Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Star Spotlight

On Fridays we will feature special projects, photography and ideas contributed by talented seniors along with information about the Internet.

The Art of Collage

At different times over the next couple of months I will be displaying the work from my collage class along with what was created in our special effects classes.

Below is a collage that was created by Robert Westphal. Yes it is a collage--it is actually a combination of three pictures! The first image is the hand/phone that was part of a tutorial we did.

The second picture in the collage is the background behind the cameraman. That is actually a picture Bob picked up in Dinkelsbuhl, Germany on the Romantic Road.

Then of course the picture of someone taking a picture. That is a friend of ours, Ernie Eberle, who was taking a picture outside of the Community College we all frequent!

Droll, charming and fun this image creates its own reality. How fortunate I am to be associated with such a creative group of people!

Alan Alda said, "The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself."

A special thank you to Robert Westphal for being a friend of our blog!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lifelong Learning Thursday

Nancy Merz Nordstrom, author of Learning Later, Living Greater: The Secret of Making the Most of Your After 50 Years will share the benefits of Lifelong Learning on Thursdays.

The Secret for Making the Most of Your After-50 Years.

…a Health Club for Your Mind. Body and Spirit!

Now that we’ve looked at how other lifelong learners work within their communities, we’ll explore some ways to engage your talents and experience.

One of the best is Intergenerational Mentoring.

It’s another link between lifelong learning and community service. It has been said that one generation’s philosophy becomes the common sense of the next. That being the case, helping younger generations is one of the more valuable roles older lifelong learners can play in our society.

Older adults who belong to lifelong learning institutes often work with college undergraduate and graduate students. They also reach out into the community to work with elementary and high school students as mentors. Older learners many times initiate such programming, working together with community agencies and organizations.

By matching older adults with schoolchildren, these two generations share activities and in the process many stereotypes are broken down. Older adults benefit from this work in that they develop a greater sense of purpose and more self-esteem. Being so involved in the community also leads to more life satisfaction. At the same time, those being mentored learn more about getting older while increasing their own self-esteem, knowledge, skills, and motivation. And they also gain role models with incredibly valuable experience who can guide them into maturity.

Intergenerational programs also benefit the entire community. Participants pool resources and engage in creative problem solving to tackle social issues. Along the way, they find that respect for diversity and each other’s generational traditions has been growing.

Intergenerational community service work is so valuable to our society that The Center for Intergenerational Learning at Temple University seeks candidates to be trained to join its new Intergenerational Training Experts Network (ITEN).

The goal of the network will be to help build the capacity of nonprofit organizations to infuse intergenerational approaches into their programs and to engage more older adults in meaningful volunteer roles.


Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French philosopher and Jesuit priest said, Service to others is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth. That is certainly one way to look at it. How much better our society would be if everyone subscribed to his theory.

For more information on Learning Later, Living Greater visit You can purchase Learning Later, Living Greater at

Till Next Time…

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday with Dr. Rains

The Rolling Rains Report
Dr. Scott Rains


Developments in
Consumer Travel Applications

By Scott Rains on April 27, 2010 8:21 AM

So far, no one is answering the question, "How accessible will this next generation of travel and booking infrastructure be?"

A battle is raging between Apple, Nokia, Amazon, Google, and RIM to develop a platform for the travel industry, and it has been reported that Apple has filed a patent for their version of such a travel application - iTravel. This application will book flights, hotels, and cars, as well as provide paperless airline check-in...

"As an airline these are the traditional information customers are looking for. A new trend will certainly start around the options new devices provide like location-based services, as well as integration of other services like social networks," Heucke had said. And this has been the case of late.

Earlier this year, Progress Software announced the launch of what is being described as the air travel industry's first real-time, location-based social networking solution for frequent flyers.Source:

Follow the journey of Inclusive Tourism at

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Special Effects Tuesday

This week we will be doing a series on Special Effects. These images were all created by my students at the community college where I teach. I continue to be charmed and inspired by the creativity of the people in my Emeritus classes!

Just for Fun!

Dale Carnegie said, "People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing!"

To wrap up this week of Special Effects we have two images that are eye catching and just plain fun as well as creative!

Below is Roger Stover's rendition of a raspy old buffalo grumbling to the world! We did a lesson plan on smoke in class, but it was coming out of a candle. Here is that same smoke resized, and flipped to snort out of our buffalo's nose!

Lionel Ruiz has done several balloon images for our blog. I think this is my favorite. Obviously it is just one balloon picture, repeated over and over, but with this rendition two of the balloons float out of the picture giving it three dimensionality. They look like they are dancing!

I am privileged to see images like these continuously in my work as a teacher. Seniors rock!!

We will have another Special Effects series again soon.

It is a happy talent to know how to play. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

A special thank you to Roger Stover and Lionel Ruis, two fine friends of our blog, for producing work that delights.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Rolling Rains Report

The Rolling Rains Report
Dr. Scott Rains

We are pleased that Scott Rains will be a periodic contributor to our Blog. To learn more about Dr. Rains work, visit

Travel for the elderly and people with disabilities can be very challenging. Dr. Rains looks for solutions to those challenges. In particular he searches for examples of how Universal Design creates new travel opportunities and products that are, to quote the definition of Universal Design, usable by the widest range of people operating in the widest range of situations.

Recently in Aging and Travel Category
Sarah Fuller and Wheel Away Travel

Head over to Wheel Away Disabled Travel and meet someone who really understands that inclusion in tourism is not just about people with disabilities:
The Wheel Away Disabled Travel - Hong Kong City Guide contains practical information about getting around Hong Kong, and is not only for people with disability, but also for seniors and families with children in strollers who struggle to find a straight forward way around.

This guide is a 'must' for all adventurous travellers, travel agents, health care professionals, recruitment agents, and human resources and diversity departments in multinational corporations.
About the author - Sarah Fuller

My father requires the use of a wheelchair following a stroke that occurred some 18 years ago. This resulted in paralysis and aphasia (the loss of language skills). I have travelled frequently and extensively with my father who is always accompanied by my mother, his primary caregiver, and also often by my sister. It takes the combination of all of us to make travel possible for my father.

I established Wheel Away Disabled Travel in Hong Kong to self-publish a travel guide about one of the most exciting cities in Asia. I'm truly passionate about travel because it brings me immense delight at being able to witness firsthand the diversity of our world. While born in Australia, I have been living in Hong Kong for 17 years and it has been from this vantage point that I have planned many successful voyages!

My parents are also passionate travellers and it is with this in mind that I began developing comprehensive itineraries so that they could visit me in Hong Kong. Over the years we have travelled throughout Asia. For each trip, I create a diverse, action-packed itinerary. I book all the flights and hotel accommodation, which takes considerable planning and research. This city guide will show you too how to plan travel that meets your needs.

Whether you're a nervous first-timer or an experienced, independent wheelchair traveller, it is possible to have a safe and enjoyable trip.

I acknowledge that the disability experience is different for different people. I have written this resource due to my father's experience, which I wanted to share with others, a knowledge gained over many years of organising travel to ensure access and ease. If I can inspire others to realise their dream to travel and see many of the amazing things I've seen, then this book has been a success!

I write from my heart and personal experience in a genuine effort to inform and encourage people who use a wheelchair to travel, and discover our world of opportunities.

Sarah Fuller
Founder and Author Wheel Away Disabled Travel
Contact us at:
Posted by Computer Savvy Seniors at 7:30 AM 0 comments

Special Effects Monday

This week we will be doing a series on Special Effects. These images were all created by my students at the community college where I teach. I continue to be charmed and inspired by the creativity of the people in my Emeritus classes!


Here is an interesting special effect one of my students came up with. All it takes is one good idea to turn the mundane into the unique.

Below, you see a night scene enhanced by unique streaks of color. This first one was painted in with green, white and red dots. While you might glance this image in a group of photos without the color, with the color you would surely stop and gaze!

And here you see the Lens Flare filter from Photoshop applied to give a spotlight effect to an urban scene.

Just a couple bright spots of color, creatively applied, and a brand new image appears!

Alfred North Whitehead said, "The vitality of thought is an adventure. Ideas won't keep. Something must be done about them."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Inspirational Sunday

Bill Witcher, co-founder of Computer School for Seniors will be sharing words of encouragement, inspiration and hope with you each Sunday.

Don't Think About It

Mimi and I have been trying to lose some seems like forever. We're always talking about it, devising new plans. Keeping lists. Joining clubs. Counting. Weighing. Planning.

Well this weekend, I decided that the real secret to losing weight is not to think about it so much. Forget about dieting and counting and talking about it. Admit that the secret to losing weight is changing your eating habits. It is all about a healthy life style change not staying on a diet. I am going to refocus my attention away from dieting to eating healthier.

This also ties into what I have been reading in Rick Warren's book, "The Purpose Driven Life". On Day 27 of my 40 Day journey, he talks about "Defeating Temptation". He explains that if we are having trouble dealing with a temptation, whatever that temptation may be - food, alcohol, lust, etc. - we need to refocus our attention on something else.

He says, "It may surprise you that nowhere in the Bible are we told to 'resist temptation'. We are told to 'resist the devil', but that is very different. Instead, we are told to refocus our attention because resisting a thought doesn't work. It only intensifies our focus on the wrong thing and strengthens its allure."

He goes on to say, "Every time you try to block a thought out of your mind, you drive it deeper into your memory. By resisting it, you actually reinforce it. This is especially true with temptation. You don't defeat temptation by fighting the feeling of it. The more you fight a feeling, the more it consumes and controls you. You strengthen it every time you think it.

Have you actually watched a food ad on television and suddenly felt you were hungry? Have you ever heard someone cough and immediately felt the need to clear your throat? Ever watched someone release a big yawn and felt the urge to yawn yourself? (You may be yawning right now as you read this.) That is the power of suggestion. We naturally move toward whatever we focus our attention on. The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you.

That is why repeating 'I must stop eating too much....or stop smoking....or stop lusting' is a self-defeating strategy. It keeps you focused on what you don't want. Most diets don't work because they keep you thinking about food all the them, guaranteeing that you will be hungry. In the same way a speaker who keeps repeating to herself, 'Don't be nervous!' sets herself up to be nervous. Instead she should focus on anything except her feelings - on God, on the importance of her speech or on the needs of those listening.

Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once your mind is on something else, the temptation loses it power. So when the temptation calls you on the phone, don't argue with it, just hang up!"

Friday, April 23, 2010

Special Effects Week

This week we will be doing a series on Special Effects. These images were all created by my students at the community college where I teach. I continue to be charmed and inspired by the creativity of the people in my Emeritus classes!

Grandchildren's Faces

Gene Perret said, "What a bargain grandchildren are! I give them my loose change, and they give me a million dollars' worth of pleasure!"

If you have been blessed with grandchildren you know just what he was talking about! Here is a picture taken of Betty Malone's lovely little Hannah. She added the Palette Knife and Poster Edges filters from Photoshop Elements and now the photograph looks like a painting!

Alan Frome said, "Being grandparents sufficiently removes us from the responsibilities so that we can be friends." That is evident in the next image. Betty and her grandaughter Lily cooked up the sweet concoction you see below. Lily did the posing and Betty did the picture taking and Photoshop special effects. They knew they were going to use these to fit into the letters of Lily's name.

Grandmas hold our tiny hands for just a little while, but our hearts forever. ~Author Unknown

A special thank you to Betty Malone for letting us use her charming images on our blog.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Aging In Place Wednesday

On Wednesdays, Laurie Orlov, tech industry veteran, writer, speaker and elder care advocate will be sharing her insightful research on how seniors can safely and successfully live independent lives in the home of their choice.


Tech Titans Encourage Seniors to Go Online

An organization intended to get more older Americans online launched this past month, backed by tech giants like Verizon, Facebook, Comcast, and Microsoft.

The Project to Get Older Adults onLine (GOAL) will work with aging groups in order to communicate the importance of getting more senior citizens on the Web.

"Only 35 percent of older adults (age 65 and older) have broadband at home – and the numbers drop considerably in even older age brackets," Debra Berlyn, executive director of Project GOAL, wrote in a blog entry posted on Facebook. "That's why I'm excited to announce on Facebook the launch of a new effort to promote broadband adoption by the older adult community."

Other corporate sponsors include AT&T, T-Mobile, Time Warner Cable, and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).

The group's goals are four-fold: provide a new platform to promote the adoption of broadband services for the older adult community; advance the benefits of broadband services for older adults and the aging community; connect national and local community organizations working on issues related to broadband together; and address the barriers to the adoption of broadband that are of particular concern to the aging community.

Berlyn acknowledged that there are barriers to getting seniors online. For starters, many just aren't interested in the Internet.

"While most of us have a hard time prying our fingers off our computer keyboards and mobile devices, recognizing the Internet's relevance to daily life is an important part of getting older adults to start adopting broadband," she wrote.

As a result, those seniors are also unlikely to have a computer. "While 'cutting and pasting' is second nature to most of us, my 87 year-old father thought such a task required scissors and Elmer's glue," Berlyn joked.

Others, meanwhile, are concerned about becoming victims of online scams.

"Offering tools and information regarding online safety, security and privacy for older adults is an important part of any effort to promote broadband adoption for the aging community," Berlyn said.

Blair Levin, who heads the Federal Communications Commission's broadband initiative, championed Project GOAL at a Tuesday launch event in Washington, D.C.

"There are limits to government levers to promote adoption and deployment in our most unserved communities," Levin said in a speech that was posted on the FCC blog. "We're focusing today on older Americans because the barriers to this community are steep."

"It is one of the great merits of the Internet that it embraces the distributed efforts of many people to solve problems and create knowledge. Our efforts to promote adoption must reflect the same sensibility," Levin continued. "We must crowdsource adoption."

In related news, Skype on Tuesday announced that it will team up with Score, a small business mentoring organization, in order to encourage businesses to adopt broadband. The initiative will focus on increasing digital literacy, web skills, e-commerce capabilities and online communications for small businesses. Skype and other consortium founders will donate free or discounted services and applications, training content, train-the-trainer assistance, and funding.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Special Effects Week

This week we will be doing a series on Special Effects. These images were all created by my students at the community college where I teach. I continue to be charmed and inspired by the creativity of the people in my Emeritus classes!

A Gem

Ralph Marston said, "Excellence is not a skill, it is an attitude." How true.

I spent an absolutely lovely afternoon today at a gathering that was so imbued with good taste and genuine effort that is was a delight for everyone involved. What a marvelous thing it is to be the best that you can be. To do something really well.

Our Special Effects image in today's post falls into the excellence category.

Roger Stover prepared this gem carefully, applying effort, skill and a great eye. This object is actually sitting on a towel! The lighting was applied using equipment and the starbright was applied using Photoshop.

Even the text was carefully crafted, using a regular font and then applying the Liquify Tool also in Photoshop.

Classy, unique, exceptional! Twice in one day my life was nurtured and enhanced by excellence.

I love Vince Lombardi quotations, such as, "The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor."

A very special thank you to Roger Slover for sharing his excellent image with us.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Inspirational Sunday

Bill Witcher, co-founder of Computer School for Seniors will be sharing words of encouragement, inspiration and hope with you each Sunday.

Can we talk?

I think at one time or another all of us have used those three words or have heard those three words. Depending upon how the words are shared and the circumstances, “talking” could be a good thing or an event to fear. “Oh no. What did I do now?” or “Oh, oh. What does he want now?”

Many times, when someone says in a serious tone with a concerned look on their face, “can we talk?”… a meaningful confrontation is just around the corner.

But that can be a good thing if you are making an attempt to restore hurt feelings or a broken relationship. Because life is all about learning how to love and how to do a better job of communicating with each other. God wants us to value relationships and make the effort to maintain them instead of discarding them whenever there is a rift, a hurt or a conflict. In fact, the Bible tells us that God has given us the ministry of restoring relationships.

I am currently reading Rick Warren’s fabulous book, “The Purpose Driven Life.” I am in Day 22 of my 40 day journey and I can honestly say I am learning a lot and being convicted a lot. When I read the lesson for Day 20 about “Restoring Broken Fellowship”, it hit me right between the eyes. I have some mending to do and I am taking the steps necessary to restore a broken relationship.

Rick Warren says, “If you want God’s blessing on your life and you want to be known as a child of God, you must learn to be a peacemaker. Jesus said, “God bless those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.”

“Peace making is not avoiding conflict. Running from a problem, pretending it doesn’t exist, or being afraid to talk about it is actually cowardice (Can we talk?). As believers, God has “called us to settle our relationships with each other.” Here are seven biblical steps to restoring fellowship:”

1. Talk to God before talking to the person.
2. Always take the initiative.
3. Sympathize with their feelings.
4. Confess your part of the conflict.
5. Attack the problem, not the person.
6. Cooperate as much as possible.
7. Emphasize reconciliation, not resolution.

God tells us relationships are always worth restoring.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Special Effects Projects Friday

Our next series will be on Special Effects. These images were all created by my students at the community college where I teach. I continue to be charmed and inspired by the creativity of the people in my Emeritus classes!

Filter Magic

Filters are easy to use if you understand Photoshop Elements, and the results are a delight! You never know what is going to occur when you start applying these versatile effects.

Below are three filter examples. The first one was done by Betty Malone. She understands how to apply the special features available to her and her images never fail to stand out.

Below she has applied the Cut Out Filter to a lovely image she took of tulips at the Dallas Arboretum. Then using a different set of filters, she turned her colored picture into a pencil sketch!

Valerie Jagiello is an expert with filters and presents them beautifully in her own special process called Pade Cell prints.

Can you see why it is so easy for me to brag about my student's creativity?

It is my belief that the wealth of talent that I see expressed in my classroom comes from many years of living. All of the colors, textures, people and places we have experienced combine into a well of creativity that can be tapped and shared to benefit ourselves as well as others.

"Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!" ~Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!

A special thank you to Betty Malone and Valarie Jagiello for their contributions to our blog.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lifelong Learning Thursday

Nancy Merz Nordstrom, author of Learning Later, Living Greater: The Secret of Making the Most of Your After 50 Years will share the benefits of Lifelong Learning on Thursdays.

The Secret for Making the Most of Your After-50 Years.

…a Health Club for Your Mind. Body and Spirit!

Continuing our discussion of examples of meaningful community service by lifelong learners, check out the following:

The Academy for Lifelong Learning (A.L.L.) at Carnegie Mellon University has been providing tutors for the last six years to a local elementary school. A.L.L. members work with students who need help with reading and math. The Academy also donated a new fax machine to the school.

The Center for Learning in Retirement at Rock Valley College in Rockford, IL offers its members the chance to learn how to teach reading to adults. Once the course is completed, members can then become volunteer tutors in their community.

Members of the Duke University Institute for Learning in Retirement in Durham, North Carolina are very active in several different volunteer projects. The program “adopted” a local elementary school in 1993 and since then interested members spend two hours/week there as tutors and classroom assistants. Other members support the Children’s Hospital/Children’s Miracle Network, which raises money for sick children in the area. Still other members volunteer for studies at the Center for Aging, while others work with international students and faculty at Duke.

The Renaissance Institute at the College of Notre Dame in Maryland is committed to taking part in service and intergenerational programs. In the Freshman Interviews program, members are interviewed by students from the Perspectives on Education and Culture course. Along with that program, a six-week Service Learning program has been started for members who are interested in finding out just what service learning is all about. They will then use this knowledge to identify community outreach initiatives.

Members of the Seniors’ Education Centre at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan have a chance to participate in the Outreach and Applied Research Projects that take place at the University. Among the projects currently underway are Rural Education Outreach, Intercultural Grandmothers and Older Adult Literacy projects.

Members of the Senior College at Lewiston-Auburn College in Maine are involved in a unique service program entitled Franco-American Architecture in Lewiston. They do cultural fieldwork and developed an exhibit around this theme. Course activity includes oral history, geography, genealogy, archaeology and archival research.

The Academy for Learning in Retirement at Saratoga Springs, New York has members who sit on boards of local organizations, work in soup kitchens and food pantries, volunteer at hospices and work in museums and churches.

Members of the Adult Learning Program at the University of Connecticut in Hartford volunteer at the Athenaeum, and do volunteer teaching at the local high schools.

The Academy for Senior Professionals at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida says its membership volunteers their time at 110 non-profit agencies in the area. A few of the wide-ranging activities include fundraising for the local orchestra, docent activities at museums, working at a spouse abuse center, sitting on boards, teaching courses at local schools, providing low income tax assistance and working in churches.

The membership of the Berkshire Institute for Lifetime Learning at Berkshire Community College in Massachusetts are deeply involved in volunteering at the many cultural activities in the area. They also volunteer to read for the bind and dyslexic, construct housing for the homeless, work at various libraries and volunteer at local hospitals and hospices.

A sampling of volunteer activities from the Lifelong Learning Institute at Caldwell College in New Jersey includes establishment of a computer science curriculum in grades K-8 at two local schools, serving on the Educational Advisory boards and on various committees at these schools.

These activities clearly demonstrate the link between lifelong learning and community service. The two just naturally go together.

Lifelong learners epitomize the axiom by Henry van Dyke; Use what talent you possess! The world would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.

For more information on Learning Later, Living Greater visit You can purchase Learning Later, Living Greater at

Till Next Time…

Aging In Place Wednesday

On Wednesdays, Laurie Orlov, tech industry veteran, writer, speaker and elder care advocate will be sharing her insightful research on how seniors can safely and successfully live independent lives in the home of their choice.


Boomers displace 20-somethings
as entrepreneurial
of technology companies

It’s not your father’s startup anymore—Oh, wait, it is!

The Business Review (Albany) - by Pam Allen

Ashook Sood started his first company at age 54. Seven years later, about the same time many of his former colleagues at Honeywell, Lockheed Martin and Tyco were preparing to retire, he founded his second startup.

Sood could retire comfortably today and spend more time with his family, but that plan isn’t in the cards.

“Things are falling into place. We’re just getting started,” said Sood, CEO of Magnolia Solar Inc., a company that develops nanostructured thin-film solar cells. The company in March moved to Albany from Woburn, Mass.
Sood, 62, is among the growing number of individuals who are forming early-stage businesses later in life.

Forget the twentysomethings who dominated the dot-com era in the late 1990s: Today, most company founders are between the ages of 55 and 64.

The 20-34 age bracket—once the hottest group for founding early-stage technology companies—has the lowest startup rate, according to a recent study by the Kauffman Foundation, a private organization that tracks entrepreneurship.

The number of people ages 55-64 who started businesses increased 36 percent in 2008. In all, more than 80 percent of all startups were by people over 40 years of age.

There are a number of reasons for the rise in middle-aged entrepreneurship.

First, recessions such as this one squeeze out higher-wage earners, who typically are the older, more experienced workers. Those individuals tend to have more savings and better access to funds than their younger counterparts, said Peter Pritchard, program director of venture programs for Albany’s Center for Economic Growth.

“Older individuals might have a better credit history, or they might have money put away,” Pritchard said.

Diminished retirement portfolios have also changed the game. For years, experts worried that baby boomers would tax the country’s health system and other resources once that large bubble of workers exited the work force. Instead, the American Association of Retired Persons has reported that 80 percent of baby boomers plan to work in retirement.

“The United States might be on the cusp of an entrepreneurship boom—not in spite of an aging population but because of it,” said Dane Stangler, the senior analyst who wrote the Kauffman study.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tuesday's Treasures

Our next series will be on Special Effects. These images were all created by my students at the community college where I teach. I continue to be charmed by the creativity of the people in my Emeritus classes!

A Different Take on Spring Blooms

Abraham Lincoln said, "All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind."

Claude Monet said, "I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers."

I love flowers and they lend themselves so well to Special Effects!

Our first image is a unique way to create a bouquet. Dora Slover created this image, and it is actually one photo with special effects added so it looks like several images.

Ahhh, tulips! Filters can create wonderful special effects. They can make photographs look like paintings, and that is exactly what Betty Malone did in the next photo with her lovely tulips.

I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!

I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.

- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Special thanks to Dora Slover and Betty Malone for their contributions to our blog.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Painters Palette

Our final group of images for this series was posted for the first time last October. Exceptional, striking and vibrant, they are the very essence of presenting images for The Painters Palette!

Art washes from the soul
the dust of everyday life

Pablo Picasso said that. I believe he is right. I am often privileged to see unique images in my classroom. Why? Because I teach Photoshop to seniors.

Robert Barretto has generously agreed to share with us the images you see below in this post.

I saw the first one on his computer in the classroom some time ago, and felt that little visceral click that happens when I find myself looking at something truly exceptional!

I asked him to tell us a little bit about his work. He says, "This is an image of a ballet dancer that is set in a logo design and then superimposed on an image of a canyon in Utah that is the background image."

He created the following images using 16 different layers after the image had been posterized. Each shape is on its own layer. He said, "These images of Penelope Cruz show how changing the color scheme of Photoshop layers can completely alter the mood of the image.

I use these to experiment with different color schemes before I paint the reference image.

It saves a lot of time and material to see if I like the colors before I start the painting."

"This is the photo of a daughter of one of the student artists I am in class with. She asked me to abstract this with many gradient patterns and she ended up painting it as shown with a few modifications of her preference."

This is the original image:

And this is the abstract:

That's what I call extraordinary, Folks!

Our special thanks to Robert Barretto for sharing his art with us!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nancy Merz Nordstrom, author of Learning Later, Living Greater: The Secret of Making the Most of Your After 50 Years will share the benefits of Lifelong Learning on Thursdays.

The Secret for Making the Most of Your After-50 Years.

Lifelong Learning in Your Later Years…
A Health Club for Your Mind, Body, and Spirit!

Here are some ways Lifelong Learners engage in meaningful community service.

The Institute for Continuing Learning (ICL) at Young Harris College in Georgia is an excellent example of engaging in both lifelong learning and community service. This excerpt is taken from an article in their spring newsletter, written by Lucy Scofield.

Almost all ICL members are great volunteers. They all have “causes” and they give freely of their time and enthusiasm. With most, it has been a way of life ever since we sold Girl Scout cookies and such when we were young.

ICL itself is non-profit and totally dependent upon the active support of its membership. We teach, organize, keep books, publish bulletins of course schedules and write this quarterly newsletter to the membership. This is necessary for the group’s survival.

However, there is another side to the lives of ICL members. We participate in so many different activities that it is impossible to name them all in this space. But here is a sampling of activities in which members have recently participated.
  • Working with the American Cancer Society
  • Activities in Habitat for Humanity
  • Involvement in the Friends of the Library
  • Volunteers at the Union County Nursing Home
  • Active in the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition
  • Volunteering at the Union County Chamber of Commerce
  • Teaching reading and math to detainees at the Colwell Detention Center
  • Delivering Meals on Wheels
  • Giving of time and talent to SAFE, the shelter for abused women and families
  • Hospice volunteers
  • Devoting time to the Mountain Shelter’s Humane Society of Union and Towns Counties


According to a Mayo Clinic Health Letter from 2001, studies have shown that older adults who volunteer live longer than their peers who do not volunteer. Now that’s a very compelling reason to get out and give a bit of your talent and experience for the greater good.

For more information on Learning Later, Living Greater visit You can purchase Learning Later, Living Greater at
Till Next Time…

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Aging In Place Wednesday

On Wednesdays, Laurie Orlov, tech industry veteran, writer, speaker and elder care advocate will be sharing her insightful research on how seniors can safely and successfully live independent lives in the home of their choice.


Enough: Newspapers are fueling terror
among the elderly and computers

Newspaper writers are bored but assigned to the age beat. How lucky. We have yet another entry in the annals of 'why seniors hate computers news' library. This one from the Boston Globe searches for a way to write condescendingly about seniors and their fear and loathing when it comes to using a computer. We're so lucky -- a Harvard professor has offered their 'insight' about the acceleration of the 'pace of change' and the Cambridge Health Alliance, offering insight on how it takes longer to learn new things. Gee, was this a study? Oops, no, just a few anecdotes, vastly enhanced by the entertaining comments from seniors who have been using computers for years. Maybe that's how they read the Globe -- which would be a revenue-free access method.

Not the first and not the last. And the NY Times did its part in October, offering up a headline to remember -- 'Helping Grandpa Get His Tech On' -- which did its part to drive the bar lower on what we should hope for with seniors and the Internet. And blah, blah, blah, lots of racket about fear of computers and wow, how seniors overcame it. You would think we were talking about the Loch Ness Monster. Let's call this what it is. Reporters FEAR new technology more than disease. And they fear aging more than they fear new technology. Put it together, and you have reporters that hate new technology, fear aging, and whose papers are catering to what they are sure is the demographic of the reader -- a computer-fearing baby boomer with a computer-phobic older family member. So readers will read articles that fuel that fire. But what about the facts?

Seniors know they need access to the world. Enjoy reading the comments from seniors in the Globe article (the best part). And that's why libraries, senior centers, the FloH Club and SeniorNet have credibility as trainers and guides to using computers that seniors need -- in fact, who isn't plagued by new tech? That's why Cisco just released TheValet to simplify wireless access in the home -- and not just for seniors.

So let's get a few facts straight. Thirty-eight percent of those age 65+ are online, according to Pew Research. 26% have access to broadband, maybe they need it, these days, maybe they don't. In the 70-75 age range, Pew says we're up to 45% online. In the 76+ age range, from 17% to 27% since 2005. Gee, might that be a trend? Of those that are online, according to Nielsen Wire, we're talking about e-mail, maps, checking the weather, paying bills, etc. Just what you, the Times reader, the Boston Globe writer, and everyone else is doing, I bet.

So let's rest on this fear-and-loathing-in-computerland. Let's write more about how cybererseniors get in touch with their pals

And this just in -- a new organization (GOAL - Get Older Adults Online) sponsored by Verizon, Microsoft, AT&T, AARP, Comcast, Facebook (!!!), AT&T, T-Mobile and the FCC, among others, launched on Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday's Treasures

On Tuesday's we are going to take a trip down memory lane with some "remember when" photos and stories submitted by our students. It could be photos from a high school prom; a nostalgic look at a 1950's TV program or a collage of photos that were just taken last week. If you have memories, old or new, you would be willing to share, send them to me at

From the Painters Palette

As promised, here are more of Gail Jones paintings. Her take on these aminals is fascinating.

I love this zebra, looking at the world with a wary eye, wearing his perfectly coordinated outfit.

And our frog, quietly waiting.

And a mother and child. Huge, strong, even intimidating, but strangely fragile.

"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals."
~ Immanual Kant

A special thank you to Gail Jones for sharing her lovely paintings with us.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Painter's Palette

Remember, I teach at a community college, and all of my students are between the age of 50 and 90. It is an exclusive group--you can't get into the class unless you are at least 50 years old. We have some wonderful paintings emerging from this group that I am delighted to be able to share on our blog.


Marcus Buckingham said, "We're all filled with naturally recurring patterns that make us unique – they're called talents. And our charge is to bloody well use them." No one agrees with that statement more than I do!

I remember clearly the first day I saw some of the paintings you see below as they flickered across a computer screen. Not for the first time, I felt that emotional click that tells me something exceptional is happening on a student's computer.

This is Gail Jones and these are a few of her paintings. We will feature more of them tomorrow.

We were talking about her work and she explained that she tries to paint the feelings she has when she sees a special image. Below you will see several examples of the results.

Charming and interesting portraits of childhood...

pensive little people...

unique and lovely.

"Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God." Leo Buscaglia

A special thank you to Gail Jones for sharing her marvelous paintings with us!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Inspirational Sunday

Bill Witcher, co-founder of Computer School for Seniors will be sharing words of encouragement, inspiration and hope with you each Sunday.

Happy Easter

Today is a day of joy. A day of hope. A day of love. God's love for us. Why do we know this? Because God tells us, shows us, demonstrates His love for us over and over. All day, every day.
Max Lucado has written so many great books that communicate so well. I love the way he tells about God's love. In his book, "3:16 - The Numbers of Hope" he explains how powerful this Bible verse is:

"A twenty-six-word parade of hope: beginning with God, ending with life, and urging us to do the same. Brief enough to write on a napkin or memorize in a moment, yet solid enough to weather two thousand years of storms and questions. If you know nothing of the Bible, start here. If you know everything about the Bible, return here. We all need the reminder. The heart of the human problem is the heart of the human. And God's treatment is prescribed in John 3:16:

" For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life - John 3:16

He loves. He gave. We believe. We live.

Listen to what Max Lucado is telling us. Listen to what God is telling us. God loves us. God cares about us. God will take care of us. Trust and obey.

In another one of Max Lucado's books (yes I am a fan of Max Lucado) "A Gentle Thunder" he talks about how much God loves us and explains it in a way every parent can relate to:

"If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If he had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, he'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and he chose your heart."
God loves us. Easter is a celebration of that love.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Saturday Star Review

The year 2009 brought many mixed blessings along with it. For our blog, that year featured exceptional images and stories. Since we have more and more new people befriending our blog, we have decided to do a review of our first year.

The Egg Hunter

Linda Baker has been in classes at our community college on and off for over 6 years. She often adds a keen sense of humor to her images which makes them charming as well as fun. Her Photoshop skills are excellent and her creativity a true gift.

I do believe this is one of my favorites. It incorporates a number of special effects to enhance an already charming picture. And I love the story that goes with it.

This is her grandson Mason taken on Easter last year.


Linda told me, “He showed up for the Easter egg hunt in his 'hunting cap' ready to hunt and refused to take it off! So that was his Easter bonnet - very chic, don't you think?”

“Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.”
- S.D. Gordon