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October 2019

September 2019




Is there a magnet drawing me to you?


I walked down the hill to the Tholos, 

     rounded a corner

     and there you were 


Tears flowed unchecked down my cheeks 

Even though I was still asleep at that first encounter, 

    my spirit knew you

    My soul remembered

   Tears of recognition, tears of joy came unbidden


How my soul rejoiced!

    Memories of times past, of sacred rituals 

    floated at the edge of consciousness


Several times since then I’ve made return pilgrimages

My being is at peace in your embrace


Delphi, place that I love



Winona S.  Sept. 2019

Where I'm From

Where I’m From

I’m from creators and tinkerers.
I’m from dilettantes and demigods.
I’m from demolitionists and destroyers.
I’m from musicians and mentalists.
I’m from stoics and strangers.
I’m from teachers and hoarders.

I’m from churches that nourish, and withhold.
I’m from perfectionism, taught without tenderness.
I’m from people who do what they are told.
I’m from people who won’t.

I‘m from landowners.
I’m from settlers, and from the unsettled; tied by DNA to both.
I’m from blissful ignorance born of privilege. Still ignorant, but less so.
I‘m from willful blindness; learning to see.
I’m from Wall Street and from back streets.
I’m from women who held power. And lost it.

I’m from joy, and lust.
I’m from love and apathy.
I’m from accomplishment and disappointment.
I’m from contentment and depression.
I’m from lessons, and from doing it my way.
I’m from an unremembered past, charting a path without moorings.

I’m from stardust, formerly pulsing thru the cosmos, now living a sabbatical from pure energy, to explore the nature of a physical body.  
I’m from 73 years of living this physical experiment.
It’s taken this long to learn there is no test at the end of it.
I forget why I chose this.

Sometimes I remember.


Kate W. 9-9-2019


September 27, 2019 ~ "Bright Minds"

...and more Newbies discussions.
It seems that our/my interest in growing this group is giving us quite a bit of fodder for conversation, and possibly some growth of our/my own.
I do find that I am looking a little deeper into just what 'connection' means to me and how and by whom that might be facilitated.

One idea about our Social Event, should we have one: that we make it slightly broader by inviting women we know or believe to be already interested in these subjects.
Not sure how we might implement this, but consider, for example, who among your friends/acquaintances are taking, or have taken, classes through Creative Aging, or who may be taking some sort of "senior" exercise class, etc.  A not-original thought that might be valuable, thrown out for your consideration...

On to our minutes.
LB facilitated our discussion today from material she is gleaning from a series of webinars she is following.
This discussion focused on some of the work of Dr. Daniel Amen in a podcast that is subtitled "How to Make Your Brain Better Even When You've Been Bad to It", an interview with Dr. Amen conducted by Peggy Sarlin.
(In case it disappears, I found this audio-only recording on YouTube.)
We have hand-outs for this topic, and I have an extra (and can copy it) for anyone who had to miss this meeting and is interested.

I am not going to try to reproduce my notes on this discussion here. I will happily share them, and I refer you to the podcast linked above. 
Bright Minds is an acronym for a program that Dr. Amen has developed to help us heal mental health issues and improve our memories.
B = Blood Flow
R = Retirement/Aging
I = Imflammation
G = Genetics
H = Head Trauma
T = Toxins

M = Mental Health
I = Immunity/Infection issues
N = Neurohormone Deficiencies
D = Diabesity
S = Sleep Issues

Each of these has a set of conditions/circumstances that may be exacerbating cognition, as well as suggestions for treatment.
We also learned about specific types of blood tests/panels that we could request of our doctors if we have concerns in one or more areas.

Learning a bit of self-biofeedback could also be really helpful.

But here is the COOLEST thing that I learned. Not all Alzheimer's diagnoses are correct.
There is a form of depression known as pseudodementia that mimics Alzheimer's disease. A web search will pull up many other links if you're curious.
It's not a huge number, but perhaps as much as 6-7% of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's may have pseudodementia instead.
I'm extrapolating that number from a Very Brief scan of a couple of articles; don't hold me to that.
One finds out with brain scans, a test(s) not usually done.

We talked about celebrations and birthdays. I will share the dates with you by email as they need to remain private.

Ending it Well: Missives from Inside the Death Wellness Movement

"The death wellness movement is about facing hard choices openly and mindfully. For author Leslie Krongold, this has been a very personal exploration."

This article by Leslie Krongold, Ed.P, was published in August of this year, and is pertinent to many of the things we talk about withing our group.
The article was suggested by Jessica in a comment on another post.

Ms. Krongold is writing about her own journey toward her, possibly soon, death, and began seeking similar information shortly after her mother's death.
She's now doing podcasts, and when I've found them, I'll link them. In the meantime, this is short, and helpful.

HBO's "Alternate Endings" explores 6 the of the new ways to die in America.

This article/review is relatively short and quite interesting.
The documentary follows Dick Shannon, his wife and family, and 5 other families of people making preparations for their approaching deaths.

Do you know what you want your death to look like? Do you know what's possible? Care to?


"I'm Old Enough to Die"

This article is subtitled: "The Market for Wellness is more about Capitalism Than Prolonging Life"

The material comes from a book called Natural Causes, by Barbara Ehrenreich.  The article, itself, was written by Derek Beres. He's a fan of fat-shaming, though, so if you want to know more about him, you'll have to dig it out yourself. Won't be hard! :)

A summary of the book from her website says,

"Natural Causes examines the ways in which we obsess over death, our bodies, and our health. Both funny and caustic, Ehrenreich then tackles the seemingly unsolvable problem of how we might better prepare ourselves for the end—while still reveling in the lives that remain to us."

But the article is shorter! And makes some very valid points in my opinion.
Embedded in the article is an ad (or two) but further down is a video of an interview with Ehrenreich from the PBS News Hour. 
The video can also be found on YouTube here.  

Ehrenreich suggests the cultivation of an important quality to aid in this quest: humility.

"For all of our vaunted intelligence and 'complexity,' we are not the sole authors of our destinies or of anything else. You may exercise diligently, eat a medically fashionable diet, and still die of a sting from an irritated bee. You may be a slim, toned paragon of wellness, and still a macrophage within your body may decide to throw in its lot with an incipient tumor."

More from Derek:
"Ehrenreich does not criticize staying healthy. She discusses her own struggles and triumphs with gym culture; even still, she exercises regularly. Her problem is treating the human body as a clumsy burden to be overcome; equally, as an infinitely wise biological organism primed for optimization. Many of our cells — what "I" is composed of — have no interest in sustaining our lives. A number of them even bet on and actively instigate our destruction. "




The Lessons of Asymmetry

A TGB Reader Story.     (housekeeping note: this is 2 links; one to the TGB Home page, and
                                            one to the story specifically.)

Ronni Bennett's readers are invited to submit their own stories to her blog for publication.  This one is by Adele Frances.
This was the quote that began her story:

“There is little meaning in making a fuss. There is nothing else to do but say good-bye to the last body part and continue your life with what parts may be left.”

- Elderly Greenland native who lost two fingers to frostbite years ago. Smithsonian Magazine

You'll enjoy this a lot I think, for Adele's attitude as well as for her writing skill.
She's writing about losing a part of her body to surgery, and how that feels to her.  She is an inspiration to me.

And yes, you are invited to submit your own stories for this blog! Essays, poetry, blank verse, whatever...


Ashes to Ashes, Stardust to Stardust

"Delivering cremated remains to the stratosphere joins a new list of ways to memorialize the dead."

This is a light, slightly humorous, article about the new options to have your (or "your loved ones") cremains blasted into space.
Well, not really space; just 100,000 ft. up into the stratosphere. Sooner or later, you'll fall back to earth. little rain drops or ice crystals according to the article.
Not much more than a Thousand Dollars.

It's also possible to go higher. A different company will take you higher, then blast your cremains (inside a capsule) up to 300,000ft. They don't tell you what THAT costs.
But, even that is not real space...even though Gene Roddenberry took that trip. He'll fall back in his capsule some day... I hope it's near a Space Port.

Some of this article is about trends in the funeral industry that are changing with our... what?  (our need to be "first on the block to.."?) ..aside is mine.

Elsewhere, you read this:
"People are becoming increasingly interested in how their physical remains, and the remains of their loved ones, will be handled.
They want something more personal and more personalized."

If you've not explored this subject, you might be surprised by some of the options available to you. Enjoy...

Write Your Way to Emotional Resilience

Want to Be Emotionally Resilient? Science says do this

From the article:
"Do you worry a lot? Sometimes over things you absolutely can't control, so that worrying about them serves no practical purpose?
Do you think you worry too much? Do you worry that all this worrying may not be good for you?"

This article is about writing your worries. Maybe not daily, with no real rules, and with no expectations... just write what is worrisome.
More from the article:
"That might seem absurdly simple, but it turns out to be extremely powerful as well. Keeping a "worry journal" is an element of cognitive behavior therapy, or CBT, which has long been known to help with a great many emotional disorders. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University, in State College decided to see whether worry journaling alone could help subjects improve their emotional balance."

The article is short and sweet. It goes on to list 4 steps and explains each.
Read about how this theory was tested, and the interesting results.
Will it work for you? Let me know... 

September 13, 2019 ~ reading what we wrote - newbies

In old business we continued the discussion on how to assimilate new members. We do agree that we would like to grow a bit more, but we also have taken note of the increasing level of intimacy that exists in the group as it is now. We think that a social event outside of a Salon meeting might be a good way to accomplish this purpose, by letting newbies and members meet and engage without compromising the privacy and intimacy of an actual meeting.
I confess, this whole business feels very awkward to me. I realize I'm the one who wants to "grow" us the most. And this doesn't feel right, yet.
Part of the reason I hesitate here is this:
I fear that if we try to "control" too much the voices we invite, we also limit the variety of Points of View that we could hear.
And perhaps, we also limit our opportunities for learning how better to express disagreement.
As women, especially, we know how it feels to go unheard.
I know that other voices could be disruptive, and I know women, traditionally, have not been great at effective confrontation. Do we want to stay this way? Are we fragile?
I feel this discussion will be ongoing for a bit.   And it is possible we need to decide and state our primary strategies/purpose; or to explore why we are so strongly committed to our privacy here.

We talked about possibilities for a social event, possibly a Holiday Party. Will our Social Coordinator please get on that?!  :D
This might or might not be a function to which we could invite significant others and potential new members.

Someone mentioned that Ruidoso (or the Downs) has an Escape Room. I found two possibles.
Land of Entrapment appears to be at the racetrack, though that is difficult to prove.  Cost is $25/person. That's a tad steep for an hour's entertainment, for me... I have rarely seen a less informative website.
But for lack of information, this one wins! Escape With Billy the Kid.  I did find a button that said "Located at Fox Cave", but most of the links are broken. I think this one is priced at $15, but I couldn't find the link a second time. 
On escape rooms, that's it for me. Happy to go, if... but someone else will have to plan it.  (Yeah, just being ornery!)

Ruidoso's Adventure Mountain has a web presence on Facebook. (at least I could find this one). Their page shows a lot of what they have.
And they are happy to show you around in person if you want. This is the place that has the nerf ball battle thing, and also a batting cage, a ropes course, and several other things including glow-in-the-dark Mini golf.
Several restaurants in town have meeting rooms, and the 'cave' downstairs at Grill Caliente might be available for a party.

Then we moved on to talk about our writings; who did; how it felt, etc.
We also added two more methods or approaches to the subject: 'worries' writing, and 'special' prompts.
One was from another writing group, a prompt called Where I'm From. In the examples I saw, and in the one I wrote, there was/is no reference to a physical location.  This is the link to my friend's FB post.
The other was a Worry Journal that has proven to be helpful in relieving stress and general anxiety.

Four of the six present today read things they had written. Each reading gave us a little better sense of each other.
I'll probably publish mine one day when I'm just a tad farther past being so dang proud of it!   Haha, she said wryly. 
And I would love to put up Delphi and First Snake, if you'll let me.  Pretty please...  :)

In winding-down conversation we talked about taking and/or giving offense. (I think someone said, "I don't mean to offend anyone, but...", and we took off from there.)
This gave us a chance to talk about our growing relationships, our intimacy, expectations, etc. We agreed that we have come to know enough about each other that we are certain that no one would intend offense. And we agreed that if anyone is discomfited in any way by a comment or presentation or whatever, that we feel safe enough to address that in the present tense in the meeting. We seem to agree that clarifying conversation can be tricky but is often essential.   (paraphrasing - comment if you heard it differently)

I told you that I was having trouble prepping a presentation on Trust because the research was helping me see that I am not presently very trustworthy.
Coming to accept that fact has been both painful and more than a little educational, in ways that don't need elaboration on this blog.
I do still think it will be a good topic to explore; I'm just not the one the facilitate that conversation.