It’s not about age

LogoI’d like to begin by thanking those of you who responded to last week’s Fashion Friday post either here or on Facebook. I posed the same question about the length of my hair on Jennifer Connolly’s A Well Styled Life Community Facebook page which has a much wider audience and almost 100 members responded! So far, #4 is the overwhelming favourite. In fact, more than half of all the responders chose that look.

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Though they didn’t all agree on which one made me look most youthful, I was surprised at how many women mentioned that as their reason for choosing one hair length over the others. Have we been so indoctrinated by our culture that we automatically equate youth with beauty without even realizing it? Have I?

I admit that I don’t want to look older than I really am. That’s why I don’t straighten my hair when it’s long. That really pulls me down and makes me look haggard while the curls do seem to give me a more youthful look.

I do embrace the age I am, however, wearing my 65 years bold t-shirt with pride. I have no desire to turn back the clock, though I do wish sometimes that I could slow it down! The years seem to be flying by at an ever increasing pace and I’d like to have more time to enjoy each one of them.

Neither do I have any great desire to erase the visible signs of aging. I decided many years ago not to colour my hair, but to age with grayce and I love this quotation from Queen Elizabeth II. Don’t retouch my wrinkles in the photograph, I would not want it to be thought that I had lived for all these years without having anything to show for it.

Attitude not age

 

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A voice has been silenced

Neuroendocrine cancer (NETS) has claimed yet another world renowned figure and again many of the press reports are failing to report it accurately. I was saddened to learn this morning of the death of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, at the age of 76.

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Though many of the news reports are calling the cause of death pancreatic cancer, it really wasn’t. That would be exactly like saying that I have colon cancer because my primary neuroendocrine tumour is located in my colon. According to a family statement, the “official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit.

A powerful voice has been silenced by a little known and insidious disease. We who suffer from the same disease need our voices to be heard. We need the medical profession and the population in general to be aware of NETS, to recognize the symptoms and to put more resources into the search for better treatments and ultimately for a cure. We do not need it to be misnamed and ignored.

 

Calgary Zoo

While camping with our daughter and her family at Bottrel, Alberta we were less than an hour away from the Calgary Zoo so we made a day trip into the city to spend a few hours there. I’ve loved visiting the zoo ever since my days as a University of Calgary student in the early 1970s. In those days it was a great place to take a relaxing break from my studies. Now it’s fun to share it with my grandchildren!

One of the city’s favourite family destinations, the Calgary Zoo is home to almost 1000 animals from 119 unique species. One of only five zoos in Canada accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, its mission is to become Canada’s leader in wildlife conservation. I love the fact that the zoo is committed to high quality care, housing only those animals that they can best care for and being intentional about providing habitats that are well suited to each species.  The Calgary Zoo is also an urban forest boasting more than 7000 trees and numerous smaller shrubs and flower beds that add to its beauty.

The zoo is very spacious requiring lots of walking, but we bought Melaina and the kids annual passes for Christmas this year, so they’re able to visit often and we didn’t feel compelled to try to see everything on our recent visit. Before we left the campground, I asked the children which animals they most wanted to see. The penguins, said one. The tiger, said another, but for me this visit was all about the giant pandas!

The panda has been my favourite animal for as long as I can remember, probably going back as far as the big black and white stuffed teddy bear that I loved as a very wee child. In 2012, I was delighted to hear that a pair of giant pandas were coming to Canada on a ten year loan from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Szechuan, China! Da Mao and Er Shun would spend their first five years in the Toronto Zoo and then come to Calgary for the second half of their stay. Simon wasn’t even born yet, but I determined then that I would be taking my Calgary grandchildren to see them!

Five-year-old female, Er Shun, and four-year-old male, Da Mao, arrived in Toronto on March 25, 2013. Canadians across the land were delighted when Er Shun gave birth to two cubs, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue, on Canadian soil in late 2015! All four were moved to Calgary earlier this year.

When we arrived at the zoo, we stopped first at the Penguin Plunge. Agile in the water and entertaining on land, all four varieties are delightful to watch. Here, the little fellows basking in the sun are Humboldt penguins and most of the larger ones shown inside their temperature controlled habitat are King penguins. If you look very closely, there’s also a Rockhopper penguin in the centre of the second photo. He can be distinguished by the yellow crests on both sides of his head.

On our way to the Panda Passage, we stopped to watch the flamingoes. I love their beautiful colouring. Though these two look rather elegant, a group of their mates were having quite a squawking match.

Then came the moment I’d waited over five years for! After my hand to paw experience with a giant panda at the Dalian Forest Zoo when we were living in China, I was afraid I might be disappointed, but that was not to be the case and we didn’t even have to wait in line! Da Mao, in his separate enclosure, was rolling around playfully.

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Next door, Er Shun was resting right in front of the plexiglass window. If it hadn’t been there, we could have reached out and touched her.

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Though his sister was hiding and we didn’t see her, Jia Panpan entertained us by playfully tearing up a large sheet of cardboard.

Outside the panda enclosure Drew, Simon, and I had our photo taken with this giant pretender!

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After lunch at the on-site Kitamba Café we continued on to see many more of the animals. The baby Bactrian camel, with his two humps just beginning to form, was quite hilarious looking.

IMG_6080 The Amur tiger didn’t disappoint, coming right up to the fence in front of us.

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Though I didn’t take pictures of every animal we saw, I had to photograph one of the zebras, symbol of my neuroendocrine cancer.

IMG_6088IMG_6084Perhaps the most fun of the entire day was watching and listening to four year old Simon as he watched the antics of the comical little meerkats following their keeper around their enclosure and getting underfoot as he prepared to bring in their food! Simon laughed and laughed! Unfortunately, neither he nor most of the meerkats would stay still long enough for a photo, but this one little character decided to chill while his buddies scurried around. Perhaps he was posing for me!

 

Digital detox

After two weeks away from my computer and with very limited cell phone access, I’m home and back at the keyboard again. I was able to write my last two Fashion Friday posts in advance and schedule them to publish automatically while I enjoyed a much needed digital detox.

We spent the first week camping with our daughter and her family on the banks of the same lovely little creek at Botrell, Alberta that we visited with them last summer.

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Every now and then, we retreated under the awning or into the trailer when the sky began to rumble with thunder and it started to rain. One afternoon, about ten minutes of golf ball sized hail left us with damage to the awning and a hole in one of the skylights. Those will need to be replaced, but we patched them up with some awning repair tape and carried on.

Another day, we did the same hike at nearby Big Hill Springs Provincial Park that we did last year. A beautiful spot, it also has historical significance as the location of Alberta’s first commercial creamery as well as a failed attempt at a fish farm.

On the trail, our old knees had a hard time keeping up with the grandkids who ran up and down the hills like little deer!

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When they stopped long enough, it was a beautiful spot to get some great photos of them.

Time with these little people is always such a blessing!

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We spent our second week away from home at Camp Harmattan, the Church of the Nazarene campsite located in the valley of the Little Red Deer River between Olds and Sundre. There we enjoyed rich times of worship and prayer and sat under the teaching of two extremely gifted speakers. We also spent most of our afternoons relaxing and reading and evenings visiting around a campfire. What a blessed time of rest and rejuvenation!

Now we’re back in the real world, but feeling very refreshed by our time away.

 

A hairy situation

LogoIt’s been quite awhile since I mentioned my hair here on the blog. As you may have noticed in several of my most recent Fashion Friday posts, I’ve been wearing it up or in a ponytail a lot over the summer. I don’t want it in my face when I’m golfing or kayaking and it’s much more comfortable if it’s off my neck on hot days. In spite of the fact that my twice a year cancer treatments cause significant thinning, I still have a very heavy mane!

Though I won’t do anything until golfing season is over, I’m contemplating going for a shorter cut in the fall. The question is how short? That’s where I’d like your input. The following five photos show the progression from short to long that’s taken place over the past two years. In the comment section below, please tell me which length you prefer.

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#1 was taken in the fall of 2016 a few months before I decided on a whim to start growing it out. At the time I didn’t have a particular length in mind, but after keeping it short for many years, I simply wanted a change. #2 was taken five months later shortly after I started letting it grow.

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As it grew longer, I discovered “plopping” and began to embrace my natural curls. #3 was taken at the beginning of October 2017.

My hair has always grown quickly, but once it reached this point it really seemed to take off and #4 was taken less than two months later!

#5 was taken in April of this year. I had a trim shortly after that, but it’s at least this long again now.

So my question for you is this: when summer is over, should I cut it short, leave it long, or go for something in between? Your response can be as simple as one digit (#1, 2, 3, 4, or 5) or you can explain your thoughts.

Combining colours

LogoWhen I was young you didn’t wear blue with green or brown with black and you most certainly didn’t pair red with pink. Thankfully, times have changed and most of the old fashion rules have been thrown out the window!

I never did understand the problem with blue and green. After all, we see that combination in nature all the time. The sky is blue and the trees are green and we don’t find that aesthetically unpleasing. When it comes to fashion, I’m particularly fond of navy and emerald green together. Here are a couple of combinations that I found on Pinterest.

Brown used to be a staple in my wardrobe and life definitely got easier when combining it with black became acceptable, but what about red with pink? Apparently that’s a trend that’s continuing into fall, but I’m having trouble getting my head around it. The outfits shown on the runways are always a bit outlandish, but even if the clothing was more my style, I’m not sure I could see myself in this colour combination.

What about you? Do you wear pink and red? Would you? What are your favourite colour combinations?

A model who embraced her age

LogoIt was with sadness that I learned yesterday of the death of 67 year old Cindy Joseph on July 12.

Ms. Joseph, began her career in the late 1970s working as a make-up artist for fashion and beauty photographers. In 1999, at the age of 49, on the very day that she cut off the last remaining bit of her coloured hair and fully embraced her gray, she was approached on the street by a casting agent and asked to model for a Dolce and Gabbana ad campaign. That ignited her modeling career with Ford Models Inc. In her 50s and 60s she modeled for companies like Olay, Elizabeth Arden, Anthropologie and Ann Taylor.

“I certainly didn’t fit the status quo of the modeling world,” Ms. Joseph told Yahoo Beauty in an interview last year. “I was 49 years old — I was under 5-foot-8, my hair was gray. Hello! I had crow’s feet!”

What she didn’t mention was the fact that she was stunning!

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Cindy Joseph on the front cover of Viv magazine – July 2007

Ms. Joseph encouraged women to embrace their age instead of trying to conceal it. She believed that fixating on youth was unhealthy and an ineffective beauty strategy contending that many cosmetic companies failed their wearers by trying to mask the signs of aging. In 2010, she launched BOOM! by Cindy Joseph, her own “pro-age” skin and cosmetics line consisting of natural moisturizers and easy to use multitasking “Boomsticks” that act as lipstick, blush, and eyeshadow.

Cindy Joseph died after a valiant battle with soft tissue sarcoma, a cancer that attacks the soft tissues of the body.

Cindy Joseph