Cruising the web this morning I came across Stanford's Center for Longevity, which has some interesting articles and information, among them remarks by the center's founder psychology professor Laura Carstensen. Who remarks "As we learn about aging, we're finding that the malleability, the elasticity, the potential for people to age well is greater than ever previously imagined. . . We need to stop conflating disease with normal cognitive aging. Most people do not get Alzheimer's. Knowledge trajectories go up across ages. We're underestimating the aging population's depth of knowledge. Also worth noting: Emotional health actually increases with age. People are less stressed, less anxious, and less angry." Nice to know. And from where I sit within my own three score and ten, it's something that strikes me as more or less true. Drawing on the "depth of knowledge" that already exists among our members, is one of the differences between CLIR and all the other lifelong learning outfits in the Bay Area. Something to think about...
CLIR's current events forum, one of CLIR's on-going discussion groups recently discussed the appearance of Jack Lew, US Secretary of the Treasury, on CNNs Fareed Zakaria show. Secretary Lew talked about putting the image of a woman on the redesigned ten dollar bill--a first in the US. The idea is to mark the 100th anniversary of voting rights for women. Secretary Lew announced he was looking for recommendations of who to honor; the only criteria that she be female (of course) and dead.
Well, did CLIR's current affairs group take up the challenge? You betcha! 'Twas a very lively meeting to say the least. Everybody got to suggest a favorite or two, then we voted. And wound up with a tie between Susan B. Anthony and Eleanor Roosevelt. Then, we sent off an email to Secretary Lew, including information about CLIR--who we are, how we began, and that CLIR is the OLDEST lifelong learning group on the West Coast.
We believe this is the first time a CLIR group has done such a thing. If any member recalls another, please let our president know... We hope it won't be the last.
It's been two months since our regular blogger and former president of CLIR, Robbie Kiley, was knocked down by a car while out for her daily constitutional. However she is convalescing nicely, though too slowly, in an assisted living facility in Alameda, near where she otherwise lives. She'll be there into the fall, since her apartment is not accessible, and appreciates all the calls and cards from friends at CLIR. And, she has signed up for paratransit to bring her into CLIR as she looks forward to a full recovery, and more of her teasers on the adventures awaiting at CLIR.
As part of an effort to make CLIR more visible to the community and to exchange information about our organizations, let me introduce OWL. The Older Women's League was founded in 1980 after the White House Conference on Aging, but don't be confused, OWL works for the well-being of women at every phase of life. They tell us: "Monthly meetings enable us to be active in efforts to secure equal pay for women, strengthen Social Security and Medicare as well as improve health care, safe streets, end of life planning and options, brain health, and nutrition. All this, plus environmental protection, we do in cooperation with other organizations. We form and deepen friendships and have fun working for social justice as well as having social events. We speak truth to power through informed testimony, standing alongside other OWLs. It's a great way to keep brains and bodies active and engage in good work." So check 'em out, CLIR members, at www.owlsf.org. OWL will be introducing CLIR in an up-coming newsletter. (Pat Tibbs)
June's Art on the Go evening "stroll" was a unique experience for six intrepid CLIR members who discovered (yet once more) the difference between outsides--the mean streets bordering the Tenderloin--and insides--the striking art shows of five varied galleries of lower Polk. A fascinating adventure to have with friends, which of course is what CLIR is all about: getting out with a group of like minded folks, going as groups to places one might not go to alone, be it a gallery in an unfamiliar neighborhood or dinner at a new restaurant or a trip to the theater where it's such a pleasure to sit with friends and have someone with whom to share experiences. For the record, CLIR visited White Walls' exhibit of fascinating wood and shell pieces and the portraits of women in the Lady Killer show at ATAKSF, where they were so pleased to see us Tony Degrazia took our pictures. Then after stops at the Gauntlet Galler and SMAart Gallery, our tour ended with a visit to quirky Look Gallery, where two large motorcycles took center stage in a room full of art objects gathered from across the country (on motorcycle road trips?). Need to do this again! The Bay Area is so rich in art treasures and places to go that sometimes without CLIR it's easy to sit at home.
Meet Winston Churchill via the delightful Teaching Company DVD course that started May 19. The kick-off session reviewed his parents' lives and Winston's childhood. Not only was the whole period of Churchill's life one of world-wrenching events but also Winston himself of course played a significant role; the course lecturer makes this crystal clear. One nearly lives the times through the lecturer's captivating presentation as he presents the case for his belief that our world would be a very different world if Churchill hadn't been who he was, where he was, and when he was. Join us at 10:30am on the first and third Tuesdays of the month for a class you'll truly learn from and enjoy.
Jack London Square -Cutting-edge in so many ways is what we learned from the Oakland Walks tour guide, Lisa Hire, who led the CLIR May Walks. Lisa provided us with the fascinating development of international freight shipping and how the farsighted insight of the Port of Oakland Director, and the Longshoremen's Union meant its port rolled into the 21st century strong and growing. Along with that history Lisa gave us deep-background information on Jack London which both illuminated his writings and made us aware that Jack was an innovator in so many fields. At the delicious lunch many of us enjoyed at the Fat Lady following the tour we chatted about many things, including our intentions to visit/revisit London's wide-ranging publications.
I am thanking you for the honor, dear CLIR members, which you extended to me, specially the "Martin Gumble Room." I forgot to tell you this: Some people, when they retire, pretty soon they drop dead--because they have nothing to do. When people asked me whether I am ready for retirement, I said I was ready for retirement the minute I was born, just had to wait 62 years, my situation is different. I paint from slides, which I took all over the world--thousands of them. This is the reason I am not planning on dying--I have no time for this kind of nonsense! So I will be around for a while! --Martin Gumble
Charles Vella, PhD presented the CLIRSights April program to an overflowing, enthusiastic crowd. His fast-paced presentation "Aging, Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease" provided easily understood overall information relating to brain disease and tips for managing normal brain-aging. So many ideas, so many questions. Dr. Vella, retired Chief Psychologist/Behavioral Health Manager of the Neuropsychology Service at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Francisco has agreed to continue working with CLIR. He will be presenting a lecture in June, July, September and October. Details to follow in another blog. -- Robbie
Martin Gumble, long time member of CLIR and frequent presenter at Vicarious Traveler and contributor of pieces to CLIR's annual art show, was honored at the May 1st general meeting. Room 614, the classroom portion of our suite at Mechanics Institute will hereafter be known as "The Martin Gumble Room." Born in 1917 in Worms, Germany, Martin claims to have begun drawing at age 4--he drew cartoon of family members, cartoon he still has. Then came a fifty year hiatus in his art career. Then he took up painting, and we're glad he did! Martin and family escaped Germany just four weeks before the official start of World War Two, eventually making his way to the United States, where he made his career in the garment industry. Talking with other members of CLIR post this brief presentation at General Meeting, we agreed: one very special aspect of CLIR is its members--interesting individuals all of them. Thanks Martin for your long loyalty to the CLIR community. We are richer for your presence.
With a change in leadership comes democratization of CLIR's Blog, reflecting the thoughts and words of the entire leadership team.