Happy birthday, Norma!

Norma, aka Nonie Vogue is one on my oldest friends on flickr. Oldest because I “befriended” her in my very first flickr day, back in January 2005 and oldest because she just turned 86.
I already blogged about Norma, who’s always been an artist, here. She is an artist, a quilter, a photographer and of late, she’s taken up drawing people!

2009-05-09  me, myself and I

Self-portraits by Norma McGuire

nonie.jpgI’m not sure which one, or if any of them really look like me!
It is my birthday today!
I was born in a house at Broadway and Heather Street, in Vancouver, B.C. Canada.
Some of my dear flickr friends know my age, but not many… so here goes.
The year was 1923. I am 86 years young!
I am truly blessed with three fine sons and their families. I have been given many talents.
I am amazed that two months ago I discovered I could draw people… With practice (lots of it) they are getting better… and I am enjoying a full life.
You, my dear flickr friends, add to my joy and happiness. With love. Norma.

This is so wonderful to me! It means that you should never think that you are too old to learn something new, to start new experiments.

Please go and visit Norma’s sketches and if you click on her self-portraits above, you’ll get to her flickr photo and can wish her a happy 86th birthday there.

And here’s a virtual bouquet that I know she’ll like, as she commented on flickr.


Happy 86th birthday, Norma!

Many happy returns, Norma and keep learning new things (big hug)


On my own

I am writing this after reading Ronni’s Rethinking Living Arrangements at Time Goes By and Naomi’s Housing Ourselves in Late Life at A Little Red Hen

Walking with a stick

Me, one day?

I moved into my new flat some twelve years ago, and it took me forever to get to do it, as I had lived in the same flat ever since I was four.
When I moved in, I thought, and I may even have said this to several of my friends

When I move out of here, it’ll be in my coffin.

In French, we have a colourful expression, les pieds devants, (feet first) to express it.

I have lived in this flat with my daughter and now I live here by myself. And I have to say that I love it this way. I just do not enjoy living with other people any more. When I go on holiday with a friend, it’s all right because we both know that it’s for a short time. But I think that I am now too set in my ways to be able to do otherwise.
Understand me, when my husband was still alive, –and when I was younger–, I enjoyed the sharing, the companionship, the conversations. But it’s all part of the past and I am just too selfish to envisage a flat mate, even though it would mean sharing duties as well as sharing the space.

May avenue Emile Zola

From my window

I may be be too young an elder to envisage a time when I will think differently, but at the moment, as I wrote in a comment at Naomi’s,

I can consider death with no qualms but moving out of my beloved flat is just something that, I feel, would kill me.
Maybe I’ll change my mind, and I do admire people who make different decisions. It might also have to do with the sort of assisted living conditions you see people in… In this country, I see those places as the antechamber to the cemetery. So I’d rather keep to my own flat as an antechamber 😉

I fancy the idea of dying here in my sleep and going to lie forever, next to my husband, or maybe it is above him? 😉 at Cimetière Montmartre, being watched over by the cats there.

Cimetière Montmartre cats

I don’t mind being watched over by cats when I’m dead

I do realize it might just be that I am not ready to consider being assisted yet, probably too young and too healthy, but I’d rather jump the hurdles as they come along and see what happens. I am also aware that I am privileged to own my flat and to have a retirement allowance that lets me live more than decently. At least at the moment, since we can’t know what lies ahead. But I feel that I have seen really bad times, what with being widowed at 48 and having breast cancer, and just point blank refuse to worry about more trouble coming my way. I’ll face up to it when it happens, as I have always done.

Elderblogger exercise ?

I woke up this morning to 18 comments on my previous post, an update about my progress in following my exercise plan. So thanks everyone for your unabating encouragements. I feel refreshed after this show of friendship and support.

Now, one comment really struck home, coming from Naomi at A Little Red Hen

She wrote:

very impressive, claude. I am unable to do regular exercise. we have health space in the complex but find the bike as boring as you describe.

On the other hand, is it possible that you are on to an idea i had a few years ago? that people form an online exercise support group…

And that last sentence has been running around in my brain while I was walking my 12,000 in misty, foggy Paris. So much so that I haven’t taken one single photo today!

What, how, where?I was on no idea whatsoever, Naomi, just seeking comfort with my friends, but wouldn’t it be wonderful, if we, elder bloggers who do need more exercise, from the ones who never walk to the ones who are expert joggers, marathonians and what else, what if we created a space where we could find encouragement and help. Nothing judgmental, but as Naomi described it, an elderblogger online exercise support group…

At the moment, I have no idea how to set this up. Maybe in the form of a cooperative blog?
Or a forum –no idea how to run a forum either– what about putting our elder brains together and coming up with something?
Any ideas and suggestions are welcome. If no one suggests anything, then I’ll know that now is not the right time.

Toys are my pleasure

My bruised handSee this? It’s my right hand recovering from a two and half day hospital stay. Don’t worry, I am –almost– fine. I went of my own free will to check up on all sorts of things, mainly because my doctor doesn’t like the way my cholesterol count and my blood pressure are acting up. I was really lucky, because I fell into the hands of a particularly motivating team who convinced me that my health in the years to come, was right there, in my hands. I was tested right and left for all sort of things and when I got out, with a few good resolutions that I have started to put into effect and intend to keep, –not too many of them, or else I won’t be able to stick to them 😉 — I felt I needed a treat.

A new toy At Christmas, on my daughter’s suggestion, Santa brought her one of those Nintendo DS Lites, and to my surprise, she and her boyfriend, both very young, started on a brain training programme, you know, the Japanese doctor’s programme, I keep calling the poor man Kawasaki, but when I have reduced my brain age from 80 (that was two days ago) to 20 (which will probably never happen) I will be able to remember his real name. Anyway, Julie started on the Japanese doctor’s programme and aims at keeping her brain at 20 forever 😉 And so does her boyfriend. They’ve been faithfully doing it every day since Christmas day!
They tried to talk me into buying one, but I sort of thought that blogging was plenty brain exercising for me. But they had planted the seed! As you know, I am a sucker for gadgets and electronic games and it didn’t even take me two months to go and get one.
On my first attempt, my brain was registered at 80, and two days later, I am at 58. I find the whole thing hilarious, and I did my first sudoku ever, with only three errors, when up to now, I have been unable to even understand the concept!
So there I am, trying to exercise my body and my brain and find time for blogging and photographs too.

Quilting in Paris, and elsewhere

No, no, I am not referring to myself! I am still hopeless at manual things and to be perfectly honest, as I am hopeless, they tend to get on my nerves. BUT I am quite able to enjoy and admire the work of talented people.
One of my good friends, Fazou, is a wizard at lots of things –cooking, knitting, embroidery… you name it, she can do it– belongs to a quilting association and hree times a year, I attend her quilting meetings and take photographs. I really enjoy seeing all those wonderful hands at work.
Now last week was somewhat special as Paris Patch, Fazou’s quilting association held a public exhibition at Mairie du VIème, right across the street from Eglise Saint-Sulpice.
I took quite a few photos there, chose some with Fazou and did this slideshow. The music is Mussorgsky‘s Pictures at an Exhibition by Brigitte Ungerer.
[blip.tv ?posts_id=610920&dest=-1]

Now, when I uploaded my photos on flickr, one of my flickr friends,
Nonie Vogue
, who is a quilter herself, liked it and we exchanged several mails. Nonie Vogue, a Canadian 84-year-old artist, photographer and quilter, among other things that I don’t know about her 😉 said

nonie.jpg A couple of years ago, I joined the quilt Guild in Langley, after seeing one of their shows…. but I was disappointed to see that 99% of the quilting was done by machine! … not by hand as I am accustomed to doing.
Right now I am working on a Double Irish Chain scrap quilt… all sewn together by hand. My sewing machine is sitting in my clothes cupboard… it is a portable, but I can’t lift it… and there really is no room to set it up on my dinette table… so I am doing it the way my Mom (and my Grandmother) did… all by hand.
My Grandma was a tailoress. (Not sure if there is such a word, but you will know what I mean).

Rose of Sharon Quilt by Nonie Vogue

Here’s a link to the photos Nonie Vogue took of her quilts.
On my French blog, I mentioned that a couple of my favourite quilts at the Paris exhibition were made by Georgette Meyer, a ninety-two year old quilter, who moved from painting to quilting and Nonie commented:

nonie.jpg I went into an art material store a couple of years ago, where both my husband and I had dealt for years. John, the owner, asked if I saw the woman that had just left the store. When I said “yes”, he said:
“She’s in her eighties and still painting!” I said “John, how old do you think I am?” I was 82 at the time! I guess people think that when you get past 70 you are supposed to sit in a rocking chair and watch TV! Well, I have the new fangled TV, hanging on my wall… large size…. and I turn it on maybe two or three times a week for some news, and usually turn it off again after about half an hour!

This is so true! People always expect elders to sit back and do nothing.
And when we are active, people will tell us that we are not old, that we are different! But we aren’t! People are just afraid of growing old themselves, so they are in denial.
I so wish Nonie Vogue and Georgette Meyer could meet!

Good resolutions


Or maybe the title should be A good resolution, no s! It’s not yet New Year to make resolutions that you never stick to.
Here goes. A visit to my doctor ten days ago scared me because it turns out that I have high blood pressure, something that has never happened to me before. And it was not just that particular time, or because I was nervous, my blood pressure has just been high since my previous visit to the doctor’s and that’s a fact. When she told me she recommended that I take some medicine she described my condition with the word ‘systemic’ and I asked her to use a simpler word, one that I could make sense of, to which she said that it simply meant that that’s the way it was, and that it was due to ageing.
I then asked if it had anything to do with weight gain, and she said that four or five kilos off usually meant one blood pressure point down.
Food for thought.


My daily pill 😦

Well, I feel both unable and unwilling to go on a diet. But I am also quite unwilling to end my life as a vegetable, with a seizure due to combined effects of high blood pressure and cholesterol. So take the medicine she prescribed I will.

I have also bought this little thing which is called a pedometer and am using it daily to count my daily steps. I try to walk no less than 5,000 steps and find that around 9,000 is rather pleasant for me.


Yesterday’s steps

I am sharing this with you because several of you commented on my last post, mentioning the fact that they felt it was a good idea to walk regularly.
So I try to do this every day, never mind the weather. I’ve found that walking to a movie theatre or a museum is an incentive and better than walking back, which is easier in the summer.
Maybe making it public like this will help me stick to my goal. 😉

Now for something totally different, last Sunday I saw a great show called Le Quatuor (the quartet) and mentioned it on my French blog. You won’t be able to read the post as it is in French but I am sure you’ll like the video clip.

When they were my age


I found this link, Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age , through a contact on my tumblr blog, ammon, who got it via Random Dee Droppings
I typed my age, 63, and read this:

At age 63:
Clergyman and writer Jonathan Swift wrote A Modest Proposal, possibly the best satire ever written in English.
John Dryden undertook the enormous task of translating the entire works of Virgil into English verse.
Countess Rosa Branicka, a wealthy Polish noble, performed breast cancer surgery on herself and lived to be 82.
Elizabeth Kingsley created the double-crostic puzzle.

Go there, type your age and enjoy! Just the sort of thing that puts me in a good mood. 😉

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