About Me ~ Contact Me

 

    Linda Leinen aboard Alaska Eagle, Newport Beach, California

 

Sharing stories, trading secrets, weaving new realities of threads pulled from discarded memories or long forgotten dreams – those are the tasks of a new writer, dedicated to new endeavors.

Living a quiet and hidden life, anchored to my dock like a barnacle to a piling, I varnish boats on the Texas Gulf Coast.  My dock provides both things Virginia Woolf recommended for a woman who writes: money, from the labor, and a room of my own – space and solitude for thought, remembrance, and creative reflection on the truths and mysteries of life. 

With years of life and lifetimes-full of experiences behind me, there are days when images and words come tumbling along the edge of memory’s winds like so many scudding clouds.  Living and working in West Africa, an academic life in Berkeley, open-ocean sailing and the joys of teaching have all shaped my life, and influenced my convictions. 

Now, with the sense of yet one more sea-change arriving, I remember the words of a favorite artist, Georgia O’Keeffe.  Quoted in Joan Didion’s White Album, she says, “Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant…  It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.”

As I begin shaping stories and sharing convictions in these pages, it is my hope that what I do with where I have been will be of interest – both process and product alike.

 

Basic Life Choices

Sweet or Salty?     Salty 

Compass, Map or GPS?     Compass

Morning or Night?     Night

Ocean or Mountains?     Mountains

Both/And or Either/Or?     Both/And

Freeway or Back Road?     Back Road

 

Favorite:

Artists:     Georgia O’Keeffe,  John Singer Sargent, Edward Hopper

Books:     Lawrence Durrell,  The Alexandria Quartet;  Loren Eiseley, The Star Thrower;  Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek;  Alan Paton, Cry the Beloved Country;  Beryl Markham, West With the Night

Building:     The Flatiron Building, New York City

Songs:     The Star of the County Down,  Orinoco Flow,  Jig Cajun,  Bread and Roses,  La Vie Dansant, Clean Curve of Hill Against Sky

Musical Forms and Periods:    Baroque,  Blues,  Cajun & Zydeco,  Medieval Carols & Gregorian Chant

Architectural Style & Architects:     Craftsman – Stickley & Wright

Weather Phenomenon:     Fog

Question:     How Can I?

Sport:     Good conversation

Literary Form:     Essays & Letters

Place to be:     A hundred miles from anywhere

Current Favorite Quotations

“A genuine man goes to the roots. To be a radical is no more than that: to go to the roots. He who does not see things in their depth should not call himself a radical.”   ~   Jose Marti, Cuban Statesman, Poet and Journalist (1853-1895) 

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” ~ John Muir, Naturalist (1838-1914)

“To achieve great things, two things are needed ~ a plan, and not quite enough time.”  ~  Leonard Bernstein

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein

“It is the essayist’s task to say, “This is what I have seen. This is what I have experienced. This is what I have discovered lying along life’s shore, waiting to be plucked from the sands of obscurity, turned and examined, magnified for detail, polished until its inherent nature shimmers in the light.” ~ me

“What difference does it make if you live in a picturesque little outhouse surrounded by 300 feeble minded goats and your faithful dog? The question is: Can you write?”  ~ Ernest Hemingway

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”  ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Obscurity and a competence—that is the life that is best worth living.”  – Mark Twain

“Who does not want to work in the heat, will have to starve in the cold.” – Swedish Proverb

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“Knowledge is the sunlight which causes being to develop.”  ~ Nickolai Berdyaev

Email:

Linda Leinen
varnishgal AT gmail DOT com
Published on April 17, 2008 at 11:38 pm  Comments (125)  

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125 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. If this was a housewarming I would bring a bottle of wine and a covered dish. Congratulations!

    Nanette,

    Many thanks! I’m still unpacking, but I’ll bet I can find the stemware!

    Linda

  2. Oh, a Blogwarming! What fun! I’ll bring a kitty toy and fresh coffee.

  3. Linda;

    I’m so glad you’ve started this new site! I’m adding it to my “favorites”. The more I read about you the more I wish you lived close enough to chat over a cup of coffee or tea!

    If this is going to be a Blog-Warming and Numberwise has the coffee, I’ll make some fresh cinnamon pinwheels to go with the coffee!

    Beth,

    A Blog Warming! What fun! And just think what fun it would be if we could all get together over coffee and cinnamon pinwheels… How long to you think it would be until we all ran down and couldn’t talk any more? A while, that’s what I think!

    Many, many thanks for stopping by. I’ll keep trying to make it worth your while!

    Linda

  4. How nice, I got here a bit late, so here’s the wine and cheese! (Bligh’s still got the pretzels and Rolling Rock) Lovely, but does this mean no more phone chats?

    Barb

    Well, Welcome to the Rep from East Texas!

    You know Bligh has signed on as advisor for this little project – where do you think I got “Wacky” for those Greek Gods?

    Truth to tell, it probably means more phone calls.
    Where else am I going to find the inspiration to fill these pages?!

    Linda

  5. Hi Linda. What a cool site. And a cool life! I sometimes envision myself to be a writer — when my editors at the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale aren’t hacking my copy to shreds with their meat cleavers! Keep up the good work. Ken

    Hi, Ken, Welcome aboard! I don’t have an editor yet, but I’ve got a couple of friends with a willingness to share (sometimes trenchant!) opinions, and a copy of Zinsser’s “On Writing Well”, so I’ve tried to fashion my own meat cleaver out of those for the time being. I’ve only been at this for six months, but that’s long enough for me to understand Flannery O’Connor when she refers to her “Opus Nauseous”.

    Thanks for the kind words. Linda

  6. Linda: As one who has actually written numerous novels (most of them pure junk) I think the fun of learning to be a writer … is in writing. Just stick with it. If I were to give you some advice: Never be satisfied. Rework and rewrite your material until it sings! Ken

    Hi, Ken,

    And thank goodness you’re willing to use the word “fun”. It is fun, even though it also requires effort. As for rewriting – I start with the first word, the first sentence. I’m of the Annie Dillard, cell-by-cell school – my writing grows like the fuzz on the thumbprint in the jello in the dark closet.
    My words and I are sometimes quite surprised where we end up!

    Linda

  7. What a wonderful serendipity for me to stumble upon your Blog! How I admire your bohemian lifestyle…I’ve enjoyed reading through your posts and found we share some favorites, e.g. Annie Dillard, classical music, literature, philosophy, cultural commentary, thoughts and ideas…Have added you to my Blogroll! I write movie and book reviews, some music, some travels,…I may not have a view towards the open sea, but I’ve a mountain retreat here in the Rockies. You’re most welcome to stop by and visit my blog Ripple Effects.

    Good Evening, Arti ~

    And there is another favorite we share. Madelaine L’Engle’s wonderful “The Irrational Season” traveled with me for years. I never read any of her other books, but that one served me very, very well. I hadn’t thought of it in some time, but remembered it immediately upon seeing her name in your favorites.

    I laughed and laughed to see you describe my life as bohemian, but I enjoyed it, too. It certainly is feeling moreso every day. As you surely saw, I am still in the process of getting structures settled around here, but I’ll happily add your wonderful site to my blog listings as well. Please do come by any time. Regardless of structure, I’m going to try and keep content updated on a regular basis. Thank you for your kind words.

    Linda

  8. Linda: It’s getting more and more interesting….I went to your WU site…great pics and eloquent writing. My preferences for ‘life choices’ are almost the same as yours except maybe map over compass. I’ve lived in the foothills of the Rockies in Western Canada for decades, just an hour’s drive to Banff National Park. My Blog Name and Header pic might be linked with water, but I’ll choose the mountains and the smell of pine and earth anytime. Interesting discovery I’ve made tonight indeed.

  9. thanks for popping in, your site is beautiful! i will be back :D

    amandzing ~ Many thanks! I’m just beginning to roam a bit in the WP neighborhoods, and find the congenial places – a bit like a country girl moving to the city for the first time. There’s much to learn, but it’s quite enjoyable. You’re welcome any time!

    Linda

  10. Hi, Linda!
    I’ve been following your site since I picked up your card at a BAWL meeting. Its a lovely site. I enjoy your style. What has caused me to comment is your mention of Beryl Markham’s West With the Night in your book preferences. Somehow I never expected to run into anyone else who had heard of that marvelous piece of retro esoterica.
    You look great on a boat, Kid! -Mary

    Mary ~

    How nice of you to stop by! I first read Markham’s book when I was in West Africa, and then, when I began sailing, her stories of learning to fly were perfect descriptioins of what I was experiencing. It’s been a special book to me, and is a wonderful read in its own right. It’s making me smile to hear it described as “retro esoterica”, when it seems to me so alive and contemporary. Knowing how few people know this book today, I wonder how many wonderful books I”m missing!

    Linda

  11. Hi Linda..

    Great warming site!
    I just love it…
    and i already add your site to my blog link…

    Nice 2 know this site…

    Good morning, again!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the poem, and I certainly enjoyed looking at your site. Best wishes!

    Linda

  12. Ah…, here comes a true sentient writer, lo and behold earthlings!

    Linda, your wonderful writings should become a daily reading of those creatures who dare calling themselves human beings.

    Warmest greetings,
    ~dull chimp~

    Baba,

    One of my very favorite things in the world is self-deprecating humor, and you’re filled with it! It’s true that “dull” can be applied to some beings in the world, but you aren’t one of them.

    I’m happy to have you as a reader – thanks for your gracious comments.

    Linda

  13. you have a lovely free flowing style of writing, very easy on the eye and the mind.

    Amandzing,

    What a treat to rise and discover you’ve visited. Thanks for the read, and the comments. I do enjoy writing, and hope you’ll stop by again – perhaps you’ll find something to enjoy, as well!

    regards, Linda

  14. Hi, Linda,

    I’ve also fallen in love with your writing style at first sight and, although I’ve been coming here for a few days, I’ve decided today, seeing your profile and choices, to add your site to my weekly blog stroll. Only one thing stopped me from doing so: My fear to spend too much time on my laptop which prevents me from reading novels, my main passion. However, my mind is made. After all, you’re a writer, too.

    eMi,

    What a wonderful compliment! Thank you for your kind words, and I do hope you will continue reading.
    I won’t add so much to your schedule, because I’ll just never be one of those post-every-day sorts.
    Twice weekly, or every three or four days, is about all I can manage just now. I’ve discovered there’s a difference between blogging and writing. I do use my blog as a platform for my writing, but I need time in between posts for reflection, thought and the writing itself.

    I do enjoy interacting with my readers, as well. Please feel free to leave comments or thoughts about the subject at hand. More than a few entries have been stimulated by the back-and-forth on these pages – it’s a wonderful, on-going process.

    Again, many thanks for the comments. I’m glad you’re enjoying the reads!

    Linda
    eMi

  15. Greetings, Linda –
    I am having a stroll through your world tonight, and thoroughly enjoying it. I try to stick to my own motto of “if I have nothing to say, I won’t say it”, as it is too easy to feel that you have to publish something, whatever, every day.
    I read your blog, I enjoy it tremendously, but you will not always know that I was here :-)

    I must also say I am deeply honoured for having made it to your blogroll. Keep writing, keep that wonderful combination of facts and fancy. It is solid; let me know when you publish a book.

    Good evening, Boblet,

    Facts and fancy are a good combination, and one that I’ve always enjoyed myself. So much writing today is the literary equivalent of the old-fashioned hospital meal: a soda-cracker sandwich on white bread, with a little mayonnaise for excitement. I’m the one out scouting the halls to see if someone might have left some apple and a nice brie, or perhaps something from the tapas bar…

    I’m delighted to have you on my blogroll, by the way. You’re one of the creative ones yourself, and your posts are ones I want to share with other people. As for that mythical book…. well, who knows? As I told Baba, I’ll worry about the writing, and let things develop as they will.

    Whenever you have time for a stroll, you’re welcome! And no need for a calling card!

    Linda

  16. This is just too much for a Cuban heart, Linda: Yoani, Jose Marti and Viñales…
    Thanks for mentioning the Anasazi ruins, I didn’t know about this treasure.
    I’ll be returning to this place regularly.
    greetings

    Milvio,

    Good morning, many thanks, and welcome! I leave the explicit politics to other, but the people, places and dreams of Cubans have touched my heart. Please do join us whenever you can – others’ perspectives are always welcome.

    Linda

  17. Walking past you on the days you were working on a boat, smiling and happy, I had no idea you were just like the sea. Walking along and seeing the water, but just underneath a whole world of depth and beauty. I do so enjoy your sharing yourself with us, the walkers. Ken (formerly of Satori)

    Hi, Ken,

    How nice of you to leave a note. Not much time on the docks these days, as we’ve had everything from snow to fog to drizzle – the whole panoply of December treats. But, still smiling. I saw photos from the great Drifter airlift/recovery last night – amazing. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you see a bit more!

    We miss you, and Jake sends his regards. Hope you enjoyed the photo!

    Linda

  18. It’s so nice to stumble upon such elegant and witty writing in this ethereal “vast wasteland” (with apologies to both Eliot and Minnow)that is the ‘Net.

    Alas, ours is a more practical, goal-oriented site.

    http://rockportlegionband.wordpress.com

    Drop by and sample a few tunes.

    Oh, my goodness!

    There isn’t a thing wrong with practical and goal-oriented, especially when you’re providing a way for people to find a wonderful part of American life that has been slowly disappearing. I used to play in a community band when I was in high school, and it was such fun! For one thing, it was my first “cross-generational” experience – playing with folks of every age who just loved music was quite different from playing in the high school band.

    Thanks for stopping by with a comment, and thanks especially for the kind words. I’ll pass your site on to some folks I know in your part of the country so they can come and listen!

    Linda

  19. I loved reading your words and imagining myself there, in the places your mind and heart go. Thank you for sharing.

    peacefulowl2,

    Your name is wonderful, and so is your site. Your photography is especially evocative, and I look forward to spending more time there enjoying it. Thanks for your kind words – and thank you for noticing that heart and mind are both involved in this little journey of mine!

    Linda

  20. Linda, your eloquence is well known to me. What a joy it was to hear your voice on “This I believe.”

    We had the pleasure of sailing again with Captain Tom in celebration of Glenn’s 60th birthday. What a joy it was to again be on the ocean with an old friend. We have lost touch but your journey through our lives as never been forgotten. Each year, like a memorial, we revisit our wonderful time on the sailboat in the harbor watching the many boats come in during the Festival of Lights. The journey of life has taken us many places but still memorable is the journey through the midwest singing at the top of our voices “Born in the USA.” May our lives touch again.

    Helen

    Helen,

    What an unexpected pleasure! And how wonderful that you should be the first to hear the broadcast. Life can take strange, circuitous routes, but you know as well as I do what we way in Texas – what goes around, comes around!

    Here’s to life “coming around” again.

    Linda

  21. I loved your last post and had to find out more about you. Glad to see you have a whole page dedicated to just that…you! I look forward to another visit. I must read through some of your archives!

    Anna,

    Thanks so much for stopping by. The “me” page was fun to put together – and your comment reminds me that it’s time to do some updating!

    You’re welcome here anytime. I do hope you find something to enjoy.

    Linda

  22. Hi Linda –

    I stumbled across your blog today from Weather Underground and really enjoyed the story of Godot the cactus. I use the web everyday but, until now, have not acquainted myself with blogs and their workings. Earlier today, after reading about Godot, I found myself reading some posts about pipe organs…there were several videos posted by your readers and, since I was at work, I could not play or listen to them but vowed to do so from home. This evening, having arrived home (Dickinson, Texas – we’re practically neighbors!) I went in search of those posts but have not found them. Would you take pity on an humble blog-beginner and direct me back to those posts?

    Thanks so much and everything I’ve read on your blog so far has been VERY enjoyable.

    Kind regards, Terri (The “newbie”)

    Hi, Terri,

    Thanks so much for stopping by! I sent an email with a link back to the organ blogs. If it isn’t clear, just email again. It’s confusing sometimes, because of the way I do things – sometimes I even confuse myself!

    I’m glad you’ve found some things to enjoy. And don’t worry about being a “newbie”. I learn something new about this world nearly every day, and find it more and more enjoyable.

    Keep an eye out for an essay entitled “Ciao, Y’All!” That’s the one that’ll have Liggio Street in it!

    Have a great weekend.

    Linda

  23. Hello Linda,

    How surprised I was when I stumbled onto a picture of you on-the-air at KUHF, I wish I could have heard that broadcast. And now that I’ve found this blog, I enjoy reading your writing, especially about sailing.

    I learned to sail well before NHS days, though have not had the opportunity to do any more since then, with the exception of a very small craft on a very small lake in NE Kansas while in college. Let’s just say that MN has much better sailing winds than KS, and leave it at that!

    Do you anticipate being on KUHF in the near future? Might it be possible for me, here in NW Arkansas, to tune in via Internet, since we’re too far for an over-the-air signal to receive the broadcast? As much as I enjoy your writing, I’m confident I will enjoy your radio as well.

    Keep in touch…

    Ron

    P.S. Do you still have, and maybe play your clarinet?

    Hi, Ron,

    What a surprise! and how nice to hear from you. First of all, I’ve linked to the NPR broadcast through my blog called “The “I’s” Have It”. If you go there, you can get some of the context for the broadcast, and a clickable link to the podcast.

    I landed on KUHF through the This I Believe essay series, and don’t anticipate doing any more radio. Of course, I never expected to be doing radio in the first place, so there you are. But, I enjoy my writing and will be keeping that up regularly, both here and elsewhere.

    Ah, the clarinet. No, she’s gone – haven’t played in years. I’ve done a good bit of guitar playing, though, and spoons – I went through a rather extended bluegrass phase ;-) Now, I’m an appreciative listener, which has its own joys.

    Believe it or not, Mom is here with me in Texas, living in her own apartment at the age of 91. It’s something neither of us ever expected, but we’re doing all right with it.

    Thanks so much for the contact – enjoyed it.

    Linda

  24. You are such a fascinating person! I can’t imagine having the life you have. I love your writing. It makes my heart feel warm. I also love the picture of you in Newport Beach. Do you really live on a boat, or did I misunderstand?

    Julie,

    I did live on a boat, for about a year. A friend who never used his because of business commitments, travel and so on let me move aboard for as long as I wanted – or until I decided to make a move to the Bay area and settle in as a “real” varnisher. I decided to make the move permanent after about 3-4 months, but lived aboard a while longer just because I enjoyed it so much – both the boat and the community. As you might imagine,
    folks who are boat-dwellers have a good bit in common with one another regardless of their personalities, and it’s an extraordinarily interesting life.

    You give me the best compliment in the world – that my writing makes your heart feel warm. What writer could ask for more than that? I hope your holiday season is equally heart-warming.

    Linda

  25. I love your writing, Linda. What a gift… to take marks on paper (or on the monitor) and turn them into visions-in-the-head, new ideas, emotions. Thanks.

    Sue,

    It’s one of my favorite things to do, for sure. The writing itself is immensely satisfying, but it’s even better when someone else enjoys it. Thanks so much for stopping by and saying so ;-)

    Linda

  26. aloha Linda… I followed “the chicken”, crossed the street – looked around; saw the section “about me” and clicked.

    How wonderful it is to enter this room and rest in a safe harbor of words, thoughts, beauty, visions and hope. You have given me much to think and learn about….indeed even comfort. Thank you for pushing the pen.

    Surfmom,

    I always enjoy it when someone wanders in here. And I especially enjoy it when a friend stops by. :-)

    I’m so pleased you feel this is a safe place. It’s been one of my goals – to honor people who stop by, to respect them, and to help them feel they can comment honestly without risk. Heaven knows there are enough of the other kind of place for those who prefer that sort of thing.

    You know you’re always welcome!

    Linda

  27. You are my amazing discovery for this week. You have found “just the right word” countless times, and will no doubt continue to do so. I will be watching and reading. Thank you!

    Charles,

    How kind of you! Your gracious words will send me off to my dock this morning with a smile.

    Thank you for leaving a note to let me know you’ve been here. You’re always welcome!

    Linda

  28. Hi Linda !

    How’s this for cool…

    Today’s Google doodle (the occasional artwork they feature on google.com in place of the Google logo)is an illustration by the Czech art nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939). Although not familiar with Mucha or his work, when I took a look at a gallery of his paintings, I immediately thought of “The Task at Hand” (this association was sort of like my own version of the TV show “Concentration” ie: Where have I seen that artistic style before).

    When I got here and started looking through your archives, I confirmed that you have indeed featured some of Mucha’s work on your blog. Thank you for contributing to the education of this pitifully art-challenged blogger.

    – RoutingByRumor (routingbyrumor.wordpress.com)

    Well, my gosh, RxR,

    What an absolute delight to see you! I just was poking about in your site the other day, thinking that I needed to stop by and visit a bit. Every time I walk down the grocery store aisle and see those cartons of Blue Bell ice cream that say, “Still a Half-Gallon” I think about you! And they are still a half gallon. The Blue Bell cows are holding firm against the tide. ;-)

    I’d missed the Google doodle because I have one of those fancy-pants my-google pages with an artsy design I choose. I was thrilled to see Mucha highlighted on his birthday – and not only that, to see the little “arch” above the head of my lady incorporated into their design. The gal I use is “Poetry”. She’s one of a set of four – there’s also dance, music and painting. They’re so lovely. I think my Muse looks like “Poetry”, even if I don’t. I really appreciate you stopping by to let me know.

    Truly, it’s a pleasure to have you leave a note. I’ll be by this week to see what’s up in your world. I hope you didn’t suffer any damage from that bad weather in NYC this weekend.

    Linda

  29. I am curious why Fog is your favorite weather.

    symonsez ~

    Many reasons, I suppose. The world grows quiet in fog. It can be comforting, like a blanket wrapped around the world. It comes in a tremendous variety of forms – sea fog, ground fog, tule fog and freezing fog – and often is just flat beautiful. I spent three years in Berkeley and used to sit atop the Marin hills watching it come in through the Golden Gate. It seemed alive, and never was the same.

    Later, I began sailing and learned to deal with it as a challenge. I think fog sharpens the senses in a way no other weather phenomenon does. If you’re going out with risk of fog, you’d better know your course, so you can chart a reciprocal. If you get caught on the water in fog, you’ll discover how sharp your hearing is. And if you’re lucky enough to be in port, a walk in fog, with droplets collecting and falling and the sounds of the world hushed, is as good as it gets.

    Nothing wrong with sunshine or thunderstorms, mind you. But if I had just one day left and got to choose my weather – fog it would be!

    Linda

  30. Hi,

    Don’t know if it’d get to you if I replied to your comment on my blog (slow cooker post), so I’ll do it here (feel free to delete it when you’re done).

    Someone using the name ellaella, and linking to her website, is currently posting comments at the Guardian website – the link to the profile page
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/user/ellaella

    Ron (from Ron’s Rants)

    Ron,

    Thanks so much for the note. My mind is greatly eased. And I’m delighted to have “re-discovered” your blog. It really is extraordinarily interesting.

    Linda

    • Thank you Linda – rather belatedly!

      The focus of my blog has changed somewhat of late. It continues to be something of a mixed bag, but the health focus has changed from COPD, to congestive heart failure in the hope that, as with COPD, my experiences might prove useful to others.

      Ron.

      • Ron,

        Congestive heart failure’s a terrible thing. My mom had a bout of that to deal with – successfully, thank goodness – but it was a terrifying experience. I’m so glad to see you here, and thank you for the note regarding your blog.

        I do pop in from time to time but am not always good about leaving a comment. I’ll see about remedying that!

        Linda

  31. So glad you found my blog, Linda, and therefore allowed me to discover the richness in content of yours…

    Andrew,

    Sometimes I think about the wonderful blogs I’ve discovered and wonder, “What’s still out there that I haven’t discovered?!” If nothing else, the blogging movement’s made clear that good art isn’t confined to the galleries, and all the good writing’s not in “The New York Times” or “Harper’s”.
    Hooray to us for participating, and best wishes to you as you continue to give us a glimpse into your new part of the real world!

    Linda

  32. Hey Linda,

    I have often wondered what became of you, and here you are. Sounds like you are doing what makes you happiest. That’s so cool. I’m still working at the hospital. Are you living on your boat and where ? Let me hear from you when you get a minute. —Nathalie

    Nathalie,

    Great to hear from you! I tried to email to the address you left but it got returned. I need to add a “contact me” page – I’ll do that today. In the meantime, drop me an email at varnishgal AT gmail DOT com and I’ll get back to you!

    Linda

  33. There is such care and grace here, I wanted to nominate you for a little award – congratulations!

    http://thecaferoyal.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/aubrey-is-recognized/

    • Aubrey,

      Thank you so much! I responded more fully on your blog, but want to add for anyone who should see this that care, grace – and beauty – are hallmarks of your work as well. I’m honorred that you should have chosen to include me in your acknowledgements.

      Linda

  34. Linda,
    I’m working with some English teachers at Ball High School and about to do a project with a class on the trees in Galveston following Hurricane IKE. With your permission and providing you with proper recognition I would like to include some of your article in the project.

    Thanks

    Gerald

    • Gerald,

      I’d be pleased for you to use both text or images, as you need. I would enjoy knowing how the material is incorporated into the project.

      I’m glad you found the post useful. The Tree Project is a gem, and a real testament to the people of Galveston.

      If you need, you can contact me at varnishgal At gmail DOT com.

      Linda

  35. Enjoying your blog :-) I look forward to future posts.

    • mariawriter,

      I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed it! I envy your recent trip to the Vermeer exhibit, but on the other hand, I just visited the Houston museum’s King Tut exhibit!

      I passed your Vermeer post on to a friend via Twitter – she’s very much a fan.

      Thanks so much for visiting. You’re welcome any time!

      Linda

  36. Enjoyed touring your blog. Thanks for visiting mine

    • philosophermouse,

      Glad you enjoyed it. I hardly can believe I’ve been about this for three years or so. When I started, I was so fearful I’d run out of things to say. Hasn’t happened yet – so on we go!

      Linda

  37. I’ve returned to this page once more, Linda, to say hello once more, and to tell you how much I’m enjoying reading and commenting on your posts. All the best for 2012!

    • Andrew,

      Hasn’t it been a year? So many changes – especially your move, and beginning a new life in your beautiful country. Who knows where we’ll be at the end of this year, but I’m absolutely certain there will be many more fine photographs, and a few thousand more words!

      As our Austin-ites still like to say, Onward Through the Fog!

      Linda

  38. What a lovely sailor!
    Most creative and tightly-packed “ABOUT” page on WordPress!

    • The Hook,

      I don’t know if it’s the most creative, but I did try to give a sense of who I am as a person, with tongue only slightly in cheek.

      You and Andrew have reminded me I need to bring the page up to date just a bit. It’s on the to-do list – along with everything else.

      Thanks for stopping by, and again, welcome!

      Linda

  39. Linda, I have nominated your blog for four blog awards. If you do not wish to be included, please respond to this comment and I will be more than happy to remove the link to your blog. J. Boudreaux, Contemporary Musings

    • J.Boudreaux,

      I’m honored as can be, and I do thank you! I’ll come by shortly to see what’s happening – I suspect this means you’ve received some awards, too, which tickles me to death.

      The connecting that happens is one of the best parts of blogging – and I’m glad to have connected with you!

      Linda

  40. love your quotes..especially the one by John Muir

    • DM,

      Thanks! And l loved your blog. I had to laugh at your comment about taking the boy out of the country, and so on. I used exactly the same phrase in my comments today on my current post, except I said, “You can take the girl out of the midwest…”

      I appreciate your stopping by. I write about a little of everything, but there’s often some weather or country life mixed in.

      You’re welcome any time!

      Linda

  41. you’re welcome! Linda, I just saw your comment on my blog. I replied on your comment so make sure you come back to visit. DM

    • Will do! I’ve subscribed to your blog so I can keep up with things in God’s country!

  42. Hi Linda. I don’t even know what made me think of ella today, but I took a chance and googled one more time.. only to find the saddest news from one year ago.

    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=142244135844992

    My heart is broken. At least the mystery is at last solved. I hope you can let others know, or they will see this here; it’s been too long since From Scratch went silent and I couldn’t think of any of the other bloggers that used to post there.

    Best regards to you.
    sage

    • sage,

      I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your bringing the news. I kept searching for her, as did many, and we finally did confirm she still was alive, through postings on the Guardian’s pages. Apparently she was in NYC at one point, perhaps seeking employment.

      The last time we corresponded, she had just moved back to the DC area, and was so happy. Packing up her books had been a chore, but she seemed content. Then, there was nothing….

      I’m so sorry now that I didn’t keep all of her emails, but I have many, many comments on my blog posts which are good reminders of how much we shared. I have a feeling I’m going to have to do some sort of tribute myself – she was a huge part of my blogging life until she disappeared, or, more properly, absented herself.

      It’s all just so painful – but I did get the word to the folks who were her friends on the forums. I know a couple of others, and I’ll send them emails. Life can be such a mystery, sometimes.

      Thanks again. You’re a dear to think of me.

      Linda

      • Hi Linda. Thanks so much for passing this along.

        I know what you mean about not keeping things, as I didn’t save so many of her wonderful recipes; took for granted the resource of her blog would always be there.

        It’s nice to meet you although the circumstances are so sad.

        sage

  43. Your photo looks as if you are at peace and harmony with your life. Like your blog :)

    • elizabeth,

      I certainly was happy when that photo was taken. I’m glad you find a sense of peace and harmony here. Thanks for stopping by – you’re always welcome!

      Linda

  44. I have met you on dear Julie’s blog by reading your beautiful comment. I am so glad to meet you. You are so nice. Thank you dear Linda, Blessing and Happiness, love, nia

    • nia,

      I’m so happy to have you stop by. Thanks very much for your gracious comment – I’m glad to meet another one of Julie’s readers.

      Please do stop by again. You’re always welcome!

      Linda

  45. Thanks so much for commenting on my post — it’s always nice to meet new people in the blogosphere, especially friends of the Hipster! Now I anticipate the pleasure of getting to know you through your own words!

    • Debbie,

      The pleasure’s all mine. I know people who go searching for new blogs using quite specific criteria, but I much prefer casual discovery and the pleasures of curiosity. Needless to say, the Hipster’s “Debby” piqued my curiosity when she landed in my mail box – and you know the rest!

      I do have a little story about your favorite colors, but I’ll come by your place to tell it. Have a good weekend, and thanks for stopping by!

      Linda

  46. Thank you for stopping by and commenting on my blog. I like the photo at the top of this page as I used to sail out of Newport Beach when I was in college.

    • RichardM,

      I was lucky enough to sail Alaska Eagle twice – first out to Catalina during the crew selection process, and then from Hawaii to Alaska, with a cruise of Glacier Bay. It was marvelous.

      I enjoyed browsing your posts. Sometimes this blogging endeavor reminds me of my school days, when I’d sit and read the encyclopedia, trying to imagine how so many interesting things could be contained in one world!

      Linda

  47. I have come to wish you the happiest of birthdays! woo woo woo!

    • rumpydog!

      Great to see you! Thanks for the greetings – you helped to make a special day even more so!

      Linda

  48. This is a fantastic “About” page. Philosophermouseofthehedge sent me your way. I’m glad I took the suggestion. I look forward to reading more, and by the by, happy birthday!

    • Glad you like the page. It was fun to put together. I need to do a little updating now, in terms of adding some quotations and changing some music, but it’ll do.

      Thanks for the birthday greetings, too. Another year, another who-knows-how-many-words? ;)

      Linda

  49. Happy Birthday! Rumpydog sent me over from her fabulous blog to your fabulousness. :)

    • Thanks, Kourtney! It certainly was a surprise to find Rumpy and friends roaming around – and lots ofo fun!

      Linda

  50. i really enjoy the last quote “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

    thanks for reminding me of what’s out there for me and what i really want inside of me. :)

    J.

    • It is a big, wonderful world. Our participation in it is what gives depth to our writing, I think.

      Thank you for visiting!

  51. You have a very lovely voice and I love the quotes you posted

    • Thanks for stopping by.

  52. Simply beautiful life reflections…

    • Thank you – and thanks for bring a little Sunshine into my life! It’s allways a pleasure to have new folks stop by.

      Linda

  53. Lordy, lordy. What a nice discovery. I am so glad you had a look at my blog otherwise, I’d never have found you. This is one h— va blog. So pretty. I want mine to have more appeal, Your writing is over the top good.

    When I began reading about the elephants I thought, oh boy this is great. I have very strong opinions about animal rights and rescues. That is one thing I forgot to add in my about “passions in life.” I am very anti of using elephants in the circus and not the big cats either or any other animal- maybe dogs if I believed they were treated with love and humanely. But this is the wrong place for my comments but I had to do a lot of reading and scrowling to get here. So, I’m going to stop here and return another day.

    • petspeopleandlife,

      I’m happy you found me! and that you like the blog. I’m still doing some tweaking and have some decisions to be made (again) about its formatting, but I’ve kept it for nearly five years now and still am happy with it. Some people like to change themes frequently, but I’m just not inclined to that.

      Most of the time, I just try to tell a story, and let people respond as they will. One of the most interesting things about blogging is that ten people can have ten different responses to the same entry. But after all – that’s why different people will tell completely different stories about what Alphonse REALLY said to Grandma at the Thanksgiving table!

      Speaking of thanks, thanks for stopping by. You’re always welcome!

      Linda

  54. I visited the Georgia O’Keefe museum in Santa Fe last November. What a thrill it was for the California women. I have interest in writing and your words above are beautiful to me. I need practice..lol! Roberta

    • Roberta,

      I’ve never been to the O’Keeffe museum, but I did make it to Abiquiu once, and the surrounding area. I have a lovely red rock from those cliffs in my living room, both as a memento of the past and an encouragement for more exploration – in a variety of ways.

      We all need practice – as photographers, as writers, as human beings. I’m looking forward to peeking in at your “practice sessions”. Anyone who’d take time from shoveling to photograph raccoons is my kind of woman!

      Linda

      • Hi Linda, thank you for your response.. (:

  55. Fascinating! HF

    • Thanks for stopping by the “crazy old aunt’s place”. You’re always welcome!

      Linda

  56. I am entranced by the way you weave your words together to paint a picture.

    • Thank you, Ruth. It’s an on-going process, learning how to do it, but I enjoy it tremendously. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Linda

  57. Happened upon your blog while “googling” Shulamith Firestone & “feminism/s” after reading the recent article about her in The New Yorker . . . enchanted! . . . I’m hooked!!! / jonathan

    • Jonthan,

      I just finished reading that article yesterday – it really was fascinating, and contained many biographical details I didn’t know.

      I’m so glad it led you here. I appreciate your kind words and your comment, and of course you’re always welcome!

      Linda

  58. Your talent is huge. Thanks for sharing the gift. HF

    • Over the last five years, I’ve discovered I do have some talent. Now, the question is how to nurture and develop it. Thanks for the encouraging – and affirming – words.

      Linda

  59. You went straight to the top today! How proud I was to see your post featured on the Daily Post! Congratulations on LuAnn’s beautiful analysis of your writing!

    • Lisa,

      Wasn’t it lovely? The best part was finding that she affirmed some of my own judgments about my work – especially when it comes to voice.

      I began this endeavor with some very firm convictions about what I needed to do, how I needed to approach it. I have no idea where those convictions came from, but I’ve never been willing to compromise them. It’s felt as though it’s beginning to pay off, and such a surprising confirmation is wonderful.

      Looks like Yoknapatawpha’s turned into a Magic Carpet! ;-)

      Linda

      • Ha! That ending statement made me laugh! Yes, how very fitting that you have your very own magic carpet as well!

  60. Hi Linda.

    Pleased to meet you. My name is Kevin Gillespie, I do, MUCH prefer however, to be called Kev. I live in Wales.
    I am now following your Blog.

    Best Wishes. :)

    • Kevin,

      Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the kindness of following my blog. I have friends in Wales, and always am happy to add one more!

      Linda

  61. Hey lady!

    Guess where I saw you today? On Facebook! Most of my connections there are nature- and animal-related, go figure. :) Anyways, the South Florida Wildlands Association linked to your Simpson piece! What a hoot.

    Hugs,
    Christina

    • Christina,

      Thanks for letting me know! I was looking at the influx of hits from Facebook & thinking – what?

      I left a little note at the bottom of the piece, linking back to their page and thanking those who stop by. I’m just thrilled that dear Charles Torrey Simpson is getting a little more play!

      Linda

  62. Enjoying your writing Linda during a break from despairing over my own!
    It’s become an extended break as I sidetracked to look for Beryl Markham’s, West With the Night, and to order a copy. Thank you for the tip, I’m looking forward to giving it a go. I may have to check out more of your favourites after this one.

    • Fran,

      How nice of you to stop by – and thanks for the kindness of a comment!

      You’ll love “West With the Night”. There’s been a bit of a discussion over whether she “really” wrote the book, but from my perspective it doesn’t really matter. It’s just so splendid – I’ve just taken my copy down from the shelf and believe I’ll tuck it near the top of the stack for a re-read. It’s one of those I do go back to every couple of years or so.

      I need to update this page a bit, too. I’m just no good at housekeeping of any sort!

      Linda

  63. What a great timeout you gave me! I loved all of the quotes, and yes, the compass. I planned for more details, but it would get too busy. There needs to be some calm between the individual designs.

    Thanks for the feedback on the compass!!!

    • Z, that compass is one of my favorites among all the things you’ve done. I don’t know quite what makes it so compelling, but that’s the way I experience it. I know this – a GPS wouldn’t be nearly so attractive in your design. Viva la tradición!

      Linda

  64. Enjoyed Railroading. Pufferbellies is not a term I am familiar with so it will have to go into the personal lexicon for future ref.A coincidence reading this when just yesterday a steam engine puffed through the station here in Belfast as I stood on the platform and a thousand memories swept after it.
    Check Pat Matheny’s ‘Last train home’ which you will find onYoutube with an amazing piece of Pufferbelly footage.
    Best wishes, G

    • murphyji,

      Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your wonderful recommendation re: Pat Matheny. In his comment just below, Ron has it right. Pufferbelly is a corruption of “Puffing Billy”. The locomotive itself is in the London Museum – it’s quite a contraption, very interesting. I mentioned to someone that it reminds me of the moonshine stills of some decades ago.

      Apologies for the slow response. As you might know, I’ve been traveling for two weeks, and even though I had my laptop and all good intentions, I didn’t keep up with things perfectly. Please do feel free to stop by again. You’re always welcome!

      Linda

  65. I strongly suspect Pufferbellies is a corruption of “Puffing Billy”, the name of an early British steam locomotive.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puffing_Billy_%28locomotive%29

    Thoroughly enjoyable piece even if WP seem to have stopped notifying me of most of your posts. Very glad, too, that I clicked through to Suzanne’s Mirror, which moved me to buy Leonard Cohen’s eponymous book of poetry.

    • Ron,

      How nice to see you! And you’re not alone with the communication problems. It’s strange – it seems to be quite random. I wasn’t getting posts from a couple of folks and just unsubscribed and then subscribed again. It worked then – or at least it has to this point.

      In any event, I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and you’re exactly right about “Puffer Billy”. I didn’t realize any of that history, and am tickled to have learned all about the real pufferbellies from folks like you!

      Hope all is well. Sorry for the delayed response. You may or may not know I’ve been traveling, and despite my best intentions I fell a bit behind with responses to comments.

      Linda

  66. My husband and I live on the Gulf Coast of Texas and he recently took up sailing. Something he’s always wanted to do. I look forward to following your blog. I can appreciate your journey. Well done. :) Blessings.

    • Oldest Daughter Redheaded Sister,

      Thanks so much for stopping by, and apologies for the late reply. I took my laptop with me on my recent trip with full intentions of at least keeping up with comments, but the best-laid plans, and all that.

      This is a great place for people who like boats – or warm weather, as my aunt reminded me during my recent visit. I hope your husband enjoys his sailing – and perhaps you’ll join him?

      Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your lovely comment. You’re always welcome!

      Linda

      • Thank you, Linda. I hope you’ve been enjoying yourself. Yes, at some point I will sail with him. I’m working up to sea legs. He’s much more of a natural. :)

        Audrey (ODRS)

  67. Package came today. I was wondering if you were trying to tell me something with contents. Wife will put all to good use this holiday season. Thanks loads.

    • Chod,

      Grinning, here. No, no hidden message. I just enjoyed the story about your dad and the black walnuts so much I was sure you’d enjoy them, and everyone loves pecans.

      I finally went over and looked at your site, too. Your business card is great, but I must say that’s one impressive photo in a larger format!

      Thanks again, and enjoy!

      Linda

  68. Stumbled across your wonderful writing tonight, and am thrilled to have found it. Reading your piece about Council Grove was both fascinating, and pure pleasure. Thank you! I look forward to following your future posts, and dipping back into previous ones.

    • Rachel,

      Thanks so much for letting me know you stopped by, and for your kind words. You’re always welcome, both to visit and to comment if you choose. I love sharing my travels and my thoughts with people, and I especially love hearing what others think, or what their experiences may have been.

      I hope your new year’s filled with all good things – I’m happy to be a small part of it.

      Linda

  69. gosh. what a wonderful set of words and ideas and allusions and illusions all strung together with such elegance and thought and beauty.

    we saw your kind comment over at gallivanta’s place and came to visit.

    *wavingfromlosangeles*

    • teamgloria,

      How nice of you to stop by. I was delighted to learn of your book, and was especially taken with the way Gallivanta presented it.
      Wisdom is wisdom, and it seems that every generation has its way of discovering the same important truths.

      Linda

      • Linda – what truest words – and beautifully expressed…

  70. Set up a blog page this past the weekend. Searching for blogs to follow, I came across yours today. I really enjoyed the piece, “Shaping sentences, Choosing words”. Words have always fascinated me. As a child growing up in Saint Lucia (Caribbean), I picked up bits of paper off the streets with words on them so I could see what the words said and attempt to decipher their meaning(s). The piece resonates with me because I’ve always felt that words, meanings, imagination should never be put in a box and chained down. Rather, they should be given wings to fly with carefree abandon so the writer(s) of those words could create truly beautiful, inspirational images.

    I’ve found one of the blogs I need to follow. Thanks!

    Andrew .

    • Andrew,

      As these things happen in our small world, I’ve been to Saint Lucia. The visit was too brief, but I’m happy that I have at least a small sense of your “place” in the world.

      I so agree with you that words are alive, and seek freedom. I found this small paragraph today, and I think you’ll appreciate it.

      “What’s a language? My son ! It’s not the words from old manuscripts, that you are, with difficulty, trying to decipher; nor words engraved on a antique slab of stone, on a wall, in a cave. Our language is voice, only voice.”

      I look forward to getting to know your voice in this cyber world. Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your kind comment. You’re always welcome!

      Linda

  71. Hi Linda,

    Read a few more of your pieces since my first comment. You write with a gentle elegance that moves me. Whoever said that history is boring should read your posts. Your every word, every wonderful turn of phrase touches me in a warm, wonderful way. The power of the word truly resides within you.

    Andrew

    • I’m glad your enjoying the posts, and I very much appreciate your comment.

      Linda

  72. Hi,

    Just had an email purporting to be a link to your blog. The post, though, entitled Not Dead But Sleeping, doesn’t exist.

    Can it be that you’ve been hacked?

    • Hi, Ron,

      Can you hear me laughing? No, I’ve not been hacked. I just got reminded again that I’m not much of a multi-tasker, and inattention is a terrible thing. I meant to refresh a draft, and hit “publish” instead. So, you’ll get to read the post eventually, but I think I’ll finish it up, first. ;)

      Linda

  73. I’ll follow you on the off chance you may write about my favorite thing – sailing!

    • Terry, as a matter of fact, I probably will – and I already have. If you do a search for “sailing” in the little box near the top of my sidebar, you’ll pop up some. In the meantime, here’s one of my favorites.

      I’m in the process of cleaning up my categories, so I’m hoping in the next month or so to have a category list in the sidebar that will make it easier.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. You’re always welcome!

      Linda

  74. What a lovely place you have here, Linda.

    Your stories really speak to me. Reading them is like sitting down with an old friend reveling in the peace that is the silence.

    Blessings,

    Dani

    • What a wonderful compliment, Dani. I know just the experience you’re talking about. My friends and I increasingly are turning into porch-sitters — a way of life that provides a good bit of companionable silence.

      It’s a way of life that needs to be treasured and preserved, and I’m just crazy enough to believe it can be a part of our cyber-lives, as well.Thanks for affirming that I’m succeeding here, at least to a degree.

      Linda

  75. Hmmmm . . . IA . . . Clarinets — memories of 13th Ave? Toboggan’s at the CC? It would be a treat to be in touch again. I must do more reading of your work. From what I’ve seen, it would be well worth my time.

    • Well, my goodness. It looks to me like we are in contact again. I started thinking about reunions and discovered reunion weekend’s over, but the realization that it’s been fifty years certainly gave pause.

      The last time I was in Newton was for Mom’s burial. I don’t know if you found my post about that, but it’s here, called “Heading Home. I’m in the process of recategorizing posts and redoing the archives — once that’s finished, you’ll be able to just click on “Family”, “Memories”, etc. and find relevant posts.

      What a nice surprise for a Sunday morning.

      Linda


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