Saturday, November 13, 2021

Street Musicians, a Special Bonus of the Historic Center

Two days ago, following our language lesson, we went walking around the historic area and decided to stop at A Brazileira for a glass of wine. The temperature was mild, so we could sit at an outside table, and we were also lured by the sound of music. 

One of the things I love about the historic center is that often there are street musicians on one or another of the many open plazas. This time, the musicians were just s few yards away from A Brazileira, so we sipped our wine and enjoyed a good BLUES concert. Both musicians played guitars, and one of them sang with a really good blues voice. I recorded a segment, but I couldn't get it to play on this blog. I really wish someone could tell me how to do that.

Meanwhile, how about you? Do enjoy street performances? Street art?

Wednesday, November 10, 2021


 Great news: My cosy mystery, Deadly Vintage, is now available on Amazon in hardback. I'm posting the American link — HERE; but it's also available on all European Amazon sites as well. If you have friends and family who like mysteries set in other countries (in this case Portugal), consider getting them DV for Christmas.

Hope you will check it out. 

Have a great rest of the week. 

Sunday, November 7, 2021



Last night we heard one of the most wonderful concerts in our lives at Theatro Circo. It's hard to explain the music - it was so original and so hypnotic; simply mesmerizing. We were spellbound for an hour and a half. The group is called Nopo Orchestra - 7 musicians in a collaboration between Norway and Portugal. Absolutely haunting. What was amazing: the performers just walked in and took their places; then the music began and swept us away.

The stage before the musicians
came in. You can see that, for 7 
musicians, the instruments were 

Rajan being shown our
seats before the main
audience arrived. 

            The seven musicians were: 2 guitarists - one, Francisco Sales has an international reputation, but the other was great, too; two drummers, but the drum sets were far more than drums, and the drummers were true artists ; a violinist, who wrung so much emotion out of the violin (and who also sang at times); and then two world famous horn/flute and horn/saxaphone artists who achieved a breathtaking range of sound and rhythm with their instruments. the first I mentioned was Rão Kyao who played mainly a range of long, bamboo pipes that reminded me of Ecuadorian music, and then at the very last, a traditional flute; the other was Karl Seglem who played the saxaphone at times and equally played a goat horn, which achieves amazing music and sound effects. You would not believe the spell these two particular musicians could cast. Again, so much emotion was poured into the music. 
            The melodies seemed almost Celtic at times, but the rhythm often sounded Brazilian, and the combination just swept a listener into a magical world.
I only took three pictures of them and their instruments, and then four more of the Theatro Circo itself, and elegant theater that is 150+ years old. Enjoy.
And, BTW, all three of the main musicians mentioned above are on FB and have websites if you want to learn more about them and where you can get their music.

A staircase to the next
leverl (there are three
more altogether.)
This is an elegant theater
as you can see. Red and 
ivory and gold, with 
paintings and sculptures.

And the magificent ceiling. This 
theater is over 150 years old

Have you ever attended a concert, expecting to like it and be interested, and then found yourself simply astonished by how beautiful it was?

Friday, November 5, 2021

Planting Season Is Here, and So is Physical Therapy


I'm posting some pictures of the pedestrian/tourist part of Avenida da Liberdad. I had posted some earlier, last March, shortly after we arrived. This is what it looked llike then: the planting had been done in the winter and similar plants were in various gardens around the historic area of Braga.


Then in late spring the city planted the area (and areas) for summer. Here is what it looked like then:

And now the city is preparing flower beds all over for the new winter plants. Again, this is what Avenida da Liberdad in the historical area looked like this afternoon:


I can hardly wait to see what they will plant. Stay tuned. 

On another note, I may have mentioned that 2 months ago (approximately) I fell at night and injured my shoulder. Nothing was broken, but a ligament was torn and after more x-rays and ultra-sounds and an appointment with a physical therapy consultant, my physical therapy program started this Tuesday. 

I've had three sessions, an hour or a little more each, and they were fascinating. I was expecting someone to raise my arm, move it back and forth, or something like that. Much like what the PT Consulting doctor did. Instead, there were five phases. First a machine administered an electrical analgesic through two pads, one on each side of the joint. After about 20 minutes, different pads were placed and for about 15 minutes a deep tissue massage was administered, again electrically. After that, an ointment of some kind was externally administered to the area of the tendon and surrounding muscles to regernerate the tissue. That's right: It regenerates tissue. That was followed by a manual massage of all the surrounding muscles and tissue. Last, I was given a rubber strap to pull between my hands in three sessions of 10 pulls. 

That was Tuesday. Wednesday I did that and then raised a lightweight pole in three sets of 10 times. I did both those exercises at home Wednesday - no PT because our language lesson occurs at the same time. Then I had PT again today, with a new exercise: pressing a rubber ball the size of a toy soccer ball against the wall, and then rolling it in circles. I had to do that with both hands, to keep building up the muscles. Altogether there will 15 sessions. I do have to say, already my shoulder feels much better.

Here you see my PT "home equipment." The briefcase in the back holds my binder of Portuguese language lessons.

How about you? Have you ever had to have physicall therapy for an injury? If you have a garden, do you plant different plants for each season?

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Exciting Events While Waiting for Feedback from Beta Readers

I finished this draft of my mystery and sent it off to my beta readers (all excellent critiquers - they catch all my errors; the ones I can't spot anymore because I've read the manuscript too many times.) So we shall see what work remains to be done.

Meanwhile, I'm kicking back and doing some reading - two new Sherlock Holmes pastiches by two of my favorite writers. And I'm enjoying Braga life once more (as opposed to "huddled over my keyboard" life.) Last Sunday was a special day for two reasons: Rajan and I attended a terrific Fado concert, and later that evening I had a Zoom poetry reading with poets back in Sacramento! I posted about it on my Facebook Timeline, and am pasting a copy of the post below: 

"Yesterday I had two wonderful experiences: In the afternoon, Rajan and I went to a Fado concert, 'Fado Solidário,' at Altice Forum, half a mile from our flat. It was fabulous! 7 fadistas, 3 men, 4 women, all with marvelous voices. It was a fundraiser for a school for challenged young people and adults. The students were worked into the program both in the beginning song and during the finale, when they presented roses to the performers. They did a terrific job. Our friend and teacher, Fadista Marisa da Luz had told us about it. Thanks, Marisa! I only took one picture (above) of the two guitarists. I wish I had though to take more, but I was too busy being spell bound.

"The second wonderful experience was that I had a poetry reading via Zoom with poets in Sacramento! How great it was to see familiar faces from the poetry groups I used to attend! The president of the Chaparral group, Rick Costa, organizes readings regularly, but usually they are too late for me to listen in. He posts videos of the readings later (that I can listen to here, since they are usually evening performances in Sacramento). For this reading, he set a special time - 12 noon in CA, 8 pm here - and I read from my book, "Saudade," as well as some additional poems from my WIP, "Dreaming of Galicia." This was my very first poetry reading, and truth to tell, I was nervous about it ahead of time, but then all those friendly faces put me at ease. So this was an experience to savor. Thank you, Rick!"

Meanwhile, for those of you in the Sacramento Area, here is a link you can go to if you are interested in the society. Membership is $20/year and you get invited to their zoom events - with no problems regarding time zones :-) Here is the LINK

Before I leave, here is a picture from the small bridge overlooking the Rio Este (East River), a short walk from our house, where a scene takes place in my new mystery, Deadly Verse.

I hope this finds all visitors to the site safe and well from the virus and doing well with all the precautions that have to be taken. Portugal has a vaccination rate in the high 90%s, and so restrictions have been lifted, although indoors social distancing is still advised, and at events like the concert above, masks are required. But we still wear our masks on the street and I would say about 50% of the population still does, too; at least here in Braga.

Meanwhile, how about your favortite pastimes. Do you enjoy concerts? Do you like poetry? Do you write poetry? And what is your favorite reading genre?

Monday, September 27, 2021


Which is why I'm not posting. And I have all these pictures of Portugal I want to share!

My muse says otherwise, though. "Thou must write, and get to it right now, okay?"

The good news is that I'M ALMOST FINISHED WITH MY BOOK. I expect to finish this draft next week and send it to my beta readers. Oh Happy Day.

News about the arm? Ultra sound seems to confirm tendon damage. I see my orthopedic surgeon Wednesday, but at last meeting, when he order the ultra sound, he seemed to feel physical therapy can suffice. Thank goodness. 

Hope all is going well with all of you, and I look forward to when I can be back and interactive. But now I must hie to the keyboard for other reasons.

Everyone take care and stay well.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

New Developments

 One of these days I'll be able to write a post again where I am not reporting bad news. Recently we had another death in the famiy (one of my husband's brothers — so we've been on "WhatsApp" a lot with scattered family), and I also learned that the fall had done more damage to my shoulder than I had thought. I posted this on Facebook, but realized this morning I should do so here as well to expain why I'm not posting much lately. I'm also posting this on both blogs. 

I have an appointment with an orthopedic specialist this Friday about my shoulder — last week had more Xrays taken. I should learn more Friday about whethr surgery or physical therapy is the future.

Other updates: The cataract surgery went very well and Friday I'll have one last check before my opthomologist writes a new prescription. (Here in Braga, the same doctor is both opthamologist and optometrist, which I kinda like.)

Despite all of the above, I've been writing on my book, and I have about 6 chapters left to the end before I rewrite it and send it to my beta readers.

I hope all who stop by are having a good week filled with good activities and good news.

Take care and stay well.