Minutes of our Meetings

May 22, 2020 no meeting; no minutes; plenty of Missing.

I last posted minutes on March 13, 2020, after our last IRL (in real life) meeting. We were already talking about Covid-19.

You'll no doubt remember our two Skype meeting. We were never successful at getting everyone on the calls.
We gave up after those calls on March 27th and April 10th. Zoom seemed too risky, so we agreed not to meet in person for the time being.
Who the Hell knew it would be so long, and still...there is no real end in sight?

I'm likely to wander around and find a safe way for us to try again.  I miss you like crazy. 

Here is a very cool song by an artist I was recently introduced to: Carrie Newcomer.

March 13, 2020 - Coronavirus and Covid-19 With Links

Like, what else would we talk about today!?!?

There were 8 of us present today! Yea! Angela, Revin, Irma, Mel, Kate H., LB, NE, and I.
That's something that may not be happening for awhile as we sequester ourselves in these coming weeks/months.   

I'm going to post the 2 things I read in our "Essays" section, as well as links on that page.

Here is a link to the Dutch designer NE told us about. NE's favorite quote from this short article is,
     "It's almost as if the virus is an amazing grace for the planet."
Her reasons for saying that make sense to me.

We talked about the things that scare us about this virus and its repercussions.  We are not panicked at all.
We are mostly old, so we all fall into that risk category, and a few of us (or someone very close to us) have other contributing risk factors. 
These are things that concern us today:
  Staying 'balanced' in ourselves.
  Other folks panicking.
  Economic impact. (more for our community than for ourselves individually)
  Helplessness - Kate quoted, "It's like a tornado is coming; dad's drunk on the couch; and I'm 7 years old."

It seems like that a bit to me, too, and partly because there is so much conflicting information out there.

On another subject, we talked about KIVA and the ability to help internationally, and as a group, thru this organization.
If you are not familiar with them, follow the link and see what you can do there. And feel free to lend Anytime!  :)
I will get our group set up in the next day or two and will let you know when that is ready.

We talked about Days for Girls. I don't want to lose track of this opportunity. I encourage you to donate to this group. I hope that we'll get a sewing circle going at some point. I might even learn!

The only other charity that I support at this moment is RIP Medical Debt. This organization buys up medical debt that has gone to collection agencies and abolishes it! Check out this video:


There is a 'group' component to this organization, too, but I think it is scaled for large companies.
Go to YouTube and search RIP Medical Debt to see tons of videos about this group.

So... now you have things to read...places to donate... 
And Skype to learn between now and next week.  Have fun, Sisters!! 

February 28, 2020 - A short one...

I was in Texas on the 28th, happily closing on the sale of our family cotton farm.
Nona and Kim were on the road, on a trip to pick up Nona's aunt Verna and bring her back to her homestead near Capitan.
I think Irma had the 'crud' at that time, and others were engaged elsewhere. 
Revin and Angela volunteered to host that day. Angela provided the minutes below:

"Revin and I enjoyed it. Vanessa was our sole attendee. So we just talked about what’s going on for us. She’s dealing with the difficulties of aging parents, etc. Revin and I talked about our experiences with that. Revin mentioned a new book she purchased, “The Art of Dying Well”. It sounds perfect for Salon.
We then adjourned to Ranchers where Mel and Kate joined us.
I missed you!     - Angela"

I missed you, too. This group is just so important to me, as it seems to be to us all.  Color me smiling!
And I also agree that it would be good to hear more about the book Revin mentioned.  Perhaps a report when you've read it, Revin?
I'm happy that the group expanded a bit to include Kate & Mel at Rancher's; that's a very cool way to end our time together!    :)

February 14, 2020 - Questions inspired by a National Geographic issue on Women

Five were present for our Valentine's Day meeting: Kate H., Angela, Revin, Nona, and I.

We had brief updates from Nona regarding her decisions about her aunt. Verna will be coming to live with Nona and Kim in the next few weeks. We'll get to exercise our Holding Space talents for them over time, whether they need our physical presence or not.  And we acknowledged that we are building this group with these issues of aging and support as paramount.

We continue to acknowledge the losses currently impacting us. Our former member, NH, has lost 2 dogs in the last 3 weeks,
and Angela and Revin are still feeling Rose's absence, naturally.
We are all animal lovers of one stripe or another; we know that the deaths of our fur-friends are not just simple events, but ongoing holes in our hearts.

In the last 'business' point, I asked for volunteers to host the next meeting since I will be in Texas for the closing of the sale of my family farm. It will be good to be done with that aspect of my life; I'm very grateful that we have not been raising animals! Angela and Revin stepped up to volunteer, so
The February 28th meeting of our Salon will be at their home in Upper Canyon. Details will follow.

Kate facilitated a rich discussion today inviting us to consider how we have claimed, or are claiming, our identities and empowerment as women, and using the questions below:

What is your greatest strength?

What is the greatest hurdle you’ve overcome in claiming your power/equality/
independence as a female?

What was your breakthrough moment?

What is the greatest challenge women face today?

What needs to change in the next ten years?

What advice would you give a young woman today?

The discussion was fun and interesting. Many good points were mentioned.
It was nice to acknowledge our strength, wisdom, and power as Women and as Elders.

January 24, 2020 - Holding Space

Seven of us were present this week. 
As frequently happens, I was engaged in the conversation and took no notes! mea culpa. 
In our meeting, NE facilitated a discussion on Holding Space. We didn't all have an idea of just what that means, and some of us interpret it a little bit differently. But I think that by the end of the day we agreed that we do, indeed, hold space: for each other in this group; in our families; very often with our animals; and certainly when/where we become aware of needs within our circles.
We demonstrated that by lighting a candle and pointing some healing energy in Ang's direction. 
(Hope you're much better, now, Ang!)
And, we are doing it now, in our own ways, as we empathize with the pain Revin & Angela are feeling now over Rose's death.

Two others of our Salon family members are experiencing some pain in their biological families, but frankly, I get my two groups mixed up, and don't know, in this case, who knows what. So I'll just say that it is NOT necessary to know all the particulars of someones' circumstances, or even who they are, to Hold Space and wish/pray for peace, health, clarity, etc. Our intentions toward love are really all that is needed.  So spread a little around when you feel the inclination.

Irma was back for the first time since her Christmas trip and brought with her Mexican Dia de los Muertos tiles for us.
Thanks, Irma. That was sweet, and very nice to know you thought of us while you were away. Welcome home.
Every Act a Ceremony is a article I posted on our links page a few weeks ago. I brought it up again and was happy to see that it didn't freak anyone out. :)  In fact, we created a little one then and there with a candle-lighting and some silence for Angie. Kate had also shared with me a little circle that she & Mel shared with friends in Texas. She told us about that, and we practiced it at the close of our meeting. I loved it! I think we all did.
We're not creating a religion, or even a little cult, but I like that we may bring a bit of ceremony to what we do here.
Please feel free to comment further here or in the group about your feelings on this subject.

December 13, 2019 ~ Supplements +

Ten of us were present yesterday; that included our guest, Kim.

At the start of the meeting, we reviewed our 'Rules' and had her introduce herself to us.
LB was the only one who did not already know her, at least casually.

I called for any Leftovers but we had none.

Then we turned the conversation over to Irma who facilitated our discussion on Supplements. Her primary resource was Consumer Reports Magazine, Issue of December 2019, which focused entirely on that subject. (The magazine is in our lending library if anyone wants to read it.)

The CR issue also includes evaluations on some of the supplement manufacturers and whose products are best/purest.

I made notes of 4 types of supplements the magazine suggests that most of us need:
Fish Oil
Vitamin D

Our group includes several women with varying degrees of knowledge and experience with similar products and we learned a lot from each other.
NE noted that she has dropped fish oil and is using hemp seeds instead, for the taste and for the burping taste later on, and because the seeds are a food product, not something extracted from something else. My words; made sense to me!
There was considerable discussion of Vit. D, and NE (resident medical expert) made clear that D3 is preferred to any other.

Several of us use turmeric or have used it. We learned that it is best absorbed when combined with black pepper! Never heard of that, but will check it out.  LB told us that supplements in LIQUID form are more quickly absorbed and, because the gut has less work to do, it is less likely to cause gut issues.

The discussion included PRE-biotics as well, and we learned that these are really the foods on which the PRO-biotics live. I learned that pre-biotics include fermented foods such as yogurt and keffir; gonna have to retrain my palate for that! :)

NE also listed the blood tests that we, as women, should have done on a yearly basis. We would ususally have to ask for them as they are not included in traditional blood tests.  These tests include:
Chemistry - electrolytes & liver function
Thyroid panel
D-3 levels
Lipid levels

Online resources say these tests measure the following things (links provided).  I AM NOT A DOCTOR. Take care of yourselves.

The CBC (complete blood count) measures white & red blood cell counts, hemoglobin, platelets, among others. See details here.
Blood Chemistry Screening measures electrolytes, other chemicals found in blood, and information on organ function. Details here.
A Thyroid panel measures thyroid hormones and their components. More here.
Vitamin D has to do with bones and teeth. Info here.
Lipid Levels are tests to measure cholesterol. More information here.

Some of my key take-aways from this discussion are these:
The source matters. Supplements are not regulated by the FDA. (not that I consider the FDA to be the "last word".)
Nutrition from food is always preferable to non-food sources.
We will be better served to pay attention to our own bodies. and learn how they inform us about what we ingest.
I don't know nearly enough about my own health.
I remain unclear about how much change I will make/tolerate in my current pantry and fridge.
I am old enough to die.   :)

I will restate the disclaimer: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. 
The meeting yesterday, and this posting, are for your evaluation only. Nothing is being recommended to you by me. And even though our group includes a doctor, she is not mine, nor yours.  I value her opinions a Lot, but she does not know my body. I think she would say the same.
(NE; add a comment to this post if ....  )

November 22, 2019 ~ no specific topic ~ energy wk contacts

There were 7 of us present today.

In Leftovers, we accepted Irma's emailed offer to facilitate our next discussion on The Consumer Reports issue on Supplements.

We have no specific topic today so I brought up December dates, first.
We voted to meet on the 13th, and NOT to Meet on the 27th of December.

Mel suggested variations on the subject of loss as we age: of people and abilities most specifically.
Revin did facilitate a discussion on similar issues back in April of this year. I did not make many notes, so a re-reading of that post won't help much.
I suspect we will/may notice other things as we continue this process of dying. When it's right for us, it will bubble up, I suspect.

We learned a little more about Angie today when she talked a bit about Reiki and energy work. She and Mel have connected on this subject, and Angie has offered to tell us more when that seems like the topic-of-the-day.
LE offered information about acupuncture. Angie mentioned Core Synchronicity and Chelsea Arbogast, and I mentioned Reflexology and Sonya Loya. 

Energy Work is on the topics list now, along with a couple of other new ones, but don't limit your thinking to what is on it!
If something is hollering for your attention, tell us about it.

Here is contact information for the practitioners mentioned above:
Acupuncturist in Roswell:
    Dr. Keely Holder, Dr. of Oriental Medicine

Core Synchronicity in Ruidoso
    Practitioner Chelsea Arbogast
    email [email protected]

Reflexology & Ionic Cleanse in Ruidoso:
    Practitioner Sonya Loya

LE suggested a game: we each wrote on a piece of paper 2 true things we did from our childhoods, then the group would guess who. It was fun and funny. Some were a little obvious and some were a total surprise!
Bowling was mentioned - the styles of 'throwing' discussion brought laughter! - and we learned that Mondays is Locals Night = Half Price Bowling!

We agreed that we like to play from time to time...  play being a veerrryy broad subject.


November 8, 2019 ~ Book Discussion: "...And a Time to Die

In old business, LB suggested that we call this section "Leftovers". We liked that, so now we have No old business; only Leftovers.

There were 8 of us present today.
Most of us have now seen the email from NH, who has withdrawn from our group.
I will miss her presence and her energy in this group.

In Leftovers, we decided to table any conversation about adding new members for the near future. We may (or Not) revisit this topic in the Spring.

Revin facilitated our discussion today.
The book, "...And a Time to Die" is a collection of essays about various specific people who have been/were dying in hospitals.
Probably the most important takeaway, and one we know already, is to have an advocate with you if/when you have to be involved in a hospital.

The book reiterates the need for better training and understanding among medical professionals, and a greater understanding of the Hospice environment. Mel and Kate, having worked in Hospice in Texas, had some valuable personal anecdotes that added to our understanding. I'm still surprised by how many doctors simply do not 'believe' in Hospice.  (reminds me of politicians!)
These attitudes are further proof that one must have legal paperwork ready and already in place with doctors, etc., and that your advocate should have bulldog qualities. 

Before adjourning, we spoke of the next meeting and possible topics. We left it for the moment, and are thinking (in her absence!) that NE may take it. I seem to remember that she had a topic in mind already.  You'll be notified by email with topic and facilitator before the next meeting.

October 25, 2019 ~ Identity Politics

There were 5 of us here today.  I took NO notes, so this "minutes" article will be extremely short!

We agreed that labels can sometimes be helpful in making generalizations, or in our earlier years as we were learning about who we are and finding our tribes.  And we agreed that more often than not, all these labels and all this "political correctness" separats us and increass the divide between people who ascribe to different labels.

The conversation was rich and engaging. I'm sorry you missed it.
I'd apologize for not taking notes, but then I'd have missed something, too. 

Revin stepped up to volunteer for the following meeting, discussing a book called ...AND A TIME TO DIE: How America Hospitals Shape the End of Life.

October 11, 2019 ~ More on enlarging group; Vaccines; topics; Mental Health

Six of us were present for this meeting. In Old Business we continued our discussion on adding members.

Two new points were made, neither of which I had ever considered. 
LB told us that there would/could come
a point at which the size of the group alone could cause her to self-censor.
She appreciates the intimacy we now have and is concerned that too large a group could lose that feeling.
Irma holds the opinion that those members who are absent in the flesh, or IRL, are actually present in some ways. That is true..in some ways. Others seemed to feel that their energetic presence is not here & that energy is missed. It's an interesting idea and maybe fun to explore in a discussion.

A couple of us are a bit reticent to welcome someone with strong political differences, since one prospect is politically conservative and the group as it is tends to lean rather firmly in a more liberal direction. 
That could be a big concern.
But since we have been talking about helping women be heard, and since we have already made it 'policy' to leave politics as such OUT of our discussions, then it seems quite possible that we could enlarge so much more than just the group Size by embracing other points of view (POV).
I am linking elsewhere an article about the "Epidemic of Identity Politics" on this very subject. It's a good read, and could also be an excellent topic in itself.

On to New Business: we didn't really have a prepared facilitator; seemed to work just fine, at least for me! :)

The Barbara Ehrenreich article started off our discussion of medical issues.
We talked about Vaccines; we're fairly evenly split on whether we get them or not, with a slight bend toward yes. The discussion about why we would choose different medical procedures, etc., was very informative, and to me, clarifying. The best reason I heard was Grandchildren! And several of us are still in our 60's and younger, so it seems natural that some of our opinions differ. A few take a stand more strongly in favor of natural treatments where possible and use our doctors more for testing and diagnosis than for treatment. Others have conditions that require intervention by the traditional medical world in order to continue to live as fully as possible.
Some of us are just grandly confused by all the manipulation and marketing and "bottom line" thinking that exists in the medical-pharmacological world.
It was also disconcerting to learn that most drug testing does not, and never has, included old people.
Someone mentioned that one could find out online how much money our doctor makes from pharmaceutical companies.
If that was you and you have a specific link, please send it to me.
However, a quick search using the most generic phrasing produced many results, so if you are specifically interested in this subject, you can find it.

I brought up Mental Health next, because it is presently a big issue for me. The discussion that followed was helpful, mostly loving, and gave us a chance to look at how we communicate. We bumped up against our rule about advice or 'fixing', and learned that we can point out those things without offending or derailing.
And just so you know, your willingness to hear me was immediately helpful.
I have since found a couple of resources that are continuing that help.  Not the least of which is guided meditations through an app called Insight Timer and a teacher named Sarah Blondin.  I have used that App for some time, and recommend it highly.

As conversation began to wind down, two additional topics were suggested.
One was to talk specifically about what we want our dying process, and/or funerals-memorials, to look like.  This came from some mention that green burial is now possible in NM, up near Espanola, and that some groups have formed clubs to make their own coffins.
Personally, I think that discussion could be fun, but maybe that's just me. 
And we mentioned again all that Death-related paperwork. Wills, trusts, Advanced Directives, and such. Some of us have done it all, some not; some have simple estates, some more complicated. The answers are varied, to say the least.

I look forward to our next meeting on the 25th.


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.

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. 


August 23, 2019 ~ Welcome Angie; Writing Memoirs; Other types of writing

We had 7 of us present for the meeting yesterday. 
We are happy to welcome Ang to the group; we spent a little time on introductions, and on covering a few of our 'rules' for her.
We also spent time on "Old" business, but I made no notes on that. Among things that came up, I remember suggesting that we have another social event; maybe the nerf ball battle opportunity at the new Mountain Adventure.  Got some smiles and nods; we'll see if we manifest that. :)

Kate H was our facilitator yesterday. The topic she presented was about Writing Our Memories/Memoirs. She recently attended a 3 session class on such writing through ENMU.
One of the first things she mentioned was an app called Audio Recorder. I may have written the title incorrectly, however, because I can't find the one that functions exactly as she described. What attracted me to the one she found is that it will produce a file on each recording that one can then manipulate. Cool!
I'll update this when I know the right app. But you will find TONS of them available if you look.  Let us know if you try one (or more) out.

Like others in the group yesterday, I was initially turned off when I read 'memoirs'. I couldn't be less interested in a chronological report of my life, and I could not write one, not remembering those years. But Kate shared a whole list of other approaches to writing of this kind. Some that I noted are these:
Chronological (of course)
Topical - as in vacations, or sports, etc.
Episodical - perhaps a memorable event such as a graduation or wedding or...
Focusing on an Object/Animal - choosing something important to us (individually) (as in Angela's bike)
Coming of Age/Coming Out stories - fairly obvious.
Spiritual Quests or Breakthroughs
Where/How I fit in my family - Frankly, I'm not sure if this was a method, or a subset of another category. Thought it was an interesting approach.

In the discussion around this, LB mentioned a book that she & her husband used some time ago, about Questions to Ask Yourself. I've capitalized that, but we don't know the real title yet. I've found some possibles, and if I can confirm any of them, I'll let you know.  And some of these books will end up in our Books list, because a couple of them are already interesting to me.  Might even be a way to start conversation in meetings!
And it seemed, to me at least, that the group in general was more positive about the possibilities of writing after we heard Kate's presentation of those different approaches or methods.

Days for Girls came up again (thanks NE). She has found/recruited a group of women in Carlsbad who are very interested in this volunteer opportunity. 
This page is all about the ways that people can help. This sounds to me like such a great project. I hope it will be one that we can embrace as a group. That will unfold as it does.

In closing business, NE had a great idea that some of us may implement before the next meeting. She suggests that we each write something (from any method or POV that draws you) to read to each other in the group next time (Sept. 13, 2019). Not everyone (mostly me) jumped on this idea, but we have agreed that most of us will attempt to comply.  :)
I will send out an extra reminder toward the end of next week to remind all of us of this idea.  Write or not as you are drawn.  Poetry, prose, songs, etc.  Enjoy!

If the writing/reading stuff does not fill the time, I will present the next topic. I have a couple in mind; one being Trust. 
See ya next time.


August 9, 2019 ~ Happy Healthy Dead

Short minutes for today!

NE facilitated the discussion on Happy Healthy Dead. Some of her information comes from a book called Goddesses Never Age, by Christiane Northrup, M.D.
I like this quote that appeared on her page when I found the link under her name:
"True health is only possible when we understand the unity of our minds, emotions, spirits, and physical bodies and stop striving for perfection.”

This theory also comes from the Law of Attraction and mostly from Esther and Jerry Hicks (when I first discovered it). I'm providing no links on this subject. There are literally thousands of them. There are now many many people who teach, discuss, critique, explain, channel, etc. this theory. If you're interested in going deeper, you'll have no trouble finding resources.

Our discussion was very interesting, though I took few notes. Some of us are believers in the theory; others were more skeptical.
We did tend to agree, though, that a more positive outlook about life and death and aging would likely make the procession through these years a little better.
You'll have to define 'better' for yourselves.

We talked a little while about the legal issues of dying - especially in NM where there are no laws that make assisted suicide an option.
We have a couple of books in our library (i use that term loosely!) that can help with some of the details of preparing to be dead.

I particularly enjoyed a distinction that NE made:
Gratitude - a feeling in response to something Given.
Appreciation - an understanding of the Value of what was given.

If someone volunteered to facilitate on the 23rd, I failed to note it. I'll ask that in the reminder email going out tomorrow.


July 26, 2019 ~ Discussing Newbies; Balance

In old business, we discussed Rules; whether & how to add more women; and confidentiality as it applies to the blog.  Each member of the group answered several questions (in an email) about these specific things. Each member let me know, as acting recording secretary, how they want to be mentioned in the blog.  All posts have been edited to accommodate these requests. We confirmed our Rules, and I have added a sidebar item that expresses those, right below the "Who We Are" sidebar item. 

We agreed that some growth is good, so that travel and travails, and life, in general, doesn't deplete our numbers so far that the group won't survive.
Personally, I hope we can increase the age range for this group, too, but that may be difficult while we meet during normal working hours.

We also agreed that this group is for and about women, and we will stick to that policy as we continue and, hopefully, grow a bit over time.

We agreed that we trust each other to keep in mind that new members should 'fit' into the group... to feel 'simpatico', if you will. And of course, be interested in these subjects.
And we agreed that we will not invite males to be in this group, at least for the foreseeable future, and possibly forever.
We agreed that we will bring up the name of any potential new member we are considering asking to join us to the whole group. Not to critique them in any way, but only to give each of us sisters the chance to reject someone who is already some kind of problem for us.  
This phrasing feels awkward to me, but I think you know what I mean.  If you don't, ask questions.  (Yes, this came straight from the "questions" email; you didn't ask questions then, so...I'm assuming you have none.)

We agreed that this blog may be a way to introduce this group to a new prospect. That will be up to you as you talk to prospects, of course.
But all have agreed that you can give a link to this blog to new prospects.

To reiterate: the blog - This Blog, Itsa Village IS NOT PRIVATE.  It exists on the web like any other blog. However, I do not 'tag' it or list it on any drivers or such. I have done NO "optimization" techniques. We are unlikely to be found by a casual searcher.
We CAN be found, perhaps, by someone who searches using words like aging, death & dying, etc...but there is such a tiny bit of traffic to this blog that we will never get to the top 200 of any search.

New Business - at last! :)
Irma facilitated our discussion today on Balance.  An important point, to me, was one about noting a difference in what we Need, versus what we Want. This can apply to how we spend our time, as well as how we spend other resources, such as money and our energy.
A few suggestions that I noted were these:
Take Breaks - as in tackling chores.
Embrace a healthy (healthier) life style or eating habits.
Avoid negativity.
Learn to prioritize.
Pamper yourself!
ASK when you need help.

NE volunteered to facilitate the next meeting. Her topic will be Happy Healthy Dead.


July 12, 2019 ~ The Dinner and a Show

What a fun event. I suspect we'll do this, and other social things more often.  One I've thought of is the Ropes Course in town!  Or an afternoon during which we explore our trust issues with a series of games...? 

We watched Antonia's Line together, then discussed our thoughts about it over dinner.  I thoroughly enjoyed both.
We agreed that Antonia exemplified some of our own ideas of what makes for strong women.
We talked about the strong women in our own lives and what we thought some of our own strengths are. Resilience was high in all of these categories.
The film and the discussion touched us in personal ways and increased our understanding about each other a bit.  Details will be held in our memories rather than on paper.

In business, before all the fun started, we mentioned a couple of things that have popped up lately that we felt the group might address.
They are related, but not the same. To my mind the first item is confidentiality. We've always expressed that we keep things said here private.
But, there is the second item, that of adding a couple more people...or not.
We have agreed that these two matters will be the top of the business agenda at the next meeting, July 26th.
How confidentiality comes into the latter issue is in how and when we talk to prospective new members.

Some points that we might consider as we approach the conversation are these:
    A. We are only 10 members at this time; and one of those has not yet attended a meeting...
    B. Six of these 9 are couples or parts of couples. Travel or family things can deplete our numbers and our energy very quickly and could last weeks. And even we singles will leave a hole. Sitting by a recovering friend/family or taking that cruise/road trip we've planned for ages will impact all of us over time.
    C. We've developed a degree of intimacy over these short months; how do we include a new person?
    D. Take a different sort of look at this blog. Could it be an avenue for telling "prospects" something about who we are? I've been careful to avoid last names (though I may have to    refer to Revin as R in the future! :)  )  The Minutes category would include the only posts (I think) where individuals are mentioned. 
Please point out to me ANY place where you feel I have not held to the strictest standard of confidentiality.

My own point of view is that we need to grow. 
And, as I stated during our preliminary discussion, any of you may use my name in connection with this group if/when you want to talk about the group at all. 
I'm confident that we all know that our members' identities are the first and last matters of confidentiality.  We'll figure out the other constraints together.

I found this video interesting and it relates to our confidentiality conversation. I suspect it will be old news to most, but ..
6 Types of People Who Do Not Deserve to Hear Your Shame Story 

Enough of that.... next group meeting is almost here!


June 28, 2019 ~ Antonia's Line; Sleep; & Euthanasia

We did not make quorum for this meeting, but since we never established any guidelines for such stuff, we just carried on.  Made decisions and everything!

The business part of the meeting included talking about the film Antonia's Line that we will watch at our next meeting on July 12, 2019.  As a group, we had not really thought through the idea of watching a film and trying to discuss it, when the film itself is about 1:45hr long. The current plan is now this:
We'll have dinner and a Show! The meeting will be back to the usual 3:00 pm time. We watch first, take a break for supper, then discuss what we saw; though supper and the discussion will probably overlap. Supper will be something casserole-ish that will cook itself, and a salad. At the moment I'm thinking of a big spinach pie ala Spanakopita, and yes, there will be a few things to munch on during the movie). Feel free to holler if you don't like this idea, but really...makes sense to we 5. 

Next, Angela shared a flyer from Rosemary's Herb Shop about a product she offers called Really Deep Sleep.  Angela has not used it for long, yet, but feels that is definitely helping her sleep.

Irma offered to facilitate our 4th Friday meeting and will let us know the topic when she chooses one.   

There are New links up on the Links page.                   end of business, on to topic.

As you could tell from my emails, I struggled a bit with choosing a topic.  And we may revisit at some point my first idea of Ritual or Capital P Practice.

But we went with Euthanasia, a rich and deep and compelling subject. Five of us were here; all of us approve of the idea and want legislation that would make it legal everywhere, even when we might not want to use it ourselves. 

We shared a bit first about what a Good Death for each of us might be. We all had similar ideas of how that might look:

  • Pain-free was a high priority!
  • With friends/family
  • By choice if at all possible
  • At home
  • Laughing
  • Conscious and aware

We had similar ideas about when the right time might be:

  • a terminal diagnosis
  • dementia or Alzheimer's
  • uncontrollable pain
  • when we can no longer do the things that 'feed' us, whether that is our shared life with a sp0use, hobbies, music or art, etc.

We heard about the Neptune Society from Angela. The Neptune Society is a national organization that sells cremation services in 45 locations, including Albuquerque.
There are other companies who offer similar services, and most local funeral homes will allow you to pre-pay for the services you want.

I may have Death Cafe linked elsewhere on this blog, but I'm putting it here, anyway; (two links).   This article is from NPR.

Exit International is a site I mentioned to you, having heard of it from someone who had first-hand knowledge of the successful use of it's non-medical information for ending one's life. From this link here, you can learn about the company, founders, mission, etc. I have linked to a specific article on Euthanasia on our Links page.  I have signed up to get their email newsletter and let you know what I think.

We felt also that this subject, Euthanasia, is one we may want to pursue in greater detail. Particularly information from sites like Exit International, because no form of assisted suicide is legal in New Mexico. Or at least, not now. The latest efforts to pass a bill were defeated in March of this year. Kate suggested that a small committee might want to take on further research. Mostly we agreed on that, but felt that a larger number of members could make a better call about that. It won't be a topic on the 12th, but it will come up again, I'm sure. If you are intrigued by this subject, as I am, share whatever you find, or post here in comments.


Disclaimer:  Links to businesses selling or offering anything, whether product or service or information, are there For Your Information Only.
Neither I, nor any member (or friend or associate of a member) is a substitute for your own good sense and/or your own research.  

June 14, 2019 ~ Sleep

Another great meeting. I just LOVE this little sisterhood we're building!!

In new business this week, we shared a little energy with LB who was absent with an illness. We celebrated NE's absence because she's hosting grandchildren! And we missed NW and Jessica. NW is also hosting grandchildren. What a great way to spend time.  I'll just say, "Let us know if we should ship you some extra energy!!"  We miss Jessica most of the time; she's still a working woman, and one of us even in absentia.

(and in related news (that has nothing directly to do with us), I have a brand spanking new step-grand-nephew-in-law (?) as of 2:10 this morning June 15!!
His name is Jackson Beecher Fromhold; a name just a tiny bit bigger than he is. He lives in Georgia with his mom & dad.)

I'm happy to hear that you're enjoying this blog. I'm adding a new category for just fun stuff and will be posting videos (mostly) of fun and/or cool things other Olders do, or things WE could do... or whatever.  If you come across something you'd like to see here, just let me know; send a link...  

I shared some now-relieved anxiety over a doctor visit I had yesterday with a GI doc in Alamogordo. No need for details here, but the appointment was mostly very good news and quite encouraging.  
What I most came to see (AGAIN) is that worry and fear are usually needless activities that steal energy and waste time.  I think I get this lesson a little more clearly this time.   You All have permission to call me on it, if I slip in the future. :)

Kate H. facilitated our topic this week. She chose Sleep: lack of, too much, naps, medication, tips that help, dreams, anything remotely related. 
She began by reviewing our rules for sharing. I was glad about that....
and then later in the meeting I managed to break at least two of them: interrupting and advising!  Women, you can call me out on this stuff!! Really. And in the meantime, I apologize.

We had a lively discussion. Most of us, as most Olders, have noticed sleep patterns have changed over the years, and most feel that our sleep is inadequate or interrupted. Some of us nap; some of us don't. Irma is in the midst of getting treatment for Apnea. That will be useful knowledge since she is so willing to share.  When we talked about what we do when we wake or can't get to sleep, we found many similarities.  Several of us read, but agree that it needs to be boring material, not our favorite author or genre.  Some practice relaxation techniques of various kinds. One uses Melatonin now & then. Most, if not all of us, have one or more medications that we may use when all else fails or when the need to sleep is extra important...such as before a trip, or a worrisome activity. 
We talked a little about 'routine' in one's life. Most of us don't have one beyond keeping up with commitments to social, practical, or medical issues.
I'm including mention of Trazodone because it sounds quite effective (2-week period of adjustment to the drug), without any long term side-effects such as have been found with Ambien and its ilk. There is a ton of info on the web if you're curious.

When we felt we had exhausted the Sleep conversation, we switched to more fun things and planned a social outing or two.

First, the movie, Antonia's Line, has been shifted to be the feature of our July 12th meeting.

Second, our June 28th meeting has been shifted to run from 2:00-3:30 pm, in order to make it possible for some of us to hear The Secret Circus at the Hubbard Museum of the American West.  The door opens at 7:00 PM; show begins at 7:30pm. Tickets are $15 at the door and are for the show and the Museum. There will be a cash bar hosted by Lost Hiker Brewery. Ticket price benefits the Friends of the Museum and goes toward their educational goals.  Frankly, I'm not one of the 'rockers' in our group, so someone can just tell me about it.  :)

On July 4th, several of us will be going to The Women's Club in Carrizozo for music and food and to hear a band called Paul Pino and the Tone Daddies. Music starts at 5:00, BBQ brisket is on the menu.  Dinner starts at 4:00, music starts at 5:00. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

In closing chat, our resident technology maven told us about a program called Boot and Nuke for cleaning/removing data from computers or devices. It will Erase All Data. One should pay attention.  I'm checking with Revin that this link goes to the right product, and I will confirm that here when I know.

NOTE: Revin confirmed that the Boot & Nuke link is correct. I'll use it on Joel's computer one of these days and report.  Thanks, Revin.

That's it. See you next time


May 24, 2019 ~ Hope as Present Tense

We are having such interesting conversations around our Topics of the Day, that our recording secretary (namely, me!) is becoming quite lax about taking notes!

Today's topic was facilitated by NE who asked us to consider Hope. I've extracted this from the email she sent before the meeting:

The topic is "Hope as Present Tense."  As food for thought, here is a quote from Desmond Tutu that I find profound.  It sums up my approach to hope.
"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness."
And here are two other jewels about hope:
"You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own."  Michelle Obama

"Hope is that thing with feathers 
 That perches in the soul
 And sings the tune without the words
 And never stops at all."  Emily Dickinson
We all enjoyed a lively discussion in which we agreed to disagree, though we, each, came to understand our two main Points of
View (POV).
The first, Hope as Present Tense, was fairly clear. If one is feeling 'hopeful', she is certainly feeling that now.  "I hope my children grow up to be happy" or "I hope the cake doesn't fall".
Most consensus about this POV centered around Desmond Tutu's quote about being able to see the light in spite of darkness. Some of us would have called this more an attitude toward life, than about hope, itself. But his meaning seemed clear, and this was a statement on which we could agree.

The other side of this discussion is one that posits that the "Hope" is hopeful feelings that are future-based, as in "I hope this cold doesn't get worse", or "I hope my kid will go to college". The feelings may be present tense, but we considered feelings to be emotions in the present, and that the Hope itself was an attitude or POV, and remained, future-based.
In other business, Kate H. volunteered to facilitate the next meeting on June 14th.
And we have planned a movie meeting for the 28th to watch Antonia's Line, a movie about strong women. Mel and NE will facilitate that meeting. This synopsis was posted on IMDb:
"A Dutch matron establishes and, for several generations, oversees a close-knit, matriarchal community where feminism and liberalism thrive."
See ya next time...
PS: I added the topic Sleep to our list... with questions :)

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.