Saturday, December 29, 2012

100 Years of Life

I cannot fathom living 100 years. It was our pleasure to attend our first 100th birthday party this year. My great Aunt Helen was born on 12/12/12.
She is amazing. She said to me, "I don't have an ache or a pain--not even a headache." I thought how pathetic I am with my aches and pains.

She does have macular degeneration and only recently started using a cane for support.

When someone lives this long, you wonder how they did it--what is the secret? I can think of two factors that are unique to Aunt Helen. I don't know if they are the secret to a long life, but I do think they have something to do with it.

First, she pulls no punches. She never hesitated whenever we visited her over the years to to tell us that we had gained weight or that we ate well (things we obviously knew and didn't really like being reminded of). She never thought twice about telling her thoughts. Perhaps not agonizing about what others think about what you say can add years on to your life. She was brutally honest. No pretenses.
Yet, why as I write this, do I feel a tinge of guilt telling the truth about her? I guess I just don't take after her.  

 Another trait of Aunt Helen's that will go down in our family history is the historic "Aunt Helen sliver or slice". When we served dessert and asked her if she wanted a piece, she would say just a tiny sliver and then she would show us. It would be the tiniest slice you could imagine. It has become a joke in our family when someone says they want just a little piece--how little? An Aunt Helen slice?

This Aunt Helen's only son, Donald.

Now as the new year approaches and I toy with the idea of a New Year's resolution to lose weight, I wonder if the best diet would be an Aunt Helen's sliver diet--eat anything you want, only in miniature portions. It certainly worked for her.

The picture below is of Aunt Helen and her second husband, Uncle Bill. He was thirteen years younger than her. He died last year at age 87. Who would have thought that she would out live him? They married when he was 25 and she was 38. 
We loved watching their relationship. Uncle Bill had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to laugh. Aunt Helen appeared to be more serious. He seemed to like to "crank her up" or say things that others of us might have thought but not dare say. We really couldn't "read' her reaction to him. We didn't know if she was angry with what he said and he would get it later, or if she just took him with a grain of salt. Whatever the reaction was, it worked for them because they were married 62 years.
The family did a great job of celebrating Aunt Helen's 100th birthday. They reminded us that in the year she was born: the Titanic sunk, Fenway Park opened and New Mexico and Arizona were named the 47th and 48th states. They presented a great slide show of pictures of various stages of her life and included her chihuahuas that she loved. They presented each of us with a little cookbook of her favorite recipes, which had to finally be written down. I will remember when I make them the portion control of an Aunt Helen serving!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Simsbury Celebrates 2012

Had a fun time on Saturday night at Simsbury Celebrates. They sure know how to put on a good time. We couldn't even do all we wanted to do. We started out watching a 45 minute program called Bubble Mania. It was fantastic for all ages. We have never seen so many things done with bubbles. Casey Carle, the bubble expert, has performed all over the world. He not only shows what he can do with bubbles, but presents it in a funny and entertaining way. He even put a girl in a bubble!

 Jeremiah and Kayden beautifully decorated cookies. Good thing I took pictures because they ate them right after they decorated them. They also made a Christmas craft, and had hot chocolate and popcorn (after a hot dog and fried dough).

Ski Sundown had snowboarding and skiing demonstrations on a man made snow slope.

The residents of Simsbury and beyond should be warned that there are a large number of kids who on Saturday night graduated from Pirate School! But they were taught to be good pirates. 
 After all that, there was a fire truck parade with trucks from surrounding towns all decorated with Christmas lights. The firemen handed out candy to the children. On the final fire truck was Santa!

                       The grand finale was fireworks. Simsbury sure knows how to celebrate! Thank you!

Monday, November 19, 2012

"I won't watch you die."

I saw "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" for the first time when I was in high school. It was a group of us and I guess technically my first date. I loved the movie, although a beginning scene was rather racy for the times and uncomfortable for us, it quickly led to humor and a sigh of relief from most of us.

The humor of the movie was what hooked me. It didn't hurt that Paul Newman and especially for me, Robert Redford were nice to look at. The music enchanted me too. I still think "Come Touch the Sun" is one of the most beautiful songs ever written.

There are so many quotes that stick in my mind and can still make me smile, for example: "Who are those guys?" or "the fall will probably kill you.".

Today a quote from the movie came to haunt my life and I realize it is going to be my new mantra. "I'll do anything you ask of me except one thing. I won't watch you die."

No, I am not talking about a person. I am talking about a business that I have served and supported for more than half of my life. Things have to change but I can't sit and see it self-destruct by its own devices. I can't understand why they can't see what they are doing to the business, or if they do, why they want to commit suicide. I was going to stick it out to the end, but today was an eye opener to the future. It is too depressing to see the self-destruction and the ripple effects it has on people. Like Etta, I need to pack my bags. I cannot stay until the end. "I won't watch you die. I'll miss that scene if you don't mind."