Tag Archives: womenpost50

Sadhvi Wonders: How Do You Unwind?


I am trying to keep up.   No, I take that back: I am done with trying to keep up.  At this point, I am just doing the best I can.

I did have a good excuse in getting behind in my garden this year because, yes, Asheville officially got more rain SO FAR this year than Seattle gets in A YEAR.  And we got 10 inches just in the first week or so of this month, July.  And over an inch an HOUR on the 4th of July. I think that makes us an official rain forest with now over 50 inches of rain!  So planting starts and seeds was almost impossible with the soil in the raised beds looking and acting like soup.

Talk about how the weather affects my mood, well, all I can say is that for those weeks (yes, weeks) that it rained and rained (and rained) I was not feeling very happy.  I almost moved back to Cleveland.  Oh wait.  They were having the same weather!

I am very grateful that the rain stopped, the rivers didn’t overflow, and that we have a good roof and excellent french drainage thanks to the genius and hard work of my Swiss husband.  Oh, I did become a born-again Christian though, because the rain stopped as I got down on my knees to pray!

When the sun finally did come out, it felt kind of weird.  After not seeing the blue sky for a very long time, I couldn’t believe how much I had missed it; so much so that I had to take a picture of it:

Blue Sky

Besides being grateful for every singe day, I am seeing that things always work out, that letting-go and trusting is a good thing,  and that this is the new normal so I can stop whining about how it is so intense, etc.

I am also seeing how much of a baby I am if the sky isn’t blue and sunny all the time.  I mean, the ice caps are melting fast, it’s getting harder and harder to vote in my state, and now we can’t even protest anything that we don’t like in this country because it’s a crime, and I am feeling depressed about the weather?

So out of necessity, I’m making time each day to disappear: into my garden, to lay down on the floor with my feet up, to write a letter, to put gold dots on the new batch of business cards, to read a book, or to bake.

Carolina turned 17 this past month, and I wanted to make her something special.  I knew she would appreciate a cake with lots of layers and chocolate icing and frozen, ground up peanut butter cups between each layer and on top.
And she did!  I found out that while I do like to bake, sometimes, it takes a little practice to make such a cake.

The next time I make the “Smith Island Cake” it will look like the one below (click on the picture to get the recipe that I used):

Smith Island Cake

So while everything seems to be crazy and getting crazier, I like to spend more and more of my time in my own world.

I’m just wondering, how do you unwind?  Let me know when you get a moment.

Lots of Love,


Brilliant Light and Daisy’s Return

Sadhvi Asks: Are You Ready?

Barbara Kingsolver photo by Annie Griffiths

Last weekend it rained nonstoop for 3 days and 3 nights which amounted to about 5.5 inches of rain in our neck of the woods.  I know that doesn’t sound like much maybe, but believe me, it was.  And during that time, the sun never ever came out.  It felt appropriate that Barbara Kingsolver’s newest book, Flight Behavior, had just become available at the library; one that I’d been waiting for and was excited to read.  I really enjoy her books, and love getting lost in them, so it turns out that since there was nothing that I could do outside, I could disappear head first into it.

The book is so good that I want you to go and put yourself on the waiting list at your library, or buy it at your local book store right now, and because I don’t want to spoil it for you by telling you anything about it, I will only tell you what the overall subject is.  Which won’t ruin the story that Kingsolver weaves through her characters, which makes her one of my favorite authors.  I read on her website that she reads the audio version, and I will get that just to hear her tell the story.

So it’s about climate change.  Which no matter what you believe or don’t believe, or feel or don’t feel, is happening right now.  And since a few days ago, we have reached and gone beyond the tipping point of what the Earth can handle CO2-wise to keep the climate stable.  Which means feeling like it’s winter is the summer, feeling like it’s summer in the winter, and a lot of freakish storms.

Which up until I read Flight Behavior, had me in a subtle state of a tizzy.  I mean, I’ve been noticing the weather/season changes for years, being a gardener and all.  If I wasn’t tuned in that way, I might not notice it.  But since moving to Asheville in 1998, our zone has gone from 6b to 7a.  Now those kinds of things don’t happen without the people who watch and know these kind of things noticing!

So if you’ve been feeling a little anxious, or even a bit worried about the future, do take the time and read Flight Behavior.  It might make you feel better about the future.  After all, I don’t have children and don’t have that blind feeling that people who do seem to have that “everything is OK and everything will be all right”.

So are you ready though, to embrace the change that will be taking place at an accelerated rate?  I mean, will you choose to freak out and keep repeating the latest extreme stories that are on the news?  Or argue that it’s not true – that there has always been unstable conditions called “the weather”.  Or will you start to go inside more and feel the stability of that?


Here is a quote from the book:

“Entomologist Dr. Ovid Byron speaking to television journalist, Tina, who says, regarding global warming,

“Scientists of course are in disagreement about whether this is happening and whether humans have a role.”
He replies:
“The Arctic is genuinely collapsing. Scientists used to call these things the canary in the mine. What they say now is, the canary is dead. We are at the top of Niagara Falls, Tina, in a canoe. There is an image for your viewers. We got here by drifting, but we cannot turn around for a lazy paddle back when you finally stop pissing around. We have arrived at the point of an audible roar. Does it strike you as a good time to debate the existence of the falls?” p.367

I don’t think there is any need for fear, or for trying to protect myself from the reality of our world.  Or arguing that it is happening or not.  I kind of knew that this was going to happen, didn’t you deep down?

And being the emotional type that feels everything, I know I will feel sad and cry about things I hear about on the news.  Which is why I will stay where I am in a place where there are more trees than people, and where flowers and birds make me happy.  And paint when I can and surround myself with those friends and family that I love and that love me.

What about you?

The First Iris of the Season

* BTW: All coprights on everything, including my photos.

There Was Someone Named Rachel

A month or so ago, Jean Cassidy of Sheville.org told us about the musical composition she had written in honor of the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson‘s “Silent Spring“, and she promised to share with us a video of the work, when it became available.  She sent it to me a few weeks ago, so here it is.  This is a wonderful video, with the piece performed by  members of the singing group “Womansong” from Asheville, NC.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

A song “There Was Someone Named Rachel” to celebrate  the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring”, written by Jean Cassidy, arranged by Catherine Riley and sung by a small group of Womansong members, with Lytingale on keyboard.  Singers are  Winnie Barrett, Va Boyle, Jean Cassidy, Terri Crosby, Cathy Riley, Susan Taylor, Ellen Winner and Claudette Wren.

Growing Old Gracefully


My mother used to say, ”It’s better to age gracefully than to fight it!”  When I was young, this advice seemed quite sensible.  What a good way to look at the natural process of aging!  But now that I’M aging???  I wonder just how gracefully I’m doing it.

I find myself experiencing things I don’t remember my mother experiencing.  Sometimes I wonder if that’s why she could age so gracefully – she didn’t really know what it meant to age.  I get out of a chair after an extended time reading or watching TV and can’t move properly.  I limp, while uttering the words, ”ooh, eeh, aaah, ow,” until I finally get rolling. When I get out of my car after a 30 minute ride and have to walk across the road to collect my mail (yes, we still have rural delivery), I can barely get one foot to go in front of the other until  I’m on the way back.

In other ways too, aging gracefully is difficult.  I find myself in conversations like this:  “Well, the most extraordinary thing happened earlier on Tuesday.  Actually, I think it was Monday because that’s when I had a doctor’s appointment, and I got stuck in traffic on the way home.  No, actually it was Wednesday.  I remember telling Fred I’d meet him at the library by 5:00.  No: wait.  I guess it was Monday because after the doctor’s appointment, I mailed that package I was planning to get out the week before…anyway, I walked into a room and all these people stood up…[pause]…you know I guess it was Tuesday….”.

Get my point? Why do we feel it essential to relive whole segments of our lives just to relate an interesting (or in some cases, not so interesting) event?  Or, is it just me?  My mother never did that!


Then there’s the situation in which people tell me things I said or did that I’d swear never happened.  When this happens, I just figure they don’t really remember and are trying to pin the whole thing on me.  Really, I’m sure they’re wrong; I never said or did what they say I said or did.  Then, in the middle of the night, I’ll wake up with a start and realize…oh oh…I DID say or do that!

If all that isn’t bad enough, then there’s the situation where I try to change the TV channel with the telephone or answer the remote.  I mean…really!!!!  But, it happens!  Or, I carry the TV remote into the kitchen when I hear the kettle boiling for tea, and spend the next 45 minutes looking for it in the TV room, only to resort to having to change the channel by finding the channel+/channel- button on the TV itself–0h, woe is me…that’s black and dark and can’t be seen without a flashlight!

Oh, and I’m absolutely scared to death I’m going to have a car accident.  I’m so confident when I drive that I don’t pay attention.  After 44 years of driving, who needs to pay attention?  Duh! Apparently, I do.  The other day I nearly ran into an oncoming car because I suddenly realized that I had spilled my coffee on the steering wheel (how could I not notice) and I looked down to be sure I hadn’t soiled my outfit for the day and would have to go home and change.  It’s happened before, too, when I looked off into a field watching a doe and her babies. For some unknown reason, the car seemed to veer toward a guard rail at the side of the road.  I’m not even going to mention the adjusting of my kindle or iPod to find my place on the audiobook I’m listening to!

When my mother advised “grow old gracefully”, I guess she was talking about resisting dying your hair (which I don’t do) or having a facelift (something I couldn’t afford even if I wanted to endure the pain involved, which I don’t).  Now I’m beginning to realize that, in today’s world, as with everything else, it seems growing old gracefully means so much more and is so much more complicated than it was when my mother was growing old.  It means accepting your limitations:  whether they’re physical things you can’t do any more because of the stiffness (I still don’t know why my mother never groaned going up and down stairs or getting into or out of a chair. Wasn’t I noticing or was she holding back – gracefully?) as well as the idea that you must pay closer attention to what is going on around you.  What it means today is that you need to be much more vigilant because there is so much MORE going on around you than there was in her day.

Although I still feel like the 15 year old I was in 1964 in my heart, I need to pay attention to the fact that I’m not that person anymore in so many ways–to ignore this fact could be dangerous!  So, Mom?  I AM growing old gracefully, but the world is moving so fast and changing at such a speed that it’s hard to keep up.

We Suck at Contests


In late August, Oops50 launched our first ever contest giving away two copies of the book, Master Class: Living Longer, Stronger and Happier by Peter Spiers, about creative retirement. And guess what? No one entered. No one. That translates to We suck at contests. So, I ask myself, is it just our failure at Oops50 to launch a contest or is it that we women baby boomers can’t get excited about a how-to-book on retirement?  Believe me, I wish we could give way a week-end for two at Shoji Retreats, an outdoor Japanese style hot tub and massage spa in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. But, honestly girls, we’re just not there yet.


Ironically, since our miserable failure in promoting on-line contests, I happened to receive a link about that very subject from a Facebook friend. It seems, we need to hire James Wedmore who knows how to create kick-butt videos because the best on-line contests involve YouTube videos. Who knew? So, for all you out there contemplating a contest, the top 3 lessons are:

1. Motivate your audience. Oops, failed miserably.
The trick is to create an incentive that is strong enough to encourage your audience to take the time and effort to create a video. You don’t have to give away a new car, but a free supply of your product would be a great start.

2. Give customers a voice. Oops, do women over 50 go on YouTube a lot?
Start by uploading your own video to your YouTube channel explaining the rules and other details of your contest. Contestants can then upload their entries by leaving a “video response” under your video. A YouTube contest not only can provide value to your audience, but also show that you’re listening to them. You want to give your audience a voice so they can express themselves and not simply promote your business.


3. Cash in on the social capital. Oops!
If contestants know that views, likes and shares are key to winning, they will reach out to their friends for support — effectively spreading awareness about your brand at the same time. You also can encourage contestants to tap into their social networks to cast votes in your contest.

So, until we can figure out all of the above, we decided to give the books away to two of our faithful followers: Sal from Nevada and Jean and Va from Sheville.org.

Until our next contest…I’m signing off.