Out with the old and in with the new….

Metrorail Train Entering East Falls Church Station

Metrorail train enters East Falls Church - Wikipedia

Preparing for the beginning of a new year tomorrow, I have been working on my blog page this morning.  Actually any excuse will do, but I after a month or so of looking at the old blog page, I was getting pretty tired of the snowfall.  I have removed the fallen snow, but the snowfall won’t stop until January 3 according to Word Press.  

Sometimes change is nice but this week has been too eventful.  First I had to replace my cell phone after I dropped it in the toilet.  Actually, it “sort of” kept on working and there was a time when “sort of” would have been acceptable, but not now.  The snap crackle and pop of the old phone which worked “sort of” was enough for a while, but when Gigihawaii mentioned bacteria next to my ear, I “sort of freaked.”

Yesterday, David and I drove to Falls Church a mere 20 minutes away and where my granddaughters were born and lived with their mother for many years before they moved to the countryside.  Actually, Connie moved.  The older two girls went off to college and although they have “sort of” returned home, at least one of them is anxious to live closer to the central city.  

Cities are popular again.  Mass transportation and easy access to shops and libraries and other things seniors love have made the city the place to stay and age in place.  In fact, aging in place is more popular these days than moving to a retirement home or some other senior oriented facility.  Youngsters like the city too.  The majority of Americans say they prefer to live in cities.

I can find everything I need in the city. Mostly, old people don’t commit crimes, although now and then you read about some geezer going off the rails.  Or, sometimes the highway as he buzzes through traffic and finds himself on the sidewalk.  

Hiroshige - Reeds and Ducks

Where was I? Oh yes, we drove to Falls Church to a framer’s shop.  For Christmas, my granddaughter Hannah had given us a wood block print she made in one of her art classes.  Actually, she gave it to me first, perhaps because only the week before I mentioned how much I love prints made by the nineteenth century Japanese graphics artist Hiroshige. When I said I didn’t like her print, she gave it to Pops (David).  I decided later I loved Hannah’s print, and now it is mine, although David paid for the framing.  After I refused it, I felt badly for being ungrateful for the  art work when it was first offered.  (I am a terrible grandmother.) 

Hannah told me her art professor had used the piece as evidence for the  certification of the art department at her college.  Knowing that someone far more qualified than me had such a high opinion of the piece,  I decided to take a closer look.   Although I don’t find the content appealing, upon closer inspection, I found her workmanship is beautiful.  The image is the result of  what artists call a “suicide” print according to Hannah.  One false move and the wood block or lithograph is ruined.  She made no mistakes but that’s not all. The print shows a princess of some kind with huge horn rim glasses. She wears a garment, which first appeared brown to me. However, upon close examination, I realized the weird princess’ dress  is an amazing composition of multiple colored stripes.  Hannah imprinted each color via a series of impressions.  In other words, its complicated; not the image from a carved potato half like the kind we made in grade school.   

My Hannahkins

In my defense, I will say I have reacted negatively to art in the MOMA and Hirshorn, particularly if the subject is unappealing.  However, slowly, I am learning to appreciate modern art.  Non-artist that I am I have discovered yet another dimension. It isn’t all about the content or image, it’s also about the craftsmanship, complexity, composition and color.  Even old ungrateful grandmothers can learn.   Thank you Hannah. 


Finding a home

Chesapeake and Albemarle Railroad, 2158 GP7u, ...

Image via Wikipedia

I finally got myself back to the gym today for my water aerobics.  Our regular instructor Karen was not there so we suffered with her substitute who is not as thorough and always late arriving.  Karen’s husband is suffering from a brain tumor, and she had to take him for chemo.  Their oldest son who lives nearby is helping out, but he has a life, so they relieve each other.  

This brain tumor has been very hard on Karen and her husband.  They are both physically fit, or were.  Karen is a swimming instructor, and she swims in the Annual Chesapeake Bay Marathon each year. She is 68 or 69, and she won the senior division two years ago.  Karen’s husband is a retired naval officer, and as is the wont of many military men, he has continued his fitness regimen, and had not retired from his second job until recently.  He was very angry with his predicament when he found out about his health issue, and made life difficult for everyone for a while.  Things have calmed down now, so Karen can get back to the things that keep her healthy.

We were  very impressed with the two of them.  This sudden problem with the brain tumor shocked us to our bones.  People who eat right and exercise and look 20 years younger than they are, should not get so sick…right?  Apparently, they do.

I talked with Ralph, a regular the gym, this morning.  I hadn’t seen him in a while, and mentioned it.  “Oh I was dealing with this and that,” he said.  Ralph is 89 and works out in the pool every day when he can.  He told me that when he was 80 he was still taking his boat out with his wife who is now deceased.  Then he told me, “I stay busy….going to my friend’s funerals.”

Is that gallows humor?  Don’t know, but Ralph keeps exercising and you almost want to ask him, why, but you don’t.  I think the motto of many of us is, “We keep on keeping on.” That’s the life force within, and it is powerful.  Like a locomotive engine, it pulls you out of bed on a cold rainy fall day, and helps you get your rear in gear and to the gym.  It helps you keep on going when you don’t feel like going.

 Karen keeps coming back to the pool to lead our class because we are as important to her as she is to us.  Her husband has an inoperable tumor, and we all know what that means.  Most of the women in our group are widows.  Several of them are undergoing therapy for joint replacement surgery.

I drove Sue age 86, to her apartment today because it was cold, wet and windy.  She seldom accepts a lift because she likes to walk home as her apartment complex is next to the gym, but she accepted a lift today.  Sue lives alone and has for many years.
She is a retired government girl and she volunteers at the National Archives.  

Before he died, her husband suffered from Parkinson’s.  She moved to her apartment after he was gone.  The building where she lives is home to several of the gals and guys in our water aerobics classes.  Over the years, these women and a few men  have formed a “senior” community.  The realtor who helped them find each other and a new home was Karen.  She also helped them find a way forward after loss.