Friday, October 15, 2021

Musicians I Heard Live from Bob Dylan to B.B. King


Above is a free standing cardboard sign of Bob Dylan that I got when I was in college and that I am still pleased to have. It is about 40 inches tall. Isn't he young in this photo? He is my favorite singer/song writer/poet. I saw him live in concert a few years ago when he played where I live. I still have the tee shirt I bought that evening, showing a photo of Bob.

My husband Will and I heard B.B. King several times play live in a blues club in Oakland, California. One time B.B. came and sat at our table and chatted with us. What a thrill for us. Will played guitar so it was quite an honor to meet B.B. King in that friendly manner. I couldn't find any B.B. King photos available free to post.

I heard Joan Baez perform live once, her voice is so rich and haunting. Isn't the above photo perfection? The young and talented Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, briefly a couple. I think she wrote the great song about their affair, "Diamonds and Rust."

I heard Del Shannon live in concert in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His song Runaway is a favorite of mine.

At Fillmore West in San Francisco  my husband Will and I attended many concerts, and loved The Kinks, Fleetwood Mac, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Hot Tuna and The Youngbloods. The Youngbloods was a favorite band, with their song "come on people now smile on your brother, everybody get together and try to love one another right now." We in the audience would all join hands when they sang that song. We saw The Youngbloods in concert live several times.


I heard Memphis Slim (in above photo) in a small underground blues club in Paris, France. There were a lot of small clubs in Paris that were built literally underground. As I recall they were called "caves."

Who have you heard live?

Monday, October 4, 2021

My old friend, Henry David Thoreau and my Uncle Leroy Pelkin




I began my acquaintance with Henry David Thoreau when I was a preteen, perhaps 10 or 11, when my uncle Leroy Pelkin gave me a book by Thoreau. He honored my ability to learn by only giving me adult books over the years. Uncle Leroy gave me a nice selection of books by Thoreau and by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Some of the books were published in the 1800s and I still have them. Something about the writings of these men resonated with Uncle Leroy and me. We both value independence, the beauty of nature, and minimal government. Uncle Leroy valued time alone, like Thoreau and like me. He was a bachelor, and as life goes full circle, as a widow I live alone now. Solitude has many virtues, I find.


 In his essay Civil Disobedience Thoreau describes our duty to obey a higher law when human laws are in conflict with that. He was opposed to slavery and was put in jail in 1846 for refusing to pay poll taxes which he understood supported slavery. His friends paid his taxes so he was released from jail; he did not appreciate what they did. His family sheltered a number of fugitive slaves.

Uncle Leroy gave me the book "Autumn: From the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau", published in 1892. Now that book is older than I am! I still have this book and will share a quote or two from it here.

"That old Carlisle road, which leaves towns behind;  where you put off worldly thoughts; where you do not carry a watch nor remember the proprietor ... The lonely horse in its pasture is glad to see company, comes forward to be noticed, and takes an apple from your hand. Others are called great roads, but this is greater than they all."  Sept. 24, 1859 Thoreau's Journal. 

Emerson and Thoreau loved America, nature, the woods, individualism and the God given rights of citizens. They understood that God gave us rights, not the government, and thus, the government has no standing to take away our rights.

Here is a quote from Thoreau's Walden: “We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”

I have a nice little book, "The Bluebird Carries the Sky On His Back", filled with short quotes by Thoreau. I will share a few with you here.

"The swiftest traveller is he that goes afoot." 

"Shall I not rejoice also at the abundance of the weeds, whose seeds are the granary of the birds?" 


"On Sundays  ... when the wind was favorable ... I heard the bells of Concord, a faint, sweet melody, worth importing into the wilderness."

And here is a favorite of mine "I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than to be crowded on a velvet cushion."

In 2021 Thoreau reminds me of much that is important and timeless and true.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Beautiful Scripture Quotes


I like the above art showing the lion and lamb in the clouds. Today I am sharing some Scripture quotes that guide me. Our God is a kind and loving God and these Scriptures show this.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28-30


"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35

"We must obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29 God gave us the Bible, which is His book of instructions, to help us follow God. I love reading and studying the Bible, alone and in our Women's Bible Study group, and in our fellowship group at church with men and women.


"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13


When asked which commandment is the greatest Jesus replied "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself." Mark 12:30-31

Monday, September 6, 2021

Queen of the Night Cactus in Bloom

These Queen of the Night cactus draw me in with their beauty. Twenty years ago neighbors dug this cactus up at my house and planted them in their yard. I switched from a front yard cactus garden to one having flowering shrubs. It had become too difficult and dare I say, painful, for me to weed the cactus garden. Yes, the cactus stabbed me! My flowering shrubs need little water and are mostly natives, like California Fuchsia and Native Penstemon.  Meanwhile the Queen of the Night is thriving at the neighbors' home.

These beauties open up fully in early evening so I could take these photos. I think they are pollinated by bees and moths and bats. The flowers are six inches across.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

A Deep Reading Habit and 3 Books I Like

  As many of you know, I love reading.

 I bought "Laugh Like a Kid Again" when I thought of the author Phil Callaway. He was the key note speaker at a Christian writers conference I attended, and got me to laugh and to think. His light hearted true stories in this book include a prodigal dog and Callaway's unexpected afternoon in a prison. 

 Above is "An Enchanted April" by Elizabeth Von Arnim, one of my all time favorite novels. This edition is only $10 for paperback and $1.99 on Kindle. Four English ladies meet via a newspaper ad to rent a villa in Italy. Each is desperate in her own way to have a peaceful interlude in her life.

The two books I suggest above are easy to read and An Enchanted April is a wonderful story with a bit of romance in it. I recently read an article about how to get good reading habits and you can find the article at A Deep Reading Habit

Can you tell I am a librarian and a writer? I wrote two books with a traditional publisher and I also wrote 1,000 or more articles and magazine columns. Yup, reading and writing, I love em.

The article has tips to help us enjoy reading; two tips are to read physical books and to read for at least 30 minutes. Of course ebooks are also favorites of mine, and sometimes I read for just a couple of  minutes. I think the key is to find books you like! If you tell me in a comment or email what kind of topics or books you like I will recommend some to you that might suit you. 

Above shows a page in a book a friend gave me recently, titled 100 Illustrated Bible Verses, by Workman Publishing. As Jesus says in John 15:12 "Love one another, just as I have loved you."

Friday, August 13, 2021

Flames in the Greek restaurant


Yes, my family went out to celebrate a birthday for one son and a work anniversary for the other son, at our favorite Greek restaurant. We love the flaming Greek appetizer called Saganaki and order it often. It is Kasseri cheese and brandy and they light it on fire at our table. It is so dramatic, delicious and adds to the fun. The flames reached perhaps four feet in height.

We arrived at 4:30 and the diners all sat at tables far from each other. Another group had the flaming cheese too. In other years they had Greek musicians play in the restaurant, and some evenings the owner, who is from Greece, would throw plates to the floor and break them, in dramatic manner, while calling out "opa". I am sure he used old chipped plates. He would also when inspired (and perhaps drinking some ouzo) carry a small table in his teeth, while dancing. This is a festive place to eat and we love Greek food. So fun to go to a restaurant to eat after such a long pandemic. As the Greeks say, Opa.

Oh, and thinking of Greek food, I must brag a bit and tell you that I got a marriage proposal based on the baklava I baked. This was years ago, at a potluck where I didn't know most of the people, I baked baklava and a man called out across the room, "Who baked this? I want to marry her." I guess that means he loved it. I had to tell him I was already married. Nice story though.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Mystery photo


Do you know what the above photo shows?

It is my newest fun acquisition. A tongue drum. I decided to add beautiful notes of music to my day. 

It is a drum made of titanium steel and I don't need to study to learn how to play it. You can hit one note with the mallet and it rings out in a calm musical sound. I play it to lighten my mood, also before I pray, and some people say the notes vibrate in a healing way. I found a book I may buy which has Christian hymns for tongue drum. You can also play it with your hands and with finger tip covers that they include. I bought this drum a few days ago and am almost addicted to it. The sounds are so melodic.

I only heard of the tongue drum a week ago and bought it rather on a whim, after I listened to a video of the beautiful mystical sounds it gives. People often use these drums for African and Caribbean music, and for meditation and prayer.

Being a senior citizen I like trying new things, it might keep me young, and my drum means I have added music to my day.

In response to some of your comments, you can buy these drums at local music stores, or local drum stores, and online in places like Mine has 11 notes and is about 12 inches across. Children love these tongue drums and they are a great introduction to playing and enjoying music. Some drums are only 6 inches across and a great size for children and travel. Mine came with a nylon travel case and strap and I am going to take mine to outdoor meetings with friends to show them and let them try it.