Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

The Home of the Brave

Poetry says emotional things so well. I'll let it speak for me today:

The summer soldier and the
sunshine patriot will, in this crisis,
shrink from the service of his

But he that stands by it now
deserves the love and thanks of
man and woman.

~Thomas Paine

Home of the Brave
by Roger Robicheau

Through the feel of war they brave this day
How proud they stand, their unselfish way

Our soldiers bear what we cannot see
They assure our right to live life free

Each trained will face an unknown fate
Our support they need, don’t hesitate

Just imagine how this land would be
Without their courage - catastrophe

All the liberties we have grown to know
Would not exist, this life would go

Find a thankfulness within your mind
Speak gratitude for our bravest kind

Have the willingness to show you care
For fallen heroes, hold back no tear

Reach out to God with his guiding light
For our troops do pray, both day and night

America raise your flags to wave
For we truly are 'home of the brave'

God Bless Our Native Land
by Frances E. W. Harper

God bless our native land,
Land of the newly free,
Oh may she ever stand
For truth and liberty.

God bless our native land,
Where sleep our kindred dead,
Let peace at thy command
Above their graves be shed.

God help our native land,
Bring surcease to her strife,
And shower from thy hand
A more abundant life.
God bless our native land,
Her homes and children bless,
Oh may she ever stand
For truth and righteousness.

I'll end this post with one of my favorite images. This picture has always made our men and women in uniform going in harms way so very real to me:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Best of the Best!

On her Pinterest account Suzi Holler defines her interests as, "Librarian, trainer, social media coach, Web search diva, purveyor of amazing Xocai Healthy Chocolate." What she has put together is a great combination of useful information, fun images and interesting websites.

I have mentioned this Pinerest enthusiast before, but I'm going to mention her again. She has added some interesting and creative new information to her Pinterest boards.

For starters, if you are new to Pinerest, check out New to Pinterest? How-tos here. There are 10 helpful pins on this board that will give you insight into getting set up in the program.


She has wonderful boards on Book Stores, Libraries, Book Accessories, Books as Art, Book Baubles, Bangles and Accessories, etc.

Also there are many links to Social Media if you are interested in that. Examples are Social Media Analytics, Blogging Websites  SEO, and Content Curation and Interfaces just to name a few.

Or how about just for fun...What a Wonderful World, Architecture and Engineering, and Color Me...

Here is her will enjoy it! says, "The wildly successful social media start-up Pinterest has exploded into the social media stratosphere and as of April 2012, was ranked as the third largest social media site behind Facebook and Twitter." Ben Sibermann is the CEO and twenty-something founder of this global Internet phenomenon.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fabulous Faces

More of Betty Levy's marvelous paintings featured in today's offering for the The Painters Palette!

We have a series of paintings on different subjects by this artist that will be featured during the next few weeks. Keep in mind that this talent lay dormant for 20 years while she put her brushes down to raise a family!

Betty Levy's paintings include an eclectic mixture of subjects--perhaps a photograph she has taken while traveling, or a photo from a fellow student that catches her fancy or someone she actually knows. I've often watched this process transpire in the classroom...she will see an image she connects with and the words that come out of her mouth are, "I'd love to paint that!"

Our first painting comes from the picture you see below that was taken while she was traveling...

The peasant...the woman...the warrior.

When I saw these two images, it brought to mind a quote from one of Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels, Walking Shadow..."the history of a people who for millennia had seen everything, and been shocked by nothing--unimpressed, unexcited, unflinching, tired, permanent, and implacable."

The much loved teacher...

Betty very much appreciates the strength that education provides people of all ages. So paint her teacher she did. I sound like Yoda...that's OK I guess as long as I don't look like him!

And the Grandfather and Grandson...

An enduring subject, powerfully portrayed.

Before I retired, as I would walk around my classroom, I would often see what my 50 to 90 year old students were working on independently. And after nearly 10 years, four semesters a year, five to twelve classes a semester, I continued to be surprised and delighted by the talent that would spring off of their computer screens.

It makes me want to shout...don't stop because of your age...believe in how good you are, trust in your talent, educate yourselves, be excellent. It is all within your grasp. You just have to let it live!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Painter's Palette

Seniors are doing many exciting things and we enjoy featuring their impresssive accomplishments on our blog. We have several painters who have kindly allowed us to feature work here.


I first saw one of these fascinating paintings on a computer screen at the junior college where I used to teach classes to seniors and boomers. As I walked by Betty’s computer, I asked her where she had found the image I saw there and she told me she had painted it!

Betty Levy was born in Argentina and exhibited a very creative nature at an early age. She told me, "I like to paint for the joy of it." The image you see below was painted when she was in Greece. She went to a pottery workshop taught by the man you see in the image below.


As a young person living in the Miami Beach area of Florida she had two notable accomplishments -- wining first place in the Canada Art Show 1984 and winning first place in the same year at a show at the Surfside Recreation Department. While in Miami she was an understudy to a remarkable painter -- Juan Manuel Segovia.

With two sons to bring up, homemaking and motherhood created a lengthy lapse in her career as an artist. She decided to return to her art and started taking classes again at Brookhaven College and most recently at Richland College in Dallas, Texas where she had an exhibit in their Brazos Art Gallery.

I told her that I would love to share one of her images on our Computersavvyseniors blog, and she generously agreed. Betty has traveled extensively and she takes pictures wherever she goes. These pictures inspire her painting. The paintings you see below came from pictures she took in Prague.

Tour guide for Prague trip:


A base player on one of Prague's streets:


Prague fisherman:


Special thanks to Betty Levy for sharing her talent with all of us.

"Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What's a sun-dial in the shade?" ~Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lifelong Learning: Our Minds, Bodies & Spirits

Nancy Merz Nordstrom, author of Learning Later, Living Greater: The Secret of Making the Most of Your After 50 Years shares the benefits of Lifelong Learning in this post.


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!

So, what is it about lifelong learning keep that keeps our minds, bodies and spirits active and alert? Let’s take a look.

Our Minds

Research during the 1990’s, a decade of pioneering brain research, proved that a stimulated mind promotes a healthy brain. The studies were conducted at many well-known university research facilities, and showed that keeping brains stimulated helps retain mental alertness as people age.

The brain’s physical anatomy actually responds to enriching mental activities. Scientists have discovered that the brain, even an aging brain, can grow new connections and pathways when challenged and stimulated.

These studies point out the value of incorporating lifelong learning into our later lives. Albert Einstein, Claude Monet, Arturo Toscanini, Hume Cronyn and Pablo Casals, as well as many others, were all productive and vibrant well into old age. Every day that they used their skills and talents to produce great works, they were learning.

In the words of Dr. Paul Nussbaum, Director of the Aging Research and Education Center in Pittsburgh, PA, “…every time your heart beats, 25% of that blood goes right to the brain. But while exercise is critical, it may be education that is more important. In the 21st century, education and information may become for the brain what exercise is for the heart.” Just like the human heart, our brains need to be nurtured through the health club known as lifelong learning.

Our Bodies

Along with keeping our minds alert and stimulated as we age, everyone knows the importance of keeping our bodies active. Lifelong learning programs offer ways to incorporate activity into our daily lives. For instance, spirituality, meditation, stress reduction, yoga, exercise of all types, walking clubs, and outdoor programs are but a few of the many opportunities available.

If learning through educational travel sounds more appealing, then be prepared to actively explore new and different places, not just ride from place to place on a bus. Later-life learners who travel are out and about, taking part in spirited discussions, talking with the locals, and examining unique places up close and personal.

Lifelong learning through work within the community is yet another way of staying active, interacting with society, and keeping connected to life. Dedicated volunteers are not watching life pass them by through their living room windows. They are actively making a difference in their own lives and in the lives of others. So, learning later is not only a health club for our minds, but for our bodies, as well. Regardless of your level of involvement, later-life learning promotes necessary physical activity which is especially valuable as we age.

Our Spirits

Finally, learning in later life engages our spirits. It provides the needed social interaction that is often lacking as we age. Older adults join lifelong learning programs as much for the social aspects as for the learning. Outdoor programs, field trips, luncheons, parties, and travel far and near, give mature adults the opportunity to make new friends, engage in stimulating give-and-take discussions, and share in life’s ups and downs with like-minded people. Life gets a little overwhelming at times. How better to get through these challenges than by sharing them with other later-life learners?

Making learning part of our later years also fosters a sense of personal empowerment and increased self-esteem. It ensures continued growth and intellectual stimulation, leading to a more fulfilling, enjoyable and enriched lifestyle. So, learning later is a health club for our spirits as well.

Those who participate in more formal programs of later-life learning discover their intellectual, social, spiritual and physical horizons have expanded far beyond any previous expectations.

David, a later-life learner from New York, concurs. “We have a fantastic program for personal discovery,” he says. “We base everything on the belief that our capacity to learn and grow does not decrease as our years increase. In fact, through learning and the adventures we embark on, we actually embrace self-fulfillment.” His statement really says it all!

Continuing to learn after age 50 is vitally important. It helps develop our natural abilities, immerses us in the wonders of life, stimulates our natural curiosity about the world, increases our wisdom, enables us to use our experiences to make the world a better place, and helps us face the inevitable changes of society.

Without a doubt, learning later is truly a health club for our minds, bodies and spirits. Using this health club every day ensures that our lives will be richer, more fulfilled and far more satisfying.

“Ah, nothing is too late,
Till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate.
Cato learned Greek at eighty; Sophocles
Wrote his grand Oedipus, and Simonides
Bore off the prize of verse from his compeers
When each had numbered more than fourscore years.”

…Henry Wadsworth Longfellow