Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Hike 4 Hope. Will you please support a great event?

Monday, February 8th, 2010

This week’s blog is about a great event, Hike 4 Hope (that unfortunately I cannot attend this year). My friend Leslie wrote this earlier this week, and I think it says it all. Please give what you can to our team.

“My business partner, Eileen Stern, is an amazing can do woman.  Having lost 6 family members in a year (including her Mother) to cancer, she turned her tragedy into triumph by creating Hike 4 Hope, a fundraiser to fund women’s cancer research at City of Hope.   Twelve years later her grass roots idea has blossomed into an annual event & this year will host over 1000 participants hiking in the majestic Indian Canyons of Palm Springs.

When it comes to fund-raising for City of Hope, I have no shame.  My commitment to COH is a personal one.  Given three months to live, I’m alive today because of COH’s collaboration, care & research/development of the drug Rituxan.  COH research has also led to the development of other leading anti-cancer drugs; Herceptin, Avastin and Erbitux, as well as synthetic human insulin –all of which are saving millions of lives worldwide.  Additionally COH has pioneered the use of TOMO Therapy (pin point radiation) & the DaVinci surgical system (prostate cancer).

We are aware of an injured economy.  Unfortunately active cancer cells could care less.  Far too many of us know someone whose life has been impacted by this disease.  This year we’ve formed a team to hike in honor of our dear friend, Marcelle Freides, who is again battling breast cancer after a 5 year remission.  The great news is she is being co-treated at both St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica & City of Hope.

This Valentines Day marks 4 years since my initial cancer diagnoses and a day of sharing gifts from the heart.  Please open your heart and support me by joining Marcelle’s Mighty Marchers through the link.  Your gift of hope will help benefit all the mothers, daughters, friends, and loved ones who deal with the shock of a cancer diagnosis every minute.”

And please don’t forget to check out this week’s Blogging Boomers Carnival.

January getting you down? Tips for getting though till spring.

Monday, January 25th, 2010

I’ve adapted these great tips from Sheila Weinstein, who originally wrote them to get through the holidays. Don’t you think they’re great for any tough period? And remember, spring is just around the corner. It's  All About Aging January

  1. Let someone know you are alone and would like some company. Often we have no family nearby; friends are occupied and forget that we don’t have anyone to be with so it can be a very tough time. More often than not they are happy to include us in their plans, but they cannot read our minds, so we have to let them know.
  2. Find others who are alone and invite them to share your own table. There are many other people out there who share our feelings.  Together we can have a lovely, enriching time.
  3. Nurture yourself. Sometimes we prefer to be alone rather than in the company of others…too much noise…too much talk. Treat yourself as beautifully as you would a guest. Buy yourself flowers. Cook yourself a lovely dinner. This is the time to concentrate on you and give yourself the love and attention you would give to someone else. You are the most important person in your life.
  4. Rent your favorite funny movie — one sure to make you laugh. A hearty laugh is as therapeutic as a good cry.
  5. Volunteer to serve a meal at a shelter or soup kitchen where your help is appreciated and you can reach out and touch others with your good will.
  6. Create a ritual that has meaning for yourself. For instance, write a note or a prayer to your loved one, or one for yourself and your new life. Put it in a balloon and let it fly.
  7. •    Be grateful. Keep a positive attitude for all that you DO have. Write down what you are grateful for and keep it where you can see it.
  8. Get out in nature. Take a long walk or drive to a spot that gives you comfort and peace. It helps us realize there is something much bigger than our own pain.
  9. Give yourself permission to be happy. Allowing ourselves to enjoy the life we have paves the way for a fulfilling future.

Which will you do? What would you add?

Be sure to check out Sheila’s book Moving to the Center of the Bed,the Artful Creation of a Life Alone on her website: or on

And don’t forget to check out this week’s Blogging Boomers Carnival, you never know what we’ll be blogging about.

How much do you really love your loved ones?

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Everyone always gives lip service to how much they love their family, but if you don’t have a will, it’s just empty talk.

It's All About Aging Parrot LoveIn the survey we ran last fall, 45% of the people responding did not have a will. This is about on par with the national average. So what’s preventing you from doing this? If your idea of a legacy is leaving your family and friends fighting it out in probate court for years, then just go read another blog. If it’s one of those items forever haunting your to-do list, why don’t you decide to push it to the top of the list? Call your lawyer, make an appointment. If that’s to much for you, at least go to something like legalzoom, or Suze Orman’s site, where they have simple questionnaires to fill out and create a will. Here’s a pretty straightforward explanation from AARP: “Identify who will inherit your estate. Use your will to say who gets what. You can leave everything to your spouse, a painting to your granddaughter, divide everything equally between your two kids, or leave various percentages to friends and charities.”

So get to it! And for those of you who already have a will, when was the last time you updated it? Just a thought.

Don’t forget to check out this week’s Blogging Boomer’s Carnival, and please if you haven’t already, donate to the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders to help Haiti.

Drink red wine with your parents, live longer with fewer cavities!

Monday, December 14th, 2009

It's All About Aging Red WineYears ago, when my grandfather was still alive, well meaning friends and family would get terribly upset if they saw him drinking and smoking. “How could you let him do that?” Granted, he was missing a lung from cancer, and had been an alcoholic for all the time I was growing up, but the guy was 92 and still going strong. Was not smoking or drinking going to give him an extra week with us? Or would the deprivation hasten his demise?

Fast forward to a new century. Red wine, specifically Pinot Noir (the grape used in Burgundy) in moderation, is heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of “good” cholesterol and protecting against artery damage. According to the Mayo Clinic, researchers think antioxidants, such as flavonoids or a substance called resveratrol, have promising heart-healthy benefits. Resveratrol may also turn out to be the “fountain of youth”. From a 60 Minutes piece earlier this year: “You have fat mice, and you have fat mice with resveratrol. And the ones that are on resveratrol, they can run twice as far, and they live longer, about 20 percent longer”.

If living longer and healthier isn’t enough, how about preventing tooth decay and gum disease? From the most recent issue of The Week: “Researchers in Italy have found that in addition to other health benefits, red wine can help prevent tooth decay.” And from Discovery News: “Scientists from Laval University in Quebec found that polyphenols in red wine also help to control immune cell response in gums to bacterial infection.”

So just in time for the holidays, forget the champagne, and break out the Pinots! Our friend Steve Girard at Benton Lane, makes some fine Oregon Pinots, that along with tasting fantastic, are know to have some of the highest levels of resveratrol of any wines. But however you enjoy, enjoy in moderation.

And something you don’t need to enjoy in moderation…this week’s Blogging Boomers Carnival.

How to Marry an Internet Serial Killer: Throw a Surprise Wedding

Friday, November 20th, 2009

I was never one of those women who pictured herself in a big white gown, walking down the aisle. For me it was more about getting married in Las Vegas by an Elvis impersonator on the Strip and having a great party in New York afterward.

When Frank and I decided to get married, my only stipulation was that my mother didn’t know about it. If that sounds harsh, understand the women on my mother’s side of the family tend to be a little obsessive. To compound that, my mother and my aunt are twins, my aunt lives in Manhattan, and used to be one of the famous fact checkers at the New Yorker. If the twins knew about the wedding, it would be endless obsession over food, drink, napkins, guests… everything.

It's All About Aging WeddingAs we usually host Thanksgiving, the plan was to get married the next afternoon. A justice of the peace was found who would come to our country house and perform the ceremony. We told everyone he was an architect coming to look at the house, and he was great about playing along.

On Friday afternoon, a few friends and family were up at our house eating turkey sandwiches, hanging out in their slippers. My best friend/maid of honor, and I were frantically trying to put the Martha Stewart touch to a bunch of lily of the valley. When the justice of the peace showed up, I came down the stairs in an off white cashmere turtleneck and velvet skirt and said “I know you thought we were going to announce our engagement tonight, and we still might, but right now we’re getting married”. Supposedly the look on my father’s face was amazing, and I’m sorry I missed it.

After the brief ceremony, we had champagne and cake, and went off to a celebratory dinner at the Beekman Tavern in Rhinebeck. My mother was thrilled, and as it turned out, grateful that she didn’t have to do anything but enjoy herself.

Three weeks later, we had the big party at our apartment in Manhattan, surrounded by friends and family. The highlight of the party was an amazing wedding cake made by two of my friends out of two hundred Tastykakes (Frank is from Philly). It's All About Aging Tastykakes

And for the past eleven years, we’ve lived happily ever after, always celebrating our anniversary on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Love you sporto!

Don’t forget to check out this week’s Blogging Boomers Carnival, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Your Obituary…on Facebook? Is There a 12 Step Program for Facebook Addicts?

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Earlier this week, I got an e-mail from Facebook; a friend had sent me a message. And the message? That the mother of an old friend “…passed away yesterday. I thought you would want to know. XO”

Does this look like an addict?

Does this look like an addict?

Yes, I’d like to know, thank you, because both of this friend’s parents were pretty amazing people, and I will miss them. Maybe this is old fashioned, but shouldn’t news like that at least merit a direct e-mail? This is my oldest friend, dating back to high school. We’ve been at college together, worked and partied in Hong Kong at the same time, and stayed friends for more than 35 years. But now he’s addicted to Facebook.

Seriously. No one in our circle of friends, family and acquaintances, can contact this person through regular e-mail, it all has to go through Facebook. When I was home last spring, my cousin startled me by asking “So when are you getting together for coffee with W?” I must have given him that deer-in-headlights, Sarah Pallin look, because he said, “Saw it on Facebook”.

My mother is part of the generation that believes you are only in the paper when you’re born, married, and dead. As a self proclaimed media slut, I’ve fallen far from that, but still I think there should be some space between your private life, and that which is posted on the Internet.

In the interest of planning for the future, I want the following known: when I die, please no posting on Facebook, just send them my obit to “memorialize” my profile page, no tweets, or RT’s.

How do you want to be remembered in cyberspace?

Won’t you be my neighbor?

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

It's All About Aging Neighbors

Americans no longer live in close proximity to their family members. Even though the recession has brought more families closer together physically, it’s not a strategy one can count on for the foreseeable future. You never know when you’re going to be pulled out of your comfortable existence and thrust into a family emergency.
In his book, “My Mother, Your Mother”, Dr. Dennis McCullough suggests creating a “Circle of Concern”. He suggests that the circle contains friends, neighbors, doctors, family members, people you can call on in case there’s a problem. This is especially important, if you’re not living nearby, or if someone is living on their own. Try to do this before there’s a crisis, that way your family member can give you input. There may be church members, friends from book club, or a neighbor that they’ve become friendly with that you haven’t heard of yet.

With the help of your family members, start a list; names, relationships, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses are important. Don’t forget to include what each member can bring to the table in case there’s a crisis. Maybe they can pick up a prescription, grab a loaf of bread, or just spread the word with family and friends. Don’t overlook the power of the Internet. There are sites like Carepages where you can set up blogs or websites to keep people updated. When my friend was extremely sick a few years ago, I used Outlook to set up a group e-mail list, so I could just send out quick updates. What’s worked for you?

Death and the Internet; Who knows your usernames and passwords when you die?

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

niewood_gerry_smTwo musician friends of my husband’s were on the Continental flight that crashed on the way to Buffalo. One of them, Gerry Niewood, we shared Christmas dinner with. When we heard about his death, looking for more, any, information, I found Gerry’s MySpace page.

It’s disconcerting to see and hear someone dead, still living on the Internet. Even more upsetting was a sponsored link on Gerry’s page for discount airline tickets. It made me think, how do you close accounts, on MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, etc? Easy if you have their user names and passwords, difficult if not impossible, if you don’t. Facebook will memorialize, but will not give you username and password. In a brief search, I couldn’t find out what MySpace will do, and forget about Twitter. Does anyone know what their policies are? PC Magazine just printed a really comprehensive list on how to delete accounts, but this only works if you know the usernames and passwords.

This has become a big problem for people whose families have all their addresses and phone numbers stored on a password protected computer. It gets worse if someone is doing e-commerce and no one can access the site to do fulfillment or conduct business. It even extends to cell phone voice mail. However, there is an easy fix.

Now, while you’re thinking of it, determine who should get access to your computer when you die, and make sure that person has all your user names and passwords. If an attorney is handling your estate, give him the list, to keep with your will and other instructions. If you update or change anything, make sure those people are kept in the loop.  You might also want to keep a list of sites, user names, and passwords on a USB Flashdrive, or even a piece of paper. Just make sure to keep the list, or the drive, in a safe place, not on or near your computer. Here’s a video link from Live Science you might find useful.

Here’s another great opportunity to start a conversation with your parents. Trust me, they’re spending more time on the Internet than you give them credit for, so make sure someone has their usernames and passwords written down and put in a safe place. Are you surprised by how many they have?