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November 30, 2010

When I'm Sixty-Four



When I get older, losing my hair
Many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a valentine?
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine.

If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?


My oldest brother Fitch, who lives on Bowen Island in British Columbia, turned 64 this past weekend and his daughter Jasmine made him this sweet clip to honor the year. Paul McCartney and John Lennon's When I'm Sixty-Four runs the first few minutes of it.

Happy birthday Fitch and to all you other end of November, early December, babies out there :-)

November 26, 2010

Aging Gracefully On Slender Threads


This week's beauty is Kay Moates who is 66 years old.  Kay is a lifelong dancer & teacher who also creates a line of beautiful hand knit shawls called On Slender Threads.  Made of  luscious fibers and earth gems, Kay specializes in wraps for all the transitions and celebrations in life including marriage, birth, illness, and mourning. Her shawls empower, ground, and delight.


Etchings
By Kay Moates

My entire story resides in these lines . . . lines on my face, lines on my hands, lines on my sagging body, even I’m guessing, lines on my heart.

Probably I’m on the fringe, maybe even the edge, about many days in one’s life. You see, I didn’t know my grandparents and to this day still feel slighted. There’s an empty space within me from not experiencing their embraces, words, and personalities; also, from not breathing the same air with them. Oh, long have I looked at their wizened faces staring at me from familiar shaped heads, knowing eyes, and silent lips. Living in their gene pools I could sense their wisdom sparks but photographs didn’t fill the void. This not knowing gave me a different perspective from our culture’s views/pressures/lack-of-teachings about aging. Sounds strange even to me, but at 16, I was wishing to have white hair as I aged. Got that wish in my thirties.

As a young adult, I found Sulamith Wulfing’s work The Transition. It is a powerful symbol/truth holder companioning my way as each decade asks me to make changes either physically or energetically. Some are slight, others massive. Mostly the massive ones have been soul shifts, radical new topography offering release of obsolete patterns. Done in my 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and now my 60’s these shifts are teachers softening my opinions, waking me to the moment, adding time to my day, and giving me my self. Wonder if modern psychology will ever offer retrieval of our inner elder?

The unspoken truth behind denial about aging is our culture’s extreme fear of death. Death is the other side of the living coin, the kiss between two consciousnesses. It’s as natural as each line that marks me. Here I am a new Grandmother late in my days, yet early enough to leave vibrant memories speckled with wisdom . . . where my many etched lines are signs of wonder, streaks of mystery, keepers of stories, harbingers of hope.

Kay's shawls are available on Etsy and Craft is Art.



On Slender Threads is also on Facebook.
Thank you Kay for being this week's beauty.

November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving



I wish I was this far along with Thanksgiving preparations but I'm not yet ( the photo is from a photo site). But the pumpkin pies are in the oven as I write this and I wanted to stop and take a break from the party prep and wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.

If you are traveling I hope you travel safely and enjoy your time away, and if you are having family and/or friends to your home, I hope you have a yummy feast, and a nice time welcoming loved ones.

My sister has said that having guests brings fresh air into our homes. I think this is so true.

I leave you with one of my favorite poems called Wild Geese by Mary Oliver.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

XO,
Louise

November 19, 2010

Aging Gracefully with the Love of Art



This week's beauties are some of the ladies from our 5th Annual Holiday Trunk Show which was held at my friend Jayne's beautiful & very crafty home last week. Every year we usher in the holiday cheer with a two day festival of handmade works of art, food & wine, and fun.

This year's holiday market featured four artists, including Anni Mackay from the Big Town Gallery in Rochester, Vermont, and yours truly The Hole Thing.

Be sure to click on the above collage to capture all the treasures.

Many thanks to Jayne and Doon for the photos.

November 16, 2010

Holiday Promenade

Photo by Claudia Meyer    Paris, France

As we round the corner to the busiest, merriest, but also what can be the most unhealthy time of the year, I thought it might be good to remind ourselves to take-it-easy as we start scrambling to prepare for more than a month of putting ourselves in high gear once again.

The seasonal stress of getting it all done is now at our doorstep. Not to mention the lack of time to sleep and exercise, and the constant onslaught of holiday food and cheer- as my physician so perfectly describes as being "a cookie in every corner." I love that.

Aldra, my humorous cyberspace friend on the left coast, has a great post about the Holidaze on her blog Consciously Frugal to help put it all in perspective.

And be sure to get out for a holiday promenade with your buddy or sweetie to take in nature's healing beauty & to remember what life is really all about.

To capture all of Claudia Meyer's splendor click on the photo above.

Ou la la :-)

November 12, 2010

Aging Gracefully with the Layers of Life


This week's beauty is knitwear designer Kristin Nicholas.  Kristin is also an artist, and the author of seven books on knitting & embroidery. She lives on a sheep farm in western Massachusetts with her husband Mark and their daughter Julia. Kristin and their home have been featured on Martha Stewart as well as in numerous publications. She also has a great blog called Getting Stitched on the Farm, and a very colorful and fabulous website.


I'm happy to introduce you to Kristin, and her thoughts on growing older:

"My theory on aging is to not really think about it. It seems like I was 30 just yesterday. Where did the time go? What did I do with all those years? Now I’m starting to think about my life in decades, not single years. The 20’s, the 30’s, the 40’s and now the 50’s. The one thing I do think about every once in a while is how the heck am I going to fit in everything I want to do and learn in the next year or the next decade?

Getting older has given me more layers of life and experience. I remember something my octogenarian friend Charlotte said to me one day when I was visiting with her at a party attended by family and friends. We were watching the kids play and she said “Oh, I wish I was your age again and knew as much as I know now.” Her comment has stayed with me a decade later. I think it is great way to look at aging – to see the layers of experience build up and make you a more complex, interesting, intelligent person. Aging is about life experience – whether good or bad.


The first time I saw a photo of myself with creases, I was shocked. I had just spent a couple years taking care of my daughter who was born with hydrocephalus. I became a mother just a couple months short of 40. We were in and out of Boston hospitals and doctors’ offices for multiple surgeries and follow-up visits. I hadn’t had the time to even look at myself, nor worry about what I was doing or accomplishing with my life for over two years. My husband and I were just trying to take care of Julia and get her better with the help of the doctors. In between it all, I had written a book on embroidery for children. My friend John Gruen, the photographer, was taking my photo for the back flap. I looked at the Polaroid (that was back when there was film and Polaroids) and I said to him, “When the heck did that happen?” He told me I had earned them and they looked good. I love that way of looking at wrinkles – that they are earned. They are nothing to worry about – they just are.

If I am fortunate to have lots more time on this earth to get more wrinkles, I will count myself a very lucky woman. I don’t think I knew that when I was 30 but I do now.

Thank you Louise for making me think about this."

You are welcome Kristin. Thank you for your contribution! Looking at your photos makes me want to go knit :-)


November 08, 2010

Pretty



This piece grew more and more fabulous the longer I watched it.

It had me in tears.

Katie Makkai, you are terrific.

Bravo girl.

I want every teenage girl and woman to see it.

And every male too.

Thanks to Kamala for unearthing it.

November 05, 2010

Aging Gracefully with Humor & Insight


Be still my heart…

This week’s beauty is Lines of Beauty’s first guy:

Kevin O’Shea.

Make that Kevin Patrick O’Shea.  He looks a bit like a younger Burt Reynolds don’t you think?  He wore green in his photo in keeping with his Irish heritage.  I love that.

Kevin is a wonderful soul who came into my life with his rich Irish humor, great human insight and musings, honesty, and his gift for words, when I was just a young gal. Most importantly though he is a very good friend with whom I'm never at a loss as to what to talk about. When my Dad died and we needed ushers for his memorial, Kevin was the very first person I thought to call. That just goes to show how much I love him.

On this note, I bring you Kevin and his thoughts on aging:

"There was an old tavern on Main Street in Niagara Falls...Bramer's.  Absolutely nowhere to sit down. No tables and chairs and in fact no bar stools.  A shot and a beer joint that conveyed the message clearly: NO WOMEN ALLOWED.  Surely women can appreciate the times where they'd prefer no men.  Exercise class, Pilates...getaways etc.  When Louise first asked if I'd be a beauty of the month, yes I felt a little sheepish but mostly I was concerned she'd have a mini insurrection on her hands. I've been following Lines of Beauty since she started it and as insightful and informative as it is, it's definitely a woman's site.  I'm an interloper. That said I believe Louise is wise enough to know her readership and if she feels a curve ball is good now and then...so be it.  At my next Teamsters meeting the chance to list "Aging Beauty of the Week" among my credentials is too irresistible.

1). I'll confirm what’s already known.  There's not 1/1000 the pressure on a man to attain and maintain a standard.  Other than health and the self generated motivation to" not let one's self go completely" there's precious little pressure from media and mass culture.  I haven't experienced the opposite of this, only observed it.  Yes, I feel lucky....it's liberating I guess.

2).  That said, we do age and naturally notice it in a variety of ways.  Humor is a good tool.  I'm convinced at night I'm lifted away by fairies, leprechauns and assorted wee folk.  They carry me to my front porch and compress my face on the wicker furniture.  They bind me in vines and have mini switchblade fights.  That's the only plausible explanation for the changes in my face.  But if these merry men take such delight in transforming my face who am I to take issue with the changes?  Aging is a gift not everyone receives.  I'm at ease and well satisfied with the ongoing process.

3).  If I knew then what I know now:  I have a physical job.  If one of my co-workers told me in 1984 that they practiced yoga on a mat I would've thought they were inches away from shaking a tambourine at an airport.  I acknowledge the ignorance of this. My son Michael is 20 yrs old and a serious practitioner of yoga.  I'm certain it will serve him well.  As for me, it's never too late to start but I'm still trying to rely on above mentioned humor to get me through the aches and pains. Not as effective.

4). That which doesn't defeat me only makes me stronger:  Yes.....in every area but stress.  This axiom has so much merit in so many applications.  Conquering a fear whether rational or irrational.  Making it through an anxiety producing first day of a job.  Accomplishing a physical feat that seemed beyond my grasp.  Stress however, is deceptive.  One never actually conquers it, only manages it well or poorly.  I was almost masochistic about functioning and fulfilling my responsibilities under stress.  Thought I was growing stronger but stress's effects are accumulative and corrosive.  Make changes in life if there's an imbalance. Aging has given me the clarity to see certain truths and the peace of mind to trust my instincts.

5). I will state on those rare, perfect occasions skinny-dipping is one of the most beneficial, mental, emotional age reducers I can think of.  Talk about thumbing your nose at Father Time and not conceding an inch.  The perfect antidote for emotionally feeling old.  It's benefits linger for months beyond the moment.


6). Finally...an observation/comment on the fairer sex and their aging process.  It's presumptuous but please indulge me.  I think women who have a close relationship with nature tend to fare better in the aging process.  This is a generalization. Women who garden and hike etc. have an earthy appreciation for nature's changes and therefore may be more accepting of their own changes. Don't get me wrong, I love it when women (like my wife Rhonda) get dolled up to borrow a term from Sinatra.  Some cultures elevate this and certain social stratas and professions require this polished appearance.  Beautiful. No complaints. I just think if you can't transition to the earthiness of getting your hands dirty or working up a good workout sweat, you're lingering in rarefied air.  Then it becomes artificial and natural aging is more fearful. Just a thought.  I welcome any contrary or enlightening views."


Kevin, from the bottom of my heart, as they say in Ireland, go raibh maith agat   :-)    

November 01, 2010

Help, Hope and Healing



This past weekend I had the honor of being interviewed about Lines of Beauty by my lifelong friend & soul sister Cynthia Brennen on her radio show Help, Hope and Healing. This photo,circa 1978, is of Cindy and me senior year on deck at our high school swimming pool.

Two fish out of the water goofing around as usual :-)

Cindy is a mind, body, spiritual and emotional wellness therapist and each week she interviews a new guest on her very inspirational show. This week we covered such topics as the positive sides of aging, and the physical, mental and emotional aspects to aging gracefully & enjoying life. Plus, several surprise topics thrown into the mix :-)

If you'd like to hear the interview you can easily download it to your computer, or to your iPod -so that you can go for a walk one of these glorious autumn days and enjoy the show.

To access the interview simply go to Cindy's website and in the 3rd column under "AM-WWLZ 820 Talk Radio" click on Lines of Beauty.

And have a good week everyone!