Music To Our Ears During An Unharmonious Time

“We all have an unsuspected reserve of strength inside that emerges when life puts us to the test,” Isabel Allende said.

I’m not as optimistic as the Chilean writer, especially when I read incredibly angry and divisive comments throughout Facebook during this horrible time. But, I have hope when I see and hear all the exceptional things others are doing around the world to bring us together.

This video will bring tears to your eyes, music to your ears, love to your heart and joy to your soul. You probably won’t understand a word of what they’re saying at the beginning, but that doesn’t matter a bit.

Just watch what they do!

Health and Love, 

Geri

 

Farewell To The Wolfe Who Lived Next Door

Linda Wolfe went to bed in the wee hours of the morning and preferred not to make appointments before 1 pm. Although her books – fiction and non-fiction – and magazine articles had been published for over half a century, she was working tirelessly on a new novel of which she seemed most proud. 

One of Linda’s best-known books was Wasted: The Preppie Murder, about 19-year old Robert E. Chambers, Jr., who confessed to strangling 18-year-old Jennifer Levin in Central Park after having sex. Both attended elite Manhattan private schools; hence, the term ‘Preppie.’ The book delved into their family backgrounds and uncovered a privileged urban youth subculture consumed with alcohol, drugs and sex. The New York Times named Wasted  a notable book of the year in 1989. 

                    Linda and daughter Jessica

Linda had extraordinary discipline (although she couldn’t quit smoking) and an exceptional work ethic. She was 87. She became my friend about a decade ago. Now she’s gone.

Linda Wolfe died on February 20th following complications after bowel surgery.  She finished the first draft of her novel Unforeseen Circumstances before she left us. I hope her daughter sees it through to publication. 

I admired Linda’s writing long before I met her. Fifteen years my senior, she was a star writer at New York Magazine from the 1970s to the 1990s. ‘If only I could write like her,’ I enviously and often thought as I read her articles. Linda specialized in researching and writing about crime, an affinity she discovered when she covered the case in 1975 of twin Manhattan gynecologists found dead in their trash-filled apartment.

Linda became fascinated by the psychological motivation behind startling crimes and the events leading up to them. “I’m more interested in what went before and what comes after than in the actual crime itself,” she told the Los Angeles Times. 

Linda’s first marriage to an editor ended in divorce, and her second husband, psychologist Max Pollack, died in 2007. She had a daughter, two granddaughters  and two stepdaughters. She remained close to her stepdaughters. Max was the love of her life. 

I met Linda when she became my next door neighbor around 2010. I’ll always remember the doorman telling me a woman writer had just moved in (doormen in Manhattan tend to know everything about every tenant and their extended families!) ‘What’s her name?’ I asked. ‘Linda Wolfe,’ he said. I couldn’t wait to meet her!

We bonded immediately. Linda bought a few pieces of my aunt’s furniture that I was selling after she died. She loved decorating her new apartment. I gave her vintage Limoges trinket boxes that I’d collected but knew she’d enjoy more than I. When we had to vacate the building after it sold and was being converted into multi-million dollar condos, Linda and I would commiserate how much we’d miss living steps away from each other. 

                        Linda, Carol and Geri

Linda volunteered to write book reviews for FabOverFifty. An avid reader, she received countless books from publicists and wanted to share her love of the written word.  

We last saw each other in late July last year, when we had lunch with Carol, another former neighbor on our floor. Although Linda was finding it harder to get around – and relied on a walker – she never for a moment felt sorry for herself. She told me she was planning to sell the apartment she had bought after moving out of the building where we were neighbors. Linda hoped to move into an exclusive independent living residence on the west side, where my former husband happens to lecture a couple of times a month. Living alone was becoming less and less tenable as she increasingly limited her outside activities. 

Linda and I had a date to visit Carol a few months ago, who moved from Manhattan to Connecticut.  The weather forced us to cancel. I hadn’t reached out to Linda since then so I didn’t know she was ill. It wouldn’t have been like her to overshare her health problems with her friends. 

Rest in peace, Linda. And try to take it easy on yourself, for heaven’s sake! It was a blessing to call you a friend.

Unanswerable Questions About Life And Death

My son Colby closely follows many sports, and Kobe Bryant has been one of his favorite athletes. Only a few months younger than the basketball great, Colby has been following him from the start of his career. When he told me and his dad on Sunday that Bryant died in a helicopter accident, the news affected me more than it would have for most any other sports personality. I knew Colby was heartbroken. Hearing that Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter also died in the crash, I was heartbroken.

Victims in the crash: Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna

Life has no rhyme or reason as far as I’m concerned.  We’re born, we go through an insane amount of “stuff”, and then it’s adios muchachos. That’s hard to accept. I’m not a religious person, but I’d like to think this life is just one humongous SAT test for the next. And the next after that. 

I believe we’re directly responsible for much of the “stuff”- good and bad – that we experience in our lives (drink too much, have a hangover; spend more than we can afford, go into debt;  work really hard, earn more money and get promotions). But, we have no sway over lots of other “stuff.” When we learn about a young person who leaves us out of the blue, especially someone so inspirational to millions of others, it’s impossible not to ask “WHY”?

Who doesn’t look at the photos of Bryant and his beautiful teenage daughter and think about the fragility and randomness of life?  And who doesn’t say to herself “there but for the grace of God go I”? Even if we don’t believe in God, we’re acknowledging that our fate is not entirely in our own hands. 

Was Bryant’s death shocking because we don’t expect someone so young, healthy and vibrant to die? Maybe that’s part of it, but we’re even shocked when someone like 29-year-old Heath Ledger dies, despite knowing there’s a higher degree of probability that a drug abuser will die from an overdose. Are we less horrified when a 40-year-old dies after suffering from cancer for a few years? Maybe, but we’re still shocked. No matter what the circumstances, it’s unnerving to hear about a premature death. 

Bryant leaves behind his wife and three daughters, one less than a year old. When I was a neurotic kid, I’d check to make sure my dad was breathing as I passed his room on my way to pee. I thought I couldn’t live without him. It hurts thinking about how Bryant’s daughters feel.  It’s horrible to lose a parent at such young ages. 

I am grateful that life has not dealt me or my family an abundance of harsh blows, and I’m thankful everyday that my adult children and almost seven-year-old grandson have roofs over their heads, food on their tables, and good health.  Situations that would worry and aggravate me for weeks on end when I was younger no longer have the same impact. I’ve (mostly) learned how to put my life in perspective and to look more closely at the bigger picture. That’s one ‘positive’ we can take away from a premature death.  I try hard never to stop learning.

Geri’s On The Rebound

I’ve had a dysfunctional relationship with exercising my entire life. My flings with treadmills, weights, pilates reformers, yoga mats, and medicine balls have been intense, and brief. At least I walked a couple of times a day for about 11 years when Norfolk Terrier Rigby was part of the household. But after he died 18 months ago, the only body parts I’ve been moving fast and furiously are my fingers over the keyboard to write articles and my tongue to do interviews. I joined the gym at the Y a few blocks from my house, but made it there just a handful of times. 

When my body started warning me it would fall apart if I didn’t get moving soon, I decided to spring for a piece of exercise equipment that’s been intriguing me. It’s called a rebounder, and although it looks like a mini trampoline, it’s designed for fitness, not for recreation. Bouncing on it reportedly will do a world of good for my entire body, from improving my balance to boosting my lymphatic system, from strengthening my bones to toning my muscles. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Science revealed that exercising on a rebounder is twice as effective at improving aerobic fitness and 50 percent more efficient at burning fat than running. Sounds mighty good to me.  

After researching the best rebounders, I settled on a brand called Bellicon, which has one gushing review after another, many from women in their fifties and sixties. This low-impact bungee suspension system doesn’t have a single metal spring so it moves smoothly without making a squeak. The unit arrived this week, and it was a cinch to attach the six sturdy legs and two side supports. I didn’t need a single screw or tool. I’m going to need the support arms for a long time.  Without them, I’d undoubtedly bounce right onto my face. 

>>BOUNCE YOUR WAY TO FITNESS. CHECK OUT BELLICON.

I watched a few videos and started bouncing minutes after putting the rebounder together. Bouncing is easy to do – and actually fun – but there’s no question it makes an impact on the body because I was out of breath after a couple of minutes. Remember, I’m miserably out of shape.  So I’ve been taking it slow, doing five-minute sessions a few times a day. My goal is to work my way up to 20 minutes at a time. I can wear PJs during my workout, and need only cotton grip socks so I don’t slide around.

Take a look at the Facebook Live I did yesterday so you can see how the Bellicon works your body and read all about it on its well-done website. I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that this isn’t an inexpensive purchase. I paid $900, which included two super stable support arms and a comfort pad that extends the surface on which you can bounce without hitting the bungee cords around the perimeter. It’s a lot less expensive than a Peloton bike (aargh, spinning), and about the price of an annual gym membership. 

My new rebounder promises to be a keeper, but I’ve been known to fall in love with a piece of exercise equipment before, only to fall out of love in short order. Does that make me a commitment phobe? If the rebounder and I break up, I can always use it as a coffee table.

I’ll keep you posted. 

Bounce your way to fitness!

The #1 Selling Anti-Aging Body Treatment For Dry, Crepey Skin Just Got Even Better*

Crepe Erase® compensated FabOverFifty with an advertising sponsorship to write this post. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will help you. All insights and opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

I try to keep a reserve of the beauty products I love so I’m never caught empty handed. When I was about to reorder one of my favorite products, which makes the skin on my body the smoothest, firmest and most hydrated it’s felt in years, I noticed they’ve come out with an improved version. I love when a good thing gets even better, so I ordered right away.

Now, after using new Crepe Erase® Advanced for about six months, I’m more in love than ever!

Dry, delicate skin is common later in life, since our glands naturally produce less oil. And dry skin can crack, especially on our elbows and feet. What’s more, our skin loses its wonderful foundation of collagen and elastin as we age, making it loose and saggy on areas like our neck and chest, inner arms, even on our knees and hands. Looking almost like crepe paper, it’s called “crepey skin.” 

I first discovered Crepe Erase when I was invited to try it as the editor of a popular website. It jumped out at me because I remembered seeing the actress, Jane Seymour, talk about it on TV. She looks sensational, at 68, and has been using Crepe Erase for years, a fine endorsement right there! It’s also a big big seller on QVC, where they call it anti-aging for your body.”  That definitely got my attention.

Crepe Erase isn’t a glorified body lotion. Trust me, it feels like I’ve tried them ALL. The secret ingredient that powers Crepe Erase Advanced is TruFirm Complex, a powerful botanical blend specially formulated for dry, crepey, aging skin. Its three naturally derived extracts–apple, dill and sage–help reinforce our skin’s netting, so the skin can appear tighter and firmer, and look like it did when we were younger. Crepe Erase Advanced also contains nine Super Hydrators, including coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, beeswax, cassava and Vitamin E to deliver 48 hours of intense hydration. And, they absorb even faster and more effectively than the original formula to visibly smooth, firm and renew the skin.

A breakthrough in skin care science, TruFirm Complex is available exclusively in Crepe Erase! 

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Crepe Erase® is the #1 Selling Anti-Aging Body Treatment System for Dry, Crepey Skin*

(*Based on Crepe Erase® sales data & IRI & NPD sales data for 2017.)

The five-piece Deluxe Kit, Jane’s favorite, also treats your skin above the chin! 

Before stepping into the shower, I massage the luxurious and rejuvenating Refining Facial Scrub with TruFirm over my whole face, down to my neck.  It gently removes rough, dead skin cells to give me softer, smoother, firmer and brighter skin. Paraben free, too! 

In the shower, I grab my bottle of silky Body Smoothing Pre-Treatment with TruFirm and gentle exfoliators to lift away dead, rough surface cells and make my skin look smoother and more radiant. The lovely, fresh scent is a bonus! (By the way, don’t take long, hot showers because they’ll dry your skin even more!)  

After the shower, I massage the Advanced Body Repair Treatment with TruFirm into the crepey skin around my neck, chest, arms and legs. Just like its name says, this lightly whipped formula restores firmer, healthier-looking skin all over my body. Absorbs quickly and isn’t one bit greasy.

Even after a late night, I can count on my Flaw-Fix Eye Cream to instantly reduce the appearance of puffiness, dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles. It absorbs quickly and can be used at night and in the morning. Great as a hydrating mask, too. 

I never leave home without applying Restorative Facial Treatment, a  deluxe, ultra-hydrating formula with TruFirm and a blend of moisturizing oils. Along with its sister products, its plumps, smoothes and firms, and diminishes the look of fine lines and wrinkles. 

As I mentioned earlier, the skin on my body hasn’t felt this smooth and hydrated in many years. I’ve learned that the more consistently you use skincare products, the better the results.

Crepe Erase is so confident that you’ll love its products, it invites you to use them for 60 days, and, if you’re not satisfied, you can return the tubes–EVEN EMPTY–for a full refund, less s&h! This offer even gives me more confidence that these are quality beauty products. Plus, the line is incredibly reasonable in the first place!

There’s more. Order the Deluxe Kit and receive our 4-in-1 Eye Renewal Capsules as a free thank you gift. Packed with intense, concentrated moisturizers for an eye-opening experience. A $38 value.

and save on Crepe Erase Advanced + get FREE SHIPPING today!

Turning a Deaf Ear is Unsexy and Unwise

I can’t wait to replace these with my new Signia Pure Charge&Go X hearing aids

Are you one of the millions of women who color their graying hair and eradicate their frown lines, but passively accept hearing loss as an inevitable part of aging? I’m not. I hated pretending to follow conversations in noisy restaurants, or asking my friends over and over to repeat what one of the actors said in a movie. So, I added hearing aids to my accessories wardrobe about seven years ago, and I love them as much as my hair colorist and dermatologist. While I think red hair and smooth skin perk up my appearance, I know my hearing aids energize my overall sense of well-being.

My former mother-in-law, an elegant woman whose physical appearance was a priority, didn’t want “unsightly contraptions” protruding from her ears, no matter how much her hearing declined as she aged. But we’re not our mothers (or mothers-in-law), and hearing aids are no longer unattractive. They’re chic, as a matter of fact. Besides, turning a deaf ear to what your own ears are telling you is not only unsexy. It’s unwise. And, it’s not something I’d ever have expected from the women in my generation who have spent their lives jumping through hoops to solve problems and get what they wanted. 

Please consider these facts from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:

About 11 percent of adults aged 50 to 59 have disabling hearing loss, which increases to approximately 25 percent of those aged 60 to 69, and 50 percent in the population over 75 years old. 

About 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from wearing hearing aids.

Among adults 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three has ever used them. 

This is one case where being in the majority can be a major mistake. A study of 1,984 volunteers in their 70s and 80s by hearing experts at Johns Hopkins revealed:

Older adults with hearing loss are more likely to develop problems thinking and remembering than those whose hearing is normal.

Levels of declining brain function were directly linked to the amount of hearing decline. 

Hearing loss often leads to social isolation, and it’s been proven that loneliness is a risk factor for cognitive issues.  

Hearing loss also affects balance and puts you at four times greater risk for falling.

You don’t have to make a full-fledged commitment to get hearing aids right this minute. But for goodness sakes, at least have your hearing checked by a qualified audiologist if you suspect you have issues. It first got my attention when I thought my hairdresser said I was wearing “autumn” colors in the dead of summer, although he actually said “Auburn” (as in the name of the university). Mistaking words that sound similar is a common sign that something might be amiss with your hearing. Hearing only half a word is another. 

There are about 12,000 licensed audiologists in the United States, so it’s likely you can find one near you. The hearing test takes about 30 minutes and is painless. You’ll sit in a small room wearing headphones and listen to a series of sounds and sometimes words. Click here to schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional. 

BIG NEWS FOR WOMEN WHO DON’T WANT TO MISS A SINGLE WORD 

If you’re like me, and already enjoy the undeniable benefits of hearing aids, you’re going to be excited to learn about a new hearing aid called Signia Pure Charge&Go X. It’s the most technologically advanced device on the market, and after trying it out, I can’t wait to own a pair.  Simply put, these hearing aids feature the first acoustic-motion sensors in the world, which means they’ll automatically adapt to every sound situation I might experience throughout the day. 

                         Signia Pure Charge&Go X

Let’s say I’m going from my home to the subway and then to a business meeting, followed by a pilates class and dinner at a packed New York restaurant. Pure Charge&Go X will give me “natural and personalized sound” from any direction, even while I’m on the move. I’ll be able to understand speech and hear sounds coming from all around me, wherever I am and whatever I’m doing. If I closed my eyes at the beach, for instance, I’d hear the waves crashing on the shore in front of me, but I’d also hear the person talking next to me. 

“These hearing aids have been clinically proven to actually offer better sound quality than normal hearing,” said Lisa Perhacs, clinical education specialist at Signia. Even through Lisa’s hearing is normal, she wears her Pure Charge&Go X devices all the time, which greatly help her in noisy situations. “My younger sister, who also enjoys normal hearing, is begging me for a pair,” Lisa said. 

What’s more, my new hearing aids will be rechargeable – working for 23 hours on a single charge without streaming, or up to 20 hours with five hours of streaming time – so I won’t have to worry about keeping a supply of those pesky little batteries in my bag. I’ll even be able to stream calls, music and TV audio to them, which will be terrific when I’m doing phone interviews for FabOverFifty content and watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. They’re also sleek, slim, comfortable and pretty much unnoticeable. 

Sadly, most people have hearing loss for seven to 10 years before they do something about it. Audiologists tell me they wish they could unlock the secret to getting more people into their offices to have simple hearing tests. “You can’t fully appreciate the quality of your life if you’re experiencing hearing loss,” said Nancy Datino, doctor of audiology in Rye, NY. And while you need repeated Botox injections to keep your your crows feet at bay, one little pair of hearing aids will keep your hearing sharp for ever and ever. 


If the audiologist thinks you could benefit from hearing aids, you’ll be able to try out the Signia Charge&Go X and other models right then and there. At least you’ll have some point of reference to understand what you’ve been missing. Unless, of course, you think it’s attractive to keep repeating, “What did you say?”  

Make an appointment today for a hearing evaluation and to try the game-changing Signia hearing aids.

The Runner and the Reporter

I assume you’ve recently heard or read about the 23-year-old female TV reporter who was covering a 5K run in Savannah, GA, when a 43-year-old male runner reportedly slapped her backside as he jogged past her. On live camera when the incident occurred, the young woman was visibly disturbed. She filed a complaint, and the jogger was arrested – after turning himself in – on a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery, then released on $1,300 bail. If the case goes before a jury, and he is found guilty, he could be punished with up to one year in jail. 

                      The runner and the reporter

“He violated, objectivated and embarrassed me. No woman should ever have to put up with this at work or anywhere!!  Do better,” the reporter declared. Watching the clip – which has received about 10 million views to date – it’s obvious the man makes physical contact with her. But the episode takes place quickly, and we only see the reporter from the front.

The man reportedly is married, the father of two children, a youth minister with a Methodist Church and a scout leader with the Boy Scouts of America for decades. He has been a salesman with the same company for 12 years. Since the incident, he’s been called a “pervert, creepy, a groper” and more by the media and others. The Savannah Sports Council has banned him for life from participating in races or other sporting events, and the Boy Scouts has parted ways with him.  

“I am not that person that people are portraying me as,” he said. “I make mistakes, I’m not perfect and I’m asking for forgiveness.  I did not mean to do this. I think you’re a great, great asset to this community and to the local media and to the national media. You’re very talented. You’re an amazing woman from what I’ve gathered, and I apologize.”

                        Runner apologizing
                 Photo: Inside Edition/YouTube

The man explained that he was “caught up in the moment,” and getting ready to bring his hands up and wave to the camera. “I touched her back. I didn’t know exactly where I touched her. I did not see her facial reaction as I just kept on running. If I did see her facial reaction, I would have felt embarrassed and ashamed and stopped and turned around to apologize to her,” he told news outlets. “I totally agree 100 percent with her statement and the two most important words were her last two words, ‘do better.’ And that’s my intention.”

The reporter said she hasn’t yet decided if she’d accept his apology. She called his behavior “deplorable.”

Let us know your thoughts about what transpired by answering the following questions:

When Family Members Stream In For The Holidays, Make This Live TV Streaming Service The Gift That Keeps On Giving

FabOverFifty created this post through a sponsored content partnership with Frndly TV. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will benefit our community. —Geri Brin

Being an empty nester has its advantages. Few things in life are as gratifying, though, as gathering around the TV with your grown kids and their kids to enjoy a show or movie as one big happy family! Whether you’re laughing or wiping away a sentimental tear, doing it with those you love is an absolutely wonderful experience.

You certainly don’t need a holiday to share good times like this with the most important people in your life. But now that the giving season is upon us, consider presenting them with a subscription to Frndly TV. The first live and on-demand streaming service for the American Family, it offers over 1,000 titles across 13 top-rated channels, including Hallmark Channel, Game Show Network, The Weather Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Outdoor and Sportsman Channels, PIxL, and QVC.  

Frndly TV is a special family gift everyone will undoubtedly appreciate over and over again.

                          Christmas at the Plaza

Wherever you’re gathered with your family this season, start tuning into a world of exceptional programming, including Hallmark movie Christmas at The Plaza. It stars charming British actress Elizabeth Henstridge as Jessica Cooper, an archival historian hired to create an exhibition recalling Christmas celebrations at the iconic hotel. Struggling in a waning romantic relationship with a self-absorbed professor, Jessica meets unassuming Nick Perrelli, who is decorating The Plaza for the holidays this year. Played by Ryan Paevey, Nick helps Jessica recognize the value of self-esteem and the definition of true love. 

>>Give Frndly TV to your family today!

Watching the movie brought back memories of the grand hotel during the holidays, excited children dashing about the magnificent lobby and harried shoppers unwinding over steaming cocoa at The Palm Court. I also loved seeing actress Julia Duffy in it, who made me laugh every week on Newhart, the eighties hit sitcom.  

From Uplifting Originals To Favorite Oldies

                                  Gilmore Girls

Set your sights on UPtv, Frndly TV’s new channel addition, and introduce younger family members to some of the other stars and popular series you enjoyed back in the day, like Reba McEntire in the sitcom Reba. Who can forget talented Reba as the wisecracking single mother whose dentist husband left her to marry his young, ditzy (and pregnant) dental hygienist?  Or catch the comedy-drama Gilmore Girls, with Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel as single mother Lorelai and daughter Rory in the storybook Connecticut town of dreamers, artists and everyday people. 

UPtv offers uplifting original movies and series, too, such as Our Wedding Story, featuring couples’ breathtaking experiences, from the moment they meet to their walk down the aisle. Exceptionally produced, the series makes you feel like you actually know the couples and are a guest at their weddings. Besides, who isn’t intrigued by real-life love stories?

>>Give Frndly TV to your family today!

A Stupendous Streaming Service For A Super Special Sum 

                                   Kid Frndly

Frndly TV is a special gift for those who have finally cut off their preposterously expensive cable service and are searching for the perfect family oriented entertainment they can stream. Even little kids are welcomed into the Frndly TV family with the BabyFirst channel to help introduce them to colors, numbers, letters and animals. The service is designed using the familiar linear grid guide so it’s a breeze to browse shows. You can record your favorite shows and movies; go back 72 hours to view any programming that aired during the three days, and start a program from the beginning if you tuned in late. You can stream at home on Roku, Amazon, Chromecast, and Apple TV, or on-the-go with iOS and Android. Subscribers also can customize their packages to include features like unlimited Cloud DVR that stores all recordings for 90 days, and streaming on four devices at the same time! 

All pretty cool and worry free, right? 

There’s more cool: a $5.99 monthly fee for the core service. Just think, a gift this special, with a price this affordable, makes it a gift well worth giving.  Santa will even want a subscription for himself, Mrs. Claus and their family of hard-working elves. 

Try it right now, and you can enjoy Frndly TV’s wonderful shows for FREE for 7 days. Just in time for the holidays! Your family is on its way.

An Eye-Opening Gift For Someone You Love

This is a sponsored post. VSP Individual Vision Plans compensated FabOverFifty with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be informative for our readers. —Geri Brin

The best gift we can give to those we love is something they really need, but might be hard pressed to buy themselves. It’s even better if we present it out of the blue, not just for a special occasion. Since we don’t always know what’s on someone’s wish list, however, we might take the easy way out and buy a gift card, which is pretty impersonal. 

When I asked my 6.5-year-old grandson where his glasses were at the end of the school year in June, he said, “I lost them.” Surprise! Surprise! I thought. Many six-year-old boys would misplace their heads if they weren’t attached to their bodies. Primo’s mom, my daughter, works with me at FabOverFifty and her health plan doesn’t include eye exams or glasses. Buying new glasses is costly these days, especially if you want to get properly fitting frames and quality lenses, and my daughter’s budget is tight. 

So when I recently heard from VSP Individual Vision Plans, which provides great savings on frames, lenses, eye exams, and more, I thought what a perfect gift it would make for Primo. Well, maybe not for him (he’d rather get baseball cards), but for Simone! The timing couldn’t have been better since the new school year was about a month away.  If you don’t have a grandchild who needs glasses to play sports and see the blackboard, think about the people in your life like Simone, who don’t have vision insurance. They might be retired on fixed incomes, between jobs, college students or self-employed.

VSP CAN ALSO STAND FOR VERY SIMPLE PROCESS

It’s a breeze to gift a VSP Individual Vision Plan online. A day or two after I completed the enrollment form and paid the very reasonable annual premium, Simone received an email about my gift, which included Primo’s ID card and a detailed membership packet. She entered her zip code on the website to locate a provider where Primo could get his comprehensive eye exam and choose frames, and discovered one that had recently opened two blocks from her apartment. Over 34,000 private-practice doctors across the country accept VSP vision insurance, so chances are the beneficiary of your original gift also will find one that’s convenient. Simone was delighted that Primo could have his eyes examined and select frames in one spot!  

Harlem Vistasite Eye Care is spacious, filled with light and beautifully decorated. Most importantly, it offers an impressive selection of children’s (and adult) frames. “I tried on at least three styles I could have bought,” Simone told me. “Primo’s eye exam was as thorough as any I’ve ever had,” she noted. The optometrist even dilated his eyes to be able to fully examine the health of the optic nerve and retina.  Her calm and friendly demeanor during the process kept Primo focused!

PLAYING THE FRAME GAME

Now time to pick his frames, Primo was calm no more, having exhausted his calm quotient for the day. He tried on about a dozen styles–including four frames at the same time–and confidently selected navy frames with red accents. The tips of the temples are flexible, so Primo can adjust them himself to make sure they fit comfortably on his ears. Note: This innovative feature should come standard on all frames, so we don’t have to run back to the frame store when the  temples have to be tightened. 

Simone ordered a scratch-resistance feature for the lenses, as well as anti-glare coating, UV protection and an anti-reflective treatment that blocks high-energy blue light emitted by electronic devices, including computers, e-readers and smartphones. Even energy-efficient light bulbs discharge this light, which can damage the eyes over time. What’s more, the sun is the biggest source of blue light. 

Simone’s out-of-pocket expenses for the comprehensive eye exam, frames and optional enhancements for the quality lenses was $174. This included affordable copays of $15 and $25 for Primo’s eye exam and lenses, and a $150 allowance towards the frames. Considering this transaction took place in New York City, where prices are higher for practically everything, that’s an excellent value. Without my individual vision insurance gift, the total would have been about $600, the optometrist told Simone. 

I’m delighted that the VSP Individual Vision Plan worked out so well.  Simone is pleased. And, happily, Primo has been wearing his new glasses so he’ll be comfortable with them when school starts tomorrow. Now, we have to hope he doesn’t lose them, at least not before Thanksgiving! 

Gift an individual plan today!Or call 855.958.4746.

I Was In The Running To Be His Wife. I Didn’t Make The Cut.

I hadn’t heard from Rick in a long time. We dated in 2001 for about seven months, but he kept in touch with me, even after he remarried and spent half the year in Florida. Rick started dating soon after his first wife died in 2000 because he hated being alone. Determined to find a new wife, he’d “play the field” with at least two women at a time, even though he hadn’t dated in over four decades. 

I became one of the finalists Rick chose for a potential wife, but I didn’t make the cut for two major reasons: I had no plans to stop working and I didn’t golf. Twelve years my senior, Rick had retired from the men’s apparel company he owned and loved hitting the links. He also enjoyed good food and wine, his huge Maine Coon cat (I just Googled and learned it’s the largest domesticated cat breed), keeping up with current events, and his lovely home in Connecticut. A Princeton undergraduate, Rick had a PhD in engineering from Caltech but went into his father’s necktie business instead of pursuing a profession in the field he studied. He confessed to being a hedonist, which while appealing to me on the surface, would never interest me deep down. Even if I had more money than I could spend, I’d still want to work. Call me crazy. I love working.

No matter how much Rick tried to fill his life with good times, the premature loss of his daughter left a permanent dark hole. She died after we stopped dating, but Rick often talked to me about her when we were together. He wished his wife had lived to help her out since they were close. During lunch with him a few years after his daughter’s death, I could sense Rick’s pain. 

Rick married an attractive Frenchwoman who didn’t work and loved golf, and they divided their time between Florida and Connecticut (perhaps Paris, too). I met her once when he invited me to join them for lunch. She and I couldn’t have been more different, physically or emotionally. She was petite and graceful. I’m neither. She was cool and collected. Not I. Although she filled his two biggest requirements in a companion, I must have filled some other, secondary needs. 

I wished Rick happy birthday on Facebook a year ago, but didn’t get an acknowledgement. I decided to Google his name last night when he popped into my mind. I thought maybe he had sold his house in Connecticut and was rarely up north. Or perhaps I simply had faded from his radar.

Rick died from cancer weeks after his 84th birthday in 2018, I read in an online obituary. It’s always unsettling to learn about a  friend’s death from Google. Rick and I weren’t close enough for me to miss him physically, but still his death had a profound effect on me.  Death is no longer amorphous, off in the distance. It’s friends Rick, Lissa, Linda, Carola, Bud, John, and many others. It’s my parents May and Sam. Former in-laws Gerry and Henry. Grandmothers Rosie and Fanny. Grandfathers Sam and Louis. Uncle Normie and and aunt Helen. Uncle Dave. Aunt Sylvia. 

I don’t want to come across as morbid. I’d actually like to think that Rick is happily together with his first wife and daughter, just as I often like to think my parents are together again. My mother died about 20 years after my dad, but I know she wasn’t one bit afraid of death because she longed to see him. It’s comforting. Sort of.