Friday, August 31, 2012

Blue Moon

Tonight is the beautiful Blue Moon. A Blue Moon is when there are two full moons in one month or three out of four in one season.

I lifted this photo on line. It is how the earth looks during a full moon! It takes my breath away!

Tonight I will be watching the Blue Moon rise in the mountains of Arizona!

Where will you be?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Joe Bell Flower

Photograph of a Joe Bell Flower

During my first Opry this past summer, Marcy Brenner, well known song-writer and musician, shared her newest song with the audience. I was stunned by the beauty of Marcy's voice and her ever-faithful writing ability.

Her song, Joe Bell Flower, is a tribute to an old legend on Ocracoke. The story says (in a simple statement) that Joe Bell was a sad, jilted lover who came to Ocracoke and spread seeds of the Gaillardia flower.

This little seeds grew in sand pockets all over Ocracoke and continue to bloom there as well. They are nicknamed after Joe Bell.

Before each performance Marcy dedicates the song to the young and old women on Ocracoke telling how each goes about her daily job, but really can't be held down to one place very long. This could mean doing different tasks all day from bread making to singing lullabies to children. It also could mean courage to try new things and finding strength in roots, yet freedom as the wind blows the seeds around to new possibilities.

I fell in love with the story, telling Marcy that it will one day become her signature piece.

Marcy sent it in to Our State North Carolina Magazine and entered it into the songwriting contest. You can vote for Joe Bell Flower, or just listen to the song over and over again, as I do in my Indiana studio.

Here is how you can hear the song, just go to the website below and click "listen to the entries".  Marcy's song is week#1, song #19. While you are there, you can also listen to a few original pieces by Molasses Creek.

I would love to hear how you feel about the song and the sweet sad story.

As always,

Lou Ann
 Our State North Carolina Magazine

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lou Ann is out and about with Recumbent Pete

Dear Friends,

Monday afternoon was stunning in northern Indiana. The rain had passed leaving a nice half inch or so on the gardens and in the bird bath. Fresh laundry was on the line and Virginia and I were working away in our own studios.

Virginia is my new housemate. She just finished her MS degree from Trine in mechanical engineering and is now working full time looking for a job.
Virginia is from Argentina and it is good to once again share cultures and break bread together.

On this quiet afternoon there was a knock at the front door. Standing in front of me was Recumbent Pete from Ohio. This was not a surprise as I was expecting his arrival. He stood there with his helmet on and his recumbent bike in my driveway.

Pete and I are both members of warm showers. I joined this organization last year. The benefits are that I open my house up to touring cyclists and we share stories and communities.

The evening was great fun as my family gathered for fresh corn and grilled chicken and all the children in the neighborhood took turns riding on Pete's bike. I even took a nice tour around the neighborhood as well.

Pete enjoyed dinner, stories, a fresh bed (I ironed the pillow case in lavender water) and was on his way by early Tuesday morning.

Here is the website if anyone is interested in joining. I also can be the receiver should I want to bike around, usually I just stay in my neighborhood. But who knows? Here is a short video interviewing Pete as Virginia takes off on the bike.

As always, thanks for reading and watching!

Monday, August 27, 2012

An interview at sunset waiting in line for tickets...

For ten days in Indiana, the Indy Fringe holds the spotlight in Indianapolis. This is the place for performers to shed their "mother/daughter banquet" appearance and enjoy a little more...well fringe on the garment event!

It was my great privilege to be a participant last year in the Fringe. This year i just caught one night, two performances.

Waiting in line always has its virtues. I met a lovely woman, Alanna, standing behind us. She never misses the fringe and she was kind of enough to share her feelings as to why!

So under the beautiful waxing gibbous moon, here is a short interview from Indianapolis

Coming home to Archway cookies!

This week's column!

Dear Friends,

So here we are, back in the studio ready to get to work. Ahhh, coming home, sifting through memories of Ocracoke and finding everywhere I go the Ocracoke connection!

This was a weekend of festivals for me in Northern Indiana. It was a nice break from the laptop, emails, etc. But oh how I was itching to get back to work this morning. I made several out and abouts along the Indiana cultural trail. I will feature one each day! In a few you will see the Ocracoke connection which I found fascinating...from Susan Dodd to Molasses Creek.

Is it definitely a small world.

This week's column is about arriving home. There is a tradition at the Fort Wayne International Airport that when you arrive, you are greeted warmly by a man or woman holding a basket of cellophane wrapped Archway cookies. Each passenger receives one with a warm, "Welcome to Fort Wayne."

Archway Cookies makes its home in Fort Wayne so it is a very nice gesture and a definite way to welcome guests to the Midwest.

As always, thanks for reading. There are lots of fun blogs coming your way this tune in!

Lou Ann

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Coming back to Indiana...

So here I am...back home in Indiana. The transition is always hard. I still think I am in Philip's kitchen as I look for towels or light switches.

My children were all here to greet me (from Indiana, Arizona, and Florida). It was wonderful to spend a few days with them. There were suitcases and laptops piled all over my house.

I finally was able to unpack and settle in.

Why come back to Indiana? I am asked that question often.

I am a Hoosier by birth and have made a home for myself here in Northern Indiana. (I am a stones throw away from Ohio and Michigan.) We have a lovely state park, a university, a small town which some folks say is like old Mayberry, and I have family here.

Ahh...will I always be here? And what does Marcia have to tell John? (That is a private joke for those of you who attend the Ocracoke Opry!)

I also work here as a writer, a storyteller and now I am teaching part time at Trine University. That is new for me. I am teaching English comp with a focus on Dickens and public speaking. I already told the students that we will be doing ghost stories!!

I work most weekends telling stories at festivals and traveling.

I have a housemate that I will often write about as well. I usually house an international student from the college. Virginia just graduated from Trine with her MS in mechanical engineering. (She does not wear a pocket protector!) She lived here this summer while I was gone.

So I will post my stories, my thoughts, my photos and videos as I meander around the next few months.

I am heading off to Indy to the Fringe and will post from there with a fun video.

As always, thanks for reading, commenting and letting thoughts travel through space and time to share our lives in this beautiful world.

Lou Ann

P.S. Virginia took the above photo of me on my first day of school. I am fortunate enough to ride my bike to school and carry my books in my backpack.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Embers in the Night...

 Dear Friends,

Coming back to Indiana is always a transition...of geography, work, friends, activities, and family.

I unpack my suitcase and find pieces of Ocracoke scattered within...a seashell, pockets of sand, or even just the sweet smell of salt and sea.

When I returned home, my house was full of arriving children and it was good to be met by those I love. I have three grown sons who have scattered like the wind, I think they received the gift of wanderlust from their mother.

For three days the house was full of noise, family, children and plenty of dishes!

Just like that they returned, except for Aaron who lives with his wife Karen and the two grandchildren just a block away. We are able to see each other's houses which is always fun for me.

Living in Indiana is not the same as Ocracoke...but it is home. My House at White Picket Gardens is aptly named because of my wooden picket fence and multitudes of flowers. The gardens are in full bloom now as well as the vegetable garden and raspberries.

When I left for Ocracoke we had a fire burn in place so my campfires came to a halt. However with the summer rain of August, all is green and lush and the ban has been lifted.

Last night around 9:00 I decided to build a campfire. The sparks and embers cracked and popped under a sky of stars and towering trees. Within minutes my driveway was a parking lot for bikes. The children just kept coming.

My neighborhood is one of the last old neighborhoods. Children play outside until their parents call them in, and that is usually when the parents want to go to bed. The kids spend each moment outside. They gather rocks, play kickball in the field, let ice cream drip on the pavement, and let the sun of summer turn their winter skin to gold.

As the kids kept coming, I lit candles around the garden, and pulled out the bags of marshmallows from the kitchen. A ring of children circled the fire as we roasted the marshmallows and told ghost stories. They told me tales about the haunted houses in the neighborhood, their eyes wide open, and faced nodding in agreement.

I just kept passing around marshmallows and agreeing with them. Who would  want to live in a neighborhood without a haunted house here and there?

The embers burned low around 11, and each one got back on his/her bike and meandered off into the darkness toward home. I am sure none of them had a shower or a bath, but instead went to sleep with summer dirt on their bare feet and sticky fingers from the marshmallows. But does it really matter?

Tomorrow school starts for my neighborhood so last night was our farewell to summer nights. All I hope is that when they are grown, they have fond memories of biking off into the night, playing ball in the dirt field, and having parents who let them grow up outside one sunny day at a time.

Thanks to all the children who make my life sweet and happy back home in Indiana.

As always,
Lou Ann

Monday, August 20, 2012

Salt, sand, sea, and stars....

And just as soon as I got used to the sand in my shoes and the salt water woven in my hair, the summer was over. I packed my bags, cleaned out the Mad Mag Studio and headed back to Indiana.

The summer was magical, as always. I am truly grateful to Philip for sharing his Island with me.

One of my best memories of the summer is the night we all went to the beach to watch the Perseid here is my last column on Ocracoke for my friends, Bill and Lida.

Just click here for the Perseid Meteor shower story!

After I unpack and settle back in some sort of routine (which never ever happens), I will continue to blog, video, and share my small glimpse into life. As always thanks for reading and commenting.

Here is a short video of saying goodbye...very short!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Out and about on Harker's Island...

Philip and I took a little side trip today (on our way to the airport) and took a visit to Harker's Island.

I have never visited this little Island and it was a wonderful adventure. It is a small Island with pristine houses and gardens. We stopped at a park to take a far away look at Cape Lookout Lighthouse and decided we should visit there sometime soon as well!

On our way out we passed a beautiful old shrimp boat. Philip pulled over for me, and with camera in hand, I got to talking to Captain Oliver Lewis. He is a shrimp captain and was talking about the season.

I think this was my first time to meet a shrimp captain and I was delighted he took the time to talk with me.

Whereas he would not let me video him, he was fine with a photo. If anyone out there knows Captain Oliver Lewis, give him a 'hey' from me!

As for the traveling to the airport...more on that later!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Just another day at the beach!

Dear Folks,

What kind of video blogger would I be without a view of the summer beach?
I took this video when Philip's grandchildren were here for a visit. We packed up all our worldly belongings (or so it seemed) to spend the afternoon with them at the beach.

It if fun being part of the tourist world now and again, we are usually too busy to play on the beach. I took my video at random, I do not know any of the folks. If you happen to be the woman in the blue bathing suit, send it to all of your friends.

The summer beach at Ocracoke is splendid. It stretches for miles and miles. The further you go from the Lifeguard Beach (where we were playing that day), the less folks you encounter. Soon it becomes where you are gripped in isolation and cannot see a single soul.

As always, enjoy the video.

Lou Ann

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Following the Windfall...

Philip and I went out in his boat the other day just to scud around the harbor. It was the same time that Rob Temple was heading out for a sail on his schooner, The Windfall. As always, my cameras were tucked away in my backpack (along with sunscreen, sunglasses, and an old copy of The Week) so I was ready for some filming.

The day was stunning after all the rain, and I felt a little like the paparazzi as we circled and followed The Windfall. Rob, with his wife Sundae Horn, own the Black Schooner shop at the Community Square. It is a great place to visit and sign up for a lovely tour of the Sound on The Windfall.


Monday, August 13, 2012

The Castle on Ocracoke Island

I love spending time on Ocracoke and getting to know the folks here. This is my tenth summer, and it gets better every year!

There are locals to hang out with, tourists to tell stories to, and always adventures waiting to happen.

This weekend I was invited to be a breakfast guest at The Castle.

This is not just any location on the Island. It is, well, I would say spectacular in every way...architecture, stories (have YOU heard about Blackbeard or Sam Jones?), and great food.

Come along with me behind the scenes where a busy kitchen is the mainstay for the guests at The Castle.

You can find stories here, book a reservation, or even plan a wedding at:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Am I Rapunzel or a Pirate...ahh, a roaming imagination!

Dear Folks,

I know some of you have seen this photo before, but it is one of my favorites. This is how the Ocracoke Lighthouse looked during the storm that I wrote about.

I truly felt as if I were Rapunzel or a Pirate or whatever my storyteller imagination could conjure up. Imagine being alone for an hour or so waiting for the rain and wind to subside. I shiver me timbers just thinking about it!

As always, thanks for reading and watching, and enjoy this week's column!
Lou Ann

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Parasailing with Farris O'Neal (from Philip's boat!)

After all the morning rain, the sun brilliantly came out in the afternoon! We took full advantage of this lovely day by taking Philip's boat out in the Sound.

I happened to have my camera available when we came across Farris O'Neal on the "high seas" with his parasailing business.

Farris is a smart funny guy who joyfully takes tourists and locals out to view Ocracoke from the sky. I have yet to take advantage of this, but maybe someday.

I took some photographs and a short video as well. Make sure you look him up when you come to Ocracoke! I would also love to see photos from up high!

Here is the website to contact Farris!

Now on to the video!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Raining on Ocracoke...

Dear Folks,

It has been a rainy week here on Ocracoke. Torrents of rain descended late Tuesday evening and did not give any hope of ever giving up!

Sandy lanes, streets, marshy areas are flooded with puddles and soupy wet sand land.

Alas, the sun does shine, the earth dries, and we all go about our business.

Here is a short video taken from my Mad Mag Studio door of the rain. It definitely was a good day to stay inside and perhaps read Charles Dickens?

I might add, even rain is lovely here on the Island.

Lou Ann

P. S. It appears that you will have to watch the video while cramping your neck to the left. Alas, it is just the thumbnail, once you click on the video it is fine. (I spent a long time trying to correct this, but I could not turn in on the blog!)


Tuesday, August 07, 2012

The coming of darkness....

"In the place where the storyteller was the coming of night was marked as it was not in towns nor in modern houses. It was so marked that it created in the mind a different rhythm. There had been a rhythm of the day and now there was a rhythm of the night..."
Jacob Grimm

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Excavating a Loggerhead turtle nest with my column, photos and is all right here!

Hi Folks,

This blog took a little longer than usual to put together as it filled with all kinds of information and media!

Sundae Horn called me around supper time on Thursday evening. She heard that a Loggerhead turtle nest had hatched a couple of days before, and that the park service was going to "excavate" the nest at dusk.

She didn't have to say more, I was practically out the door. I spent a few years working with the park naturalists in the morning looking for nests, marking them, etc. However I always left Ocracoke before I had a chance to see any hatchlings.

I hope you enjoy the following, it was a wonderful experience!

The column explains most of it, so enjoy that as well!

Lou Ann

Here is the column that will explain the process and the emotion of the evening:   

Now on to the videos! These are done in four parts as I was not so good at splicing. Each one is in order of the process of the excavation. Hopefully you can catch the excitement and learn a lot as you go along!

As always, thanks for reading, watching and sharing with me. This blog has definitely been a labor of love!

Lou Ann

Farewell little hatchlings!

Friday, August 03, 2012

For a friend....

There is a solitude of space
A solitude of sea
A solitude of death, but these
Society shall be
Compared with the profounder site
That polar privacy
A soul admitted to itself-
Finite infinity.

Emily Dickinson

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Happy Birthday, Philip

Dear Friends,

The summer birthdays on Ocracoke Island just don't end. Today is the birthday celebration of Philip and his grandson Lachlan.

We started out celebrating with breakfast at the Flying Melon. You know you are living in a small village when the cook announces that the birthday boys have a free breakfast. (I was happy as well as I was buying!)

There are folks stopping in all day...friends and neighbors with greetings and/or small gifts. Tonight Philip's son Stefen and his family arrive for their yearly vacation on the Island.

Another wonderful tradition is that the birthday gal or guy has their name written in chalk on the chalkboard at the Community Store. I remember my first time seeing my own name in print on the board, I felt like I actually belonged here!

The tradition continues as you can see from this short video clip of Lachlan and Philip giving out words of wisdom.

As always, thanks for reading and watching,

Lou Ann