Friday, July 29, 2011
We had a lovely time in Athens, OH yesterday. Yes, it was hot and hilly, but we enjoyed the walks, the gallery, and the Quilt National exhibit.
We started out with lunch at a delightful little restaurant. I got a delicious coconut chicken curry with coriander chutney and raita, served on basmati rice.
Quilt National is a juried show of contemporary quilts. They are made as art only; to be used as wall art, not utility. The entrants are actually international, so the name is a little misleading. We are not allowed to take photos at the exhibit, but the winners are posted on the Dairy Barn website:
It's worth a peek at the quilts the judges liked, however, it is only a very small representation of the quilts that were there. We really enjoyed the exhibit.
I am not a quilter, although who knows what I may decide to do when I can finally retire. I can't rule out the possibility. But my great grandmother, who I was named for, was a quilter and I have two of her quilts. I really love this one; a crazy quilt made from velvet, cotton, and silk pieces and embroidered throughout.
The other quilt, we BELIEVE she made, but are not positive about that. It was made for my great uncle Lloyd. It is made from wool, most likely his old wool shirts.
In contrast to the quilt art hanging in The Dairy Barn gallery, my great grandmother made art from scraps and hardship - meant to be used as they beautified the farmhouse in Pioneer. A real family treasure!
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
In June I posted about a lovely 94 year old woman, Nadia, who literally bounced up the street on her walk and stopped to talk to us and tell us her story. The blog was titled ' Inspiring' if you did not have a chance to read it.
Well, I have to tell you, I love having inspirational people in my life; those people who do spectacular things, who have overcome great obstacles, and/or who show remarkable generosity of spirit and compassion toward those who need it most.
Today, I decided to try out a different water aerobics class because I had to reschedule my guitar lesson, so the aerobics class I usually take no longer fit into my schedule. I put on a suit that I hadn't worn since last year and was pleasantly surprised at how much better it looked this year than last. The strength training, yoga, and aerobic exercises I have been doing this summer have been very effective at toning and defining my muscles. I looked in the mirror and thought, 'Not too slouchy for a 61 year old. Woohoo!'
I slipped some capris and a shirt over my suit and drove to the Y for the morning water aerobics class. In the locker room, I met the teacher, June. June looked fantastic in her suit; energetic, fit, toned, and peppy. We got into a conversation before class started because we have a love of music in common. In addition to being a volunteer teacher at the Y (most are paid) she also has been active with promoting the symphony and the opera, travels abroad, and has many other interests and pursuits. She told me that at 84, she likes to volunteer at the Y instead of getting paid so she can take off and travel when she wants. WHOA - rewind! Did she say 84??? Yes, she did. At 84, June is more fit than many people half her age. She led a fast paced and physically demanding class, guiding people along and encouraging them with her enthusiasm and great sense of humor. I am sorry I did not discover her class until this late in the summer because I have only part of August left when I can take morning classes. But I do hope to run into her at the symphony and the opera during the school year. What a treat she is!!
I look at people like June, Nadia, my father, and hope that as I age, I will stay strong, energetic, enthusiastic, and fun, and that I will be an inspiration to others, passing on by actions and example the fact that age does not define a person- actions do.
Wishing you all strength, courage, enthusiasm, and interests that keep you propelled through life. Live life with gusto!
Monday, July 25, 2011
My sister just ordered the Gaiam stabiltiy ball fitness chair and received a 15% discount coupon for a friend, which she sent to me. So, discount coupon is now applied to my order of the stability ball chair and I should be getting it in a week or so.
The system comes with a circular band, tube bands, two vidoes, a pump, removable ball, and chair. I ordered the green ball and so, it turns out, did my 'twin' sister, who is my 'twin' separated by 8 years.
My plan is to try out the chair and the exercises at home over the summer, then try it out at work once the school year starts. Having it at school may not work if the children can't leave it alone... it may be too much of a temptation for them. I am such a wiggler myself, that I think it may be the perfect chair for me during those times when I actually sit down.
Have any of you tried this, or a similar set up? What did you think?
Friday, July 22, 2011
I have taken a lot of time off from blogging, but in a good way. In June, I was very busy with family and traveling to NY. It was wonderful to see my sister, niece, and brother. Our family is so spread across the country, it is great to have time to spend quality time with each other.
My niece LOVED the fairy house I built and spent long periods of time playing with it. When we were in NY, we went for quite a few Victorian house peeping walks. There is no architecture like that in Fairbanks, so she really enjoyed that. I happened to have already purchased a Victorian dollhouse kit which I had planned to build for a fundraiser; but when she enjoyed looking at Victorian houses so much I asked her if she would like to build a dollhouse like that. The answer was an enthusiastic yes! When we returned to my house, we began building and wallpapering her new house.
We did not glue any of the dollhouse together so we could pack it flat for her return trip to Alaska. She and my sister will complete the build there. I am looking forward to their progress.
July has been taken up with focusing on me. I don't often get time to do that so I am basking in making time for my health and stress reduction goals. I have been attending yoga class 2 - 3 times a week. My favorite yoga classes this summer are Yoga with Weights and Women's Seasonal Yoga. I have also started Body Pump at the gym. Body Pump is a full body barbell workout and I am really feeling the effects of it. It is great to have some tone back in my muscles after such a prolonged period of time of having weight restrictions. Don't worry, I am taking VERY good care of my back... I have spent too much pain, time, and money on my back to get careless with the weights.
Summer is such a great time for fabulous nutrition. The varieties of fresh organic fruits and veggies make eating delicious and nutritious food a daily adventure. Last night I made a yummy slaw:
1/4 head of green cabbage
1 raw beet
1/2 of a medium jicama
2 tbs, poppy seed dressing + 1 tbs cider vinegar
Put the cabbage, beet, and jicama through the food processor grater, then toss with the dressing. Colorful, crisp, and delicious!
My flamenco lessons have continued to be wonderful and challenging. I am so happy to have found such a proficient and personable teacher. One thing I am grateful for this summer is the time to play guitar, both with friends and by myself. While I am still a relative beginner, I feel like I am making progress in my proficiency, plus I am having a great time. I hope that I will be able to keep having enough time to play once the school year starts back up.
This past week has been so hot that walking has been out of the question. Cardio workouts have had to be inside in the AC or at the gym. It is supposed to cool off some next week and I am really looking forward to getting back outside. It has been too hot even for Stella to play much outside. Lots of ball chasing in the house for her. Kitty chasing if she gets the opportunity, but the kitties and I don't like that so it gets curtailed, much to Stella's chagrin.
We got a wild addition to our family. We seem to have been adopted by a white pigeon. She(?) appeared a week ago, and has made this her home. It is unusual to for a pigeon to find its way this far out in the country, and she seems very tame. We wonder if she was someone's pet; no band though.
Yes, July has been unbearably hot, but I have been enjoying July for the opportunity to focus inward, and also the opportunity to have a social life. Time with family and friends, and also alone time, are precious gifts.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Today I had the opportunity to meet a truly inspiring individual.
My sister, niece, and I were walking through Nyack looking at interesting architecture. As we walked down a street, we approached a lively, tiny, and smiling woman. She greeted us with the fact that yesterday was her 90th birthday. Already she was an inspiration, as she bounced up the hilly sidewalk just as spry as a 70 year old. We sang happy birthday to her, and she introduced herself as Nadia. There, on the sidewalk, on a lovely June day, she told us her story.
Nadia was born in Russia 90 years ago. When she was a young girl, her parents and sister all died of tuberculosis, and she was left orphaned and alone. Her aunt and uncle took her in, but sent her to a sanatorium to make certain she had not contracted the disease before taking her in. When she reached high school level, her aunt informed her that they could no longer affort to send her to high school, so she would have to quit. A young man in her high school discovered her crying and when he discovered the problem, he went to the teacher and told her what was happening to Nadia. The teacher called her into her office at the end of the school day. Nadia was worried that she had done something wrong, but her teacher assured her she had done nothing wrong, that she had a letter for Nadia to give to her aunt.
When Nadia took the letter home, her aunt read it and burst into smiles. Nadia had been given a scholarship to continue her high school education.
Not long after that, the situation in the Soviet Union became untenable, and Nadia, scared and alone, fled to Austria. She was safe there for a while, but that part of Austria became under attack, and she fled to a part of Austria under British protection. A young girl, with no money, she was able to find generosity where ever she was. Families would claim her as their own when they were sent to refugee camps and helped provide her with food and shelter. As she struggled to survive in the refugee camps, an American organization brought some hearty food and good clothing to the refugees. Nadia decided that if they had food and clothing like that in America, that was where she wanted to go.
Nadia managed to find a ship headed to America and was able to board it. When she first arrived, she spoke no English, but was able to find employment as a maid for a wealthy family. As she worked in the kitchen, the family's 4 year old son would teach her English. He would point to objects, tell her what they were, and would not let her mispronounce any of the words. He would correct her each time and not move on to another object until she got it right. In this way, she made her first inroads to the English language.
Eventually, she worked at Columbia University in the chemistry lab. At the time, the Hudson River was very polluted and the students were bringing in water samples to test for contaminants. She found that they were leaving the lab a mess and took time to get eveything cleaned and organized. She made signs that said to label the samples and leave them in alphabetical order, and to clean the balances after measuring. The students learned to do as Nadia said and the lab became a more organized and safer environment.
One night, at a dance, she encountered a coincidence of considerable magnitude. The young man who spoke to her teacher when her aunt could no longer afford to send her to high school, was there at the dance and recognized her. She had lost contact with him when she was a refugee, and it was remarkable that not only had he emigrated to America, but was actually in the same state, same city, and at the same dance. The tow of them married not long after and remained married for the rest of their lives.
Meeting Nadia made our day. I think she recognized that my niece was an orphan from a different county and wanted to share her experience with her. We all wished we lived in the area, because we would love to stay in touch with her; we had an instant connection with this lovely lady.
Happy birthday to Nadia, and thank you for touching our lives.
Get An Email Alert Each Time PUDLECRAZY Posts