Arrrggghhh! Ageist assumptions strike again!

A young friend – in her mid thirties? – wrote a blog post today about her wonderful Dad, who died suddenly some years back.  She observes – “Today would be my dad’s 75th birthday. He would not have liked that milestone, but I sure would have.”

I doubt it.  I bet that he would take one look at how well his children have done, how his grandkids are flourishing & he’d be smug as a bug in a rug to be a glorious 75 years.  He might have dreaded it in his 60s & I’m sure he would have camped up his horror for one & all, but in his heart…  Nah – he’d take one look at all those beloved faces, remember all the memories, and been the soul of happiness to be a “geezer.”


The challenge of aging

I yelped with joy, reading Connie Goldman‘s sense of what we’re, each & everyone,  called to do  ~ ~ “The challenge of aging isn’t to stay young;  it’s not only to grow old, but to grow whole – to come into your own.

That is a great quote because it is as true when we are twenty as when we’re inching up to ninety.  ALL of our life is about being all thoroughly all that we are as possible, whatever our situation or circumstances.

What too often blocks our way is having our aging ever upward woven into a cultural fabric that seems to disengage from grasping the importance & power of true elderhood, that puts barriers in the way of continued growth – in the name of convenience.

Life was never meant to be convenient.  It’s SUPPOSED to be challenging & messy, enriching & inconvenient, expansive & exasperating.  From first breath to last.

Older people need advocates, people who help brush aside physical, emotional, even mental barriers.  Every step these essentials take, every action, helps them grow whole, helps them come more fully into their own.

The life they enrich, that they help give the space to grow whole, may be their own!



OUCH! Age discrimination bites Ohio State in butt

Yes, the university claims “But we did nothing wrong.”  However, the facts speak for themselves.  To quote from the NY Times’ always meaty The New Old Age – –

The university denied that it had acted unlawfully and took no action against any employee.

But the university has rehired both women and agreed to back pay and retroactive benefits totaling about $203,000 for Ms. Taaffe and $237,000 for Ms. Moon. It also paid $325,000 in attorneys’ fees to the Gittes Law Group, the  firm representing the women, and the AARP Foundation lawyers who joined their suit. 

More important, the plaintiffs won “prospective injunctive relief,” actions to avert illegal policies in the future. Ohio State has agreed to train human resources staff to recognize, investigate and prevent age discrimination. 

AMEN & HALLELUJAH!  And by having more seasoned minds on staff rather than put out to pasture, the university will benefit more than short-sighted administrators can imagine!


Forest bathing – big benefits, shrinking spaces

Amen for an article in today’s New York Times on the deep health benefits of forest bathing – aka a walk in the woods.  It might be news to the NY Times, but it is also good old-fashioned common sense, the sort that our grandmothers knew – “Turn of the television & get outside!”  

One of the reasons our older friends do so well is because we get them OUT, get them into the woods – and the meadows & mountains, the seaside & parks.  But it’s getting harder & harder as precious open spaces shrink more & more.

Forest bathing, walk in the woods, communing with nature – – it delivers great health benefits for ALL of us!


Improbable beginning – WBUR & WQED

Listening last night with my hubster to Are We There Yet?, an episode of NPR’s On Point (we are big radio fans), it hit me that two of the most influential public television stations – WBUR/Boston (where On Point originates) & WQED/Pittsburgh – are rooted in wildly improbable beginnings.  In a large-boned, effusive woman with a singular way of addressing her audience & a duck ~and~ a soft-spoken, kindly man who conversed with a king & kids.

Yes, it’s a bit of a flip from radio to television, but my mind managed it nicely, thank you.

Julia Child & Fred Rogers were beyond improbably, “Are you kidding me?” television stars.  Speaking to them at a party, the term “paradigm shifter” would probably not have crossed your mind.  Yet both were.  And both took their respective television & affiliated radio stations into BIG time broadcasting.

That touches me deeply, inspires & gives hope.  At this moment in time, I am excitedly diving into wondrous new projects, taking me in directions that have beckoned for years.  (One of the great advantages about being 66 rather than 33 & certainly younger is the ever-present thought, “If not now, when?“)

It’s a good time for me to ponder Mr. Rogers & Mrs. Child.

Consider the incomparable Julia.  Last year’s book, The Gourmands’ Way: Six Americans in Paris and the Birth of a New Gastronomy, is a marvelous meander through post-war Paris & how a “ragtag band of passionate epicureans  (with an assist from a certain Francophile First Lady) transformed American cooking.”  Hands down, the greatest transforming factor was Julia Child, who entranced & inspired the masses to master the art of French cooking.

The current film about Fred Rogers vehemently underscores the amazing fact that this man not only had/has an astonishing impact on our American culture, but that he was successful from the very first, not in spite of, but due to his modest demeanor & soft-spoken ways.

Both Julia Child & Fred Rogers became the most super of super stars by just being themselves.  WBUR & WQED, both of which achieved fame prominence power thanks to their marquee stars, were founded on a woman & a man committed to quality integrity authenticity.

Quality integrity authenticity – as improbable as it may sound in today’s slap-dash, short shelf life, helter skelter culture, those three qualities are still the basis for genuine, long-lasting, satisfying accomplishment.

My thanks to Mr. Rogers & Mrs. Child for the well-timed reminder to carve out my own path, to set whatever it is I serve on the table with confidence & verve, telling all & sundry, “Isn’t it lovely?  It’s JUST the way I like it – dig in!”


Breast milk, seriously? In which I make a rare foray into current events

It’s rare that I bring up current events on this blog, but today’s hot news about the USA’s weird (& wildly consequential) attempt this past May to weaken, then to block the introduction of a World Health Organization (WHO) resolution encouraging breast feeding seems noteworthy as beyond bizarre, especially as it unwinds to its end, which is either a) funky ~or~  b) makes perfect sense, depending on your ideological perspective.

Mind you, the 05/28/18 resolution was about as uncontroversial as they come, based on eons of research that concludes – no surprise here – that mother’s milk is WAY better for infants than formula.  It reinforced governments taking steps to limit misleading, even flagrantly inaccurate marketing of “breast-milk substitutes.”

The US won a small “victory” – language supporting countries that tried to stop “inappropriate promotion of foods for infants & young children” was withdrawn from the final resolution – but our nation’s reputation took a beating as our nation’s representatives flat-out bullied Ecuador by threatening withdrawal of military support & imposition of financial penalties if it dared introduce the resolution, which left made other nations unwilling to take the lead.

Let the curtain rise on the fascinating denouement.  One brave nation rises to the occasion, steps up & acts on behalf of the world’s children.  Strangely – or not – that nation was neither bullied nor threatened in any way by the USA.  And the country that put the interests of infants & their mothers over corporate profits?  Drum roll please…  RUSSIA.

No idea why a story that supposedly unfolded in May is only now being reported, but it is well worth putting on your radar for its multiple outcomes:

  • The USA appeared to put corporate interests about the health of children & mothers.
  • It succeeded in weakening the language of the final resolution.
  • It flagrantly bullied, both militarily & financially, a sovereign nation that attempted to introduce the resolution.
  • Its intimidation tactics kept other nations from taking the lead.
  • Which left the way clear for RUSSIA to step up to the plate & be the white knight for infants & mothers around the globe.


Bottom line – the USA shredded any reputation the Trump administration might have for protecting children & families, deepened the image of the USA as a swaggering bully, and set up Putin’s Russia to save the day.

Funky?  Nah.  Makes total sense.

When the ambulance chaser IS the ambulance

originally published on


Eye-opening article in KAISER HEALTH NEWS on ambulance service billings, often in the thousands!

“Forty years ago, most ambulances were free for patients, provided by volunteers or town fire departments using taxpayer money, said Jay Fitch, president of Fitch & Associates, an emergency services consulting firm. Today, ambulances are increasingly run by private companies and venture capital firms.

‘”Ambulance providers now often charge by the mile and sometimes for each “service,” like providing oxygen. If the ambulance is staffed by paramedics rather than emergency medical technicians, that will result in a higher charge — even if the patient didn’t need paramedic-level services. Charges range widely from zero to thousands of dollars, depending on billing practices.

“While the federal government sets reimbursement rates for patients on Medicare, it does not regulate ambulance fees for patients with private insurance. In the absence of federal rules, those patients are left with a fragmented system in which the cost of a similar ambulance ride can vary widely from town to town.”

Be a savvy consumer of health care costs – read the article, discuss with friends & family!