Saturday, December 31, 2016

A New Year!

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

Small Talk !

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 23, 2016

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

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

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

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A thought, a wish, a prayer ...

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

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

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Questioning Our Values … and much more

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

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

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

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

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

Please check out my Healing The Earth Family blog and listen to the song that is included called 'I Love All The Voices"; it is at  

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Updates !

Dear Readers.

I haven't posted to this blog since mid-September.  It wasn't for lack of things to say; rather, it was lack of time to say them. And some pesky joint inflammation issues that got in the way. And partly because my Facebook Artist's Page doesn't properly work despite my many efforts on its behalf. And because of my activity in writing thoughts and "comments" to post on Yahoo and Google news and political commentaries.  And very majorly because of my commitment to and enthusiasm about my new and what I believe will be my final music CD project! Therein reside the causes of my blogging lapse   :)

I dearly treasure every reader of my blogs; please check out my animal ministry blog and my healing the earth family blog and my personal website (links will be listed below).  And complete info about my new (and final) CD album is forthcoming. 

Also, I should mention that I am accepting a few new adult and teen piano students (enjoy learning note-reading, chords, ear training).  More than ever, Life Needs Music!  Thank you, as always.  Peace and Blessings ...

Links to my other blogs and personal website:;;

My Take On Bullying ...

I wrote the following in response to a recent media article written by a psychologist who blamed Mr. Trump for the post-election street violence that is taking place in some large cities … AND … claimed Mr. Trump will be the cause of an increase of bullying in schools and other areas of life. To blame Mr. Trump for perceived future bullying is IMO ridiculous. I mean the entire campaign was malicious and devious. The media did their best to create and inflame the news rather than reporting it and, in some cases, media ignored (a kind of bullying) candidates they wanted to push into the background, as in the case of Sanders.  In many ways, it was a very unkind election process.  But my thoughts on bullying are not politically influenced, as I was neither a Trump or Clinton supporter (I voted third party Green). 

We constantly hear about bullying these days. I think that to blame Mr. Trump or anyone for perceived "future bullying" is really off-base, as I am an elderly person and bullying was very alive and active all the while I was a child.  All it takes is for one individual (and his/her posse or accomplice if he/she has one) to pick on a child who seems "alone" or smaller or special in some way.  Both verbal and physical bullying are devastating to the recipient.  As an eleven-year-old, I was thrown from the sidewalk into the street twice by the same gang of teen girls, and as a very young pre-school child, was repeatedly thrown to the ground by a large boy in my neighborhood who sat on me and pummeled me with his fists until my mother would run out of the house in response to my screams (he later added putting one hand over my mouth so I couldn't scream and at that point, my mother talked to his parents about it). I also had a brother who once punched me in the face. The bullying that I was so conditioned to followed me into adulthood and marriage.  One day I responded to bullying by throwing a bag of garbage at the bullying person; I knew I was doing a dangerous thing but it was my moment of turning point.  And typing the word "turning" brings to mind an early conversation in which my father had given me some well-meant advice when I was a kid, but I hadn't followed it.  He said "don't act scared but if a bully starts chasing you, run away (to fool him/her), then when he/she has almost caught you, suddenly stop and turn and punch him/her as hard as you can wherever you can reach with good leverage.  So in essence, the garbage bag was my sucker punch and it worked. IMPORTANT -- This is not advice I'm giving on how to deal with a bully in today's world. I survived bullying because I learned and practiced avoidance techniques and because I have a guardian Angel who works overtime.  In today's world, bullied kids and adults have agencies and resources that can help -- if they know what's going on.  People who are bullied need to find the courage to get over their reticence to report it to proper authorities.  

There will always be bullies in our population because some humans do carry that gene or have been conditioned by their own bullies to pass it on. On a national and world level (bringing this writing back to where it began), I believe Mr. Trump wants to be a good president. Now we need to let the dust settle and stop the bickering and street violence in our country. I believe Mr. Trump and some of the other world leaders are awake to the fact that war is a huge mistake and peace is the prize we should all seek.

From the November 9th issue of Indian Country Today ...

Clergy Support Water Protectors
"Prayer has been a powerful part of the Standing Rock protests—and never more so than at a memorable gathering last week. “We knew you were coming; that one day you would come here and start asking questions about your government,” said elder Regina Brave, her long, gray braid falling the top of her black leather vest. “We are all children of God. Black, red, yellow, white, are all represented.” Brave, an Oglala from the Pine Ridge Reservation took the microphone at a gymnasium in Cannon Ball, North Dakota on November 2. The next morning, more than 500 interfaith clergy and laity would join opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline in a show of prayerful, peaceful, nonviolent, and lawful solidarity and witness. Lynette Wilson, Episcopal News Service" 

This article and photo were good for this reader's eyes to see ...

Monday, September 12, 2016

Looking For Treasures ..."

It's been a long, hot summer and the heat has kept me hiding indoors a lot more than usual. Nature-loving me spent a lot of time hosing down the plants and filling the birdbath. The man who faithfully comes to mow the lawn has lately been mostly raising clouds of dust out of the mottled areas of brown grass.

But I'm finding little jewels among the last vestiges of summer.  Young zinnia plants still popping up through the dry soil and then, somehow bravely producing flowers.  Birds showing up at the birdbath.  Butterflies of many colors that seemingly come from nowhere, doing what looks like the show-biz finale where all the cast comes on stage for the grand bow. Those are some of the works and wonders of Nature.  I even saw a late-season lightning bug the other evening.

In the totally human world, with politics and war news occupying so much of what we read, see, and hear, sometimes I need to just turn away from it and invest in what I'll call "hope". Hope, for me, is a supreme treasure, a rescuing spiritual vehicle ... for me it can be found in reading inspirational quotes, gazing up at the blue sky, watching the dawn climb and glide over the horizon, seeing a comical magazine cartoon, sending money to one of the many animal rescue organizations (, spending meditative time -- at my piano or keyboard, meditative time while walking among stands of trees, and perhaps the most serious meditative time in the sanctuary of my designated meditation/breathing room.  Hope, for me, is getting the inspiration for a new song. I don't think I've mentioned my newest song "Early In The Morning", recorded at Songwriters Studio a month or two ago. It almost wrote itself one morning while I was waking up (morning is my most creative time). I put it up on Sound Cloud and Reverbnation. It's also on a CD single with a beautiful label created by Sandy. It's also on my revised personal website at www.claralandau.comFor me, that song is loaded with hope!

Anyway, hope is one of the most important by-products and treasures of love. "Peace is the vision; love is the key" is one of my original quotes; the other two are "we are all in the same cosmic canoe" and "whatever works"; I think the three of them are quite compatible. Let's look for the real treasures and help them to endure.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Seeking And Offering Solace Along The Path –

My life's chariot is pulled along by two marvelous powers -- one is intuitive music for which I am a thankful conduit ... and the other is the wonder of the universe, nature and our fellow travelers, the animals.

The music genres I crave and identify with are blues, jazz, and love ballads. Blues is the most honest music in the world ... it cleanses, lifts, wails, exalts, sobs, complains, resolves ... all the feelings. I love to perform and listen to blues. Jazz I admire when hearing others play it, although I prefer to be playing it myself than listening because I like to create ‘as I go'. Blues and jazz are precious music forms given to us by our African-American people. Born in sad and impoverished conditions, these music forms endured and we are fortunate to have them. I offer my deep thanks to those creative, musical people whose fortitude and talent gave us this music. My piano students know that one of the first things I teach them is the ability to create a song with the I, IV, V chords and 12-bar blues. 

From my Buddhist, Animist, and Shaman standpoint, I see and regard all beings and all of nature as precious and part of the grand tapestry. I see the need for humaneness, harmony, and compassion in dealing with humans and with the rest of creation. Early on in my life, the Animist and Shamanic qualities were part of my consciousness (though I didn't yet know their names ... and later on, I learned that there are other people with these feelings). During the “autumn” of my life – a nice phrase referred to by my best and very beloved friend – I became attuned to Buddhism (by way of said beloved person) and I admire the way he conducts his spiritual self. Also I admire the words of the Dalai Lama and one quote of his that I want to write here is: “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”  

A few days ago, I wrote and briefly posted a lengthy blog article about national and world problems, politics, and social issues. The article was very accurate, but it felt disturbing to me when I read it, so I took it off the blog so it wouldn't disturb others. Since all living beings are connected at a cellular level (here I’m borrowing an oft-said, very wise Native American quote which says "whatever happens to one individual or species will ultimately happen to all,") I feel the need to offer readers, our planet, all species, and myself the hope of a path to peace and humane love. Kindness. I believe the healing needs to come from within each of us and it must come from humane love. 

I invite you to see my "Healing The Earth Family" blog at It's a novel, comprehensive program and it ends with a nice, uplifting song.

I would like to add to this writing a closing thought and a request. 

The thought is:  We are, each and all, ripples in the tide of life's ocean. Each ripple is a part of that ocean and affects its entirety.  

The request is:  Please pray to the God of your understanding ... for peace, justice, harmony, compassion, humane love, wisdom, respect, ethics, courage, faith, blessings, gratitude, awakening.

Friday, June 24, 2016

"They Say Ruby You're Like A Dream" (song title from movie)

As I look around my house, I see the photographs of my pre-Dixie dogs ... some of whom resided in Connecticut with me, one that bravely traveled in my truck with me and a bunch of household items during my move from Connecticut to Knoxville in October of 1986, and several other wonderful dogs that I acquired after I got settled in at my first Knoxville house. Their framed pictures were carefully preserved in moving boxes in 2004 when I moved from one side of Knoxville to another, twice. In the days and weeks after Dixie passed into spirit, I took comfort in getting the dog photos out and putting them where others and I can see them. Faith Rose "Rosie" is looking down at me right now from the wall above my computer ... she's in a reddish brown frame (to match her poodle hair color).  I'll have to get the picture scanned so I can put it in the computer (she's sitting in the 1974 Ford Courier pickup truck that made the move).  

I had some multi-faceted talks with myself about whether to have another dog ... and "when" the time might be right. I found myself sitting on the benches in the park Dixie and I had frequented ... and I would sort of "borrow" people's dogs as they walked by. Petting a dog is such a soothing, spiritual experience.   

During the second week of May I saw an ad in the Bargain Mart featuring some of the dogs at Young-Williams Animal Center (Knoxville and Knox County's animal shelter). One of the faces peered out at me and I went to the main facility to see if she was still there. Yes, and the staff told me the sad story about her past.  No wonder she hardly would look at me in the "get acquainted room".  I kept talking to her in soft tones and petting her. She was at the shelter for a second lengthy time, after being confiscated from her first owner and then brought back in by her next owner. She was suffering from heartworm. Some kind soul had paid the money for her treatment (expensive) and her adoption.  God bless the person or persons who saved her! Her fur was growing back in at the two shaved sites of the medicine injections. The Shelter staff was fond of this 90 or so-pound dog and coddled her, though no adopter was choosing her. Probably it was a combination of her size, age (8 years), color (black dogs are the last ones to be adopted for some nutty reason), her heartworm recovery process, and what seemed to me to be her trust issues.  I took a leap of faith and filled out the adoption papers.

A trip to the pet supply store yielded toys, leash, collar, and dog food. Next day I went back and got her. She was  happy to get into my truck and seemed right at home lounging in the back seat. The first several weeks were rigorous for me because I had to leash-walk her around my hilly yard to keep her physical activity minimal (until the safe-date had been reached regarding her heartworm treatment recovery). Once June arrived, this sweet dog could safely walk and run off-leash in our fenced-in backyard and everything got much easier for me. Her personality has blossomed and bloomed!  She is very affectionate, very smart, and IMO very beautiful.   

I would like to introduce to my readers my awesome, wonderful girl -- her name is Ruby.    

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pets For Vets ...

I just learned about a wonderful organization called Pets For Vets.  I posted a lot of information about it on my Animal Ministry blog.  Please check that out at  The organization has chapters throughout the U.S. to help veterans suffering from PTSD by matching them (re personality and needs) with rescued shelter dogs.  There is a video there, too, and it will make you feel good :)

Thank you ...

Dear Readers,
My heartfelt thanks for the kind comments, notes, e-mails, and cards sent to me following my Dixie Lee's passing. Your empathy, kindness and caring was and continues to be a great comfort to me.  Thank you so very much ...

Monday, April 4, 2016

Dixie Lee Landau ...

Rest In Peace, Dixie Lee (8/1/02 - 4/3/16)

My beautiful Dixie Lee passed into Spirit yesterday evening ... peacefully, under the guidance of gentle hands.  I miss her terribly, though that is consistent with the deep and beautiful love we shared.  Please wish her well on her cosmic journey. I will go to her favorite park today and walk among the trees.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Let's Help Arizona Voters ...

Let's urge the Department of Justice to launch an immediate investigation into voting problems in Arizona to ensure that all eligible voters are treated equally under the law. It only takes a moment and is so important.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Thoughts For Chaotic TImes ...

Sunny, sunny day ...  Spring is on the way and on March 20th we will have the Vernal Equinox, first official day of Spring and equal hours of daylight and darkness!  Accentuate the positive :)

Things in our world are chaotic; the election politics are vicious, the middle class is in financial difficulty, our fellow creatures in Nature are in trouble, and our nation is coming apart at the seams in all the important categories. We're encouraged to vote ... and we do vote ... and yet there are super delegates who can ignore our votes and decide elections. Much of the media and both of the party national committees are definitely not playing a fair and impartial role, quite the opposite. They each in their own way are choosing our nominees and next president. There is a lot of anger being expressed in news reader comments by "ordinary" citizens and the outcome is of great concern. And so ...

And so I look out upon the sunny day and try and think of good things. The sun is helpful. I think about my walk along a spiritual path that is guided by Buddhism, Animism, Nature, Empathy, and Wonder.  For me, they go together very well. I understand and love the concept of mindfulness and am greatly helped by it. How about (to go with mindfulness) soulfulness?  I don't think I've heard anyone speak of soulfulness.  Soulfulness feels like love and compassion, deep caring. Wonderful Buddhist author Thich Nhat Hahn doesn't call it that but his writings are full of references to how each of us is part of, responsible for, and connected with the plight of others. His references to the unfortunate life roles of pirates and prostitutes, for example, are food for thought.  His wonderful references to flowers and other denizens of Nature ... and the "continuation" of each living entity, give light and hope.  Here we need to avoid confusion by differentiating between "hope" (which I consider an essential), "faith" (which I regularly pray to have), and "expectation", which can be disappointing and can cause us grief. Soulfulness comes ultra naturally to me. I think it is that mystical part of existence that I haven't really seen named. The Zen word "suchness" is very valuable to me and it neutralizes a lot of frustration when I understand that a person or thing is the way he/she/it is because it is his/her/its suchness to be so. And "It is what it is" often is the best advice to fall back on (for me) and I'm very grateful for it.

I find that I'm greatly helped when I remind myself of the Serenity Prayer -- God grant me .... the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (very hard for an empath to do because we're so sensitized to what other beings are feeling), the courage to change the things I can (I try, I try ... and I pray for courage) ... and the wisdom (ah, there's the pivotal point) to know the difference. Amen.  It's a wonderful prayer.  And some of my readers are familiar with my affinity to Nature and its healing power.  Take me to the mountains, the ocean, the forest, a lake, the park, an overgrown part of the backyard!

For anyone who is so inclined, I still have my free "Healing The Earth Family" program components standing handily by. Contact me if you or an east Tennessee group you belong to has an interest. Also, I have a few copies of my highly unique booklet "The Invisible Hand And Awesome power of My Guardian-Guide -- A Divine, Ever-Present Being Of Energy" (a revelation of some of my experiences); the photo art in this booklet has been praised.  I guess $12 is an affordable price for the booklet and postage.  Also I've got three or four copies left of my "Dr. Clara's Music For Esoteric Healing ... (Mind, Body and Spirit"; it's different than anything else that's out there and goes into detail regarding music, keys, peripherals, and color, their correlations even with the Cosmos; this is a slim booklet (13 pages) crammed with information and should be especially interesting to musicians and anyone else who senses the intrinsic value and power of music. These I can send for $7 which includes postage. Please contact me via e-mail at or call me at (865) 659-5383.

OK -- meanwhile, let's think Spring!  Think Beauty, think Loving Kindness. Embrace your loved one.  Have faith in the planet's renewal. Have hope for peace and honest, ethical government. Have courage to carry your sign. Thank a tree for oxygen and fellowship. Maybe get some nice rocks and stack them around your flower bed. And send me your thoughts if you would like to :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Personal Stuff ...

If you'r'e still with me, dear Readers, thank you for hanging in there.  It's been a while since I've posted.  Things have been on the difficult side, emotionally and physically, with my being sort of a "multiple care-giver" (spouse, aging dog, and house) and having more than 99% of all responsibility -- from the mundane to the complex.  Dixie Lee is still with me, doing her best to stay with me and life ... and is still a beautiful spirit; she requires a lot of patience and extra care now. Jerry's conditions are hard to describe and I wouldn't attempt it out of consideration for his privacy, but I can say that he is almost completely immobilized and socially out of the loop.  For me, sometimes it's hard to be here in this house in which I put two years of major repairs and a huge emotional, physical, and financial investment. The times, too, are added to the mix.  My piano student roster, once vital and overloaded, has dissipated and my Healing the Earth Family (free) program has not had any takers ...  which indicates to me a widespread mix of apathy, fear, and perhaps lack of time and energy in the population. Too, many people have their faces buried in their social media and that has largely taken the place of interacting in person with groups and individuals. There is no substitute, though (well, no genuine substitute), for the real deal -- a special person, and the natural world.  I talk to people in the grocery store and everywhere ... for conversation and my head's idea rolodex ... and I turn to the natural world for comfort, encouragement, and healing :)  I like to keep things vital and positive.  And I've got a meditation room here that I love; it is filled with things that I treasure.

I've been writing and arranging my newest song, getting in some practice on it!  Will be bringing it to my dear friend's studio to record soon.  Am jamming a couple of times a month (on average) with my former guitarist bandmate, and that is rejuvenating and enjoyable -- lately we've been adding some really old songs ... I mean from the 1920s or so.  I remember them from when my mother used to sing or whistle them many years ago, so it's fun to hear them in my head, figure out the chord progressions, and put a contemporary style on them.  Life needs music!  And it really is the universal language.

Beautiful Influx Of Robins ...

This morning hundreds of robins flew into my yard and all around and over my house -- just arriving from somewhere.  They were chirping, swirling, landing, and touching terra-firma probably after many hours of flying.  My guess is that they were forced by the storm in the northeast to fly south for food.  They are beautiful birds.  One landed in a shrub right outside the window where I am sitting at my computer -- and we had eye contact.  Welcome ... even though a bit early ... to these harbingers of Spring!

Politics & My Perspective --

The political circus and its underpinnings and rigged formats clearly show why US citizens are divided, discouraged, and angry.  The system and some federal agencies are corrupt * (please read related new post on Animal Ministry Blog at To repair the system would take the cooperation and sincerity of both major parties. Super PACs, health insurance companies, big pharma, and other powerful industries and agencies are running things ... and have no conscience. Repairing the system will take a major and far-reaching effort.  Of all the candidates, the two "outsiders" are the most sincere.  I like Bernie Sanders, admire his honesty and intellect, and will vote for him in the primary.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

This Man Is A Hero ...

... a hero of the sort we don't hear or read about every day.  If you love dogs a lot (or even a little), you will want to visit Please read all of Fido's letter!  A Google search for Greg Mahle Road Rescue will be worth your while; you can read how he started this mission and the bittersweet joy it brings him.  A true hero, it is estimated that Greg has rescued and transported northward to new homes more than 55,000 southern dogs -- healthy, affectionate dogs who were in southern "high-kill" (low adoption rate, high euthanasia rate) shelters.  At Rescue Road Trips, you'll be thrilled and thankful to see the photos and read the ongoing story of one man's courage and devotion in saving the lives of wonderful dogs by bringing them northward to waiting homes.  I will explain a bit about that here.

During the early 1990s and on into 2004 (after serving for three years as a volunteer), I worked as humane education director for a regional animal shelter here in the south.  It was a heart-breaking job and I still see the faces of many of those sweet dogs and cats.  If they were owner-surrendered they were usually euthanized immediately (probably while the pet owner was driving away); if the pet was a stray, he or she was kept for a mandatory three-day period during which it was hoped (!) that the owner would come looking for the animal, pay the citation for letting him/her run loose, and take the pet back home.  Most of the time the owner didn't come (or came too late).  The physical attributes of the shelter, itself, were ghastly and the dogs in the top row of concrete compartments had it the worst (no access to the outdoors).  During my volunteer years there, I went there three times a week to carry frightened dogs from those top cages to the outdoors where I would put a leash on them and let them walk around on the grass and relieve themselves. With the largest dogs, I would sling them over my shoulder like a bag of potatoes (holding on to their rear quarters) in order to bear their weight and carry them through two rooms to access the outdoors.  I remember one female rottweiler who was crammed in a top compartment and who had the word "please" in her eyes.  I remember her clinging to my shoulder on her way outdoors.   I loved each one of those dogs, so my heart was continually aching. The cat room needed attention too and, as often as I could, I'd stop in there and pet the cats.  The main problem across the board was overcrowding due to lack of spay and neuter by owners.  Puppy mills and backyard breeding added to it.

I came to Tennessee from Connecticut.  The need for spay and neuter for dogs and cats had been preached and promoted there for a number of years.  By the time I moved here (late 1986), the northern states had a pretty good head-start on spay/neuter.  And that is why, now in 2016, the pet overpopulation there is greatly improved. Here in the South, we got a later start, especially in the deep south areas.  My job (mentioned in an above paragraph) was to educate every part of the human population that I could get access to (classrooms of kids, youth groups, colleges, adult civic groups -- I was even invited to speak at birthday parties) --  about spay-neuter, adoption of shelter animals, general animal care, and the animals' need and right to be loved by his/her human family. Knoxville now has a beautiful, well-functioning animal shelter, a world apart from the former building, ownership, and leadership.  People still need to be reminded that spay-neuter (getting them "fixed") saves animals' lives and gives them many health benefits too.    

I am very grateful to Greg Mahle for being a devoted Angel who saves dogs.  I hope you will go to the several websites that  tell about him.  What a wonderful, wonderful human being. He can be e-mailed at and the subject line should say RRT main page. We love you, Greg :)