Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Actually, yesterday, January 29th, was Grandma's 105th birthday! Yeah, Grandma!! Dulcie Ruth Michael Shook , mother of 10 kids, nine of whom are living and range in age from 86 to 62, is a life-long resident of Pigeon Roost, NC.

This photo was taken in November at Thanksgiving. I've seen that sweet close-lipped smile on her face all my life... I look into her eyes, and I know that she still hears the mountains speak..She has always reminded me to listen... I always take her hand in mine in hopes that some of that strength and wisdom will pass my way.

Happy Birthday, Grandma !!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you soooooooooo!!

Friday, January 26, 2007


I decided to take a few winter photos of the farm this afternoon...Bottom line--I needed to get outside for a while....So, here's what I captured...a close-up of the amaryllis in bloom on our dining room table .....Buddha with his snow crown.....and the peace sign in the back field.
An aside: As I was looking at the peace sign, I had a faint recollection of a protest somewhere in our country this past holiday season about a family who hung a peace sign wreath, done in greenery and decorated with bows and ornaments. Evidently the family's neighbors thought the sign was some sort of symbol connected with the occult.
In order to pacify anyone who might question the intention of our peace sign, I offer the following Farm disclaimer: Those of us who live here at The Farm make no association except PEACE, i.e., the absence of violence or conflict, with the rather large snow-accentuated symbol that graces our back field. (What could be questionable about that? My gosh, wouldn't it be great if our species could come to a greater understanding of peace on every level of our lives?)
And,while I'm at it, for those who might be ponder the spiral that decorates the field below the barn...Well, it had its genesis in my boredom one day last summer as I was mowing and found myself doing donuts with the tractor there. (Tee hee!) And should a huge heart appear in the front field, hmmmm...I'll have to work on my rationale for it.
I'm a little giddy...Eliza's feeling better, it's Friday, I'm off to have a glass of wine, and finally start taking down Christmas decorations.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Those of you who see me on a daily basis know that I've been consumed lately with caring for Eliza... Ms. Teenage Farm Socialite has been stopped in her tracks for the last two weeks with a whopper of strep throat, a horrendous sinus infection, and a case of mono that has landed her in the bed for days on end. In all honesty, it's been rough. With a blood cell count three times the normal number, a throat so sore she couldn't swallow, hours upon end of vomiting because of the incessant nasal draining, a steady external nasal flow (more snot that I could ever believe a body could produce), and high fever, it has been all I could do to keep her comfortable and hydrated. I was a frightened as she, but I couldn't let her see my concern and worry. I was not nearly as exhausted, but after a week and a half of constant caretaking, I will confess to being a rather fatigued mom. Never have I seen any of my children so sick, and it wasn't fun.

I do believe we've turned the corner, however. She's still weak and requires mucho rest, but the MD who saw her on Monday has given her permission to attend school for a half day for the next three weeks. Depending on what a second blood count shows at that point, E. will either return all day or have another three weeks of half time. She has to drop PE and rearrange her schedule so she can be finished by mid-day. She's not a happy camper about all this, but she's quite willing to concede that she'll do anything not to have to experience the "mono blast" again.

Despite it all, the two of us have had some really wonderful and genuine mom/daughter moments. In the midst of the worst of her illness, I got word that my friend, Cliff, had passed away (see previous blog post), so last Saturday afternoon, the afternoon of his memorial, I sat on the bed and told Eliza stories of good times with Cliff, her dad, and me many years ago. We also talked a lot about close to the heart matters....her boyfriend, dating issues, powerful things that young women have to be prepared to face in today's world, sexuality stuff, etc. Since all she really felt like doing was listening, I talked and talked, answered her questions, and talked some more. After we finished our chat, we watched a red-tail hawk outside my bedroom door for a long time as it preened itself in the chestnut tree across the driveway, hopped around looking for mice, and sunbathed. I do think the hawk was sent to us by Cliff as his way of checking in and letting us know all was well with him in the world of spirit. From there, I went into the kitchen, turned on the Sirius radio, and heard Bob Marley singing "Redemption Song," a song that I have heard Cliff (and Sam) sing many, many times over..."Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds...." I couldn't help by cry a few tears as I heard those two best friends singing in my mind.. It was a sweet, sweet moment...

So, in terms of past blog posts, only Mary Ann ventured a vote for favorite 2006 blog entry. (Mary Ann, you might be the only person who reads my ramblings!) She said she enjoyed the photos of the farm I post from time to time. My personal favorite entry is the story of Molly, the corgi who got stuck on the back porch this fall. (See October entries.) I will never forget the look of disgust on that dog's face, especially when she saw me pull out the camera!

Other items of interest here at the farm these days.....an amaryllis and orchid in bloom, a layer of snow on the ground that really highlights the peace sign and spiral I have cut in the fields, a couple of knitting projects in progress (I even have Eliza knitting...it's a great pastime for "sickies."), and the Christmas decorations STILL to take down...Plans are to get to the Christmas decorations this weekend...

Orders from headquarters to all: Remember to layer up, wear warm clothes, cover your head in the cold, and put on your scarf! Hydrate your body and keep the spirit light! Only two more months until the spring equinox!!

More later...Namasté...T.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Last Monday night, I got a call with the news that my friend, Cliff Lee, had suddenly passed away. Cliff began work at Texaco in New Orleans on the same day that Sam, my ex-husband, did, and he was one of the most incredibly, unique, loving, fun persons I have ever known. Cliff grew up in Cincinnati in a rather affluent family. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were military officers, and I believe Cliff was a direct descendent of General Robert E. Lee.

I have never known another individual in my life who lived his/her life with the zest and joy that Cliff Lee did. His memorial service is today, and many friends whom I haven't seen in YEARS will be gathering in Cincinnati to honor him. I had thought about attending, but Eliza is quite sick with mono and strep throat, so the "mom" in me decided to stay here at the Farm. In my own way, I will be there with the others as they and Cliff will be here with me...Here are a few thoughts I wrote to share about Cliff.....(I can't get the blog to post photos, but I'll keep trying...)


When I recall Cliff Lee, I remember days in New Orleans – a Halloween night’s ride through the city with Cliff, the caveman who had the best costume of all--, tubing down a river in Mississippi on a Saturday afternoon-- driving down St. Charles Avenue with Sam, Nancy, and Cliff, the car windows rolled down and belting out “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” at the top of our lungs-- his and Nancy’s apartment in the city-- and laughter, such great, great laughter. Later, when we all relocated back to Ohio/WV, the memories continue—spending the night out way back in the woods in his new company vehicle that he got stuck only inches from the edge of a pond-- sledding in the front field of our farm-- more Halloween celebrations-- brunches on the back deck-- and the joy in his eyes as he held my son, Samuel, (his godson) and sang him to sleep. I remember weekends here with Helga and Cliff—a hot-air balloon ride and Cliff’s exuberance as he tried to communicate in German with the rather petrified Amish family who owned the farm where the ride ended. I remember Cliff’s determination as he rallied the Boy Scouts outside of Charleston to search for Puppy, our friend Norm’s dog, who fled after he and Norm were in a nasty accident. (And yes, under Cliff’s untiring direction, they searched the hills around the area and found the dog.) I close my eyes and can vividly see Cliff and Sam, standing together with the other groomsmen as they awaited Martha’s entrance at the wedding. When Cliff saw her, a huge smile burst across his face as a tear ran down his cheek. And in the stillness of my memories, I can still hear Cliff’s voice when I would pick up the phone and hear him say, “How ya doin’, ‘Miss Tammy’?”

Years have passed, and our lives have changed in many ways, but every year at Christmas, I hang two ornaments on our tree that Cliff and Nancy made the first Christmas after we all moved from New Orleans. This year, one of them, a woodsman with a tree under his arm, came unglued, so I put it on our coffee table with some greenery. As I was placing some pine cones and holly around it, I promised myself that 2007 would be the year I would make every effort to re-connect with Cliff. I thought of him so, so often. Now, in a way that I had totally unanticipated, that connection has been made.

All of us whose lives are so richly blessed by having known Cliff understand just how much Cliff loved life and lived every moment of it fully. What an amazing, incredible, wonderful gift to share with us all!

Today, as many gather together in Cincinnati to celebrate his life, I do so here, at the farm in Marietta. The woodsman is now surrounded by photos, flowers, and candles. In honor of Cliff Lee, I give thanks for this day, my friends, and my many, many blessings…….Godspeed, dear friend.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


WOW!! Where have the last 365 days gone? A year ago today, inspired and assisted by my friend and office mate, Mary Ann, I successfully set up NAMASTE blog and began to "journal" again after years of not being able to get my thoughts organized on paper, on the computer, or in my head, for that matter. This space has become the place where I chronicle the events in my rather small, insignificant niche in the Universe. After the initial hesitation about putting my ramblings out for the entire world to see, I have come to enjoy sitting down to the computer to scribble a few lines from time to time. Beyond "The Farm Family," I have no idea who reads NAMASTE although I have had a couple of anonymous comments over the course of the year. Thanks to those of you who do check in, and a special thanks for not leaving any highly critical or obscene comments! :0) :0)

In celebration of the fact that I have stuck to my commitment to blogging, would anyone like to cast a vote for his/her favorite 2006 post on NAMASTE ? I know what mine is, and I'm interested in others' thoughts. Just leave a comment with this post. I'd really appreciate it! (Actually, this is just a set-up so I can say that people read my blog!) :0) :0) I'll tally the few results, reveal my choice, and begin the 2nd year of NAMASTE with the results of the reader's poll. I'll give it a week or so for folks to have time to check-in and "vote."

Until then, thanks again for reading, and remember to laugh and love your life!


PS: I'm still trying to crack a smile over the broken toilet....eergh! :0) My dear friend, Caroline, suggests that I get the outhouse going again!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


It's already January 3rd, so my greeting is a bit delayed. Nonetheless, I hope everyone is off to a good start in 2007.

The year is off to an interesting start for me...a leaking toilet and shower that are going to require major plumbing efforts (in which I am NOT participating!)...and oversleeping on the first day of class as a result of an electricity snafu that occurred during the night (and yes, it is the truth; my alarm clock really didn't go off! I woke up at 7:45 for an 8:00 class)...

I can't help but contemplate: are there underlying messages for me here? Hmmmm....1) Set my cell phone as a back up alarm clock, perhaps, and 2) get my **** together, literally.... (I have delayed getting the toilet fixed for a while, and now the shower's on the fritz as well). With no extra cash in my checking account, no extra cash in my savings account, no extra cash anticipated on the horizon, and no thought that I'll be winning the lottery, I think the third message to contemplate is getting yet another part-time job. EERGH...

On a totally different note, stay tuned for a look at the best of the Namasté blog from last year, as well as some sort of Blog One-YearAnniversary event, and hopefully, news of my inheriting a huge sum of $$$$$ !!! (Funny how all that cash from the dozens of email lotteries that I've won hasn't arrived in my bank account yet!)