Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Ultimate Performance Art: Love

Central Recover Press 2013.
I've noticed that there are a lot of books about caregiving. I've had the opportunity to read several.  Surprisingly, I haven't reached the point of saturation.

Why am I still engaged?

While earning my master's in gerontology, I read many interesting statistics and many solid evidenced-based scholarly articles on family caregivers in general and caring for people with dementia specifically.

However, the work of scientists and social scientists cannot fully capture the caregiving experience.

(A review copy was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.) 

The relationship between caregiver and the person with a chronic or a terminal disease is more complex than any scholar can communicate.  

I strongly believe that artists are better equipped to represent the caregiving experience.  

I invite you to read Deborah Shouse's book Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver's Journey.  (See my review on Goodreads.) Shouse brings her skill as an accomplished writer to the task.  But more than that, Shouse brings her character: she's attentive, kind, perceptive and wise.

Friday, November 22, 2013

My JFK Memory

Detail of photo taken by Seansie
at the
National Portrait Gallery
Even though I am a Boomer, I can't answer to the question, "Where were you when Kennedy was shot?" because I was only 22 months old that day.

I can, however, report that JFK's image was prevalent throughout my childhood.

While growing up in the 1960s, I was immersed with images of this young president with boyish good looks.

He and Jackie somehow managed to reflect the ideal while also being relatable. Photos of the President and the First Lady with their young children revealed the softer side of America's first power couple.

But it wasn't photos of Jack's dimples or Jackie's wardrobe that resonated with me during my youth. It was a statement about Kennedy's political failures that stuck with me the most.

I remember one of my grade school teachers giving us a worksheet about JFK.  I learned that JFK had made a number of failed runs for office over his political career.

I was stunned to read this.  And as I moved from a child to a teen to a young adult, this memory helped me to persevere past failures and into success.
This post is part of a Midlife Boulevard Blog Hop! 

The two dozen links below will dissipate in a week or two, so I'm preserving a few that captured my attention this time. 

Lori at Lavender Lulz describes Jackie's immediate response.
Renee at The Practical Shaman describes her confusion at age 6.
Cathy at An Empowered Spirit remembers her six-year-old brother's screaming when Ruby shot Oswald.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Calcium and Bone Health

Photo detail by faria!.
I recently received a DXA scan and  found out that I have osteopenia, a level of bone density that is lower than "good" but higher than osteoporosis. For this reason, I've been reading more about bone health and talking to experts and lay people alike about the issue.

Very casually, many health care professionals and individuals state, "take a daily calcium supplement." However, I wanted to look into the issue of supplements before taking a daily pill.

If you want to read a very good source on the topic, see this page on Calcium Supplements as prepared by the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes for Health. It's detailed and comprehensive. After reading this page, I understand the value of learning more about supplements before taking them.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Professional Personal Historians

Photo courtesy of Jill Staggs, pictured.
Some of my most treasured possessions are personal histories about my own ancestors.

Creating and reading personal histories offer many benefits.  For example, these narratives help me understand my place in a larger context of extended family. And they make historical events such as the Civil War and the Great Depression more meaningful.

Some of these family histories on my bookshelf were penned by my relatives. However, others were produced with some help with a professional personal historians.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Jill Staggs from Personal Legacy Memoirs about why people might choose to work with a personal historian.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Special Exits: Book Review

Published September 2010
by Fantagraphic Books.
After seeing Special Exits on several lists for outstanding graphic novels, I decided to see how the author / illustrator Joyce Farmer tackled the subject of the growing frailty of her father and step-mother.

Farmer's graphic novel is semi-biographical, detailing the day-to-day challenges that a mature couple--Lars and Rachel--face as they experience greater and greater health challenges while living in their South Los Angeles home.  

Part of the novel's historical context includes Lars and Rachel having to manage during the 1992 Rodney King riots that took place in their neighborhood and surrounding area. 

Rachel's health declines first. She has trouble with her vision, her memory, and her mobility. She ends up living on the couch in the living room. Lars does his best to care for her, but he starts to wear down emotionally and physically. And Lars has some serious health problems himself that he masks for the majority of the novel.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Personal History Basics

Photo by andwhatsnext.
Every person has a story to tell.  Stories help us to preserve culture on the grand scale. What was life like during the Depression and the Dust Bowl?

Stories also help explain individual identity on a smaller scale. How does someone's own father describe his work as communications officer during the Korean War?

We are the stories that we tell ourselves.

Every experience, every memory serves as support for the major themes that emerge from our lives.  Through internal dialogue and conversation, we create and reinforce these stories.

But not everyone manages to document their personal history.  Do you have a written account of your great grandparents' lives? Or a scrapbook that has strong written explanations? Or a video of them telling their most significant stories?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Best of Boomer Blogs, Dreams

Photo of a Dream Catcher by Ayelvee. 
This week, Boomer bloggers write about dreams or nightmares in one form or another.  See what they have to say about chasing away boogeyman so that you can fulfill your dreams for improved health & fitness and establish your dream vocation & financial state.

Hey Mr Glen

John Agno at SoBabyBoomer tells us that exercise stimulates body tone, sending minerals to your muscles, skin, organs, blood vessels and other body parts.

Seymore Sinn
After six years of blogging, Laura Lee Carter aka the Midlife Crisis Queen happened onto one of her original posts from 2007.  It reminded her why she started blogging in the first place: Telling the Truth about Midlife. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Technology and Quality of Life

Verizon Products on Parade. 
Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product. 

I believe that I can be productive and happy as a minimalist. However, I have to accept the fact that it's easier for me to meet many of my goals with the help of technology.  I choose to believe that I'm not dependent on gizmos. But they are so convenient.

Guests received swag bags
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to host a Verizon house party with app guru and fellow ambassador Cheryl Therrien (The Grandmother Diaries).  This event gave us the opportunity to give a dozen friends from Wichita an introduction to several Verizon products and services.

These products generated the most questions from the guests: