Archive for the ‘dementia’ Category

on aging…

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

The end goal for finishing the Defining Moments series of 25 pieces is my 70th birthday. Since I am now working on no.19 one could surmise that 70 is approaching. Yes, indeed this is the year, should I be fortunate enough, to reach my 70th birthday. I find that prospect both exhilarating and daunting. Mostly I think a lot about how is this even possible? How can a young person like me be turning 70?! Ha. Twenty five years ago I was in the prime of my life at 44 and 25 years ahead I could be pushing 100, which in my family is entirely possible.

the key looking great past 70 is….hang out with older people!

Aging is both a blessing and a curse. I tend to focus on the blessing, keeping in mind my three dear friends who lost cancer battles and did not have the opportunity. I left two of them behind in my fifties and another two years ago.

I tend to keep my focus on my art and seeing light, color, texture, pattern and shape in everyday life. There is, especially today, so much I could be worrying about other than the next birthday. In fact too many things to worry about, any of which make the following post both shallow and immaterial.

Yet occasionally I am reminded by media, other people or even my own mirror that I am gaining seniority. The two most recent examples were a cashier at Trader Joes who spoke to me but never looked at my face. I was down there somewhere. The very next day the receptionist where I have my hair cut took my cash, made my next appointment and not once looked at me. Initially her rendering me invisible made me angry until my glass half full mindset thought how sad is it to be her and never look anyone in the eye, to never make a connection¬†with another human being. Perhaps it’s the¬†digital mindset.

And yet there are still those little reminders; the distraction while driving to barely avoid someone in the crosswalk (is it my eyes, am I going blind?), the ‘senior moment’ where I ponder is this normal aging or dementia like my¬†sister and my father before her? The dermatologist who with her tight face mentions that ‘unfortunately there is nothing available for YOUR old crepey skin and if there was I would be rich.’ Well bitch according to this ad there is something available and you missed the boat.

If only you had been smart enough to think of this, doc

…how to avoid wrinkles…NOT!

My father used to tell me, as a teenager, that I should be more concerned with what’s¬†inside than outside. (Was this before or after I was surgically altered to have a better appearance?! hmmm…good question!)¬†Still¬†we are bombarded with the media’s obsessional images of “beautiful” with¬†few¬†of the examples over 50; although¬†now 50 seems really young compared to 70! In reality the key to looking youthful is to hang around with really old people;¬†and it did not take me years of expensive education to figure that out.

And remember when flying….sit next to the window with the shade up and take copious photos of the glorious tapestry below. I’d rather be an interesting, visually stimulated old lady than a lifeless, wrinkle free digitized humanoid any day! And it is looking less likely that I will be a ‘nice’ old lady! And get off my lawn…

overwhelmed by words…

Friday, May 27th, 2016

Lately, I’ve been overwhelmed by¬†all the input available to me to read, digest and potentially put into practice. When the Kindle came out I was overjoyed that I no longer had to feel guilt for the stacks of unfinished books. I could download¬†onto the¬†Kindle, out of sight, out of mind. If I still don’t read¬†them, they are not physically present to remind me of that.¬†Despite being a visual learner I seem to think I need to read everything in order to learn..crazy!

So why in the past few months have I bought 3 hardcover books, which now languish around the house all with maybe a read chapter or two? Right now there are four magazines and three books on the kitchen table for me to read. One of the books has been there since January!

Beyond the hardcopy books and the Kindle books are all the¬†emails I¬†get with stuff I need to read. Then there are the links to wisdom all over social media. How does one read all this stuff, let alone remember it and have a life? I am finding myself overwhelmed by just too much knowledge. And yet I feel if I don’t read it, or don’t follow it, I am going to become some sort of ignorant dolt.

The¬†irony in this is I am now finishing #12 in the collaborative series. This piece is about my quitting college, which was a big tragedy in my parents’ eyes; yet for me the smartest move I’d made to date. Perhaps this ‘need’ to digest every thing I can get my hands on is a hangover from that time. If I read everything I can keep up with the college graduates, many of whom have not opened a book since!

Years ago I had a healer who told me she never watched the news nor read a newspaper. I thought WOW! And now I get it. For to read some of this stuff,  particularly now in another election year, mostly just makes me angry. Why am I doing that to myself? You can call it ignorant if you want, but I think abstaining from it may really the key to sanity. And yes, I do vote, and in fact already have.

My¬†intuitive wisdom continues to awaken¬†me to the fact that I am experiencing artistic and spiritual growth by simply making art, doing the work and being true to myself. Ah “permission” to¬†just let all that other stuff¬†be. How liberating!

Upheaval 2

Upheaval 2

Today’s image is of my work Upheaval 2 which is currently in the Zeitgeist¬†exhibit at the Petaluma Arts Center (until July 10). This juried exhibit captures the times through art. My¬†work is based on the challenges of a family member with dementia. First it was my parent¬†and now¬†two others have been afflicted so it is a subject with which I have become quite familiar. I was pretty dazzled to see they installed this work on an orange wall. It’s the little things that bring me joy!

life happens while making other plans…

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

jellies-bk Creative interruptions have been happening at lightening pace.¬† While I am drawn to writing as an emotional release publishing it to the web has not been a priority so I’ve been blog-tardy.

The Universe has such an incredible sense of humor and keeps piling on the challenges. I continue to try and right the ship which is¬† not so much about control but rather trying to eek out¬† creative time to maintain¬† sanity.¬† For it is the FUN part¬† that¬† sustains me through the rough waters.¬† And although I have several pieces to make for exhibits it is feeling a whole lot like ‘surrender Dorothy.’¬† Perhaps once again the message is to schedule time for art. Write it on the calendar and make that my priority.

Years ago I was primary caregiver for a man dying of brain cancer. I was also 16 years younger!¬† I wore many hats simultaneously and all of them well¬† despite letting¬† go of two priorities¬† in my own life…eating well and exercise.¬† I gained 15 pounds and could hardly lift my body weight. He died and I had to rebuild my own health.

This round there is no brain cancer but rather a¬† spouse with a myriad of health issues that require my constant attention.¬† I see how I need to be more flexible in my interactions with him…after 42 years of marriage. And it frustrates me no end! Surrender Dorothy!¬† Yet my priorities to eat well and work out everyday remain intact because I need to be as physically strong as I can to carry me through this next chapter. I am indeed older and wiser.

I have always believed that if one pays attention their intuitive mind will tell them what they need to know.¬† For decades I have ignored the nudge¬† to interview elders about their life stories. Everyone has a story, everyone has had¬† hardship. Everyone has ‘something.’¬†¬† When I was in my 40’s I thought it would be good to volunteer at an assisted living facility so I could interview old people. I never did.

Then my own father lived in such a facility for the last two years of his life and it was far less appealing. Most of the residents were out to lunch. There was no pull for me to do this work there;¬† more likely it was just ‘too close.’

Now it feels more important than ever that I heed this calling. If for no other reason than to see that others have had equally as challenging lives as this one has been. If I can just see clear to do it now…

 

sage wisdom…

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

It seems to be human nature in this society obsessed with celebrity and plastic surgery to fret about aging body parts.  While I generally feel fabulous and live consciously in my broken body, every once in a while life throws me a curve where I begin to obscess about an aging part.  For some time it has been about the sagging chin. 

The shock of it came last year when after¬†five decades¬†of wearing glasses I had cataract surgery. I was instantly relieved of my specs and with great clarity could easily see the lines in my face and the gaggle that set in when my chin left.¬† I was really upset until I realized I had two choices: plastic surgery or to get over it! I chose the latter.¬† And yet the fret remained…

 

detail, lucy’s bag

©carol larson 2011
The other day I had the rare occasion to dust the living room where numerous family photos reside.  Being the first grandchild I was featured in four generation photographs with both my maternal and paternal elders.  As I dusted I picked up these treasures and reflected on the math. My great grandmother who looked like Mary See, the founder of the chocolate factory was just two years older then than I am now and my great-grandfather a very wizen 75. They both were old folks.
Suddenly I realized that I had stumbled across the fountain of youth right here in my living room. I have long held the belief that if one wants to feel/look young hang out with old folks!!! They think you are a kid and you feel like one too.  Never mind plastic surgery, never mind buckets of moisturizer and youth serum.  Because I have a sense of humor,  a young spirit, good genes, and have unloaded so much emotional baggage, I am blessed to look a generation younger than my elders at the same age. And in a world beleaguered with major problems this is a very important fact!
Today I ran over to the East Bay to update inventory at the gallery, have lunch with my adult daughter and visit my aged father in assisted living. As I¬† meandered¬†the¬†streets of Berkeley running¬†errands,¬†I was fully engaged in conversation with¬†my daughter,¬†watching out for the ever-present and oft-annoying bicyclists, the pedestrians who suddenly¬†appear everywhere, the traffic lights, parking spaces and dodging wacko drivers. Apparently I repeated myself asking a question she had already answered to which she¬†reminded me… Mom you already asked me that!¬† I started to feel wizen until I realized that I was doing a lot of multi-tasking for a reclusive artist my age.

This image is a detail of¬†a new¬†purse¬†which features fabric from a handwoven & faggoted linen table runner made¬†by my great aunt Lucy. She would spin in her grave to know I dyed it chartreuse and painted it purple! Get over it…