Happy Grandparents Day!!

In celebration of Grandparents Day, am posting a link to our local PATCH newspaper that asks – What makes your grandparent a legend in your family or community?

Post it here or on your Facebook page, share it with your family or boast about it to your friends, but tell someone.  I wish I could – –  Dad’s adored mother died just as he hit his teens, Mom’s beloved father died in her late teens, my remaining grandparents were gone before I had the chance to know them.  Consider yourself deeply blessed to know a grandparent, blessed beyond measure if they are close in your heart.

POWerful Convergence

Karen Sands notes in her wondrous book, THE AGELESS WAY, that this is a crucial moment, one that “reflects the convergence of two historical trends:  the evolution of psychology to include humanistic, trans personal & lifespan development theory;  and the widening impact of population aging in all post-industrial societies.”  (p. 45)

 

From purely personal experience rather than based on any empirical findings, I’d add  two additional converging trends, making one mega POWerful moment ripping up a stunted “aging” status quo, freeing space for radical evolution & change:  thanks to technology flattening entrenched hierarchies & democratizing information, more people like ME can establish businesses without going through the financial hoops or limited data access that kept many earlier entrepreneurs stuck in the visions stage;  and the economic/societal upheavals that hit early in the millennium created an unprecedented need for people to reboot careers, sparking a continuing wave of entrepreneurial thinking & innovative new enterprises.

In short, technology & disasters tossed the old rule book out the window.

My mother’s life shifted because of the two trends Karen notes, plus the third, a shift she happily acknowledged:  “I have heard that timing is everything and the issue of aging is no different. From the mid-1960s to recently, the culture in the USA did not give much value to older people. The times today are a-changing as the generation of revolutionaries who declared “Don’t trust anyone over thirty” now find themselves eligible for AARP+ membership. I have found that the voice of wisdom is increasingly sought out by a generation that has no intention of becoming invisible or going softly into that goodnight.”  (The Velveteen Grammie)

Mine shifted through the convergence of all four, creating a singular, timeless yet time-bound moment.  Past & future draw together into a surrealistic now that reminds me windows of opportunity are open for a brief span; that while getting to NOW could not be rushed, THIS moment will not linger long.  The Universe looks to ACTION for affirmation of its out-stretched opportunities; make the effort to seize the golden moment, or feel it brush past in search of someone who will.

 

Let’s take a look at the two trends Karen notes, plus the two I tacked on:

1st trend:  the acknowledgement that we live successively, in a continuum stretching across a spectrum of development, NOT in set stages staggered across segments of separate spans, delineated epochs.

2nd trend:  developed countries’ 2-edged sword of longer life

3rd trend:  flattened hierarchies & increased access to data create practically unlimited opportunities..

4th trend:  liberating economic/societal disruption resulted in unprecedented entrepreneurism.

Take a long last last look, then ask yourself – which trends have I left off?  Which ones will develop tomorrow or next week month year?  What will be the WOW at their point of convergence?

Advance, Australia Fair! – Mindwalker1910

Today’s Mindwalker1910  repost is Mom’s share about the upcoming 2000 Sydney Olympics, of a nation she held dear to her heart, of family  & friends she cherished loved missed.

Mom took seven (7) trips to Australia between 65-85.  I think that in almost every way (there was one crucial exception), she was her post-Pete happiest there – snug in the heart of a  community of friends & family who thought she was the bee’s knees, waking up  every day to the joy of being Nan-Nan, knowing she added significant value to the hum of their home.  “Mum” dearly loved Australia – her “home away from home,” her Australian loved ones & friends, and the self SHE was free to be Down Under.

FYI:  Donna Heldon – a granddaughter-of-her-heart;   Mike – Mom’s second son, a Sydneysider since 1973;   Kerry – his wife;   Scott & Karen – their children;   Bryan – Kerry’s brother.

 

Subj: Advance, Australia Fair!
Date: Wed Sep 6  2000 

Between the Olympics and Donna Heldon’s wedding, my heart and mind seems as much with my loved ones Down Under as with the “Yanks” here at home. (To Australians, all Americans – whether from Back Bay Boston or the back hills of the Appalachians – are Yanks.)

What do I love and miss the most about my home away from home? Of course, the people. They are so hospitable and as open as the Out Back. They are bold in what they say, no shrinking violets. There is a spirit about them that is hard to describe, friendly with an intentional edge. They have a special energy about them that is so real I could feel it.

I remember colors, all sorts of colors. From the stunning flowers to the exotic birds to the luscious fruits to the blue of sky and water. When I think of beautiful colors, I think of Rhonda Hall and the beautiful dresses she wore with their wonderful colors. 

It is impossible to describe the glorious fruits I enjoyed on my stays, especially my beloved mangoes. Oh, to enjoy a perfectly ripe, practically just picked mango. We get them at the supermarkets now, but they are not the same, not by a long shot. 

And the fish, so many wonderful types. My favorite fish of all time is barramundi. What I would give for a bite of barramundi right now. 

Then there is the water. I am a water baby, as my family knows, and it was heaven to be so close to the water. I drew strength just being so near. 

Best of all, of course, were my friends and family. My times with Mike & Kerry and Scott & Karen are happy memories. I enjoyed getting to know Kerry’s family, especially Bryan. Oh, yes, I like Bryan very much. As for the people in our church society, I wanted to pack them up and take them home with me, especially dear Laurel Brettel. 

I am on the other side of the world, but for the next few weeks, my heart will be in Australia, celebrating with the Heldons and whooping it up with the people cheering on the Olympians. Just writing this, I am smiling and so very happy.

A special “Good on ya, mate!” to Donna & Jason and her family – Grandma Lockhart

BRENDA WILTON – Eldering Evolution HERO!

AUTHORED   APPAREL  – restoring dignity & independence.

Friends ask if our crazed drive to & from D.C. this past Thursday for Aging2.0’s Pint-0 event was worth the time energy money.  YES!  It was an amazing opportunity to meet so many men & women who bring their creativity & innovative ideas to the eldering evolution, to rub shoulders with Aging2.0‘s movers & shakers.

Of all the WOW people we met, John & I agree #1 has to be BRENDA WILTON.

As an artist, John was rocked by the design sense she brings to her AUTHORED clothing line, featuring pieces created for people who find dressing a daunting, painful (on many levels) task.  As much as I am awed by what Brenda’s AUTHORED APPAREL has created for countless people who struggle to put on something as commonplace as the fashion T that John was sporting or the sky blue sweater I had on, what blows me away is how she exemplifies an entrepreneur who found her calling through personal experience. Experience rooted in her own 10 years as a young person in a corrective brace, then through years helping family members facing the myriad struggles related to problems getting dressed & horrifically limited clothing options.

Someone without such challenges might consider “horrific” an overstatement.  I think it doesn’t begin to describe how it must feel to be someone for whom the normally mundane act of dressing is physically painful & emotionally debilitating.

As the personal toll hit over & over, closer & closer to home, a fire was lit within Brenda to design alternatives to the horrendous choices available to the millions of people being cared for at home, in care communities & medical centers.  She’s determined to create stylish pieces that people with physical constraints or health challenges can put on, clothing that imbues both a sense of independence & the confidence we feel knowing we look good.

Brenda’s clothing line helps people of all ages nurture their sense of emotional & physical well-being, liberates them from the daily loss of dignity.  The three of us are kindred spirits in our shared belief that neither age nor physical limitations should define someone.

We’d never heard of  the  “adaptive apparel line,” although both of us understood the need – Mom’s clothing choices were limited by a torn rotator cuff that made it impossible to lift up her left shoulder.  Brenda’s unique designs “defines an entirely new wardrobe category for seniors and others who experience physical challenges with dressing. Authored ageless designs provide ease of dressing and undressing with style, comfort, and durability not offered by other apparel alternatives. Authored fashions function and fit well.”

Mom didn’t care about the wrinkles on her face or her “saggy baggy” (her description, not mine) body, but it did bother her that she could only wear loose-fitting clothing, that it was rare for her to feel anywhere close to lookin’ sharp.  And she hated always needing someone to help her get dressed.  Mom’s every day experience helps me understand & appreciate beyond words the need for clothing that leaves the wearer feeling physically fashionably emotionally EMPOWERED.

Let Brenda explain the power of Authored Apparel ~ ~ ~  We have reduced or eliminated irritating seams, used premium, durable and even some exclusive fabrics, and positioned closures to reduce discomfort while improving accessibility.

Authored clothing may allow care community residents to continue living in assisted living communities longer before transferring to skilled nursing environments. In addition, Authored is helpful to those who suffer from Parkinson’s, MS, ALS, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Diabetes, the after effects of Strokes, Dialysis and many other catastrophic diseases, injuries and disabilities in addition to the typical challenges of aging.

Authored is particularly designed to improve the lives of caregivers. This unique line of clothing reduces pain, injury, time and the challenges associated with assisting another with dressing and undressing.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Amen, sister!  Brenda’s clothing line is the answer to countless prayers offered up by the people who are challenged, by their families & loved ones, by care partners doing the best they can to create an empowered & empowering environment.   With apparel from Authored, men & women have a fashion line that lets them dress with relative ease & look good at the same time.

Brenda offers something as basic to our emotional well-being as looking sharp, as essential to our mental health as the independence of simpler dressing, plus the support of our physical health by restoring getting dressed in the morning as part of a danger-free routine.

Back to Brenda  ~ ~  ~  No matter the cause of someone’s dressing limitation, they will appreciate the attention to detail in every Authored garment.  These timeless garments are constructed with excellence from high-quality fabrics in styles that are both fashionable and functional.  They allow an individual with limited mobility, weakness, or other challenges to look and feel like themselves again.

Brenda – you astonish us with your design skills, your determination to save others from the heartbreak you & yours went through, your remarkable fashion line.  Authored Apparel is a godsend for people of all ages who find themselves unable to handle the daily fashion tasks most of us never consider, for the people who love & care for them.

Dear friend, you are a Eldering Evolution HERO!

https://authoredapparel.com/pages/our-story

 

Why Authored is Needed

Prologue – Serving an under-served population because…

Chapter 1 – Getting Dressed Daily is Essential

Chapter 2 – Typical Clothing No Longer Works

Chapter 3 – Care Partner’s Caring Shouldn’t Hurt

Chapter 4 – Aging is a Life Experience, Not a Medical Condition

Chapter 5 – Clothing Must Fit Both the Body and the Budget

Chapter 6 – Everyone’s Story Deserves Dignity

Epilogue – …because we are the voice for the dressing challenged

Clinton, NJ – Ramblin’

John &  I discovered Clinton, NJ last year.  We absolutely FORBID you taking an interstate to this small charmer, a village more than a town!  The ramble is half the fun!

“Downtown” Clinton is several blocks of cozy shops & restaurants, easy to get to although most seem to have a step up (at least four steps up to Fourchette – forgot to count).  The Hunterdon Art Museum has wonderful wooden steps AND an elevator.

We start out with breakfast at Fred’s in New Hope.  A few things to know about Fred’s – 1) it is a breakfast club, so it requires a key for entry BUT they are very forgiving & will welcome you in without one (tell them you’re friends of John & Deev); 2) there are NO markings to tell you where it is, so you better figure it out ahead of time;  3) parking is on the street or at an off-street lot at Parry & Main, but you can drop people off & then park in metered spaces.  The only thing better than the food are the terrific, salt-of-the-earth people on both sides of the counter.

If you’re not up for Fred’s, it’s too crowded, or it’s after 11:00 a.m., there are dining spots along the various routes.  Or wait until you get to Clinton.

Neither John nor I can imagine a place we more like to meander on a perfect fall day. The ONLY way we roll into town is to turn left off of Rt 513, IMMEDIATELY after the CLINTON HOUSE Restaurant & Bakery, then cross the one-lane bridge into “downtown” Clinton.

Or stay straight after the turn & go to the Red Mill Museum Village, a delightful treat, sight of special events & a community gathering place (09/22 is a free movie night – Beauty & the Beast, not sure which version).  Perched on a pond, the Red Mill defines picturesque.

On the other side of the bridge is the Hunterdon Art Museum, a must-see gem (full disclosure  – we’re members).   From there, we work our way down Main Street to our beloved Clinton Book Shop.

We confess – our only Clinton experience is with Main Street, but we are branching out on our next visit.  Until then, or to steep yourself in the many shopping & restaurants we’ve left unmentioned, check out the Clinton Guild – covers them all!

Even John gets a kick out of Addicted & Added Touches by Marywhich infuses FUN into fashion.  unky fashion!  In addition to what you’d expect to find at Balic of Clinton – selections from the Balic Winery down in Mays Landing – you’ll also find all sorts of vino-related accessories, gourmet yums, even coffee & tea (check ahead about tastings).  Oh for the day I can afford a pair of comfy shoes from Bearpaw Leather!  Praise be, I can comfort myself with a splurge at Heartstrings or its enchanting neighbor, SweetPeas; ~ enter both at your own risk of falling in love with EVERYTHING.  As you would expect, Jayne’s is not your usual Hallmark store – possibly the best anywhere!  Naturally, our hearts sing as soon as we walk into The Wild Radish gallery.  Citispot was the very first shop we visited when we first stumbled across Clinton & remains our favorite spot for a reviving cuppa!

One place we know for sure is our 2nd favorite stop in Clinton – we adore Fourchette. Such cheeses breads soups – their Parisian pedigree shows!

Fourchette’s 5 Tips for a Sublime Cheese Plate

1.    Make sure you have enough cheese: We recommend ¼ lb of cheese per guest – that’s just four bites!
2.    Don’t confuse your guests:  3-4 selections of cheese is the maximum
3.    Pair wisely: one kind of cracker or bread; one kind of seasonal fruit; one kind of jam or honey; perhaps some interesting nuts.  That’s it!
4.    Serve it uniquely: use a wooden serving board, a specially made slate, or a beautiful platter and don’t forget that each cheese needs its own serving knife!
5.    Choose a theme: explore one kind of genre (think triple crème); choose a milk and showcase its range (sheep’s milk cheese from creamy to aged); or highlight a particular region (cheese from the Pyrenees)

 

These are just a few of the delights found between the bridge across the pond (what a beautiful waterfall!) & our destination of destinations – the Clinton Book Shop.  Oh calm, my beating heart!  We could load up with sips from Balic of Clinton, nibbles from Fourchette & settle in for a long, leisurely read.  Much as I love New Hope’s Farley’s, the Clinton Book Shop has more elbow room –  a choice yet fabulous range & selection of books, but with breathing space.   Can you tell I adore these fellows?  They are the best, so much more than proprietors – they are book connoisseurs who savor the authors & illustrators they showcase.   Harvey loves his shop, his customers, his community & it shows in every nook & cranny of this bibliophile heaven.  We suspect that this shop was the magnet drawing us to discover beguiling Chester.

There are so many spots I haven’t mentioned in this delightful destination – my apologies!  It is small wonder Clinton has been designated the “gold standard” for NJ’s downtowns – it embodies a sense of place rooted in community involvement, honoring its cultural and historical roots yet promoting a vision for the town’s future.  A town totally worth ramblin’!

 

ROUTES we’ve taken…

√   New Hope PA up either side of the Delaware River to Stockton, NJ to 29N to 523E to 579N to Pittstown Road (right)

√   New Hope to Stockton to 29N then almost immediately to 519 to 513E

√   New Hope up either side of the Delaware River to Frenchtown (will be “Ramblin” there in next Sat’s posting!), then head east on 513

 

 

 

Let it GO!

If I could do one thing for every one of my friends of all ages, I’d get them to pick a song of the month to play as one of the first things they do each morning.  A week is too short a time, a year way too long.  We’ll see how a month works.  Am starting today through to October 9, when I’ll pick my next one.

This focus on music started this past Tuesday, when the always inspiring Rachel Rubin got all of us gathered at Be Well for “Design Your Dream Day” up on our feet & jazzing out to Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling, an exercise that literally rocked my world.

I’d learned about the power of music through an older friend, who experienced an unimaginable heart break.  She knew that while she was in Paris with a beloved grandchild – a graduation present from his adoring Grammie – one of her sons would get the ball rolling cleaning out her house, which they were selling because she was moving into his big place.  She loved that house, set on 4 acres of meadow & woods, but bowed to her family’s wish that she no longer live alone.  When she returned, blissed out from the trip, she discovered her son had cleared more than cleaned – he’d given away most of her book collection, all of her dvds & videos, and every one of her records.  The first two were unfathomable losses (some of the least “valuable” books were among her heart’s greatest treasures), but the loss of the records – that broke her.  Her will & sense of independence were crushed; she never recovered.  Music has the power to connect & to lose all of those precious moments…  it’s two years later, she is a shadow of what she was & I am still in shock at such a callous act by a genuinely loving but dangerously oblivious child.

SO – here is my change to flip heartrending energy to constructively butt kicking!

For all of my life, the “Sousa Alarm” has been part of my morning, first through WFLN & now WRTI radio.  John loves it every bit as much as I do – he is a mega Sousa fan, a longtime devotee of the Allentown Band, which features Sousa.  Listening to something every morning is in my background, waiting to be rewoven into my warp & woof!

Imagining how listening to a beloved song first thing – before breakfast, before getting started on their daily routine – could jumpstart the day with happiness.  Doesn’t matter if they are fully independent, in assisted care or need someone to turn it on – – connecting first thing with something audible they love, that they selected, could have a seriously positive effect on them & everyone around.

How will it impact ME, starting each day with something that hooks deep into my psyche, that sets every quark in my being a-quivering?  Kicked off with Let It Go!, the song that inspired the idea.  And it’s just the start of songs in my day – Rachel inspired me to add dance to my daily schedule, using it as a way to regularly get off my duff & shake my booty to great songs like JT’s.

Stay tuned for how it all goes down!!

Bring it on!

Of all the wonderful things that came out of going to the International Association of Gerontology & Geriatrics 21st (quadrennial) World Congress, #1 is my personal sense of being whole, of all the disparate parts – parts I’ve worked resolutely for 40+ years to identify – coming together into ONE.

It’s 09/08/17 & I am at the place that was a dream hope intention when I was 24.  And that young me is holding the feet of this current self to the fire to be…  What?

The first thing that has to GO is any belief that my best efforts are all fluff, no substance.  What an awful message!  And it was drummed into me.  Why, I will never know.  No sense even trying to fathom, since my best bet is that no one knew the why.  It IS time, however, to get OVER it.  Both the message & feeling unhinged by the perceived messengers.

That second part is really really really hard to get past.  We humans perversely hold ourselves back by clinging to things that continually do us dirt.  We seem to enjoy putting hurt on a ceaseless loop, constantly replaying “unforgiveable” things done to us by others.

What if people are doing the best they can?  Last winter, a dear friend of mine – all of  eight years old – was bad mouthing a teacher she felt treated another student unfairly.  She was well into her story when she stopped, paused, then said, “But I don’t know her back story.”  Way to go, Cecily!  Out of the mouths of babes, a great reminder that we don’t know the REAL back story, even our own.  All we can assume is that we’re all doing our best, given our situation & circumstances.   Even that jerk who was weaving in & out of traffic on I-95, doing 70+ mph.  Or John wearing a casual olive T yesterday instead of his dressier black one.

Holding in our heart as well as our head that people are doing their best – what a liberating belief!

The past seven weeks – the past 24 hours – share a sense of the surreal.  So many description-defying things happening, one after the other.  Things hoped for, dreamed of, worked toward.  HAPPENING.

Have struggled to find the right words to describe.  Life-shifting doesn’t cut it.  Clarifying?  No.  Illuminating?  Way too wimpy.   The best I can come up with is “terrifying homecoming”  because Stephen King can’t begin to come up with something scarier than getting to where I’ve been directing myself since 1976, claiming it as my own, feeling my past present future selves come together – leaving me without any excuse for doing anything less than my best.

For way over fifty years, part of me clung to the crock of nonsense, utter balderdash of being all fluff, no substance.   Am over it.

Thrilling & chilling to realize the Universe has thrown down the guantlet – “Okay, you have your wish.  You are whole, as you’ve always wanted.  NOW, what comes next?  What does your unified integrated homogenized self make happen?  Any excuse for playing small is gone.  Thoughts & words are all well & good;  show us your deeds.”

My here & now reality is that my past present future selves have coalesced.  And it IS Stephen King-scary because there aren’t any outs for my not being a person of substance.  I am about as far from fluff as possible, a 65-year old rooted in an intriguing family, nurtured by an unusual community, nourished by a remarkable faith, married to a wonderful guy.

I have no excuses for not being the best version of myself possible.

Many times last night found me explaining that where part of Aging2.0’s mission is connecting entrepreneurs to capital, part of ours is connecting innovators to their butt kicking self belief.  Today, I keep hearing my past & future selves shouting out, “Start with yourself – Bring it on!