A Brief Bio, and Contact Information


    Linda Leinen aboard Alaska Eagle, Newport Beach, California


Sharing stories, trading secrets, weaving new realities with threads pulled from discarded memories or long-forgotten dreams – those are the tasks I’ve set myself, here on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Living a quiet life, a hidden life — anchored to my dock like a barnacle to a piling — I varnish boats for a living. 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.

Years of life and experience lie behind me. A child of the American Midwest and the only child of striving parents, I was expected to attend college, but I rejected teaching in favor of a degree in medical social work. It was a good occupation, leading first to Houston’s Texas Medical Center, then on to Phebe Hospital in Bong County, Liberia, where I served under the auspices of the Lutheran Church in America.

As so often happens in countries like Liberia, changing needs dictated a change in responsibilities, and my initial involvement in maternal-child health clinics was exchanged for oversight of the hospital chaplaincy. Then, in a delicious bit of irony, I was asked to begin classroom teaching in an inter-denominational seminary not far from the hospital, while supervising students in a clinical setting.

I enjoyed it tremendously: so much so that I decided against a Master’s degree in social work, choosing instead to pursue theology. For a variety of reasons, I settled on Berkeley, California for my schooling, and spent four years studying at the Graduate Theological Union and Pacific Lutheran Seminary. Offered a chance to continue on toward a PhD, I chose instead to serve Lutheran congregations in Texas for the next decade, before a series of mostly serendipitous events and inexplicable impulses led me to strike out on my own, beginning the business that still brings me delight.

Today, as I write, images and words tumble along the edge of memory’s winds like so many scudding clouds. Living and working in West Africa, studying in Berkeley, open-ocean sailing and the joys of teaching have all shaped my life and influenced my convictions.

With a sense of yet one more sea-change arriving, I remember the words of Georgia O’Keeffe, quoted in Joan Didion’s White Album. O’Keeffe 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.”



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



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


Linda Leinen
varnishgal AT gmail DOT com
Published on April 17, 2008 at 11:38 pm  Comments (174)  

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174 CommentsLeave a comment

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


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


  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!


    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!


  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?


    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?!


  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!


  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.


  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!


  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!


  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!


  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~


    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.


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


    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.


    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!


  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!


  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.


    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.


  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!


  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.


    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!


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


    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!


  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.



    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.


  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!


    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.


  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.


  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…


    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.


  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?


    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.


  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.


    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 ;-)


  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.


    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!


  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!


    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!


  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.


  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!


  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

    Ron (from Ron’s Rants)


    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.


    • 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,

        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!


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


    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!


  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


    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!


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


    • 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.


  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.



    • 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.


  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!


  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!


  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!


  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!


  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!


  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!


  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.


    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,

      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.


      • 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.


  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!


  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!


  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!


  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!


  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!


  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? ;)


  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!


  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. :)


    • 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.


  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!


  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!


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

  55. Fascinating! HF

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


  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!


  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!


  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.


  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! ;-)


      • 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!


  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.


    • 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!


  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!


  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!


  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!


  65. I strongly suspect Pufferbellies is a corruption of “Puffing Billy”, the name of an early British steam locomotive.

    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.


  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!


      • 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!


  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.


  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.


    • 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 – 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!


  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.


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


  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. ;)


  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!


  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.



    • 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.


  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.


  76. I just arrived here and found your quotes collection right away. I could sit and think with them for a long time — and then there is the rest of your blog, your own writing and gleanings… I’ll be back, for sure.

    • I like quotations quite a bit, GretchenJoanna. Often, the ones that strike me are those that sum up experiences I’ve had or conclusions I’ve reached, but haven’t quite verbalized. And sometimes they’re favorites for the inspiration they offer — usually with a hint of humor or tongue-in-cheek approach.

      I’m glad you enjoyed them. Thanks for visiting, and for the kind words. You’re always welcome!


  77. Linda,
    On Monday evening our oldest son serendipitously stumbled across your article about the Terwilliger Home in Council Grove, KS. You did a wonderful job in writing the story, complemented by the comments of your readers and your replies to them. I read the entirety with emotion, and with tears in my eyes, realizing that there are people “out there” who truly understand and appreciate why Shirley and I undertook the gargantuan task of restoring the Terwilliger Home and the surrounding historic site 20 years ago. Thank you.
    Kenneth W. McClintock

    • I appreciate you kind words, Ken, and I’m delighted to have had a very small part in telling the story of your town and your efforts to preserve its history.

      There certainly are people “out there” who appreciate the work you put into it. I was thinking about it last night, and decided you might enjoy knowing where the commenters came from. The list isn’t in any particular order, but isn’t this amazing? There were comments from Iowa, Missouri, Seattle, Minnesota, Virginia, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Montana, Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, California, Baltimore and Wisconsin.

      Beyond that, there were international commenters from El Salvador, Britain, Canada, Panama, and New Zealand.

      You’ve left quite a legacy, and there are a lot of people who already have benefited from your work.


  78. Linda,
    In your response to Susan in the follow-ups on the article on the Terwilliger Home, you mention Martha Tenney, whose ancestor had a store in Council Grove. I have limited information on O. S. Tenney, and where two locations of his stores were. Feel free to give Martha my e-mail address so that she could contact me and I could pass what little I know on to her–and perhaps I could learn something from her, as well.
    Kenneth W. McClintock

    • I’ll do that, Ken. Martha’s closed her blog for the time being, but I’ll get in touch with her through email. I know she has a family member or two who have done serious research on the Tenney line, and she was talking of going back to Council Grove. I know she’d be interested in sharing information.


  79. Hello Linda
    On a whim, before reading your latest post, I clicked your About Me page and tumbled into a whole nest of goodies! I love all the quotations, and share many of your likes – helped me to understand more why we follow one another’s blogs. Yours truly is a great talent…

    • Anne, I was thinking the other day that I needed to update some things on this page — add to them, actually. Your comment gives me a little extra push in that direction.

      I’m glad you enjoyed browsing the selection of quotations, and the likes. It is fun to do pages like this. I think my favorite quotation of all is Hemingway’s. I’ve written several versions of that in my head. The one constant is the faithful cat. The three hundred feeble-minded (this or that) varies.


  80. Some great quotes here, some of them new to me – not least the Georgia O Keeffe one in the main intro. Glad to meet you:-) Harula x

    • I’m so glad to have you as a reader, Harula. I saw on your blog that you’ve spent some time in Africa, too — such a great experience.

      There’s so much pleasure in writing, but there’s pleasure in reading, too, and I’m looking forward to reading your blog in the future.


  81. So interesting to read about you! Like you, I am a lover of words, and I have spent the past couple of years at a new art venture with hand crafted books, and I love it. Thank you for introducing me to these words from John Muir “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” ~ John Muir, Naturalist (1838-1914)

    • Thank you so much for stopping by my blog, amonikabyanyuvva.
      I’m especially interested in your hand-crafted books. I’ve been introduced to the art through my blogging contacts, and think it must be immensely satisfying.

      Muir had the gift of sight, and the ability to describe what he saw around him in such a way that it captures the imagination. He’s as great a writer as naturalist — I’m glad you found something here to enliven your imagination. You’re welcome any time!


  82. Hi Linda, what beautiful images and reflections in your writing.
    I like you already. I’m sure we’d get on.

    I’m not sure how I found you but just wanted to say thank you. I’ll follow and enjoy. I’m a retired high school teacher living on the Gold Coast in Australia. I find my memories (loved your choice of phrase) are queuing up impatiently desperate to escape the little room they’ve been locked in for so long.

    How glorious it is to write.
    I’m writing about my walking adventures with my husband in Italy last year. It’s a passionate journey.
    Very best wishes to you over there. It’s pistol hot here with a cyclone shaking its tail feathers.
    At least it’s wet. We’ve had too much dry…..
    I’m still battling with setting up my wordpress blog, so managing with own facebook page in the meantime. I love your page!


    • How kind of you to stop by and introduce yourself, Rosemary. Isn’t it funny how we “find” people on the internet, and can’t quite remember how it happened? Your mention of Australia makes me think it might have been through one of the other bloggers I interact with, both in New Zealand and Australia. Of course, it could have been through an entirely different interest, since I roam around pretty widely.

      Writing is glorious. It’s also danged hard work sometimes. The post I just finished and put up yesterday took more hours than I ever could have anticipated. But, when it was done, the satisfaction was immense. When people ask if I’m ever going to publish, I just laugh. Every time I click the little button that says, “Publish” for one of my posts — well, you get my point.

      If you don’t know it already, the WordPress forums are a wealth of information, and questions can be answered there pretty quickly. One of the volunteers is named TimeThief. She knows her stuff, and has been around since the beginning. She also has a blog dedicated to all things WP blogging. You can find it here.

      I know about dry. We had a terrible, two year drought here recently, and wildfires, too. It was sobering, to say the least.

      Again, thanks for stopping by. You’re always welcome here!


  83. Hi Linda, I nominated your blog for the Premio Dardos award. Whether you chose to accept it or not, I hope it brings more readers to your wonderful writing. Check out the post here.

    • Many thanks for your kindness. Some years ago I stopped participating in blog awards. I find the comments and other responses of my readers to be sufficient reward. On the other hand, I appreciate the gesture, and will be stopping by to see the others you nominated, and visit their blogs. It’s an excellent way to be introduced to other bloggers.

      Again, many thanks!


  84. hi Linda its Michael Wilcox how do I contact someone that responded on your Suzanne McAllister page
    I am not familiar with the blog format or protocol the woman’s name is KRYSTYNA
    She said she was a family member of Suzanne’s a granddaughter. I am very close with Juliet and have lost contact with her.

    peace and blessings Linda

    • Hi, Michael,

      Because of privacy concerns, I don’t share any information about people who post on my blog. In fact, I edited out your phone number and email — also as a matter of privacy and to spare you spammers.

      I did go in and look to see if Krystyna had a public website or blog site I could point you to, but she didn’t provide one. Best of luck in your attempt to re-establish contact.


    • I was a little slow when I responded earlier. What I can do is send an email to Krystyna, giving her your email address, and leaving any future contact up to her. If you would like me to do that, I’d be happy to.


  85. Hullo ShoreAcres; I just dropped in for a sec and wound up running out of time immersed in your “about” page… Will definitely be back to finish up here (and maybe even read a post or two; ) but first, I just wanted to say “Thank you!”
    You are a lovely and most gracious host: )

    • Hi, Deb ~ I’m so glad you stopped by. For one thing, you’ve reminded me of my intention to update this page. A few of the favorites have changed, and the change might as well be reflected.

      I’m in the process of re-categorizing posts, too, so people can find things of interest more easily. I tend to roam pretty widely, but do enjoy travel writing, history, and poetry. I’ve written a good bit about Texas, and Louisiana as well — and Kansas, and the prairies. Any of those words in the search box will turn up something.

      In any event, you’re always welcome!


  86. Hey Linda,

    I noticed you were involved with the LCA and ELCA. I worked for a couple years for The American Lutheran Church (ALC) in Minneapolis before they merged with the LCA to form the ELCA. After the merger, the county purchased the church headquarters and tore it down to build the new Hennepin County Jail, at about that time I went to work for the Minneapolis Police Department. I always joked that in a strange way, I got my old office back. :)

    I wrote a short essay about it, titled Sweetness with an edge

    • That’s an interesting piece you wrote. What’s even more interesting is the way it dovetails with something I read this morning in “Commentary” about confirmation bias. There’s a link in the article to another article that makes use of some of the insights of Jonathan Haidt in his book, “The Righteous Mind.” I think it’s all pretty much to the point, and useful — and you got to your conclusion first!

      I made it up to Minneapolis just once, for a Global Missions Conference. What I remember to this day is my reaction to the airport after getting off the plane. “Good gosh,” I thought. “This place is cleaner than my house ever will be.”

      As it turns out, I was pretty much right. There’s a reason Lake Woebegon’s so funny and so popular.


  87. I finally read a little bit more between the lines of your background. It’s fascinating to me that you varnish boats? I also like your quotes very much, the fact that you quoted from Jose Marti is great, since many radical people are the object of hatred and persecution (I saw the movie “Viva Zapata” with Marlon Brando which exemplifies this), and finally, I’m in love with everything John Muir wrote! We have two friends in common, Steve and Jim. I thought Jim would never be interested in anything I had to say, but I was wrong, he does like plants and imaging. Steve is like my intellectual mentor, I respect him very much and his photography, with which he enamored me. I tend to read more from encyclopedias, however, so even when I have a very general, basic knowledge of literature, I still feel a little bit behind in this area. It’s never too late to begin, however! Well, nice meeting you! -Maria

    • How nice of you to stop by, Maria. I’ve been out of town, so I’m a bit behind with my reading and commenting.

      Somehow I missed knowing that you’re a photographer, too. Your site is lovely, and I’ll look forward to exploring there. I was interested in your mention of Florida. When I visited the Keys, I was surprised to see so many plants that are identical to ones I knew and loved in West Africa. I was told that some of them reached these shores via ocean current. Whether that’s true, I still don’t know, but it’s a lovely thought.

      Yes, I do varnish boats, and have for twenty-five years now. I enjoy the work, although I must say our sudden surge into summer is going to take some getting used to. I’ve come to prefer cool weather to hot for working: a sign of increasing age, no doubt.

      Your mention of encyclopediae made me smile. I grew up reading encyclopediae, and thought it was one of the best ways to pass a rainy afternoon. I still have a hefty book called “Wonders of the World” that belonged to my grandmother. It was printed about 1900, and had wonderful engravings of Roman columns, African rivers, delicate birds. I think she probably enjoyed it as much as we do our encyclopedia.

      And you’re right about “never too late.” When I think of how much I’ve learned even in the past year, it amazes me. I think the opportunity to learn is one of the best things about the internet.

      Again thanks for stopping by. You’re always welcome!


  88. Linda:

    Thanks for the reply! I’m just so fascinated by the varnishing boat art. It must be an art, isn’t it? I just picture you somewhere in a marina doing this kind of work, but of course, I don’t know.

    I’ve not been to Africa, but most of the flora from the tropics in the Old World is now in what they call the ‘neotropics’. How did they get there, I discussed it in this post I wrote about a year ago, mentioning Thor Heyerdahl who attempted to explain these similarities in his famous ‘Kon-Tiki expedition’.

    My blog is mostly information about plants, and I also write poetry, so feel free to read them and make any suggestions if you like. I really don’t follow any rules with stanzas nor anything like that, because I think it’s more spontaneous the way it is. If it’s going to be a lengthy suggestion, email it.

    Nice talking with you in cyberspace, and have a nice weekend.


    • I do work in marinas for the most part, although I’ve had a few customers who kept their boats in canals behind their homes. In one case, I worked on a boat that remained anchored out, and went to work in a dinghy.

      Thanks for the link. I’m looking forward to reading the post, as I’ve come to find “plant travel” fascinating. A friend’s son (who was in junior high at the time) put together a video presentation of the way seeds travel, using the Beach Boys’ song, “I Get Around” as the musical track. Clever boy.


  89. Linda, I revised the article of the coconut tree extensively. Why were coconuts important, because it’s what Thor Heyerdahl used to study aspects of migration that he thought supported his theory about Polynesia. Why was he wrong, however, because more valuable proof surfaced that the migration took place from the South Pacific to South America. Thor Heyerdahl, however, did prove the coconut was an indispensable instrument for studying these ethnographic concerns. If you’re interested, here’s the revised article:


    • Many thanks, Maria. I’ll have a look.

      I did chuckle at your phrase about the coconut being “an indispensable instrument.” Of course those shells have been used very effectively as percussion instruments in musical groups — not to mention being good substitutes for the sound of horses hooves.


      • Yes, I’m marveled by nature’s way of outsmarting people’s expectations, this is why I’m such a strong environmentalist and made that comment about the coconut. Curiously enough, several trees that grow in wetlands or by seashores, have highly buoyant and tough seeds, able to survive floods in order to germinate later (Thespesia populnea for example, it’s in my blog). The coconut post is brief, however, and very general.

  90. Wow. Your descriptive words of the coffee and winery disasters were both so captivating. What a rich and amazing background you have. Almost like some sort of Herman Melville heroine.

    Like Jackie Robinson had said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

    • No heroine, Melville-style or otherwise, but I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Clearly, the people of Oak Island, including JIm and Glenda, and Terry and Joe, have had influence far beyond their immediate communities.

      Thanks so much for stopping by,a nd for your comment. You’re always welcome here.


  91. Hi Linda – what an interesting life you’ve lived and continue to experience. I am so interested in your work in Liberia – were you there before the civil war broke out? I spent time in Ghana in the early 80s and may get a chance to go back for a project I’ve become interested in. Loved your 2008 post on Suzanne which I just stumpled upon….

    • Initially, I was in Liberia in the mid ’70s. I returned in the mid-80s for about six weeks, between Samuel Doe’s coup in 1980 and the civil war. There certainly were some interesting experiences during that second visit: none of which I’d care to repeat and some of which bear an uneasy resemblance to tendencies in our own society.

      That Suzanne post is interesting. I think I may revise it slightly and repost it. I wrote it very, very early in my blogging career, and it’s my most-viewed post. That has nothing at all to do with me or my writing, and everything to do with the public’s interest in Leonard Cohen, et.al. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      • I know someone who helped establish a health clinic during that time – I wrote about that clinic on this post: https://beautyalongtheroad.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/fighting-ebola-in-the-trenches/ Your observations and parallels to what’s going on in this country now might make an interesting blogpost…

        • That’s an interesting post. I was upcountry, at Phebe Hospital, and it was Lassa Fever rather than Ebola that was of concern in those days — at least in terms of the fevers.

          One of the best to follow on Twitter for information on Liberia, West Africa generally, and all of Africa when warranted can be found here. I tend not to post much on Twitter, but I do find it a good way to get information not available through major media.

          • I don’t have a Twitter acct and am very reluctant to add yet another social media outlet….but thanks for the link.

  92. I sometimes dumb down, I think. Be lazy. I get criticized when using too many words that are there to stretch minds. But I enjoy your words

    • When I started blogging, I came across another blog by a young woman who had this as her tagline: “If I don’t have anything to say, I won’t say it.” I thought that was wonderfully wise. Later, I added my own little rule: “If I have something to say, I’l try to use just the right number of words to say it. But I get to choose the words.”

      The fact that you enjoy some of the words I’ve chosen is reward enough for me — and encouragement, too.

      Thanks for stopping by. You’re always welcome here.


  93. I have just started blogging, and while looking for blogs to follow, I stumbled upon yours.
    Lord, girl, how I envy you!
    I love the Gulf Coast…three friends and I vacation there every October. We rent a private home right on the beach, relax for a week or two, then reluctantly return to our ordinary lives.
    You are living the dream.

    • Truth to tell, I had to smile at your comment about my living the dream. I’d say it’s quite the opposite — I’m living a pretty nitty-gritty reality, but I do enjoy it.

      It’s nice of you to stop by, and I appreciate the comment. I hope you’ll visit again, and feel free to comment on posts. We tend to be a little chatty around here, but we have a good time.

      Enjoy your new blog!


  94. I love your about page. that image of you is near my home town, Laguna Beach. Now off to peruse your pages.

    • That’s about as close as I could get without being there, isn’t it? Again, I have to say how much I enjoyed your post today. It was like a great affirmation — and clarification — of things I’ve been mulling over for a few months. I do enjoy finding just the right words at just the right time.

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope you find something of interest. Comments always are welcome, though never necessary.

  95. It’s only been about 2 weeks since I happened upon your blog and have entertained (if that’s the right word) myself thoroughly reading many of your posts. It just this moment dawned on me, how your writing style matches your “work and environment.” Each of the posts I’ve read, have the quality and movement of the sea when calm with a vast horizon – coloured by a late afternoon sky.

    It intrigues me to think about your hidden and blessed life on the TX Gulf Coast, only 70 miles south of me.

    Lastly, I thank you for putting so much heart into your posts.

    • I think “entertained” is a very good word, Elizabeth. I have some family postcards, sent in the days when postcards were the primary way of communicating, that speak of my grandmother and great-aunts going off to “entertainments” from time to time. Sometimes, it was a dance or concert, but it might well be a Chatauqua-style lecturer come to town. In those days, entertainment could inspire or inform, as well as bring enjoyment. I try to do the same.

      Many people don’t realize that, in Texas, seventy miles is practically next door. In fact, my favorite spot for blueberry picking, Mr. Moorhead’s place near Conroe, is a 70 mile drive. It’s hard to believe that blueberries and blackberries are ripe already, but so it is. Summer is here.

      A word that nicely sums up hidden and blessed might be cloistered. I suspect you understand how many forms that can take.

      I’m so glad to meet you, and hope you will visit again. ~ Linda

  96. I truly believe the pleasure is all mine in meeting you Linda. And yes, cloistered is a most suitable word (what a “knowing” comment for you to make).

    Digging through your archives are wonderful past time for me since I enjoying your writing so very much.


    • It just occurred to me that “discalced” is equally appropriate: at least now. Spring is that wonderful season between winter and summer when I kick off my shoes at work. The decks are beginning to get too hot for that little pleasure — at least in the middle of the day. Still, it’s another unusual fringe benefit that comes with my work. It certainly beats a reserved parking place.

  97. Linda (you Darlin’!) I am currently rockin’ around the kitchen, while listening to The Pine Leaf Boys’ album Blues de Musicien and all because I went looking for one of your favourite songs: “Jig Cajin”… And I’ve also, by the by, just ordered it from my local music store… C’est merveilleux. C’est manifique. Merci beaucoup, mon cher!!
    Dare I look for any more titles on your list?; )
    Pinwheels & coffee… It’s cold, windy and raining here today and throwing a tray of pinwheels in the oven sounds just about perfect; )

    • That’s funny. I was thinking recently that I need to update my About page, as some favorites have changed: but not the Pine Leaf Boys. It’s some of the happiest music I know, and perfect for rockin’ around the kitchen (or the dock, or the garden, or…).

      I just read of cold weather in Illinois. We’ve been so hot and humid that people are declaring summer has arrived. I’d love to send you some warmth, but I’m off to dig out that recipe for you, instead.

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