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. (more…)

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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Do You Have A Good Working Memory? Do You Even Know What Working Memory Is?

The last two weeks have been among the most frenetic in my life!

I’ve moved from the section of New York City where I’ve lived for 48 years; I’ve started renovation on an 1899 house with overgrown front and backyards, absent a kitchen or a single bathroom; shuttled back and forth, sometimes five times a day, between a temporary rental apartment and the house, and worked every single day on my biggest passion, FabOverFifty. I have always prided myself on being able to multitask with the best of ‘em, but I’ve been juggling multiple projects like I’ve never juggled before.

Last night, minutes before going to bed, I suddenly realized my handbag wasn’t in sight, and since I’m currently living in a 400-square foot studio apartment, I knew I simply hadn’t misplaced it. I became frantic. My life sits in that bag. Keys to all the doors of the house; a few hundred dollars in cash; checkbooks, and my wallet with every conceivable piece of crucial ID. My mind started racing. I got back into my temporary home a couple of hours earlier, so I had those keys. Surely, I had to have left my bag in the car. I popped on a blouse (sans bra) and shorts, and raced out of the building, running most of the three blocks to the blue VW Golf.

There it was, resting comfortably on the back seat, where I had obviously tossed it on my last outing. I grabbed it, held it to my chest, and thought, “You’re doing too much, Geri.”

But am I?

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This Lady Sure Knows How To Toot Her Own Horn

Louise Baranger first put her hands on a trumpet in the fourth grade.

“Someone came to the school so we could learn to play band instruments. My best friend’s brother had a trumpet in their attic, so she had to play the trumpet. Of course, I said ‘I’ll play the trumpet.’ I immediately realized this was me. The trumpet was really cool,” Louise told me.

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Do You Believe You Should Have The Right To Die?

When my former father-in-law was bedridden with congestive heart failure, at 96, he asked his son (my ex) to help him end his life. Douglas contacted the Hemlock Society, a national right-to-die organization founded in 1980, to get  a blueprint on how to carry out his father’s wishes. Douglas then asked if I’d be there while he did the deed. I said “yes,” despite the fact that it made me terrifically apprehensive (as it did him.)

Douglas’ father, unbeknownst to me and Douglas, told his nurse about the plan; thankfully, the nurse wrote an email to his boss about it and copied Douglas. I say thankfully because if we had actually gone ahead with the plan, and then someone reported what we had done, we would have been charged with homicide.  

I would not be a model prisoner, nor would Douglas. (more…)

I’m In The 86% Group. Are You?

I was interested–and intrigued–to see the results of a one-question poll we posted last Thursday. For those of you who didn’t see it, the question was:

How do YOU want to look:

● I want to look as good as I feel
I want to look as young as I feel
I want to grow old “gracefully”
(aka embrace my wrinkles & gray hair)

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How Do YOU Want To Look?

1illos1

So read the headline of an ad for “older” women, in a beauty magazine I was perusing at the beauty salon. A photo of a nice-looking woman accompanied the quote. She appeared to be in her late 40s, maybe early 50s.

How does feeling “young” feel? Do you want to skip rope or play hopscotch? Wear your hair in pigtails or a ponytail? Make out with a cute guy at work? Drink yourself silly? (more…)

Friends In Need Are Friends Indeed

“When you first meet her, you think, ‘how could anyone be so sweet,’  but when you get to know her, you discover she really is that sweet,” said one of Susan Kaden’s many friends, who gathered at a New York City restaurant recently to celebrate her 50th birthday. “She is one of the most special people I’ve ever met.”

Susan had two solid reasons not to be sweet during the last couple of years: Her mother died of pancreatic cancer, three weeks after sharing her diagnosis, and her husband died of brain cancer last April, 19 months after he was diagnosed. But those unfortunate experiences didn’t prevent Susan from living with the graciousness, generosity and compassion that have always defined her, her friends told me. She was an exemplary caregiver to both her mom and to her husband of 26 years, celebrating the life they enjoyed together while they still could.
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A FOF Spin On The News

SCORE ONE FOR THE MOMS

Photo Credit: Sporting News

I have zero interest in soccer, but was pleased that the US Women’s Soccer Team won the World Cup this past weekend.  It was heartwarming to see three of the teams’ FOF moms interviewed before the game, because each of these women clearly played a role in helping nourish her daughter’s passion for the sport. Judy Wambach, mom of player Abby, choked up talking about a note her daughter sent her that read: “I wouldn’t be here without you.”

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Caitlyn Jenner: Over Fifty And Pretty Fab

Darn it, Caitlyn Jenner is my age and she has a far more beautiful body than I do!  If you’ve been living under the proverbial rock, Caitlyn is not another member of the overexposed, underdressed Kardashian clan;  she’s the former sports star and family patriarch, Bruce Jenner, who has publicly become a woman.


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