Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Celebrating Grandmothers: Book Review

Published September 3, 2014. 
Have you ever wanted to go on a three-day retreat with a couple of dozen women who are introspective about the life stage of "grandmother"?

Ann Richardson gives you this experience without the cost and inconvenience of travel in her book Celebrating Grandmothers: Grandmothers Talk about Their Lives (2014).

Richardson transcribes interviews conducted with 27 women from the greater London area.

They come from a diverse background and have various viewpoints about grandmothering. And their experiences differ.

Some have the opportunity to do a lot of very hands-on grandparenting. Others have to innovate on how to do long-distant grandparenting.

The women interviewed have an array of relationships with their child, their child's spouse, and are part of a diversity of extended family structures.

The book is organized into the following sections:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Evansville Hosts the Aging Avengers

Photo of Aging Avengers L-R Nate, Jennifer, Kyrié, & Samite courtesy of
 University of Southern Indiana Photography & Multimedia
Evansville, Indiana enjoyed the opportunity of hosting Dr. Bill Thomas and other Aging Avengers on Monday, November 6, 2017.

The visit was organized by University of Southern Indiana's Center of Healthy Aging and Wellness, but adults of all ages from the broader tristate (IN, IL, KY) community attended. The venue was USI's beautiful, nearly 300 seat Performance Center.

Dr. Ann White, dean of USI's
College of Nursing and Health Professions,
welcomes attendees.
The day consisted of three events:

* Disrupt Dementia in the afternoon
* Life's Most Dangerous Game in the evening
* Lobby Experience in between

All events encourage people to radically redefining aging. The benefits are not just for older adults.

By recognizing the life stage of elderhood, every generation benefits by working together to improve the greater society. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Hag-Seed: Book Review

Published October 6, 2016. 
Reading Hag-Seed (2016) by Margaret Atwood is a 2-for-1 treat since her novel is a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest.

Her novel is part of the Hogarth Project, a series of novels retelling Shakespeare plays as part of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's works.

This novel's protagonist is Felix, a long-time director of a community theater in Canada.

Because Felix is in late midlife, the novel addresses themes such as working through relationships with younger professionals, confronting memories of past decades, and trying to shape one's own legacy.

Published the year Atwood turned 77, the novel contains a richness in depicting midlife and late life that novels with mature characters often lack.

The start of the novel begins with Felix foolishly handing over a lot of the control of financing and politicking to an assistant director, Tony, who uses that power to usurp Felix, who believed he could maintain power by focusing only on the creative aspects of theater.

During his "exile" from the theater, Felix must decide how to rebuild his career and decide how to address Tony's treachery.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Lady in the Van: Film Review

Release date: December 4, 2015.
Maggie Smith--yet again--gives a stellar performance.

This time, Smith plays Mary Shepherd, the titular character in the 2015 film The Lady in the Van.

This film is based on real events experienced by author, playwright, screenwriter Alan Bennett. Readers are probably most familiar with his work as a screenwriter on The Madness of King George (1994), based on his play.

Bennett first knew Shepherd in the late 1960s as a vagrant who would park her broken down van on the streets of his neighborhood in Camden (outside of London).

Bennett's character is played by Alex Jennings, and the film is shot on the same street and the same house where the events took place.

In order to prevent her van from being towed, he let her park in his driveway.

She stayed for 15 years.

Over those many years, Bennett and Shepherd have an uneasy relationships. She is moody and irrational. She's not clean. She exhibits signs of paranoia. She's bossy and argumentative.  Nevertheless, Bennett ends up helping her in significant ways. However, he protests that he does so not out of kindness but because he's timid.