Tuesday, March 31, 2009


This is a test to see if I can upload photos from Picasa to my blog.
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009


I woke up this morning with this tune going through my head. About 7:22 AM, my friend, Laida, called me to say her husband, Pepín, was close to death. An hour later, she called with the news.

His struggle over the last 6 months has been a testament to the strength of the human body and the courage of a noble, honorable, good, good man--one of the most decent men I've ever known.

May he rest in peace and may his family be comforted by the love and goodness he so unfailingly shared with them ....and everyone. _____________________________________________

"Turn, Turn, Turn" - as sung by The Byrds

Words-adapted from the Bible, book of Ecclesiastes
Music-Pete Seeger

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven.

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time to build up,a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time for peace, I swear its not too late....

Sunday, March 22, 2009


An annual tradition at Watauga High School (Boone, NC) along about this time of year - certainly associated with "the comin' of spring and the risin' sap"- was the annual Sadie Hawkins Day Dance. The theme had some connection with 'Lil Abner, and it was the one time each year when the young ladies got to ask the fellers to the Sadie Hawkins Day dance. On Sadie Hawkins Day, we all dressed up in our finest duds, as evidenced by this photo.

Here you see my cousin, Carol McNeely (who now resides in the DC area--a Ph.D, MD with a specialty in dermatology), yours truly, and my best friend, Betsy Randal (now lives in Raleigh, NC - a Ph.D in plant pathology who's now in Holland on a brief working assignment).

Can't say we have the original Daisy Mae look down pat, but it's obvious we "shore were havin' a good time!"

(Thanks to Richard Randall for this photo)

Friday, March 20, 2009


Within thirty minutes of spring's official arrival, I ventured out to see what evidence of the new season I could find around The Farm. With the exception of the crocuses, a sole daffodil has mustered up the courage to open and herald the journey toward greater light and warmth. The Farm tulips have send out healthy leaves to scope out when it's time for their buds to surface, and the lilies and peonies are just beginning to break through the ground, as if to test the water and decide whether to wait a bit for warmer days. Pushing out their delicate and tender green shoots, the lilacs seem tempted by a taste of spring, but years of premature leafing has taught them to take it slow, especially when they sense the briskness of the morning. (I hope!)

Grackles and red-wing blackbirds compete with the winter birds for oil seeds at the feeder, and I was delighted to see a little chickadee claim his/her space among the larger and more aggressive new arrivals. My feeder barriers, i.e., rows of thorny chestnut burrs below the feeders, still keep Clousseau, Cato, and company (much to their frustration and disgust) away from the farm feathered friends. The entire farm cat contingency who would LOVE a birdy breakfast, but nasty, sharp thorns in their paws have modified their desire to venture around the birds' prickly restaurant.

It'll be a weekend of tilling the recently turned compost into the earth and poking a few onions in the ground for good measure. I'm tempted to get my greens going, and if I can find a few broccoli and cabbage plants, the beds just might find themselves full.

The chubby, peaceful Goddess smiles today. In her, I see many women my age who are perhaps a bit larger and definitely softer than in their early years, but for whom the love of earth and life has never been greater.

Namasté....and...happy, happy spring!!


Thursday, March 19, 2009


Samuel, the writer, and Harrison, the photographer, are collaborating on a new blog, "Lenses and Lead." Check it out. These two crazy roomates just might have come up with something!

Aside: I'm trying to find out how to include my "twitters" on my blog. As yet, I have not been successful. HELP, Mary Ann !!!

Monday, March 16, 2009


1944 - My parents' anniversary....65 years ago today, they were married on the campus of Lees McCrae college in Banner Elk, NC. A simple ceremony on a beautiful spring day, daffodils in bloom, blue sky...My dad in his military uniform...Mom in a navy blue suit, ruffled white blouse and a classic 40's hat...Honeymooned in Montreat, NC, and returned to Banner Elk a few days later to snow and sub-zero temperatures....

2008 - My dad's passage into the spirit world, only a few hours after he had signed an anniversary card to my mom....Mom, as always, was at his side when he peacefully drifted away...

2009 - Doesn't seem possible a year's gone by...The last couple of times when he's come to me in my dreams, Daddy's looked well, is walking as if he had never been ill, and has spoken clearly without any hint of the trouble he had speaking prior to his death. I miss him greatly; more greatly, however, I celebrate the freedom I see in his body and spirit in my dreams.

"I love you, sweetheart....."

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Liz Carroll and John Doyle performed last evening at Washington State Community College as a part of the Evergreen Arts & Humanities Series (for which yours truly serves as chairperson), and WOWZY, they gave a heck of a performance!! Our auditorium was PACKED--standing room only--with folks seated in the lobby just to get a "listen" of these incredibly talented musicians. (And I might add, two very, very nice and genuine people.)

They left Marietta this morning and hit the road to play two more gigs before boarding a plane on Tuesday morning at 6:00 AM to head to the White House, where they will play at the St. Patrick's Day luncheon for President Barack Obama and the Prime Minister of Ireland, Brian Cowen. How sweet is that!!

Following the concert, several people gathered at the home of the college president to meet and talk to Liz. (Alas, John was a bit under the weather and opted, quite wisely, to hit the sack back at the hotel). Such a gracious woman, Liz talked to people for a couple of hours and hung out as if she had known all of us for years. It was a delightful time.

For any interested Namasté reader who might be interested in learning more, check out www.lizcarroll.com and order this fantastic duo's recently released album, "Double Play." Highly, highly recommended. Get your copy NOW!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


In honor of my late father, who entered every contest in the name of Pete and who was SURE he was going to win $1,000,000 or a trip around the world at some point in his life, I'm entering the Name Your Dream Assignment contest (www.nameyourdreamassignment.com/contest), a contest that awards $50,000, a digital camcorder, and Lenovo® ThinkPad® W700ds with Microsoft Windows Vista® to the lucky winner. All I had to do was think up an interesting (or not) photo shoot, write a description of it, and get people to VOTE FOR ME!!

Information about the contest is included in the link above; it's a valid contest, and one of my friends who blogs is one of the judges.

Would all you folks who check in on Namasté take just one minute out of your busy day and go to the following link?


The winner is selected by a popular vote, and all you have to do is click on the icon that says Pic It on the left of my page. So far I have 16 votes, but I've posted my information on Facebook, and I'm sending out this email to a lot of people.

Will you vote for me? Will you get all your friends to vote for me and tell them to tell their friends to vote for me?

It's really easy and takes little time. I'd really appreciate your vote, and if I win, I'll work for world peace.

Read more below and thanks in advance.....


What is Name Your Dream Assignment?
Name Your Dream Assignment is a contest for photographers of all backgrounds. We’re looking for the most creative, inspiring photo shoot idea out there. The photographer with the winning idea will win $50,000 to bring his or her dream assignment to life.

Who can enter?
Any resident of the United States who has a camera and a dream. Yes, anyone. You do not need to be a professional photographer.

What exactly do you win?
The Grand Prize is $50,000 to carry out your dream assignment, plus a digital camcorder and the Lenovo® ThinkPad® W700ds with Microsoft Windows Vista®. Two runners-up will also receive the Lenovo® ThinkPad® W700ds with Microsoft Windows Vista®.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Sunday, March 08, 2009



Saturday morning found Farm Mom and officemate and daughter (everyone thinks I'm Mom, she's daughter) Very Mary at Rinky Dink's Flea Market for their weekly thrifting frenzy. With eyes peeled for the treasure of the day, they stopped by the "Bras & Underpanties" department down Aisle 2, located right behind one of Rink's many childrens' book stand.

(Note "The Curious Kid's Activity book of Boredom" right behind "A Day at the Mall. " As discerning readers, Farm Mom and Very Mary do not regularly purchase reading material for their younger friends at Rinks or the bras and underpanties on Aisle 2.)

These days, economic woes are inescapable, even at Rinky Dink's. As evidenced by the covering at the Longaberger Purses Booth, sales of "Aignier" purses and "Yard Orderments" are on the wane. Perhaps the economic stimulus plan will boost many Rinky Dinkers' discretionary income such that purses and orderments will soon be back in demand. One can only hope. After all, spring's almost here, and everyone's going to want a new cutesy yard orderment, like the ones of Ma and Pa bent over pullin' weeds with their butt cracks and underpanties showing..

(Very Vanna White Mary encourages all to write their congressperson in support of unemployed "yard orderment" workers.)


Farm Mom felt a burst of energy and decided it was a great day to work outside. Despite the afternoon's gale force winds, she picked up all the shoots from the grapevines she haphazardly pruned Saturday afternoon and hauled them and fallen branches from last month's ice storm to the fire circle. She had planned to start up the tractor and haul the bundles of branches with the tractor cart, but the 'ole farm tractor wasn't much in the mood for starting.

At that point, Farm Mom could hardly wait to begin her favorite early spring chore....spreading this year's compost and turning the yet to compost compost from one bin to the other so it'll be ready next year.

This year, the large bin (on the left in the photo below) held the rich soil that's now placed on the garden beds. With farm tools in hand and the almost rusted beyond repair farm wheelbarrow, the farm matriarch unloaded 15 huge piles of compost on the gardens, raked the rich new soil into the old, and beamed with satisfaction - -1..Her body was still upright....2... Her heart hadn't exploded.....3... The composted soil was beautiful....4... She can now think about getting peas, collards, spinach, and lettuce in the ground SOON !!- -

(Happy Buddha's standing in the bin that held the compost that's now on the beds. In the photo, he's anchored on the compost that got turned from the bed on the right to the one on the left. Actually this is a very boring photo unless you're Farm Mom and really into the compost.)

As she writes this, Farm Mom realizes not everyone gets as excited as she about making his/her own dirt, but there're few things that bring her greater joy. Once this good, healthy, rich black compost gets mixed in with the many years of composted soil that awaits it, it's a for sure that the veggies will be happy there, the weeds will be very, very happy there, and a very, very, very happy Farm Mom will have spend a great deal of the summer there...with her hands in the dirt she composted....YEAH !!

(Dark, dark compost + lots of TLC = good, healthy, organic veggies!)

Friday, March 06, 2009


Back in the fall of 1974 when I landed in a graduate seminar on Benito Pérez Galdós as one the first three classes I took at the University of Kentucky, I was so petrified by my obvious lack of knowledge that I went to my advisor and asked for a schedule change. I was actually thinking I would drop out of gradschool completely, but my immediate concern was to get out of Dr. Brian J. Dendle's class as fast as I could. I knew NOTHING about Galdós or the history of Spain, and Professor Dendle's seeming lack of patience with underprepared graduate students (like me) intimidated me such that I could not say a word---I was frozen in fear while other grads engaged Dr. Dendle in intellectual banter that made me want to sneak out the door and never return.

To make a long story short, Professor McCrary, my advisor, convinced me to stick it out and assured me that beneath the dry, sarcastic wit of this obviously brilliant British professor lay a teddy bear of a person whom I would end up liking. Two summers later, Dr. Dendle and I took a group of students from UK to Mexico, and upon returning, another grad student and I lived at 272 S. Hanover in Lexington as we prepared for our written and oral comprehensive exams.

Fast forward to 2009. I can't imagine what my life would have been like without Brian Dendle's friendship and love over the years We've been the best of friends for 35 years now, and during my visit with him last weekend, I was reminded of how deeply I honor, respect, and love the "old geezer." I love this photo of him.....

Over the last couple of years, Dendle's kidneys have basically quit functioning, and this past week he began dialysis in Lexington. He had hoped to move to France to be with Claudine, his beloved partner, and start the dialysis process there, but I believe the RN who suggested he have his cemetary plot in order might have convinced him he'd best begin the treatments sooner rather than later. For the moment, his plans are on hold until he can figure out the logistics of dialysis in France.

When I left the house last weekend, it was all I could do to contain the huge flood of tears that burst forth the moment I got into the car. Selfishly, I didn't want a place I have known as home for three decades to get sold to another owner. The thought of not being able to stop in and have tea with Dendle in the sun room or upstairs made me very sad.

But then, I just decided that I'd have to go visit him in France. After all, Eliza wants to study there, so I can visit her when she's abroad and crash with Dendle and Claudine. The Bluegrass Commune, as we used to refer to his house, will just relocate and re-establish itself in Europe.
Make up the beds, Dendle....Shook's going to be a squatter chez toi en France.


Note: This poem is an exercise my office mate, Mary Ann, recently used in class with her poetry students. Adopting the template from “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon, Mary Ann's students created their own poem. I played along. Here’s Lyon’s poem, followed by mine.

"Where I'm From"
I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening
it tasted like beets...)
I am from the forsythia bush,
the Dutch elm,
whose long gone limbs I
as if they were my own.
I'm from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I'm from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from perk-up and pipe down.
I'm from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.
I'm from Artemus and Billie Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger,
to the eye my father shut to keep his sight.
Under my bed was a dressbox
spilling old pictures
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams;
I am frmo those moments
snapped before I budded0
leaf-fall from the family tree.

“Where I’m From”
(Tanya's version)

I am from the musty, dark stacks of a library long gone
a bare, white-walled, sterilized infirmary,
from knitting needles and syringes and baseball gloves and ruffed grouse.
I am from a perfectly rectangular red brick house of the 60's.
(Squeeky clean and smelling of Clorox
by noon every
Saturday morning.)
I am from rhododendron bushes,
trilliums and jack-in-the-pulpits,
whose preachers, draped in deep burgundy, pontificate
to decaying underbrush.
I’m from piano lessons and hand-me-downs,
from Zebulon Vance and Mary McIntosh,
from Bob and Bertha, Hoyle and Ruth.
I’m from family gatherings and family gossip,
from silent shame mended with threads of an overriding love.

I’m from cleanliness is next to godliness
and salvation by grace through faith
and half of a memorized catechism
“Make sure you always have on clean underwear in case you have to go to the hospital.”
I’m from Taylorsville and Pigeon Roost,
from soup beans, cornbread, Grandma's biscuits and sausage gravy.
From a soldier’s flashbacks of foreign lands
to caring for others before oneself.

Out in the thicket, I lived in my imaginary cabin,
my treasure chest buried beneath its earthen carpet,
full of secrets still guarded to this day by roots and branches
and towering sentries in the distance.

I am from the mountains,
their rocks, my strength,
their creeks, the blood of my veins,
their steadfast grace and beauty,
my lifeline to peace.