50. And most beautiful.

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Christie D’Zurill, LA Times: Sandra Bullock is People’s most beautiful woman; ‘ridiculous,’ she says:

Sandra Bullock, mother of Louis and winner of Oscar, is People magazine’s most beautiful woman for 2015…

At 50, she’s the oldest celebrity to be featured on the magazine’s annual cover celebrating beauty — a factoid that likely wouldn’t register with her 5-year-old son.
“[H]e asked why I have wrinkles, and I said, ‘Well, I hope some of them are from laughing so much.’ And he touched my face and said, ‘You’re not old, you’re just happy…

“Real beauty is quiet,” she said. “Especially in this town, it’s just so hard not to say, ‘Oh, I need to look like that.’

“No, be a good person, be a good mom, do a good job with the lunch, let someone cut in front of you who looks like they’re in a bigger hurry.”…

This is Now. Wow.


Alan Watts: My goodness, don’t you remember?

[Read more…]

I’d rather live in the instant than ‘gram the instant

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This was just that good. Leading me to share more than a few excerpts from Walter Kirn‘s excellent essay titled: Remembrance of Things Lost:

What if Marcel Proust had kept an Instagram account? What if he’d used a smartphone to snap a photo of every evocative morsel he’d ever eaten? Would he still have written “In Search of Lost Time”…

…When I try to recall my childhood…I don’t have recourse to an exhaustive catalog of images and documents. My parents never shot home movies and they took family photos only rarely, on ceremonial occasions when everyone was compelled to smile tautly and mask what was really going on inside them. As a consequence, revisiting my youth can feel rather like a homicide investigation. Working from clues and the accounts of witnesses, including the highly unreliable one who lives behind my eyeballs, I wait for scenarios to form and patterns to emerge. If they seem plausible I delve into them further, especially if the images align with the murky emotions they conjure up. I tend not to question the resulting mental scenes despite being well aware that photographs and secondhand stories have been shown to create false memories. Clear or hazy, bright or dim, my recollections are private, mine alone, and written in synaptic smoke, not subject to verification by instant replay.

…What makes memories precious, even certain “bad” ones, is forgetting, of course. Remember forgetting? …Memory is an imaginative act; first we imagine what we’ll want to keep and then we fashion stories from what we’ve kept. Memories don’t just happen, they are built…the human mind is not a hard drive, a neutral repository of information. The melancholy passage of the years tends to change our values as we age, and the awesome backflips of 13 don’t hold the magic they once did; not when compared to the image of a loved one who has since gone absent, say. If I’d had a smartphone with a video camera back in my early adolescence, I doubt that I would have trained it on the things that matter to me now, like the sight of my mother reading in her blue armchair, underlining passages from Proust.

…One reason that I’ve never kept a journal is that the attention that goes into keeping one is, I feel, more profitably spent on engaging with the moment. I’d rather live in the instant than ‘gram the instant.

A remembrance never formed is worse, far worse, than a remembrance lost. At 52, increasingly forgetful, I sometimes rack my brain for past experiences that I’m positive are in there somewhere and draw a blank. It’s frustrating, but the blank still marks a spot — a spot where a memory used to be and might, if I eat the right cake, reappear. What makes memory magical is its imperfections and its unpredictability; try as we might, we never quite control it. It draws our attention to the margins of stories that once seemed to be the main events. Someday, when my son reviews his footage, what will come back to him may not be his ski stunts but other aspects of that winter day: the voices of his friends, the shadows on the mountain, the face of his father beside him in the car.

Don’t miss Walter Kirn’s entire essay @ Remembrance of Things Lost:


Image: NY Times Magazine.  A 2011 installation of printouts of photos that had been uploaded to Flickr over a 24-hour period.Credit “24 HRS in Photos,” by Erik Kessels at Foam in Amsterdam, KesselsKramer

Running. With Flaubert.

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Let’s frame up the mood this morning.

I step on and off the scale. It could be worse. What’s of greater concern is the lack of disgust. Why not just paint a large white flag on the belly and add in large font: “Yes, I quit.” Middle aged man on the down side.

It’s 8:00 am. Zeke and I are laying in bed and I’m scanning the morning papers. It wasn’t so long ago that I would have run 10 miles by 8:30 am and be done with breakfast.  Now, I’m just thinking about breakfast.

The ladies of the house are off to Yoga. Men don’t do Yoga. This man anyway. Too many sweaty bodies in close proximity. Lululemon pants exposing things I don’t need to see. Rubber mats. Rubber room. Claustrophobia. Get me out of here.

Earlier in the week, Rachel pointed out that I’m wearing a track suit (expandable waist) with increasing frequency.  I brush her off but the hit is direct, the wound lingers.

Yes, I’ve become  Abigail Thomas‘ large and growing Inaction Figure: Torpor. Languor. Stupor. [Read more…]

But right now I’m happy, happier, ish

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Michael Hainey in an interview with Steve CooganComedian Steve Coogan is Happyish:

MH: If you look at yourself now—a man nearing 50—what would you have said to the young Steve Coogan?

SC: It’s a very good question. Well, I would have… [long pause] aimed higher. I don’t just mean that in a career sense, I mean be better, strive to be better in all things, and work harder, because you’ll find it rewarding. I’d say, Be comfortable with who you are as well, just listen to yourself more. I suppose when I was younger, I wanted to get on and have a career and be successful. And try to be all things to all men. I don’t do that anymore. Now I want to do things I believe in, and have a sort of honesty, in work and in life. When I was younger, I didn’t really want to say anything contentious, because I thought it might alienate people who liked my work.

MH: Is there anything you sacrificed to be in your position that you regret?

SC: In my quest for authenticity and sincerity, I can be a bit annoying. In my quest to try to bring some love into things, I can be a bit acerbic and nasty. I love that quote that Aldous Huxley said at the end of his life: Through all his writing and everything, all he’d learned at the end of his life was that people should just be a bit nicer to each other. I love the simplicity of that. And I do well to remember it. Sometimes I need to just be nice to people. I have been quite driven over the years. But right now I’m happy, happier, ish, than I’ve been before. I’m fortunate in that I can make choices, and I think I try to make the right ones. And I don’t do anything I don’t believe in. And that’ a real luxury.

Don’t miss full interview here: Comedian Steve Coogan is Happyish


Photo: wegotthisdiscovered.com

 

 

Running. Out of hibernation.

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Monday AM: It’s Zeke’s annual check-up. He remembers the six-inch needle from his last appointment. He’s not welcoming John, the GVW (“the Greatest Vet in the World”).  Zeke weighs in.  He’s up another 5 pounds, peaking at his all-time high. GVW’s scorecard on Zeke sets off vicious attacks: Family v. Dad. It’s you! He only sits next to you at Dinner! You are feeding him table scraps! Do you realize you are shortening his life!”  Dad Growls in response.

Wednesday AM: GVW sends an email. He’s never sent an email to me before, but he needs to send this one. Zeke’s stool sample shows no evidence of worms. Vet Code Translation: He’s fat, but at least he’s clean. All is not lost.

Thursday PM:  It’s bedtime. Zeke’s laying next to me. He looks up and stares.  What’s up Zeke?  He tells me he’s depressed. GVWs lack of bedside manner cut deep. GVW and the Family fail to grasp nature’s natural cycle like Mary Oliver and I do: summer falling to fall, to be following by what will follow: winter again: count on it. Same with weight. Down in summer. Up in the Winter. Down in summer. Count on it. It’s a bloody cycle. No need to overreact.

[Read more…]

The second half of my life will be ice breaking up on the river, rain soaking the fields

middle age,

The second half of my life will be black
to the white rind of the old and fading moon.
The second half of my life will be water
over the cracked floor of these desert years.
I will land on my feet this time,
knowing at least two languages and who
my friends are. I will dress for the
occasion, and my hair shall be
whatever color I please.
Everyone will go on celebrating the old
birthday, counting the years as usual,
but I will count myself new from this
inception, this imprint of my own desire.

The second half of my life will be swift,
past leaning fenceposts, a gravel shoulder,
asphalt tickets, the beckon of open road.
The second half of my life will be wide-eyed,
fingers shifting through fine sands,
arms loose at my sides, wandering feet.
There will be new dreams every night,
and the drapes will never be closed.
I will toss my string of keys into a deep
well and old letters into the grate.

The second half of my life will be ice
breaking up on the river,
rain soaking the fields,
a hand held out,
a fire,
and smoke going upward,
always up.

Joyce Sutphen, “Crossroads” from Straight Out of View


Notes: a) Poem Source: Poem Hunter. b) Image Source: Audrey Nizen. c) Inspired by: Your Eyes Blaze Out

 

For years we grasp and grasp

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In the baby’s fist is the first thing he owns, a little ball of air, but soon he tires of this and grabs another, then another after that. So early in life we learn about more, and having more. In more it seems we have eternity, and for years we grasp and grasp, until one day we find that we have less. And then life goes and goes, it floats away, and at the end we find our hand is empty, but for one small ball of air.

~ Ted Kooser, The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book


Photograph: John Mueller

SMWI*: About Right

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The gray in your hair doesn’t make you old,
Nor the crow’s feet under your eyes, I’m told.
But when your mind makes a contract your body can’t fill,
You’re over the hill, brother, over the hill.

Mary E. Mitchell, 32 Easy Lessons in Metaphysics and the Science of our Mind


Notes: SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Image: Gifak. Quote – Thank you Steve @ Anderson Layman’s Blog

Saturday Morning: I don’t believe in aging. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun.

sunrise, morning, sunset

Odder still how possessed I am with the feeling that now, aged 50, I’m just poised to shoot forth quite free straight and undeflected my bolts whatever they are. Therefore all this flitter flutter of weekly newspapers interests me not at all. These are the soul’s changes. I don’t believe in aging. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun. Hence my optimism. And to alter now, cleanly and sanely, I want to shuffle off this loose living randomness: people; reviews; fame; all the glittering scales; and be withdrawn, and concentrated.

~ Virginia Woolf, A Writer’s Diary


Credits: Quote – Brainpickings: Virginia Woolf on the Paradox of the Soul and the Consolatios of Aging. Photograph: j’aime juste la photo