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Amy Shearn (558 posts)
Who knows why we all keep saying ridiculous things like "I'm too old for that," when this is proven to be nonsense again and again? For example, say you're past your 20s (or 30s) and looking to take up a new, non-old-ladyish hobby. "I always loved gymnastics as a kid," you might say to yourself, "but that's impossible now, so I guess I'll take up crocheting." If you're German athlete/grandma Joanna Quaas, however, you resume your former gymnastics habit, and by 86 you're winning a Guinness World Record for oldest gymnast alive. And the unofficial Life Lift blog award for awesomest gymnast alive. You absolutely must see the photos and videos of her performing -- in her granny-glasses and all (and, bonus, the video also features a female sumo wrestler):
Of her world record, Quaas told The Daily Mail,"I hope the record inspires others to realize it's never too late." She also explained that her exercise routine includes running up and down the stairs, yoga, and running. She is in much, much, much better shape than I have ever been or ever will be, but that's okay. She reminds us all that in a world more than ready to discourage a lady, or a senior citizen for that matter, we might as well encourage ourselves to try. Besides, I have a couple decades to attain my inner athletic greatness. And to find the perfect crushed-velvet leotard of my own.
San Francisco Chronicle TV Critic David Wiegand asked several Emmy nominee what they do to calm their pre-award-show jitters, and their answers ranged the gamut, from drinking "buckets"-worth of alcohol to drinking "small children's pools"-worth of alcohol. Mood-altering substance aside, some of the actors had some great advice to share.
-Mayim Bialik, of "Blossom," whoops I mean, "Big Bang Theory," said, "Music soothes the savage beast," recommending Adele and The Decemberists.
-"New Girl" Zooey Deschanel reminded us quite sensibly that actors are used to being nervous, but conceded that she "would just drink a glass of water and take a deep breath."
-And finally, her fellow "New Girl" actor Max Greenfield dispensed some advice we could all do to follow, every day: "A case of presence. Yes. Not 'presents.' Presence. Yes, we want to bring ourselves into the present moment and say, 'Hey! Look at this. Look what's happening. Let's be grateful for this moment and take it all in.' You know what I mean?"
Mr. Greenfield, we do.
More relaxation tips -- and drink ideas! -- from the stars at SFGate.com.
Meditation for Beginners
Three Unexpected Ways to Relax
It's no secret that I love a good cry. Why else would I keep that darn copy of the bittersweet kid-growing-up-mist-maker Knuffle Bunny Free around? I can't even get near the end of that book without welling up, which my kids find exceedingly bizarre. And don't get me started on Toy Story 3, the consumate mom-mascara-melter. What is it about those stories? Kids grow up, they give up their toys. Those of us who have to wade through Lego minefields every day should rejoice at the promise of a teddy-bear-free living room, right?
But those toys, they are childhood. Every parent watches with wonder as toddlers go from chewing on their lovies to making them dance around and tell stories; as your kid bestows a particular personality on a stuffed monkey you start to play along, and soon you're as attached as the kid. Maybe this is why this YouTube viral video Ah-Ah's Back is such a tear-jerker: Here we have the story of a family living through the lovey nightmare -- their kindergartener's beloved monkey Ah-Ah, who went with him everywhere, was lost on a vacation. THREE YEARS LATER, the mom found the monkey inexplicably for sale on eBay, bought it, and realized it really was Ah-Ah himself. Here, the boy's reaction:
to have that beloved monkey back, but nicest of all must be the lesson of the mysterious ways the universe can work, the feeling this kid will now have, his whole childhood, his whole life, that anything is possible.
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Good Samaritan Returns a Lost Purse
Finally I discovered the locus of these zany strollers: the no-kill animal shelter nearby, which uses volunteer dog walkers to exercise animals awaiting adoption. Of course! No wonder the people were so psyched. There was the whiff of infatuation about them; the pure satisfaction of doing a good thing. The volunteers, in the simplest way, were being a blessing to those dogs, and it was lending them a glow that transcended the orneriness of their assigned mutts.
Today, another one: a 20-something guy with a rowdy lab mix. The dog spotted something -- a squirrel, or a rabbit, or a Ghost of Milkbone Past -- and took off sprinting. The guy struggled to hold the dog back and I thought, "I hear that, brother, I know what you're going through." I've had dog walks like that, but I've also had life moments like that -- when it's all zooming away and you're trying desperately to hold it back. Then the guy gave the dog a big, goofy grin, and did what we should probably all do more more often: he took off running. Maybe it was my imagination, but it seemed like the man and the dog shared a knowing look, and then, barking and laughing, they raced down the street.
Insanely Nice Things You Can Say to Anybody
Making Joy a Goal
Okay, so maybe that's not always the case. And even being acclaimed as a genius (by your artistic community, by your mother, whoever) doesn't usually come with mundane perks like health insurance. Enter the brilliance that is upstate New York's O+ Festival.
Now in its third year, the O+ festival is, in the words of co-founder Alexandra Marvar, "a super-fun, weekend-long party, and one small community's band-aid solution to inaccessible healthcare for artists and musicians." Musicians and artists barter their services for free dental work, physical therapy, eye exams, and other medical services they would otherwise not have access to. It's a lovely way to connect different sectors of a small town, and it's also a creative, DIY solution to the country's current health care crisis. Even non-performing participants of the festival glean healthful benefits, with workshops on yoga and nutrition. It's not exactly drunken head-banging, but okay, it sounds like a pretty fun way to spend a weekend -- and actually feel better afterwards.
Visit the O+ Festival official site to learn more, and, just possibly, to start thinking creatively about sources of healthcare in your own life...
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Dr Oz. Starts a Record-Breaking Free Clinic
BuzzFeed, how did you manage to crystallize this beautiful, kleenex-box-obliterating love story in just the right way? For anyone doubting the power of love, or the strength of the human spirit, or just looking to add some heart-swelling into the day...here is the love story of Taylor Morris and his girlfriend Danielle Kelly in 22 pictures.
This story has been all over the Internet, but in case you've missed it: Taylor Morris is a 23-year-old Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal Tech from Iowa, who was injured in Afghanistan last May. He is now one of the few surviving quadruple amputees in the world. In the 5 months since his horrific accident, Morris has already learned to walk on prosthetic legs and use prosthetic arms and hands. Now, I don't think anyone would call this guy lucky, but he does have a really, super-amazingly-devoted girlfriend who has been at his side throughout his astounding, doctor-shocking recovery and readjustment to life. You know the lady who is carrying him on her back in some of those pictures? Yeah, that's her. (Just think about how young these people are. 23!) So anyway, you can learn more about this amazing duo (and donate money to help them out) here and here.
Then you can watch this video of them dancing together. Don't forget to scrape your heart up off the floor when you're done.Read More:
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Francine Prose has a thoughtful take on the subject in the New York Review of Books. She writes about the recent Marina Abramović show, The Artist is Present, at New York's Museum of Modern Art, in which the artist sat at a table and invited viewers to sit with her and look into her eyes. I know, I know: it sounds like a joke of contemporary art, a loopy concept designed to make you say, "Huh? That's art?" Prose thought so too when she saw the performance in person. But upon reflection, she writes, "Somehow it had escaped my notice that sitting across from Abramović in the museum atrium was, for some, a quasi-religious occasion. As the film carefully records, people wept, and responsive tears welled up in Abramović’s eyes." The moving aspect of the art, in this case, was not a show of technical skill, nor a representation of a beautiful sight. It was the moment of connection, the nexus of the personal feeling with the public event.
But if you've never been moved to tears by a work of visual art (I have to confess, I don't think I have),you are not alone: Prose is sympathetic to the difficulties of connecting to a painting in a museum room full of fellow tourists. Still, she reminds us that visual art, even if it seems strange, like Abramović's work, or impenetrably abstract, like the colorful paintings of Mark Rothko, is often about communicating emotion. In the end, Prose asks why so many viewers found Abramović's work so moving, and answers herself: "This is the moment in which we live. Alienated, unmoored, we seek our salvation, one by one, from the artist who brings us the comforting news: I see you. I weep when you weep. The mystery, and the miracle, is that you exist."
An Artist's Journey into Self-Discovery
Why We Love Songs That Make Us Cry
When Mack opened her suitcase 10 hours later, in Florida, there was Bob-bob, "a little shaken but still purring," according to The Orlando Sentinel. You have to love a happy ending like that. But you also have to love the video on the Sentinel's site, where Ethel and her daughter discuss Bob-bob's adventure, adding that he was never the smartest cat. Well, who needs common sense when you have such good luck? After all, Bob-bob made it through the airline's security checks, X-rays and all. Think about that the next time you get stopped by security for having a slightly-not-teensy-enough bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag.
A Fashion Show With a True Cat Walk
Why We Love our Cats (And Dogs)
The Airport Adventures of Jack the Cat
According to Zagat (and the Guinness Book of World Records) pizza enthusiast Brian Dwyer has the largest collection of pizza-themed art and ephemera in the world. "It’s the only food that makes everyone happy," Dwyer told Zagat," It makes people remember their childhood - it’s the great equalizer." The museum, which is located in a pizzeria (naturally), features displays of pizza-themed art, literature, music, and, of course, actual pizza. (Read the Zagat story to find out what kind of pizza these pie-experts serve...)
I admit to having a tattoo-worthy love of pizza myself, but I also have a weak spot for quirky little museums. The news of Pizza Brain got me thinking -- why leave it at pizza? Did you know there is also a Peanut Museum? That's right, and Happy Peanut Day to you. One guess as to where the Potato Museum is. And don't forget about the SPAM Museum. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? ROAD TRIP!
Women, Food, and God
But as anyone who's ever tried to do anything knows, sometimes it's really hard to have willpower. We all have 20 zillion things to keep track of (had to stop typing that sentence to make a note to buy dogfood), so it's not always easy to monitor our own "non-essentials" (just ignored a text from my mother!) -- which is why I downloaded Lift, a free app that helps you to build good habits.
Lift is an easy way to track what habits you want to build, but unlike other "to-do" apps, it connects you with other users. I have to admit, in the week I've had the app I have not been great about updating my lists all the time, but even just knowing I should be checking in has induced me to lace up those stinking running shoes a few more times than I would have otherwise. I think maybe what I like best about the app is the list of habits it suggests, along with the number of people working on each one. The list reads like a poem of hopefulness, a song of self-improvement: Good Posture (2500 participants) / Inbox Zero (2280 participants) / Pray (2251 participants). Write for 30 minutes (2203) / Stop and enjoy life (2063) / Call mom/dad (1993). People want to remember to floss regularly and drink more water and go to sleep on time, but they also want to meditate and work on secret projects (!). One aspirational habit on the list even made me stop short: Tell my wife I love her. (1688 participants).
Lift offers very real and practical help, yes, but it's also telling a story: In many ways, and in every day, we all want to be better.
(via The Next Web)
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