Thursday, September 25, 2008


The long, graying, straight hair has to go. It's time for a new "do"-- a new look if you will ... a makeover.

I've narrowed my choices to the "looks" below...What's your preference??????? Please let me know. I'd appreciate your ideas....Thanks, in advance..


B. C.

I'm leaning toward "C".

Monday, September 22, 2008


Actually, the fall equinox officially arrived just over 30 minutes ago. It's officially autumn, so we can celebrate the balance of dark and light today.

Balance seems to be a great word for the day.

Happy Mabban!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


My friends in Miami, Pepí and Laida, are going through it right now. Pepín has had not one, but two MAJOR heart operations in the last week to repair a congential heart defect that went unnoticed throughout his life until recently. To make a long story short, his weakened heart along with the trauma of the surgery has taxed his body tremendously, and after the first surgery last week (9/15), the heart did not respond as the MD's had hoped, and Friday (9/19), he was back in the operating room for another 7 hour surgery. He's stable now, but still in ICU and still assisted with a ventilator and other sustaining mechanisms.

At the same time, Laida's mom is in a frail state with many things happening in her body and mind. She's bedridden, unable to care for herself. Normally Laida goes to visit her every day, but Pepíns urgent situation has prevented Laida from being able to see Liana, her mom, as much recently.

I wrote this letter to Laida and Pepí yesterday. In my heart of hearts, I'd love to be there with them to assist however I could. Once again, for me, the opportunity presents itself to support from a distance, and I invite Namasté readers to hold two of my very best friends in their thoughts and meditations.


September 20, 2008

Dear and beloved Laida and Pepín,

If I could wave my magic wand, I would transport the two of you to The Farm to be here with me right now on this beautiful early fall day. The sun’s bright in the sky, and huge, soft, puffy clouds slowly drift by. It’s the sort of day that began with a gentle fall chill in the air and has matured over the afternoon into a classic Indian summer day. In just a little while, I’ll go out to water my plants since there’s no rain in the forecast and they’re looking a bit thirsty.

At this very moment, a juvenile red-tail hawk is soaring over the front pasture directly in front of the house. It’s obvious he hasn’t had much experience in the upper wind currents since he lets out a squeal every time he gets caught in an updraft. The blue jays and crows are competing in a calling contest off in the distance. I’d give the crows the award for being a bit more melodious than the blue jays since their squawk carries no musicality at all. The last of the summer’s hummingbirds is checking out the feeders to see if I’ve filled them lately with sugar water they drink by the quarts. Pepín, you’d be fascinated by the yellow warblers as they flit about with their last clutch, the mom and dad teaching the young ones who’re just learning to fly the ins and outs of being airborne before leaving soon for warmer climates as fall approaches here. The yellow warblers always remind me of your canaries.

The cats sleep soundly on the deck at my feet, moving from time to time to stretch and yawn before drifting off to sleep again. They live a life of luxury here…sleeping all day, mousing all night, and occasionally chasing each other in bursts of play. The two white cats rally to swat at each other’s tails and pester lazy, lazy Hendrix as he snores on the rail. Loonis, the farm grump, keeps her distance and hisses quite nastily if anyone dares invade her special place on the deck.
Annie and Molly are beseeching me to take a walk so they can head down to the stream at the back of the field to wallow in the mud and cool off. The goldenrod’s in full bloom now, and the ironweed, a deep, pure purple flower, mixes in beautifully with the brightness of the goldenrod’s yellow. There are a lot of butterflies about now, and the dragonflies are really numerous as well. It’s so dry the grass really crunches under my feet, and in the distance, the trees show signs of reds and oranges in the tips of their leaves.

When the dogs and I go on a walk, we’re always accompanied by at least three of four cats. I talk to all of them as I would to Samuel or Eliza if they were along, and I’m always amazed by what we experience when we’re out in the fields and woods together. So many times only the animals and I have experienced really amazing things on our walks. I can’t wait for you two to spend some time with me here. It’s always quiet and peaceful at The Farm, even during the day. This afternoon, only the songs of the birds and an occasional car passing along the road in the distance interrupt the stillness of the afternoon.

At times when I’m so surrounded by certain creatures in nature, I look up the Native American lore on what they signify on the level of spirit…Today I chose to read about butterflies, dragonflies, and hummingbirds. I like what I’ve found: butterflies remind us that we are always in the process of transformation; dragonflies remind us that change in our bodies and spirits are necessary for our transformation, and hummingbirds bring us lightness of spirit to assist us as we renew the magic in our lives. As I read this today, I thought about the two of you and your process at this time. It might take a while and a good bit of patience, but on the other side of this ordeal, there will be amazing transformations, all of which will redefine your lives in the best of ways.

My prayers and those of many, many people all over the world encircle and embrace you all. I’ve called out everyone I know who has strong prayer and healing connections. I so wish I could be there in Miami with you to do whatever I could to ease the intenseness of the moment. For now, I stay connected with you in prayers and in the space of peace that The Farm offers. I send the energy of the Earth, the sunshine, the flowers, and the fields to you to deepen your breath and assist you both with strength, peace, patience, and courage.

I love you both.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I'm glad it's Friday.
I'm grateful I've had the afternoon, evening, and night here alone at The Farm.

Monday, September 15, 2008


One would think that after 32 years of teaching, I'd be able to sleep the night before school starts. But, oh no! The same excitement and fear of oversleeping that have woken me up anywhere between 3 - 5 AM the night before classes start struck again last evening, and I didn't sleep any after 4:35 AM. As a result, I've been in front of classes one day, and I'm already exhausted! How much longer can I do this?

My classes, thank goodness, are small, and my initial gut feeling is that my students are relatively conscientious and bright. Those who had to be in class at 8AM today had a pretty sonambulous look on their faces, but once their caffeine kicked in, they seemed to rally a bit. I, of course, was working on automatic pilot. "Hola...My name is Señora Wilder...Bienvenidos a la clase de español...It's going to be a GGRREEAT quarter, etc."

Once I get back into the routine of my schedule, I'll be fine, but for now, my heart tells me to get outside, and my body says 6:30 AM is way to early to get up.

Friday, September 12, 2008


September 12, 1952

About 8:00AM this morning, a rather large bird, identifed by the orinthology department of Appalachian State Teachers College as a Western North Carolina Hatching Stork, dropped a bundle of joy into the lives of Steve and Zeb Shook. Named Tanya, after a character in a book her father is reading at the moment, the new arrival weighed in at 8 lbs., give or take a few ounces. During the first hours of observation and acquaintance with their daughter, Steve and Zeb speculate she'll be a rather independent, unique sort who'll dance to the the beat of her own drum, loving life all the while.

Her birth chart reveals that little Tanya is a double Virgo. Earthy, analytical, artsy, friendly to animals, and somewhat of a perfectionist, this Virgo will test and challenge her way through life, but family and friends will be hard pressed to find anyone as faithful. One can expect a zany ride as he/she travels life's journey with this one!


After yesterday's post and diatribe, I'll just let these photos speak for themselves.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


On this island less than 100 miles from our country, where the inhabitants survive on a daily basis with next to nothing...where they stand in line with ration booklets for food and water...where the government now boasts the availability of cell phone and computer access for Cubans(even though the people cannot afford the commodities and the services are hugely antiquated and/or non-functional)...where human rights activists are arbitrarily arrested and summarily tried...where the average citizen has NO access to medical or dental treatment from one of the touted "best health care systems in the world" because there is no medicine, novacaine, equipment in hospitals that works, etc...

the Cuban people now must come to grips with the results of two intense natural disasters within a week: Hurricane Gustav AND Hurricane Ike. The following photos were taken last week after Gustav passed over the island. Imagine what it's like now that Ike nailed the entire island just yesterday.

A woman examines what remains of the interior of her house. Note that she only has an old TV and a destroyed chair to examine. That's all she had inside her house.

Total destruction. This woman's house is basically two rooms in a larger house. Nothing remains.

Destruction in the local barber shop.

In Cuba, rather than get excited when there are power outages, the people celebrate when there is an "alumbrón," a time when there IS electrical power. The hurricane has eliminated the possibility of occasional electrical service completely.

I understand horrific natural disasters have occurred recently in many places across the planet...the cyclone in Myanmaar, the tsunami of a couple years back, the recent earthquake in Japan, Hurricane Katrina to name a few. It amazes me, however, that Cuba is so totally overlooked by the American press and people when it comes to the suffering that takes place on a daily basis there. Less than an hour's trip from Key West, Cubans endure life under a totalitarian regime that equals or surpasses the opression suffered by any other group of people on the planet. I am amazed at the lack of dialog / concern in our country about the plight of a nation so close to our own shore.

OK, I've vented...I'm now hopping off my soapbox to go mow.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Just another example of the creativity of one of my former students, Sara Deutsch...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


With quick glance to my favorite blogs link on the right of Namasté, you'll find the link to Bent Objects. When I first began blogging a couple years back, I found Bent Objects on the Blogs of Note page, and I've followed the evolution of Terry Border's art and humor ever since.

Today while visiting the blog, I discovered this video and decided to post it for Namasté viewers. Off-the-wall humor is what it's all about at Bent Objects. Look for a Bent Objects book coming out in the fall of 2009!

Enjoy !!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


The last class I taught at Marietta High School before I made the jump to post-secondary teaching at Washington State Community College celebrated their 10th year reunion this past weekend, and the majority of those who returned were former students. This group was a great one for me to "graduate" with...probably, with the exception of the class of 1986, the most fun, lively, motivated, highly intelligent group of students I've had all at one time. I taught these "kids" for 4 or 5 years, depending on whether they completed the five-year sequence we had in Spanish at that time.

(Starting from L to R, there's Sara (clothing designer, creates her own line of snowboarding clothing, lives in Jackson Hole, WY), Stephanie (works in corporate management for Victoria's Secret), Curtis (a lawyer in NYC), Christine (upper management with Honda), Michelle (management with a business in Columbus), Meera (just completed her MBA at Berkeley and will soon be employed with BAIN), Michael (Ph.D in chemistry from the University of Chicago), Señora Wilder (still teaching but NOT at the high school), Adam (behind me, an MD at Riverside Hospital in Columbus), Laura (beside Adam, a Ph.D / MD from Johns Hopkins), and Drew (a law student in Cincinnati). Missing from the group are Chuck (who's working on a Ph.D from MIT) and Mike Sieburg (who's starting graduate school at Columbia in NYC). An amazing bunch, to say the least!! I'm so proud of them.)

Being together 10 years later was as easy as if we still saw each other every day in Spanish class at Marietta High. I had forgotten that their class motto, "la luz es la verdad," came out of a cheesy play we read their senior year. I had not forgotten, however, that I was selected to hand these students their honor cords at graduation. At the time they graduated, I thought I would be returning to MHS in the fall, but along came an offer to move on, and so I left for brighter pastures. It would have been difficult to return without them around.

One of the valedictorians of the class has remained one of my best friends. Meera and I had the chance to hang out Saturday afternoon at the farm. It's been about two 1/2 years since we've been able to sit down and catch up with each other. After undergraduate school, Meera did a two-year stint in the Peace Corps in Uganda and still talks of "her village" there. She's just returned from an amazing trip to Asia and Africa, so I got to see her photos and hear of her latest adventures.

On a day to day basis, teaching can be an exhausting profession. The educational system and beaucracy never cease to mystify and puzzle me in terms of what I perceive to be a very uncreative institution with too many demands of teaching professionals. However, the reward of witnessing students grow as their lives unfolds is one of my life's great joys. I am heartened and delighted to have had the privilege and honor of knowing this group of students. They and those like them provide great hope for the future of our country and planet!! They are, indeed, some of my best friends.