Friday, January 31, 2014

Water Colors

I'd like to learn how to paint with water colors and found this marvelous artist in Rocky Mount:  Sue Church Grant.

A Poem for my Grandchild: January 31, 2014

You will be cherished
by two loving parents
and by your grandmother, Dana.
You are lucky
having these parents
because they have known
for a long time
that they wanted you.
Maybe even before they
met one another.
Love begets love,
so rest assured
it will always be there
for you.

It was present
before you were even
and while you
were developing
in your mother's womb.
I send out this love
to you now
and always.

Be well,
little one.

Grow and develop
and be safe in the
protective home
that surrounds you 
now, as you prepare
for your arrival.

New Moon, Blue Moon


     There was a new moon last night.
A good time to say
yes to life,
to new possibilities,
letting go of old ideas that no longer serve us,
sending them back 
to the earth.

Back to earth,
to nourish the roses
because they 
love to receive
what I have to give.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


      Do you have a difficult person in your life?  Have you been lied about?  Verbally abused?  Physically hurt?  We experience hurt, yet we hang onto the anger and resentment, hurting ourselves in the process.  It’s like allowing the perpetrator to live rent free in our heads, as we go over and over the injustices done to us.
     What is forgiveness, anyway?  According to the Old English word, “forgiefan,” it means to “grant, allow, or give up.”  In the modern sense, it refers to “giving up the desire to hurt a person.”  (Source:  Online Etymology Dictionary).  Forgiving someone does not excuse the behavior.  It does not require us to keep relating to that person in some sort of friendly or sentimental way.  There’s the phrase, “forgive and forget.”  But if we forget, we have to forgive the person all over again.  We have to forgive and remember.  Remember, and forgive anyway.  It becomes a sort of mantra:  remember, forgive, remember, forgive.  We can’t change the other person, but we can change our thoughts and attitudes.  The other person can’t help the way they are.
     There’s a remarkable brochure on forgiveness published by the Order of St. Luke the Physician.  It states that:  we need to “forgive in self defense.”  The author goes on to say that:  “we have a tendency to carry the people we do not forgive around on our back, or somewhere in the body.  We are literally punished by the one we condemn until we forgive.  I have no idea how my unforgiveness affects the other person, but I know it makes me sick.  I forgive to set them free, so that I might be set free in the process.  I turn loose the grasp in which I hold them that I might turn that hand to God to receive the forgiveness that He extends to me.  I cannot hold both in the same hand…I must release to receive, and so I forgive in self defense, to receive the healing power of God’s love into my life to banish dis-ease, and embrace the healing power of His love.”  (Source:  “What is Prayer, Anyway?”  Order of St. Luke the Physician, P. O. Box 13701, San Antonio, Texas 78213).
     There’s one thing that’s important in forgiving someone who has harmed us, and that is not to apologize to them.  Their behavior is not our fault.  I once had a boss who was openly critical and accusative.  A bully, actually.  Targets sometimes have the feeling that what they are doing is not “good enough,” and that if only they work harder or longer, then they will finally land in the good graces of the perpetrator, and be off the hook.  But the role of a bully is criticize and condemn, actions which come out of a place of deep insecurity and fear.  It helps to consider the bully a sick person.
     Jim Glennon, a well known teacher of Christian healing, believes that forgiveness is essential to healing.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Elis and Antonio

   I could listen to Aqua de Marco over and over and over again.  This duet with Elis Regina and Antonio Jobim is one of my favorites.
"It has been said that Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim was the George Gershwin of Brazil, and there is a solid ring of truth in that, for both contributed large bodies of songs to the jazz repertoire, both expanded their reach into the concert hall, and both tend to symbolize their countries in the eyes of the rest of the world. With their gracefully urbane, sensuously aching melodies and harmonies, Jobim's songs gave jazz musicians in the 1960s a quiet, strikingly original alternative to their traditional Tin Pan Alley source.

Jobim's roots were always planted firmly in jazz; the records of Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Barney Kessel, and other West Coast jazz musicians made an enormous impact upon him in the 1950s. But he also claimed that the French impressionist composer Claude Debussy had a decisive influence upon his harmonies, and the Brazilian samba gave his music a uniquely exotic rhythmic underpinning. As a pianist, he usually kept things simple and melodically to the point with a touch that reminds some of Claude Thornhill, but some of his records show that he could also stretch out when given room. His guitar was limited mostly to gentle strumming of the syncopated rhythms, and he sang in a modest, slightly hoarse yet often hauntingly emotional manner.

Born in the Tijuca neighborhood of Rio, Jobim originally was headed for a career as an architect. Yet by the time he turned 20, the lure of music was too powerful, and so he started playing piano in nightclubs and working in recording studios. He made his first record in 1954 backing singer Bill Farr as the leader of "Tom and His Band" (Tom was Jobim's lifelong nickname), and he first found fame in 1956 when he teamed up with poet Vinícius de Moraes to provide part of the score for a play called Orfeo do Carnaval (later made into the famous film Black Orpheus). In 1958, the then-unknown Brazilian singer João Gilberto recorded some of Jobim's songs, which had the effect of launching the phenomenon known as bossa nova. Jobim's breakthrough outside Brazil occurred in 1962 when Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd scored a surprise hit with his tune "Desafinado" -- and later that year, he and several other Brazilian musicians were invited to participate in a Carnegie Hall showcase. Fueled by Jobim's songs, the bossa nova became an international fad, and jazz musicians jumped on the bandwagon, recording album after album of bossa novas until the trend ran out of commercial steam in the late '60s.

Jobim himself preferred the recording studios to touring, making several lovely albums of his music as a pianist, guitarist, and singer for Verve, Warner Bros., Discovery, A&M, CTI, and MCA in the '60s and '70s, and Verve again in the last decade of his life. Early on, he started collaborating with arranger/conductor Claus Ogerman, whose subtle, caressing, occasionally moody charts gave his records a haunting ambience. When Brazilian music was in its American eclipse after the '60s, a victim of overexposure and the burgeoning rock revolution, Jobim retreated more into the background, concentrating much energy upon film and TV scores in Brazil. But by 1985, as the idea of world music and a second Brazilian wave gathered steam, Jobim started touring again with a group containing his second wife Ana Lontra, his son Paulo, daughter Elizabeth, and various musician friends. At the time of his final concerts in Brazil in September 1993 and at Carnegie Hall in April 1994 (both available on Verve), Jobim at last was receiving the universal recognition he deserved, and a plethora of tribute albums and concerts followed in the wake of his sudden death in New York City of heart failure. Jobim's reputation as one of the great songwriters of the century is now secure, nowhere more so than on the jazz scene, where every other set seems to contain at least one bossa nova." ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi   (on Pandora)

Selected Discography


This music is magical in it's subtle sensuousness . Relaxation comes naturally while listening to this genre in general and this group in particular. I'm positively transported to a wonderful place every time I tune in to this music. May it live on forever.
Melodic, sensuous and typically Brazilian!!!
trecia.dejea n
LOVE LOVE love love this.. never out of style, simply sensuous and happy!
Why is beauty so often born from pain? We miss you sweetheart!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Growth in a Positive Direction!

 Freud once said that it is impossible for anyone to grow in a positive direction "when motivated by guilt, shame, or hate."

For Today I will let no one, including myself, shame me into changing something about myself.  I pray to accept myself exactly as I am.  Self acceptance leads me to accept other people and situations.

I will blame no one. What is is. What was, was.  The past is past and the present is a present.  God help me to be a light unto others.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


covering the whites 
of my eyes,
turning them a pale
shade of blue

to match the blue
of my soul

blue like the color
of porcelain
it's fired

bleu like the veins
of cheese
we had with dinner
last night

blue like the veins
that criss cross my hands
like spider webs
and rise like the
bas relief on a plate
from Greece

Frozen tears.
Because I can't cry.
I don't want to go back there,
back, back, back
in time.

And besides,
I've already cried.
Already done that.

to breathe,
to move,
to feel
not vacant,

like the smoked over windows
of the closed K-Mart
that used to be in town,
or the Belk store
that's been long gone,

This town that has said good-bye
to many things.
Black and Decker
and others,

down to Mexico,
and warmer climes,

leaving this place

Like the lot
at the movie theater
where nobody goes anymore.

Vacant like the houses down town
with For Sale signs in the yards.
Vacant like the church
on a Sunday morning.
Where have they gone?

Gone to graveyards, everyone.

Tonight, the town is frozen,
Except for the candles
on my little
buffet and the song that says "lighten,"

and the glow in my heart
that I notice up when I remember
a new life,
a birth.
A baby to be born
in July.

New life.
New love.
New breath.

A son.
Or a daughter.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Selling My House -- Lessons Learned

1.  First, have an aggressive list price.  That means realistic, not  high.  When I first listed my house for sale, I used a survey that was a year old.  Bad move!!!  The survey was out of date and not in line with comps in the area.  Comps are important!!!   Do not under-estimate the importance of comps.  Comps keep you in the competition.

2.  Use an experienced real estate agent.  Why is this so important?  An experienced agent will have lots of connections and is more likely to help you set a good list price.  Find someone with 20 years or so.

Woman Should Not Prolong Knee Surgery

Women Should Not Prolong Knee Surgery

      This article explains why women should not prolong knee surgery if they are experiencing significant pain.

      From the Arthritis Foundation.

Monday, January 13, 2014

For Today

Be willing to act
Be willing to serve
Replace your fears and insecurities
With courage and confidence.

This will serve  you well.

Elis Regina

   I am listening to the lovely voice of Elis Regina, whom I've discovered in the past two years.  Her voice was like no other.

  She started singing at the age of 12 and became one of Brazil's most famous singers, with a personality filled with fire and perfection, to the chagrin of some of her band.

   I just love to hear her sing "Aguas de Marco" with Antonio Carlos Jobim.  This is just a thrilling song to listen to.  It's on the "Antonio Carlos Jobim Songbook" CD.

    Tragically, Elis died of a cocaine overdose in 1983.  Like so many musicians, she was an addict.  I've been listening to Elis for a few years now and did not realize that she was no longer alive.

    Wikipedia has a good article about her:   

"She became nationally renowned in 1965, after singing "Arrastão" (composed by Edu Lobo and Vinícius de Moraes) in the first edition of TV Excelsiorfestival song contest, and soon joined O Fino da Bossa, a television program on TV Record. Elis was noted for her vocalization, as well as for her personal interpretation and performances in shows. She recorded several successful compositions, such as "Como nossos pais" (Belchior), "Upa Neguinho" (E. Lobo and Gianfrancesco Guarnieri), "Madalena" (Ivan Lins), "Casa no Campo" (Zé Rodrix and Tavito), "Águas de Março" (Tom Jobim), "Atrás da porta" (Chico Buarque and Francis Hime), "O bêbado e a equilibrista" (Aldir Blanc and João Bosco), "Conversando no bar" (Milton Nascimento), etc. Her premature death, at the age of 36, shocked Brazil. Elis Regina is regarded as the best Brazilian singer of all time by many critics, musicians, and commentators.[2][3][4][5][6]"

Sunday, January 12, 2014

House for Sale!

"My house is a very, very fine house."

My house is for sale in sunny North Carolina.  Tired of paying a fortune on heating costs?  Consider this --this house's total utility costs run about 157.00 a month and that includes heat, electric, water & sewer, and trash pick up.

Plus, it's a great area for walking, and it's quiet and safe, and wildlife abounds.

Please call Tarboro Realty if interested:  252-823-7588.

Beyond My Control

"When we can't control anything or anyone around us, we can gain a sense of control by living in integrity.  Figure out what you need to do to take care of yourself.  Don't judge others too harshly for not living up to your values.  Give yourself a break for being imperfect.  Let God handle handle the rest."

"Acquire a treasure chest of the real gems in life -- the values we live by each day."  (Melanie Beattie, "52 Weeks of Direct Contact.")

Today I'm grateful to be honest to share openly with a group.  I want to shed Tarboro and old values the way I shed weight.  Go west, young woman! 

God, give me the presence of mind to know when someone is acting without integrity. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

What's in a Name?

Netta Olaby
Kai Ryssdal
Kei Mellisky
Nina Tottenberg
Steve Inskeep
Renee Montagne
Garrison Keillor
Fiona Ritchie
Peter Segal
Diane Hanson
Michael Feldman
Bob Boilen
Jeremy Hobson
Tess Vigeland

Some of my favorites hosts on NPR.

Black Activist, Leroi Jones

     Leroi Jones died today.  I read his poetry in college.  There was an eloquent tribute to him tonight on NPR.  Here is a link:

Teachers Make a Difference

Sometimes it just happens that you meet someone unexpectedly whom you share a deep bond with...I just met a woman from Seattle, Donna, who was an art teacher and is retired like me.  We talked about what a hard job teaching is. She had 180 students every day, coming in every 5 minutes for art.  An inhuman schedule.  I related, as I had students using the library all day, and a principal who liked to surprise me with unexpected groups.  She even had a special needs student come and just sit in the library.  She instructed me not to talk with him, but how could I not?  I should have reported this principal.She was clearly taking advantage of a situation, since she did not have a teacher for the student.  
     The public doesn't realize that teachers often teach in incredibly stressful situations.  No wonder American students are struggling and lag behind students in other countries.
     Like Donna, I also had to write grants for supplies and even "construct" facilities with little support from administrators.  Sometimes we spent our own money on supplies and resources.
But we got through.  One day at a time.   Donna just connected with a student she had 30 years ago whose life she changed.  He had been looking for her and they met during a performance by a men's choir where he was a singer.

I also had a pleasant encounter when I was approached by student I taught five years ago.  He name was Martellus Sanders.  He told me he remembered me working in the library and mentioned an atlas that had given him, which he still uses.
Donna and I made a difference.  It's nice to be reminded of that.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Obesity in America

       I happen to live in a rural area of North Carolina where I sometimes see morbidly obese people on a daily basis.     People who are on oxygen, who use wheelchairs to get around, and I wonder, what is the medical establishment is doing about it.  There are so many diet programs in our country and the revenues from it would probably get a third world country out of debt.
       Obesity is a serious problem, leading to heart disease, diabetes, breathing difficulties, mobility problems and much more.  But there is a solution. Putting the fork down, and beginning a program of recovery.  The support is out there.

Sometimes It's Best Not to Go Back

Sometimes it's best
not to go back
and re-visit old
old memories
unpleasant ones

but rather,
to look forward
to a new day
new places
new people
a new time

that is best