September 18, 2013
Alice has been having a tough week – battles between her wig and her new hearing aids (one of the hearing aids broke, in fact), the perils of dining with Nadine, the death of her sister-in-law back in North Dakota, my sweet Aunt Roberta, who died last week at ninety-seven, and soon the end of Web TV, which is how she sends and receives e-mail to friends and family. Loss, changes, and difficulties. Read the rest of this entry »
August 19, 2013
Hal Lasko, a one-time graphic artist, is ninety-eight. He started painting with Microsoft Paint a couple of years ago, despite the fact that he has macular degeneration and his central vision is gone. He’s so inspired by this new avenue into his artistic vision that he sometimes gets out of bed at night to work on a new piece.
He has real passion and is surrounded by love and affirmation. I think it’s the combination of these things that makes what he does possible. If you watch this inspiring video, let me know what you think.
And here is Hal Lasko’s web site, which I forgot to add to an earlier version of this post.
August 7, 2013
A friend reminded me recently of The Summer Book, by Tove Jansson, a Finnish writer.
Tove (pronounced Tovah) Jansson wrote many books for children, most of them about this gang (and friends), known as the Moomins:
But The Summer Book is for adults. I’ve had it for years on my bookshelf but had never read it until now. Read the rest of this entry »
July 6, 2013
Leslie died on Wednesday evening.
She didn’t want to die, of course, but she didn’t hold herself above death or see any reason she should be out of its reach. Bill, her husband, quoted Les to a group of us in a letter he wrote shortly after she died:
While she was in the hospital, she was visited by a chaplain and this is what Les had to say about her dying:
“I’ve had a good life. I’m ready. I trust in the process, the flow. Little fishes die, big trees die, who am I not to die too? Abraham Lincoln did it, my mother did it, my neighbor did it, I can do it too.”
I can imagine a small lift of one shoulder to dismiss her own importance as she said this. How like her to combine Abraham Lincoln, the old trees, her neighbor, her mother, the fish – the great and the so-called ordinary. She was extraordinary, a great soul, but also as ordinary and real a person as you’d ever want to know.
The day after Leslie died, I took my iPad over to Alice’s apartment and played her song, The River. Alice pressed the iPad against her good ear and listened intently. She could make out the melody and some, though not all, of the lyrics. When she put the iPad down, she turned to me and said, “How wonderful that you all have this.” And when I showed her the photograph of all of us around our friend in her hospital bed, Alice zeroed in on Leslie. Her finger touched just below Les’s face, and she said, “So brave. So brave.”
From Leslie’s song, Stars:
I’ve seen too many mornings to be doubtful of the light
I’ve loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night
- Leslie Robinson Sharp (1951-2013)
Thank you for your kind, sensitive, and touching comments and e-mail responses to the post, What to Take to a Dying Friend, and thank you for sharing it with so many people through re-blogging, through Facebook, and privately with people you love, as well as with support groups for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
NOTE: The copyright for all of Leslie’s music and lyrics belongs to her family. Please do not reproduce without permission. If you want to know how to get permission, feel free to contact me and I’ll direct you. Write to: andrea AT andreacarlisle DOT com.)
June 5, 2013
I love these photographs of Finns of a certain age wearing garments and headgear provided by Nature Herself.
May 28, 2013
One morning back in 1998, a young stray cat found her way to the side door of a high school in a Portland suburb. The elderly janitor happened to come out to deliver something to the dumpster, spotted the small cat patiently waiting for the door to open, and befriended her.
It was cold and rainy, so he took her inside and down to his office in the basement. After a few days of research, he concluded that no one was looking for a skinny cat with two cracked teeth, a soft, multi-colored coat, and a long, be-ringed tail with a velvety black tip.
May 15, 2013
May 14, 2013
My grandmother Martha crocheted. Did your grandmother knit or crochet? Do you?
What is it, I wonder, that makes the idea of sitting in a corner with a hook and some colorful yarn suddenly so attractive? Alice isn’t interested, but I am (off and on).
Take a look at these antique crochet hooks (from the collection of Nancy Nehring).
March 28, 2013
A momentary break from regular programming. I feel compelled to say this after watching Alice struggle to understand what a visitor was saying to her the other day, watching her lips move as she tried to decipher the words forming on the visitor’s moving lips, hurting with her over how much she’d missed out on in the conversation after this person left. Read the rest of this entry »
March 21, 2013
Blogger Deborah Barker, who lives across the Pond not far from my favorite British actress/comedienne Dawn French (an irrelevant but interesting fact, at least to me) has nominated me for an award. It’s called the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award,” and by accepting you get one of these badges to post on your site. I will try to live up to it. Many are the days I have not felt inspiring, let alone very inspiring.
February 6, 2013
Her name is Sneezy. She allows a Penn State freshman named Mary Krupa to make headgear for her.
Here she is in her propeller beanie.
She has her own Facebook page, and people write articles about her:
Also, thank goodness it’s February. That’s all I’ve got to say (for the moment).
November 14, 2012
Sometimes a freight train goes by in the middle of the night and shakes the houseboats in their moorings and wakes all of us up when the whistle blows. Read the rest of this entry »
November 3, 2012
Given the destruction and loss of power in New York, perhaps not many people in the city will be attending events this week, but in case you are there and venture out, consider seeing the film, “The Peasant and the Priest.” This documentary, which I co-wrote with the director, Esther Podemski, will be screened at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 7th, at the Anthology Film Archives Courthouse Theater as part of the New Filmmakers Documentary Series.
Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Avenue @ 2nd St
New York City
Summary: The Peasant and the Priest tells the story of two Italian men in their eighties whose ways of life have survived from medieval Italy to the present. Sergio, a sharecropper, uses ancient farming methods that have become overshadowed by corporate agriculture. Father Oreste fights the tide of sexual slavery, which grows each day as more and more women from Africa and Europe are forced into prostitution in Italy. Each man tries to make his contribution to a world that moves relentlessly and carelessly forward. Both represent ways of life that are rapidly fading as the modern world closes in.
Trailer available on the web site: The Peasant and the Priest
As we drove home from the dentist’s office the other day (see Goodbye to All That), Alice talked about how helpless she felt while watching news of the destruction on the east coast. Like many of us, she was concerned that any money she donated would not be well spent.
I shared with her some information I found online about how to donate wisely. If you plan to donate to hurricane relief, here are some helpful tips you can follow so that your money isn’t wasted.
My choice is the Red Cross for donations: www.redcross.org, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
A new Alice post will be coming soon.
October 2, 2012
Open the book of evening to the page
where the moon, always the moon, appears
between two clouds, moving so slowly that hours
will seem to have passed before you reach the next page
where the moon, now brighter, lowers a path
to lead you away from what you have known
into those places where what you had wished for happens,
its lone syllable like a sentence poised
at the edge of sense, waiting for you to say its name
once more as you lift your eyes from the page
and close the book, still feeling what it was like
to dwell in that light, that sudden paradise of sound.
I hope you’ve been stepping out for a few minutes each night to take in this majesty.
I’ve been busy preparing a writing class—back soon with more Alice stories.
September 6, 2012
This is quite wonderful. So positive. I may have posted it before when it was available as a poster, but this video is even better.
To learn more about Edouard Janssens and his 1 to 100 Years Project, go here. In the banner across the top of the page, you’ll find a video of men 1 to 100 (he’s #50).
Also, I highly recommend spending a few moments with his amazing project on irises (as in eyes). You’ll never look into an iris quite the same way again.
August 30, 2012
June 24, 2012
Last week a wonderful friend, Eleanor Haas, died suddenly of a stroke. She was eighty-eight. Eleanor was part of a writing group I led for over ten years in her living room. (She disapproved of the original space we’d been assigned at PNCA and thought we needed something more comfortable, plus tea and treats.) Read the rest of this entry »
May 21, 2012
In case you haven’t been inspired lately:
May 12, 2012
I rarely add anything to this blog that is not about Alice, but this video by Antoine Wilson is for the writers out there, as well as for those who may not be interested in writing anything whatsoever but are curious about what it takes to write a novel.
March 17, 2012
January 7, 2012
Filmmakers Mark and Angela Walley made a very short film about Isa Leshko, a photographer whose most recent work has focused on elderly animals.
October 10, 2011
I liked this and thought you might like it too. Read the rest of this entry »