Downsizing: The Bicycle Nightgown

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Nightgown

I’ve always been good about weeding my clothes closet and dresser, but part of my downsizing project this spring was to make some tough decisions on clothes I’ve been saving for sentimental reasons.

TWICE I put the bicycle nightgown in the giveaway bag.

TWICE I took it out.

Swirl back in time with me for a second.

Laura, four years old, sits on the floor of the dressing room at Belks.

First  I try on a flowered nightgown.

Then a white one with green bicycles racing across it.

“Which one should I get?” I ask her.

She points to the gown above. “That one.”

“How come?”

“Bicycles.”

About ten years ago, I turned into a pajama girl.

But I couldn’t let that nightgown go. Those bicycles stayed parked in the bottom of my dresser drawer.

Then came downsizing.

Then came my failed attempts to give away the nightgown in May.

Before my hysterectomy for endometrial cancer in July, I was told, “Plan to wear nothing with waistbands for two weeks.”

No pajamas, so I bought a cripsy new nightgown.

The night I returned from the hospital, I put it on. Woa!

Way too tight. My belly was swollen like I was six month’s pregnant.

Guess what fit?

Nightgown up close

When I learned my uterus had to go, I felt such gratitude for the little girls it gave me.

The nightgown stays.

Laura

Photo: Above:  Laura, around the time she helped make the nightgown decision.

Transforming Your Aging Brain Joyfully: A Book Giveaway!

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A post by aging experts Linda Stoler and Gretchen Espinetti:

Barbara, thank you for inviting us to visit your blog!  We’re excited to get the word out about our book, Transforming Your Aging Brain, to introduce the joyful Multi-Modal Method (MMM) that makes such a difference in our overall wellness as we age.

We know that the MMM works because we have experienced the transformation in our professional and personal lives.

Many years ago, after fifteen frustrating years working with children in speech pathology using traditional methods, Linda, while on a sabbatical, spent time getting in touch with her authentic creativity. Linda saw that music, movement, manual motion (sign language) and mindful meditation made a startling difference in the children she taught as she returned to her work in speech pathology.

The MMM has worked very well with Linda’s 94 year old mother with dementia, others in assisted living with dementia and Alzheimer’s as well as Gretchen’s father who is in the early stages of dementia.

We’ve done extensive research to support our “theories” so that we could present the book in a way that would be credible for the professional community as well as for the average person caring for an aging parent or loved one.  The book is also intended for seniors over 50 who are looking for ways to enhance their own well being as they age.

We have researched studies that have proved that our brains actually continue to rewire and reactivate as we age. Our book offers techniques to exchange negative messages of the past for an elevated, positive outlook.  Studies prove that a holistic, positive approach to life can actually prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia in many people.  There is evidence from autopsies showing  that though Alzheimer’s was in the brain during life, the elders with a positive outlook showed no signs of it.

We’ve offered evidence that supports our premise that fun, creativity, movement, music, meditation, manual motion, good nutrition, plenty of water, and so much more,  can make a world of difference in the quality of life for all of us as elders  and caregivers.

In the U.S. and around the world, we are facing a global concern because of such a large aging population. We believe that Transforming Your Aging Brain,  highlights the information and inspiration to teach people how to support and enhance their own emotional, physical, cognitive, and spiritual well-being in joyful ways!

Giveaway: The authors are giving one copy of Transforming Your Aging Brain to a lucky Friend for the Ride winner. Simply leave a comment by August first saying that you’d like to win.

Author photo- Linda S. Stoler
LINDA S. STOLER, CCC-SLP has more than 40 years of experience developing programs for children, using left brain, logical and cognitive perspectives. She learned that by bringing special needs and typically developing children out from behind their desks and sparking their creative spirits, the outcome was amazing. And so was born the Multi-Modal Method of teaching that Linda has recorded on CD and taught to hundreds, over the years.

When Linda’s talented mother developed dementia in her 90s, Linda exposed her to the sessions with the children, only to discover that her mother’s quality of life instantly included joy, laughter and music once again. Armed with that experience and the knowledge of brain and neuroscience research, Linda developed a seminar for the over 50 crowd, too. This initiative became known as Onto The Next and took on the form of interactive, inspirational seminars.

Author Photo- Dr. Gretchen Espinetti

DR. GRETCHEN ESPINETTI has enjoyed an extensive career in bilingual and early childhood education with an emphasis on multicultural education for children not developed within the culture of their parents. Her studies into neuroscience and the brain led her to use non-traditional methods of teaching including music, drama, dance and sign language. Science has proven that being fluent in more than one language protects us against age-related cognitive decline. Therefore, using the power of neuroplasticity as a preventative for elders facing dementia and Alzheimer’s was realized by this team.

Together, Gretchen and Linda impact the elders in their own lives and seek to make the life of all the aging population around the world one of quality and joy.

My Cancer Story: Afloat!

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Thank you all for your lively and encouraging words. Your replies to this post about my endometrial cancer touched  me and sent happy healing energy through the Web.

As soon as I was diagnosed, Friend for the Ride helped keep me afloat!

I knew I could tell my story here.  My goal is to get the word out about endometrial cancer and to comfort others who face this form of the Big C.  Posts coming soon! Once a post goes up, the link will be added to the page at the top of the blog.

I knew too, that I’d have fun taking photos for the blog, and that Cliff, my wonderful assistant through all of this, would help.

Here’s one he snapped of my first meal, a liquid one, after surgery.

 

That’s a refreshing  mojito in the plastic glass. (They do, I must say, fail to add rum at UNC Hospital).

I got great news from the oncologist last week when the final pathology came in. No further treatments.

My body is mending, although I have a new understanding of what folks mean by post-surgery exhaustion.

My appetite came back yesterday. I’ve always thought it might be useful to have no appetite, but you only have to lose it to know the joy of its return.

But back to you all.

As a friend wrote to me two weeks ago:

So much love!

XOXO
Barbara

Top Photo: I gave out the orange floats during a children’s sermon at church a few months ago. I snapped the photo knowing I would use it for the blog in one post or another. Didn’t have a clue that post would be about a topic so serious and a relief so deep.

Grandma Update: MY Trucks

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In the months before Mazen was born, I was touched to receive some Grandma presents.

Note the set of matchbox trucks and cars above.

Vroom!  Vroom!

Maze is now twenty-two months. My clever grandson has learned to attach “MY” to his nouns.

MY apple.

MY Elmo.

MY shoes.

MY firetruck.

So I tell him these are Grammie’s.

But I’ll share.

I just bought a bigger set. I let Maze help me unpack them.

You can get twenty way cool cars and trucks for sixteen dollars.  That’s less than I pay for Supergoop CC Cream to cover my age spots.

Trucks

These shiny vehicles are more fun and easier to use than the CC cream too.

The trucks are my favorite, maybe because Maze is now deep into trucks.

“Big truck,” he yells when we spot one on our walks.

I’d like to say it was menopause that sparked my passion for trucks.

How well would that fit with the theme of the blog? Estrogen takes a nosedive, and your enthusiasm for trucks skyrockets.

But no doubt my new found love for trucks was sparked by another M word.

I’m thinking of getting the emergency vehicle set next.

I’ve got to perfect my siren sound first. Maze does a better firetruck than I do.

MY challenge!

MY summer project!

MY new goal!

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PS. It’s lucky that Maze can do a great siren. He’ll be playing on this giant firetruck on the playground of his preschool in the fall. Wee-ooo, Wee-ooo.