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June 2019

May 2019

Lines on the Face: an Essay


Lines on the face, tattoos of aging
Life is proved upon the body
Like needle-jabs from a blind machine

The older one gets, the more one is conscious of aging. We can barely remember childhood innocence and exuberance. We are surprised by the youthful vitality and unmarked face when we see earlier photos of ourselves. When we look in the mirror, we reluctantly acknowledge the aging mask. It seems that there is no escaping the marks of life.

Every experience that we have, everything that we do and think is registered upon us as surely as the steady embroidery of a tattoo artist. But to a large degree the pattern and picture that will emerge is up to us. If we go to a tattoo artist, it is we who select the picture. In life, it is we who select what we will become by the actions we perform. There is no reason to go through life thoughtlessly, to let accident shape us. That is like allowing oneself to be tattooed by a blind man. How can you help but turn out old and ugly?

Whether we emerge beautiful or ugly is our sole responsibility.

From 365 Tao, Daily Meditations by Deng Ming Dao

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February 22, 2019 ~ First Meeting! Rules

Our First Meeting
They will be held on 2nd and 4th Fridays at my house, from 3:00 to 4:30. We set a timer.

We spent this meeting speaking about why I called for it. And why each answered the call.
We're all interested in aging until we die, and we recognize that this is often tricky.

We spent some time introducing ourselves to each other.

We talked about possible Topics (a list has evolved; find it in the sidebar)

And we clarified a very few RULES:
    Avoid giving advice; listen for words like "you should", etc.
    Don't interrupt each other
    Speak as much as possible in the 1st person; we're interested you & each other, not some anecdotal someone
    Stay on topic.

March 8, 2019 ~ Still very new; Pain mgmt

Our second meeting....still feeling our way

NWH had attended a presentation on Opioid Addiction and shared some of what she learned.
Several shared experiences they had had. Our group seems fairly well committed to avoiding those drugs already.

Kate H. had attended a presentation on Pain Management and shared some of that talk with us.
A couple of suggestions that we liked were journalling to track pain and identify patterns in it; to ask for PT rather than drugs when possible;
and to ask for what we need from each other, such as help with heavy chores or transportation.
We all agreed that asking for help is NOT fun. Agreed to practice it more.
And we talked about things we NEED help with. Varies for each.

More topics were added to the list. Find the list in the sidebar of this blog.

Kate H. volunteered to facilitate the next discussion.

A good quote: "If you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them!"
  (I wanted to give credit for this quote, but when I came across the 3rd person claiming it in under 3 minutes on Google, I decided that none of them will be mentioned.  Arbitrary, I know...  )



March 22, 2019 ~ What Matters Most

Early days; still. Not many notes.

Kate facilitated our topic today, asking us What Matters Most, and What no longer Matters.
NWH could not attend, but she texted her comments on the subject and I read that text at the meeting.
Her comments struck most of us so I repeat them here:

    "...what matters to me is to have meditative/contemplative conversations with my body, spirit and soul
    to create a graceful energy leading to the day when all 3 decide to remain pure energy."

We spent some time on introductions with our new members: Revin, Angela and NE.

Someone suggested adding Sleep as a topic. We've done that, but I don't know who said it.


April 12, 2019 ~ Loss; housekeeping

Six of us were here today.  We have an ongoing discussion regarding how big this group 'should' be.
And we discovered that I had inadvertently left Kate off our email list! oops!  Fixed! 

Some of us agreed that we would like to know the topic for discussion before we meet and some want a reminder
of the meeting itself, since we meet on 2nd and 4th Fridays, instead of every week ...
For now, I will send those out: the reminder to be the day or two before a meeting, and the announced topic will be sent to the list by the facilitator, or
that person will email me, and I'll announce it.

Revin facilitated our discussion today on the subject of Loss. Things we loose as we age can fall into these categories:
Identity, Health, Money, Visibility. etc.  Several of us shared our experiences with these losses or similar ones.

Irma volunteered to Host while I am in Texas on May 10th.
NWH volunteered to facilitate the discussion at the next meeting, April 26th.


April 26, 2019 ~ Looking Back - or not...

Kate H added 3 topics to our list.  They are already in the Topics post of this blog, so I will not repeat them here.

Jessica provided a link to Care Bearers, a transportation service organized by Creative Aging. To access this service, call 575-258-1730.
I can't find a link to this service...     Creative Aging was founded and is run by Clara Farah.

NWH facilitated our topic this week, choosing Looking Back...or Not, a discussion having to do with Regrets, among other things.
She shared with us this poem, Regrets in Growing Old, and had printed out separate verses and related questions that we read and discussed.
In general, we agreed that regrets were somewhat of a waste of time,
and that we might reframe thoughts about things we may regret by expanding our POV (point of view) and noticing
how the consequences of those very things  have added value to our lives.

Revin was not present, but we drafted her as the next facilitator on May 10th. Angela will back her up, if she rejects the draft! 

We will meet at Irma's house for the next meeting on May 10th.  Until I'm certain that this blog is private I won't post her address.

It was at this meeting, and after a short discussion about privacy issues, that I have added this blog called Itsa Village to our resources.

Links to articles, videos, and anything else you can get to online

Articles: (note: some articles come from publications that may require a subscription; not all will remain available)

Finding Hope in Hopelessness

Can Exercise Reverse the Aging Process

What Doctors Don't Learn about Death and Dying

When You Eat Can Be as Important as What You Eat

The Invisibility of Older Women

Will a US Adaptation Ruin Sebastian Lelio's Gloria? an article about invisibility of older women and Cultural Differences

A New Luxury Retreat Caters to Elderly Workers in Tech 

Stop Telling Me That I Look Younger than My Age

Why Some People Don't Die in Peace

I Am (an Older) Woman. Hear Me Roar

Elders and Cannabis Use, another posting from TGB

Assisted Death in the United States - a Wikipedia article on this subject.

Dying a Good Death: what we need from the drugs meant to end life - This is an article from a site called The Conversation, another site I think will be very valuable to anyone interested in deep-diving into various subjects.  It's useful to note that you can choose other perspectives from which to read by clicking the little drop-down arrow in the box called "Edition" at the very top left of the page. Scroll to the bottom from any 'home' page and see who funds them, who founded them, who supports them. This article comes from the UK.

Playing Games: It's a Serious Way to Win Community Backing for Change

Building an Age-Friendly City - a Summary of the approach to transforming Badalona, Spain; now being studied for implementation in many EU locations.

Prevent Unnecessary Medical Treatment by Asking These Four Questions

M*A*S*H in Old Age (includes a short video not linked elsewhere)

Memento Mori: Life and Death in Western Art from Skulls to Still Life

The Heroism of Elders  a post by Ronni Bennett on the Real Heroes.... 

What Happens to Your Stuff When You Die? I Take Care of That.   An article from an estate appraiser and auctioneer.

In the Face of Death, the Party of a Lifetime   

San Francisco Zen Center announces "Zen inspired" Retirement community    

Living Large in Old Age - another Ronni Bennett post...  she is always a good read.

Children Process Grief Differently...  an article from the Washington Post

"We Need Each Other':Seniors Are Drawn to New Housing Arrangements - an article from the New York Times

TGB and Betty White!
OK, yes...I'm a little stuck on the Time Goes By blog... but look what I found!!
She has a whole category called TGB Interviews, here.
Here's a direct link to one with Betty White from 2011, when she was only 88!

Female Orgasm - an evolutionary basis. Both an article and a video.

The First Ever Human Composting Site Opens in Seattle
In April 2019, Washington became the first US state to legalize the composting of human bodies. As a result of this new legislation, the world’s first-ever composting site, Recompose, will open its doors in spring 2021 in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood.

"If 'Pain is an Opinion', There Are Ways to Change Your Mind" an article from The New York Times with many links to related material. This makes sense to me and is supported by my personal experience.

Ageism - A Beginner's Guide an article by Michelle Wright and published in Linkedin.

Disparagement Humor Isn't Funny  - an article from Big Think, written by Thomas E. Ford, Professor of Social Psychology at Western Carolina University.

Writing Your Own Obituary - an article and a video

Why You Can't Help But Act Your Age - an article from Nautilus, written by Anil Ananthaswamy.

The Movement to Bring Death Closer - an article from NYT, written by Maggie Jones. 

Want to Give a Gift That Helps? Buy & forgive medical debt  An article about RIP Medical Debt, a charity & website.

"Little Prince" Author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on Love, Mortality, and Night as an Existential Clarifying Force for the Deepest Truths of the Heart.  an article from Brain Pickings by Maria Popova.

The Real Trick to Staying Young Forever   Mentioned in an Itsa Village post here.

"Every Act a Ceremony" an article by Charles Eisenstein   

TGB shares commentary on her experience in this post When Breath Becomes Air.   

What Happens When You Tell Me Your Story and I Tell You Mine?  
an article from Greater Good Magazine, a publication of UC Berkeley.

How to Be a Better Web Searcher an article from Scientific American (by way of Pocket).

Why It's So Tempting to Build Walls & Shut People Out, an article from

I'm Going to Die. I May as Well Be Cheerful About It.  Opinion from Dr. Mary Pipher in the NYT. Notes: the NYT has a paywall.
Loved this article!!

A Zen Master's tips for Staying Sane in Challenging Times  fro the members at Plum Village, France.

An Anarchist Quaker's Prayer to Soothe Anxiety  -Anonymous

Women Leaders Are Doing a Disproportionately Great Job at Handling the Pandemic:... from CNN



Videos and Movies:

Let's End Ageism a TED video by Ashton Applewhite

How I Made Friends with Reality, a TED video by Emily Levine

Medical Devices, a John Oliver video

6 Types of People Who Do Not Deserve to Hear Your Shame Story

Why Your Doctor Needs Your Help to Battle Over-Treatment

Grief Isn't a Pathology; It's an Altered State of Mind

Why Times Seems to Fly As You Get Older a video from BBC and a Neuroscientist

Hannah Gadsby: Three Ideas. Three Contradictions. Or Not.   a TED video from Hannah who talks about her Autism diagnosis, among other things. Fascinating Woman!!

Brene Brown - Braving  This is the video I mentioned about Trust

Why Do We Treat Old People Like Babies? That's Ageism.  3 minutes with Ashton Applewhite

God vs No God - And the Winner is...  a video of Dr. David Eagleman, an American neuroscientist and writer at Baylor College of Medicine, where he directs the Laboratory for Perception and Action and the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law. He is also the writer and presenter of the six-hour television series, The Brain with David Eagleman on PBS.

Female Orgasm - an evolutionary basis. Both an article and a video.

Cohousing Communities Help... a video from PBS Newshour.

Writing Your Own Obituary - an article and a video

The Lost Words Blessing   - a music video

Elder Perfect Tiny House  -specially designed

Terra Nova Films    This link goes to a site reviewing films for and about Elders, with further links to the actual reviews.


Regain Your Brain - an interview with Dr. Daniel Amen  (a YouTube link to an audio-only version is here.) See also the Minutes of that meeting here.


Blogs & Other Websites:

This Chair Rocks, by guess who! (Ashton Applewhite) NOTE: Her website is here.

Itsa Village a blog by Us!

Death Cafe

Time Goes By - a blog by Ronni Bennett. I've linked to the About page... Bennett is widely respected and held to be a leading expert in Elder Blogging.
I've just learned that Ronni is living with a terminal cancer diagnosis and still writing and videoing marvelous material. May we all be so motivated.
Bennett's blog has a TON of resources you may enjoy including ones she calls Geezer Flicks - presents many sides of controversial issues – not just two. This link should take you to the Euthanasia page where you will see two brief paragraphs. But scroll down the page just a little and you will see dozens of links to the same general subject by categories such as Definitions, Euthanasia in Practice, Legal Right and End of Life Documents, plus many others.  The right sidebar also includes links, including one to readers' comments. 
To see other subjects they cover in this way, just click on MORE Issues in their banner.  I'm liking this site as a treasure trove of information.
Also, I've very lightly researched a couple of board members, and I tend to believe their claims of non-partisan commentary. They seem to be mostly a huge database of research on controversial topics.

World Population Review - shows a map of the US states where Euthanasia or Assisted Suicide is legal.

Exit International - I've linked to the "About Us" page and submit this excerpt from there:

"Exit is unique in the right to die movement globally in that Exit represents a human rights (non-medical)
approach to a person’s right to determine the time and manner of their death."

Wait until you see the Sarco!!! - your own vehicle into the Beyond...whatever that is.

Refuge in Grief .. from their home page: 

“It's OK to not be OK
If your life has exploded into a million little bits, you don’t need platitudes.
You don’t need cheerleading. You don’t need to be told this all happened for a reason.
Some things cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.” 

What I Saw On Rounds Made Me Sick:  Zdogg is internest Zubin Damania M.D. Who explains on his website:

”As a way to address my own 'burnout' and find a voice, I started producing videos and live shows under the pseudonym 'ZDoggMD' that have since gone epidemically viral. This launched a grassroots movement — nearly a billion views and a passionate tribe dedicated to improving healthcare for everyone.”

I've signed up for his newsletter; will share stuff if others sound as good as this one. :)
            Update of 11-30-19: less excited; no longer following.

Brene Brown Braving This is the video I mentioned; braving is her acronym for Trust. She is all over the internet. For videos, go to Youtube and/or just search her name; tons will come up.  TED Talks, interviews, videos, graduation speeches, everywhere...  Enjoy her.

Days For Girls  this is the site supporting women with information and products for their menstrual cycles, and possibly an opportunity for some of us to volunteer.

A Very Cool Way to Help Folks... RIP Medical Debt 

Everything Else:

Journalling Apps:   

 * Top apps for iPhone - a list
 * a list from Lifehacker - a broader scope; includes android
 * the #1 on most lists - One Day
 * Lifewire's list - only one so far who ranked One Day lower: #4, because it does not interface with PC's.

I will add to this list at another time.
Anyone who comes across a journaling app or conducts a search, feel free to send me links! :)  




Books we've read or are considering..also an incomplete list

Being Mortal. A book and/or a video by Atul Gawande

This Chair Rocks, a Manifesto on Ageism Book by Ashton Applewhite.

Kicking the Bucket List by Gail Rubin

Checklist for My Family by Sally Balch Hurme (an AARP title)

Pussy: a Reclamation by Regena Thomashauer
        One of our members, Kate H., made this comment as she passed her copy on to the next reader:

    "The section “Sisterhood as Salvation” in the last chapter is interesting and relevant I think. I may not become an evangelist but our         group would enjoy/benefit I think when we get around to it.--" Kate H.

Elderhood: Redefining aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life by Louise Aronson

When Breath Becomes Air  -Paul Kalanithi   There are many links to info about PK online, but being dead, he has no active website.



DISCLAIMER: If you use these links to purchase products, You will be adding a donation to The Nest, our local Women's Shelter for victims of domestic abuse. 
I get no financial kick-back from any sale.


Topics: an unfinished list

Also refer to the lists of articles, videos, podcasts, and more, here for more topic ideas.
Users may add to this list at any time through comments on this post or by emailing me.

  • Boundaries
  • Ageism
  • Pain management
  • Depression management
  • End of life decisions
  • Financial challenges
  • Hearing aids
  • Euthanasia: an option?
  • Assisted Living?
  • Docs and meds: the good the bad and the ugly
  • Regrets resolved?
  • What matters now? What does not matter... topic of Last Meeting
  • Sleep: do you get enough? tired? are naps ok? how much it too much?

    Adding new Topics July 1, 2019    ...feel free to suggest others

  • Death & Dying

    Will continue to add topics as they occur to us..

  • Identity Politics 
  • Co-Housing
  • Medical Mess-ups & unnecessary tests, drugs, etc.


  • Reiki/Energy Work
  • Losses as a result of Aging
  • Our Make-A-Wish Lists (improbable, but potentially doable day dreams - like skydiving, for example!)
  • Trust
  • Trust Games/Exercises

  • Our Biases and Prejudices and How We Came to Hold Them.