Monday, February 27, 2012

The Gift of Friendship

by Lois Jamieson

“A constant friend is a thing rare and hard to find.” -Plutarch

Yesterday I met with some writer friends. But let me start at the beginning.

Fifteen years ago I felt the need to get back to writing after some years of sporadic work.I had the good fortune to find a Writer’s Work-Shop at the local Senior Center. I had attended many creative writing classes and seminars, but never a workshop – and there is a difference.

The workshop offered three sessions a year – fall, winter and spring. As luck would have it the instructor was a wonderful writer and teacher, Marilyn McGrath.
I quickly signed up for the first session and that was the smartest “writing” decision I have ever made. I didn’t know anyone in the class of 8 writers and I’ll admit I felt a bit awkward at first. By the end of the first six week session I was in my comfort zone, mostly because of the talented and very kind men and women in the class.

I signed up for the next two sessions and was delighted to find many of the same faces. By the end of that first year, we had bonded with Marilyn and decided to carry on for the next year’s sessions. Amazingly, we all continued in the workshop for nine years, until finally Marilyn told us that she had no more to teach us and she was retiring. We moaned and groaned to no avail, and then decided we would continue meeting. Marilyn decided to join us and the Via Linda Writer’s Group was born.

We have encouraged each other in our writing and have developed a strong friendship along the way. My co-blogger, Phoebe has published a book,as have Marilyn, Dana and Jim. Tova has a book of published poems to her credit. Mary has written a little children’s book with her granddaughter and shares it each year with the kindergarten class at StarShine Academy.
I blog with my daughter – as we write our book Kids Without Stuff, and , of course, Phoebe and I have our blog Ageless At 80, which we hope to turn into a book.

Yes, good friendships are a rare and wonderful thing.

Ageless Quotes

by Lois Jamieson

I found these wonderful quotes in a little book called “Old Age Ain’t No Place For Sissies”.

I think Mark Twain had it just about right when he said:

“Life would be infinitely happier if only we could be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.”

“If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart.
The spirit should never grow old.” -James A. Garfield

“Outwardly I am 83, but inwardly I am every age, with the emotions and experience of
each period.” - Elizabeth Coatsworth

“The great comfort of turning 49 is the realization that you are now too old to die young.” -Paul Dickson

“Middle age: when you begin to exchange your emotions for symptoms.” –Irvin Cobb

“Retirement must be wonderful. I mean, you can suck in your stomach for only so long.”
-Burt Reynolds

“Women are just beginning at forty. At fifty, you hit your power.” –Lauren Hutton

“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” -Muhammad Ali

Phoebe and I hope you have enjoyed these quotes. Watch for more next week. Have a great day. -Lois

Monday, February 20, 2012

Vincent Van Gogh's Legacy

by Phoebe Maurer

While Van Gogh’s moods changed from high to low, he created paintings that swirled and throbbed with vibrant colors, as fields of corn and wheat swayed with Vincent’s mental disorder.

Starry Night were tornados that circled and swooped down with hues of blues, yellows, lavenders, and green, curling over the mountains that reflected the rays of an orange moon encapsulated in a golden yellow halo. Below them were the deep purples of his morbid thoughts and a spiraling black green tree stretching towards orange yellow stars. The mountain, rooftops and rounded light blue mounds were representative of the home in Arles, France.

Van Gogh’s tormented mind found expression in vibrant colors and wild movements. He was a man of stormy passion and troubled emotions.
Fate is tricky. Today his art commands acclaim and millions, at auction sales for art lovers from all over the world.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Favorite Things About February

By Lois Jamieson

There are lots of special days in February, but only one happens every four years. And it only happens when the year is divisible by four. That’s right, 2012 is divisible by four, so this is a LEAP YEAR, meaning there will be a February 29th day. An extra day to do wonderfully helpful things for others.

Here is a little history about the calendar…The first calendar was created by the Romans. At first it had only 10 months and 34 days. Later on 2 more months were added, making the number of days 355.

The birthstone for February is the amethyst. The amethyst once was more valuable than diamonds. It is the purple variety of quartz and the most valued member of the quartz family. Amethyst is considered as an aid to the brave because it was believed to protect soldiers in battle.

Special days in February are…
Valentine’s Day on the 14th
Arizona’s 100th birthday on the 14th
Gumdrop Day on the 15th
Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthday on the 20th
Mardi Gras Day on the 21st

February is also…
Black History Month
American Heart Month

For me, the most special day in February is the 27th, the day my daughter, Jan Shoop was born.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Which Chapter?

by Phoebe Maurer

Suddenly we have arrived at the next chapter in our lives, a time that offers change and challenge. This was a topic we discussed with close friends, thinking ahead to advanced years that we could not imagine. We were middle aged, strong, working, playing, travelling and sort of smug, though not too complacent.

We all painfully watched the slow deterioration of our parents, to shield them from feeling insecure and undignified. We keep their memories and persona alive in pictures scattered around our home. Shards of their personalities live within us. This is their immortality.

Now that our youthful bodies have betrayed us, how do we proceed with our lives? The mind of my beloved husband has been losing his visions of what was, but tries mightily to prevent further deterioration. It is my number one consideration. Should it prevent me from exploring and using creative talents to expand the scope of my interests? Eighty nine years of living, nurturing three children, facing the ups and downs of a good life, has enabled me to develop many qualities that are appreciated. I observe new situations objectively with a modicum of wisdom that enables me to understand people.

We are now the elder generation who deeply appreciate our devoted family, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who light up our daily living with their generous love, concern and good humor. I never forget the importance of friends, old and new, that give me joy in knowing that we share our longevity.

I will not say this is our last chapter, for I truly believe each new day is an opportunity to grow and change. It takes courage.