Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An update -- and an apology -- on delays

Man plans, God laughs.

When I asked you to contribute to a book about our class, our generation, as we approach retirement age, I fully expected that it might take two years. I have always been a fast worker and a relatively prolific writer, and this seemed like a project that would be write up my alley.

Well, as the Yiddish proverb quoted above notes, things don't always work out the way we plan them.

Things chugged along fairly well for a while, and despite it taking longer than I thought, I reached the point where I was about two-thirds of the way through the first draft of the book.

I retired early -- albeit involuntarily -- when the Southern California job market for newspaper reporters sort of imploded.

No problem.

More time to work on the book.

Stuff happened, though. With the loss of one of our two incomes, we decided to sell our house in suburban Los Angeles.

Luckily, we beat the collapse of the market and we moved from Los Angeles to a Del Webb retirement community half an hour south of Atlanta. We love it here, but our move here has roughly conincided with some serious health problems for my wife of 19 years.

I have spent much of the last year as a caregiver, and very little of it writing. But we are past the crisis now. Nicole is improving and my life is starting to get back to normal.

I have begun working on "When I'm 64" again and I expect to finish it and submit it for publication this spring.

Thanks for your patience.

I haven't forgotten about you.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Please add your blessing to a peaceful outreach

Dear Classmates,

I ask you to bless a new weekly Samyama mindfulness meditation call that began Tuesday, April 5th. While it is 2:00-3:00pm in our U.S. Eastern zone, it begins at four hourly times, 7:00 through 10:00pm, from London to Moscow, as well as across Africa. The 'stats' area of my site shows folks from a growing number of countries are looking at the Meditation tele-circle info, and I want to help them feel welcomed.

Another way you can support the nurturing and expansion of inner peace is to share this with family, friends, and colleagues you know anywhere in the global community (including locally). I am most appreciative. [You can copy-&-paste this entry into an email.]

Everyone ~ To see the April-May calendars for all Samyama Meditation tele-circles, please visit www.denaclayton.com and click on the link found on the "Meditation by telephone" page. Secure registration/payment can be made there.

The $65-a-month-to-attend-as-many-sessions-as-you-wish option has turned into an even bigger bargain. Any month $65 is paid, you are welcome to come to tele-circles on Mondays, Tuesdays, and/or Wednesdays whenever you like (different start times each day) - - attending as many as 12+ in a month.

Breathing deeply together, with gratitude,

~ Dena

Saturday, January 29, 2011

An update -- and an apology -- on "64"

I wanted to update all of you on the progress of our book, but I need to combine the update with an apology.

I had been hoping to finish "When I'm 64" by the end of the year, which is what I told Dale Morgan when I saw her in Northern Virginia in early November, but a combination of our move from California to Georgia, some health problems for my wife and the first real case of writer's block I've ever had has brought me to almost a dead stop for the last couple of months.

It's strange. I have 12 of what I expect to be 24 chapters completely finished, and a number of others partially written. I've been bouncing back and forth between three or four chapters, with a couple that are almost done, but for the moment, I don't seem to be getting anywhere.

I'll say that come Tuesday, with the beginning of a new month, I'm going to chain myself to my keyboard and just start slogging ahead. I'll follow some great advice I got once from the late Mike Royko. When there's no wind and the sails won't fill, row.

I'm not Shakespeare or Bill Faulkner. Just trying to write a nice little non-fiction book.

So bear with me and accept my apology. We'll get there.

Sad News About One of Our Classmates


On Monday, January 25, 2011, son of Jean Dunham and nephew of Carol Caviston peacefully passed away. Memorial services will be Tuesday, February 1, 5 to 7 p.m. at American Legion Local Post 177, 3939 Oak St., Fairfax, VA. Memorial contributions may be made to Medi Home Health and Hospice, 9625 Superior Ct., Manassas, VA 20110.

Published in The Washington Post on January 29, 2011

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Last-moment Meditation stocking stuffers? (WTW '67 classmate)

* * * Peace-of-Mind Gifts * * *

Greetings Classmates,

(Many thanks to Dale Morgan for the idea of sharing this on the WTW blog.)

Still searching for unique, economic gifts you can share?

Who on your gift list can benefit from more Peace of Mind?

* Micro investment tells your recipients you care:

$7 to $15 buys a telephone meditation experience to be enjoyed easily from wherever they are.

* Quick delivery:

Receive gift certificates by email same day you pay on PayPal.

Consider, who is in need of a break from stress - - Colleagues? Family? Friends? Sweetheart? Teachers?

Click here to purchase: www.heartmomentsmeditationtelys.blogspot.com & to learn more about the benefits of this meditation.

Peace-of-Mind Gifts are a bargain for

a) what is received
b) reasonable price tag.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

With gratitude & good wishes this holiday season & beyond,

~ Dena Ward Clayton, M.A.
psychotherapist, cancer guide, meditation teacher,
bereavement counselor

(301) 712 - 6207

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dudley Wilson's Dad

Dudley's Dad, John Carrington Wilson, passed on November 6, 2010. When Dudley passed this information on to me, I was so touched by the words Dudley used that I want to place them in this post.

'My Dad died on November 6th, the first day of the Hilo moon in the Hawaiian calendar...Hilo means to bind or weave...Hilo is also the chief navigator, famous for migratory journeys that established settlement in Hawaii...this was made possible by charting the courses in accordance to the natural elements of the sun, moon, and stars...I believe that these elements that Hilo provides helped chart my Dad's journey on the 6th...as you know, it is still a very sad but peaceful time...we brought his ashes back here and placed them to the left of the Langlang tree (very majestic and provides a bloom fragrance that is exotic and intoxicating)...upon my Mother's death, she will be placed on the right side of the Langlang tree...how wonderful and strange life is that we would be blessed to be able to do this.'

Dudley, my deepest condolences,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

W.T. Woodson Trivia

I got this WTW trivia from Mike Schmidle. I found it quite interesting so decided to share it with you.

The W.T. in W.T. Woodson stands for Wilbert Tucker. This is all according to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Wilbert Tucker Woodson High School, commonly known as W.T. Woodson High School, is a high school located in Fairfax County, Virginia, east of the city of Fairfax.

The school opened in 1962 and once was the largest school in the state. As of 2008, the student population is around 2,100. Woodson has the biggest campus in Fairfax County in size of area, and also houses Woodson Adult High School, a program designed to allow adults to earn their GEDs and HS diplomas. It was ranked #74 on Newsweek's Top 1000 U.S. High Schools in 2008. The school is named after Wilbert Tucker Woodson, superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools from 1929 to 1961.

Robert Elliott, the school's principal, retired in late November 2007. The new principal is Jeff Yost, former Assistant Principal.


Mr. Emory Chelsey 1962-1965
Mr. Robert Phipps 1965-1968
Mr. William P. Ladson 1968-1972
Mr. Robert Phipps 1972-1981
Dr. James Wilson 1981-1986
Mr. Charles E. "Chuck" Billak 1986-1991
Dr. Gary Miller 1991-1999
Mr. Robert Elliot 1999-2007
Mr. Jeff Yost 2007-


Woodson began the process of renovating all of its facilities in 2005 and adding several classrooms. The project was paid for in bonds that were established in 2003 by a voter referendum. The issue of whether to renovate had been debated for several years before the plan was approved. Woodson was one of the oldest schools in Fairfax County Public Schools, as the main facilities (plumbing, heating/cooling, floors, electrical) were still fundamentally the same as they were when the structure was built. The renovations nearly doubled the square footage of the school.

Thanks, Mike, for sharing this info with us.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Beatles Music on iTunes

Sean Kennedy contacted me a couple of weeks ago with this interesting tidbit. He was on iTunes and noted that all of the Beatles music is now available in MP3 format. What Sean found to be the fun part was the 1964 Washington Coliseum concert the Beatles performed on February 11, 1964. Sean made this point because the Beatles portion of the concert lasts about 33 minutes, and when they play 'Twist and Shout' (about 5 minutes left in the concert), the cameras are panning the audience of screaming girls and Sean thinks our own WTW '67 Penny Viglione is caught on camera. Sean thought it might be fun to let Penny know that she's a star in the archive of the first American concert of the Beatles.

I have not yet watched, but I hope some of you take a look and see if that looks like Penny. And, Penny? Only you know the truth!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Some very sad news

Tom Jones' wife, Jeannette, passed on Friday, November 12, with family by her side only 4 & 1/2 months after her first symptoms and diagnosis of cancer. Tom told me that her strength, dignity and calm through the whole process and to the very end was incredible. He said she was Jeannette to the end--strong, selfless, and loving.

I had the pleasure of knowing Jeannette and I liked her the minute I met her years ago. Jeannette was so genuine and down to earth; and I found myself talking & opening up to her as if we had gone to school together and had been best friends. Through these last 4 & 1/2 months, Jeannette was always thinking of other people. Even when she barely had any energy, Jeannette always posted what was happening to her on CaringBridge. I have been following her updates on CaringBridge and her sense of humor never faltered.

Tom and Jeannette's family are having a celebration of Jeannette's life December 11 in Richmond.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Anne Snyder & the Holiday Studio Tour

Today and tomorrow are the Valley Craft Network Holiday Open House & Studio Tours I emailed everyone about a few weeks ago. Today, Fred Ullman, Bobbie Lanzer, Bobbie's lovely daughter, Marissa, and I decided to take a field trip over to Maryland and stop in on Anne Snyder's Studio and beautiful old farmhouse. We surprised her and had a wonderful visit, some tasty snacks and OMG you should see her incredible paintings! I had hoped to buy the painting Anne did of all of us kayaking on the 2008 NW trip, but Helen Roberts beat me to the punch. However, I fell in love with a painting Anne did of the harbor in Annapolis and it is now on my wall at home looking like it was made for me. Bobbie nabbed another one that was spectacular. We had a great time today and I hope some of you were also able to take this tour. If not, take a tour at:

anne@annegibsonsnyder.com or www.annegibsonsnyder.com

Monday, November 15, 2010

Our Classmate, Lee Millette, speaking at....

Cathie Wilkins Ring just notified me that in the local PrWmCo newspaper this morning there was a feature article about Justice Lee Millette speaking THIS Wednesday, 11/17/10, at the Manassas NoVA campus (see below). Cathie is trying to find out if Lee will be going to the lunch with the group afterwards, and if so, which lunch spot. Cathie is hoping to go. Let her know if you plan on it, too.

VA Supreme Court Justice to speak IN MANASSAS...

Justice LeRoy F. Millette Jr. was appointed in 2008 to the Supreme Court of Virginia by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine. As a Circuit Court Judge in Prince William County, Millette presided over the capital murder trial of D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad and the marital rape trial of John Wayne Bobbitt. He will talk about those cases and explain the workings of the General District Court and his days as a trial lawyer on Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to noon at Colgan Hall, NVCC Campas, 6901 Sudley Road, Manassas.

Please use Event Parking. There will be LLI Shuttle cars for anyone wanting to use them. The forum is free and open to the public. Following the forum, there is a "Lunch Bunch" gathering at a local restaurant - Dutch Treat. For more information, e-mail llimanassas@gmail.com or call 571-606-0247.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Check out "Odd Couple" for Willis' performance

Mike Willis is at it again.

Our class's resident star or stage and screen is part of the cast of "The Odd Couple" in a production that will be running for two more weeks as part of Theater J's 2010-11 season.

"Odd Couple" at Theater J

 I'm excited about it because I'm in Washington this week for a fraternity reunion of the George Mason University Sig Eps, and since I won't be leaving for home until Monday morning, I picked up a ticket to go see Mike and the rest of the cast in Sunday night's performance.

Here's a link to the Washington Post review of the production.

When I get back home and get my stuff unpacked, I'll revisit by DVD of "Tin Men" again and see Mike in one of his finer film performances.