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Mary Rocap: Journal

Ocracoke Musings - June 11, 2017

Ocracoke is not a place I come to to be entertained or which provides distractions from my life. Ocracoke is a place that extends an invitation to rest, lean back, lean into, and embrace life. It has offers me the opportunity to live my life more fully.

When I come I bring my notebook and guitar for song writing, an in-progress-quilt, embroidery projects, and books I’ve been wanting to read, hardback books (this year: In the Fall by Jeffrey Lent and Lila by Marilynne Robinson).

My husband and I walk places together, we do what we do together, we talk or don’t talk, we take the time to look at the sunset. We’d rather be on the porch than inside; we’d rather walk the narrow streets and lanes than drive them. The sun wakes us up and by the time the sun sets we are tired.

We go to the shops and look at the wonderful art and craft created by those inspired by the sea.  We buy fresh caught bluefish and Spanish mackerel dredging the fillets with corn meal and flour and pan frying them for dinner.

I love that Ocracoke is a working sea village community. The people in the shops and stores are people whose lives are rooted here. The graves of their fore bearers are behind fences along the road, visible yet private.  These consecrated sites remind me that the sandy ground upon which I walk is holy. Ocracoke is not

The periodic blast of the ferry horn lets me and everyone know that it takes some effort and planning to come or leave. Once we have driven onto the ferry for the two plus-hour ride over water from Swan Quarter or Cedar Island I am no longer in control. I cannot slow down or speed up the trip. I have placed my life in another’s hands and trust that the captain knows the wind and the waves and will bring us to Silver Lake safely.  On the trip home I am filled with an immediate sense of loss and nostalgia as the ferry pulls away from the harbor and I gradually lose sight of the island.

We like to come the week of The OcraFolk Festival which we found quite by accident one year.  Now we arrange to come that first full weekend in June.  We have been introduced to wonderful groups by the festival: The Steel Wheels, The Honey Dewdrops, Mandolin Orange to name a few. I love that folks are invited to go to the local churches and no music is scheduled for Sunday morning at 11:00.

We are almost through our week here but are already planning on coming back next year and will book our reservation as we leave.  We also wonder if, this year, we might start at new tradition: coming in the fall, perhaps October.  Ocracoke has left its mark on us.  My screen saver is a picture of the porch of the cottage we rent.  I leave with a new song, good progress on my quilt, and 3/4s of the way through one book.  We carry memories along with glass beads bought from the new bead shop and a climbing decorative frog from Island Ragpicker. Maybe we are beginning to leave a mark ourselves: Patty, the fishmonger recognized us; we have met our landlady, Trudy; we have a new friend in Peter who honored me by interviewing me giving me the opportunity to sing my songs on WOVV.  I am starting to think that our story, our relationship, with this special place is just beginning. 

With Bread: Thoughts on Bread Baking - based on a presentation I did at St. Matthew's for our Faith Formation Class - April 24, 2016

Bread Baking

Baking helps me remember my past.  My great grandmother, Fiddy who was born the year the Civil War ended, would come every Thursday and she and my Mom would bake the bread we would eat the following week. Often I was given a small amount of dough to knead into a roll but more often than not I would take that dough, go hide in a closet and eat it unbaked.

I have been baking bread since I was in college. I found that when I left home I missed the bread my Mom and Fiddy made, so when I was living in a house with an oven I began baking for my housemates. I never remember being taught how to make bread but after years of watching and being around the process I found that I just knew how to. After college I started a restaurant with some friends and I began baking in earnest.  Since then I have continued to bake for my family and for others.

Baking is a way of being with others.  I have regular customers who come to the Chapel Hill Farmers Market on Saturday and get enough bread to get them through a week. I look forward to seeing them and being a part of their life and the farmer’s market community.

The basic ingredients of bread are simple: flour, water, yeast, and salt.  You can make it sweeter by adding sugar or honey or molasses; you can make it more finely textured by adding oil; you can vary the flavor using different combinations of grains: wheat, corn, barley, rye, buckwheat, or oats; add sweet spices like cinnamon or savory spices like dill or caraway.  You can add nuts or chocolate or dried fruit.  You can add milk instead of water which will make it richer or eggs which will make it lighter.  All over the world people make bread. There are lots and lots of kinds of bread you can make.  You can follow a recipe or make one up. But, in its most basic form, bread is flour, water, yeast, and salt.  However, these ingredients need something that is not bought at a store: bread needs time and bread needs effort.  It takes some time for the yeast to become active and make the dough rise.  And it takes some labor – you must knead the dough to make it strong and stretchy. You can’t hurry it up or take short cuts.

I like making bread because I believe bread is good for you - both your body and your soul.

Sometimes the words we use for something are themselves made of ancient words and have a meaning inside of them that we don’t always know about.  Company is a word like that.  It is made of two words: com (with) and panis (bread).  So the word company means with bread.

Company can be informal - like when you are eating breakfast with your family in pajamas.  Sometimes the word company takes on a more formal nature.  Like when you have company to your house.  Or when you are company and are the guests at someone else’s house.  When you are a guest you often dress up and bring a gift. 

On Sundays, God asks us to visit him.  We do this when we go to church.  Right before communion someone or some family brings the bread and wine which will be used at communion up to the altar to be blessed.  God takes our gifts and gives them back to us.  He is in our company: with bread.  We are in his company: with bread.

One thing I have been thinking about is that this bread and wine that we bring to God are things that have been made.  Bread doesn’t grow on trees. We don’t offer handful of grain, or a sack of flour, or salt, or yeast: we bring bread; we don’t bring grapes, we bring wine. We bring something that we have made or that has been made by someone else: bread and wine.  I think this is true of our own lives as well.  God has given us our lives, but it is up to us to do something with our life.  We have been given talents and gifts and it pleases God when we develop our talents and gifts. 

The words that the priest says at the Eucharist come from the last meal that Jesus had with his disciples. Jesus took the bread that was on the table, thanked God for it, shared it with his friends and said do this in my memory.  Jesus was in the company of God and in the company of his disciples: Jesus was with bread. He asks us to remember him when we eat bread. We are to remember that God is with us, that we are with God, and we are with each other.

So when you make bread or when you eat bread remember whose company you keep and be thankful.

My remarks before the Women's Singing Circle concert 11/15/15 - November 15, 2015

(for context: The concert in celebration of our CD "Homecoming" took place shortly after the Paris bombing attach)


I feel I need to acknowledge that the events of this week have put the concept of Homecoming under a certain pale.  Home itself feels threatened: homes are no longer safe nor are the neighborhood cafes and other places were friends congregate.  Millions of people are fleeing their homes no longer even dreaming of returning.

And so we dedicate this concert to those who have lost their homes or have lost their faith in home.  Today WE are fortunate that we can look forward to going home or family members coming home for Thanksgiving. 

We are nearing the close of the liturgical year, nearing the days when Mary and Joseph would return to the home of their forbearers and Mary would give birth to a son.  The Season of Advent reminds us that Jesus made a home in our troubled world.  And that he has made a more perfect home for us in the world to come.

We live in the world and in the hope of the world to come.  They are both home.  Home is home whether you are there or not.

The Homecoming service of St. Mary’s Chapel provided a reason for this singing circle to come into being.  Since 2009 we have provided music for this very special gathering of local families for whom this crossroad chapel has been a meaningful part of their lives and their understanding of themselves.  As a result of that initial invite we have met together on a monthly basis for compline, a service of prayer at the end of the day, and singing, and in the process we ourselves have become a little community.

We are not a choir.  We don’t all read music.  Sometimes the number of beats in a measure is a complete mystery.  But we bring ourselves to every song.  We find our own harmony.  We sing for the simple pleasure of the sound and we offer up our songs to God.

As we begin our concert I want to ask this blessing on our time together.  It is from the compline service and I love the words:

Visit this place, O Lord, and drive far from it all snares of the enemy; let your holy angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace; and let your blessing be upon us always; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.



The St. Matthew’s Women’s Singing Circle Celebrates a Birthday - April 27, 2014

The Women’s Singing Circle has turned five! Who knew that a group formed to provide music for the 2009 St. Mary’s Homecoming would endure, even thrive, this long? We’ve sung at every Homecoming since then; held 60 compline services; produced 2 CDs; performed concerts with Lee Smith, Sheila Kay Adams, and The Gospel Jubilators; been invited as guests at other churches and civic events; and created a song book containing over 100 songs . . . we’ve come a long way baby!! We continue to draw inspiration from the tradition of Sacred Harp- singing, for the most part, without instrumental accompaniment for our own spiritual practice rather than for a listening audience; focusing on spiritually meaningful words while creating powerful music together as a community. Our numbers range from 10 and 20 with membership coming from both within and outside of St. Matthew’s. We meet the last Sunday of the month at 7:00 p.m. in the church. I always feel that I get more out of it than I put in and every one’s presence is a blessing. My deep appreciation goes to co-founder Megan Whitted who shared the leadership of the group with me for so long; and to Cindy Stevens who provides original poetry at each gathering. A shout out to those who participated during those first months and helped form our identity: Dani Black, Marielle Prince, Ebeth Scott-Sinclair, Lise Uyanik, Claire Wright, and the late Cindy Yelton (whom we miss dearly); and especially those who were there from the start and remain active: Karen Ireland, Nancy Rosebaugh, and Ellen Weig. We often end a concert or a gathering with “How Can I Keep from Singing” because it so clearly expresses why we are drawn to sacred song, why singing and praying with others strengthens our own faith, and why a song full of harmony and heart stirs the hearts of others.

My life flows on in endless song, above earth’s lamentation,

I hear the real though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear the music ringing,

it sounds an echo in my soul; how can I keep from singing?

While though the tempest loudly roars, I hear the truth, it liveth.

And though the darkness ‘round me close, songs in then night it giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that rock I’m clinging.

Since Love is Lord of heav’n and earth, how can I keep from singing?

Murphey School Radio Show - July 12, 2013

I was asked to be a regular performer at the Murphey School Radio Show!!! Last time I sang the show song and did a number of jingles for the sponsors of the show along with Women's Singing Circle buddy Cindy Stevens. See more about the Murphey School Radio Show from the links page.

St. Matthew's Women's Singing Circle going back into the studio - July 8, 2013

We are working on a Christmas CD which will be out December 2013. We'll be partnering up with John Plymale of Overdub Lane Studio.
I expect the singing circle to be some 20-strong when we record the 17th & 18th of this month.
Andrea Moore, Claire Wright, Megan Whitted, Lise Uyanik, and myself will have some solo pieces.
Ericka Patillo will bring her golden harp, Bob Mutter his booming djembe.
The working title: "Venite Adoremus" which goes beautifully with the art work that Ebeth Scott Sinclair is supplying: one of her gorgeous saints.

Oleander - July 8, 2013

I wrote Oleander at Ocracoke a couple of years ago. This year at the OcraFolk Festival in early June they had a songwriter circle at one of the coffee shops. I played it when it was my turn: giving it back to the island. It felt good. All that oleander, all those mourning doves . . .


Don’t you hear the lonesome call of the mourning dove
It’s a common sound I don’t think much of
Heard it all my life, more’s the shame
I’d rather hear the warble of the whippoorwill
If I hadn’t run away I would be there still
Pleased to meet you, Oleander is my name

That’s a pretty name for a pretty face
And I’ll bet a little loving would soon erase
All the worries and troubles that are on your mind
Maybe it won’t and maybe it will
But I’ll tell you Mister my looks can kill
It would come out better for you if your love was blind, cause
Oleander could be your doom
Oleander a rosy bloom
Oleander smells so sweet
Makes a heart forget to beat

I was raised up hard and I was raised up mean
I was the prettiest baby Mama’d ever seen
But a girl that was pretty and poor filled her with dread
Now Mama believed that words had power
So she named me for a poison flower
I done for you what I could was what she said

Now I could love you till the day you die
But if I was you I’d just walk on by
Go on now – forget you ever came
It won’t get better it will only get worse
Cause I live in the shadow of my Momma’s curse
Go on now – I’ll not tell you again that
Oleander could be your doom
Oleander a rosy bloom
Oleander smells so sweet
Makes a heart forget to beat

Little Chicken Stories - February 4, 2011

I have collected my stories about our backyard chicken flock and self-published them through (go to links to others to get to the site from here).
I'm so excited about this - I've been working on them for about three years. It's been a totally enjoyable project. Anyone who knows me knows I always have a new chicken story to tell. They are fascinating to me.
I want to give a shout out to April Higgins for helping me by designing the book. Thanks April.

Christmas Eve 2010 - December 24, 2010

I can now put on my resume that I have stood in for Andrea Moore. Andrea was to have sung "O Holy Night" at the 9:00 Christmas Eve service at St. Matthew's but she has a strained vocal chord and is on 3 months of voice rest. So, now I will sing my "Twas on a night" which is perfect for Christmas Eve.

"Twas in the dead of winter the angels did proclaim
To sleepy-eyed poor shepherd boys who with their flocks remained
They were not praying for a sign
When they gazed up in the sky
The stars ascended brightly til heavenly hosts drew nigh

God's word of peace and brotherhood came to these gentle folk
They were not learned men, nor wise, but to them the angels spoke
They marveled then they followed
And found the sleeping babe
And told to all who'd listen of the child that'd been born to save

'Twas on a night such as this the angels did proclaim
To sleepy-eyed poor shepherd boys who with their flocks remained
Tonight I look up at the stars
The stars look down on me
The heavens still sing peace on earth to God all glory be.

Merry Christmas everyone!

The Wood Thrush Returned Today - May 2, 2010

I've been waiting for the return of this song bird to our area. This morning I heard the distinctive voice: Sunday, May 2. Two years ago it was April 19. I remember because I announced it at a house concert I did that evening. So, I've been waiting with some anxiety since mid-April for the sound of the glorious song. Did you know the wood thrush achieves their sound because they have two vocal chords so they can sing harmony with themselves. (I learned this, as most everything else interesting, by listening to National Public Radio.) Below are the words of the song I wrote in his honor: Little Bird

And the little bird sings in the cool of the day

When the sun comes up And the sun goes down

He’s got happy things to say

And the little bird sings from the highest tree

Hidden in the leaves of the canopy

Doesn’t wanna be seen

When my head’s brought low by this world of woe

And trouble’s leaning on my door

I marvel at the simple joy that hearing can restore

When the little bird sings in the cool of the day

When the sun comes up And the sun goes down

He’s got happy things to say

And the little bird sings I cannot stay

I come in the spring and I leave in the fall

And it’s always been this way

But the little bird sings a promise true

When the jessamen blooms I’ll be coming home soon

And will sing a song for you

When the nights are long and the wind blows cold

And the days are gray and drear

I hold onto the hope of spring

When the wood thrush reappears

And the little bird will sing in the cool of the day

When the sun comes up And the sun goes down

He’s got happy things to say

The St. Matthew's Women's Singing Circle - January 9, 2010

The St. Matthew's Womens Singing Circle began in 2009 when Megan Whitted, the music director of St. Matthew's, and I began to prepare for a the annual homecoming service of St. Mary's Chapel. We realized very quickly that the group that formed was a keeper! We meet monthly for a compline serivce (a service of evening prayer) and unaccompanied singing. We sing with no music in front of us - only words. We create our own harmonies based on the voices present. We add readings of literature which seem to provide context for many of the hymns and spirituals since we are drawn to music from the 19th century south. Lee Smith and Charles Fraizer are favorite authors since much of their writing seemed to be inspired by song.
We sing in sacred space and find ourselves strengthened and enriched by lifting our voices, as community in song.
Although the Circle is more about the process than performance - we have had the opportunity to share audiences both in programs and within services, such as memorial services.

just so you know I have some if not award winning songs, some honorable mention songs - February 27, 2009

Here's my all-star list:

1. 3rd Place in the 2012 NCSC Song Contest for the songs "Once I Held in High Regard" and "a half a dozen things"

2. Honorable Mention in the 2011 NCSC Song Contest for the songs "Jupiter & Venus' and "Oleander"'

3. "Cassiopeia" included in a compilation CD for the NC BioFuel Music Project.

4. Finalist in the 2008 NC Songwriters Coop Song Contest for the songs "Cotton" & "Hallelujah"

5. Finalist in the 2005 NC Songwriters Coop Song Contest for the songs "Flamingos" & "Cassiopeia"

6. Finalist in the 2004 Hank Williams Flat Rock Music Festival for the song "I Got a Mind to Love You"

7. Finalist in the 2004 Cats Cradle Song Contest for the songs "Mileposts", " Sadie, Sadie Hawkins Day" & "Tell Me Why"

8. Honorable Mention in the 2003 NC Songwriters Coop Song Contest for the songs "Mileposts" & "Tell Me Why"

9. Alternate Finalist in the 2003 Cats Cradle Songwriters Contest for the songs "North Star", "Kingdoms Rise", & "Resting Up"

A Chicken Story: Matters of LIfe & Death - September 26, 2008

I was looking at the traffic to my website yesterday and found out there is a percentage of people who don't know me that get to my site because of a search for chicken pictures. So I guess I'll put out a little more feed for the chicken lovers of the world and post the following story!
I have been writing little stories about my chickens for the last year or so. Some of you may have noticed the pictures I have on this site of some of them. I have now published a book of stories called Little Chicken Stories which you may order simply by emailing me from this site. The following is one of the chapters.

Matters of Life & Death by Mary Rocap

The summer of 2007 in the Piedmont of North Carolina was hot and dry. The average high was 96; the highest high was 105. August was the hottest and second driest month on record at the Raleigh Durham Airport (the official weather data collection spot in our area). Dogwoods were turning brown; poplars were losing yellowed leaves. The local growers of the Hillsborough Farmers Market had given up irrigating since no amount of watering seemed to quench the thirst of the soil and their ponds were getting low. People asked politely about their neighbor’s wells.

The end of summer was also when our friend Greg was trying to figure out why he had no energy and would shake with cold while running a temperature. Turned out he had leukemia. He called me from the hospital just before going into a week of chemotherapy saying he and his wife Carol were confident they could beat this. One week later he was dead – a catastrophic reaction, from which he could not, did not recover.

The heat stressed everybody and it stressed our hens; they started laying fewer eggs as if to say “Just be thankful we made it through another day.” A day they had spent with their panting beaks open, seeking the shade and relative cool of the woods surrounding our home. Why one of our hens would decide to sit on a clutch during this hot spell is beyond me. But sit she did in the coop where temperatures surely were 10 degrees above the actual. She had laid claim to eight eggs.

After three weeks of her sitting, looking mean, and poophing out when approached, there was movement and a little head shyly peeking out from her breast where she sat on her nest. By the end of the day there were three little fluff balls, a buff and two with shades of gray coloration. The next day she left her nest abandoning the five remaining eggs, and took her little brood down the plank to the fenced area under the coop. We rejoiced at her accomplishment in the face of such adverse conditions.

That evening we caused a complete panic as Tom decided to it was time to confine an increasingly pesky rooster. There was chaos and pandemonium. The little chicks fled through the fence, but Momma was trapped. Tom and my attentions were completely focused on the rooster and so didn’t appreciate the desperate situation we had created for Momma. She eventually got herself over the 6-foot fence and shot like a bat from hell through the woods in hot pursuit of her babes.

At that point the situation we had created sunk in and we went into search and rescue mode. We listened for peeps – couldn’t hear any; walked slowly through the woods – didn’t see any. It was an hour ‘til dusk and time was short.

Alas, we did not find them. We delayed closing up the birds ‘til well after dark hoping they would return. We felt like idiots.

This was the within days of receiving word of Greg’s death. At our very late dinner Tom prayed “Thy will be done.” to which I involuntarily responded “No.” I wasn’t ready for another dose of God’s will.

The next morning I went out looking for Momma and her chicks. I went to the hen house and was surprised to find one of the five remaining eggs had a crack in it. I picked it up and it peeped! Completely taken aback I squeezed it slightly and it peeped again. Who knew a chick peeped before hatching? Who knew that eggs cool to the touch, abandoned a whole day would be viable?

I picked up all five eggs and hurried inside making a little nest in a basket and setting it under the heat lamp that was warming our 10-day old mail-order chicks housed in a big box in our living room. I called work and said I would be late, called my Mom & Dad to see if they wanted to come over and watch with me, and called Tom with the good news.

In fact, while the sound of the peep was good news I learned it takes some time and effort for a chick to hatch. The egg shutters and shakes. Eventually more of the shell opened and we could see a little beak with its egg tooth and some of the body. The whole body pulsed like a little heart, straining against the constraints of the shell. Surprisingly, the membrane seemed to pose the most difficulty, tearing separately from the breaking of the shell. I called my neighbor Joy who has a lot more experience in these matters and she counseled against helping the chick out of the shell (which I was inclined to do). She said it is the effort of the chick against the shell that makes the chick ready to stand after hatching.

Realizing this is a solitary task for the chick I reluctantly left for work. Mom said she would check in on the progress. At 12:30 she reported that we had the cutest little fluffy buff chick.

What good and amazing news!

When I got home late afternoon, wonder-of-wonders, Momma was back with her three little ones. We introduced her new one to her and she accepted it with solemnity.

I know that human life, the life of my friend Greg, is not comparable to the lives of my little birds. He was a close friend, my best song critic, a wise and compassionate person. I miss him. Yet I know that God loves all of his creation – all creatures great and small. It is written that God knows when every sparrow falls (“Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight” Luke 12:6) and those words resonate in me. I love the song “His Eye is on the Sparrow” with its colliery line “and I know he cares for me” made famous by Ethel Waters. And in truth, the miraculous life of these little birds has been some comfort.

Life is a mystery. In the end we don’t know what death is or what purpose it serves. It pleases me that Momma and her chicks’ lives were spared; it hurts that Greg’s life was taken and that hurt will stay hurt a long time. “The Lord giveth, the Lord takest away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21) I have to try to offer both the rejoicing and the mourning to God and claim, by faith, that death is not the end, but a new beginning. Life will have the last word, not death.

And so, journey on Greg.

Tribute fo Greg Taylor - October 15, 2007

I want to pay tribute to a close friend, Greg Taylor, who died Sunday, September 2. Greg was a person whose counsel I sought and friendship I treasured.
We were in a songwriting circle and he always had positive and insightful suggestions. We also worked together at Whole Foods and Wellspring Distributors, shared performances, and served together on the board of the NC Songwriters Coop. I last saw him at the Eno Festival in July and last talked to him from the hospital. He had been admitted for treatment of recently diagnosed leukemia.
Condolences go out to his wife, Carol, and everyone who knew him. His presence in our lives will be greatly missed.
Go in peace Greg and may your soul rise in glory.

I've got a picture of Greg in my photo section. His website is -- his album All in My Hands is available for purchase from there. It would mean a lot to Carol if you bought one.

Mica - May 21, 2007

A myth-song about the mineral mica. I was inspired by Galadrielle's Song. from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings - A part of that is quoted making up the last verse of my song.

Ever was but now I am
And chose I mortal form
To taste the apple and the pear
To feel the sun and storm
Crossed eternal starry sea
The never ending night
To rest upon the sandy shore
And view the morning light

One hundred years passed as a day
And then I felt bereft
And looked above a starry hosts
And longed for what I’d left
Three messengers had I retained
Three messengers of flight
Falcon, moth, and turtle dove
“Fly high into the night”

One thousand years passed as a day
And one by one they came
Weary travelers from afar
All with a sad refrain
“Foolish Mica, ever bright
Why did you have to roam?
You stayed too long, and were forgot
So far away from home”

Then I turned my face from them
And toward the setting sun
Still and silent like a stone
And stone I did become
Ten thousand years of sun and storm
Crushed me to sparking dust
Three winged friends spread my remains
O’er all the earth’s hard crust

"And if of ships I now should sing
What ship would come to me?
What ship would bear me ever back
Across so wide a sea?"

copyright 2006

A Plausible Explanation for the Redbud - May 21, 2007

Here is my made-up myth-song for why the redbud flower is so obviously purple:

Where the meadow meets the wood
A dark limbed tree does grow
And in the springtime breezes
Redbud blossoms blow
I see them on the road sides
On the edges of the lane
Between the tended and the wild
The tangled and the tame
But why it’s called a redbud
I sure would like to know
There is no ruby in its blush
Saying don't make it so

When the redbud was first named
It bloomed a scarlet true
But March he was a chilly wind
Tinged with icy blue
No lovlier a vision;
The colors did enchant
Indigo and crimson
Birthed a miscreant
And thus the wild bred blossom
Takes on a purple hue
In memory of when wind met flower
And flower said I love you
And flower said I love you

copyright 2006

Recording Begun - March 24, 2007

Well, "Hallelujah! Amen." has officially begun. I was in Overdub Studio two days this week and got a lot of great singing done with my girls and Lise Uyanik. For those of you who know Lise and my repertoire I am happy to say that we recorded Travelin' Shoes and O, Freedom. We consider these two songs signature songs and have performed countless times over a span of three decades. It is a great feeling to have documented this material.
None of the songs on this CD will be originals and in fact most were written in the 18th century.

Southern Artistry - August 11, 2006

I'm now listed in the online resource "Southern Artistry" (go to the link section for a direct link to this site).
Isn't that neat?

Bo Lozoff Backing Vocals - July 13, 2006

Just came back from a great recording session at Overdub Studio with Bo Lozoff and his new project. The very talented John Plymale was at the controls. Lise Uyanik, Shannon Dancy, and I were the female vocalists. David Kramer, Shannon's boyfriend Rick, and Will McFarlane (sporting a Scotish kilt I must add) were the male vocalists. We all stood around a central mic and did these wonderful sing-a-long kind of choruses. I also did two songs just with Will. The CD will be coming out in the fall - November 4 (it's on my calendar for the release concert at The Carrboro ArtCenter). I think it is going to be a good CD when finished - check it out later.

Our Own Chickens - April 17, 2006

We bought our own baby chicks and they arrived Easter Monday, April 17 - how appropriate for new life. 37 of the little guys and gals came in the mail peeping away.
Tom and I almost feel like proud parents!

Two Silly Jokes - March 12, 2006

How do you catch a unique rabbit?
Unique up on it.

How do you catch a tame rabbit?
Tame way, unique up on it.

A Quilting Artist Statement - March 6, 2006

I have been quilting since I was in college. I needed a bedspread; I had material so I decided to make a quilt. No one taught me. I just did it. I used the Grandmother’s Churn Dasher Pattern. Well, that was over 30 years ago. I found I love making quilts. In general, I like to work small; 45x60 seems to be a good size. I like a rectangular shape. I like a vertical line. I like fabric that has some weight to it; color that has depth or sheen. I like to decorate a traditional pattern with buttons, sequins, or embroidery. Quilts, I have found, are a good use for earrings that have lost their mate. I like to make the plain fancy, the serviceable beautiful. My approach to quilt making is not the different from my approach to music. I draw from the past but I make it my own. There is a certain joy in piecing together colors to make a pattern – a quilt top. But the act of quilting enhances every ordinary or exquisite top. The primary element in quilting is time. There is a commitment from me to devote the in and out movement of my fingers, countless stitches and knots to take a top and turn it into a quilt. I machine piece but I hand quilt and to me that is what makes the work come alive. My signature, my breath, is in every stitch. Another element of my work is that I use what I have at hand. I do not plan a pattern and then go to the store and buy the needed fabrics. I start with what I have, what I’ve collected, what I’ve been given over the years. Then if necessary I’ll buy what is missing. In this sense I feel I stay true to the thrifty nature of the craft. It is true that quilting is a craft. The product serves a purpose. But the product is also a piece of art drawing the eye back again and again to the beauty of the work. This is what I try to do: to make a thing of beauty to be used and enjoyed for years to come.

On Tour with the UNC Women's Glee Club - January 21, 2006

Sue Klausmeyer, the conductor of the UNC Women's Glee Club bestowed upon me a a great honor: an invitation to tour with the UNC Combined Glee Clubs on their Winter Tour this year. We went Charlotte, Charleston, Gastonia, and Asheboro Thursday January 5 through Monday January 9.
It was a great experience. I really enjoyed being a part of the program and also hearing their wonderful music. And, I got a song out of the experience. Driving through the countryside I was struck by all the fields of cotton. So I wrote a song about cotton. Did you know that the cotton blossom is white the first day of its bloom but by the second day it has turned red; the third day it falls off the plant. Such is life . . .

A Great Recipe for Breakfast - January 2, 2006

After working for so many years in the food industry, having my own restaurant and then working with Whole Foods I pretty much have lost any interest in cooking. I do still enjoy baking and making breakfasts for those special mornings. Here's a great recipe I have adapted which originally came from The Vegetarian Epicure (feeds 4-6):
German Apple Pancake
1. peel and slice up 4 apples and saute in 1 T butter with 1/4 cup brown sugar and cinnamon til soft and somewhat carmelized--set aside
2. whisk together 3 eggs with 3/4 cup of unbleached flour then add 3/4 cup milk and 1/4 t salt. It should be a very smooth batter
3. melt 2 T butter in a large iron fry pan -- add batter
4. put fry pan (and batter) in 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Be prepared to prick it with a fork when it rises in a bubble formation
5. turn down oven to 350 degrees and continue baking til done (around 15 minutes)
6. turn out on a serving plate and spread with softened cream cheese; add the cooked apples
7. fold it in half like you would an omlette and sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately with maple syrup

Chickens - October 26, 2005

So, we've got this lost flock of beautiful chickens that have been visiting our yard on a daily basis for the last two months. I love watching them. There are now ten remaining (two roosters and 8 hens); down from 18. Unfortunately our dog Zoe killed two of them while penned up! Apparently those two just flew into her pen - why they would do that I can't imagine. But there are other predators about as well - hawks, loose dogs, and fox. Anyway I have become increasingly attached to them and count them every morning hoping they all made it through the night. I am also concerned that they will have a harder time at it now that colder weather is coming on. So yesterday I bought them cracked corn and a water device. I guess I am claiming them as mine. And who knows maybe these chickens will come out in song lyrics - as I seem to be accumulating birds in my songs: flamingoes, doves, bluebirds, cardinals, owls, songbirds, and wood thrush. So time will tell. . .
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