Archive for the ‘Events & news’ Category
Cindy La Ferle on March 29th, 2013
I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is commonly more than that – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.” ~Henry David Thoreau
To my Facebook friends: I’ve temporarily deactivated my Facebook account this week.
As many of you know, my mother fell and fractured her hip recently. She’s recovering in a nursing center, and I’m often called on to advocate for her. Meanwhile, I’ve received many thoughtful (private) Facebook messages that I’ve neglected to answer — and I apologize for those oversights.
At stressful times like these, I tend to function best when I pull back, turn down the noise, do a reality check, and spend some quality “face time” with my posse.
This isn’t the first time I’ve deactivated my Facebook account. Last year I wrote an article about taking time off from Facebook, and was surprised by the hundreds of positive comments I received. That three-month break turned out to be one of the healthiest and most productive periods I’ve experienced in recent years — which is why I recommend short “retreats” from social media to everyone, from time to time.
But back to the present. When time allows, I’ll post a few essays here on the topic of dealing with elderly parents who suffer from dementia, knowing that many of you can relate to this ongoing midlife challenge. Thanks for your understanding — and I look forward to catching up soon. – Cindy La Ferle
Cindy La Ferle on February 15th, 2013
Be on the alert to recognize your prime at whatever time of your life it may occur.” ~Muriel Spark
A supplement to The Detroit News and Free Press, Michigan Prime (formerly Michigan Senior Living) has a new title and design.
I’ve been writing a personal column for the magazine since June of last year, fulfilling my longtime dream of reaching a large audience of fellow Baby Boomers. So far, I’ve written columns about the decision to place my mother in assisted living; how to write a memoir; anger management; why self-care isn’t selfish; and more.
I’m always open to fresh ideas and midlife adventures for future columns, so please feel free to send me a private message using the “Contact” tab (above) on this site.
My goal for the bimonthly column is to inspire others who want to embrace the freedoms, changes, and challenges of the second half of life. Even if you don’t live in the Detroit area, you can read Prime online, where you’ll find my current column, “A Mother-in-law in Training.”
Cindy La Ferle on February 9th, 2013
“Loving is not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
At our house, Valentine’s Day isn’t just your average holiday. It’s also my husband’s birthday — which I enjoy just as much as he does, since it means cashing in the “free birthday dinner” coupons he’s accumulated this month. We won’t have to cook dinner for a full week!
More than anything, really, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity for all of us to think about the people we love and what they mean to us. What makes a relationship work? What makes love last? What can we do to make each other happy?
With that in mind, Royal Oak Patch editor, Judy Davids, is running a month-long interview series featuring local couples. Doug and I were honored to be a part of this series, and you can read our interview here. Happy Valentine’s Day to all!
Cindy La Ferle on February 2nd, 2013
“Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one” – Stella Adler
Not long ago, a friend asked: Which came first — making art or writing stories? Her question got me thinking about the new direction my creative life is taking.
Looking back on my childhood, I recall watching my mother as she mixed her oil paints on a glass palette. In those days Mom worked at home as a color artist, tinting portraits of brides and high school students for local photography studios.
Like most kids, I was fascinated with art supplies, and seized every opportunity to make a mess. There’s an old family story about the time I grabbed one of Mom’s paint brushes, then somehow ended up in the emergency room with the brush stuck in my nose. I was barely a year old — but the accident never discouraged my urge to dabble in art.
Over the years, however, my interest in books and writing grew stronger. And while I always managed to take art classes, even in college, I was discouraged from trying a career in art. How many artists make a living selling their work?
My college professors urged me to pursue writing. I could argue my way through any topic, and was even advised to consider law school. (I know … I can hear you laughing.) After college, the field of journalism wasn’t exactly wide open, but I managed to find interesting work at publishing companies, magazines, and newspapers.
But I shouldn’t have been so surprised to learn that making art gave me the creative freedom I’d been missing from the calculated process of writing and editing.”
After I married and became a mother, freelance writing provided the flexible schedule I needed. The writing life was near-perfect for two decades, in fact, and I loved it.
By the time my son left for college, however, freelance budgets began evaporating. Publications folded up and disappeared like traveling circuses. And while I didn’t suffer a full-blown midlife crisis in my empty nest, I desperately needed to be excited about something again.
Why not art? Heading to the local craft supply store, I felt my heart lift for the first time in ages. I started making cards and notepads for friends, then tried bigger projects — altered books, shrines, and mixed-media assemblages. I made mistakes; I learned new skills.
All along, it occurred to me that I was still telling stories — just using different materials. But I shouldn’t have been so surprised to learn that making art gave me the pure creative freedom that I’d been missing from the calculated process of writing and editing.
Not that I’m giving up the writing life entirely — but I’ve decided to make 2013 my official “Art Year.” I’ve promised myself to create at least one new art project a week, whether it’s a birthday box for a friend or an entry for an art competition.
Though I’ve had several of my altered books and collages accepted in Michigan art competitions, one of my long-range goals is to have enough quality work for a solo art show. And I’d like to start selling a few of my pieces. Maybe I won’t make a living as an artist, but my soul is telling me to follow my heart — before any more time gets away from me.
So far, I’m off to a great start. Two of my pieces were selected for the Anton Art Center’s 40 Michigan Annual (through February 23), and I recently learned that several photographs of my pieces were accepted for publication in a new anthology showcasing writing and artwork from the Midwest.
If you’d like to have a look at what I’ve been up to in my studio, please click here to visit my project gallery on Facebook. For regular updates on all of my projects, please “like” Cindy La Ferle’s Home Office and Studio on Facebook.– Cindy La Ferle
– Original artwork by Cindy La Ferle. For a larger view of both art pieces shown in this post, please click on each photo. –
Cindy La Ferle on January 24th, 2013
It takes a long time to grow an old friend.” — John Leonard
More than ever, sociologists and health professionals are studying friendship and how it impacts our physical and emotional well-being. New studies show that having a circle of close friends will improve our odds of surviving cancer and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.
In fact, failing to develop true friendship can be as bad for us as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. (Take the test linked at the end of this post to determine if you’re a good friend or a neglectful one.) According to research cited by the AARP, Facebook friends and other “online relationships” don’t count. To reap the full benefits of connection, we must turn off our electronic devices and meet face to face.
Even if we’re not social butterflies, most of us can list several people who enrich our lives in some way. There’s the neighbor who collects our mail while we’re on vacation; the co-worker who shares career leads; the soccer mom who brings an extra thermos of coffee to the games. And if we’re lucky, we can top that list with a couple of lifelong pals who’ll answer our phone calls after midnight when we’re worried about a biopsy.
Along the way, we’re also likely to encounter a few promise breakers, snipers, competitors, users, freeloaders, and emotional blackmailers, notes Jan Yager, Ph.D., a sociologist who has researched this topic since the 1980s. In her best-selling guide, When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal with Friends Who Betray, Abandon, or Wound You, Yager describes the 21 types of toxic friends and explains how to deal with them. The most durable friendships, she discovered, are always supportive, responsive, and reciprocal — and can weather minor transgressions.
Of course, in a highly mobile culture like ours, some friendships are built on the shifting sands of proximity and aren’t meant to last.
But if we’re not mindful, Yager warns, our closest relationships can wilt or wither from neglect. (Even family ties loosen and unravel when we do little more than take them for granted.) In other words, your best friends shouldn’t have to remind you that birthday cards, get-well notes, phone updates, souvenirs, and other tokens of affection or appreciation are fuel to the bonfire of enduring friendship.
On the other hand, as Yager and other experts point out, sometimes it’s necessary to weed out friends who make us feel used, bullied, or invalidated.
“When I pay attention to my feelings, I know when people are draining my energy,” said Cindy Hampel, a Royal Oak resident and author of It’s Not Personal: Lessons I’ve Learned from Dealing with Difficult People (Orange Sun Press; $14.95). “If someone consistently tries to make me feel guilty or afraid, then I’ll just seek out other people who treat me more reasonably.”
Once we hit midlife, we realize there are only so many years left for the pleasures we’ve postponed – including more time with friends.
Several years ago, I learned one of my hardest life lessons while watching my dear uncle lose his three-month battle with pancreatic cancer. The terminal diagnosis was made on his 65th birthday. Newly retired from Chrysler, my uncle had looked forward to spending long afternoons on the golf course with his best buddies – but ended up in hospice instead.
Which is partly why I agree with the experts who advise making friendship a priority, even when we think we don’t have time for it. The more stressed out or overbooked we are, the more we need to reconnect with supportive people.
So, call your best friend or look up an old room mate. Check in with someone you’ve been meaning to phone for ages. Plan a lunch date, send a card, throw a potluck, or meet some pals for a round of golf. Make time for the treasured friends who’ve been there for you – and think of them as good health insurance. — Cindy La Ferle
Are you a good friend or a bad friend? Take Martha Beck’s quiz, following her article on friendship in “O” magazine. Click here.