Friday, 25 January 2013

Rocking Chair...

Perhaps you’re in it, or thinking of trying the lifestyle! The famous lyrics by Louis Armstrong may be familiar, or somewhat. Each and every one of us can conjure up a vision or impression of a rocking chair…who uses it and what does it look like?

Traditional perceptions of stooped grandmothers and grandfathers are totally out of date – the likelihood of a zooming cyclist, power walker or marathon runner may be more apt now!

When I was a young girl a Grandmother might often be seen wearing cardigan sweaters, clumpy shoes and long full skirts, pin curled hairstyle and no makeup.

Nowadays the profiles are much different – jogging suits, yoga mats, laptops or i-pads™ and a view to the future.

Even men and women who aren’t able to walk or run due to health issues may be seen astride snowmobiles, all terrain vehicles or personal watercraft! 

A woman I know is planning a short mini-vacation this Spring to an Ontario Provincial Park destination she and her husband have always wanted to visit. There are several boardwalks wending through the bogs, wetlands and other scenery – which at first consideration seemed unsuitable. Lo and behold, all-terrain wheelchair rentals are available on-site for use on one designated trail! The prospect is dizzying and opportune!

Our “best-before” date has not yet come and past – there’s no expiry on pleasurable activities and travel destinations also cater to special needs if required. 

Singles, couples, groups or similarly-interested hobbyists can easily dream what may well have been nearly-impossible just a generation ago! I read an article recently in the Toronto Star about a young couple who set out in 2012 to make a list of 365 things they had never done – and accomplish that list by December 31st. It sounded both daunting and exciting.

Make your own list of things you’ve never done and want to do, the timeframe is what you choose – rise up out of that rocking chair and grab a pad and pencil!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Walk For Memories..

On Sunday, January 27, 2013, the annual Walk for Memories will take place in support of the Alzheimer Society. January is Alzheimer’s Month – if you want to find a walk near you log on to

You can also support a walker by making a pledge. Oddly, the Muskoka Alzheimer Society is not included on the website list of locations; however, I am walking at the Bracebridge location. Receipts for all pledges will issued.

This excerpt from the Alzheimer’s Association of Ontario website says it all:

What is Alzheimer's disease?

“Alzheimer's disease is a fatal, progressive and degenerative disease that destroys brain cells. It is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 64 per cent of all dementias in Canada.
Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging. Symptoms include having difficulty remembering things, making decisions and performing everyday activities. These changes can affect the way a person feels and acts. There is currently no way to stop the disease, but research is improving the way we provide care and will continue to search for a  cure.”

The society offers Help for Today through programs and services for people living with dementia, and Hope for Tomorrow by funding research to find the cause and the cure.

If you have any concerns about a loved one, please contact your local Chapter for information and help.

Friday, 11 January 2013

The Ballad Of High Noon...

The familiar lyrics of this movie theme were written by Ned Washington, music by Dimitri Tiomkin for the 1952 film. 

I recalled some of the words recently when a friend challenged my selflessness and felt strongly that I am a too-giving and caring person. My true confession is that the opinion was a bit of a sucker punch which left my head spinning!

Friends offer unconditional love, if there really is such a thing, and are stalwart supporters and encouraging – even if they don’t actually see the world from the same perspective. We try to protect each other with concern and attentiveness, but not manipulation.

There are plenty of “girlfriend e-mails” which are composed to reassure, uplift and reaffirm the values we share and care for each other; regardless.

Admittedly, it is difficult to understand clearly how other people think and feel, so the shoe must fit on their foot as well when they consider us. Each and every human is a complex creature, partly influenced by “how we were raised” and partly by choices we elect to make.

My own Mother shared that there are two kinds of people in the world, givers and takers. Of the two, seemingly there are more of one than the other – so when this self-centered friend faulted me with derisive and sneering comments it reinforced for me that whatever differences friends may have; each deserves consideration.

The progressive ages and stages of life bring different challenges –care giving may be one of them. Choosing to be a caregiver is not simply “throwing oneself under the wheels of a bus” – it is an adult and unselfish choice, not to be taken lightly.

It is all consuming, without adequate respite in most cases, and the commitment, from someone else’s point of view, may be unfathomable. 

We need to implore our self-centered friends to offer help, not hurt.

"Do not forsake me, oh my darling
Although you're grievin', don't think of leavin'
Not while I need you by my side"

Friday, 4 January 2013

First Foot In...

As this year wanes and we are full of Great Expectations for 2013, many of us are entertaining a new year’s resolution or two. If overheard or enough hints are dropped in conversation, Santa sometimes includes a Gift certificates under the tree for certain activities or interests.

Local Parks & Recreation facilities offer one time, monthly or quarterly memberships for walking, exercise classes, special interest courses, lap swimming or lessons. Fitness Clubs and other hobbyist groups encourage new members anytime – but we feel most ambitious when turkey time is passed and the New Year is imminent.

Historically I think that the majority of New Year’s Resolutions pledged are not fulfilled. Everyday goals like losing weight, keeping the house tidier, or walking the dog more frequently are intentions which may be put on a back burner instead of accountability coming to the fore. Other more meritorious goals require commitment and tenacity to achieve the desired outcome.

A traditional Scottish tradition of first foot in brings good fortune for the coming year when a tall dark-haired male crosses the threshold after midnight usually bringing several gifts including a coin, bread, salt, coal or a drink – which represent financial prosperity, food, flavor, warmth and good cheer.

The regularly scheduled First Foot In this January however will see a different address – the local pool where I intend to put first foot in and begin a regular schedule of swimming. 

Intentionally I’m changing my business stroke from dog-paddle to an accomplished marathon crawl!