Dinner, Training and News

After a period in relative hibernation, percolating (while co-writing a screenplay, based on my e-Book How Abella Found Her Voice) I’m bursting at the seams to collaborate and come out in the world again.

So, here’s some news!

As always, I’m teaching voice and piano students in my home studio and – since January 31st – also at Wilsonville Arts Academy https://www.artsacademy.com/wilsonville Tuesdays and Thursdays when my husband has massage clients at home. Please come see me there if your schedule doesn’t jive with my private practice. It’s a great company I enjoy being a part of.

Teachers and administrators, look for a new and improved SPEAK UP! workshop for teens coming this fall. The most rewarding feedback I’ve consistently received from this workshop is that it gives students more confidence.  

Students learn to:

*Control their breath and posture to reduce anxiety and increase confidence

*Be mindful and identify authentic gifts and strengths

*Feel more comfortable speaking up and being heard

We bring the curriculum, energy and expertise; you take a break or participate!

This class gave me more confidence. – Caleb E., Student

This is fascinating, and I can see it having a big impact on our kids and how they operate through life. – Colleen G., Teacher

And…finally…my favorite new easy dinner idea. Many of you know I love to cook, although admitedly not as often these days. Above is a photo of the little patio garden I’m nurturing in the back yard: a Moreton hybrid tomato plant, cherry tomato plant gifted by my neighbor Liz, basil, thyme, parsley and oregano.

One morning a few weeks ago I took a couple of chicken breasts out of the freezer, having no idea what I was going to do with them for dinner. George and I both love Mexican food, so I Googled ‘easy mexican chicken’ and found this recipe https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/8597/quick-and-easy-mexican-chicken/ which morphed into what will now be a regular menu item at Casa Handke Meredith.

Easy and Tasty Mexican Chicken

-4 chicken breast fillets

-Taco seasoning

-Salsa or picante sauce

-Grated cheese

-Optional jalapeno pepper slices and/or fresh herbs such as oregano

Slice one or two chicken breasts into thin fillets. Rub with taco seasoning (I get mine from Savory Spice Shop https://www.savoryspiceshop.com/products/taco-seasoning.) Let set until room temperature before cooking.

Pre-heat oven to 375. Heat pan coated with cooking spray and cook chicken on both sides until browned. Transfer to baking dish and top with approximately a cup salsa or picante sauce (I like Pace medium picante sauce) and approximately a cup grated cheese, cheddar or Mexican blend. Add fresh or canned jalapeno slices and herbs if desired. Cover and bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted.

Cuban Island Seasoned Black Beans

I always have canned black beans in the pantry. They are so versatile, healthy and easy to cook with. For this recipe, slightly drain the beans before putting them in a pot and season liberally with Savory Spice Shop’s Cuban Island Spice, or your seasoning of choice. You can add fresh cilantro, other herbs, corn, onion, chopped jalapeno peppers, whatever you like. Heat until cooked through.

Spanish Rice

Use your package of choice! No, I don’t make it from scratch. My absolute new favorite is Zatarains which includes one can of diced tomatoes.

https://www.mccormick.com/zatarains/search?q=Spanish%20rice

Include a salad or cole slaw, perhaps some warmed corn or flour tortillas, Mexican sour cream, and…there you have it. Enjoy!

After she is tragically orphaned, young Abella loses the ability to speak her truth and express herself. She is sent to live with a reclusive uncle she’s never met, and her only friend is her horse. Abella endures heartbreak, loneliness and questions who she truly is inside. Eventually, she meets friends and animals who help her not only regain her voice, but also uncover her strength and purpose. Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

The Authentic Voice: An Interview with David Loftus

In this 22 minute video, David Loftus and I discuss what The Authentic Voice means and how to express it in the world. How do you communicate with people of differing opinions? What is the balance between emotional expression and rational thinking?

David’s Links:

PATREON – The View From Portland, Oregon

These are my formal essays (and occasional photo galleries). Some are unlocked and free for anyone to enjoy; most are reserved for my patrons. You are welcome to contact me to receive a sampling of links that can be read at no charge:

https://www.patreon.com/davidjloftus?fan_landing=true&view_as=public

FACEBOOK

I do a lot of storytelling, entertaining, and thinking out loud on FB, and welcome anyone as a friend who’s a real person:

https://www.facebook.com/david.j.loftus

INSTAGRAM

Only launched in April 2023, this is strictly for beautiful and startling images from my personal photo archive:

https://www.instagram.com/karaokenerd/

TIKTOK

Here you will find video clips of my acting work, readings of Edgar Allan Poe tales, my dog’s antics, and karaoke capers in clubs as shot by friends’ mobile phones:

https://www.tiktok.com/@davidloftus_karaokenerd?lang=en

The December 2022 viral video (12.8 million views!):

And the backstory to that little caper:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/75505222

My acting demo reel:

“The Peripatetic Bibliolater, or What I’ve Learned About Reading While Walking”

https://www.oregonlive.com/books/2012/01/the_peripatetic_bibliolater_or.html

After she is tragically orphaned, young Abella loses the ability to speak her truth and express herself. She is sent to live with a reclusive uncle she’s never met, and her only friend is her horse. Abella endures heartbreak, loneliness and questions who she truly is inside. Eventually, she meets friends and animals who help her not only regain her voice, but also uncover her strength and purpose. Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

You Aren’t Confused…by Lisa Marie Platske

This post comes thanks to Lisa Marie Platske, founder and leader of the Upside Summit I attended in January of last year in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Her words rang so true I simply had to share them. Let me know if you see yourself, at any point in your life, within what Lisa Marie shares here. I certainly did.

You aren’t confused…

…you’re just afraid to go all in.

Read that again.

Oh, I get it.

What if you show the world who you are…

…and people don’t like you?

What if you fail…

…and your friends see you get it wrong?

Don’t let fear get you off track…

…or get in the way from having a great life.

Right now, you may feel pretty crummy…

…because you understand there’s More…

…More for you to Be and Do…

…and you’ve been distracting yourself with the excuse that you’re not clear about what you want.

You know EXACTLY what you want…

…yet to admit that means getting real with yourself — and committing to taking action.

No more hiding out…and playing it safe or small.

That doesn’t mean you’ll live on easy street.

It does mean…

…When you allow yourself to fail…

…you will truly succeed.

…When you allow yourself to lose…

…you will truly win.

Choose to go All In.

Because the world needs you and your brilliance.

https://www.upsidethinking.com/

After she is tragically orphaned, young Abella loses the ability to speak her truth and express herself. She is sent to live with a reclusive uncle she’s never met, and her only friend is her horse. Abella endures heartbreak, loneliness and questions who she truly is inside. Eventually, she meets friends and animals who help her not only regain her voice, but also uncover her strength and purpose. Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

Post-Concert Update

I have some good news and some bad news.

The bad news is I developed a respiratory illness and then laryngitis shortly before the benefit concert for Hazel’s House Rescue – and wasn’t able to sing Cat Nap Blues! The band played the MP3 file instead.

The good news is the event was great fun, everyone enjoyed the music of the band, Ten O’Clock Hill, and we raised $452 to benefit the work Brittany Hazel is doing to help the homeless cats, sometimes dogs, and even a bearded dragon or two in the Willamette Valley.

So, here are a bunch of photos of the event.

Me and Brittany Hazel
The Band, Ten O’Clock Hill
Friend Margaret, who found the venue for us, George and me
Raffle prizes, with many more following
More of the band in this wonderful venue – Chehalem Winery Tasting Room, Newberg, Oregon
My husband drawing and presenting raffle prizes (every one went to a good home!)
The elegant Mardi Gras mask went home with a cowboy!
And here’s his mother wearing it

If you ever want to celebrate something newsworthy (like the release of my single) I encourage you to consider combining that celebration with a fundraiser for a good cause. I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

CAT NAP BLUES Official Music Video

Without further ado, here it is, peeps! The release of my first single and official music video.  

Please enjoy the music, give it a like, and share with your friends!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

For the Love of Cats

I have some exciting…and unlikely…news!

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

One day early spring, 2022, my cat was sitting on the kitchen counter, as she often does.

Yes, my husband and I let Linn on the counters. We tried keeping her off for a while, but at one point George just looked at me and asked, “Is her being on the counters really hurting anything?” My response: “No.”

She’s been prowling the counters as she wishes ever since.

By the way, if you’ve ever wondered why counters are called that, here’s what Google tells me: “It entered Old French sometime in the 1300s as contoeur (from comptoir), and was used to describe the table where sales and banking occurred, where things were counted by a counter. The counter (person) used the counter (object) to count upon.”

But, I digress. Back to Linn sitting on the kitchen counter that one early spring day.

A line of lyrics popped into my head. Cat’s sittin’ on the counter. Just a-singin’ the blues. Cause someone came along, and interrupted her snooze. The line came with a melody, a traditional blues riff. I added a few more lyrics and sang it to George. He chuckled.

So I added a few more lyrics, and George chuckled more, then a refrain that she had the Cat Nap Blues. Suddenly it was an entire song I’d never even intended to write.

Here’s where it gets weird. My car was being serviced at Erickson’s Automotive, the only auto shop I’ve ever 100% trusted. Bill Erickson is in a band called Ten O’Clock Hill and I love their CD, Good to Go. Because I knew Bill is also a musician, I sang a few bars and wondered if the band might want to play around with Cat Nap Blues. They did, and we started rehearsing the song together at Ron Stearn’s home studio in Beavercreek.

Then…the band told me they know the legendary Dean Baskerville, a music producer who has worked with the likes of Sheryl Crow, and that he would be in Oregon in October.

All of a sudden I was making a professional recording, in a professional studio, of the only song I’ve ever written both lyrics and music to.

Dean Baskerville
Ten O’Clock Hill
Dead Aunt Thelma’s Studio
Jerry Wilson, Videographer and Cover Art Creator
Cover Art by Jerry Wilson
Me – First Time in a Professional Recording Studio
Me and Hubby

Because of my cat.

Wow, that is something to completely revel in!

To celebrate the release of Cat Nap Blues February 18, I’m hosting a benefit concert for Hazel’s House Rescue, where we adopted Linn in 2020, at Chehalem Winery Tasting Room in Newberg. Here’s the flyer with all pertinent information. You can make donations here: https://paypal.me/LauraHandke or at the live event. The raffle prizes are super fun!

Come join us! Have a glass of wine, enjoy the music of Ten O’Clock Hill, and help the homeless kitties of the Willamette Valley all at the same time!

After she is tragically orphaned, young Abella loses the ability to speak her truth and express herself. She is sent to live with a reclusive uncle she’s never met, and her only friend is her horse. Abella endures heartbreak, loneliness and questions who she truly is inside. Eventually, she meets friends and animals who help her not only regain her voice, but also uncover her strength and purpose. Purchase How Abella Found her Voice for $4.95 here: https://laurahandke.com/product/how-abella-found-her-voice-e-book/

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

Love Your Voice & Voice Your Love,

Laura

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