Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fiona the Ficus Tree –

Brought home (to my previous residence) barely alive years ago, on a rescue mission from a place where I worked part-time, the little ficus waif is now a big, beautiful tree, decked out this year with multi-colored lights in my music room window. Her name is Fiona.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving ... A Beautiful Holiday –

In and of itself, Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. It’s always beneficial to us, as individuals and as a species, to take the time and set the occasion for meditating on those things for which we are grateful, those things with which we are blessed. Regrettably, this holiday is used, for the most part, as the book-end on the left side of the shelf -- with Christmas considered to be the prize being shopped for, showcased, supported (by the book-ends) and New Year’s Day is used as the right-side book-end. To me, that left-side book-end deserves center stage. In addition to everything else for which my spirit gives thanks ... to all that is good, thanks be for the breath, the very essence, of life!

Blue Sweater & The Surprise Box --

Recent cool weather brought out the smoky blue heavy-knit cardigan sweater that I’ve had and loved for many years. Its long sleeves have ample material that can be rolled up at the cuffs; its overall length is long enough to skim over and cover the hips and its waist is sort of fitted and nipped in. I don’t think a sweater like this could be found in stores today. Whenever I wear it or even look at it, I remember the "surprise boxes" my mother used to have shipped to me when I lived in Connecticut and she lived in southern California. A box would arrive periodically ... maybe averaging six or seven boxes per year, over a span of about four or five years. In each of these boxes would be an assortment of items, some new, many used ... from clothing and handbags to home decor items and novelties. Opening the box would feel like beginning a treasure hunt.

My mother was a generous soul and she was well-liked by everyone who knew her. She lived in humble fashion and that is probably why people tended to give her things, thinking she could use them. And she did. But more often, she shared them and gave them away. This sweater brings back all of those memories, so it feels warm and friendly and is a favorite piece of clothing.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Websites To Click On To Help Animals --

I've discovered an additional and important one. It is at Go there and click (it's free) to help save the rainforest and its animals.

The others are: (to help shelter animals) and (which donates pet food to shelter dogs and cats).

I've added these three websites to my "favorites" and click on them every day. Free Kibble has interesting little animal quiz questions that are fun.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Shame, Disgrace & Favoritism ...

The latest news about Social Security is that recipients will, for the second consecutive year, not receive a COLA (cost of living adjustment) in their checks. This is a disgrace. I would like to see the pensions and perks removed from every member of Congress and every past U.S. president. This would knock these demi-gods off their thrones and provide a windfall for the Treasury Department to distribute to our nation’s elderly, many of whom are poverty-stricken and struggling. I, personally, am acquainted with an educated, intelligent, responsible person who has worked all her life and paid into the system, only to receive a paltry $729 monthly check to live on (she worked during all those years when women’s earnings were disproportionately lower than men’s). When is something radical going to be done about the lopsided favoritism fostered by our government and its insidious way of relating with lobbyists and corporations, to manipulate "the system". Will it ever be about "we, the people", the citizens, and saving the inherent and natural goodness of our country, rather than making the rich richer?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Keeping My Promise –

I did complete the Addendum at 2010 summer's end. Its proper name is "The Caboose" and it follows my previously released Memoirs & Musings. I had it posted here on Lady Wolf's Notes for a while, but have taken it down to save space on the blog. I'll be happy to postal mail a hard copy of it to anyone who requests it.

"The Caboose" was fun to write ... is light-hearted and a pretty good read.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

In Or Out Of Character –

Lady Wolf’s Notes blog is finding my recent animal and environmental advocacy mini-series to be a hard act to follow. If you haven’t read the series posts, I hope you will. I know they temporarily changed the character of the blog somewhat, but for a good and needed cause. For those of you interested, I have scripted a church sermon (yep, I knew that day would come) and hope to have the opportunity to present it before the end of this year. Without giving away the title or key information about it prematurely, I can tell you that it is cleverly crafted around one of the principles of the UU church (and I hope of many other churches, as well) and speaks to the need of real-life advocacy for our environment – and all of Earth’s inhabitants.

Vagabond Shoes –

That is the name of a song sung/recorded by a man named Vic Damone back somewhere in the 50s or around there; his many other hit recordings were love ballads. When I first heard Vagabond Shoes, I found it to be sort of infectious, in a good way. The song had a different kind of beat (pre rock & roll) for its day and its lyrics spoke to a pair of shoes, vagabond shoes to be exact. I’d love to get my hands on that recording. Anyway, I’m going to see if I can remember/find the the complete lyric (I remember the melody) and, if so, revive the song in my own way. What started me on this trend of thought is the new pair of shoes I got at New Balance here in Knoxville. These shoes are made in the USA, folks. These are wonderful shoes and feel soooooo good! It’s fun to walk when your feet don’t burn and ache. So they are my official vagabond shoes. On Classic Clara, my other blog, I’ve put up a post about walking. So, "vagabond shoes, why did you roam? Why did you take me far home?", etc. Sing it, Vic.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Going Veg or Semi-Veg –

When I became a vegetarian, back in 1980, it wasn’t a popular thing to do and I took a lot of criticism. I went veg because someone pointed out to me that if I really love animals, why would I eat them? I realized that it was a valid question and that it had first occurred to me back when I was about five years old. All those years ago, standing in Grandma’s kitchen, I’d asked my mother why we would want to eat animals and she had replied "Oh, they know we will eat them and they are happy to be of help", but I remember that I’d had my doubts about that even then.
I stopped eating red meat in 1980 and have not touched it since. A few years later, I stopped eating fowl. For many years, I went completely veg and opted out of dairy and fish. Now, 30 years after my initial decision, I mindfully allow myself some dairy, an occasional serving of farmed fish or turkey, for protein.

My reasons for eating low on the food chain include my desire to lesson the suffering of so-called food animals (who have nervous systems very similar to ours), to lessen the destruction of the land, caused by modern agri-business and factory farming methods, and to enhance my own health and well-being.

Some vegetarians (including me, at times) find that taking a B-12 supplement is beneficial. Morningstar’s veggie-based foods, found in the freezer section of grocery stores, taste great and offer variety and authentic-tasting products in "burgers", "sausage", and "chicken" to prepare at home. Also, most Burger Kings' drive-throughs have a great-tasting veggie-burger. Going veg or deciding to eat less meat can be a liberating and money-saving idea.

Our Earth, Our Home, Our Future–

Our earth’s human population is now at more than six and a half billion and multiplying exponentially every day. No country talks about it. Even Al Gore, in his excellent book "An Inconvenient Truth", only ever-so-lightly touches on the topic. Politically, it would be a "mine field". In my mind, the burgeoning human population is a topic that is critical to issues relating not only to environment, climate change, and dwindling animal habitat, but also to our crime rate, economics, food production, and human dignity ... in the U.S. and throughout the world. So I’ve often pondered the situation. The act of procreation takes only a fleeting moment, is such a natural thing and, so often, just "happens", even when birth control is accessible. I asked my minister for her thoughts about the human population dilemma. She thought on it for a while and then said: "Suppose people would consider adoption as a first – rather than a last – resort, thus providing a loving family for a homeless or orphaned child and doing this wonderful thing for our world"! This was a stroke of loving genius and I wish I could say that I came up with the concept! Considering adoption – as a first resort! If people and countries begin to talk about population, this simple concept would be a logical and compassionate place to start.

What Is Sporting? –

Wildlife animals are killed for sport. These include deer, squirrels, elk, bears, and others. Let's take a closer look at this: 1) being shot hurts (I know because I was shot and it really hurt, 2) hunters shoot the biggest and best-looking animals which weakens the herd and gene pool of that species, 3) in a real sport, both participants are willing and they are sort of even in their skills ... but hunters have high-tech equipment and many advantages over animals ... and animals are not willing participants, 4) those species whose numbers are said to be increasing too much are doing so because people have unbalanced the environment by killing off the animal’s natural predators ... so a control solution would be to restore nature’s balance and not tamper with or destroy habitat, 5) there is something ethically wrong about inflicting needless bloodshed and suffering. I have a booklet called "Think Like The Animal", written by Norm Phelps, a hunter who had a change of heart and perspective. I'm thinking now of a poignant quote -- "The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest"—Henry David Thoreau.

How precious it is to see wildlife animals, in wild places ... living. Let's save what there is left of the natural world. And there are a lot of good things to be said about compassion, starting with these two: It puts us in sync with other people and the rest of earth's creatures. It's definitely a quality that makes a person more attractive and magnetic.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

God Spelled In Reverse --

Most Americans love dogs. Many of us would go the extra mile to help a distressed or lost dog. We know that, instead of buying or breeding dogs, we should adopt a shelter dog. When we adopt a dog, we don’t add to the huge number of wonderful dogs who are put to death in shelters due to a lack of shelter space and the sheer numbers of surplus pets of all breeds and mixes (one in four is a purebred) continually coming into shelters. Many of us know we need to be responsible pet owners. But some people don’t seem to know that yet ... and the dogs are paying the price. Please encourage friends and kinfolk to have their dogs spayed or neutered and I.D. tagged...and to keep them safe at home. It’s the right thing to do for cats, too.

Dogs -- Needing a Different Kind Of Rescue

Next time you shop for a jacket or coat, please take a moment to check the "fur" that may adorn the garment. If it is synthetic, you will see stitching and cloth material under the fur. When clothing is decorated with fur, it may be dog fur not labeled as such, (now often found in U.S. stores that receive goods from China) – fur that is brutally cut from the backs of dogs in China, where cages upon cages are stacked, crammed with these unfortunate dogs who are fearfully awaiting their fate. When inspecting a fur-trimmed clothing item, look at where the fur enters the fabric. Part the fur with your fingers ... if you see and feel skin beneath the fur, you will be able to tell that it is not synthetic material.

Another sad issue is that dogs in parts of Asia are killed via very inhumane means and sold in dog meat markets. I’m thinking now of Korea, where a segment of the male population erroneously believes that the meat of dogs who die violently will provide the human diner with hormones that will be an aphrodisiac. Two Korean sisters who work diligently to educate and legislate to close the dog meat markets in their country report that many Koreans are horrified by this practice and that it is not a traditional part of their culture. These two women established International Aid for Korean Animals (IAKA), an organization that also rescues dogs from the markets and finds them adoptive, loving homes. Their website is at

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Continuing with the pro-animal, pro-environment mini-series, I want to update readers about the Rep. Nicely (not nice) horse slaughter bill in Tennessee. It has (for the time being) been withdrawn and sent to committee for "summer study". To date, it has not been withdrawn in the complete sense. Mr. Nicely's ugly bill was opposed, overwhelmingly, by the general public and, very notably, by singer Willie Nelson. Sincere thanks to Willie and everybody else who rallied on behalf of Tennessee's horses, to defeat this bill. Hopefully, the bill will roll off the books and not resurface at a future session.

My current posting is about wolves and you will find it immediately below this paragraph. There are more topics to come ... some will be provocative. If you're reading me and my stuff, I think you'll want to stay tuned. I'll be putting up subsequent series posts weekly.

Singers Of Earth & Heavens ...

I love wolves ... they are mystical, intelligent, social, spiritual, and great singers. They, unfortunately, have also been the most maligned and vilified of animals. Killed mercilessly and driven to the brink of extinction in the U.S., they were finally put on the Endangered Species List some years back and re-introduced in some regions. They began to recover and, once again, could be sighted in some areas of our country. Then George Bush, as one of his parting shots before leaving office, removed them from the Endangered Species List, opening the way for their mass murder again. Sadly, President Obama has not reversed this decision. Rather, his Secretary Of The Interior, Ken Salazar, has ignored public sentiment to restore the wolf’s protection. For the record, cattle ranchers have always had the legal right to kill any wolf who poses a problem to cattle... so there is no need for the wholesale killing (by shooting from planes, poisoning, trapping, and other horrors) of wolves. I’ve twice written to the president, asking him to intervene and have also written to Salazar.

If you care about these magnificent animals, please contact a wolf protection organization and write to the president. One pro-wolf organization is "Mission: Wolf" at Others can be found on the Internet. Please, please help protect the wolf.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Horses Need "Neigh" Votes!

At a time when our federal government is moving toward banning the shipment of U.S. horses across the borders to Canada and Mexico (where the horses are slaughtered in very inhumane, horrific ways for consumption in Europe, as a delicacy) ... and at a time when other states (most recently Florida) have made horse slaughter a felony, there are some greedy legislators with no scruples in the state of Tennessee who are pushing to establish horse slaughter houses here. The bill is scheduled to go up for a vote on Tuesday, in the Ways & Means department. If you thought the "road-kill" bill was an embarrassment, consider how seriously terrible it would be for our state to officially endorse the slaughter of horses. Please read my previous post which presents the facts about this and, if you live in Tennessee, please contact your representative and urge a "no" vote to HB 1428.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Horse Sense & Sensibility --

Hi ... Clara here. Many people know that, in addition to being a musician, artist, writer, and holistic practitioner, I’m also an advocate and volunteer for animals. For ten years I traveled to schools, youth organizations, adult civic groups, and churches, presenting a program I scripted about kindness to animals and respect for the earth.

I’d like to talk with you about animals who need our help and will offer here a sort of mini-series, beginning with those that are most urgent.


In recent years, our country passed legislation to stop horse slaughter here in the U.S. This is very good, except that our horses (including wild mustangs and burros rounded up by the Bureau Of Land Management, and previously-owned family and working horses) are still being auctioned, bought by meat dealers – who truck them, by the thousands–to Canada and Mexico. During transit, they are crowded together without food and water. Once at their destination, they are killed in ways that are barbaric and horrifying. In Mexico, the terrified horses are repeatedly stabbed, by men with hand-held knives, until the bleeding horses can no longer stand up. In Canada, a "stun bolt" is used, which often doesn’t knock the horse out, before he or she is slaughtered. The horse meat is exported as exotic food for dinner tables in parts of Europe. There are horse rescue organizations that are able to buy and rescue a small number of these horses at auction; however, the meat buyers often are able to outbid them. Organizations such as Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue in Maryland, whose website is at, are among the dedicated groups that buy and rescue horses during those last defining moments at the auctions. Currently, a legislator in the state of Tennessee is pushing a mercenary, ugly, backward bill that would legalize horse slaughterhouses in Tennessee, even in the face of pending federal legislation that has been moving toward outlawing the transport of horses (as described above). There are many reasons that horse slaughter is an abominable thing. I will list them, as follows:

1-Stun-guns (such as currently used in Canada) are not accurate on horses, as horses thrash about in terror in the kill box and, therefore, are often conscious during slaughter.

2-The appalling nature of the method in use in Mexico is self-evident.

3-A humane kill method (for example, humane injection) would make the animal’s "meat" toxic for humans.

4-Since the USDA no longer inspects horsemeat, buyers would all be foreign...coming in and ravaging our horses.

5-When Tennessee’s (or any local) horse supply is gone, non-legal acquisitions/theft would likely begin.

6-Horse slaughter will do nothing to help neglected, starving horses, as meat buyers don’t buy thin horses.

7-Profits from slaughter houses would be skimmed/siphoned off by foreign corporations (who pay no tax because the end product is used in other countries); the U.S. towns where the slaughter houses are located would not make money. This is what happened in the past when there were three horse slaughter-houses located in the U.S.

So you can see that the only logical and humane way to dispose of ailing and no-longer-wanted companion horses is to have them humanely euthanized by a veterinarian.

Horses are part of our country’s national and natural heritage. They have served us on battlefields, as transportation, as companions, as farm help, and as movie stars. They are highly intelligent individuals and deserve humane and honorable regard.

To help them, please contact your senators and congressmen in Washington DC, imploring them to propose, support, and enact the needed federal law. You can find your federal representatives’ names and addresses at and Tennessee state legislators at
Thank you.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Happy Springtime!

I've added a couple of pictures to Lady Wolf's Notes and several new pictures on Classic Clara at

We're on the threshold of Spring ... a delicious time of year! Anticipation ... breathe it in!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

B. B. King Concert --

On the evening of January 8th (the night that Knoxville was hit hard with frigid temperatures, ice, and snow), B. B. King and his phenomenal band came to the Tennessee Theatre and did an awesome show! I attended, courtesy of one of my students, who not only provided my ticket but also drove to my home and picked me up at the curb (my driveway was not accessible due to icy conditions), and brought me to the concert. When I first met this lady, almost five years ago, she was pretty sure she wouldn't like blues music. Of course, since blues is very close to my heart, I occasionally included some blues in her lesson material. Since that time, she has discovered that blues music resonates with her and she loves it! She's doing a great job playing it, too. My sincere thanks to you, Sylvia, for giving me my ticket and taking me to B. B.'s concert. What a wonderful gift!