Category Archives: Walking and Biking

Little House in Blue Grass

Western Kentucky University

From our community house in Tucson, I traveled Interstate 40 from Arizona to Nashville, Tennessee. There I began a search for affordable housing with the purpose to be closer to family.

Nashville is undergoing an incredible transformation with as many as 80 people a day moving to the city. With the influx, landlords and homeowners are ramping up prices and winning at the game.

I literally drove 100 miles a day looking for housing from one side of Nashville to the other, later moving outward in concentric circles to find something in my price range and requirements for community spirit, health, and safety. A friend suggested I look at Bowling Green, Kentucky, about 50 minutes from downtown Nashville.

Old Towne Apartments

This weekend I moved into a beautiful apartment complex, and I am looking forward to learning more about my new hometown. I can walk on trails across the street and to the library around the corner. I added 235 square feet to have a small guest room. My Little House on Belmont furniture is just the right size, i.e. I need not add anything except an extra bed, someday.

Today, I began exploring at the Kentucky Museum on the campus of Western Kentucky University (WKU). There I was reminded that American communities are places of surprise, hidden gems, and histories of lesser and greater community character.

I learned that during the Civil War, Kentucky was a border state with both slave owners and abolitionists as well as those who advocated for gradual emancipation. The state was at war with itself. Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, both Kentucky-born, grew into their political and social perspectives on slavery.

Autobiography of Josiah Hensen

I was so impressed with the stories about Joshia Hensen, who escaped slavery to Canada then turned around and risked his life over and over again to bring 200  former slaves to Canada via the Underground Railroad.

The Kentucky Museum showcases an assortment of Bowling Green notables. Exhibits tell the story of ties to South Korea and to Liberia through educators at the university which has an international education focus. A loved the story about Induk Pahk, a Korean- American writer who worked for years to replicate the Kentucky Berea College program. Her campaign – “Berea in Korea” – spanned 30 years of development. While reading about her, I met the Museum’s director, Brent Bjorkman, who explained the museum will soon add an exhibit about the Bosnian refugee resettlement in Bowling Green. Six thousand immigrants were resettled making up 10% of the small city’s population, and conferring a high Muslim population. A 2016 report by the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy shows the significant contribution resettled refugees confer to the state.

And, among Bowling Green notables, Duncan Hines’ rise to fame and fortune is an excellent exhibit that demonstrates an era of growing middle class wealth in America when families looked for yummy food, eating-out,  travel, and the invention of the living room in the out-of-doors (otherwise known as the backyard barbecue). Hines met these food and relaxation innovations with over 150 different products starting with guide books on great places to eat or stay, to producing everything from outdoor grills to great ice cream and his favored cake mixes! I am looking forward to attending Bowling Green’s next Duncan Hines Festival Day and getting my slice of the gigantic cake made each year in celebration of this hometown hero!


I finished the long morning’s exploration at Mariah’s with a bowl of hot chili and turkey club!  I think I am in love with Bowling Green and Kentucky already! And I haven’t even been to the Derby yet!



Tucson Community House Update

Helen St. House in Historic Blenman-Elm Neighborhood

In late October of 2016, Tom Greco and I went house hunting for us and Jock Millenson to set up a short term living community. Each of us had a purpose to accomplish during a six-month period. For me it was promoting a new book, for Jock setting up the next summer season of holistic living communities in Greece for which he continues to provide inspiration and guidance. Tom planned to work on the E.C. Riegel Institute and specific projects in alternative currencies.

Jock Millenson on Electric Bike on way to Tennis Court

Jock arrived December 1 and stayed through the end of February before taking off for Mexico for R&R. He then planned to return to Greece in the late spring to prepare for the Kalikalos Holistic Living programs in 2017. However, while in Mexico he became very ill and is currently recuperating in New York with friends and family near by. We wish him well and hope and pray he is able to return to Greece this summer.

Tom Greco with Linda Ellinor at Solar Dollar Meet and Greet

Tom and I wrote two grant applications to support the E.C. Riegel Institute and the Solar Dollar Project. Tom and Will Foster, a colleague, hosted a recent Meet and Greet about this project, there was a lot of interest and the event was well attended. We are hopeful that subsequent business meetings will result in a demonstration project here in Tucson, a town with a strong commitment to renewable energy and local exchange.


My book, Threshold, is “out there” and making its way around Tucson. In June, — an online journal of the built and natural environment — will feature a Chapter excerpt and recording of me reading on their book review pages.  The book will also be reviewed on the Fellowship for Intentional Communities blog and newsletter this month. I am beginning to think about a sequel, but still not sure. Several readers believe a sequel is called for, and perhaps a miniseries or a play might evolve from the story. All these ideas are heartening for a new fiction writer. I am leaving Tucson feeling grateful to so many readers and supporters, my publisher Fireship Press, and so many friends who have helped in significant ways to help me read and present with a variety of organizations and reading groups. But by far, my most gratifying moment came when I learned the Pima County Library System selected Threshold for their collection.

So we have all accomplished goals, managed to live together and support each other, and now pack the car or fill up storage and take off in different directions: Tom to his granddaughter’s graduation and then Greece, Jock – hopefully to Greece by way of Woodstock, NY – and me to Nashville, TN to see about finding the next “House on Belmont Street”.

Mark Hainds at Milemarker 40, Sonoita, AZ

P.S. Mark Hainds returned to walk another 400 miles of his U.S. – Mexico Border walk. I dropped him off at Mile Marker 40 in Sonoita, AZ and about right now he should be somewhere close to Yuma, where he will catch the Red Eye Special home to Alabama!

Pensacola – Tucson Meet Up!

Mark Hainds at Milemarker 40, Sonoita, AZ
Mark Hainds at mile marker 40, Sonoita, AZ

Mark Hainds, whom many of you may know from the Downtown Market in Pensacola, completed the second leg of his journey to walk the entire U.S. – Mexico Border.

PBS Film La Frontera

Mark is writing a book about his experiences with migrants, people who live in communities along the borders; agencies and churches who are working to protect and support people crossing the border, and the landscape itself. Mark is a forester by profession so he notes watersheds, tree species, and the general condition of the lands that he walks.

My friend, Tom Greco, and I rendezvoused with Mark on Hwy 82 near Sonoita, AZ today as he completed this segment of his walk. Three hundred miles: El Paso to Sonoita.

See Mark’s Facebook Page for wonderful photos of the “wall” and the murals that various groups have created, and the big-hearted people who fed and housed him along the way.

Mark and Susan
Mark and Susan


Mark and Tom at Tucson International Airport - Homeward Bound!
Mark and Tom at Tucson International Airport – Homeward Bound!

Tucson is home to many strong border justice organizations. Check out these two:


No More Deaths

Also, Tucson was the first Sanctuary City in the U.S. through the work of the Southside Presbyterian Church Sanctuary Program which is still instrumental in working for justice for people seeking asylum in the U.S.

Mark will return to Tucson in mid-April to complete the next segment of his border walk. We hope to support him again on the journey.

How to Live Your Life at Age 85

Jock Millenson on Electric Bike on way to Tennis Court
Jock Millenson on Electric Bike on way to Tennis Court

Today, in Tucson, it is a balmy 65 degrees, strong wind, and sunny. Jock is off to the tennis court. He reminds me of my tennis coach in California when I was just 14 years old. “Fred” resembled Jock in many ways, not only his age, but the fact that he swam, ran, and played tennis everyday of the week. Fred was an inspiring elder for me, and now Jock – who is about 15 years my senior – inspires me, too.  Jock reads books late into the night and is working on updating his business website. This is his “down time” before the summer programs he founded begin again in Greece.

Jock created and manages Kalikalos, a summer school like no other. Check it out. You may wish to schedule a summer break with Jock and his instructors, and the beauty of the location.

In another email, I will write about my other Roomy, who is an internationally known expert on alternative exchange economies.


A morning’s walk…

Blooming Camellias
Blooming Camellias

On a morning’s walk in Pensacola’s Old East Hill Neighborhood I found much to celebrate. Camellias are blooming on a vacant lot near the little House on Belmont Street. Camellias are an Asian plant by origin but came to the gulf coast in the 19th century. We are home to the oldest, camellia club in the U.S. I find it wonderful that my hometown has such a group of people who celebrate this great flower and have planted many varieties in our town.

Other images include historic homes, light in my house, and my winter garden. Historic homes line the streets in this neighborhood which is the first plait of homes in our old city by the sea.


Historic home on Jackson Street
Historic home decked out for the holidays.
Little House at Christmas, 72 degrees and sunny.
My next door neighbor, YA YA, yard decorations. Enchanted!
Red Kale, Collards, and Mustard Greens!
Doors thrown open, light pouring in…I can never return to colder climes. I am in love with the gulf coast, ocean, and this little city.

Historic Places Near House on Belmont

House on Belmont Neigbhors 005 Just a few blocks from here, a historic landmark was preserved in the Crowne Plaza Pensacola Hotel. The historic L & N railroad passenger depot was restored; it is now the lobby, shops, meeting rooms, and lounge. The depot is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Its interior retains the elegance of its original artful designs and decor. Why is it that decades ago builders and designers made things to last, using not only the best materials, but the most beautiful. The elegance just makes you feel special.

House on Belmont Neigbhors 008The restoration included retaining pieces of the original furniture, lighting, and brass work. The roof, constructed from French clay tiles was reassembled piece by piece, after each tile had been removed, coded, cleaned, and then replaced in its original position. Click here for more information.

On the way to the Crowne Plaza Hotel I passed by homes on Belmont decorated for Memorial Day or just looking great as they are. Check out the vintage Ford Truck in the front.House on Belmont Neigbhors 001


House on Belmont Neigbhors 002


House on Belmont Neigbhors 004And, here is one of several home decor businesses that bring elegance to this Old North Hill Neighborhood.

Why I Love Living in Pensacola!

Living downtown is a continued delight. I left an early morning meeting of the Foo Foo Festival–which provides grants to community arts and humanities groups to promote tourism–to shop for food. I headed for the Shoreline Foods market, a 40-year old international market featuring Greek food and epicurean traditions.

20150505_102302Located on Main just past Joe Patti’s Fish Market. I met the younger generation taking over the business from their parents. The market’s specialty’s are first press, cold press, extra virgin, olive oil from the family’s own orchard on Crete.You can buy in bulk and refill your container from then on. Olive bread  is baked daily from a family recipe, Greek feta cheese, feta dip, and many other fresh dishes are made only at Shoreline.

unnamed (1)Freshly ground and packaged spices – a very wide variety – and gourmet cuts of beef are other outstanding specialties of this remarkable family business. . There is also a big selection of wine.


20150505_100900After leaving Shoreline, I drove a few blocks to Joe Patti’s Seafood Market. This is a favorite of my family.  I bought a fillet of salmon and looked over the red fish and oysters and other seafood that my kids in Nashville requested I bring with me on a visit in  a couple of weeks. Outside I found Don making New Orleans style Beignets – 6 for $4, served hot on the spot. The market is over 75 years old. It began as a front yard concession by Anna and Joe Patti in the 1930s.

Joe Patti’s has a fresh market in their parking lot as well. And, if  you feel hungry, Joe Patti Junior’s place is around the corner, and several other fresh seafood restaurants down the road.

I could have easily biked to both markets from my Little House on Belmont, but I am still nursing my toe from the car door run-in last week. Here is the next form of transportation that I am considering: