Saturday, October 21, 2017

I'M ONLY NINETY TWO AND HAVE SO MUCH MORE TO DO!



This will be redundant to some,but I have been asked so here it goes: I was born and raised in a small country called Iceland. I guess I was born with boundless curiosity. I always wondered what was on the other side of the ocean and at age twenty I found out...

I married an American Navy Man who brought me to America in 1945.
He proposed on our second date and I accepted. He didn't speak Icelandic and I spoke only a handful of words in English. But it worked out - we had ten children over seventy years wonderful years - until he passed away February 2015.

Growing up in Iceland, I watched the Seagulls and wondered what it was like to fly and soar like they did. At age 88 I found out when I went paragliding in mountains of Utah, what a thrill. I did it again at age 90 -
that time in Iceland!

I am very active and travel quite a bit and my Dr. asked me "what's the secret to your vitality?" I think it is just enjoyment of life in general. and like I mentioned - curiosity - and if there's one thing I've learned in life, I guess it's really turned into my motto "This is the day The Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it: So whatever there's to do, do that thing."

After raising our ten children I published my memoirs. So, I was 85, I didn't think that that was to old.

I found out that one could climb down into the cave written about in Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth." Guess what? When I was 90, I did it. I prepared by skipping rope and practicing on an indoor rock-climbing wall.

I'm now 92, and recently enjoyed a driving trip that took me through two Canadian Provinces, and fourteen States in the U.S., to the East coast and back home in Illinois in time to do laundry and pack again, then took off on another trip through another thirteen States - this time to the Pacific Northwest, and back

I am far to busy enjoying life to be limited by "acting my age" - whatever that means! Someone once asked "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?" Interesting question...
.
I look at things differently...I turn a "No" around to become "On" and always look to the positive and I don't let the tough times get to me.One of my favorite lines have always been "When you come to the end of your rope tie a knot in it and keep swinging." I've found that the more knots I have the better the grip I can get.
 Am I done? Nope.

I'm not old, just chronologically gifted. After all I'm only ninety two and have so much more to do!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The end or the start of an adventure?




We took a beautiful drive skirting Cape Cod Bay on one side and Nantucket Sound on the other. Narrowly missing folks who were determined to Jay-walk, kids in tow, ignoring the fact that just a few more steps and they could cross legally and safely.

Going past beautiful homes with ocean views for miles and miles. We drove all the way to the very end of land and then walked up to a slightly scenic area that was safety-guarded by a short fence. A warning to keep out was posted as the cliff/ground keeps breaking off by fierce ocean waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It - the ocean -reminded me in some ways of Iceland. Strong breakers in grey-blue waves crashed with white streaks across the bay...

The Lighthouse we went to see had been moved from the original site due to the erosion, it closed when we got there. Looked like many, many steps would have been required to reach the top :-)

Missing a few more dedicated Jays on winding, hilly road we arrived safely back at the Condo another fun day tomorrow.





Monday, August 7, 2017

Chronologically Gifted - Happy and Uplifted


I receive many magazines in the mail. Most are the promotional type from my healthcare provider, retirement organizations, and senior centers, but a few are health and fitness magazines I subscribe to monthly. I find many have great articles that are relevant and helpful on topics of food, exercise, and even travel.
Recently, I have become aware of many articles they contain on how to make our homes safe as we age. There are recommendations to put up safety bars everywhere; remove area rugs, no, do not remove a rug if the floor is slippery (i.e.; ceramic); do not store things where they are hard to reach and so on. We do everything possible to prevent having an accident of some kind in a home that is temporary. Temporary because on average Americans move once every five years.

Interestingly enough, precious little is written about how to prepare ahead of time the only permanent “house” we will ever have - our bodies. This is one house we live in as long as we are alive, and do not get to move out of.
I agree with safety measures. It is good to make our environment and homes safe, but don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. What do I mean by that? I mean don’t make your life so easy that you eliminate the need for any activity. Movement is good for you. Stretching is healthy and vital for your muscles. All these articles I see about moving everything within easy reach and eliminating the need for all reaching seems excessive. I agree that it’s not a good idea to store things so high that you need a stepstool to reach, but what’s wrong with reaching to the lower shelf rather than storing something on the counter? Leaning down is good too - not bending over and hurting your back, but if your legs and knees are good, bend and the knees and retrieve something from a lower shelf. Many of you may remember the old days in gym class we used to do knee bends. They are still good for you - they work your quads, glutes, hip abductors, hamstrings and calves.

Before considering anything, talk with your doctor to discuss what would be beneficial. My doctor told me to stop jumping rope on a hard surface but working on balance is good. Myself, I have found I can strengthen my leg muscles by standing on one foot for count of twenty, then I switch and do the same on the other foot, some days I might hold onto a chair if I need. I find the perfect time to do this is when I’m using the microwave. It’s anywhere from 30 seconds to three or four minutes when I am just waiting for the beep.  My kitchen is a great place for many little exercise moves, even a little happy dance.

To stretch for something stored somewhat high is good, to bend down and get to an item stored low is also good, remembering there’s a right way – bending the knees is good for the hamstring muscles – and the wrong way - bending from the waist and stressing your back is a bad move. I know the trend is to move everything for easy reach, but that is really defeating the purpose of mobility. You don’t have to accept that when you get old, you will automatically cease to be able to move. I say don’t let that ageism nonsense rule you. If you have an injury or physical limitation, be smart and know your limits, but don’t restrict yourself if there’s nothing wrong. I don’t!

Many times, I meet someone new and shake their hand. You’d be surprised how often I hear “Wow, you’ve got strong grip there.” I guess it’s not expected from a 92+ nonagenarian! But, that hand strength is because I did not want to lose my dexterity and based on what my doctor advised, I added to my routine. To strengthen my arms and hands I squeeze rubber balls, the size of tennis balls. I don’t do this every day, but I keep them on my nightstand and squeeze them now and then as I think of it.  Years ago, I learned to juggle so now, throwing just one ball in the air and catching is great exercise in dexterity. I am always happy if I can add the second juggle a little.
There is so much in life that I can still do - even at my chronologically-gifted age. I intend to keep doing as much as I can, and not give in to the notion that I can’t do something, or I’m not supposed to because I’m “too old”.

I’m reminded of a ditty I heard a least a half a century ago;

              Don’t do this, and don’t do that.
              Don’t you dare tease the cat.
              Don’t sit down and don’t you fall
              Don’t do anything at all.

It seems that the older I get, the more people tell me of all the things I can’t do. I’ve lived in this body a long time, and I already know the things I can’t do. To dwell on those is too negative. I’d rather focus on that I still can do.
Instead of this negative “Don’t” stuff, how about let’s focus on some positive “Do” in our lives. I would like to think it’s never too late to start and no, I am not too old.

As I wrote this article, I researched the ditty that came to mind, so that I could give proper credit to the author. I was surprised and delighted that it was part of a much longer poem and the words were a little different than I had remembered. I couldn’t resist sharing the entire thing:
 
Always Saying "Don't!"
by Edgar Albert Guest
 

Folks are queer as they can be,

Always sayin' " don't" to me;

Don't do this an' don't do that.

Don't annoy or tease the cat,

Don't throw stones, or climb a tree,

Don't play in the road. Oh, Gee!

Seems like when I want to play

"Don't" is all that they can say.


If I start to have some fun,

Someone hollers, " Don't you run! "

If I want to go an' play

Mother says: "Don't go away. "


Seems my life is filled clear through

With the things I mustn't do.

All the time I'm shouted at


"No, no, Sonny, don't do that!"

Don't shout so an' make a noise,

Don't play with those naughty boys,

Don't eat candy, don't eat pie,

Don't you laugh and don't you cry,

Don't stand up and don't you fall,

Don't do anything at all.

Seems to me both night an' day

"Don't" is all that they can say.


When I'm older in my ways

An' have little boys to raise,


Bet I'll let 'em race an' run

An' not always spoil their fun;

I'll not tell 'em all along

Everything they like is wrong;

An' you bet your life I won't

All the time be sayin' "don't. "

 

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Ieda Jónasdóttir Herman, 92, is an author and motivational speaker based out of Illinois. At the age of 88, she wrote and published her first book, a memoir of growing up in Iceland. She has since published two fiction works for children. Following a stroke in 2016, she had dedicated her time to education of stroke awareness and encouraging seniors to become more active in life.

Visit her site for photos, contact, and social media links:
www.vikingamma.com

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

TENACITY: Keeping a Firm Hold on Life


                                                       
I am sitting out on the deck enjoying the beautiful day. Birds are singing, butterflies fluttering, flowers blooming...Wait a minute..No flowers were planted there.

I walk up to this plant: A blooming (I mean literally blooming!) weed growing that no one planted. There it was just as sturdy an healthy as if it had been watered and tended to like a rose instead of pulled up, cut down, stomped on.


The tenacious weed is everywhere in the world; dry desert, up in the mountains, down in the valley, and even blooming in the black volcanic sands in Iceland the tenacious weed just keeps on holding.

I was curious, what made the weeds stronger than well tended flowers like the rose?  This time I did not Google it but went to my good old Complete Wordfinder.

Tenacity - Tenacious...Keeping a firm hold on principles, life.

Holding fast, persistent, resolute, maintaining, keep up, firm, strong, secure, tight, tough, dogged (love this), unfaltering, pertinacious (lovely word!) unswerving, determined (I've made up my mind!) diligent, resolute, staunch, stalwart, steadfast, unshaken, unshakable, obstinate (hmm), intransigent, stubborn (ouch), adamant, obdurate, refractory - you got to love reading a dictionary - immovable, inflexible, firm, and so much more!

Ah, if we could have a fraction of the tenacity of a humble weed to just hang in there, and keep blooming no matter where we happen to be planted.

Personally, when I've come to the end of my rope I pertinaciously (couldn't resist) tie another knot and keep on swinging. Enjoy life, it has an expiration date on it.



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Ieda Jónasdóttir Herman is an author and motivational speaker based out of Illinois. At the age of 88, she wrote and published her first book, a memoir of growing up in Iceland. She has since published two fiction works for children. Following a stroke in 2016, she had dedicated her time to education of stroke awareness and encouraging seniors to become more active in life.

www.vikingamma.com

Monday, July 31, 2017

Just Thinking...


Recently I enjoyed watching a video of a 102-year-old gentleman go skydiving, he did not walk well and had to have help. He could have said "I'm to old" and "I can't...I can't..." but he went and DID AND BROKE A RECORD!

I'm 92 so I have a few years to beat that :-) but if I am given those years...Watch out here I come!

It's so easy to stay in our comfort zone, just sitting. Not only not exercising the body but not stretching the mind, not bothering to learn anything new. Not sharpening nor increasing whatever skills we may have.

It has been said that "it is not the years in our lives that matter, but the life in our years"...How true that is.

We should find our passion; always keep it growing, keep it moving forward...

Keep stretching into life.

There is so much to see, so much to experience, so much to enjoy, it is a wonderful world we live in. This photo was taken when I was visiting my daughter in Arizona last year, a cool place I did my stretches one day.  There is an underground  river that flows for over 100 miles under the Arizona desert. Just outside Phoenix, it comes above ground and all these wonderful trees and grass grow up around it, making a beautiful green oasis in the middle of the desert. If you don't know where it is, you will drive right by. But .. stop..  take a look and you will be awed.

Be awed! Be amazed! And always keep growing and learning. This also got me thinking about what I'd read:  People only use 11% of their brain...Really? Hmm...



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Photo: Hassayampa River Preserve

Ieda Jónasdóttir Herman is an author and motivational speaker based out of Illinois. At the age of 88, she wrote and published her first book, a memoir of growing up in Iceland. She has since published two fiction works for children. Following a stroke in 2016, she had dedicated her time to education of stroke awareness and encouraging seniors to become more active in life.

www.vikingamma.com




Friday, July 21, 2017

The Fjord




I watched the white-capped waves play tag with the twirling patches of misty grey fog hovering over the formidable northern fjord. I stood on the edge of the lava cliff and felt the grounds tremble and heard the powerful ocean crashing and rumbling up the gorge. Swooshing, sucking sounds came from deep within the cave the ocean waves had carved eons past.  

Scrambling down a gravelly crevasse I dug in my heels, and my fingers gripped the gritty, sharp lava ledges. The racket of rolling stones alarmed the nesting puffins, warily they pointed towards me with their red, yellow and black striped huge beaks, then shook their short wings and waddled off on their fiery-red feet.

I touched a moss-lined seagull's nest, which promptly came alive with stretching and twitching, hungry mouths wide open. I jerked my hand back as the angry mama bird streaked down like a meteorite, yellow beak wide open, fiercely screeching. Carefully avoiding white streaks of yucky bird droppings, I inched my way to the bottom of the cliff and started walking on the narrow strip of volcanic sand. My sheepskin shoes made squishy, slushy sounds as small waves wet my feet. Gross smell arose when I kicked away slimy brown algae and tip-toed around carcass of birds, crabs, brittle fish bones and blue seashells.

I leaned on the half-buried relic of a rowboat and pulled at the coarse brown fishnet that hung over the rotted bulwark, disturbing five napping Harbors seals. They looked at me for a moment,t hey moaned, groaned, grumbled then closed their eyes. Tugging the yellow seaman's rain-hat tight over my hair I tried to avoid "calling" cards (bird droppings). as a gazillion seagulls swept overhead.

The wispy shreds of fog across the water were slowly dissipating in the sun. Brilliant colored rainbow curved over a tall waterfall cascading down the snow-capped craggy mountain sheltering the fjord.

I climbed to my favorite place, the top of a barnacle-crusted lava rock accessible on one side in the out-going tide. Waves caused spray to slosh on my face, and when I licked my lips I tasted brine

A fog-shrouded steamship made its way across the mouth of the fjord, and the warning blast of the ship's horn boomed between the basalt-black towering cliffs. Powerful spouts from Humpback whales dotted the sea, they slapped their long flippers roiling the waters.

Gray seals, also called Horse Head Seals shot up by my rock and grabbed small squirming fish from the beaks of diving gulls. The seals' backs  glistened and shone like well-polished whale bone as they leaped up and then dove back into the waves.

A virtual blizzard of sea gulls and puffins floated below the fluffy clouds in the blue sky above my head as I climbed up the bird-filled lava cliff and headed back home.                    


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Photo: Iceland

Ieda Jónasdóttir Herman is an author and motivational speaker based out of Illinois. At the age of 88, she wrote and published her first book, a memoir of growing up in Iceland. She has since published two fiction works for children. Following a stroke in 2016, she had dedicated her time to education of stroke awareness and encouraging seniors to become more active in life.

www.vikingamma.com


Monday, July 10, 2017

Ieda Jonasdottir Herman: The Fire Giant Strikes Again.

Ieda Jonasdottir Herman: The Fire Giant Strikes Again.:                                    January 23rd. 1973. Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland. Wave after wave crashed against the blue...