Monday, June 25, 2012

Creativity is The Spoonful of Sugar Than Makes The Medicine Go Down.

     Sometimes life is hard to swallow, and it seems the older I become the harder it is to choke down the routine and repetition of the day-to-day. Now that I am retired, with all this marvelous time on my hands, I can hardly bare to waste it on the mundane. Unfortunately we must suffer through the ordinary stuff of living, in order to enjoy what few perks there are along the way. One of my goals has been to rediscover my own creativity and to put focused energy into the endeavor on a daily basis. Easier said than done. It is often difficult to stay motivated and inspired, and I must force myself to seek out stimulation. I am finding I don't have to go far.

    This past weekend I was invited by a long-time friend to attend, of all things, a adult puppet show (with brief puppet nudity). The event was being presented at a private home in her neighborhood.
I had absolutely no idea what to expect, and was admittedly a little apprehensive about attending. Still I reminded myself, nothing ventured nothing gained. How delighted I am that I stepped outside my comfort zone into this refreshing pool of creativity.

     Upon our arrival after a short walk around the block in the historic Fisher Park neighborhood of Greensboro , we were greeted by the relaxed smiles of other curious guests. We paid our modest fee, signed up for a door prize drawing (I was later one of the lucky winners), and enjoyed a glass of wine and popcorn on a charming veranda before the show. The vibrant decor colors signaled me I was in for a treat.

     Once inside the lovely 1920's bungalow, we were seated on an eclectic assortment of vintage chairs before a quaint brocade covered, velvet curtained stage. The writers/puppeteers introduced themselves, treated us to their theme song with piano accompaniment, and encouraged us to sing, laugh and applaud throughout the show whenever the spirit moved us. Laugh, sing and applaud we did indeed, with raucous enthusiasm. 

     The play "Rumpus In Rome" was an absolute hoot, with an amusing satirical script, colorful hand-painted sets, richly costumed puppet characters, and a  delightful musical score. The story surrounds the escapades of the Queen of England weary of celebrating her Diamond Jubilee and being ignored by her husband, as she plans a vanishing act, first to Florence and then to Rome, where the American Ambassador is giving a lavish ball. All is complicated by the Ambassador's unruly father making mischief at his senior care home back in the States, with escape plans of his own. It was a mixture of unexpected romance, an axe welding chef, a bit of frolicking in the famous Trevi Fountain, and some surprising guests at the ball... well, you had to be there to appreciate.

     The brilliance of these two delightfully creative women, their sense of play and wit, combined with their obvious intellect and many talents, made this home-grown puppet theater a true work of art. I went away with my own creativity, as well as my moral, boosted - and a brighter smile coming for the inside out. Creativity is contagious, and these ladies are definitely passing it on.

Visit for more scoop on their antics. 
Creators Deborah Seabrooke (left) and Marianne Gingher (right), both teachers and writers, with three of their hand-made puppets. A portion of the proceeds from their Jabberbox Puppet Theater goes to support educational opportunities at Lumpampa Basic School near Serenje, Zambia.

"Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up." - Pablo Picasso

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fashion is Frivolous. Style Endures For a Lifetime.

     Women of a certain age and their distinctive style are beautifully captured by photographer Ari Seth Cohen in his new book Advance Style. At last, a tribute of women, "somewhere between fifty and death,"* that spotlights the newfound freedom to reveal a style and character uniquely theirs. 
      I have always followed fashion trends. From the age of twelve I began sketching and planning my fantasy wardrobe for the coming season. I learned to sew under the guidance of my mother's expert eye, in order to have a new dress for every dance, the perfect outfit for every occasion. I spent hours pouring through fashion magazines and pattern catalogs, with the dream of one day working in the apparel industry. It was my one true passion.
     I was fortunate enough to have that career, and still feel a pang of heartache realizing those days are behind me. I always believed fashion was for a lifetime. I was in shock the day I was advised that a woman my age needed a shorter hairstyle. Grief stricken when I was warned I should only wear what was appropriate for the over-fifty figure.
    After visiting Ari Seth Cohen's blog this morning, I am newly inspired. Where is it written that women must dress a certain way once she crosses the line past middle-age? Why must I cut my hair to a bob, cover my arms, or wear pastel colors simply because of my age? The fact is, I have more reasons than ever before to dress the way I please, and every reason to be myself - finally. No longer must I adhere to a professional dress code, the assessing eye of a romantic interest, or the criticism of family. I am free to be me, and I've almost forgotten who that woman is.
     Visit for wonderful photos, videos, and commentary by women of a certain age. It will grant you permission you might never give yourself to unveil your personal style.

     * Quote by artist and actor Ilona Smithkin.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Like Sand Through The Hour Glass, So Are The...

We have no control over how quickly time passes, but we can control how we pass our time.

     For me, my lack of control is the hardest aspect of aging. New aches and pains, the effects of gravity, the sign of wear and tear, the rapid passage of time are more and more evident everyday, despite my all my earnest efforts. There is a strong tendency to say remember when, rather than what's next. The bounce in my step seems to down shift to an amble, and if I'm not mindful, it will soon be a shuffle. If only I had the power to stop time, or at least slow it down. 

"It's a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up." - J.K. Rowling, "The Hungarian Horntail," Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2000.

     What I try to remind myself is that I've never really been in control. Life happens. Things change. Time flies. The best I could ever do was hold on tight and enjoy the ride. The reality is that we never know when the ride will end, and never will. Time is passing, like it or not. Instead of wasting it grumbling, I can at least take charge of what I do with the time I have. For once in my life I actually have the freedom to do what I want. Granted, there are still responsibilities, but the day belongs to me. Finally I'm learning to make TODAY count.

"In the end, it's not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away." - Shing Xiong