Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Olive and Her Blog

From Woy Woy, New South Wales, Australia, Olive Riley, author of the blog “The Life of Riley”, died on Saturday in a nursing home. Her last post was written on June 26, 2008 entitled, “Settling In” where she reflected on her first week there. Only fifteen days before she died, Olive was writing.

What is so remarkable about her? She was 108 years old when she died. 108. Her life stories reached millions of readers and although I had seen her blog highlighted on the Blogger headlines, I never read it. I wish I had. The Life of Riley isn’t accessible right now but I’ll be waiting for its return to the blogosphere. I even went so far as to look her up on Technorati where I found she is ranked 16,000 in a sea of millions of blogs.

Olive started blogging a little over a year ago and posted 74 times. Isn’t that stunning? If I were 107 years old, there’s no way I would try anything new like starting a BLOG. Heck, I’m a creature of habit already and I’m less than half her age.

I want to know what made her tick so well for so long and why she had such great mental clarity and enthusiasm for life to the end. Was it good genetics? A certain lifestyle?

I wonder if she was forgetful at all. Honestly, there are days when I have a tough time remembering what I ate for dinner the previous night.

I’ll bet she wasn’t the least bit lazy, either. It’s been said that Americans are soft. Yes, I’m on the soft side. Call me lazy. A lazy body and a lazy mind is a guarantee for a short life.

I’ll bet she didn’t make excuses for much, either. I have a wide range of them. I’m too tired, it’s too hot, my foot hurts, my back hurts, I didn’t have time, I forgot, I’m too old, it's too difficult…blah blah blah. And there is Olive, blogging her little old heart out at age 108.



Speaking of lazy…

If I weren’t lazy, I would have ran for the camera when I saw five baby Chickadees and Mama hopping from branch to branch, testing wings, on a tree near the front porch. Instead, I settled for a bathing Cowbird. Easy shot.

I’m feeling a little lazy tonight, so I’ll post a few random photos and bloopers. I’ve been too lazy for fifty-photo days, so it’s slim pickins’ for a while.


On their way back to the pond, they had just sauntered through a garage, circled the SUV parked in it, a lawn mower, and a stack of paint cans… Lovely to step on goose poop in your garage, ey?


I always park here to find herons. Was this new sign meant for me?


If I can’t photograph birds, I’ll do mushrooms. Motionless mushrooms are good. I can lie down and rest a little…


Hummer high in sky, feasting on a swarm of bugs. See the tiny dot in the middle of the sky? That’s him.


I worry about her neck! A result of constant feeding? She's still buzzing and sipping with the others just fine.


Blurry waterfall at night. I was too lazy to review the shot and take another.

So, friends. Think of energetic Olive and the legacy she left behind. Amazing.


Anonymous said...

I'm amazed. The smoke around here is sapping all my energy and initiative. I know . . . excuses, excuses!

Rose said...

What an inspiration to us all! I think one of my greatest fears in life is getting old and feeble-minded. Keeping your mind active and challenged is supposed to help ward off Alzheimer's; maybe if I keep trying to figure out all the little technical details of Blogger it will help:) (Or trying to figure out the word verification below!)

Don't feel bad, Mary; it's the dog days of summer--I have absolutely no energy this time of year.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

108. Now that is a scary thought. I love your lazy pictures. Keep it up, if you can find enough strength to do so, of course if you remember.

NCmountainwoman said...

Sorry, Mary. I cannot comment because, (like the cat in Delia's blog) I cannot brain today. I have the dumb.

In fact, I'm going to set aside a day each week to have the dumb.

thailandchani said...

It makes a big difference when someone feels a burning need to say something. That is probably what kept Olive writing.

Beautiful pictures.. as always :)

KGMom said...

Wow--and I thought my dad at 89 was pretty amazing. He is not blogging, but he reads blogs (including mine) and works on his computer all the time. He has written his "memoirs"--mostly autobiography, and a few reflections. He could turn those into a blog!
Rest in peace, Olive.

Cheryl said...

Dear Mary...What a wonderful old lady...an inspiration to us all.
To do and keep doing keeps the mind and body healthy I am sure. Negative emotions are not for me....I get them....but challenge them, come on Cheryl, pull yourself together....it works mostly but not all of the time.

I shall think of this lady when I have these times....tku for sharing......

I know of a dutch artist (woman) who lived to 98......she was still cycling to the countryside with her canvas until a few months before she died. She was a beautiful woman and has stayed with me in spirit.....

Jayne said...

Awwww... I had not heard of Olive's blog, but just went there to read some of her story. How magnificent that she was able to touch so many people like she did. We should all embrace life so fully. :c)

JeanMac said...

To Olive - - -

Jackie said...

Writing at 107! Wow. My own mother is 89 and won't let me begin to teach her how to use the internet, let alone even sit down in front of a computer.

I love your blog, just found it today. Beautiful images and your comments intrigue me. I've linked to it from my own nature loving site.

BJ said...

I am so inspired reading about Olive. And for her to have started blogging at 107....my goodness gracious sakes! What a lady she must have been. I hope they do release her blog for all to read. I would love too.

I had to laugh when I read what you wrote about being lazy. I'm always tired....don't feel like doing anything, my back hurts, my shoulder hurts and this and that hurts too! Now there! Don't feel so bad. There's someone(me) out there that's lazier than you. I blame a lot on my age too....you know....pushing 60.....just a couple years to go! It's a good thing that we can laugh at ourselves....that's half the battle, don't you think?

You may think you're lazy but I be darn if you can't conger up enough energy to post and narrate these beautiful pictures. They are wonderful......and so are you!

Unknown said...

Hi Mary,
Wow hope I can blog at 108 years young. God bless her. I guess I have been missing in action for a bit. Love the look of your blog. I think we all get burned out every once in a while. Slowly I am recuperating. I wanted to send you big hugs. I'll be back soon.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
We are in those lazy, hazy days of summer. Now is a good time to just be!
I have been thinking about my legacy too. I love the idea of a living legacy. I would love to think some bugs and some birds were being cared for because I left some money for seed and flowers.
Olive did inspire many people. A great legacy! She has a very interesting story.
Always enjoy seeing your hummers.
Stay cool,

Debbie said...

Lazy or not, Mary, I always love your blog. Aren't we suppose to be a bit lazy when it is hot and humid out!?

I am amazed at Olive's zest for life. Taking up anything new at any age can be difficult, but at 107...that is something.

Susan Gets Native said...

There's something special about spunky elderly folks, isn't there?
I'm sorry that I am learning about Olive after her death.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I hope I still have my mind if I live a long life. At the rate I'm going though, I won't remember my own name in a few years.

I finally got a few hummingbird pictures that I'll be posting tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Mary, I don't know about active minds and Alzheimer's. In the last three years or so, the people I've known who were diagnosed have all been engaging, busy, sociable, smart, eager, creative people.

TR Ryan said...

I've come back no less than a dozen times to look at this waterfall shot. This is art Mary -- rich and beautiful. Since you preferred to re-do the shot - I'll just call you my accidental artist. I hope you take more shots when you're lazy -- this is one is really special. I would like to have it framed in my office. You are amazing.

Balisha said...

I thought I was old at 70 to start a blog. I will have to take time to read all about her. What an inspiration to all of us seniors. Thanks for writing about her. It made my day.

Kathie Brown said...

Good for Olive. I'm glad she inspired you. I'm glad you are posting once again. I think the blurry waterfall is pretty and interesting. Some peole do that on purpose!

Larry said...

That's amazing-108!I hope that I can keep that kind of enthusiasm for my entire life for however long that will be.