The Essence Of Motherhood In 9 Words

“You’re only as happy as your least happy child!”

I’ve heard countless mothers quote this statement over the years, and although it’s nearly impossible to determine who came up with it, I think it’s one of the most insightful statements about motherhood ever uttered.

Madeline (not her real name), for example, was recently filling me in on her grown daughter and son.

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Let’s Start Reading Together: “The Nest”

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Happy New Year!

The votes are in and The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, has been chosen as the book we want to read to kick off the FOForum For Books. The novel received 54 of the 190 votes cast, or 28 percent. Here’s the synopsis:

“The irresistible story of a New York family whose four adult siblings are still struggling to grow up (as they await a watershed inheritance that may never materialize), The Nest is filled with humor, warmth, and dishy behind-the-scenes gossip on the machinations of the publishing world, a trifecta that makes it nearly impossible to put down. An insightful, beautifully drawn portrait of a family on the brink of crisis, The Nest also perfectly captures the legendary (if sometimes elusive) charm of New York City.”– Barnes & Noble Reads

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Kids Do Say The Darndest Things

A man named Art Linkletter hosted a popular afternoon TV show from 1945 to 1969, House Party, and on it was a segment called Kids Say The Darndest Things. A few kids sitting at attention on the stage (as kids in the 5Os were trained to do) would field Art’s questions about everything from their parents to politics, and they’d invariably make funny, clever and insightful comments. Kids have unnerving observational skills, and, without filters, they don’t hesitate to speak their minds and unleash their creativity. (more…)

Women Love To Do THIS With Other Women

My two younger sisters are voracious readers, like my mom and dad were, but alas, I am not.

I attribute this to the fact that my dad made me look up every unfamiliar word when I was in grade school. It was an exasperating exercise, since I didn’t know lots of words. I paid more attention to learning definitions than to the content of what I was reading. Now I have a fine vocabulary, but reading isn’t “my thing.”

Besides doing lots of required reading in high school and college, I did read consistently when I and a group of friends formed a book group in the 90s, which lasted for a few years. Once a month we’d gather at my apartment for dinner, wine (lots of it), and book talk. It was great fun. The structure of the group gave me the incentive to read, and it was wonderful to get lost in great books, and excitedly discuss them with great women. When the book group lost its energy, so did my interest in reading!

Now, I think it’s high time I start reading regularly again, and I hope you’ll join me, whether, like me, you need a push to pick up a book, or reading is a religion to you.

The idea to launch a FOForum for Books hit me when I ran across a post from Goodreads.com announcing its Goodreads Choice Awards of 2016, the “only major book awards decided by readers,” versus self-anointed ‘book reviewers’. When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi, took first place in Memoir and Autobiography, and it happened to be one of the few books I read this year, the truly extraordinary account of a 36-year-old neurosurgeon, written while he was losing his life to rare lung cancer.

So, without further ado, here’s how I imagine the FOForum for Books will work:

Truly Madly Guilty

“In her latest page-turner, New York Times bestseller Moriarty (The Husband’s Secret, Little Big Lies, What Alice Forgot) explores how one small moment can destroy everything. Best friends Erika and Clementine gather with pals for a casual backyard barbecue, right before a tragedy changes their lives forever, and puts everything they thought they knew about themselves and each other into question. A fast-paced, nonlinear narrative that will have you puzzling together the before, the after, and the in between.” –Barnes & Noble Reads

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

“As the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people,  not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible “adult” around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.”–  Barnes & Noble Review

The Girls

51IV0du+hBL._SX405_BO1,204,203,200_“A lonely teenage girl, her last summer at home before boarding school, an intriguing gang of older, louche (disreputable) girls in a local park. It’s northern California at the end of the 1960s, and these girls are coming of age at the edge of unspeakable violence. Written in seductive, luminous prose, Emma Cline’s haunting novel, The Girls, captures the experience of crossing between adolescence and adulthood, questioning what we’re willing to do to belong and to be seen.”– Barnes & Noble Review

The Nest

51IV0du+hBL._SX405_BO1,204,203,200_“The irresistible story of a New York family whose four adult siblings are still struggling to grow up (as they await a watershed inheritance that may never materialize), The Nest is filled with humor, warmth, and dishy behind-the-scenes gossip on the machinations of the publishing world, a trifecta that makes it nearly impossible to put down. An insightful, beautifully drawn portrait of a family on the brink of crisis, The Nest also perfectly captures the legendary (if sometimes elusive) charm of New York City.”– Barnes & Noble Reads

Small Great Things

51IV0du+hBL._SX405_BO1,204,203,200_“With richly layered characters and a gripping moral dilemma that will lead readers to question everything they know about privilege, power, and race, Small Great Things is the stunning new page-turner from Jodi Picoult. [Picoult] offers a thought-provoking examination of racism in America today, both overt and subtle. Her many readers will find much to discuss in the pages of this topical, moving book.” –Booklist (starred review)

Which book would you most like to read?

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A Cool Course To Help Inspire The Course Of Your Life



Once many of us enter our mid-40s and 50s, we’re finally–and hopefully–starting to feel more secure about ourselves and our abilities than we did when we were in our 20s and 30s.

Whether we strived to be the best mothers or wives; the best friends or sisters; the best teachers, writers or businesswomen, we always were so busy working hard, competing vigorously, and trying to impress everyone around us that we never stopped to take stock of who we really were, what we really were accomplishing, and where we really wanted to go! Now that those heady, and sometimes helpless and heart-wrenching, times are behind us, we’re ready to take the time to do just that!

drWhen you come to a point in your life where you deem yourself successful, you have discovered your personal place,” assert the smart folks at Concordia University, which is offering us a free online and email course, appropriately called “How To Create Your Personal Space.” The three-part mini course is designed to help you recognize what you need to do to GROW PROFESSIONALLY, CONNECT WITH OTHERS WHO CAN HELP YOU SUCCEED, AND THRIVE BY ENCOURAGING OTHERS, explains Ken Harris, Program Director at Concordia, in his inspiring opening video.

Quoting an 18th century French philosopher, Ken said: “We discover in ourselves what we hide from others, and we recognize in others what we hide from ourselves.”

Using essays, videos, interactive polls and download journals, the succinct and insightful course material comes from Concordia University Wisconsin’s one-year Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Administration (OLA). An OLA is an alternative to an MBA that focuses on personal growth and leadership potential. You can looking forward to:

Exploring the importance of expanding your horizons, learning your limits, developing a personal growth plan, and taking the tactical steps to create “a comfortable place where you can operate within your skills and instincts,” explains Ken. 

Understanding how knowing yourself and reading your own emotions will help you recognize what’s missing within you, and connecting with people can help give it to you.

Recognizing when to fight and stand up for what you believe, and when to walk away from the fight and seek a new path to success.

Learning the essential ways to give to others, from giving “the real you” and giving emotionally to giving physically, without expectation and financially.

How to Create Your Personal Space should take only about one week to complete, which is a modest amount of time to learn how to put together the tools you’ll need to build a successful life. And, once you create it, you’ll own it for life.

box-1294153_640I enjoyed listening to Ken Harris’ three fast-moving videos, chock full of sage advice, and to answering the essay questions, including what I need to change when encouraging others. I highly recommend that you sign up, too. Remember, it’s free, it’s fast, it’s fun and it’s enlightening. I can’t think of a smarter gift to can give yourself for 2017!


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Sign up here today!

This post is sponsored by Concordia University Wisconsin. Thanks for supporting FabOverFifty!

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

If you live in an apartment building in Manhattan, you may barely know the person who lives in the unit 10 feet from yours. Technically, he’s your “neighbor,” but the two of you hardly are what you’d call “neighborly.” That’s just the way it is there, maybe not always, but often.

If you live in a rowhouse in Brooklyn’s Bedford Stuyvesant section (Bed Stuy, to those in the know), being “neighborly” is the rule, not the exception. This probably is nothing new to those of you who have lived in houses most of your lives (except if you live on a fancy estate and your nearest neighbor is acres away). I, on the other hand, haven’t lived in a house since I left my parent’s home when I was 21, and became a married woman, so this is a brand new experience for me.

I now live on Lexington Avenue, between Bedford and Nostrand Avenues (coincidentally, I also lived off Lexington Avenue in Manhattan). My house sits on a ridiculously long block that’s about ⅕ of a mile, and has about 60 houses, but it feels more intimate than the upper east side co-op building where I lived, which had only 22 apartments, three on a floor!  I meet neighbors when I walk Rigby morning and evening, when I take out the trash (I’ve become a religious recycler here, where everyone follows the rules to a T), and when I move my car from one side of the street to another to abide by alternate-side-of-the-street parking regulations.

What’s especially lovely is that this is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city.

Young couples live on the block. Beautiful and charming Mina Stone, a private chef, and her artist husband (I forgot his name) live immediately next door, and the wonderful aromas of her cooking periodically waft onto the deck off my kitchen.  Mina is having her first child any minute (she’s two weeks late, and the doctors want to induce today, as a matter of fact), so it will be fun to have a baby next door.

Another young couple, with a 16-month-old son, lives about 10 houses away. The husband and I met when we were standing on our decks on Thanksgiving Day, both taking breaks from cooking our Thanksgiving feasts.  I followed the progress of their beautiful backyard renovation during the summer, and was thrilled to hear he’s a landscape architect, and I could hire him to work on my backyard this coming spring.  

Single women rent apartments in some of the homes on the block.

One moved here a few years ago after breaking up with her long-time boyfriend. She loves gardening and tends to the front garden, which must please the home’s owner.

Keep Reading…

Meet The New Man In My Life

Do you publicly moan and groan, at least once in awhile, when things aren’t going as smoothly as you’d like?

You might have a bad cold or developed a big, bad cavity. Maybe the thermostat isn’t working on a bitter winter day.  Or UPS can’t locate the rug you ordered for the living room. When things like this happen, and you’re feeling under the weather or hate the weather, think about Santos.

doorI met 40-something Santos a few months ago, when he came to my new (old) house to draw up plans to build a kitchen, from scratch. Santos definitely has a way with wood. He created the striking kitchen on the parlor floor, two beautiful closets on the second, as well as new doors for every room (each in a different design). What’s more, he’s self taught, and one of the hardest working men I’ve ever met. He’s dedicated to his two sons and crazy about his six-month-old grandson. You should know, his life has not been easy, not easy at all.

Most recently, Santos was working on bringing back an ancient (1899) entry door in my house from the dead. Then he took ill and almost died himself.

Ignoring the pain he was feeling in his stomach, for a few weeks, Santos continued to work in his shop. He finally went to the doctor when he developed severe diarrhea and couldn’t keep food down. The doctor told him he had a stomach virus and prescribed antibiotics. A week later, Santos wasn’t feeling any better and the pain became so bad, he asked his son to take him to the hospital.

Santos spent over 12 hours in the ER, without complaining or demanding attention, despite his intense pain. He had blood tests and two CT scans. Around 10 pm, he was visited by two doctors, he recounted when I visited him earlier this week.

“Hello, I’m Dr. Berami, the surgeon,” one told Santos.

“And I’m Dr. Cartwright, the anesthesiologist,”  said the other.

“And I’m Santos, the carpenter,” answered Santos, with a chuckle, despite his intense pain.

The CT scans revealed that Santos’ small intestine was being telescoped into his large intestine.

The condition is called intussusception (most common in children), and if it wasn’t surgically fixed, pronto, the intestinal wall could lose its blood supply, develop gangrene and become perforated. Santos was so close to that point, the doctors took him into surgery at 1 am. He didn’t go into a tailspin about his situation or ask the doctors a litany of questions. “I know about wood and they know about operations,” Santos told me pragmatically. He trusted they’d do their job as well as he does his.

The operation lasted 3 ½ hours. Santos is looking–and feeling–stronger every day. He doesn’t yet know the biopsy results, but I have no doubt he’d handle a cancer diagnosis as well as he handles everything else. Practically.  Without fuss. Although he outwardly may act laid back, however, he’s a worry wart inside, which may have contributed to his current health problems. But, he’d rather spend positive energy on his family and the work he loves than on bemoaning his fate.

I am thankful Santos has become part of my life. The doctors told him he’ll probably have to spend another week in the hospital. Hopefully, he’ll be able to eat solid food by tomorrow, so I can bring him a homemade turkey dinner.

Why It’s Especially Important For Women To Vote

“There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.”

― Susan B. Anthony

On Election Day in 1920, millions of American women exercised their right to vote for the first time. It took activists and reformers nearly 100 years to win that right, and the campaign was not easy: Disagreements over strategy threatened to cripple the movement more than once. But on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified, enfranchising all American women and declaring for the first time that they, like men, deserve all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.”  www.history.com

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Whichever side of the aisle you’re on 96 years later, it is your right and responsibility as a citizen to help chose the most powerful leader in the world. Although American women have made great strides during the last  century, we have many more strides to make. Our salaries remain lower than men’s; pregnancy and motherhood still can impede our ability to be promoted; sexual harassment still exists in the workplace; women currently hold 84 of 435 seats in the House of Representatives, or 19.3%, and  20 of 100 Senate seats, or 20%.

Unless we make our voices heard about issues that affect our lives and livelihood, and will affect the lives of our grandaughters, we likely will continue to defer to those who don’t think women and men are absolute equals.  Surely, our country faces troubling matters that go beyond the status of women, and we must also consider which candidate is most closely aligned to our positions on them when we vote next Tuesday. But, please think where we might be if passionate women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott hadn’t stood up for their ‘sisters’ in the 1800s.  And exercise your right in 2016.  

Join The Joint Movement

Dear FOFriends    Osteo Bi-Flex has compensated FabOverFifty for this blog.
I can assure you that the content is completely factual and valuable, and all opinions are totally my own!

I knew I was in trouble a couple of years ago, when it suddenly became harder to rise from the seat on the subway or get up off the floor after playing with my then one-year old grandson. I could no longer pop up from a chair or the ground. I needed my hands to help boost me into standing position. And, if I sat in a chair for a long time–say a few hours–my joints felt stiff when I got up!  Winter weather only made it all worse.

leadAlthough I knew my age was affecting my decreased flexibility, it took a little researching to find out exactly what was happening. Here’s the lowdown, according to Healthline.com: The smooth, rubbery connective tissue on the end of our bones, called cartilage, cushions our joints and helps them to move smoothly and easily, but it wears out with age, so we can’t spring up from the floor like we did when we’re 25. Decades of walking, exercising, and moving also take a toll on cartilage and, when it degenerates, our joints can become inflamed, causing mild soreness or aching when we stand, climb stairs, or exercise.

WAIT! There’s more:

Young woman with knee pain isolated on whiteWe lose muscle tone and bone strength the older we get, which can make physical tasks, even ones that were once second nature, more difficult and taxing on our body. Then there’s the winter. “Anything cold causes muscles, ligaments {fibrous connective tissue that holds together a joint}  and tendons {fibrous collagen tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone} to sort of tighten up, and that makes them stiffer,” said Dr. James Gladstone, co-chief of the Sports Medicine Service at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine in New York to Weather.com.  

I also learned that I’d better start exercising, which didn’t mean trying to become Venus Williams. Low-impact exercise can help strengthen muscles, keep bones strong, and improve joint mobility, advised Dr. Peggy Yih, my internist. Yoga, bicycling and swimming are good because they’re easier on the joints. The 20 pounds I had gained during the preceding five years had to go, too!  Being overweight, or obese, puts additional stress on our joints, cartilage and bones, especially in our knees, not to mention it makes you less likely to be physically active.

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Knowledge is power, so I sprung into action.

Ensure-VannI’ve been doing cardio and weight-training an average of three times a week, over Skype, with Vann Duke, an exceptional coach. I lost 20 pounds (could probably lose 10 more), by eating healthier (exercising helps).  I take dietary supplements for vitamins I can’t sufficiently get from foods, including one that supports bone health.  

Most recently, I started taking Osteo Bi-Flex Joint Health & Muscle, which is especially formulated for exercise recovery, so I feel less stiff after intense sessions with Vann and walking up and down the two flights of stairs in my new (old) house multiple times a day. The capsules include tart cherry, an antioxidant that helps alleviate muscle soreness, Ester-C to boost enzymes for collagen formation, and Joint Shield, an exclusive ingredient for joint maintenance.

Osteo Bi-Flex is the #1 pharmacist recommended brand for joint health and it is leading the call to empower us to keep physically active and enjoy the activities that make us happy, including playing on the floor with grandchildren and other little kids.

Young girl and grandmother playing together sat on a carpet in the living room

The Joint Health & Muscle supplement I’m taking is part of a range of Osteo Bi-Flex products designed to address varying conditions, but all support joint health. Triple Strength, for example, is recommended for those of us who experience more joint stiffness. It supplies us with glucosamine and chondroitin, which are naturally occurring substances to help the body maintain fluid and flexibility in the joints, as well as build cartilage.  

I’ve been taking two capsules daily of Osteo Bi-Flex Joint Health & Muscle, for about three weeks, and absolutely do not feel uncomfortably stiff after sessions with Vann or climbing stairs all day long.  The package claims it “shows improved joint comfort within 7 days!” a claim to which I can personally attest.

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I urge you to check out the Osteo Bi-Flex website to learn more about your joint health, so you can keep up the lifestyle you want to live.

And you can follow the brand on Facebook and Twitter for more tips, insights from experts and stories from others who are enjoying the benefits of joints that work and feel better.

October is Joint Health Awareness Month, so this is the perfect time to join the joint movement!

Geri Meets PeriCoach, And Actually Has Fun Doing Kegel Exercises

I think of myself as a pretty self-disciplined person, at least when I want to be.

But, I’ve had to depend on outside resources to help me achieve a number of important goals: I went to a hypnotist to help me stop smoking over 30 years ago, and I haven’t smoked a single cigarette since (or even physically touched a cigarette); I signed up with a trainer almost two years ago, who specializes in getting people over 50 in tip-top shape, and my strength, balance and cardio endurance have definitely improved.

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Most recently, I turned to a smart, smart device, called PeriCoach, to help me train a group of muscles that Vann Duke, my trainer, doesn’t address:
my pelvic floor muscles.

productLike nearly 18 million women who leak when they laugh, sneeze, run or jump, I experience bladder incontinence. Mine is a result of a total hysterectomy in 1991, two childbirths, and menopause, which have thinned my vaginal tissue and weakened my pelvic muscles, as well as the ligaments which help support the bladder. These weakened structures can cause the bladder to shift downward, and prevent the urethra from closing properly, resulting in urine leakage during moments of physical stress like coughing, laughing, jumping, lifting or running. (more…)