Thursday, February 28, 2013

Aging Person Running: First Weeks

Plumpitude has come upon the land of Fresca.
Sometimes I think how lovely it would be to let my body rise further, like a yeast donut, into a wonderfully soft pillowy cushion size.

I think of myself as naturally indolent, but in truth, a friend once called me "rammy" and that's probably more like it.
When I was... one? years old, my mother told me, I moved my crib by means of standing up, holding onto the crib bars, and jumping the whole bed across the room.

So, here I am--one week before my 52nd birthday-- try, try, trying again something I loved when I was a girl:

I read this cheering NY Times article that said I've been doing it right, waiting until now to start getting in shape (again):
Exercising during midlife, especially if you haven’t been, can pay enormous later-life benefits.... “Our study suggests that someone in midlife who moves from the least fit to the second-to-the-least-fit category of fitness gets more benefit,” in terms of staving off chronic diseases, than someone who moves to the highest fitness grouping from the second-highest.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"Your look gives a meaning to..."

 I took this photo at the bus stop today. Reminded me of this quote from Orhan Pamuk (Turkish writer, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature):
"City life, urban life, living in big cities, in fact, is living in a galaxy of unimportant, random, stupid, absurd images. 
But your look gives a strange, mysterious meaning to these little details of streets, asphalt or cobblestone roads, advertisements, letters, all the little details of bus stops or chimneys, windows.
All these things constitute a texture of a city, and each city in that fashion is very different."  
From here: "Sense of the City: Istanbul"

Monday, February 18, 2013

Recasting Questions from the "Up" Series

I like the "Up" series very much--the British documentary that interviewed 14 seven-year-olds in 1963 and returns to interview them again every 7 years-- but it's the kind of documentary that is as much about the director/interviewer-- Michael Apted, in this case--and his values as anything.

His questions are skewed--sometimes outrageously--to reflect his view of success. He himself admits this was a problem, especially in the early episodes:
"I've made mistakes on it and had to correct those mistakes. You know, particularly I got into a situation, I think, early on where I became judgmental about people — that if they didn't agree with my standards of success, failure, happiness, whatever, then I would feel they were the lesser for it. "
--from NPR Interview "Michael Apted, Aging With The '7 Up' Crew

This led--especially, but not only, in the first four films--to him asking the most judgmental questions, especially of the working/middle class subjects.

I wondered what it would look like if he'd asked the upper class people the same sort of questions. So I took some of those questions (or close paraphrases) and stuck them on some of those participants:

It would help if Apted himself were to appear in his Up series, which he doesn't (tho you can hear some of his questions). When you don't see the interviewer, it gives a false sense that this is an objective representation, which the Up series very much is NOT.

I understood better where Apted was coming from when he described his own background. 
Apted:  My father was in fire insurance; my mother was a homemaker.  I loved my mother but we had a fairly combative relationship that, quite frankly, I don’t think I have ever recovered from. 

"She came from an interesting generation of women. She was very, very smart, the youngest of six, had three children, and it was inconceivable that she would ever work. She looked after her aging parents until she got married; as the youngest child, it was her duty to do so. 

"She never really exercised the gifts she had or the intelligence she had, and she was very frustrated and angry about it.  And she realized it.  It’s why she wanted me to make absolutely the best I could of my life. I was the oldest of three. I was ‘the golden boy’ and always had to step up. She was always pushing, pushing, pushing; she felt I never did enough."
--from Writer's Bloc Presents "A special interview with Michael Apted, creator of the Up series"

So, maybe it's really his mother who wants to know...