunk drastically now that 99 and 44/100% of our clothing is made in China? I must tell you about the special, pretty dress I prepaid (which was mandatory) and ordered, a couple of years ago, to wear at my daughter’s wedding ... and the $350 african violet plant that was what I finally walked away with. Here is the story: I was measured by the clerk and ordered a dress two sizes larger than I normally take, since I learned that the dresses are made in some other part of the world. The dress came in weeks later and was way too small everywhere and seemed out of proportion. After several alterations and refittings at the store – each costing extra – it still didn’t fit or look right. Oh, but it can "for another $35". By then I thought of the dress in terms that bordered on hateful ... it was like a bouffant, exploding, giant blade of very green grass. When the price was about to approach the $400 mark, I said to the clerk, "enough" – but, see, that’s why they make you prepay, so you’re stuck. I told them to keep the dress and I walked out of the store carrying "Herbie", the one-leafed (dried-up-due-to-no-water-or-light) african violet that was on the counter next to the cash register. I already knew Herbie's name because I'd been back to the store so many times. "Keep the dress, and I’ll take Herbie and try to help him" is what I said as I left the store, leaving the astonished clerk staring. Herbie is thriving, to the extent that I’ve had to re-pot him twice. He is, by far, the most expensive plant I’ve ever brought home. (P.S. I bought a lovely, perfectly-sized dress off the rack at Sear's at 50% off, for the wedding)!

- That music soothes the human as well as "the savage beast" (or are they one and the same)?

- That the amount of daylight (in the northern hemisphere) is noticeably increasing? A seemingly small, yet significant and reassuring sign, is that I don’t need to put the porch light on at 5 p.m. now – not even at 6 p.m. (EST).

- That hardly any trains have cabooses anymore?

- That there still are some people who care about helping others, even though life – in general – has become ever so much more crowded, complex and stressful?

Anything else you can think of, dear reader, that has changed noticeably in relatively recent times, please send it along in a comment!


Author Louis L'Amour's "The Haunted Mesa" –

On my website, I mention that I love books and that all my favorites are non-fiction. Actually, I don’t recall reading a fictional book since I was a child reading July Bolton mysteries. Recently, though, "The Haunted Mesa" came into my hands by way of Jerry, who is an ardent fan of Louis L’Amour’s many books of adventure stories and mysteries. Mr. L’Amour passed away in 1988, but his books are still very popular and sought-after. Anyway, this particular book is intriguing and unusual and I’m at Chapter 29 of the 43 chapters. The book is spell-binding and enjoyable.