June 30, 2009

Guitar Lessons At MY AGE????

There have to be other senior citizen types who want to learn to play the guitar. It can't be just for teen and pre-teen creatures who want to see how loud the amp and speakers can reach to break the sound barrier.

I will start my official guitar lessons next week. I might have a little teentsy weentsy advantage in that my teacher is the hubby who just happens to be the best guitar player ever except for maybe Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck.

So I 1) don't have to pay for the lessons and 2) won't have to drive somewhere to be on exhibit in front of other students (those teen and pre-teen creatures) and 3) I don't have to buy a guitar because he gave me his Strat that he had when I met him almost 4 years ago (that is the actual photo in this post). I'm not being smug about all this though, because I do know that if I want to truly learn to play anything that sounds like music I will have to do some work. And practice till my fingers hurt and then rest the fingers and then practice more.

So hubby bought me a small amp so I can use the headphones and practice, practice, practice and it won't disturb anyone. Wonder what he meant by that?

June 28, 2009

Walking For Good Health

The American Heart Association talks about walking and exercise all the time. In this article the benefits of walking at a more moderate pace for a longer time are discussed.

I find myself avoiding things that put stress on me, even if I am the one putting the pressure on myself. It isn't complicated. The human body needs exercise. I get it. Most discussions about how much exercise is necessary seem to be written by a health guru obsessed with how many hours a day they can run, swim, bicycle, or spend on an elliptical or tread machine. Someone like that telling someone like me how wonderful I will feel if I live like that is absurd.

That is why I found the AHA article interesting and non-intimidating.

"Study highlights:

* Walking longer at a slower pace improved heart health much more effectively than standard cardiac rehabilitation of walking a shorter distance at a brisker pace in overweight patients with coronary heart disease.
* In this study, moderate-pace walking for 45–60 minutes on five to six days was considered high-calorie-burning exercise.
* Researchers said it’s necessary to modify traditional rehabilitation because more heart patients are overweight."

..."In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers randomized 74 overweight cardiac rehabilitation patients (average age 64, 20 percent women) to either a high-caloric expenditure exercise regimen intended to burn 3,000 to 3,500 calories a week or a standard rehab therapy burning 700 to 800 calories weekly."

..."The study’s message is “walk often and walk far.”"

Often for me would be 5 days a week. Far would be one hour.

June 27, 2009

Thank You, Farrah Fawcett

Someone I admired is no longer in pain.

Farrah Fawcett was officially one of the "Charlie's Angels" for only one season; however, she is remembered as one of the Angels in most things written about her.
The fact that she chose to leave the popular television show after only one year was a choice she made. Some of her later roles showed the depth of her acting ability that would not have been prominent if she had remained in "Charlie's Angels".

I have never had the type of hair that could resemble or duplicate Farrah's amazing look, much to my regret. Instead of being jealous of her natural beauty and sex symbol status, it felt like we women were in a club celebrating our female humanness. There was something about Farrah that made me feel she didn't have her nose in the air; she was one of us.

Goodbye, Farrah, till we meet again in a better place.

There is a really nice article about Farrah on CNN News.

June 25, 2009

The Power In Holding Hands

In our other blog I wrote one of my first posts.

It was this quote:

" Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away. "
~Dinah Craik, A Life for a Life, 1859

That post is dated 9/23/06.

We are still holding hands. Sometimes just to hold each other up. Sometimes when we laugh. Sometimes when we cry. We haven't been writing in that other blog this past year, but like the rest of our healing, we will return to the sweetness and affection generated in that other blog.

This quote actually means more to me now than it did 3 years ago. The comfort of knowing someone intimately and walking through the fiery destruction, only to rebuild a stronger support BECAUSE WE CHOOSE TO. We choose to keep what is worth keeping: Our mutual understanding; our worthiness; our individual recoveries that spill over into our still strong relationship. And then we kindly blow away the lingering pain and disappointment as we set our own private standards for our unique marriage. It may not be a conventional union but only we can hear the quiet tick that operates the clock of our existence.

Shhh, listen to the tick, tick, tick.

June 24, 2009

Shall We Dance?

There is an interesting article in BBC News about dancing.

According to this article, "Ballroom and Latin dancing classes can improve pupils' behaviour as well as their fitness, research suggests."

..."Roehampton University's Dr Jeanne Keay, who conducted the research, said the response to the programme in the 29 primary and secondary schools involved was overwhelmingly positive.

He said communication and co-operation improved between boys and girls, who worked together as dance partners.

And that behaviour had improved because of the "disciplined and structured nature of ballroom and Latin dance
". "

The article also mentions that the dance program helps shy children become involved and that the program has the potential to positively effect social interaction within families and in local communities.

My son was such a shy little boy that when he was ages 3 to 6 if one of the neighborhood children would ring the bell and ask if my son could come out to play, he would be found hiding behind the drapes in the living room. He was quiet and didn't speak much. He was the kind of kid that when he did have something to say, it was something worth listening to, not just yak yak rambling. He rarely had something to say so I felt like I should be right there ready to write what he was saying when he did speak.

Maybe he was quiet because he was sandwiched between his two sisters in age and their constant talking was our little family's entertainment. Perhaps a young peoples dance program might have helped him be less reserved when he was a small lad. He was allowed to enter the world of sports at a young age precisely because of his shy nature and because it was such a surprise that this quiet, shy boy was so insistent that he wanted to play football. He was always happy to play alone that it was unexpected when he was so sure he wanted to play a team sport.

So instead of dancing he was running back and forth across the football field. That didn't help his social skills but it did teach him discipline and team spirit. Continuing to play was always his choice. He would not miss a practice. The girls and I were watching every practice. He continued with football and added basketball and wrestling along the way. He is a grown man now and still somewhat reserved albiet a polished businessman. I think I will ask him if he dances much.

June 23, 2009

Is the Grunting Necessary?

BBC News article: "What A Racket".

"A quiet revolution is engulfing tennis, as spectators and players say enough is enough to grunting. As Wimbledon begins, why is it that players are making so much noise?"

Personally, I like the noise. There needs to be some sort of sound to hold my interest for any length of time. I personally don't watch TV, don't have TV, don't miss TV the past 4 years. But when I did watch it, I enjoyed hearing the struggle and effort when the athletes performed. It is a performance after all. Why else would there be people in the stands and on the TV glued to the back and forth ball and the strains and pains of the players?

Is the grunting necessary? Not really. Does it make it more interesting? In my opinion, yes it does.

June 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Dear Brother Bill

Today is my OLDER brother's birthday. He is my only brother but when we started getting up in the senior citizen hemisphere, I started teasing him about his being older.

He may be older but he is definitely more active and young at heart than I am. He has a wonderful wife and after being married about a trillion years they were astonished to learn they were expecting a baby last year. In March they were blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby boy. Not that I am partial to this little nephew, but this is truly a good looking and smart baby.

Their little family is in the process of a rather substantial move back to the mainland.
For most of our adult lives we have lived in different states, both of us moving from time to time to still other states. But we haven't missed each others birthdays, either a call or a card.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BRO!!! I love you.

June 21, 2009

The Four Commandments

Skilled and accomplished people attract me. Throw interesting and zany into the mix and I'm a fan. When I found Les Becker's blog, it was as if I found myself in a love-in from the sixties (and I had never been to one back then).

This blog is so much fun, and boy do I need fun these days. I wonder how does she find the time to write a post so often and how does she keep her funny bone from cracking? This blogger has wit and charm and CAN SPELL, even if some of the words are spelled in Canadianese.

Les' ex-landlady, Ruby, is credited with relaying some fascinating and sometimes funny stories. Because I am a recent convert to this blog, there are posts-a-plenty in my future to read because I plan on reading every post from the beginning of this blog. I am already feeling related to Ruby and Les, so I may end up a cousin when I am finished with the catch-up.

The four commandments as Ruby sees them are:

Trust your instincts.
Walk your own path.
Play fair.
Mind your own business.

My perception of that is:
Trust your instincts. Listen to your gut feeling. Pay attention to your inner wisdom.

Walk your own path. Decide your course. Plot your own direction. Travel your own way.

Play fair. Play according to the rules. Don't cheat. Engage all with highest standards.

Mind your own business. Mind your own friggin business. Keep an extraordinarily high degree of refrain from interfering in everyone else' sphere.

I will be doing a post on each one of these "commandments" in the near future.
And I will be visiting Les Becker's blog often. Maybe I can learn some things from her about sharing daily struggles and experiences with humor and an open heart.

June 16, 2009

The Alzheimer's Coffee Pot

My coffee pot was a three dollar discovery at a thrift store last year. I didn't look closely at it and there wasn't a user's manual provided so my expectations were pretty straightforward. I would put in the water, filter, and coffee and the coffee machine would do its part by brewing and maintaining a temperature that would keep the coffee hot.

The first time I used it I discovered by accident that this darling coffee machine turns off if it does not get attention after a half hour. Not that I have this in common with my coffee machine. The first few times this happened, it was annoying. But I have come to appreciate the convenience of having something I do not have to remember.

I irreverently alluded to Alzheimer's in this post, not as a criticism of anyone suffering from this disease, but as one more thing that could be in my own future.
My coffee machine has a nickname. Al.

My plants have nicknames too and so do other things around here, but that is a post for another day.

June 15, 2009

Ray Charles-September 23, 1930 - June 10, 2004

This post is in memory of Ray Charles. There is a wealth of information in the biography on the Ray Charles blog here.

I was especially interested in his success as I followed his career many years ago.
As a young bride, my then husband and I were fortunate to hear Ray sing and play at a favorite place in Hollywood, California.

I will be watching my DVD of Ray today.

June 14, 2009

The Down Side

I think there are lots and lots of people like me in my age group and older who live on fixed incomes. It is actually a satisfactory way to live. I used to think it wasn't, but out here in the mid-west in this environment it is okay. We are older folks wanting a peaceful life. Perspective on life on the down side of the life mountain isn't looking downward as I imagined it would be. It is more of a graceful descent to the inevitable and a different kind of adventure.

The other side of the life mountain, the young years, is much harder, struggling to get ahead, working and saving for a future that may or may not turn out as planned. Some people are so focused on this side of the life mountain that they pressure family and friends around them to have the same goals and ambitions. As a younger woman, I was persuaded that my value as a human being depended on how much money I made and what position I attained in society.

I'm not quite into the "Golden Years", but I hear them knocking on my door. In this time of my life I see clearly and listen attentively with an authority to discern my own fate and my preferred lifestyle. The simple things in life are not free as in the old expression. The things I hold dear are not luxurious or self-indulgent but there is a cost. My time. My effort. And in some instances, my heart. I give willingly and lovingly of myself and my resources to maintain my wholesome lifestyle.

Wheeee, this is a glorious ride on the down side. For the next 20, 30 or maybe even 40 years of my life I want to remain hopeful and functional and valuable.