Two favorite ingredients in my anti-aging cocktail: Humor and Curiosity

Guileless comedy offered up through my favorite delivery system–granddaughters–is sure to keep me young, or young-ish!

Sophia and Karina

I really don’t spend any significant time thinking about my age, but I did just have a birthday. Maybe that’s what sparked a bit of the following conversation.

 Karina makes her mark on the world by distinguishing herself as combination perennial princess, artist and musician, as well as a young and budding Sarah Bernhardt.

She dances and sings through life. If I’m any good at predicting the future, I’m reasonably sure she isn’t going to need reminders to “breathe lighter.”

To the question, “Karina, are you looking forward to starting Kindergarten and being in school with your sister?” she  immediately chirped back, “No. I don’t really want to do all that work!” I hope her teacher won’t be too quick to silence a little girl who sings or hums a tune all day long.

In contrast, six-year old Sophia can hardly wait for second grade, and in fact, has conversations about going to college. While we were walking to the school’s Open House she announced that she was looking forward to being 30! Thirty?

I laughed and said, “Oh no! Not yet! Enjoy being a little girl. And besides, I don’t even want to think about how old I’ll be when you’re thirty!”

Without missing a beat and with all seriousness she said, “You mean dead?”

She has no trouble keeping it real.

I almost choked on my tongue I was laughing so hard! After a moment of recovery I told her I intended to be around a long, long time…long enough to become a problem for her.

I’ve been laughing about this for a couple of days, and it brought to mind the Mark Twain quote, “The report of my death was an exaggeration,” typically misquoted as “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

I like to think Sophia has greatly exaggerated reports of my age!

And speaking of Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, have you ever seen him on film? I mean really moving about at his home in Redding, Connecticut,  with his daughters Clara and Jean?

This very rare video, filmed in 1909 by Thomas Edison, is really quite amazing. It’s a bit jumpy in places and the quality is grainy, but speaking of age–1909! A better quality digital restoration is not available for embedding, but can be accessed HERE. The quality is really excellent in comparison to the original and you’ll be able to better see the faces. I hope you’ll still watch the original, however, just because it exists!

Are you curious about other rare historical film clips? Newsreel archive British Pathé upload 85,000 historical films to its YouTube channel. Oh my goodness but this is a curious person’s treasure trove. It might take me a while to see all 85,ooo, but some hold more interest than others.

I’m not as interested in “The World’s Greatest Jumping Dog  or “A Real Life Flea Circus,” but Julie Andrews, at thirteen years of age singing for George VI, now that is quite fun and interesting, as is the World’s First Mobile Phone, footage from Paris, 1922.

Humor, curiosity, interest in learning from the past and looking ahead with expectation to the future, these are important components in my life and ingredients in my anti-aging cocktail.

As mid-week sometimes hits a bump, maybe you can find something here to both amuse and enlighten.

The jumping dog did make me laugh! And by all means, breathe lighter!

 

It’s Been a Hard Day’s Night…but We Can Work it Out

“To have time implies that quality of elegance and ease which gives poise to our movements and wisdom to our action. Pushed by rush, most of the time, we are compressed, mean and narrow-minded. Why not open the doors and let air, wind and sun penetrate into our lives.”  From the book “Awakening the Spine,” by Vanda Scaravelli.

I’ve been reading this wonderful book. I think the quote supports what I previously mentioned in my last post  when I shared that focusing on nature and the outdoors aids in minimizing the natural build-up of stress.

But sometimes it isn’t easy, or even possible, to get outdoors.

My dad was admitted to the hospital last week , experiencing such severe leg and hip pain there was concern that perhaps he’d broken his hip. Fortunately his condition is much less serious, and a torn muscle is responsible for all that pain.

He required extra attention; however, since we discovered he doesn’t tolerate morphine AT ALL! He  offered an entirely new interpretation of “Day Tripper.”

My brother’s comment sums up that experience quite well. “Dad, it’s  a good thing you stayed away from Woodstock.”

Slowing down and accepting that there was nothing more important than to be available to my parents provided an opportunity to think about how fast we sometimes roll. I always say I’m too rushed; pulled in many directions. A hospital room is no place for impatience. Time slows.

As it turned out; however, we were able to break away from the hospital for a little while and attend a family party. My sister-in-law, Heather, the fun one in the family, is also a HUGE Beatles fan.

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She and my brother share a nice collection of Beatles-related books, records, and items collected since childhood. And in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Beatles appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” my nephew’s birthday party doubled as a Beatles celebration.

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It was good to spend time together as a family, to laugh and play games, and while reviewing Beatles-related trivia, it was also fun to think back to our younger selves and the first time we saw the Beatles perform on American television.

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At the end of the night we were given sweets purchased at a local British import store. I’m saving mine for my next chocolate craving. That shouldn’t be too far into the future.

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Laughter and chocolate…two excellent ways to reduce stress, and don’t forget the power of music. The Beatles certainly give you plenty to choose from. I tried to decide which song is my favorite, but I think it’s the total package;  the entire collection makes them special.

Do you have any favorites?

I’ll share a piece of trivia, perfectly matched for concluding remarks.

What is the last song recorded by the Beatles?

“The End” is the last song recorded by all four Beatles and included on the Abbey Road album.

Enjoy…and share a memory or two.

Finding joy in the ordinary…or is it?

American school-aged children my age or older were introduced to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass  at some time along their educational journey. I’m sure I learned something about the basic structure, or maybe it’s best to say lack of structure, of the compilation of over 400 poems.

I don’t recall being particularly interested at the time, which looking back surprises me because I was very devoted to Emerson and Thoreau. Transcendentalist principles were an easy sell to a highschooler in  the ’60s.

But Whitman caught my imagination a little later.

The 1980 American musical film “Fame” followed a talented group of students through their years at the New York High School of the Performing Arts, and in the movie, the graduating class performed the finale “I Sing the Body Electric.” 

I devoured the soundtrack, repeatedly listening to the songs on my very spiffy 8-track tape, until it was wholly memorized.

The song’s title is from Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” and it was from that musical exposure that I began a lifelong appreciation for the great American poet.

And for this new year, I’m keeping a particularly favorite Whitman quote close at hand.

“Do anything, but let it produce joy.”

So would you like to see what has produced joy this week? Sure you would!

3 hawks

These three hawks, soaking up some late afternoon sun, certainly gave me more than a few moments of being joyful! I took this photo from my backyard, and it always gives me a burst of delight when I capture a glimpse of urban nature.

It pays to look up!

Deer

This photo takes a little extra imagination. Can you see it? The deer, I mean. I’m so sorry! It’s not your eyes…I can’t see it well either, but you’ll just need to trust me. She’s there, just very well camouflaged.

Instead of sitting in an office for an extra few minutes when I ran early for an appointment, I drove just a few blocks north–that would be towards the foothills- and on a homeowner’s lawn, what I at first mistook for a realistic piece of lawn art, moved!

I don’t have to tell you how excited I was. Poor little thing was probably hungry or thirsty in our very dry winter conditions, but there she stood, and I did the best I could with my iPhone, not daring to get very close or she’d have been frightened away.

I, on the other hand, don’t need a photo to recall how beautiful she was–a very unexpected visitor.

Averill Park

How about a visit to the local park to feed the ducks? A loaf of bread and two darling granddaughters and we were on another outdoor adventure. I’d do this every day if it were possible.

Joy is often captured in moments of opportunity…

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…or humor.

I couldn’t help but laugh when Sophia picked a handful of weeds and gleefully announced to her sister, “Look! Clover!”

running up the hill

And then they just ran…and ran…and ran.

Freedom!

Now that’s pure joy when you’re 4 and 6…or even older.

I must say that sharing my moments of joy, with all these photos of the great outdoors, makes me just a little self-conscious.

I wish I could share some warmth and dry Southern California weather with my friends caught in the current Arctic Blast!

There is more than a 100 degree difference in temperatures coast to coast and I don’t even know how to process that information. Frankly, I didn’t know it was possible to get a windchill factor of  negative 50 degrees!

While you wait for warmer weather, and it will come, maybe artist Andrew Wyeth’s words will give you something to consider. I’m sure even the harshest winter landscape can be extremely beautiful.

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape–the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show.” 

Under all conditions,

We need to practice joy!