Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

I have an attitude problem, one I've had a couple of years. I'm ageing, in fact, have been ageing for a number of years now. I find it very difficult, so I beat people to making comments about it. I go on the defensive. "Come on," I'll say to younger people, "I'm an old lady, blah, blah, blah...."

I have come to a crossroads: I can continue down this "I'm so old" road or take the road less traveled: I can keep alive and mentally oiled and conditioned to accept age and make it a calling card. I'm going positive.

There are, of course, problems in going positive. I have a mother who is so very critical. "I tell the truth," she says, like an Old Testament prophet anointed to do just such, as they did back in the day. Her "truth" to me is that I am losing my brain, meaning it is declining. She says it is noticeable. I say poppycock! After I stopped teaching English, my brain did start to decline. You know, if you don't use it, you lose it. Now that IS something I hold true. 

Years ago, I broke my foot and could not walk on it one whit and used a crutch as a substitute for that leg. After several weeks on that crutch, my good leg developed muscles and the bad leg withered to almost half its size. Again, a point to make: After seven years of not teaching, I went back into the classroom as a French teacher. Voila! Talk about using one's brain! J'ai enseignie beaucoup d'étudiants . Nous avons mangé du pain et bu du café en classe . Nous avons visité Natchitoches , la première ville de Louisiane. Mes élèves étaient heureux d'y aller. (I taught many students. We ate bread and drank coffee in class. We visited Natchitoches, the first city in Louisiana. My students were happy to go there.)

The newest brain research indicates that memory is not static, that it changes with experiences which greatly impact how the brain develops or declines. In other words sitting in that rocking chair can rot the brain, whereas taking up fishing or making quilts enhance the brain because of the new-ness and the challenges of the experiences. Learning technology would also be an experience-enhancing challenge! 

Here is a link to what researchers have discovered about the brain and how to evaluate brain research sites:

Please read further into this fascinating field.

So, back to my resolution. It is based on the truths of three people.

Number one is my sister, who is an organizational wizard. She worked a number of years for a company and notably the manager whose job was to take businesses in trouble and teach them how to fix their problems. As his personal assistant, my sister also learned how to do what he did. I have been in such a spiraling decline (not brain), that I needed help in getting organized and climbing my way out. She has been my teacher and promoter and cheerleader.

Secondly, Joel Osteen is a television preacher, and, of course, a megachurch preacher. His sermons, criticized by some as "feel-good" sermons, have made a big impact on me. He is the champion of the power of positive thinking. Words have power, he declares, and he admonishes people to be wary of what words they allow into their brains. 

Thirdly, I saw Jane Fonda on a late night show recently in which she promoted her newest movie, which is about youth and ageing. She is 74 and says she feels like a newbie. She felt old at 20 and 30, but now she has once again re-invented herself. Madonna does this, the wild and wooly Miley Cyrus does this. Staying the same old person you once were is ageing. I know many people like this who stay in a rut.

So, my resolution is to face the future unafraid, to grasp opportunities, shoot, even make opportunities. Only the truly ageing person will sit down and turn into a potato. I'm striking out in new territory.

I'll let you know how it turns out in a few months....

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A favorite souvenir

A favorite souvenir
These are my two girls from Ireland!

Judy's shared items

Books on my very ambitious TBR list (*denotes read)

  • *Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox
  • The Odd Women by George Gissing
  • The Zen of Fish by Trevor Corson
  • How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell
  • The Cod Tale by Mark Kurlansky
  • In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
  • *Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
  • Dag Hammarskjold by Elizabeth Rider Montgomery
  • The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet by Rabbi Michael L. Munk
  • Children of Strangers by Lyle Saxon
  • Spiritual Writings by Flannery O'Connor
  • Nightmares and Visions: Flannery O'Connor and the Catholic Grotesque by Gilbert H. Muller
  • The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor
  • Flannery O'Connor's South by Robert Coles
  • Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
  • Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey
  • *Vincent de Paul by Margaret Ann Hubbard
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  • A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
  • Readicide by Kelly Gallagher
  • *Ruined by Paula Morris
  • Say You're Not One of Them by Uwem Akpan
  • Wandering Star by J.M.G. Le Clezio
  • Silence by Shusaku Endo
  • *The Assault by Harry Mulisch
  • Kari's Saga by Robert Jansson
  • *The German Mujahid by Boualem Sansal
  • Western Skies by Joseph Conrad
  • *The Giver by Lois Lowery
  • *Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski

School Library Journal - NeverEndingSearch


A semester course in one book about the Soviet Union. Click on image for my review.