Old Paintbrushes Become Works Of Art

When speaking about Paintbrushes the Encyclopedia Brittanica (2008) notes that paintbrushes are a “device composed of natural or synthetic fibres set into a handle that is used for cleaning, grooming, polishing, writing, or painting. Brushes were used by man as early as the Paleolithic Period (began about 2,500,000 years ago) to apply pigment, as shown by the cave paintings of Altamira in Spain and the Perigord in France. In historical times the early Egyptians used brushes to create their elaborate tomb paintings, while the ancient Chinese employed the tip of a long-haired brush to make the many intricate characters of their writing, a practice continued in the Orient today.”

The Paint Brush Series - Works of Art

So what does one do with an old and discarded paleolithic pigment propagator?  Well if you’re Rebecca Szeto, you turn it into an exquisite piece of art!  That’s right, old and discarded paintbrushes can be turned into works of art IF you have an eye for the creative… and a desire to find “the poetic intersection of the material and the immaterial”.  If that sounds a little odd or even ironic, this is exactly what happens when San Francisco artist Rebecca Szeto gets her hand on old paint brushes.  What began as an afterthought, Ms. Szeto was looking for something to do with discarded paintbrushes left over from her faux finishing jobs.  What she came up with is truly inspiring!

The Paint Brush Series - Works of Art

“These works play with notions of re-forming beauty and value. I use humble, end-of-life, mass-produced materials inspired by my experience as a faux finisher. The paintbrush is self-referential, acting as both subject and object. It refers to the history of painting, through the medium of paint, with its own tool.” –Rebecca Szeto

The Paint Brush Series - works of art

Old Paint Brushes Are Works of Art

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Top 10 Inspirational Photos From Last Week

We searched the web high and low to come up with the top 10 inspirational photos from the web last week.  Origins are unknown, but we thought sharing these would put a smile on your face and bring inspiration to your day!

We routinely post inspiring images and thoughts-of-the-day on our Facebook page, along with articles that are pertinent to the lives of boomers and seniors everywhere.  Be sure and join our robust community on Facebook so we can share with one another on a personal level.  If you’re on twitter, you can follow us there too at @SeniorList.  Enjoy!

Top 10 Inspirational Photos

Top 10 Inspirational Photos

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Top 10 Inspirational Photos

Top 10 Inspiring Photos

Top 10 Inspirational photos

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Top 10 inspirational photos

Top 10 inspirational photos

Top 10 Inspirational Images

top 10 inspirational images

If you have words of wisdom, or sources of inspiration to share with The Senior List community we invite you to do so in the comments section below.  We love hearing from you!

Act Your Shoe Size Not Your Age

So we’ve all heard the analogy “act your age… not your shoe size” right?  Well this trio stands that analogy on it’s head with their rendition of Billy Jean by Michael Jackson.  Who says you can’t have fun once in a while eh?  This troupe of Seal Beach dancing seniors brings down the house.  Enjoy!

Speaking of dancing, did you know dancing is a great form of exercise whether you’re in your 20’s or in your 80’s?  WebMD says that dancing can be one avenue to better health.  That’s right, dancing can help you burn excess calories, work your muscles, strengthen your core and make you feel great!  See you out on the town.

Movie Review: Land Ho!

Independent Film Land Ho!I’m jaded when it comes to movies.  Throughout an entire show, I’m waiting for something to go wrong, or a twist in the plot I never saw coming.  A movie can be rolling right along with a feel-good story line, everything is hunky-dory and then- BAM!  Someone cheats, dies suddenly or the aliens descend to take over the planet.  So, I don’t watch many movies, except for the 8-10 year old boy genre that my kids like.

So, I take great pleasure in sharing the movie review for “Land Ho!”, directed by Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens.  It is one of the best “grown-up” movies I have seen in quite a while.  Set in picturesque Iceland, former 60 year old brothers-in-law Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) and Colin (Paul Eenhoorn) set off on a journey to explore new frontiers and reconnect to their youth (and each other).  Mitch is a loud and unabashedly female-approving older man.  Colin is a reserved and soft spoken Australian gentleman who is more interested in a person’s intelligence than her assets.  The audience is privy to intimate conversations about aging, marriage, divorce, kids, and of course, women.  I felt like I was sitting at the kitchen table with my grandfathers, getting a fly-on-the-wall view of things they would say if I were not around.

I won’t tell you how it ends, but I’ll let you in on a secret, I was smiling the whole time. And giggling and laughing out loud. And sometimes embarrassed to be hearing such intimate thoughts from two older men I had come to love in a grand-daughterly sort of way.

The Icelandic setting is gorgeous- filled with ocean cliffs, geysers, and natural hot springs, I’m ready to purchase a plane ticket.  The film is able to relate to audiences from mid-20’s to the golden years with its honest insight and celebration of the two.  There is even a dance club scene with glow sticks for the truly young at heart.  The film is set to be released August 1, 2014 in major cities and I give it two “Senior List Thumbs” up.

Top 5 Books On Healthy Aging

Since the snake-oil days of  the wild wild west, self-proclaimed health experts have been hawking advice and “products” on an unsuspecting and somewhat gullible public.  The difference between then and now (besides the coon-skin hats) is that today we have the tools and resources to help snuff these folks out.  There still any number of snake-oil salesmen around but they’re pretty well disguised these days.  You’ll know one if they’re touting the latest “fad” diet like The Sleeping Beauty Diet, the Grape Fruit Diet, or the Baby Food Diet (yes this is a real diet).  You’ll also know one if their approach is extreme and/or one dimensional.  We believe healthy aging isn’t just about one thing… It’s about taking care of, and being aware of our physical AND our mental being.

Besides wacky diets and bad advice online, there are some great resources out there to help us age-with-grace and in good health (both mentally and physically). We’ll pass along a few ideas in the coming weeks, but this week we’re focused on our favorite books about healthy aging. If you’ve read any of these, be sure and give us a review or an opinion in the comments section.  In addition, if you have any recommendations on books our readers should be aware of, please let us know!

Top 5 Books On Healthy Aging

1.  Acclaimed best seller Dr. Andrew Weil provides sensible advice to aging adults in an oldie-but-a-goodie titled; Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Well-Being. In the 2007 version (a good one), Dr. Weil’s advice combines traditional and non-traditional medical advice to help us age in good health.  Highlights include advice on eating right, nutrition and the anti-inflammatory diet, exercising right, and a solid background on the aging process in general terms.  “Weil wants us to be sensible about growing old… He argues that we should not fight aging.  There’s no winning that war.  Instead, we should concentrate on aging well.”   (The Washington Post)


2.  Aging Wisely: Strategies for Baby Boomers and Seniors is Dr. Robert Levine’s book about aging that includes both mind and body in it’s approach.  Dr. Levine is the former chief of neurology at Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut and a retired clinical professor at Yale University.  Dr. Levine believes that we are responsible and need to be in control of our own lives.  Interwoven is the element that maintaining a positive attitude allows us to age well.  Dr. Levine reminds his readers that aside from illnesses and random events, healthy aging is up to us.  “Dr. Robert Levine’s book provides a prescription for aging wisely and with dignity. Brimming with anecdotes, and written in an interesting and clear manner, it’s good medicine for those of us who want to make the rest of our lives the best of our lives.”  (Jan Cullinane, best-selling author of The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement)


3.  Although the title says otherwise, there are many things in this top book on healthy aging that applies to both sexes.  A Man’s Guide to Healthy Aging: Stay Smart, Strong, and Active.  Authors Edward Thompson Jr. and Lenard Kaye examine “what’s next” after middle age, and offer a man’s perspective on healthy aging.  In this book the authors focus on mind and body approaches to healthy again, with a strong bend toward mental health and the role it plays in men as they grow older.  “Covers almost everything you need to know, but might be afraid to ask, about keeping fit mentally, physically, socially, intellectually and sexually through the decades.”  (Wall Street Journal)


4.  The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully is a book about embracing the aging process and taking it in.  Author Joan Chittister is a Benedictine Sister of Erie, PA and has written over 50 books (many of them receiving accolades and awards).  Chittister herself on writing The Gift of Years; “The thing most wrong about this book is that I may be too young to write it.  I am, after all, only seventy.”  This quote alone offers the self awareness and perspective worthy of consideration for our top 5 books on healthy aging.  Among other things the book contains 40 or so essays on subjects like adjustment, sadness, regret and success.  The author also offers advice on allowing yourself to become active in ones golden years and using that time to connect with yourself and with others.  “Perhaps you have to be in the second half of life to know how truthfully and helpfully Joan Chittister speaks.  We live in a first-half-of-life culture, which makes this wisdom all the more necessary—and all the more wonderful.”  (Richard Rohr, author, The Naked Now)


5.  New York Times best selling author Michael Gurian (author of The Wonder Boys) takes us on a journey along newly defined dimensions for our second half of life.  The Wonder of Aging: A New Approach to Embracing Life After Fifty divides our second act into 3 stages;  The Age of Transformation (from our late forties to around sixty), The Age of Distinction (from sixty to seventy-five), and The Age of Completion (the final stage of our journey).  His philosophy is to emphatically embrace life after 50 and he inspires his readers to go out and get it (what ever their “it” is).   Author Michael Gurian is described as a philosopher, a family therapist, a corporate consultant, and a bestselling author of over twenty books. “The Wonder of Aging is a very important book.  It is filled with practical tips, solid science and stories that will inspire and motivate you.  With 11,000 people turning 60 every day, we can no longer avoid talking about aging… So we might as well embrace it with wonder.”  (Daniel G. Amen, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Use Your Brain to Change Your Age)

Affiliate links provided by Amazon

Happy Independence Day 2014

What Is Independence Day?

“Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States of America commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain (now officially known as the United Kingdom). Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the National Day of the United States.” (source wikipedia.org)

Independence Day definedHere’s hoping you have a great 4th of July weekend, and you enjoy your Independence Day with friends and family.  Around these parts, we’re celebrating with a morning 5K run, later a community parade, and even later socializing with friends.  Rounding out the night is a big community firework show that is sure to encourage the dogs to pee on the carpet, and shake and shiver all night from the exploding madness.  Keeping this theme in mind, I thought we’d pass along a top 10 safety list for your pets on this especially LOUD holiday.  Brought to you by our friends at petMD, here are the “Top 10 4th of July Pet Safety Tips” for your reading pleasure.

If you’re up for inspiration, here’s a link to a poem that my husbands great grandmother wrote upon setting foot in America (via Ellis Island).  The poem is entitled “Momoire” by Kate M. Gehrke.  It includes this wonderful passage about her coming to America:

“But most of all I think about the crossing of the ocean. To a new world – I had always known -But only by its name.  A world so different from the old, And still so much the same.  For here I met the people from Russia And the Baltic Sea, From Bohemia, the Rheinland And from Saxony.” – A passage from Kate Gehrke’s “Memoire”

Happy Fathers Day 2014

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” ~Mark Twain, “Old Times on the Mississippi” Atlantic Monthly, 1874

father's day Wishing all of the dad’s out there very special wishes on this fathers day!  Here’s hoping you have a great day surrounded by family, or hearing from those most special to you.  This isn’t the only day I think about my own father, but it does force me to reflect more than I normally do.  More than anything, I think about all of the lessons I learned from my dad without knowing they were lessons.  Maybe that’s the magic of fatherhood.

A Successful Man (author unknown)

That man is a success – who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of
children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had.

Have a special memory of your father or father figure? Share it below!

 “He didn’t tell me how to live; He lived and let me watch him do it.” – Clarence Budington Kelland

Best Dad image

Best Beach Towns In America For Retirement

Looking forward to retiring in the same community you slaved away in for 40+ years?  If not, you may be dreaming of life in a cozy beach community where the idea of fresh air, fresh fish, and fresh adventures await!  If that’s the case, here’s a list of the best beach towns in America for retirement.  Enjoy your golden active years near the many relaxing beach communities we have right here in our own backyard.

Best Beach Towns In America For Retirement

#1 Manzanita (Oregon)Best Beach Towns in America: Manzanita Beach

This sleepy little community boasts a wonderful mix of full timers and part time residents.  With 7 miles of sandy beaches, Manzanita offers lots of room to run, walk, surf, or chill out.  The Oregon Coast Visitors Association maintains that “Manzanita possesses the third most photographed scenery in Oregon”.  Add in a local golf course, and a few nice restaurants/pubs and now you’ve got a full plate!  Located just West of Portland (and south of Cannon Beach) Manzanita has less than 1,000 full-time residence and at the time of the 2010 census just 315 households.  If you’re looking for a simple living this qualifies as one of the best beach towns in America for retirement.  Median age in the city is 59.9 years young.  –photos courtesy of jamesonf via Flickr

Best Beach Towns in America: Manzanita Beach Walk

 #2 Santa Cruz (California)

Best Beach Towns in America: Santa Cruz CA

Santa Cruz is a throw back town.  Having just spent our spring break there this year, we loved every minute of this surfer’s paradise.  Looking for something a little laid back and dog friendly?  You just found it.  Add in a mix of fine dining, and local eateries (where the food is fresh and affordable), you won’t go home hungry.  2011 census pegged Santa Cruz at just over 60,000 residence with 32.1% of the population between the ages of 45 and older.  Median age in Santa Cruz is 29.9 (wikipedia).  Beach dwelling, wine tasting, museums, and a university add to the cultural appeal of Santa Cruz, and it’s a sure draw for those looking for an active retirement.  –photos courtesy of Thomas Hawk & Hudheer G via Flickr

Best Beach Towns in America: Beach at Santa Cruz CA

#3 Beaufort (South Carolina)

Best Beach Towns in America: Beaufort SC

Beaufort SC was named Coastal Living Magazine’s Happiest Seaside Town in 2013.  This alone should qualify it as one of the best beach towns in America for retirement!  Beaufort is located on Port Royal Island, in the heart of the Sea Islands.  Water, history and culture surround this area, and it’s about as friendly a town as you’ll ever come across.  “Chartered in 1711, it is the second-oldest city in South Carolina, behind Charleston. The city’s population was 12,361 in the 2010 census.  It is a primary city within the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort Metropolitan Statistical Area.” (Wikipedia)  As of the 2010 census there were just over 12,000 people residing in the city of Beaufort.  A full 30% of the people in Beaufort SC are over the age of 45.  –photos courtesy of scarter392 & Henry de Saussure Copeland via Flickr

Best Beach Towns in America: Beaufort SC

#4 Friday Harbor (San Juan Island WA)

Best Beach Towns in America: Friday Harbor WA

Friday Harbor is a gorgeous little island community available only by ferry service (or float plane).  With just over 2,000 residents, it’s not easy to get lost around Friday Harbor.  Census data notes that 44.8% of the city is 45 years old or older.  Lots of things to do on San Juan Island including hiking, biking, fishing, walking, kayaking and sampling the many local eateries and coffee shops around town.  Summertime brings in quite a number of tourists, but everyone is interested in fresh air and the active outdoor culture that abounds here.  –photos courtesy of Chase N. & Mike Kelley via Flickr

Best Beach Towns in America: Friday Harbor ferry

#5 Steilacoom (Washington)

Best Beach Towns in America: Steilacoom WA Sunset

Located 45 miles SW of Seattle, Steilacoom (pronounced “still-a-come”)seems to move in slow motion and that’s just how the 6,000 or so full-time locals love it.  The 4th of July celebration brings in over 18,000 visitors, and all come for good eats, good conversation, and fireworks over Sunnyside Beach.  This Puget Sound community boasts a median age of 45.4 (as of the 2010 census) and 39.3% of folks are 45 years of age or older.  –photos courtesy of L-M-E & camknows via Flickr

Best Beach Towns in America: festival in Steilacoom WA

Top 10 Quotes About Growing Old

older adults on the beachFound a great quote about growing old this morning so I decided to scour the interwebs for a top 10 list.  Add your favorites to the list below!

Top 10 Quotes About Growing Old

  1. “Too many people, when they get old, think that they have to live by the calendar.” John Glenn
  2. “I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.” Albert Einstein
  3. “Do not try to live forever, you will not succeed.” George Bernard Shaw
  4. “None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” Henry David Thoreau
  5. “Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.” Bill Vaughan
  6. “The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” Muhammad Ali
  7. “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain
  8. “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.” Author Unknown
  9. “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” Satchel Paige
  10. “You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.” Michael Pritchard

There are so many more out there that should be on the list of top 10 quotes about growing old!  What’s your favorite?  My mother always used to say “Growing old is just a state of mind…” and it’s so true!  (Not sure where that one originated but I certainly like it.)

Photo: Natasha Hirtzel via Flicker

Wrinkles by Mark Twain

Photo Of Elderly Couple In Same Place Each Season Until The Inevitable

Purportedly, journalist Ken Griffiths of The Sunday Times took a photo of an elderly couple in the same place (outside their home), each season for 12 consecutive years.  There are many theories surrounding this series of photos.  Some say it’s Ken Griffiths’ parents and he chronicled their love for one another through their final 12 seasons together.  Others merely note the acclaimed photographer and journalist took the photos of some would be friends to be originally published in 1973.  The results no matter which way you cut it are amazing, and they are making their way around the web for all to ponder.

“When you’re young you prefer the vulgar months, the fullness of the seasons. As you grow older you learn to like the in-between times, the months that can’t make up their minds. Perhaps it’s a way of admitting that things can’t ever bear the same certainty again.”
― Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot

There is something magical about each season anew.  Each bring with it inevitable change, glory and even decay.  Spring brings with it eternal hope and each season unveils a new chapter.  The same holds true in our lives, and I love to think about the parallels between our mother earth… and each of us that share her for a brief moment in time.

Photo of Elderly Couple: Ken Griffiths Season 1

Photo of Elderly Couple: Ken Griffiths Season 2

Photo of Elderly Couple: Ken Griffiths Season 3

Photo of Elderly Couple: Ken Griffiths Season 4

Photo of Elderly Couple: Ken Griffiths Season 5

Photo of Elderly Couple: Ken Griffiths Season 6

Photo of Elderly Couple: Ken Griffiths Season 7

Photo of Elderly Couple: Ken Griffiths Season 8

Photo of Elderly Couple: Ken Griffiths Season 9

Photo of Elderly Couple: Ken Griffiths Season 10

Photo of Elderly Couple: Ken Griffiths Season 11

Photo of Elderly Couple: Ken Griffiths Final Season