Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and God Bless Us, Every One

We had a lovely candlelight service at our church last night, and as always I was reminded of the "reason for the season" with the text our pastor used:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” ISAIAH 9:6

And for a little Christmas fun, greetings from some of the friends of the blog:

Here are Christmas greetings from two of our favorite models, Betty Malone's charming grandchildren...

And last but never least, it is fitting that the redoubtable Harry Gareth Edward Spalding should have a word (with a bit of help from mum, Valerie Jagiello):

Charles Dickens said, “It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!”

Friday, December 23, 2011

Posts from Our Past

Computer Savvy Seniors took a nap in 2011! It is coming back now and has already been such fun to get in touch with fellow retirees and see what everyone is up to. I thought it would be interesting to usher 2011 out with a review of some past efforts that we have all enjoyed. Then look out 2012, here we come!

This is one of my very favorite true stories!!

Patrick and Mavis

Patrick Roden spent the first years of his life crawling around the floors of a nursing home where his grandmother was head nurse. He feels this experience imprinted him and influenced his life's work. Patrick’s nursing career has spanned over two decades and includes acute coronary care, trauma care, surgical intensive care, inner-city public health and ambulatory surgery care.

It was his "chance meeting" with 85 year old marathon participant, Mavis Lindgren in 1992 that set Patrick on his current academic and professional path.

The following is quoted from

"A critical care nurse, Patrick Roden, was a medical volunteer at the Portland Marathon of 1992 when he came to the aid of the celebrated 85-year-old marathoner, Mavis Lindgren. They became fast friends and he has escorted her for other marathons until her last at age 90. 'Mavis changed the way I viewed aging,' Patrick said, 'The medical model tends to focus on what goes wrong in aging--and neglects to inform us about what goes right. She inspired me to begin working on a Ph.D. in aging and human development.' Here is their story:

Night’s chill lingered in the air and the silence was broken by the sounds of songbirds. The sun was just beginning to rise on a crisp October morning in 1992. Suddenly the squeaking brakes of a rental truck and the clanging of folding chairs shattered the serenity. With military precision, the volunteers began to set up the first aid station at the 18-mile marker. I was one of those volunteers and this was the annual running of the Portland Marathon.

It took an hour to set up and go through my checklist. The first aid kit was in order and the communications were working. We were ready. Soon the elite runners would be flying through, followed by a seemingly endless sea of participants. The conditions were perfect: a bright clear indigo sky, golden fall leaves. All of us were anticipating an inspiring day.

The morning had been uneventful at our station. The usual blisters, Vaseline applied to chaffed skin, hydration to the dehydrated, and lots of moral support. One pregnant woman reached the 18-mile point and could go no further so we loaded her in the ambulance. They taxied her to the finish line and her anxiously awaiting husband.

It was now late afternoon and the sea of runners had dwindled to a trickle of determined souls. The frequent and now familiar static that preceded a message from the EMS broke the airwaves. An elderly woman was reported down near the 18-mile mark, in our territory. I waited for a person fitting the description to pass, and no one did. Strapping on my first aid kit, I set out to investigate.

Running upstream, I began to think, how elderly could they mean? Whoever it was, he or she had gone 18 miles, and this was a marathon after all…….50, maybe 60, I thought. As I rounded the bend I saw a young woman attending the injured runner who looked like Mother Theresa in running shorts! The young woman explained that another runner had cut in front of the injured woman and knocked her down as she stepped towards the curb. As I listened, I assessed the situation. The injuries included an obviously fractured wrist as well as a small bump on the head. 'Her name is Mavis,' the young woman said.

'Mavis, I would like to escort you to the first aid station,' I began… 'Young man, I’m going to finish this race,' she politely interrupted. After a few seconds of negotiating, I held up her injured arm and we briskly took off for the station (or so I thought).

Amazed, I blurted out 'How old are you?'

'I’m 85.' She pointed to her number pinned to the front of her T-shirt. 'Every year, they give me the number of my age. This year I’m number 85. '

'What do you mean each year?' I asked.

Mavis Lindgren had run all over the world. She had appeared many times on TV, radio, and magazines such as Runner’s World, Sports Illustrated, and The New York Times, and been mentioned in books such as Age Wave (Ken Dychtwald) and Grandma Wears Running Shoes (Patricia Horning Benton). She was no stranger to Portland, either. All along the course there were signs encouraging her and the cheers followed her every step! Two middle-aged women ran up and hugged her exclaiming that they wanted to be just like her when they grew up.

Mavis and I reached the finish line arm-in-arm, right into interviews for the 6’oclock news (I have the video). I was asked to escort her for the entire race the next year in 1993, and it became a tradition.

She retired from running at age 90 after the 1997 marathon. It was her 75th and final 26.2-mile outing. Phil Knight of Nike, had a custom pair of "Air Mavis" running shoes made especially for her final marathon. Her two daughters and grandchildren accompanied us and it was an emotional finale to an illustrious running career.

What makes her story all the more exceptional to me is that at age 62, Mavis was leading a sedentary life, spending most of time reading, writing and knitting. She had suffered four bouts of pneumonia in five years and, as a retired nurse, she knew the antibiotics weren’t the long-term solution. Something had to change. A doctor urged her to join an early bird walking group. At age 70, encouraged by her son, she ran her first marathon! Two years later, she established a record of 4:33.05, and for the next eight years, held world’s best time for women 70 and over. And at 84 she finished the Los Angeles marathon in 6 hours 45 minutes-the fastest woman in her age category. 'After I started running, I never had another cold,' she said.

Asked what his message was, Ghandi replied: 'My life is my message.' This could well be said about Mavis Lindgren."

Patrick went on to complete his Master of Arts degree in Education: Policy, Foundations and Administration. Two years later he completed a graduate certificate in gerontology and began delivering adult education programs to business and civic groups on issues of aging and human development.

Following his academic and professional goals, he completed a second Master of Arts degree and PhD in Human Development and Aging. Patrick has spoken to organizations such as; Hewlett-Packard, Nike, The State of Oregon Hospital Auxiliary Volunteers Association, The YMCA, Kaiser Permanente's Silver Sneakers groups, Oasis, and many others. He enjoys speaking to groups on the topic of "possibility aging" emphasizing the health aspects of aging, the aging brain, creativity and aging, and his passion aging in place. Patrick’s volunteer service has included; The YMCA Cardiac Therapy Program, Meals-on-Wheels, The Portland Marathon, The Race For The Cure, and Habitat for Humanity, as well as helping out seniors in his community.

He lives with his best friend/wife Julie in the green state of Oregon, is an everyday athlete, artist, and human potential advocate. He will be forever grateful to the “grandmother in running shoes” who remains an inspiration, and to all those creative older adults who continue to see anew.

You can learn more about Patrick by visiting his fascinating website at

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Posts from Our Past

Computer Savvy Seniors took a nap in 2011! It is coming back now and has already been such fun to get in touch with fellow retirees and see what everyone is up to. I thought it would be interesting to usher 2011 out with a review of some past efforts that we have all enjoyed. Then look out 2012, here we come!

I was just watching a television moment where a soldier surprised his family by returning home from duty for Christmas--reminded me of this post I wrote about my dad back in June of 2009.

Our Heart Felt Thanks!

William Shakespeare said, “I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks, and thanks.”

I was just watching the movie Pearl Harbor, and it brought to mind the enormous debt of gratitude we owe the men and women in our armed forces, both then and now. Elmer Davis said, “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”

My dad flew a B-17 in World War II. He would never talk much about his experience in the war, but I do have these pictures which speak for themselves.

A pilot's life would include...

The family you have to leave behind so you can fight to protect them. While my brother, Roger, and my sister, Libby, were not yet born, he fought for their future as well as mine.

Loaning your gear to your kids...I still have this hat and the dogtags, 68 years later!

New work clothes...

A new place of business...

A new workgroup...

And a place in the history of our country forever...

Lieutenant Jarrot McCord, Jr.
8th Air Force Division
United States Air Force

Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, "This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny."
And it is still so with today's generation. We pass on our gratitude for the sacrifice, strength and bravery of our armed forces in the Middle East and around the world. We offer our prayers for their families waiting at home for their return.

From the bottom of our hearts,
thank you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Posts from our Past

Computer Savvy Seniors took a nap in 2011! It is coming back now and has already been such fun to get in touch with fellow retirees and see what everyone is up to. I thought it would be interesting to usher 2011 out with a review of some past efforts that we have all enjoyed. Then look out 2012, here we come!

This one was posted in December of 2009 under Tuesday's Travels.

The Joy of Travel
Mark Twain said, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

He was so right! And in our blog, the joy of the travel experience can be shared!!!

Frank Fandrick has been taking classes at our community college for years. He is bright, talented and a real pleasure to have as part of our blogging family.

When he travels, he takes a log book with him to document daily activities. I think that is an excellent idea, and plan to do the same on my next trip. Below are some of the details of his travels accompanied by intriguing images.

First, from a Switzerland trip, this is the Lucerne Bridge:

"The Lucerne Bride in Lucerne, Switzerland, is a covered bridge that was built in 1333. It is called the Chapel Bridge and is the oldest wooden bridge in Europe.

The inside of the bridge contains a series of paintings from the 17th century, depicting events from Lucerne's history. Adjoining the bridge is a brick tower, the Wasserturn Tower, which has served as a prison, torture chamber, watch tower, and treasury.

And this is the Spiez Castle also in Switzerland:

This picture looks down at the Castle Church which is Early Romanesque in design and was built around 900.
The spire is "new" being built in 1628. The chapel is still used for weddings. Lake Thun is beyond the chapel, an alpine lake bordered by several mountains, including The Eiger.

Both this picture and the Lucerne Bridge were taken in 2005 while on a choir tour of Europe.

And last but certainly not least, an image from a trip to Londonderry, Vermont:

The mill I photographed is Bob's Mill, in Londonderry, Vermont. It used a stream that was farther up the hill to feed the mill and diverted the stream to the mill via a wooden slough. The water was used to turn a large sharpening stone. The town was incorporated in 1770 but I don't know the age of the mill. I just stumbed upon it while shopping. An internet search finds it being a popular picture, especially as a black and white photo or in the winter.

Special thanks to Frank Fandrick for kicking off Tuesday's Travels!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Posts from Our Past

Computer Savvy Seniors took a nap in 2011! It is coming back now and has already been such fun to get in touch with fellow retirees and see what everyone is up to. I thought it would be interesting to usher 2011 out with a review of some past efforts that we have all enjoyed. Then look out 2012, here we come!

This was posted in November of 2009 about a Photoshop Elements Special Effects class I had that year.

Flying High in the Sky!

Arthur Koelster said, "Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual." I believe that to be true, especially where learning computer software is concerned. For years I have watched my students start, many times with very little computer knowledge, learn the technical skill, and go on to learn and create exceptional things on their own.

And it helps to have a good sense of humor as well! A couple of years ago I taught a Special Effects class, and it was such a delight for me to watch one unique image after another appear on the screen.

Today's images feature moving about in the sky. The first one is by Karen Barnett. New to Photoshop that year, Karen made great strides and came up with some very cool images as you can see below. "Cloud Climber" was created using four layers...the background, the rapelling rope, the ladder and the climber.

The next three images were done by Bob Barretto whose creativity, Photoshop skills and artistic ability come together to create truly impressive work. We have all seen and heard a lot about balloons lately. Here we have a canine friend gazing wistfully at an enormous Alpo balloon.

In this image, a Stork balloon is delivering its bundle to a castle home.

This road sign was already created. Bob added the biker and pump to give it a very different look!

Our minds are filled with so many of life's experiences, and once we get to know how to use a computer we fill the screen with unique, often powerful images.

I love the quote by Franklin Roosevelt, who said, "Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort."