Artifacts

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This weekend mom and dad’s roof was repaired. Dad said the crew that came worked hard. Now we are ready for fall. I arrived at my parent’s house about 7 tonite (Sunday) and saw that the roof and yard looked good; the only cleaning up left to do after the roofers was in the little bathroom upstairs.

The bathroom floor was layered with grit and pieces of water-stained wood that had fallen from the hole in the ceiling which exposed the underside of the roof. It was a mess but the room is small and cleaned up quickly. The thin pieces of wood were interesting.

A friend of mine incorporates artifacts from his personal life into artworks, placing them carefully, with proper perspective, into the broader scope of his large life. He told me they enrich a work of art, imbue it with meaning.

Guess I will set a few pieces of the thin weathered wood aside for a future project. They will be a reminder of this period of time in which I stayed nights at my parent’s house.

Life Long Learning

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I read a neat article this evening on the Living Life Fully site called, “It’s Never Too Late.” I like what it had to say about learning new things. Did you know Grandma Moses’ husband died when she was 67, she took up needlepoint; and at 78 she picked up painting which she continued to do until she was 101! This is an image of her final painting, Rainbow, which she completed in 1961.

The cool thing is, as long as we are breathing we can learn new things. It’s actually good to learn something new.

Leading researchers in brain anatomy point to the importance of dendrites – hair-like tendrils that allow brain cells to communicate with each other. Dendrites continue to grow throughout life and in fact, grow more when brain activity is stimulated and challenged. ‘People who find activities that are stimulating, entertaining, and even have a social context, tend to have the most robust mental responses,’ says Dr. Gene Cohen.”

It’s good to become engaged intellectually in stimulating subjects. Good to learn new things.

Most of my friends are around my age. Judi is taking a 2nd Spanish class this fall. Barb (my cousin) is also taking university classes; she’s developing her interests while making new friends. I admire them both for making time to learn new things. It isn’t easy.

I may not be enrolled in any official classes, but I do continue to be an experimental learner. I’m reading about things I’m interested in, such as how best to understand and relate with my parents. And I’m always experimenting in my own artsy/fartsy way with textiles, paints, markers etc. While I wouldn’t call this “challenging”, I do find it interesting and enjoyable. Sewing and painting are playtime for me – I suppose, because they contrast so sharply with my job. I have learned from first-hand experience that when you are proficient with administrative stuff, you find yourself being given more and more of it to do – after all, you are good at it – but having no time to do anything else, like actually think or design on the job. Eight hours providing administrative support fills up the day completely and takes a lot of energy. I used to look forward to “retirement,” but for many people like me there isn’t going to be a “retirement”. If I am fortunate, maybe someday I will be able to just work part-time. If I am, you can bet I will devote a lot more time to being creative. In the meantime, it feels really good to keep learning new things in my own little way.

I like that intuition leads me toward the stuff I study or experiment with. Is it the voice of a muse? Maybe it’s God’s nudge or the whisper of my Guardian Angel? I don’t know. (Does it matter?) I delight in the joy and satisfaction I discover in following it.

Read the article, “It’s Never Too Late.” You will be encouraged to keep on keeping on.

Benefits of Creativity

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I have been called “creative” most of my life. I have kept journals since I was 10 years old, always liked writing; especially enjoyed crafting poems. And there have been seasons when I favored knitting or crocheting or sewing. And periods of time spent puttering with pencils and paints. I love, lately, to make collages. I would be a proverbial basket case if I didn’t express myself in some creative way.

So naturally – since I am creative and since I am aging, and since my parents (who I see every day) are elderly – I am reading everything I can find about the impact of “creating” on the brain, particularly on the aging brain.

Here is what I read today:

“Today, most of us who will reach 65 can expect to live an additional 30 years. The expected ending of life has shifted to become the beginning of the third stage of life.

How will we navigate the path of this third age? What tool in the toolbox of human experience and exploration will best serve us in maintaining a quality of life that will keep us mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically the healthiest and most vibrant? The compass of creativity.

Why is creativity the best tool when entering the third stage of life? Creativity, the expression of self actualization and means of connecting in conversation with the world through the imagination, originality and innovation brought forth by the individualistic self in artistic and inventive works, offers several benefits:

1) Encourages the mind to continually see the world in new ways.

2) Nurtures problem solving skills.
Helps to process and work through emotional issues.

3) Fosters community involvement leading to the lessening of depression and loneliness.

4) Connects the inner spiritual self to the physical world in giving the spirit a tangible voice.

5) Promotes physical activity.”

What do you think? I think it is worth cultivating creativity.

Source: Hubpages

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Decision

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Mom wrote a letter of resignation and gave it to the powers that be at her prayer meeting tonight. She felt she needed to officially step down from the leadership position she has held for 30+ years; since dad’s stroke and with her health issues she hasn’t been attending very regularly. She wrestled with the decision. It wasn’t easy for her. Maybe partly because the “next step” hasn’t been revealed to her yet. Right now she is grieving the loss. And wouldn’t you know it – she noticed the marquee in front of a church we passed on the way home from the prayer meeting that said, “God is the Master of new beginnings.” I hope my mother can be open to a new beginning, and that she will find joy in it.

Life seems full of starts and stops. Im remembering the song by the Byrds, “Turn, Turn, Turn.”

TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON, AND A TIME TO EVERY PURPOSE UNDER HEAVEN.

Puzzle

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YAY! Dad finished a puzzle today! When he injured his shoulder 3 or 4 weeks ago, he pretty much lost interest in making puzzles, one thing he enjoyed doing since his stroke. The puzzle he was working on the day he got hurt sat partly constructed on the old oak table for weeks. He would have nothing to do with it. Whenever any of us kids came over, we tried to get him interested in it again, some of us installing a piece now and then to engage him. Even the great grandkids tried to coax him. But he would have nothing to do with it, even after his shoulder had healed.

A couple weeks ago, Connie packed it up and laid out a new puzzle in its place, this pretty bird puzzle. Still, dad would have nothing to do with it. Connie put the border together, hoping that would entice him to work on it. But, no. He would have nothing to do with it.

Until today – obviously! I noticed it right away when I entered the family room tonight. It’s all finished! And he was pleased with it! Way-to-go, dad!

Is there a lesson in this? I don’t know. Why suddenly did he work on it again? I don’t know that either, but you can bet we are going to pick up another puzzle for him right away.

I don’t know the physiology or psychology about it but I do know doing something creative with our hands has a good effect on us in general. For mom, it is knitting colorful cotton dish cloths. For dad, it is putting beautiful puzzles together. I think there is joy in the process of creating – the satisfaction of handling soft yarn and knitting it into a beautiful useful fabric – the satisfaction of choosing small puzzle pieces and placing them just right so a beautiful landscape becomes visible – the thrill of finding just the right color of yarn or identifying that missing puzzle piece. There is joy in completing a project surely, and joy along the way.

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Good Report From Dr. D

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YAY! Way-to-go, mom! The diabetes is under control!

Even the doctor congratulated mom today!

“Does that mean I don’t have to keep taking all these pills then?” mom asked.

“NOooooo!” said Doctor D emphatically.

It’s a pretty good week so far. Yesterday Dad’s speech therapist even extended  his therapy another month because he is doing so well. Mid-day when mom and I returned to their house after her 3 clinic appointments, Dad was in his lawn chair in the driveway doing the worksheets the therapist had given him. He was half finished already with the one he showed to me! He said they are too easy!

This is a true …

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It was a busy week at my parents’ house. My sister Connie scheduled an insurance adjuster to come by to look at the roof that needs to be repaired. Dad was trying to talk to the guy (according to my mother, he made no sense and the guy probably didn’t know what he was saying […]