Sunday, January 31, 2016

My visit with an island legend...

My bike swiftly moves past the lighthouse and on down the road toward the Sound side of Ocracoke Island. I turn right at the faded and frayed sign announcing Pamlico Gifts, the home of Roy and Elizabeth Parsons. Flowers are abundant although they are a bit droopy in this heat of summer as I park my bike near the back fender of their old station wagon. They don’t actually go anywhere in the car, but it is a great storage shed!

I bought this picture from Elizabeth a few years ago.

Dear Readers,

On Sunday I usually post my current column, but this week is different. I just heard of the death of Elizabeth Parsons on Ocracoke and decided to republish this article I wrote about Roy and Elizabeth. Just click on the above link...My visit with an island legend.

One of the saddest things about her death for me is that I have the loveliest letter from her on my desk. She was next in line for a letter from me and she never got that.  Her last lines to me were..."Write me. Would love to hear from you. Take care. God bless. Love, Elizabeth."

Lou Ann

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

House Concert

In case you missed my house concert here is a little video clip of the event. Thanks to Jennifer Decker for putting this together. Let me know if you are interested in being on my mailing list for my concerts!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Full moon, planets add to January’s beauty...

Full moon, planets add to January’s beauty

Photo by Ken Oguss

This weekend promises great beauty with the full Wolf Moon
and the five planets. For us in the Midwest the skies are
clear and as beautiful as ever!
As always, thank you for reading!!

Just click on the above link.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Five little planets all in a row....

Beginning this morning, January 20th, for an entire month five planets are visible during the pre-dawn hours. These planets are Venus, Saturn, Mercury, Jupiter, and Mars.

It has been ten years since the five of these planets have shared the morning sky. So take time, at least one of these mornings, to make early coffee or build an early bonfire and go watch these beautiful event.

Photo from

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

House Party Line

House Party Line
Just in case you missed Lou Ann’s January 16 House Party, and especially if you have never come, it was grand, and we still hope you will make one or several as they continue to come up. In the meantime, let me fill you in:
Beside the regular crew and some newbies, we had three special guests: Michael Ronstadt (Linda’s nephew) and Serenity Fisher (partners currently residing in Cincinnati), and a longtime friend of Lou Ann's, Jeanne McDougall from Norfolk. Following a potluck dinner and conversation, these superb musicians first played a 45 minute set, and then initiated a freewheeling jam open to EVERYONE wanting to play; and many at ALL skill levels did play, beyond midnight. In addition, at least five took turns playing a djembe drum and bongo drums that I brought for anyone so inclined, and a multitude of non-instrumentalists sang along per folk-song-books that Lee Sauer had printed, or from memory... And all throughout, scores of interesting conversations in the background [you don’t have to play or sing, many don’t and still have great fun (like me)].
 About the special guests.
  • Michael is a cello virtuoso trained at the Cincinnati Conservatory Of Music, and what a flexible, commanding, awesome instrument that cello is in his hands.
  • Serenity plays a very groovy jazz keyboard, and her compositions and vocals are expressive and nuanced beyond imagining.
  • Jeanne’s original songs of Rivers and Seas are transporting. She will take you there, and you will momentarily believe that Indiana cornfield really is the ocean! I know this sounds corny, but it is the TRUTH!
  • And all these special people - so very, very nice, humane, and even humble.
But here’s THE MOST IMPORTANT thing:
Not all of the parties are this grand. Truthfully, this is the best I have seen to date. But the mere fact of this evening says so much about Lou Ann, her circle, and the POSSIBILITIES, if only you will join us now and then.

And when the next invitation from Lou Ann pops up, please do consider coming, you are genuinely welcome.

This was an email from my friend, Stephen, that I copied. Enjoy!

Monday, January 18, 2016

And a new relationship begins via India...

Life does not stay the same in this old purple house. Just when I think I have settled back into a routine of work and play and some kind of structure, the phone rings and here we go again.

Here is the link to this week's column. As always, I hope you enjoy it!
Just click on the above link!

This photo was taken Saturday night at the house concert.
Prabal is on the left and Bharti is on the right.
Don't be confused about the baby; she belongs
to someone else!!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Keep me from going to sleep too soon...

Keep me from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up. Come any hour
Of night. Come whistling up the road.
Stomp on the porch. Bang on the door.
Make me get out of bed and come
And let you in and light a light.
Tell me the northern lights are on
And make me look. Or tell me clouds
Are doing something to the moon
They never did before, and show me.
See that I see. Talk to me till
I'm half as wide awake as you
And start to dress wondering why
I ever went to bed at all.
Tell me the walking is superb.
Not only tell me but persuade me.
You know I'm not too hard persuaded. 

Robert Frances

Friday, January 15, 2016

Music in our town...

I have always loved music as part of my life from an early age. As an adult I have filled my studio with many lovely musical instruments. By far my favorite is my laut which is hand-carved and was given to me on my birthday when I worked in Bavaria, Germany. I was very homesick that birthday and it was a wonderful gift. I traveled all across Europe with that laut strapped across my back playing music by babbling brooks, on trains, and in fields pretending to be Maria from The Sound of Music. 

Other instruments include a lovely Celtic harp, a hand-carved dulcimer from the mountains of North Carolina, a hand-carved Native American flute and a thumb piano. Moving on the dining room you will find my piano and my ukulele which is now my instrument of choice, as some of you well know.

This weekend friends of mine are coming from the East Coast to play music in my town. Jeanne McDougall has been a friend of mine for years. I met her on Ocracoke and had always loved the music of her partner, Bob Zentz. I have made several videos of them over time. This one is a favorite one of mine taken at Rob and Sundae's store. I loved spending hours on their porch just passing the time listening to music. Please enjoy.

And if you like that please join me at Chapman's Brewery this evening for a great evening with Jeanne and her friends. I am also hosting a house concert tomorrow evening at the House at the White Picket Gardens or more well known these days as the Purple House. If you can't make either, just stop in anytime. I am sure music will be played all weekend.

Hope to see you out and about. Please enjoy this video!!

Lou Ann

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

My fairy house...

The Shiny Little House

I wish, how I wish that I had a little house,
With a mat for the cat and a hole for a mouse,
And a clock going “tock” in a corner of the room,
And a kettle, and a cupboard, and a big birch broom.

To school in the morning the children off would run,
And I'd give them a kiss and a penny and a bun,
But directly they had gone from this little house of mine,
I'd clap my hands and snatch a cloth, and shine, shine, shine.

I'd shine all the knives, all the windows, and the floors,
All the grates, all the plates, all the handles on the doors,
Every fork, every spoon, every lid, and every tin,
Till everything was shining like a new bright pin.

At night, by the fire, when the children were in bed,
I'd sit and I'd knit, with a cap upon my head,
And the kettles and the saucepans they would shine, shine, shine,
In this tweeny little, cosy little house of mine!

On Tuesday morning, when I left for school early (yes, I have an 8:00 class this semester), I  looked back at my house. It looked like a sweet little fairy house in the woods with the blue lights and the snow. I had to stop and take a photo. Later when I looked at this photo I immediately thought of the above poem. It was one of the first poems I ever learned. I recited it to my dolls over and over.

I am a lover of home wherever that takes the the a tiny cottage over a garage...or to the purple house where I live now. I love playing house as much as I did when I was little. In fact my favorite days are when I am home with the kettle singing!

I am glad this sweetest has stayed with me always. My dad once said that we take home with us wherever we go, and he was right. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Project takes me back to 19th Century Indiana...

Project takes me back to 19th Century Indiana - KPCNews: Kpcnews

For the past week I have been researching the life of T.C. Steele.
My thoughts and notes of him and his life were scarce, and I must 
add, emotionless.
That is until....

That is until this week when I poured my heart and soul into
this work. I have now fallen in love with this man
by reading his notes, his love letters to his wife 
and his children. The project has left me laughing
out loud in the library and crying on a few times.

Enjoy the column. Just click on the above KPC site.
There is definitely more to come.
Lou Ann

Out my windows this week!

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

My New Year's Resolution (or one of them)...fine tuning my ukulele playing!

I am so enamored by this beautiful piece on the ukulele that I am totally inspired to keep that resolution of playing well and more often.

Actually my friend and neighbor, Lee, and I have formed a band...Schmaltz and Blarney. We are hoping to begin having a few gigs along the way. Our band is also accompanied with songbooks for sing-a-longs. Folks in the audience or in the bar just shout out the number of the song and we play. Oh, and Lee plays banjo. It is a great sound together. We usually rehearse on Saturday nights with beer and pizza. When the pizza guy shows up he always says to me, "Band practice?"  

I also answer him with a "Yep, you want to join us?"

We are available for booking!! Oh, and be sure to play the song all the way through. It is beautiful!

Monday, January 04, 2016

Winter's Night...

come sit by my fire
sherry or cider for you?
and stories we'll tell

Sunday, January 03, 2016

There’s much to enjoy in the chill of winter...

There’s much to enjoy in the chill of winter - KPCNews: Kpcnews

Here is the link to this week's column. Just click on the KPC site above!
As always, thank you for reading. I have paired this column
with a lovely poem by Emily Bronte. It is perfect for 
this cold, raw January day.

Friday, January 01, 2016

New Year's Day Thoughts...

My Christmas tree this season with the candles lit,

When I was a child I never liked New Year's Day. It meant taking down the Christmas tree, putting away all of our gifts and cleaning up the last of the needles. As children we thought it meant the ending of all the holidays. (As a grown up I have come to love and appreciate all holidays even the remote ones!) 

The house was bare and empty without the tree and the stockings. The cookies were all gone. The Christmas carols were no longer sung in church. (I could sing Good King Wenceslas all year.) We were forlorn in all ways.

Our dad understood our sadness. When we went to bed he would always click his fingers and say, "It's almost Christmas." That sent us to bed smiling knowing that another Christmas would come round. It was a sweet moment in childhood and an even sweeter moment in adulthood.

Happy New Year's Day...and before you know it, it will be Groundhog Day!

Until tomorrow.