Author Topic: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book  (Read 3351 times)

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #40 on: November 16, 2016, 12:26:03 PM »
The Book Club Online is the oldest  book club on the Internet, begun in 1996, open to everyone.  We offer cordial discussions of one book a month,  24/7 and  enjoy the company of readers from all over the world.  Everyone is welcome.

Starting Monday, November 14

November Book Club Online

Two Old Women
by Velma Wallis

   

Based on an Athabascan Indian legend passed along for many generations from mothers to daughters of the upper Yukon River Valley in Alaska, this is the suspenseful, shocking, ultimately inspirational tale of two old women abandoned by their tribe during a brutal winter famine.

We are talking about the whole book (it's a short one) so please read as much as you want as we discuss.


QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
How do the various people respond to the decision to leave the two old women?

How are the characters and dispositions of  Sa‟ and Ch‟idzigyaak described?

How do Sa‟ and Ch‟idzigyaak respond to what is happening to them

What do Sa‟ and Ch‟idzigyaak do to survive?

How do their attitudes change?

What are some details of the story that especially strike you?

What do you think are some of the turning points in the story?

What are some phrases from the story that are meaningful for you?


Discussion Leaders: marcie, Ann, PatH, Barb

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #41 on: November 16, 2016, 12:26:47 PM »
Kristen I so agree with you - there is so many things I have let slide - the first time I read the book gave me a new look at the possible - and yes, it does not help that most elder information shows incapacitated elders and only recently TV ads are appealing to the younger elders that look like models, so out of the realm of what real people look like there is little we can relate.

I do think without a partner it is harder but I have found a book - or I should say re-found because some 15 years ago I attended a few seminars that taught this way of thinking - the Edwards Deming approach brought to Japan after WWII with great success after it was ignored by businesses here in the States - therefore, the Japanese name, Kaizen - there are several books explaining the system... one of the best, faithful to the original is, 
One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer Ph.D.

You can read some of the book on Amazon when you click the corner of the graphic of the bookcover... because my idea of small step is nothing like the tiny, tiny, small steps Deming is talking about with proof that it works.

Example; a busy Mom, who the doctor wants her to exercise a half hour a day - an intern, who is familiar with Kaizen interrupts and asks her to once a day get up and walk in front of her TV - it was hard for her to remember the first week and that small amount was never going to get her in shape or get the amount of weight off that was needed. But after two weeks she was already showing more vitality and feeling more positive - she knew she needed to do more but followed the tasks suggested week by week adding a bit more - I had never thought in terms that tiny - of course over the years I forgot this system but I am back now, renewing myself using Kaizen.

My biggie has been staying up most of the night - started last year when my good friend died and then my body became attuned so that I was lucky if I got 5 hours sleep a night thinking I would take a nap to make up for the sleep loss. Nap or not I have lost so much vim and vigor - of course I put off walking - my body is genuinely tired and probably an evening walk would do wonders for an earlier bedtime. Reading how after a day of pulling their skin-sleds they were so exhausted and slept so hard the story itself if full of good health examples.

Here is a link to the Kaizen book on Amazon - http://tinyurl.com/zdbhosc

bellamarie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #42 on: November 16, 2016, 12:44:18 PM »
Kristen, I am right there with you feeling like I should and could do so much more.  I have six grandchildren I am constantly busy with going to their school functions and sports, along with still teaching 3rd grade CCD classes on Wed evening, Bible study on Tuesday morning, and volunteer at a Pro Life center a couple Fridays of the month since I retired.  Put that with going out with friends to dinner and a movie, shopping etc., I just plant my body the hours I can in my favorite chair with my computer, books and tv... oh and my dog Sammy.  I do try to take a walk with hubby and dog once a day around our block for exercise, but my workout room we designed a few years ago seems to have become dusty and catching all the things that need to be stored.  I think of these two ladies and how they encouraged each other to keep going when their bodies wanted to stop and I shake my head and wonder where is my motivation for opening that door and just doing a half hour on the treadmill, or bike, ab roller, or yoga mat?  I think like most of us we know if we HAD to do it to survive, like these two women, we would.  Or at least I hope I would. 

Barb, like you said, having a friend to motivate you makes all the difference.  I walked every day in the summer with my neighbor friend and when summer ended and she went back to school, I now rely on my hubby to motivate me.  It's easier to say no, not today to him.  Ughh...  I'm not so sure either of these women would have survived on their own.  Just the fact of having another human being, contact and someone to talk to had to make all the difference in their being able to survive.

I watch the reality show Survivor every Wed. evening after getting out of class.  It amazes me how some of the millennials have no motivation to get up and go get water or firewood, to help their teammates.  They lay around camp and let the elderly people prepare the fire, get the water, and go find food.  My hubby and I shake our heads and ask what will this generation ever do in a crisis situation?  The baby boomers and generations before are the last of the "I can do" generations, the ones after are the "I am entitled and others can do for me."  When I heard colleges were cancelling exams after the election because of college students being too distraught I thought I would flip a lid laughing.  Are you kidding me.... what have we as a society done to enable this behavior and attitude? 

These two women were such a super example to all those in the tribe who came back, and saw not only they were still alive, but they were quite comfy and had plenty of food to keep them going.   
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

PatH

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #43 on: November 16, 2016, 01:43:21 PM »
Kristin, you really started a reaction.  I felt the same thing too.  When we read The Boys in the Boat, pedln was inspired to start rowing, and she has kept up her fitness program.   You're lucky your knees will tolerate the exercise bike; mine won't.  Swimming is my thing, and that's lapsed at the moment.

Barb, thanks for the heading.

Kristen

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #44 on: November 16, 2016, 03:55:41 PM »
BarbStAubrey,
Thanks for the link.  I checked my local library website and have requested it from them.  The concept sounds interesting.  Sometimes though it seems like I am an all or nothing person when it comes to some changes like diet.  I don't know if I could eat one less cookie.  I seem to be able to eat zero cookies easier than I can stop at just one or two.  But perhaps this book will help me.  I did look at the beginning on Amazon and noticed that the author even explains about how our brains work.  So, thanks again for the suggestion.

Kristen

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #45 on: November 16, 2016, 04:01:10 PM »
I also wanted to mention a scene from a movie that keeps popping into my head since reading "Two Old Women."  Towards the end of "Fiddler on the Roof" all the Jews were forced to leave their village.  Most of them were walking but one old woman was propped up in a bed that had been placed in a cart so her family could take her with them.  I keep seeing that as I think of the book. 

marcie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #46 on: November 17, 2016, 02:13:49 AM »
Kristin and everyone, I too have had the same reaction as you to the changes in the two women. They made such drastic physical and emotional changes in their lives. I should be able to make changes and keep to them.  Sa' says early on after the people abandoned them: "We think that we are so old. Now, because we have spent so many years convincing the younger people that we are helpless, they believe that we are no longer of any use to this world..... We are going to prove them wrong! The People. And death!"

The two women were able to motivate themselves. The stakes were very high but they probably could have given up since the obstacles with which they were faced were so extreme. I agree with those of you who've said that having someone else with whom to share the experience was crucial.

Kristen

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #47 on: November 17, 2016, 09:43:33 AM »
Yes, I think there was a scene in the book where one of them thought that if the other had not been there with her, she would have just let herself go to sleep and freeze to death.
Besides two people motivating each other, a sense of caring for the other develops and you want them to succeed or in this case live so you hang in there for their sake too.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #48 on: November 17, 2016, 11:39:09 AM »
I thought that a lesson for our life was after they marveled at the power the land held and how we depend on the earth - a powerful reminder of what it is all about regardless how tired or down we feel. To just walk outside on a grassy spot and feel the earth beneath us reminds us we are as seasonal as the earth and to court winter before it is with us is a temptation when the season changes and we start loosing like leaves on the trees, friends, associations, maybe our home, our looks, our health, our energy, our job, the shops that close and the doctors who retire along with, service people we depended upon for years.

We have to re-assess are value to our family and our community - for some of us we are in the November of our life - leaves are about gone, in some areas the first snow arrived along with frost - these two women are not giving up in the November of their lives - they push themselves to re-locate where life is safe and easier - where hunting and fishing is less arduous. They not only gather and stack firewood to keep warm but make a barrier out of the firewood as a protection against the wolves they hear howling.

I'm looking at all this as a metaphor to my life - and yes, it would be easier to have a close friend however, to day we do have electronic communication - and we still have the telephone.

Interesting to me is it took 5 days of walking with an idea of where they were going - then the awful morning of not wanting to move they were so tired - reminds me of how often with great verve a new plan is hatched and started and somehow after time - maybe not 4 or 5 days but whenever - it all feels like too much and we do not reach inside ourselves to keep going regardless how our body or brain feels. 

A couple of years ago there was a 90 day initiative with this group I found and daily we shared our experiences - this was the most supportive group of people I had ever experience in my entire life - folks from Italy, Switzerland and Britain, several from back east, a few from the northwest, interesting no one from California but another gal from right here in Austin - there was a core group of about 25 - we all joined over the course of six weeks so folks completed their 90 days at various times and those of us who joined late were down to a handful the last days - I was great exercising everyday till that last week and a half - I struggled and gave up after 80 days because the support was no longer there but now I see we have to dig deep within ourselves and just decide we are not going to give up. Just putting my tennies on each morning helps.

Back to the story - whoa 6 more days of walking - Six - tumbling into the makeshift snow shelter they build each night, completely exhausted for 6 more days - still not sure exactly where the old camp is located - believing if they put one foot in front of the other, following the river or stream they will find it. That is a ton of faith acting on a memory with the sketchiest of directions.

And then their entire food source is in small creatures - not the moose or deer or even a beaver but rabbit, squirrel and birds. These are quick moving fleeting wildlife - not the slower lumbering animal that would require bigger and stronger traps and more strength than they have in the November of their lives to butcher a large animal; you cannot stop and it takes anything from 8 to 12 hours to butcher even a deer. Then there is storage and the risk of dangerous wild animals coming to the campsite - another lesson - nothing big - haha no wishing to win a sweepstakes or to take on a big project all at once - using this myth as a lesson it shows how small, rabbit size action and plans can bring all the resource needed and then some.     

JoanK

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #49 on: November 17, 2016, 03:15:31 PM »
Interesting that when the two old women are remembering skills from their younger days, they not only remember the skills that the young people have been doing for them, they remember skills that the young people have forgotten (preserving and storing food for the winter. this is how they are able to save not only themselves, but the whole tribe.

Makes me wonder what things I know that I could share with my grandchildren?

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #50 on: November 17, 2016, 04:37:49 PM »
ewww Joan that is a good one - thanks for picking up that bit - hmm gets you thinking doesn't it...

Kristen

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #51 on: November 18, 2016, 12:08:59 PM »
This is the first time I have participated in a book club and I wondered how the books are decided and the time frame for each book.  This information is probably somewhere on the SeniorLearn site but I don't know where to find it.  Also, do we know yet what the next book will be?  Thanks

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #52 on: November 18, 2016, 12:58:02 PM »
Kirsten - so glad you joined us - the month of December is a holiday month - sometimes we discuss a book related to the holidays and sometimes we have a less organized discussion sharing information about books, recipes, etc.

Ginny is our fearless leader and then there are a group of us who are discussion leaders - we have tried various ways including voting from a list of recommendations - we finally realized if the discussion leader does not like the book chosen by a vote than the discussion is lackluster and an imposition on the time of those who do so much to prepare a discussion - creating headings, getting the word out, getting the heading into proper 'Simple Machine' language, getting support from other discussion leaders and then making the announcement online as well as preparing a blurb for our newsletter of announcements that go out every month.

Whew with all that the Discussion Leader better look forward to discussing the book. We are fewer than we have been and as a Discussion Leader finds room on their calendar a book is scheduled after we decide if there is enough in the book to make a discussion - this book is one of the few we have recently tried that are short and read all at once - most of our book choices are many chapters and we only discuss the few chapters scheduled for the week - and you need to know, several of our Discussion Leaders are experiencing some life difficulties so we are currently slower in our planning. We do become a family on these pages and hope you will feel a part of our family.

Over a week ago one of our loved Discussion Leaders passed - Ella brought much energy and great book discussions over the years. All the book discussions are in the Archive - well nearly all - the first year or so is spotty - we had an erupt change from SeniorNet that no longer was interested in book discussions so that within weeks Ginny and another put Senior Learn together and Pat, who passed a couple of years ago, captured as many book discussions as possible and they are in the older Archive. We have been a group for 20 years this year.

This may be more than you want to know - to your question, our next will be December that will be prepared I believe by Ginny and it will not focus on one book - In January as I understand, nothing in the schedule yet, but there has been tossed around a book from the Victorian period - in the past we have loved discussing Dickens, Austin, Wilkie and others of the era. The book is announced, usually in the Library in time for everyone to get their copy - we check in our own Libraries to see if our library has a copy and that gives us a clue how easy or not the book would be to obtain. It was decided some time ago to forgo the latest publications since more of our readers now turn to the library.

Hope that answered your question Kristen and again, glad you found us. Also, Kristen if you do have a recommendation please let us know and if there is interest and a Discussion Leader who will take it on -   

PatH

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #53 on: November 18, 2016, 01:13:46 PM »
Good question, Kristin, and there isn't a single answer.  Books are decided on by several means.  Most often, one of the DLs (discussion leaders) thinks of a book she thinks would make a good discussion and agrees to lead it.  Sometimes a book is suggested in the Library or elsewhere, and a DL agrees to lead it.  Getting someone willing to lead it is vital; it's more work than you would think, and it's hard to lead a book you don't like, or don't completely understand.  So if there's something you would like to see discussed, suggest it; you will be taken seriously.  Getting enough people in the discussion is crucial too; if not enough sign up, it won't happen.  We used to gather suggestions and then vote, but that didn't work well.  The votes were too scattered to tell much.

Time frame depends on the book.  This one was projected to last two weeks, and I'm guessing we might drain it dry before then.  A longer or more complicated book would be divided into sections, discussed on a schedule.  Always, timing will be adjusted if people are saying more or less.

December always has some sort of light pot-pourri, holiday-related.  It's hard to have a serious discussion going, as so many people are traveling, having company, or involved in holiday activities.

I believe January is going to be a Victorian novel, Cranford, but I'm not sure it's settled yet.

PatH

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #54 on: November 18, 2016, 01:15:00 PM »
Barb, you posted while I was writing.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #55 on: November 18, 2016, 01:17:31 PM »
 :D  ;) Well Kristen you have been answered Hahaha

Pat I am always in awe how you can take what it takes me 6 full paragraphs to say and you can say it in 2 - really - what a skill.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #56 on: November 18, 2016, 01:20:02 PM »
To our book - something that struck me - how the two women shared their personal history with each other - I remember after my good friend Charlotte's husband died is when we got together far more frequently - we had been friends at that point for 35 years but that friendship included family and our shared interest and volunteer work in Girl Scouting - then I went to work in Real Estate and Charlotte became very active in politics and became a lobbyist for senior health care issues - we attended the same church and had various study groups where we met in each other's home but again, with spouses. So it was only when we were both alone and every Wednesday we had dinner together that we too started to share our background, stories from our childhood, explaining our parents and siblings - I wonder if that is a women thing or do men also share - I know few men who have that kind of an intimate friendship - most men I notice focus on an interest.

bellamarie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #57 on: November 18, 2016, 09:08:47 PM »
JoanK.,  Makes me wonder what things I know that I could share with my grandchildren?

The one piece of advice I give to my grandkids is to save your money, and eat protein!  They both will sustain you.

PatH.,  I love how you say much, with so little words.  I'm hoping for Cranford in January as well.

Barb, I have several friends like you speak of in your friend Charlotte, and we would stay up til wee hours of the night talking on the telephone about everything from our childhood, our relationships with our mother and siblings, dating, and different approaches to raising our own children.  Gosh, I can remember I would no sooner hang up from and all nighter, and have to get up just a couple hours later because the little ones were waking, and I had to get breakfast for my hubby, before he left for work.  Today we still get together, and recently we spent four hours in a restaurant and didn't want to leave.  Our husbands shared as much as we did, so the answer is resoundingly, YES, guys do talk and share with each other.  My hubby was a mail carrier for forty years in our church area, and he could come home and tell me what his patrons lives were all about.  The elderly especially loved sharing their stories with him.  One day I needed him for an emergency situation and I went to find him on his route,  lo and behold there was no sign of him anywhere.  Later I asked where he was, and he said an elderly veteran asked him in for coffee on his break and he almost could not get away to finish his route. 
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #58 on: November 18, 2016, 11:57:49 PM »
Interesting to hear Bellamarie that both you and your husband had friends that separately you shared your life stories. So it does happen -

The men I know, including my grown sons, who have long time friends get together for the season's football games or hunting or some play golf and the biggest conversation, even among the guy neighbors is the care and maintenance of lawns, the latest development in lawn mowers, wether to rake or leave the cuttings to help shade the grass roots and the biggie what to do when the deer or coyote population gets too big - I think the closest to childhood stories they swap is their adventures tracking the deer after school and when they first went hunting or a special game won by their school team and the older guys always have a story about where they found a cave or an old well, or when and where they found arrow heads or an ax head and the remains of campgrounds since covered with houses or roads or pasture land. 

Never have overheard what the golfers talk about - I get the impression there is not much talking till after the game when they are enjoying a glass of beer.

I wonder if part of it is like in the story, the woman had time in winter to keep each other company while in summer they were busy, busy, busy - I think that is what I remember most - there are so many things to do that there is seldom any sitting and chatting except during a gathering and that is not a time for intimate conversation - in fact that is the thing that I feel as such a loss, that at times it gets me down - I cannot keep up and do as I did all my life.

I sure understand the frustration of chasing the moose as Sa' did and not being able to keep up - A big loss for me was when I realized I could no longer work with buyers - driving all over hunting for the perfect house in the best school area and seeing the glow on their face when they finally found it. I usually knew before they did - just cannot keep up and so I only work with sellers who never have a glow - even with a good offer - they are leaving a neighborhood and home that helped shaped them into who they are - they often do not even know why they are so prickly.

marcie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #59 on: November 19, 2016, 01:21:07 AM »
What good stories and comments about sharing with the next generations. The two women seem to have lost their value to the People, mostly it seems to me, because they no longer thought they had the energy or will to keep contributing. Once they were on their own, they found that they had many skills and resources to sustain themselves, and eventually, their community. I wonder why it's so difficult for some of us to believe in ourselves and imagine what we could offer others.

JoanK

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #60 on: November 19, 2016, 05:32:14 PM »
MARCIE: that's an important point for me. In a wheelchair, I genuinely need help at times: but then my helper does many things for me I could do for myself and I come to believe that I can't do them. And of course, the less I do, the less I can do. Being naturally lazy, I have to constantly kick myself in the rear to get moving.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #61 on: November 19, 2016, 05:53:32 PM »
Joan I am really curious - what kind of childhood or young adult skills are you thinking about sharing with your grands - I am struggling since all my grands are boys but a few ideas may help me see some possibilities.

Ah you posted while I was writing - interesting how we all are seeing something about ourselves that we could do differently.

Reading this again after having read this over a year ago I am seeing so many metaphors that went over my head - the stacking of the firewood around their tent and food supply - all of sudden I realized they worked all summer to secure safety for themselves and their stored food. Today what represents our woodpile - for some, I think family represents part of their woodpile - and for others for one reason or another the woodpile is made up of other safety precautions.

The other thought that struck is how only after they were secure and the winter forced them indoors with less space did they start to remember their feelings about being left behind along with their feeling lonely - reminds me of the elders who end up as shut ins - they have nothing to keep them busy and that is when they grieve their situation and feel lonely - thank goodness for those family members with can visit regularly but then it is not always possible since some family members are still at the stage where they are piling up their firewood.

But the biggest aha for me today is that they did not worry if they were fulfilling their passion or working what was joyful or all the other aspects of job searching promoted in book after book written in recent years. They did what was required taking satisfaction in their accomplishments and skills - all this soul searching of being happy hmm  I wonder if it is overblown and happiness comes from feeling accomplished and doing well what you can - I guess that is part of it - when you depend on others to hire you and the jobs disappear or dramatically change then the spot on the river up the slough from the lake disappears so you can no longer use your skills and feel accomplished - I wonder if we think it through if where we choose to retire is actually a place where we can use our skills and be satisfied in our accomplishments - hmm.

I am thinking the traditional definition of retirement is keeping elders in bondage to the satisfaction of the many - it is easy for elders to satisfy those we depend upon by acting out the part - rather than rebelling I am thinking, as elders  take more care of their basics and build some security they would have a different viewpoint and satisfaction about themselves. Now the fun book I recently read has even greater meaning - The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg.

A group of I think 5 elders who live in a nursing home that is cutting costs left and right removing the small extras including paring down the menu so that, after seeing an documentary on Swedish Jails they realize the inmates have it better then they do - so the fun begins. They rob a museum of a painting and end up learning about some gangsters who are stealing from an armed vehicle that they usurp the robbery all with dimmer frames and other signs of age that put the authorities off as incapable - the do return the painting but use the money and 'out' the owner of the nursing home - not exactly gathering what nature provides but a modern 21st century story of elders choosing to build their wall of security in a way that allows the reader to laugh at their preposterous antics.  A similar message though - the little old lady gets them all to exercise everyday so that their dimmer frames are for show more than a necessity. 

JoanK

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #62 on: November 19, 2016, 06:04:59 PM »
BARB: since I wrote that, I've been thinking, and am also having trouble coming up with things. The frugal ways of us Depression and WWII babies would be useful, but I doubt they would listen, assuming the will always have plenty.

Apparently, knitting has become popular with high School kids: unfortunately, I don't knit.

Kristen

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #63 on: November 19, 2016, 07:12:41 PM »
I was surprised to read recently that many college students are unable to sew a button on their clothes if it falls off.  This is something that everyone should know how to do.

I was also amazed when I found out that cursive writing isn't being taught in our schools anymore.  Maybe some grandchildren would like to have help learning to write instead of print.

How about gardening?  A lot of kids like to plant seeds and watch them grow.  Even how to repot a plant properly might be something to show them.

Sometimes I feel that in developed countries like ours, it is the children who are better able to navigate the culture and "survive" because of their knowledge and ease with technology.  I feel totally lost when it comes to computers and cell phones.  (Yes, I am doing this on a computer, but I have very basic skills with it.)  In 3rd world cultures, where there is more emphasis on basic survival, the elders probably do have more skills to pass on to the next generation.

Kristen

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #64 on: November 19, 2016, 09:37:15 PM »
I just had a fried egg sandwich for dinner.  I bet there are kids who can't fry or scramble an egg.  Simple cooking skills might be something to teach. 

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #65 on: November 19, 2016, 10:08:36 PM »
Whoops you posted while I was writing Kristen - should add cooking simple foods to our list.

OK maybe we are thinking too much or too big - how do we teach - grands and our adult children live on the run - while we think of face to face with an attentive person wanting to learn and in reality that is not what most of us have unless we are caring for a grandchild or they are at that curious age where they naturally ask questions.

Also being realistic I wonder, if we are overlooking our everyday small skills like cooking an egg as shining a light on what skills we have in our kit - hmm I don't know but I am thinking we need some ideas - ways of sharing what we care about.

Oh we could do something big like pinning up paper poster ads and name ourselves the button lady and announce that once a month anyone who wants help sewing on some buttons and anyone who wants to learn how, you will be at this or that park bench or this or that coffee shop between 3:30 and 5: - but frankly how many of us would actually do it - and the biggie, how do we benefit because that is what I see in the story - they have lots of small animal fur that they make into mittens and hats that started as warm clothing for themselves and once they got into it they kept going.

I remember Bellamarie often sharing how she puts books together of photos and stories of her grands childhood as gifts for when they graduate or other occasions and so we could sort through our collection of photos and make collections - even including relatives photos telling who they are and what was happening when the photo was taken.

Cursive writing - there was a women in my neighborhood that was offering to teach it - beyond the ability we learned as school children, thinking we would want to address invitations and wedding mail etc with beautiful writing - no takers - not to say it would not go over in another area - worth a try - her plan was an 8 week series of lessons once a week and even had a stationary store willing to give her space which of course benefited the stationary store that carries pens and inks as well as cards and stationary.

Ok an Idea - start writing once a week to our grands - little things like how we changed the light bulb that went out just as we were about to.... or we noticed a bird out our window and what it did or, seeing the super moon and where we were when we saw it - or how the rain made a puddle near the curb and you watched the rain drops make circles on the puddle - simple things - but in cursive - and then how we started to grow a carrot from the top cut off a carrot we used to make a stew or how we decided to plant some of the grapefruit or apple seeds from purchased fruit and then if the seed takes off we could share what we notice and after it starts to grow send our grands some seeds and suggest they start a window garden - that kind of thing -

OK we need more ideas - things we can do that we could pass on in such a way that we are not asking for their attention but giving our attention to, first ourselves because we want to try it or get back to doing it again and then, we want to share not just the skill and the doing but the joy we are having doing it, just like these two elders smiled and enjoyed giving each other the hat or mitten that was the same as each was already making. 

In fact I may be doing my current project in a way that is asking for attention rather than giving attention - I thought to knit socks for Christmas - I think I would be better off knitting a pair for myself and feeling the satisfaction and fun of having some Christmas morning socks and then think about knitting some for a couple of my grands so that I can share the fun of making them as part of the knitting project.

Yes, Ideas - please - so far we have buttons, knitting and cursive writing -

hmm I am thinking when we were little we made paper lanterns in red and green construction paper for December decoration and we made long chains of paper rings that we hang around the windows in our bedroom - I looked and surprise there is such a thing as fireproof spray to spray on paper and wood and fabric - hmm I could see a string of fairy lights with a cut paper lantern placed over each light but I would not be comfortable unless the paper was fireproof - maybe if on my porch one of the children coming home from school would notice and I could offer to teach them how to make them. Maybe, maybe, maybe - nope, I would prefer something I can affect... rather than simply doing something for the fun of it because I did it back when I was 6,7 or 8. Need to put on my thinking cap...

Kristen you statement about 3rd world countries got me thinking - today if you are abandoned it is really what the homeless families are - difference, no nearby forest where they can be self sufficient and construct their own shelter - and if they do, they are soon found and kicked off the land - so what today is the safety we build to protect ourselves and our food - it is only money - and how do we procure food - is that dependent upon money also? 

I can see how some elders are essentially abandoned with their things - but not all their things because what we have and surround ourselves with would not fit on a sled - what would be the most difficult to leave behind if or when you moved to a new place to live out your life? I know it would be troubled having to leave my Le Creuset and cooper cookware and my good german knives and my silver, china and crystal and my grandmother's linens - there are other things but those would be the hardest for me to leave behind.

But to be totally abandoned by family - wow - I wonder how many are that alone where we live - they may be the very folks who would enjoy a weekly note or at least a card each month around a holiday. Ha maybe we should start buying this book, one a month as a gift for elders in various local nursing homes.

Ok back to ideas for sharing out skills with our grands...

marcie

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #66 on: November 19, 2016, 10:22:42 PM »
Those are some good ideas for concrete things to pass on to young people.

Barb, it's interesting that you're finding those metaphors after re-reading the story. There seem to be quite a few. There is so much going on as the women fight the cold and hunger for their survival that on first reading there are a lot of details to hold our attention. I'm noticing some contrasts between how the People live and the new life that the two women are developing for themselves. This was interesting: "The People rarely spent precious time in idle conversation. When they did speak, it was to communicate rather than to socialize. But these women made an exception during the long evenings. They talked. And a sense of mutual respect developed as each learned of the other's past hardships."

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #67 on: November 19, 2016, 11:03:45 PM »
Yes, I too loved that sentence - taking the time or is it having the time - whatever - it takes interest and time - possibly because when many of us get together there are more in number so that we do not feel safe sharing our past - although, Bellamarie had girlfriends who shared by the hour on the phone - I do now realize what a gift for those of us who have had the opportunity to intimately know another.

The other aspect of this that has me is that it is just all the little everyday things that are really an artform - regardless, ages ago in the area near the arctic or our mundane lives of today.  We miss the small acts of maintaining life thinking what we note should be important, something that significantly changes things. 

Frybabe

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #68 on: November 20, 2016, 06:20:55 AM »
I remember my Dad thought it most important to keep food on the table for us. He was not nearly as affected by the Great Depression as my ex-MIL, though. She had three large freezers she kept filled with food. She kept a vegetable garden and raised chickens (and one year ducks). She knew how to kill and clean the fowl and knew her wild herbs. She made birch beer and elderberry wine. She knew her herbs for food and medicine.

When we were little, and in the Girl Scouts, we learned to make a "grill" out of large cans and how to build a fire from scratch. We did some sowing and cooking among other things. What do the Girl Scouts learn these days?

When I married, I learned, on my own, how easy it is to deskin and debone a chicken. From reading along the way I could probably to a passable job of killing and defeathering one. I used to know where to cut a rabbit to deskin it easily. Never done it, so don't remember any more. It's amazing the things you read that stick with you. I used to make violet syrup (thanks Euell Gibbins) for pancakes and flavoring water, rose petals and violet candies, and rose syrup for various flavorings and scents. I canned pickles and jams. During canning season you used to be able to buy pectin and canning supplies in the grocery store. I don't much see them anymore. I had a large garden with fruits and veggies. Every Wednesday used to be bread baking day, and I am not talking about bread machines any premixed bread packages.

True story. Remember when there was a nationwide truckers strike (late 70's or early 80's I think)? One of my neighbors, who had moved here from NYC, disagreed with me that gardening and gardening skills were unnecessary. I asked her what she would do if the shelves (and they were close to it on some items) at the grocery became bare. She said she expected that help and supplies would come from the government (or some group or other) so she didn't need to learn any gardening or other skills. Well, that works on a regional scale to a a degree, but not nationwide.

Oh, one more thing youngsters don't seem have learned is counting change and balancing a checkbook. I wonder how fast they would learn if they were suddenly thrown into a barter system economy, or had to go back to hard cash to pay for something.

Oh, again. Communications. The FCC does not even require learning Morse Code anymore for a basic license. I used to know how to build a very basic AM radio and send Morse Code. When radio conditions are very bad, Morse Code can get through where voice will be lost in the static.

Basic survival skills, come the apocalypse or if you are abandoned by your tribe. Basic food gathering and gardening, basic carpentry, basic trading and bartering skills, hunting, cooking, first aid, sewing, ways to communicate if needed or wanted. I probably missed a bunch. Sorry about the long winded babble.

PatH

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #69 on: November 20, 2016, 09:12:04 AM »
I don't think my daughter will leave anything much for me to teach my grands.  She is teaching both the boy and girl basic cooking, sewing, use of tools, laundry, at least a basic knowledge of what they need to live on their own.

The summer JoanK and I were 14, our mother had us take charge of meals.  We decided menus, made the grocery list and called it in (yes, the store delivered) and did all the cooking--all of course with infinite consulting.  It served us well when we were on our own.

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #70 on: November 20, 2016, 12:03:45 PM »
Frybabe, wow, I would want to be with you in a post-disaster situation. You have a lot of knowledge and skills. You would have done well with the two women.  Pat and JoanK, that was wonderful that your mom had you prepare the meals. I didn't seem to be interested in learning those skills growing up. My mom was so great at everything in the home, I guess I didn't think I needed to do those things. I eventually had to learn on my own. My younger sister did learn from my mom and now has followed in her footsteps and even surpassed her.

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #71 on: November 20, 2016, 01:16:20 PM »
Wow Frybabe what great memories - I'm with you, all except the men did all the animal skinning - now a chicken - OK - and we did not do rabbits but lots of deer - used to be a right of passage when a son shot his first deer of the season. And yes, there are so many who have abandoned the skills we took for granted. Along the way I am thinking a sense of self-sufficiency was sacrificed - for what - to climb the ladder of success that made the owners and stockholders wealthy. 

Hmm got me thinking - when I was a young homemaker I lived for the monthly woman's magazines - then they had more than how to deal with a disruptive family member or photos of houses in and out or beautifully laid tables. There was always the carrot dangled to live in the next economic level of luxury wasn't there - yes, in recent years  included are examples of how various folks, who started their own business that by the time the business was worth writing about it had already achieved some success - basic skills were not the feature were they. I guess I bought the Kool-aid and can see it after reading your post Frybabe - thanks - you really have me thinking. If nothing else when I visit my daughter over the holidays and both grandsons are there I will get them to help me make a batch of applesauce and apple jelly with the skins.

Robby

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #72 on: November 20, 2016, 02:37:54 PM »
As was said earlier, I might be interested depending on the book.  I tend toward enjoying non-fiction books although that isn't necessary.  I would be particularly interested in history or science.

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #73 on: November 20, 2016, 04:51:39 PM »
Robby thanks for popping in - I see you are making the rounds of discussions to become reacquainted with all we have available - this month we are discussing a short book - as Joan said a Novella - called - Two Old Women

It is an Alaska Legend that has two women who are left behind in winter as the group/tribe is facing a long trek with starvation. The women find strength they forgot they had and not only survive but flourish using basic skills, push their bodies and discover strengths in each other.

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #74 on: November 20, 2016, 08:18:12 PM »
Frybabe, 
Quote
Oh, one more thing youngsters don't seem have learned is counting change and balancing a checkbook.

This reminded me of a computer program I used to teach 8th grade Jr. High students when I was the computer instructor at the K-8 Catholic school I taught back in the 80's and 90s.  I provided them the packet that I had to copy off for the program, I would couple the students together and they had to begin the program as a married couple.  From beginning to end they had to tackle every financial decision we deal with being married from if they will rent or buy a home, will both work, will they have two cars, homeowners insurance, children, and then they had to log every dollar they earned, spent, saved and they were confronted with unexpected situations like a small house fire, did they have the insurance to cover it, or like the car breaks down how do you pay for it with cash or credit card, they are shopping and do they have enough to purchase the more pricey clothes or do they buy the cheaper brand, one of them lose their job, if they have children what do they do for daycare, etc., etc.  It was so much fun watching these students have to really see what their parents actually go through on a daily basis.  This was a six weeks program and at the end they were graded on how successful they were in keeping their checkbook balanced, paid their bills, and had a realistic financial balance in their bank account.  Years later these students as adults would see me at church and come up to me and tell me how much that program helped them and how much fun it was doing it.  After I left the school to begin my in home daycare the new instructor never continued with the program. 
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #75 on: November 21, 2016, 04:52:35 AM »
Thought - I know we were all involved as younger folks - some of us had gardens - some of is hunted and fished - we swam - we had jobs - we canned and made jam - we cooked and baked for holidays - we built camp fires and fires in our fireplaces - we ran, walked long distances, cut down tree branches and taught our children as well as, sewed on their buttons and some of us may even have darned their socks. 

But now at this stage of our lives, the two women in our story are 75 and 80 - I will be 84 in January - not sure of everyone's age - but today, at an advanced age do any of you still garden, can produce, build fires, trim and stack tree branches and bushes, sew or knit, still go fishing?

In our current century few of us have large tracts of land, however, some of us still live in single family homes with yards front and back - some of us are in Condos or have an apartment in a large structure - are we as self-sufficient as we could be - from the posts this story is urging us to realize we could be so much more.

We know we can do more for ourselves - it is not about what others our age are doing, the story is helping us see it is what will bring some accomplishment and pride to ourselves and how can we share what we know and have experienced to others, preferably grandchildren.

I no longer garden as I did at one time - yes, there are the deer who eat nearly anything planted but the herbs have been neglected and have grown wild. I let my son blow the patio and cut the grass during his monthly visit - I could at least keep the front lawn tidy and get my herbs trimmed. But the biggie is to realize finally, as these two women were helping The People by sewing and tanning hides, the time has come to accept that I can no longer do for others the kind of work I loved, just as the two woman when they were left behind no longer would be helping The People with the sewing and tanning of large hides. Instead they used these valued skills on the small hides of small animals while staying warm in their shelter during the winter months.

Which suggests to me whatever skills we used in our jobs inside our homes and for pay can be readjusted for the small acts of everyday life.

We can also do some physical activity so that we are less the prisoner of our ageing bodies. I doubt any of us will be pulling sleds for 11 days over miles and miles, we do not have to be heroes or saints or question the worthiness of our actions - we just need to value our life and our contribution to maintaining our selves and our security - if we do not value ourselves and our own maintenance then how will others know of our value - we must teach them by our example - no one is going to do it for us. To be loved is not the same as being valued. 

Maybe that is the second chance we offer to our kids and grands - that we show we can not only survive but flourish giving them a role model to aspire as they age and become the elders.

Frybabe

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #76 on: November 21, 2016, 06:31:24 AM »
Wow, Bellamarie. What a program! Too bad your successor did not continue it. The need for knowing the fundamentals of personal economics and finance still holds true today, even with computer programs doing the heavy work. The final decision still lies with the individual(s). My dilemma right now, for instance, is whether to borrow at a low interest rate, or pay cash from my investment account to get some necessary repairs done on the house. I dislike borrowing except for the house and car, but if I have a higher overall rate of return on my stocks (via dividends) than I pay out in interest on a loan, it may be worth borrowing over paying cash. Youngsters aren't likely to have accumulated enough to make that kind of decision, but they will need to figure out how to manage their budget to include savings that, in future, give them more options when faced decisions such decisions.

Barb, like the old women, we accumulate a lifetime of knowledge that we can call upon in emergencies or distressed situations. I have no doubt that I can still cut/saw branches and small trees, garden, etc., but on a smaller scale. Fortunately, my arthritis has not hit my hands and, rarely, my knees. It is the bending over that mostly gets me into trouble since my arthritis is mostly in my spine. One of the women noted that if it weren't for the other, she doubted she would survive alone. It does make things easier to have others with you, for what is hard or impossible for you to do, someone may be able to do.

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #77 on: November 21, 2016, 10:18:41 AM »
That program is particularly valuable now, because young people find it particularly easy not to have any idea what they're spending.  Charge everything, pay the minimum balance on your credit card, maybe even don't bother to balance your checkbook, and it all probably seems unreal.  Recipe for disaster.

Those long treks the women took would probably kill me the first day, but if I were staying in one place, I might have some useful survival skills.  I once cut up a whole lamb.  The Department of Agriculture used to auction off the lambs from their experimental breeding programs, and Bob and I bought one once.  You got the gutted, skinned body, looking like the things you used to see hanging up behind meat counters.  So I got out a cookbook with diagrams of meat cuts, and cut along the dotted lines with a hacksaw and kitchen knife.  It worked fine.  Barb can no doubt do the same with a deer.

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #78 on: November 21, 2016, 02:36:18 PM »
Ha - no Pat the guys took care of the butchering of the deer - I did cut into stew size chunks some of the large pieces - but the deer was field dressed and then there was a great butcher in a small town near where they liked to hunt and we had most of it made into sausage having him add some pork. The larger pieces I did cut into one or maybe two small, one meal roasts but the meat is so dry it takes too much work where as cutting it into stew size pieces worked best.

Wow a lamb - What did you do with the skin? - A leg of lamb cook I bet was a treat knowing you had butchered it yourselves. One thing I wish now I learned from my grandmother was how to wring the neck of a chicken - she would, as in many stories, pick one up, soothe it then before you know it she was dunking it in hot water to start de-feathering. Now my other grandmother often served rabbit - she served it the German way - Hausenpheffer and as the side she fixed noodles and peas. I did it a few times till my youngest saw too many Disney movies and that was the end of eating rabbit.

The effort that Bellamarie shared in her post about teaching kids how to handle money is one of the closest things we have to 'how to be self sufficient today' - I guess what I see is this is such a motivational story and yet, most of the skills these two women practiced are not practical today so, how to use the situations and skillsets used in the story as a metaphor to what we can do today to be more self sufficient. I'm thinking we will each have our own ideas and maybe we will only do one thing - but the story sure is a change from this idea that once retired, especially after a certain point in our 70s the concept of retired means - go away - we do not see or need your contribution - just as Bellamarie experience when a new teacher took over and did not see the value therefore, did not continue the basic financial learning program.

When our contribution is not valued it becomes too easy not to value it ourselves or, to remember with sadness what we had to offer is no longer valued, with the next step for some is to feel as if they are no longer valuable. I saw my good friend fighting hard to stay involved in organizations that she had been the guiding force as new and younger members were shoving her out. She simply wanted to contribute and would easily have accepted a new lessor role. I've seen it happen in families.

These two women in the legend did become leaders in their own right - they gained respect and The People became dependent on them. We, may not recapture our earlier place of influence but after reading this I sure want to explore how to be relevant in order to make contributions, learn new ways to use my skills, to increase and use more of my body strength.

I must say where I was tossing the AARP magazine aside with a brief glance and annoyed that folks in their 60s were considered newsworthy as elders, remembering how vital most of my friends and work companions were when we were all in our 60s - retirement slow down was as far from our thoughts as if we were 40. We continued in that mindset into our 70s when somewhere in our 70s things started to happen - to me the new 65 is actually 75 - anyhow I did read the magazine this month and except for a few ads that annoyed me I was impressed with the content - I wonder if they ever did an article based on this book or even a book review?

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Re: Two Old Women ~ November Book Club Online. Starting Nov. 14 on entire book
« Reply #79 on: November 21, 2016, 04:14:32 PM »
Barb, the new 60s are considered the 40s, because us Baby Boomers are way far ahead with taking better care of our health.  I am 64 yrs old and still keeping up with my six grandkids school activities, sports, and since retired I am busier than ever with volunteering and keeping up with my hubby who is 69 yrs old.  He is like the energizer bunny who never stops!  He broke a couple ribs three years ago playing basketball with the 6th grade girls and their parents at the end of the year party.  When he went to the emergency room he had doctors that looked like high school age students.  The doctors all did tests on him to make sure everything was okay, and after they got the results back they told him to keep doing whatever he is doing because he is a healthy as they are.  I teased and said,  "He eats a lot of junk food."  The doctor replied,  "Leave him alone, whatever he is eating is not at all bad for his health, he is in perfect health, if anything he needs to eat more salt." 

Yes, I was sorry to see the programs I taught the students for sixteen years being done away with after I left.  Our Jr. High students were falling back in their knowledge of fractions, percentages, ratio and proportions, and when I approached our new principal about my concerns, her attitude was, they aren't that important.  I was shocked, because when I taught those programs to the students I made them aware of how important it would be to know these skills when shopping in the store, and having a certain amount of money to spend and seeing an item 30% off and knowing how to determine if you had enough money to purchase it.  Now I notice the stores have lists above the racks of sale items showing the original price, and the price discounted alongside it.  So, I guess we have become a society of non thinkers, we'll do it for you.

Okay PatH., and Barb, I have to tell you I gagged just a bit reading wringing a chicken's neck after soothing it, and butchering lambs.  I do remember my Mom teaching me how to cut up the store bought whole chicken, which I did for years after being married.  Now just like the lists that do the thinking for you, alas, you can buy the already cut up chicken in a package!  Survival skills are becoming obsolete.

These two women impressed me so much reading how they decided they would survive come hell or high waters.  My favorite part of the book was when all the tribe members returned and saw the stash of food they had collected, and how comfy they were in their tent. The tribe members were impressed and gave new respect to these two women.   Don't ever count the elderly out, they will prove you wrong.  I'll never forget when we were about to enter the year 2000 how the concern was Y2K would throw everything off and we may experience a failure in trains, computers, air flights, water plants, etc., and fear of everything coming to a standstill.  My hubby and I stocked up on canned foods, paper products, wipes, all the essentials if we could not get to a store and we even bought a back up generator for heat.  Our young married kids thought we were crazy.  They were not the least bit concerned.  We were not taking any chances.  Like the two women in this story, we had all the essentials to care for the younger ones if need be.  What's that motto....  better to be safe than sorry.  Or as my hubby would say as a former boy scout, "Be prepared!."
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden