All went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

There’s nothing a church musician hates more than one more “Merry Christmas!”  We’re not Scrooges, but think of the poor tax accountant on 4-15.  Imagine April 15 as a much-loved time of gift giving and feasting.  The tax accountant is chained to her desk, which is heaped with papers – clients are lining the hallway waiting their turn.  No “Happy Tax Day!” for her.

A typical Christmas Eve where I work:

  • 11am Children’s Pageant
  • 4pm Children’s Pageant
  • 6pm Christmas Service
  • 8pm Christmas Service
  • 10:30 pm Christmas Service

And y’all come back now for noon on Christmas Day!

Merry Christmas To You Too, Buddy!

My guard is up against that bastard Pere Noel.  I’ve actually had a bruised buttocks from sitting on the organ bench so long.

But today is April 15, far far away from Jesus’ birthday party.  I’m safely in my studio teaching piano lessons – coaxing young students to read music.

Often I use songs children know to make a fun puzzle of bass and treble, whole and half, space and line.  Even in April I’m not above pulling out a carol collection for a reluctant reader.  What seven-year-old can resist Jingle Bells?  My student, Jasmine, said she did not know The First Noel.  I sit down to play it for her.  It’s April.  My guard is down.

And sneaky Father Christmas sprinkled magic on my heart.

April 15

It’s the best time of the year!



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Easter 2016

Easter 2016
Easter 2016
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Barbados 2016

February in Barbados:  Books, Beach and Beer.

We used to be adventurous travelers, walking – or at least driving – perimeters of islands to see it all.

These days we enjoy a more relaxing winter vacation.  Even though we’re young, my husband and I are not above staying in “old folks hotels” where clientele play cribbage in the afternoon and evening bands cover Frank Sinatra.

Sunset comes early in the Caribbean.  After watching the orange ball sizzle into the sea, we make early suppers in our room – salad and yam with butter one night.  Rotisserie chicken and green beans another night.  Last night from our balcony we heard an unusual set of songs from the restaurant band.  Billy Joel, Kat Stevens, Simon and Garfunkel.

What are these people thinking?  Music from the 70’s?  This is an old folk’s hotel!



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Thanksgiving – Outside the Box

We are a strange Thanksgiving trio – Diane, Mel and David.  On this day of grannies, cousins, sisters, uncles and orphans, it’s just the three of us.

The only thing traditional about our holiday is that Someone has purchased an 18 pound turkey (“it was the only fresh one left”) and has enough stuffing for 20 people.   (and Someone Else eats low carb)

Enter friend Jeanne and her invitation to join them for dessert at 6:30.

There is every reason we want to accept.

Except …. and I know this is strange….

I just hate eating a big meal while the sun is still up.


  1. Eat dinner while the sun is up.
  2. Eat a small meal while the sun is up.
  3. Eat dinner after dessert.
  4. Don’t go to Jeanne’s.

If you’ve had Jeanne’s desserts you do NOT want to pick number four.  (Low carb, Who?)

Think.  Think Hard.  There must be a way.

Muscle your way out of the box.


There’s plenty so come on over.  Even a low carb sweet potato pie!


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Who’s In Charge Of Reincarnation?

Washington Post Article:  China rejects reconciliation with Dalai Lama

“China sees the game as mostly over, with a few odds and ends remaining that it can weather with little discomfort……

As the Dalai Lama ages, Beijing also thinks it has time on its side.  It is almost certainly planning to engineer the Dalai Lama’s succession, to raise a young leader more favorably inclined toward its rule, and promote him over any rival chosen by the exile community.

But the Dalai Lama irritated China recently by suggesting that he might not reincarnate.

Officials from the avowedly atheist Communist Party responded by accusing the Dalai Lama of betraying his religion, and insisting that the party itself, not the Dalai Lama, would decide whether he would be reborn.”

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Art Collecting Without Guilt

I don’t spend money on art.

Well, once I bought a photo for $1 at a yard sale.  We are not going to talk about what I paid for framing.

Like most people, our household budget just doesn’t include a line-item for art collecting.

We do, however have a small budget for charitable giving, so when Bob, Linda and John had their plant/art/book sale to benefit Doctors Without Borders, I went pleasantly crazy.

Here are the paintings I bought from Bob Haslach.


painting haslach's jasmine's feet

painting haslach's potted plant


painting haslach's flowers


Five plants and three paintings later, Doctors Without Borders (a terrific low-overhead charity) is $100 richer.

But I feel richer still.




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Falling in Love with Natalie (again)

Natalie Goldberg has a new book.  Living Color:  Painting, Writing, and the Bones of Seeing.

I love Natalie.  (even when I hate her – some of you know what I’m talking about)  Writing Down the Bones was the first (the only?) book about writing that made me slam it shut and grab a  pen.

Natalie’s paintings do the same thing.

goldberg Santa-Fe-Sink-2013

Childlike, out of proportion, skewed angles, and full of juicy life energy –  her art work makes me grab a paint brush!

goldberg happybirthday

Natalie’s writing about art reminds me that beauty is in front of my face.

goldberg fathersshirt

Right now.  Every day.





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