Use play to head off winter blechs & blahs

Great article in The Guardian on the importance of playing with your children (see Links) which misses the equally vital importance of play straight across the age spectrum, as essential – and often neglected – in our 80s as at eight.

The BEST elder empowerer I know is Sarah, a master of hands-on care across the mental spectrum, an exceptional playfulness coach par excellence & skilled at snatching moments  to work on her novel.  Sarah has a gift for drawing out joy, glee from even those staring down the challenges of advanced Alzheimer’s.  My one sadness about this remarkable woman is that between her wait-listed cast of clients & her husband & her cat rescue/fostering & authoring, there’s no time to write the spirited guide to light-touch, wholehearted elder – or anyone – care.

Until she does, make do with a “Fun & Activities” article that gives some good basic ponters for keeping play in our lives at all ages, all stages!

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UNprocessed server

I believe that a key reason my mother & mother-in-law & the great Anne Hyatt stayed physically & mentally fit was because a modest percentage of their diet came from commercially processed foods.

Some people might balk at including Anne, who dealt with dementia for well over her last seven years.  She made the cut because other than forgetting the day & date from one moment to the next, she craved being around interesting people & engaging conversations, loved the mental & emotional energies around a good discussion.  And I chalk a good portion of the credit for that going to eating her fair share of fresh veggies & fruit, lean meats & other healthy proteins.

Just like Mom & Mom M.  Up until her last couple years, Mom made the bulk of our meals.   Orn In 1910, she defined old school in her cooking – from scratch meant just that, NOT opening a jar or defrosting an entree.  Mom M., who was her own chef right to the end, kept her meals simple but wholesome.  They had the advantage of children who helped with the shopping, while Anne ate the majority of her meals in one of Rydal Park’s three (3) restaurants, ranging from a cafeteria to the casual Club Room to the formal dining room; the food in each was prepared by skilled chefs & experienced kitchen staff

Alas, I also have friends who are not so lucky, who pop a frozen entree in the microwave or heat up a hot dog.

If you have an elder among your loved ones, check out what they are eating.  If they seem to be just eeking out their meals, step up to the plate – or platter.  Make them HEALTHY meals they can keep in the freezer & pop out as they need them.  Make sure they have a supply of fresh or frozen veggies & fruits.  Prep several days of yogurt with their favorite fruit on top (Mom was partial to blackberries, blueberries, raspberries – meh to strawberries) for them to top with a 1/4 of good quality granola for a yummy healthy satisfying breakfast;  easy to do & considerably healthier than commercially prepared fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts.  Invest in a single-cup hot beverage maker.  ASK THEM TO A MEAL AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK.

They’re not high tech suggestions, but in my purely subjective experience, being an UNprocessed server to our older friends & loved ones can make a huge difference in oldsters elders ancient’s quality, even quantity of life..


After talking with a friend about the film MINDWALK, how it demolished my entrenched belief in being a dullard, went looking for the part that first stirred my brain cells & sang out to my heart.  25+ years since first stumbling across it on the telly, am still in awe of all it says about relationship, how its messages of universal interconnectedness still stir my heart & pings my spirit,

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Mom or Mim?

My sister died three years ago – July 3, 2015.  My hope over her closing years, her collapsing body graced to the end with an awesome mind, was that she would write a book.  Maybe she did.  Alas, I was not her executor, so never sifted through the boxes of papers in her room, never heard of a manuscript – an incalculable loss.

At this moment in time, can appreciate the forces that might have stopped Mim.  I’ve dabbled in writin – outlined a book “Honor your father & your mother…”, started Badass Grandma (about Mom), penned a children’s book.  But write a book relating back to ME?

Yes.  Today, I waded into my fears & wrote the first sentence of Dream Reweaver – confessions of a positive deviant, return payment to a wondrously abundant Universe, a shout-out to my deeply rooted belief  that our Creator intends every living thing to celebrate life, from first breath to last.

Helping Mom was FUN.  Writing on my own – scary!

Mom didn’t write for posterity – she wrote for herself.  We focused on getting down what she wanted to share with me, sitting side by side, sending it out into cyberspace.  Just do the same.  Write for me, nothing else, nothing less.

Mom or Mim? Which do I emulate?

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“Update could not be installed due to lack of power”

“Update could not be installed die to lack of power.”  An iPad notification packs surprising wisdom.

God, the Universe,, the Great Spirit, our Creator – whatever name is used to describe the Wondrous Whatever behind this crazy loopy thing we call our existence  BEing LIFE constantly runs unscheduled inner updates to help maximize our systems,.

Reading that notification this a.m., something clicked sin my brain, setting off a whoosh of aha awakenings.

Will never know why our standard operating system seems to come with a default desire to side step personal responsibility.  Is it a glitch or does it save a funky purpose?

It sure does a lot of damage!  It’s how demagogues rise to power, offering people what they want to hear & believe, even – or as I’ve learned first hand, especially – when what they say defies reason.

We seem weirdly born with a whackadoodle desire to HAND OVER our power over to others.  I’ve seen it uncountless times in my family, personal & professional life.  In myself.  It’s the #1 reason  I balk at the argument that the. Constitution is written in stone or that the understanding of any group’s founders should remain arbiters of current rules & regs – that’s abdicating here & now responsibility it to long-dead ones.

Is the rise of powerful figures who speak to our deepest fears rather than our highest aspirations tied to an inherent desire to keep our inner power source just strong enough to run basic programs?  To welcoming an other eager to accept responsibility for making our lives work & who typically offers up any number of others  to pin with blame when things go off track?

Worth a ponder.

And a timely reminder to keep my own power source open.  There’s no guessing when the next aha update might try to download into my head heart spirit,

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MacArthur returns!

Not as in the general, gone these many decades.  As in the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship grants, 25 presented every year to people who are usually unknown to most of us but whose creativity productivity contributions are recognized with a HEFTY check & instant celebrity status.

The MacArthur fellowships are near & dear to my heart.  Nine years ago, I had the honor & pleasure of teaching a Social Studies unit on them to my class of at-risk high schoolers, a group of kids who connected to the white hot News, multi-ethnic & gender mix.  Some of the winners were from the metro Philly region, so they saw related articles in local papers, making Social Studies real & relevant!

And I’ll never forget sitting smack dab next to ANN BASTINGS at the 2016 National Center For Creative Aging (NCCA) Conference when Gay Hanna announced from the stage that she’d been named that morning as a MacArthur fellow – thrilling!

Great reads, great discussion points with family, friends, colleagues!

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