Sunday, July 13, 2008

Can You Feel Your Brain Shrinking?

"THE brain shrinks faster if it is not stimulated, Australian researchers say.

Brain scans have revealed that people who do not engage in complex mental activity over their lifetime have twice the shrinkage in a key part of the brain in old age.",21985,24016992-5005961,00.html

For many years now, if I was around something/one particularly stupid, I would say, "I can feel my brain shrinking!"

Now I have proof!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Red In The Morning

Sometimes the beauty of a sunrise just takes your breath away...................

.... and that intense orange light in the late afternoon, here for a few minutes, then gone as the sun drops.

Toys on Canvas

I am beginning to enjoy painting collections of stuff, and spotted some work on the internet where piled toys were the subject.

Having a nine year old grandson and a fifteen month old one, I took some photos, bought them home and did one.

That was so much fun, so I am working on my second, more grown up one.

This is just the under-painting, as I want it to be warmer and have more texture. It'll need a bit more drying time, so I'll find something else to get going. I have two largish commissions to do, one portrait of a dog for a soon-to-be 60 years old, and a pencil to two small boys, but the weather is so overwhelmingly cold this week, I'll wait for the mood to lift a little.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Keep Me Away From Sharp Objects

.....or that's what my man says.

I have a big laser printer I paid $2000 for about 6 years ago. Thanks to China, nowadays you can get them as easily and almost as cheaply as an ink jet.

The toner replacements for mine are a huge rip-off at about $145 full price, and eBay a bit cheaper, but still expensive. On eBay they also offer toner refills, so I ordered one of each colour at a total of $114. Good value I thought. It arrived with four bottles, new cartridge caps, instructions and a wipe for any spilled toner powder.

Although the old cartridges had caps that needed 'gouging' out, which was quite difficult, I managed to fill two successfully and reset the sections that tells the printer it is out of ink to it now has a
new one.

I felt suitably chuffed and relieved at my success and set to on the third bottle of magenta. The cap is a sealed unit and needs cutting off, so the Stanley knife was hacking away at the tip, did that and thought all that left over energy should be directed at ME. It sliced straight into the back my wrist (yes, my damaged one!), pouring great slops of blood over the table and collection of ink filling equipment.

The blood didn't want to stop once I ascertained I had really done some damage, so my cyan and yellow stained rag was held down hard as I ran to the phone to call my man (who turned out to be miles away), then my neighbour (who wasn't answering). The phone had to be knocked off with my elbow and dialed with great difficulty.

Nobody could help, so I thought better drive myself down to the hospital. Down on my knees in the medicine cabinet, I found some elastic bandage and took the pressure off the cut to wrap it tightly enough to transport. Heaps more blood but the job was done.

After a one-handed drive down the the hospital 15 minutes away, then a five minute wait in casualty, I found myself ready to be stitched up by a charming male medic and a trainee-doctor young girl. She was clearly out of her depth, but they must have spotted me as someone who would co-operate on a stitching lesson. We all worked in a friendly huddle as he asked her questions and schooled her through the process. We learned how to tie off stitches, and she learned how not to lose the thread ends (which she had), and how to administer local anesthesia.

She apologised a lot for her fumbling; he was marvelously patient, and I really enjoyed what could have been an unpleasant process.

So, now stitched and strapped up, the cut is in a place that doesn't require too much movement. Eight days from yesterday, I will take the stitches out myself and take more care with my Stanley knife. And yes, I have just refilled the magenta with no problems.

If you want refills, try I am delighted.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Clearly Gone

A friend and ex-work mate's wife died last Tuesday and her funeral is tomorrow. She had pancreatic cancer and took maybe a year for it to overwhelm her.

At seventy-ish Lorraine was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. She had a reputation for sitting on the same chair most of the day, and was notoriously stingy handing out the bikkies when my man would call in to give her husband a hand lifting something.

She once told me she had had 'a headache for twenty years'.

He is the most active of men, working on seed collecting from the mountain eucalypts for the Government, watering plants at the local hardware, walking to and opening and shutting the local cemetery gates, and busy with the Lions Club.

He is bright, cheery and nice looking for his seventy three years. I expect the widows will be lining up to snare him once a suitable mourning period is over.

BUT, the reason for this post is a mutual, very funny friend rang up last night and said in the tune of the song.... "David can see clearly now, Lorraine is gone".

Get it? I did, and laughed like crazy.

Gettin' There

Old Age, I decided, is a gift........... (this came in via my emails this week, and I liked it)

I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend.

I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon?

I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60&70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love .. I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set .

They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so ma ny have died before their hair could turn silver

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.
So, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day. (If I feel like it)