Mr. Abraham Lasting

Junia Ancaya

Any time is a good time to add a new dimension to the mystery of human life.

One blistering Florida summer afternoon, on one of those routine office days of my youth, I entered the examining room to see the last patient.

“Hello Mr. Lasting,” I said to a shriveled old man. He was sitting down, leaning with one arm on a walker. Next to him sat a woman, a heavy-set German-looking matron, twice his size.

He didn’t answer.

“Is it Abraham Lasting?”

I noticed a questioning look in his eyes. Accustomed to Florida’s hard-of-hearing retired patients, I yelled the question.

“Yes Ma’am, Doctor,” he answered.

The man struck me as being vital in his deep base voice and  (More…)

National Poetry Month – Final Edition

Poetry is everywhere.  All around us.  But it’s shy, elusive, and difficult to see. Unless you’re a poet.  And they don’t find it easily.  They break a sweat, seeing the half seen beauty around them.  And capturing it for the rest of us with their clever words, sometimes tricking us into thinking that we had seen it all along.  This is our final collection of poems for National Poetry Month this year.  Read them with fierce attention, the way they were written.  (More…)

More Than Meets the Eye II

We introduced you to Blended Learning in Monday’s issue.  Here is a reminder of what our project entailed, followed by some of the artwork it used and the poetry it generated.

The perfect opportunity in the most imperfect moment.

Eighteen participants from OLLI-USF and OLLI at Northwestern recently completed a five-week blended learning course, More Than Meets the Eye: Our Perspectives in Art. “Blended learning” combined two face-to-face sessions (the first one in two classrooms and the final one on Zoom) and three sessions where participants worked through online material in collaboration with a member at the partner university. Halfway through the course, both OLLIs had to cancel their planned Spring programs due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This course continued. One participant described the course as “a beautiful distraction.”  (More…)

More Than Meets the Eye

The perfect opportunity in the most imperfect moment.

Vermeer Art of Painting via WikiEighteen participants from OLLI-USF and OLLI at Northwestern recently completed a five-week blended learning course, More Than Meets the Eye: Our Perspectives in Art. “Blended learning” combined two face-to-face sessions (the first one in two classrooms and the final one on Zoom) and three sessions where participants worked through online material in collaboration with a member at the partner university. Halfway through the course, both OLLIs had to cancel their planned Spring programs due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This course continued. One participant described the course as “a beautiful distraction.”

Some background: The National Resource Center (NRC) for Osher Institutes invited OLLI-USF and OLLI at Northwestern to develop and present this first-of-its-kind blended learning, joint course. Participants in the course investigated different ways to look at art, including art made in response to art.  (More…)

National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month is a celebration of poetry that takes place in April every year.  It was introduced in 1996, organized by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States.  Their web site is a good place to find information about local poetry events during the month.  Which are pretty thin on the ground this year.   But we’ve got you covered with two small, intimate poetry “events” every week.  (More…)

National Poetry Month

NPM Background 01 Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on UnsplashLike way too much of life these days, National Poetry Month has had to go online this year.  Even this issue of OLLI Connects is an online manifestation of an experience that would be more powerful if you were there, live and in person, hearing both of today’s poets read their own works.  We can’t give you that exact experience, but we suggest–seriously–that you read the poetry in this piece aloud.  Pay attention to the punctuation, the timing, the sentence melody.  Let each poem tell you how to read it.   (More…)

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month.  Normally this would be a good time to attend a “poetry slam” , a more traditional poetry reading, or some other event that celebrates the power of well chosen words and carefully crafted phrases.  This year, not so much.

But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo poetry this time around.  We have some for you today created by OLLI-USF members, and we’ll bring you more in extra editions of OLLI Connects for the rest of the month.  And we have an NPR link below that we hope you’ll enjoy.  (More…)

Comfort Reading

Cindy Knox

I enjoyed George Hyde’s recent OLLI Connects contribution that contained various OLLI members’ recommendations for reading while we’re in self-isolation. However, the books that I crave right now – and some of you may, also – are what I call “comfort reads,” similar to comfort food.

I need a book that takes me to another world without murders, torture, or other examples of man’s (extreme) inhumanity to man. Or women, children, and animals. We get plenty of that on the nightly news – or, indeed, on cable news all day. So, here are a few offerings of the “comfort reads” variety off the top of my head.

(First of all, I hope that each of you reading this is in your PJs or however you dress at home. I myself tend to favor old T-shirts and flannel PJ bottoms. (Yes, even in Florida.) You will need to get comfortable and sit in a favorite chair – or your bed. No judgement here.)  (More…)

So, What Are You Up To?

Jane Applegate Belzer

When reading George Hyde’s last post in OLLI Connects, I thought: Now I know I’m not alone in seeking ways to occupy myself during this period of quasi-hibernation. While this is a home of two readers, there are other activities that we of a certain age will be doing to exercise our spirits while at home for what now sounds like a couple of months. I’d like to know what you are doing to entertain yourself during these isolating times.

I just pulled five cookbooks off my shelf to entertain myself and share with you. The Black Sea, by a British journalist, Caroline Eden, is a travel guide and cookbook to the exotic world from Odessa to Trabzon. The recipes enrich the stories of her journey through this very ancient region. If things get back to normal, we hope to go there next year. (More…)

Coping with Corona? Read On!

George Hyde

coronoavirusIf you enjoy the intellectual stimulation and social interaction that OLLI-USF offers, you’re probably a little miffed at how the Coronavirus is affecting your daily life right now and for at least a few weeks to come.

Let’s face it…government and University officials are taking prudent steps to protect us from a disease with disproportionately adverse impact on older people – “the OLLI Generation,” if you will.  Now we’re being told that one of the most important behaviors under the COVID-19 threat is “social distancing,” just as we’re settling into a schedule of Spring classes with instructors and classmates whose company and whose ideas we enjoy!  So, with OLLI classes in hiatus or cancelled, how can you avoid going stir-crazy? (More…)