Blues Ad 

The Benefit Blues Festival on Lummi Island

The Festival was a success!  Everyone liked Freedom Blues a band brought over for the day by Charlie Johnson from Custer and his Dakota Creek Recording Studio.  Charlie did the Sound for the day and he was Outstanding!  Also, the food by Herb and Deanne was wonderful!  Thanks again everybody!!
3rd Annual on Lummi Island –
Benefits M O R E for change – Features Art and Craft vendors, Food Garden, Beer/Wine Garden, Music stage, Speakers, Music by The Dave McAdams Band, Rhapsody in Blues, The Greg Pitsch Band featuring Johnny Brewer, and Native American Flute artist, Cindy Minkler. Also appearing: Marlee Walker and Eric Freeman & Kenny Williams. Special Instructions: Park on the Gooseberry Point side as available, then use the walk-on ferry. Bring blankets and lawn chairs. No outside coolers/open containers. Sorry, no pets. Very short walk to the venue at the Islander Store.
M O R E for change is an Association, organized around a group of people who share in a common interest and who engage in activities of reform for the incarcerated and for minimizing recidivism in released prisoners.

They are a charitable and educational organization that provides support services and education and which asks for donations from the public for  charitable purposes.

Their objective is to present educational discussion groups, forums, panels, lectures or other similar programs regarding the Justice System and issues relating to incarceration trends and practices.

Their current goal is to develop and maintain a Speaker’s Bureau through which the above stated activities of Support Service and Education will be implemented.

M. O. R. E. for change is Mothers of Offenders and Others Rallying and Educating for change.

They act as a Beacon, shining light on the epidemic of over-incarceration of citizens and others in the United States.

Please support their activities!

Sponsors: NC4RSO from Blaine WA, Care Associates,, Copylicious – Poster printing, – graphic design, The Islander Store, Lummi Island Gourmet, Costco, Budget Septic.

Support our Sponsors for the Benefit Blues Festival and M.O.R.E. for change seen on the poster below:  long download…BenefitPoster

Posted by: 2russ | October 24, 2011

A “Wild” Concert on a Small Island

Pianist Jonathan Levin took an amazed audience of 30 through 300 years of music, which included Beethoven’s epic Hammerklavier  Sonata.  Other composers whose work he played included Bach, Scarlatti, Liszt, Griffes, and Mcleer.

This recital concert featured stories, background and narrative of the pieces and their composers told by Mr. Levin prior to the performance of each piece.

Mr Levin started with Prelude and Fugue in C – sharp Minor from WTC  Book I by J.S. Bach.  The contrast in tone from that piece – to the Domenico Scarlatti composition to follow, Sonata in D major L. 164, was a refreshing and uplifting experience highlighted by the harpsichord feel crafted by Levin at the Grand Piano.  The audience was on the journey from Bach to an unknown.

Franz Liszt’s Transcendental Etude #8, Wilde Jagd was the next uncharted island explored.  Translated “Wild Hunt,” the piece featured a less than romantic “hunting” scene that was more haunting than hunting. The low bass evoked a screaming wild beast; the tenor horn sound, or call of the horns, warned of the hunters’ advance; the soprano interplay with the bass told the story until the final low thud of the beast’s demise sounded finality. It was advantage hunter in the 19th century.

Mr. Levin moved us along and played a short piece by a contemporary and friend, Christian Mcleer. Titled Thank You, the composition served the audience well, as an interlude both complex and interesting  – and questioning and dark.

The last piece of the first part of the program was by composer, Charles Griffes born in 1884. He died in 1920.  The piece, Piano Sonata, told a story open for interpretation:  Part I “Feroce – Molto tranquillo” and Part II, “Allegro vivace. ”

Written in 1918, you could feel the effects of World War I on Griffes.  It was as though Part I was a volcano waiting to happen with a full eruption and Lahore.  Part II, the allegro, was two lovers running first left, then right, trying now in disbelief, then later in panic, to save themselves.  This piece seemed to bridge the Romantic period and the Modern period, albeit through the chagrin of the end of innocence that was the “Belle Epoch,” and the stark reality of modern life represented by the advent of  “modern” 20th Century warfare. Mr. Levin efficiently “killed” the Griffes!

After intermission, Mr. Levin ended with music’s milestone epic, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata Opus 106, the Hammerklavier.  Written at the end of Beethoven’s life, after his “Heroic” period, this dark and semi-tragic piece featured the opening “Allegro followed by the “Scherzo Assai vivace where two differently keyed voices were introduced.  One was in B-flat and the other was in B Minor.  The 18 minute “Adagio sostenuto” with its sweeping beauty lulled the audience to quietness.  The “Largo – Allegro risoluto” shook and evoked black meeting white, as no doubt Beethoven must have planned when writing this while deaf. The ten minute long Largo ended with a cadence of full-throated baritone chords ringing like sustains from a pipe organ.  The forty-five minute Hammerklavier was played with virtuosity.  Mr. Levin’s lengthy narrative introduction of the Hammerklavier seemed a bit tedious; but, upon the conclusion of its performance, the preview of the story proved necessary – considering the state of the story of lost love, and the state of Beethoven’s health and mind at the time the Hammerklavier was written and first performed.

This concert was no walk in the park filled with the sounds of Strauss waltzes and the sound of the Moonlight Sonata: It was a tour de force filled with wild hunts, volcanic eruptions, resounding thuds, trumpeting horn calls, lovers on the run and other 17th through 21st Century quarrels for the ears. Before there were movies, there was the visual story telling of this kind of music:  sounds producing sights!  Jonathan Levin treated us, and tricked us with a polished autumn concert of masterful works, performed masterfully. It was a sight to behold!

The concert was held Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm. at the Lummi Island Congregational Church

Mr. Levin, a resident of Brooklyn, N Y. was a finalist  in the 2011 Seattle International Piano Competition this year, in the professional category. He is the founder of the North Carolina Piano Festival held in February in Clayton, North Carolina.

Reviewed by Russ Thompson, October 24, 2011.  Lummi Island WA.

Posted by: 2russ | October 16, 2011

Write on

Welcome to   If you would like to contribute a timeless piece of prose, poetry, or your own musing, leave a comment!  Include your contact information, please!

Posted by: 2russ | May 26, 2011

Elegy for a Homemaker

Recuerdos de los Cascade

Memories of life at Grandma’s at the Cascade

Grandma Easter 2009

We watched the Virginia Tech shooting spree massacre, it was April, and Mother said “Oh”!  Turn off that CNN!”

June, July, August, age 92.  Happy 92nd birthday.

September 2010, Saturday afternoon, “Let’s go hear the live Big Band Jazz Band at the Bflat lounge on Douglas Road.  “OK!”

We had fish and sweet potato chips, (not with salt, but with crystallized cinnamon sugar on ‘em), and a “Salad Please!”  It was on her kidney dialysis diet.

October 2010, we’re all of a sudden in the pool at the Cascade.  Grandma, son and daughter-in-law! It’s the late morning; it’s a nice warm day.  Grandma’s got her hat, her sunglasses; she’s down there at Alligator level.  Soon, all of her friends showed up to swim.  The Pool was where Grandma held court.  We stayed in that day for over 1 hour!

Her friends came and went, before We got out.

That night, out on the front porch, we watched the helicopters coming in from the canyon tours at exactly 8:00 P.M.  It was cozy on the porch.  It was her window on the world.  She spoke to and monitored all the traffic in the park.  She noted who walked into or out of the pool and the clubhouse from her vantage point right across the street.  We had 26 plants and a new set of patio furniture on that porch. It was comfortable and beautiful to her.  She loved to grow flowers in the heat on that porch.  Grandma enjoyed the new patio and porch décor, and the new carpeting in the house, too.  She loved looking out at the pool or clubhouse to see the action at 2 in the morning or 4 in the morning.  Whatever!

Remembrances of Grandma on the Island

When Grandma visited us on the Island, we first came across the water, on the ferry, at night.  It was completely calm.  Pitch black.  The drone of the diesel engines.  No lights from the ferry on the water.  I said:  “We’ll be there in 6 minutes.”

“You mean we’ve already left?”“Yes!”  “Well, we’re not moving… are we?”“Yes!”“Well!  I Say!”

Grandma didn’t feel well on the morning of the Lavender Festival.  Her stomach felt “cold” and she had “no legs.”

So, after the festival day, we took her into town.  Late that night I got a phone call from the Doctor at the Walk-in–Clinic saying that the blood test didn’t look good and he’d arrange for us to come in to town in the morning and the cardiologist and the emergency room would take over.

Two stents.

This was July 2006.

Las Vegas 2006 to 2010

Grandma had a lot of sparkle in her eyes.  We had her 90th birthday party.  We were all learning about health and life, good diet, and discipline.

These years, in a way, were like our days, in youth, being raised by our mother.  Only now, it was like being raised all over again.  And we were raising our mother at the same time, in her kidney disease and the management of her health in the disease.

She knew life and love, family and old values, of growing up in Upstate New York, raising kids, working for 30 years for a company, working on a farm, learning piano at age 8 from her relative, caring for Her aging mother who lived to age 86, seeing her children move “out west.”

She followed her kids westward, and finally settled at The Cascade.

One time, as a kid, I remember that we had a two week summer vacation, my parents having only a couple a weeks a year off from their jobs.  Our parents took us up to New England and Canada on trips!

About 8 days into one year’s trip, Mother said to Dad:  “That’s it!  I’ve travelled enough!  Time to go Home!”

And, so, around we went.  Dad turned it around.  And, in a day or two we were back at the home compound, “Little Green.”

What is Home, What is a home?

Home, always home, the comfort of home, Home is where the heart is.  A heart needs a home.  Home, Sweet Home!  Lord, take me Home!  I want to go home!  Home at last, home at last.  Free at last, free at last.

Thank God almighty I’m free at last!


Mother loved to bake; she baked for the entire family for summer events at the lake.  Cakes with fresh raspberry frosting, frosting that is beat until it spins like a thread!  Molasses cookies for us at home, all year long.  Cakes for our Dad – Chocolate ones.  She would bake pies.

Mother loved to garden!  She even pulled weeds for us along our hedge on The Island in 2005.

But back in New York, when I was growing up, she had flower beds of phlox, a garden full of vegetables.  Between the lawns and flowers and the garden, there were 2 and ½ acres.  We had potatoes, tomatoes, corn, melons, cucumbers, and beans. Radishes, onions, carrots, and berries.

I remember on summer nights, our supper would be made of sweet corn, with butter, tomatoes with mayonnaise, cucumbers with vinegar, and potatoes.  Bread and butter- salt and pepper.  All vegetarian.  All fresh.  Sometimes we would simply have , Strawberry Shortcake!

A homemaker like mother also worked nearly 30 years at GE in Syracuse.  What a woman!

She was wife, cook, gardener, mother, daughter, musician, baker, worker, snowplower, neighbor, sister, friend and a love.

A woman is more,

And she was more!

Last year I asked her what she thought happens after life.  She had been foreshadowing her death.  She would say things like I won’t be around by Thanksgiving. Or I won’t be here to see this or that.  We talked about the afterlife, but there were no conclusions.

Before we knew it, she was Homeward Bound.  It was time, to go home…  Home to the free, and she was brave over it.  She was finally free at last!

Posted by: 2russ | May 16, 2011

My Good Counselor

Trees remind us of old men and old women

A Man and a Woman Look at the God Cloud in the God Sky

I can see clearly now, the Rain has gone,

Gone are the dark clouds all around.

Look all around, I can see Sunshine,

Sunshine all the Days…..

My paraphrase from the Johnny Nash song, “I Can See Clearly Now.”

Posted by: 2russ | May 13, 2011

Fluffi Lummi – A Site for Writers

Welcome to fluffi lummi!  If you would like to contribute a timeless piece of prose, poetry, or your own musing, leave a comment!  Include your contact information, please!

Posted by: 2russ | May 13, 2011

Look for a new Four Part Series, soon!

Posted by: 2russ | May 13, 2011

Have an upcoming showing?  Contact us here!

Posted by: 2russ | May 13, 2011

Flummoxed? Feathers Ruffled? Write your own fluff, here! Blog your comments.

We met the nicest people!  Don’t we every day?  These were people on bicycles. They weren’t wearing headgear, but they commented on the “nice old dog!

There we were, a couple of editors and ones with a dog walking assignment!  The bicyclists passed us but we caught up to them as they had stopped to chat with an old friend of ours!

Just how did our friend “arrest” them.  The people on bikes were from Canada!  Our friend is not Canadian.

This time the Canadians got to give hugs and kisses to the “old” dog!

I told the couple: To keep up with this “beautiful place”, (their words), visit the fluffi lummi site often!

Just search fluffi lummi on the internet with your search engine of choice!

Maybe our friend is part Canadian!  We are now planning a dinner with her.

We will find out!

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