Friday, December 22, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Greetings from The Farm
As I sit down to compose this holiday greeting, it’s almost 60 degrees outside, the sun is shining, and the crocuses are deciding whether or not it’s time to bloom. Although it feels more like spring vacation than winter break, those of us in the Mid-Ohio Valley know that tomorrow could bring ice and snow, so for now, we’re soaking in the warmth!
2006 has been a good year for The Wilders. Samuel, 21, has just finished the first semester of his junior year at Appalachian State University in Boone and is glad to be home and free of paper deadlines and exams. He is now an officially declared journalism major with a minor in philosophy and religion. Those of you who recall the chubby little guy who used to run around the farm in his Batman cape wouldn’t recognize him now. He’s tall, slender, and in very good shape thanks to the hours he spends on his mountain bike and weightlifting. He spent this past summer as an intern at the Thistle Mountain Winery in Ashe County, NC, and has become quite the expert on wines. I look for him to be a contributing writer to Food & Wine or some similar magazine as he travels the world on his bike, sampling gourmet fare and fine wines along the way.
Eliza, now 15, made the high school band color guard as one of three freshmen, so we spent a good part of the summer and fall involved in band events. When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday this year, she promptly replied, “A really nice, tall, ‘hot’ boyfriend.” So, when she came home from school on her birthday, she announced her wish had come true! How’s that for conjuring up some good stuff! So far, her GPA hasn’t suffered from the hours she spends on the phone with Matt and other friends and/or in front of the mirror doing her hair, and I am very proud of the young woman I see transforming before me. As for college interests, as a 9th grader, Eliza has her eyes set on Brown University with the hopes of becoming a psychiatrist. We’ll see how that takes shape over the next three years.
Bobbi (my foster daughter from years ago) and Isabella, 6, have visited the farm twice this year. They still live in Philadelphia where Bobbi has a yoga/pilates studio / massage therapy business. As the photos show, Isabella reflects her mother’s beauty as well as her energy and love of life. One of my favorite images of Isabella’s last visit is of her asleep with the dogs on the floor underneath the dining room table. She was oblivious to the fact that the dogs smelled like cow pasture and mud; she was just into pretending to be one of the Corgis!
I began my 30th (!) year of teaching this fall. I’m still at the local community college, and I teach two classes as an adjunct at Marietta College. My work with the Evergreen Arts & Humanities Series at WSCC keeps me busier than I’d like to be at times, but I get to meet some amazingly creative and fun people in the process. I also am still very active on behalf of Cuban political prisoners. I do a lot of translation work through the Coalition of Cuban-American Women. In October, I had the opportunity to speak at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States in Washington, DC. My topic dealt with human rights abuses of Cuban children; hopefully, my research will become a part of the OAS’s annual report on the overall state of human rights abuses in Cuba. I still dream of owning a small place in Cuba some day where all of you can visit me in the snowy winter months, but that won’t be a reality until there is a change in leadership on the island and things stabilize as a result. It could take a while!
Holding down the farm keeps me really busy! I’m praying that the warm weather continues because I have this sense that the barn might not withstand another windy winter. Keep your fingers crossed please! :0) My garden and flowers flourished during the summer, and I can hardly wait to get my hands back into the Earth in a few more months.
Here at our home, we’re grateful for our many, many blessings…good health, the love of good friends and family, our critters (two Corgis, five cats, and a fish) and the beauty of the natural world that surrounds us. Our prayer for the coming year is that as individuals, as a nation, as a planet, may we all come into a greater understanding of peace and compassion.
We send our holiday love and hope that this finds everyone well and happy. Please plan a visit to see us this coming year!
Wishing joy and peace to all!
Tanya, Samuel, & Eliza & Bobbi and Isabella
Sunday, December 17, 2006
What's happening? It's as warm as a spring morning today, December 17th. At 10:30 AM, the fairly accurate thermometer on the back porch reads 55 degrees. All the infernal ladybugs that didn't hatch out during the fall have decided that it's time to infest the house, and the crocuses are thinking it's time to blossom. The evergreens are pollinating (as indicated by my allergies), and I had to toss off the winter quilts on my bed last night because I got too hot under the covers!!! Commentary in the mall last night centered around folks not feeling like it's the holiday season because of the warmth.....
Now, I'm not here to complain. Those of you who know me well know that winter is not my favorite time of the year and that I constantly jabber about having a winter home in Cuba some day...(That is, when Fidel finally croaks-if he hasn't already-, the country stabilizes, and I come up with a windfall that will allow me to put up a yurt on a small patch of beach front property on the island...Dream on!!) BUT, here in the Mid-Ohio Valley, the temps have not been below 40 degrees for the entire month of December.
Perhaps it really is time for us all to rent the Al Gore movie, read his book, and investigate cleaning up our lives. For a person who grew up in the mountains of NC and remembers very cold, snowy, windy, bitter winters, this December seems really, really strange.
Friday, December 15, 2006
It's totally quiet here today at the farm...I'm here alone (after going out earlier to have a morning coffee with Samuel, who returned to Marietta yesterday after finishing his last exam). The only sounds I hear are the clicking of the keyboard as I type this and the chimes hanging outside in the crabapple tree as they respond to the breeze that sets them in motion.
Loonis, in her own silently annoying way, stares at me and invites me to play fetch with her yet again, and the dogs sleep soundly outside my bedroom door. Our communication today is totally non-verbal, especially since I have the best case of laryngitis I think I've ever had and couldn't talk if I wanted to.
I've tried to mutter a few words a couple of times today...to Samuel at the coffee house....to a salesperson over the phone...to the UPS driver when he dropped off a package. I squeak out some pretty pitiful croaks, and then everyone remarks at how incredibly miserable I sound. Thankfully, I don't feel badly...I just can't talk.
Actually, it's really quite nice to reflect upon silence, be silent, and listen to the silence.... a mystical, contemplative place of solitude and peace to experience...I love it!...I might not even put on any music or turn on TV...I think I'll wrap a few presents and knit, losing myself in each stitch as I watch the dishcloths I'm making take shape. (There may be some inner dialogue and/or expletives if I drop a stitch and can't figure out how to correct my mistake, however!) :0) :0)
So, as the Universe must be directing, I'm not going to speak again today...I'm going to give my obviously inflamed vocal chords a rest, and move within.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
No, no, no...not the drug-induced high that many of my readers might automatically associate with the lyrics, but the best of NATURAL highs when beloved friends, who are closer than many blood relatives, stop by for a couple of days at the farm to kick back...relax... and enjoy good coversation... fine wine... and the beginning of the holidays here at The Farm.
I've known the people in these photos for close to 30 years now, and we've certainly seen each other through every rite of passage possible...births, marriages, remarriages, divorces, deaths, and various other life-altering events.
Each one of us has lived a rather "unconventional" life...we've done everything from travel around the country in a bright green school bus, work in the Peace Corps, live alone in a small house way back in the Virginia mountains, have huge gardens and live rather self-sufficiently, make art, become involved in environmental, social, and human rights issues to teach and work in the corporate world. We have rather strong alternative views on most things; we don't vote for the likes of George Bush; we are very Earth-conscious; we have always contributed to living in a loving way and making the world a much better place; we have produced interesting, intelligent children who carry on our legacies; we've all lived communally at some point in our lives; we meditate, do yoga, and chant in the sweat lodge, and we all share a profound love for one another at a deep and very special level.
So, last night, we declared that "THE HOLIDAYS HAVE BEGUN" as we gathered together here at the farm, cooked up a delicious meal, made a warm fire in the big room, listened to Sherm play his guitar, and sipped our after dinner wine. More memories were made to add to our friendship list of good times shared, as love effervesced in our hearts like bubbles from the finest champagne....It just doesn't get much better!
May everyone be blessed with similar connections this holiday season and beyond...They're the absolute very, very bestest thing in the whole wide world...
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
For some odd reason this morning as I started a MAJOR closet cleaning project, I felt like something was "off" in my body. Shortly after I got everything in my closet heaped in piles on my bedroom door, it became obvious that I had come down with an intense urinary tract infection (I know...thanks for sharing). SOOOOO, rather than being able to finish my project (and let me tell you, it is a HUGE project), I spent a considerable part of the day staring at the piles on the floor, drinking cranberry juice, and debating whether or not I should try to get to a doctor.
About a dozen excruciating trips to the bathroom convinced me that yes, I needed to get my rear end in gear and go to Quick Care. Well, Quick Care is closed on Saturday afternoon, so I headed to Physician Care where the receptionist informed me that I would have a two to three hour wait before I could see the MD. I confess to being a bit grumpy at that point since there were only 2 or 3 sneezing,coughing, and wheezing folks in the waiting room. Then it occurred to me to call a friend who's an MD to ask the huge favor or calling me in a prescription. Thank goodness, David was at home. I went straight to RiteAid, started the meds, and am feeling considerable relief.
Then, I remembered that the Evergreen Arts & Humanities Series had an event scheduled tonight that I needed to attend. Tom Jackson pulled through for me on this one, and while the concert was taking place, I mustered up enough energy to put on my clothes to go pick up Eliza after the high school basketball game.
When I called Eliza's friend's mom, Kim, to tell her I'd be by after the game, she volunteered--no actually insisted--on bringing Eliza home so I wouldn't have to go out. How sweet..how considerate...how loving!
Now, some 12 hours later after the onset of UTI, the closet stuff is still heaped on my floor and bed, and I've ingested enough fluids to drain a pond. However, as crappy as I have felt all day, I have been embraced and humbled by the goodness of others...by three people whose assistance and kindness made the day easy for me and enabled me to take some time to rest and feel better.
THANK YOU TOM, DAVID, AND KIM...I'll pay it forward, and I'm here whenever you need me...I am deeply, deeply grateful...
Thursday, November 30, 2006
the week after Thanksgiving is always "in-service" at work, and in all honesty, I'm about in-serviced out. Compression plannings, meetings, and the annual Professional Development Day motivational speakers all add up to days packed with zillions of things that preclude anything important from being addressed, much less begun or completed.
Thank goodness for my beloved Mary Ann, who brightens my day with her wonderfully colorful creations and sense of humor. While I knitted through yesterday's speakers, she completed 8 Sudokus. Yes, the girls in A&S 237 are not well-behaved, and yes, we will make history!
My goal for the weekend is to get some photos and commentary from Thanksgiving week in NC posted and start thinking about the holidays...
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Pre-Thanksgiving love abounds here at the Farm...Bobbi and Isabella arrived Sunday afternoon...Those two always bring loads of laughter and fun...Joe Davis came over from Athens last evening, and all of us, along with Tom Jackson, had some major deep connected farm time...lots and lots of laughter, a wonderful fire in the fireplace, and a succulent lamb, collards, wild rice, and homemade cranberry sauce meal Thanksgiving meal here at the farm... Bob, Tom, and I in the kitchen were a site to behold...Meanwhile, Isabella and her favorite farm friends, Annie and Molly, played so hard they fell asleep together underneath the dining room table! :0)
Tom J., the dogs, and I are off to NC tomorrow...Will see Grandma Shook...Ride around in the mountains...Hang out... Samuel and Eliza will be together in Florida....
It's all about love at its best....The photos say it all...
Joy radiates in every cell of my being at this moment...
I am grateful for this day and my many, many, many blessings....
PS: Check out www.positivenewsus.org
PSS: The Sychronized Global Orgasm for Peace is making the news...Jay Leno, David Letterman, John Stewart, and others have all mentioned it on their programs, and no one seems to think it's a bad idea...Go figure!!!!! :0) :0)
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
This is the First Annual Winter Solstice Synchronized Global Orgasm for Peace, leading up to Winter Solstice of 2012, when the Mayan Calendar ends with a new beginning.
The intent is that the participants concentrate any thoughts during and after orgasm on peace. The combination of high-energy orgasmic energy combined with mindful intention may have a much greater effect than previous mass meditations and prayers.
The goal is to add so much concentrated and high-energy positive input into the energy field of the Earth that it will reduce the current dangerous levels of aggression and violence throughout the world. Global Orgasm is an experiment open to everyone in the world. The results will be measured on the worldwide monitor system of the Global Consciousness Project.http://www.globalorgasm.org/http://blog.wired.com//sex/2006/11/global_orgasm_a.html
Please send out to your entire mailing list!
WHO? All Men and Women, you and everyone you know.
WHERE? Everywhere in the world, but especially in countries with weapons of mass destruction.
WHEN? Winter Solstice Day - Friday, December 22nd, at the time of your choosing, in the place of your choosing and with as much privacy as you choose.
WHY? To effect positive change in the energy field of the Earth through input of the largest possible surge of human energy. There are two more US fleets heading for the Persian Gulf with anti-submarine equipment that can only be for use against Iran, so the time to change Earth's energy is NOW!
Our minds influence Matter and Energy fields, so by concentrating any thoughts during and after The Big O on peace and partnership, the combination of high orgasmic energy combined with mindful intention will reduce global levels of violence, hatred and fear.This is something just about everyone can do and enjoy. And you can do it by yourself or with someone else. You don't even have to tell anyone you're going to do it!
THE SCIENCE: The Global Consciousness Project (http://noosphere.princeton.edu), Princeton University, runs a network of Random Event Generators around the world, which record changes in randomness during global events. The results show that human consciousness can be measured to have a global effect on matter and energy during widely-watched events such as 9/11 and the Indian Ocean tsunami. There have also been measurable results during mass meditations and prayers.
It's free! It's private! It's easy! It's fun! It just might be the most important thing you could do for yourself, your family, the planet and our species.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
How happy would you be if for your 15th birthday, you put it out to the Universe that the guy you'd really like to go out with asked you out?
Well, just ask Eliza, whose request came true today when her friend Matt became her boyfriend Matt on her 15th birthday! She's so excited she can hardly contain herself!!!!!
As I write this, Matt, his brother, Josh, and Lexie, Eliza's best friend who is also Josh's girlfriend, are downstairs celebrating E's 15th birthday, playing Twister (hmmmmm??) and eating pizza. How cool is it that two best friends are going out with brothers - brothers who really like each other and get along well????!!??
It's been a magical day for Eliza..Friends honored her at school with gifts, and she's gotten several phone calls from friends and family. A really special call was the one she got from Samuel. To continue the celebration, Lexie, her mom, Kim, Eliza, and I are heading to Easton Mall in Columbus on Sunday to do some birthday shopping. It'll be a girls' day and fun, fun, fun...
My memories of Eliza's birth: Exhilaration at meeting my little girl, agony at having pneumonia at that time, a sore body (not so much from the C-section as from the discomfort of coughing all the time), and looking into two little eyes that never stopped gazing into mine.
Fifteen years later, I look into those same eyes and see into the essence of an amazing young woman...incredibly bright, sensitive, caring, compassionate, and beautiful in every way. And, I'm honored beyond words that she chose to incarnate on the planet through me so that we could share our lives as mom and daughter.
Happy Birthday, E! Infinite love.......Mom
Monday, November 06, 2006
Go immediately to the Home Star Runner website and click on the New Fan Costumes button in the upper right corner of the page. (You have to be fast because the little icon there changes quickly). The very first photo that pops up is none other than our very own farm girl, Lori Beth (in the tee-shirt) with her friend Amanda, the bear-eating shark!!! (This, by the way, is the photo Lori submitted to the First Annual Namasté Blog Halloween Costume Contest that I can't figure out how to post.)
YEAH LORI & AMANDA !!!!!! You two "hot-ties" are cyberspace stars!
(If you've never checked out Home Star Runner, take a trip through the site. I guarantee you'll laugh along the way!)
Can't wait to get the word out, so I'm going to post this NOW!!!
There were few submissions for the First Annual Namasté Blog Halloween contest, so all four submissions have been declared winners. Those of you who were kind enough to participate will receive something appropriate in time, so hang in there until your prize arrives. (NOTE: Lori's submission from Hawaii and Mary Ann's original submission wouldn't post on my blog, but I'll keep working on them. In the meantime, I posted a shot of Mary Ann that I took.)
Old Lady with Large Ass and Sagging Breasts-Mary Helgren
A Playboy Bunny-I have no idea who this is!
A Sweet Little Witch
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Hey all you blog readers...don't forget to email Halloween photos to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll post them on my blog so everyone can vote for his/her favorite Halloween creation....
Entries as early as 10/27/2006 will be considered since tomorrow is the day we all celebrate at work.
Dress up, and join in the fun....
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
I'm home after an exciting trip to Washington, and today I returned to the office, my classes, and all the work involved with both. The time in DC, the presentation at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights at the OAS, and being able to see my friends, Laida and Pepín, made the nerve-wrecking drive over worth the effort.
Around 8PM Sunday evening, about 15 miles outside of Hagertown, MD, I heard a thumping sound outside of the car. Within seconds, it sounded like there was a helicopter flying right above me, and then I knew that rather than being targeted by some reconnaisance vehicle in the sky, I had a blow-out in my rear left tire.
So, there I was, on the side of the interstate, with 18-wheelers and heavy traffic zooming by. I was on the phone with my friend, Caroline, when all this occurred, and as she hung up, she said she'd pray for assistance to come my way. Not 5 minutes later, a car pulled off in front of me, and two young men hopped out to ask if I needed help. There were Samuel's age and like him, returning to school from fall vacation. Long story short--they changed my tire and made it possible for me to continue without having to wait three hours for AAA to arrive.
Yes, I believe in angels, and yes, I am totally grateful to these two young men for their help. I would be hard pressed to argue that today's younger generation is going to ruins...My experience is testimony to the total contrary.
Monday, Laida, Pepín, and I spent the day lobbying the offices of the 13 MD's and 2 dentists in Congress to assist us in raising awareness of the plight of 6 Cuban doctors and 1 dentist who are in prison across the island. I bet we walked 5 miles across the Senate and Represenative buildings in the process. I was amazed at the ages of the staffers with whom we spoke about these serious issues. I believe the oldest was only 33. Then, yesterday, we made our presentations at the OAS in front of the Commission on Human Rights. I believe our presentations were highly regarded and taken seriously although I realize that in the long run, we will have very little direct impact on shifting things in Cuba. At least, there will be documentation within the archives of the OAS about those topics we addressed.
So, today has been all about returning to students, tying up loose ends regarding the event last weekend, and getting back in the groove at the office. I leave for DC again on Monday for another conference about foundations and philanthropy at the community college level. (A barmometer of my level of enthusiasm for that would barely reach 0.) But, perhaps I'll have time to take in a couple of museums and walk around the city some more.
It's getting colder out...the tiny snowstorm that came through finished off all the beautiful flowers that remained from the summer...I've had to pull out my winter clothes....Sleeping in a hat and scarf is not far away, I can tell.
Off to go home...Namasté...T.
Friday, October 20, 2006
since I last sat down to update my blog because...
this has been one of the busiest weeks I've had in a helluva long time...
I've spent the greater part of my time at work getting ready for the opening event of this year's Evergreen Arts and Humanities Series (which I chair and wish I didn't at times)..We have an absolutely amazing year planned, and tomorrow night Adrienne Young and Little Sadie will play in concert to kick off the 2006-2007 slate of programs. Coordinating everything from those involved in the reception to the publicity person to the stage decorator and sound man has been quite an adventure. Were it not for Tom Jackson's assistance, I'd be really loony!
When I haven't been running around like a chicken with my head cut off for the Series, I've had to do things like teach, be a mom, attend other meetings, and write a presentation which I will deliver next Tuesday at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights Assembly of the Organization of American States in Washington, DC. This is a MAJOR presentation, and I have yet to finish it...Hence today's entry on my blog will be short.
My topic for the OAS will address human rights violations of children in Cuba, and the research has indicated that 1) there's a lot of stuff that needs to be documented, and 2) I could write a dissertation on any given aspect of the issue. I'll save that for later once I get some free time...(tee hee!)
Samuel's at home with his friend, Harrison, for fall break. I can't get enough of seeing him, especially since he was damn near wiped out by a car last week in NC. Some joker ran over him--ran into him, rather, as he was crossing the street. Thank God he is a rugby player and has learned how to take a hit! (literally)...Bottom line is that he's OK, has a couple of bruises, and no internal injuries...He's one lucky fellow, and I'm one relieved mom.
Since I last chronicled anything, Eliza's been to homecoming where she ditched her date and had a great time with other friends; Annie and Molly have gotten really stinky thanks to their encounter with a skunk, and the frost has taken its toll on my flowers. I do have a couple of beautiful roses left...a sweet reminder of warmer days, and some late planted greens are beginning to take hold down at the garden. My room is full of plants I brought in from the cold, and apparently each one of them had a huge share of bugs and spiders hidden in the leaves because my room has been full of things that crawl and fly in the night.
OK...enough for today..I'm off to feed the animals and FINISH my paper...
Love to all...
Friday, October 13, 2006
I was tagged by Mary Ann, and, in return, I'm tagging Tom. (no pressure, Tom, to answer anytime soon...I know you have so MUCH free time.....)...So, here ya go - lots of random info about me!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
I lost my keys today....found them about 10 minutes after I sent out a college-wide email saying I had lost them...
The brakes went out on the car of one of my students who had her baby in the car with her...She had to drive into a field and run up a hill to get stopped...She and the baby bumped around...neither hurt, thank goodness...
Samuel just called and very nonchalantly told me he had been hit by a car, had a bleeding head and arm, had been thrown on the hood and fell off into the street...He's off to the emergency room to make sure there are no internal injuries...I could be a bit unnerved at the moment!!
The animals, aka, 2 corgis and one cat, are skitterish and won't go three feet away from me....
Luther looks dead again....
I saw a HUGE snake in the road this afternoon, and it was alive and coiled up, ready to strike at the next passing car...
The sky is ablaze with streaks of lightening...the wind is howling....rain in pouring down in big sheets.....
My conclusions at the moment: I'm going to turn off the computer and go hide my head under the sheets.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
THE PERFECT WARM FALL WEEKEND....
These past two days have been absolutely glorious...early fall at its best! I spent both Saturday and Sunday outdoors, the first extended period of time I've had outdoors since school began in August, and I LOVED IT !!
Saturday, I mowed and mowed some more. With the thought I won't be doing it again this year, I tackled both banks and cut down the stands of weeds on them that had been growing since mid-August. I think I mowed for about 4 hours. I felt good in my body, definitely stronger and more flexible thanks to my trips to the Y and yoga. When I hit the sack last night, I was out in a moment's notice and slept like a log for 9 straight hours!
Today, I thought about going in to town and decided otherwise the moment I walked outside. At that point, I decided to weed out the beds down by the barn and plant some late greens--collards, kale, buttercrunch, and turnips. Then I took a lap around the back field with the dogs and my camera in hand. Tom Jackson came over for a while, and we ended up digging the last of the onions down by the silo and making a fall bundle from the cornstalks we pulled out from between the weeds. After Tom left, the sun was beginning to sink in the west, so I grabbed my camera one more time and captured a few more farm flowers in the light of the late afternoon sun. I couldn't make myself come in until it was totally dark outside.
The photo will provide some idea of what's thriving around here as frost approaches. I hope for a delay in cold weather and pray that days like these past two will be around for a while longer.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Last week, when Molly, the corgi, got her head stuck in between the posts on the back porch, I felt some relief in that I hadn't been the one to get caught in one of my "moments" around the farm in a while. Today, however, I must confess to re-upping my membership in The Dumb Club in a big way.
Last week, I eulogized Luther, our farm beta fish, at what I thought was his passage. I have to confess that I didn't take the time to get him buried and just left him lying at the bottom of his bowl. My intent was to get him under ground today.
Wellllllll, as it turns, out Luther's NOT dead...When I walked by his bowl today on my way to get the shovel to take him out to bury him, he swam to the front of his bowl and started flapping his gills at me--the way he always does when I tell him good morning and drop him some food. I damn near jumped out of my jeans! I can't say that Luther looks in top form after a week of no food and cold water. In fact, he does appear to be on his last "fin" (so to speak)...He was swimming somewhat sideways, but he was definitely alive enough to beg and let me know he's still "kickin." Poor fellow...he must have been starved!
I'm feeling somewhat awful for assuming Luther had kicked the bucket. (I did poke him with a chopstick when I thought he was a "goner," and he didn't move then.) If he were something other than a fish, I'd fix him a really tasty supper and a nice, warm place to rest and recuperate.
Perhaps, I'll just put a towel over his bowl and hope that keeps him warm enough to regain his strength....
Monday, October 02, 2006
Hey, my few but loyal blog readers...It's time to start thinking about Halloween costumes! This year Namasté Blog is going to host its first Halloween costume competition for the first Farm Halloween cyber-fiesta!
All you have to do is take a photo of yourself in your costume and send it to me in care of email@example.com. (If you'd like to add a little commentary about your Halloween activities, that would be fine as well.)I will assemble all the photos and post them here on my blog. Those of you who check in regularly can leave a comment as to your pick for the costume that most strikes your fancy. No categories..No criteria.. The costume with the most comments will win something yet to be determined... maybe a pack of seeds for next year's pumpkin patch....maybe a wand to conjure up some magic...maybe a year's supply of candy corn...
I'll post a weekly reminder as we approach All Hallow's Eve, so start thinking about your "get-up" now.
Let the creativity roll and join in the fun!
(Art credit: Jennifer Hewiston - October - Llewellyn's Witches Calendar 2006)
Sunday, October 01, 2006
I am sorry to report tonight that Luther, the blue farm beta fish, has passed on to the great fish bowl in the sky. Luther has been a part of the farm for 5 or 6 years, a long life for a beta fish. I think the thought of another winter of chilly water was too much for him to bear, and when he sensed it coming these last couple of days, he just decided to check out.
Luther is the 4th in a long line of farm betas. Bob, beta #1, overcame a near death experience as Hendrix knocked his bowl on the floor where he flopped around until Eliza walked in the room and rescued him. He lived to be the subject of Eliza's 4th grade proficiency test essay, "Bob's Near Death Experience." Bob was followed by Hank, whom Eliza accidently dropped down the drain when she was cleaning his bowl. She did manage to grasp his tail as he was swirling away, but alas, it came off in her hand, and Hank got sucked down the bathroom sink pipe. (I assured her that the drain ran directly into the pond and that Hank would be just fine. That thought soothed her heart until she realized the pond freezes over in winter and Hank was a tropical fish.) Then there was Dean who met an untimely death when Loonis knocked over his temporary tank and made him her dinner. Shortly thereafter, Luther came to live with us.
Luther loved to flirt with me when I stood in front of his bowl to feed him. (Great example of behavior modification...) And, I will credit Luther with being a rather smart fish-- he learned at an early age to swim to the bottom of the tank and lie really still when a cat perched beside it to watch him.
Tomorrow, I'll bury Luther in my flower garden so that as he returns to the earth, he can fertilize the small space of ground where he lies. And then, I'll probably go buy another beta fish.
May you rest in peace, Luther....I'll miss my daily "Good morning, Luther!" before I dropped in your BetaBites.
You were a good fish!
Friday, September 29, 2006
Question: What do you do when you're a farm Corgi named Molly, and for some reason, you decide to stick your head through two posts on the back deck and get stuck?
Answer: You wait patiently until Tanya comes home and finds you in this predicament when she comes out on the deck to feed the cats. (Note how pleased Molly is to have her "adventure" captured on camera.)
Question: What does Tanya do when she realizes Molly's stuck and can't get unstuck?
Answer: She takes off Molly's collar and tries to help Molly turn her head to the side so she can get unstuck. When that doesn't work, she tries to nudge Molly's head through the posts at a different angle. When that doesn't work, she decides to drench Molly's head and the two posts between which Molly is stuck with olive oil so that Molly can just slide her head back through. When that doesn't work, she thinks that will saw one of the posts off but decides to call Tom Jackson first.
Question: What happens when Tom arrives?
Answer: He tries to position Molly's head so that he can help her back out and get free. When that doesn't work, he suggests that we knock one of the posts out, freeing Molly.
Question: What happens when Tom is banging away at the banister with his HUGE hammer?
Answer: Molly panics and pulls her head out.
End of story.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
FALL FARM UPDATE....
Autumn Equinox / 12:03 AM / 9/23/06
Fall is here, along with changing leaves, a couple of chilly mornings, brisk breezes, and for all you allergy sufferers, air laden with ragweed pollen...AACCHHOOO!
As I look out the window at this moment, I see lots of goldenrod across the way, tinges of yellow and red on the leaves on the maple tree, and zinnias that fell in last night's rain. There's a smell of fall in the air, and I sense that consistently cooler weather is on the way. The drizzle, grey skies, and quietness of the morning almost convinced me to roll over and take another hour or so of morning snoozies.
All the farm family has settled into post-summer routine now. Samuel is four weeks into his junior year at Appalachian State. After a summer in Boone and Thistle Mountain Winery. it's back to communication, economics, and philosophy classes that translate into lots of reading and papers. He's picked up a part-time job at The Gap and works up to 20 hours a week in his "spare" time. He and his mountain bike take off on some pretty adventuresome rides around the hills, and it's my thought that it's then that he relaxes and takes some time for himself to re-group. I can hardly believe Samuel will turn 21 in December...What an amazing man he's become!!....Eliza's progress reports indicate that she's in good standing academic-wise despite a social life that would appear to be her first priority. She devotes every weekend (and afternoons) to band activities and a portion of every evening to her "telephone time." I'll just be blatant in my bragging--she is so incredibly beautiful and graceful on the field with her flag that I overflow with pride and joy. High school has been quite a transition, and there have been a couple of awkward moments, but this girl is evolving into a very solid and wise young woman....Bobbi and Isabella report that things are good in Philly. Isabella started 1st grade! Her sweet voice on the phone melts my heart! Bobbi's life is full with her teaching and massage clients. Rumor has it that she might be looking into buying a house....Joe and Elissa have begun their 3rd and final year in graduate school at OU. Suffice to say that they're busy to the max. Elissa worked in a successful show in Columbus this summer... I think the two of them took time to travel a bit and camp..With 3rd year work and shows coming in the not too distant future, they're pretty much in the studio 24/7.... Brett made the move to California after hiking in Corsica for part of the summer. He's there with Betsy, and he's a happy camper. Starting a new job at a new school with all new classes and material means that it's like being a first year teacher again, so he's swamped with work and extra responsibilities, but he loves where he is and what he's doing. Hopefully the two of them will be at The Farm for New Year's Eve....Meera began grad school in August at Berkeley. She jotted off a three-liner to me the other day, basically saying that being back in school has her body and mind hopping. Knowing Meera, she's at the top of her class, challenging her profs and peers with her insight and intellect. I think of her every day as I contemplate the many conversations we've had over the years. Just yesterday, I had a vision of being in Cuba, teaching at a school she and I had put together. (Part of the vision entailed sitting on the beach with a good cold beer in hand while planning our next strategy!).... Lori, more beautiful than ever, was home for a couple of weeks in August. Life on Maui has to be like life in heaven! Although she found out while here that her current nannying job had come to an end, she had another potentially quite nice gig set up before she left! She's writing, getting ready to publish her first book, and loving her life. When she and Eliza were outside spinning flags together, I realized again that the two of them really are twin sisters...I am so grateful for Lori in all of our lives. She brings laughter and love in every moment to all who know her. Tom J. and I are working together on the arts and humanities series at work. In a week or so, he'll be able to let go of his night job, get back to a regular schedule, and have weekends to himself. His relationship with Renato is growing and becoming more solid with each day. Last night he and I drew some cards here at the house--the word for him equals change...good change...greater wisdom...growth. It was powerful and so befitting for him at the moment...I've seen Norm, Diane, and Andrew a couple of times recently. Andrew's back at Wooster for his sophomore year, living in a house with several friends who have a Big Brother/Big Sister service learning project going for the year....Dana and James returned to Nebraska after a visit at The Farm in July. Like Meera, Joe, and Elissa, they're back in school. This year the two of them will finish the course work for their doctoral work and begin the next stage of the Ph.D process. James's blog keeps me abreast of their goings-on. We all know how busy they must be!
I've about adjusted to being back at work. My students seem good and interested in learning, and that's always a tremendous blessing. They provide a very welcome balance to all the outside-of-class things I'm responsible for. I've stuck to my commitment to get to the Y as much as possible, and I'm feeling stronger and more alive in my body than in the last year or so. Having Tom and Mary Ann in my office is a great joy. We laugh, we work, we get things done...It's such a blessing to be around those two! I'm using this year to take a look at those things that occupy my time and delay my work on things that I really, really, want to do (i.e., more work on Cuba, making some paper, reading, etc.). This time next year, I'll be 55, and I see that as a banner year to move into more Tanya-oriented things with less work-related stuff. (Wishful thinking? Depends upon the choices I make, I guess.) Regardless, my life is good and full of many blessings. What more could one ask for??
My Llewellyn's Witches' Calendar for September speaks of the Autumnal Equinox as a time to make a scarecrow and "enchant" it for protection and abundance during this season. I'm a little late on getting one down by the garden, but I think I'll put together something today to place in the yard. (Actually a photo of my "bed-head" this morning would serve appropriately!) In doing so, I'll have all of you in mind as I place my intentions for abundance in every aspect of our lives, for protection for us all, and as I contemplate gratitude for all we share.
Off to go see Eliza in a band competition and come home to do some farm cleaning!
Love, infinite love, to all....
(Art credit: Jennifer Hewiston, October--Llewellyn's Witches Calendar, 2006)
Friday, September 15, 2006
I'm sitting here at the computer, waiting for a phone call from the farm 14-yr. old to let me know it's time to drive out to the high school and pick her up after the band gets back from tonight's football game.
I left work at noon today to have lunch with a couple of friends, headed to the Y from there to exercise on a full tummy, and then came straight home for a wonderful afternoon here at the farm...Man, did it ever feel good to get outside, breathe in the afternoon, and just chill out with the cats and dogs. Quietness, beginning-of-fall warm sun, flowers lushly blooming after a several days of soaking rain....a walk around the farm. What peace!
Tuesday, of course, was my birthday. Several folks at work brought some really sweet gifts by the office, and lots of people wished me happy birthday. Mary Ann gave me the gift of the day.... a bona fide vintage towel from "Mabel's Whorehouse --where they give double green stamps on Tuesday!" (I'll post a picture of it later) I love it! It's a nice addition to our office along with the switch plate of David that another colleague gifted Mary Ann...and until the dean returns from vacation next week, it will hang right at the entrance to our office. While the cat's away, the mice in A&S 237 play!! Over the course of the my birthday day, I taught 5 classes, had each class sing "Happy Birthday to me (in Spanish, of course...how self-celebrating is that??), shared wonderful conversation with Eliza over dinner, ate a half of a piece of six-layer chocolate cake, and got a birthday call from Samuel and my childhood friend (more like brother), Richard Randall. ... And like a kid, I got really excited when I went to the mail box and found a card from my parents, sister, and dear Japanese friend, Yuki Sento, in the mailbox. Yuki always makes her cards and NEVER misses any of our birthdays....
I send out a big thanks to everyone for making my 54th birthday a very special one. My wish for the world would be that everyone could know the level of love in their lives that I feel in mine. My gratitude and awe can't be captured in words.....I am greatly humbled by my many, many blessings.
In other news this week, students returned to class on Monday-- quite a relief for me since I greatly prefer to be in the classroom over being parked all day in meetings. My initial feeling is that I've got a good group this quarter...only a couple students seem a little intimidated by the openess of Spanish class, but I think I even got them to laugh with me today. My yoga class seems really good...Wednesday, we bounced on the exercise balls and got real silly as their bodies began to open up (unbeknownst to them)...My arts & humanities committee folks seem a bit overwhelmed and shocked to be back at work, so I have a little bit of nurturing to do to get their energy back....Meanwhile, Mary Ann and I looked forward all week to having our pictures taken together at what we thought was going to be one of those photo booths like we used to cram 10 people in and make silly faces. Turns out, a guy had a digital camera and took only one photo that he printed out and made into magnets for us. It was fun anyway, and we now have matching photos of ourselves over our desks.....
At some point soon I'll get to the Fall Farm update....there's lots to share...
Until then, love to all....
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Purple Datura....I had to post another shot of the most recent bloom.
Stay tuned this weekend for my next post: The Fall Farm Update, bringing you news and updates about the many of those who call "The Farm" home.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Today, my beloved, amazing, creative, kind, passionate, highly inspiring, funny, loving, wonderful fellow mom, teacher, office mate, Virgo and dear friend turns 29! No doubt about it....this girl'll make history!
Sooooooooooo, will all who read my blog join me in a joyful round of .....
Happy birthday to you....Happy birthday to you.....Happy birthday, Mary Ann.....Happy birthday to you...
And many more.........
Sunday, August 27, 2006
The hour has arrived, and I have to set my clock to get up in the morning for the first time since mid-June. I can no longer deny it....I have to go to work tomorrow. For those of you who are colleagues and are so kind to take the time to read my blog, I really am working on an attitude adjustment. I promise to be nice and positive tomorrow, but for now, Bah Humbug sums it up. :0)
PURPLE DATURA IN BLOOM !!!!
The blossom to the left slowly but surely began to unfold during this past week, and day before yesterday, it opened up into perhaps the most gorgeous blossom I've ever had here at the farm.
Photo #2 really doesn't do the beautiful and delicate curvature of the blossom justice. The flower is about 5" - 6" wide and is layered with a deep purple exterior that houses a snowy white, gently ruffled interior layer. And, the white center layer has another deep purple layer ruffle within it. I've seen very few things seen as breathtaking as this flower. (Unfortunately, a freaky and random rain/wind storm came up yesterday afternoon, breaking the flower off the stem. There are several more buds on the stalk, however.)
I brought the flower inside. Much to my surprise, it stayed open over night. Wild Datura blooms only last one day. This side shot gives an idea of the majesty of the flower. Needless to say, I'm watching the other buds like a hawk. I estimate it will be another week before the next one opens. I, of course, will be hovering over it with camera in hand!
Thursday, August 24, 2006
OK...Get ready...This is an offical blog whine.
Tomorrow is my last day of summer vacation because Monday morning I have to get up with the rest of the working world, put on something other than my farm clothes, retrieve my professional smile from the recesses of my inner self, and go to work. Once there, I'll have to sit in meetings for the next two weeks, pretend I'm listening, and hear the same "Welcome back...It's going to be a great year...So much has happened over the summer...We have a lot to accomplish this year...Let's be one happy family and bond" sort of stuff that I've listened to now for 30 years. (Yes, indeed, Monday marks the beginning of my 30th year as an educator!)
On a higher thought, I will be glad to see some of my colleagues...Mary Ann, my cool, creative, wonderful office mate, and I will get to hang out a bit every day...Dr. Tom will be just down the hall....Dr. Deb, the psych prof lives just down the hall and around the corner....And in a couple of weeks, students will be there, and I can settle in to teach, which is what I really enjoy.
I suppose once the routine sets in and I am more adjusted to being away from home during the day, I'll mellow out. But right now, my greatest wish is for summer to continue forever and for me to be able to enjoy my home, the farm, and my life without the interruption of work.
Too bad my last name isn't Hilton or Gates, huh?
End of whine.
Monday, August 21, 2006
I've never heard these lilies referred to as "Naked Ladies" until this year. I've always called them Surprise Lilies, simply because they send up shoots in a moment's notice, and they're often up and in bloom in a day's time. The other revelation I've had about them this summer is that they have a very light but intoxicating scent - -a somewhat sweetly fermented essence to my olfactory perception. This morning, they were beautiful in the sunlight coming over the hill, and since they won't be around for many days, I tried to capture their blossoms with my camera. These flowers also carry the spirit of my late mother-in-law, Sara Williams Wilder. They came from her garden years ago. In their pastel pinks, I see Sara's beautiful face and smile. She carried many secrets in her silence into the world of spirit...I'd like to be able to talk with her now.
On a couple of entirely different notes, since my heart rate took the plunge to 14 on a couple of occasions during my recent colonoscopy, the surgeon insisted that I see my family doctor to get her take on the tape from the procedure. My MD, who is the bestest I have ever, ever had, is out of the office for a while, so I saw a new person, and he didn't seem to think there was any sort of heart related issues involved. I could have told him that, but I will confess to being relieved at his assessment. He didn't even feel a stress test was called for, thank goodness. However, since I am no longer a "spring chicken, " I am publically committing myself to regular aerobic activity and attention to what I ingest. Enough said... :0)
And finally, there is another blossom about to open on a new flower I'm growing this year. It's a purple datura, and if it opens as beautifully as the wild datura I have all over the farm, then it's going to be a spectacular bloom. It should be appearing in a blog photo in the next couple of days. (I don't know what I'll do when the summer ends, frost arrives, and there will be no photos of flowers to share. Perhaps I'll go to colorful leaves!!) :0)
So, stay tuned. Sending all love from here at the farm on this beautiful August day.
Friday, August 18, 2006
This Texas Star Hibiscus plant came to me from my friend, Sue, last year, and I've nursed it along now through two growing seasons. Last summer, it was just a baby, so I pampered it carefully, not anticipating any blossoms. About six weeks ago, I noticed the beginnings of some buds on the tips of the stalks, and I've patiently watched them grow. For about the last week or so, the huge buds seemingly stopped growing, but they showed no signs of bursting open. I even called Sue to get her take on what I thought was a problem.
So, when I took my morning stroll around the farm a few minutes ago, I saw this burst of red (the photo really doesn't do it justice) off in the distance and ran to get my camera. Sure enough, the first bud opened, and this wonderful star flower was facing into the sun in the east. Needless to say, it was like the arrival of kittens or puppies for me, and I feel like the proud mother of my blooming plant. I also noticed that several other of the huge buds looked like they are ready to pop!
YEAH...Now I want to have these plants all over the farm!!!! If anyone wants some seeds to start next spring, just let me know...
Thursday, August 17, 2006
As Grandma Ruth would say, I've been "june-ing" around today inside the house rather than outside in the hot sun. Inspired by 1) fuzz balls all over the floor, 2) dead insects in the windowsills, 3) an unreliable cleaning helper (not Eliza, by the way), 4) dusty furniture I could write "clean me, please" on, 5) a really dirty kitchen floor, and 6) Mary Ann, who is always taking on similar projects, this morning I bit the bullet, so to speak, and pulled out everything from stain remover and furniture polish to the Swiffer duster and vacum cleaner.
No, I don't have on my little apron and bandana, and no, I'm not scurrying around with a feather duster and big smile on my face. Yes, I do have on some really dirty clothes (to match the really dirty surfaces I'm cleaning) and my attractive white socks (since I'm trying to work on the dirt that's seemingly dyed my feet sort of a mud-puddle brown).
An aside: Last night after I showered, I spent over 30 minutes working on my "farm feet" before I slathered them down with 5 applications of Burt's Bees Foot Treatment. Perhaps I should just remember to wear shoes around the farm.
Anyway, I don't think I'll finish today, and I don't think I can stay inside two days in a row, so there's no telling when I'll get to the kitchen, my room, and the upstairs--the three most untidy, aka, disgusting places in the house. Anyone who would like to come to my assistance is welcome to do so, but be prepared to sneeze a lot or get grossed out, especially if the refrigerator's the chore at hand.
That's about it for today, folks...
Monday, August 14, 2006
Mid to late August brings the summer flowers to their peak, and their color entices the butterflies to their blossoms. It's been a banner year for these delicate and beautiful creatures around the farm, and yesterday, I followed these two around over the course of the afternoon in an attempt to get a couple of good photos. I'm not sure of the correct names for this particular one; as a child we always referred to these as Tiger Swallowtails. Monarchs and deep blue irridescent Swallowtails abound as well, but I haven't been able to get the perfect shot of one of them yet.
According to my animal cards book, the butterfly is a creature of air energy, and it reminds us to tap into our mental powers, those of insight and intuition, with regularity and faith in our sense of "knowing." It also symbolizes transformation since its life cycle completes itself from larvae to maturity rapidly. Butterflies remind us to take a look at where we are in the cycle of our own transformation and call upon our mental powers to foresee the direction in which we are going. If change is called for, we can work to bring that about and design and craft our own transformation gracefully.
I love these exquisite insects. Their fragile beauty fascinates me. They inspire me to have all sorts of flowers around the farm to call them in droves so I can sit for hours, suspended in thought and mesmerized by their colors.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
In the past two days, I've received notices from Botswana, Ireland, the UK (three times, no less!), Germany, Spain, and Malaysia that I, Tanya Wilder, am the grand-prize winner in their country's biggest lottery ever!! Whooppee!!! When I total up the sums (if my math and conversion tables are correct), I calculate that I've won almost 300 million dollars!! And, the only thing I have to do is submit my e-mail address to begin receiving payments from the several off-shore banks that will be handling my winnings from the respective countries.
And, if winning in multi-national lotteries weren't enough, several folks from across the globe have notified me that a wealthy family member of theirs has passed on to the "great cash flow land in the sky" and left me mega-sums of money as well. Again, it's a simple matter of a "click" and voilá, the money's mine. Isn't that special??? How could I be so lucky???
Once I have the cash I've won or inherited in hand, I'll notify all of you who are kind enough to read my blog, and we'll have one fantastic party on my personal yacht as we sail off into the sunset toward some tropical island I plan on purchasing.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
People ask me how I entertain myself when I'm alone here at the farm. Just today, I saw a friend at the Y, and he asked me how I had kept myself occupied at the farm this summer. I had to chuckle at his seeming concern, especially since I had just decided that other than going in to exercise, I would avoid town and the office totally this week. (Other than dinner tonight here at the farm with Dr. Tom, I haven't seen anyone since Eliza left on Monday.)
I have to chuckle a bit because I never feel alone here. Yes, I do carry on conversations with the cats and dogs, and I even flirt with Luther, the beta fish, before I feed him. (I love the way he swims to the front of the tank and spreads his gills to say hello.) And, I do enjoy some rather in-depth dialogue with myself, the flowers, and the trees. :0)
Actually, I stay quite busy. This week, I've weeded the garden, cut out some plants in the flower beds, planted some late seedlings, mowed, spread some mulch,made pesto, moved quite a bit of stuff to the compost pile, taken some great walks around the field with Annie and Molly, stopped to watch the butterflies and dragonflies, translated some articles about human rights violations in Cuba, talked to Cuban friends in Miami, exercised, watched a couple of good movies, played some internet Scrabble, cooked some healthy meals (the kale from the garden is GREAT!), and taken a few photos here and there. In addition, I've listened to some really good music and enjoyed the sounds of nature and sunsets on the deck in the late afternoon / evening.
What more could anyone ask for? Peace, solitude, beauty, and tranquility. I recommend it for all!
Sunday, August 06, 2006
THIS WEEKEND AT THE FARM....
This weekend, I am especially grateful to my friend, Tom Steckel, aka Dr. Tom, for his assistance in rebuilding the fire circle down by the barn. Yesterday, he moved a number of huge sandstone blocks back into place around the area where the old fire circle was. It was hot outside, and the job was not an easy one, but Dr. Tom, with some assistance from me, stuck it out. Fortunately, we finished the task without straining our backs or having a heart attack.
Tom is becoming a farm regular. Usually he, Tom J. (aka: Will) and I cook, walk the farm, and hang out together. Dr. Tom is famous for making some of the best brownies ever! What is also very special about him is that he regularly brings gifts to folks; he's a thrift store / Goodwill / Salvation Army / Rink's junkie with a keen eye for everything from scarves for prayer flags to beautiful glass objects. The farm has been the recipient of many sweet gifts from Dr. Tom. His presence is seen and felt in the amber glass inside the house and outside in the paperweights he has placed around the farm to catch the sun. And, as I am mowing, pulling weeds, or just walking the driveway, I'll find coins or glass beads he's dropped around randomly in honor of the Earth. A Ph. D in chemistry, Dr. Tom also is the farm scientist who can explain matters of carbon bonding, elements in glass that change color in the light, and other scientific things in terms that I can understand them--at least for the moment he's explaining. He also builds a great fire in the fireplace in the winter!
An Eagle Scout, Tom loves art, so the two of us frequently check out the art openings at a local gallery. He's a vital source of energy and input into the Evergreen Arts & Humanities Series on campus, and he has a real talent for creating beautiful settings for events and receptions. Vintage tablecloths and pieces of his glassware collection always grace the table along with the flower arrangements he artistically creates.
Thank you, Tom, for all you are and do for so many! A hug is headed your way!
Friday, August 04, 2006
Last evening I watched Tsotsi and found it to be a movie that is worth the watch. The film won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, a well-deserved honor. I would also recommend watching the commentaries that accompany the DVD. Gavin Hood and crew have artfully made a very touching film. It's one that I will eventually add to my collection.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Heretofore, I have written about Cuba on my blog only one time, but with the unexpected announement of Fidel Castro's delegation of power to his brother, Raúl, as a result of a major surgery for intestinal bleeding, those of us who work on behalf of Cuban political prisoners and the Cuban people know that this event truly signals the very real beginning of the end of a totalitarian regime that has been in power for 50 years. That end, however, could come at great cost for those who have participated in protests of human rights violations on the island and have called for a transition to a democratic state. Political prisoners, their families, and the dissident community suffer continuous, unimaginable inhumane treatment in Cuba; in fact, Cuba ranks as one of the worst violators of human rights in the world today. As a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Cuba has been in repeated (documented) violation of each of the 30 articles of the document since Castro came to power.
I have been in close contact with my friend, Laida Carro, as well as other Cuban friends across the country. Although there is a lot of speculation about Castro's well-being, there has been little reported about the situation of those on the island, particularly the political prisoners and their families. Unless one is directly involved in work on their behalf and has first-hand knowledge of what these people endure, the unbelievable suffering and harassment the political prisoners / dissidents on the island face on a daily basis is basically overlooked and/or not reported outside of human rights agencies and similar organizations across the globe. When stories about them do make the news, many times the reports are inaccurate and / or not placed as priority items on the news wires. Since the announcement of Fidel's delegation of power to Raúl, the opposition has been under even closer scrutiny and harassment.
Here are a few things that we have learned since the announcement of Castro's surgery. (I will refrain from citing sources on my blog in honor of those who have shared this information at great risk, but I can attest to its accuracy.)
- From a source on the island: "The people of Cuba are living under great tension as a result of the uncertainty of not knowing exactly what is happening. The Cuban people are very afraid to speak out or rise up because State Security, the Committee in Defense of the Revolution and pro-Castro mobs keep constant vigil on all Cuban citizen. "
- From another source: "Not only does State Security keep an eye on individuals' home, but they also watch our every step. The measures State Security is taking also are applied to our places of work as well."
- A third source states,"There is an underlying terror that has the people paralyzed, mortified. Only those who support Castro can take to the streets. The Committees of the Revolution, civilian members as well as those from the military, have been instructed by State Secutiry to squelch any type of expression that could possibly incite the populace to jubilation or rebellion."
- Information received via telephone: Political prisoners who are incarcerated have been informed by prison guards that if there is any display of opposition to the Castro regime by dissident groups, they (the prisoners) will be executed.
- Phone service to dissidents' houses has been interrupted, making it impossible for news from them to leave the island.
- One dissident has reported being closely followed and harassed by mobs of pro-Castro supporters.
- "This is a very critical moment," stated a person who was clearly reluctant to speak. "I'm afraid... you don't know who's listening to you."
- Some Cubans with relatives in the security forces said military and other uniformed personnel had been mobilized in barracks and police stations as a precaution.
The list could go on and on...Tonight as people once again take to the streets in Little Havana, Laida and other members of The Coalition of Cuban-American Women are there, handing out literature about the political prisoners and their families. (Unfortunately, many Cubans in this country are poorly informed about those who are struggling on behalf of human rights on the island.) From my computer here in Ohio, I am trying to organize a vigil on behalf of the prisoners that will be held in Miami early next week, and I'm disseminating as much information as I can to individuals, organizations, and governments.
If anyone who reads this is interested in further information, give me a call. The best reported info I've seen compiled on the Cuban situation at present can be found by checking out the Yahoo home page. Any article there will link to others from the Associated Press, Reuters, BBC, etc. Keep in mind, however, that many reporters don't get the full picture.
And, if anyone would like to discuss issues regarding Castro as a "benevolent dictator" and/or the successes of the Cuban educational and health care systems, I have wealth of information to share to the contrary.
My prayer is for peace in Cuba, for a peaceful transition, for the safety of those I know there, for the liberation of those who are unjustly incarcerated, for those in exile who have suffered ex-patriation for so long and whose pain and suffering run deep--people whom I have known for years and deeply love--and for the beautiful island that has been left in ruins for five decades.
May peace and freedom prevail. So may it be.
(Additional note: If you haven't read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is very well-worth the time. I encourage all to do so.)
It's truly difficult to fathom that the 8th month of the year has arrived...and arrived with intensity unlike we've experienced prior to the end of July. Officially, the temps have been hovering around 93-97 degrees; however, the thermometer on the deck registered 102 yesterday afternoon...Made me want to go stand under the hose for a while, so I did!
As I write this, a rainstorm has moved in from the northwest, and I can sense cooler breezes bringing it along. I, along with all the wilting plants and the panting four-leggeds and winged ones, welcome the rain and the cooler feel to the evening.
The garden has suffered a bit in the heat, but the tomatoes are beginning to turn, the kale is as healthy as ever, and the onions are big and flavorful. Flowers which are well-mulched flourish; those that aren't have an exhausted look to them. Annie and Molly have been content to stay in the house and sleep although they took a long walk with me today. The felines stay pretty much hidden in their territorial spaces around the farm, only surfacing to eat in the late afternoon. Even the hummingbirds aren't downing the nectar I put out for them as feverishly as they were before.
According to the info from my Witches' Calendar, August is the time to acknowledge the bounty of the Earth and to honor those whose hard work went into producing the fresh veggies and fruits that we so enjoy. It is a time of "thanksgiving and remembrance, maintaining our happiness by by recognizing that which comes as the result of hard work." Additional thoughts from the calendar: " Often times it is those who work the hardest who go without thanks...Our lives will never be without joy, as long as we pause to than those who have aided us" And it continues, stating "Give thanks for the blessings of those who surround you, and you can be sure that you will receive that blessing three-fold in return."
Tonight I am grateful for my family and friends, my home, my critters, the rain, the rainbow in the sky behind the house, my health, and all the Earth provides. I'm also thankful for the first tomatoes off the vines in the garden. Today's tomato sandwich was THE BEST!!!! (And no, I didn't use fat-free mayonaise.) :0) :0)
(Art credit: Jennifer Hewiston / Llewelyn's Witches' Calendar-August)
(PS: The photo posting problem seems to have rectified itself. I have no idea what the problem was! Mary Ann, you were most likely correct in thinking it was just a blog problem.)