Wednesday, October 18, 2017

These days the rallying cry for women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted by men is #MeToo, and the movement is steadily gaining momentum. This, of course, follows the revelations about the behaviour of Harvey Weinstein, and other executives in high profile companies.
            It’s about time, I say. I myself was the victim of men who used their power to demean women in the workplace. I never said anything because I felt totally powerless, somewhat ashamed as if it were my fault. Of course, if this happened to me today I can assure you that two men who made my life miserable would be cooling their heels in prison.
 As many of you will remember, some decades back, men sexually harassing women was the worst kept secret in large corporations. Women didn’t dare say anything for fear of losing their jobs especially when the economic situation was dismal. Thank God, things are changing and women are finally speaking out. The #MeToo movement is certainly showing that there is strength in numbers.
Being sexually assaulted by men is more than a mere social faux pas. It has been proven that for women it is a devastating life event that can lead to post traumatic stress disorder with varying degrees of anxiety and long-term depression.
I believe that we of a certain age have a duty to encourage our granddaughters and all younger women around us to be aware that some men do prey on women and that these men should immediately be reported. This should be a lot easier now that #MeToo women are banning together to lift the stigma of shame women who were sexually assaulted in the past had to endure. Women have a right to be heard no matter what.
Years ago, my mother and my aunts joined other women who fought for women’s rights and they were successful. Today, the #MeToo movement is another milestone in women’s fight to be respected.
As far as I am concerned I don’t need to worry too much about a granddaughter who told me that if a man ever tried to touch her or insulted her, he would be the recipient of punch in the face.
Go Girl!


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Albert Schweitzer said: “The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives.” And that means an awful lot of people by the look of all those who are sad and depressed, or bitching all the time about what is wrong with the world.
            I think that what dies is a willingness to see the possibilities of life, no matter our age. Of course, with age we face certain physical challenges that at times surprise us. And doctors are quick to prescribe meds for whatever assails the human body, but I often wonder if there is not a need to increase awareness that the mind and the soul also need care. 
            With age we face losses of all sorts, from being away from children and grandchildren who are making the most of life far away to coming to terms with thinning hair. Our attitude to those changes is all important as far as I am concerned. It’s a question of whether we see the glass half full, or the glass half empty. With the many means of communication available today, keeping in touch with children and grandchildren is easy, no matter where they choose to live. As for thinning hair, we can make up our minds to be proud of it or find ways to take advantage of the many options on the market to mask it in some way.
            It’s only a matter of seeing the silver lining.
            My 92-year-old brother-in-law has never ceased to see life’s possibilities. He still enjoys golf three times a week because “at my club everything is free for those over 90.” Now, that’s the right attitude if I ever heard one.
            When I was younger, I did enjoy meeting people for happy hour, however today happy hour is a nap!  Still enjoyable.
            As the years pile on, we know that life is not tied with a bow, but those who see how great a gift it is can prove Schweitzer wrong.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Alternative Medicine
I believe that, at times, alternative medicine can work wonders as an adjunct to traditional treatments. For example, I have used acupuncture very successfully to eliminate severe pain caused by neuralgia. Traditional medicine could only offer painkillers which were not the permanent solution that acupuncture proved to be. Many people who suffer from arthritis look to acupuncture to relieve their pain for several weeks at a time instead of taking traditional painkillers on an ongoing basis.
I am the first to admit that not all alternative therapies are worth considering. Case in point, we hear more and more about the benefits of drinking “liquid gold” i.e. one’s urine. Its proponents, or urophagists (the technical term for urine drinkers), say that traces of substances that cause illness are secreted through urine and that when these are reintroduced into the body antibodies are produced to fight the problem.  Proponents add that urine drinking eliminates the need for medication or surgery, yet people in China and India have been drinking liquid gold for centuries and have not eliminated the need for medical attention.
          Although it is said that urine is safe to consume unless someone has an infection I think I’ll stick to tea. It has a lower grossness factor.
When it comes to alternative therapies, I think we should all make certain we fully understand how they work. I don’t think I would object to beer baths now the rage in spas in some parts of Europe. The idea is that beer rejuvenates the skin while soothing muscles and joints to reduce the use of traditional painkillers. However, I would think twice before getting maggot debridement therapy although it has surfaced because of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It is reported that maggots can actually dissolve infected tissue where antibiotics have proven useless. Who knows? This might one day replace antibiotic treatments.
And leech therapy used for blood detoxification is being hailed by some celebrities as having rejuvenating properties. Perhaps that’s true, but once after swimming in a lake I was covered with leeches when I got out. I can testify to the fact that having to pull them out one after the other negated any possible positive effect, in my mind at least!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

My Best Friend’s Gift
Spencer was my best friend for over 12 years. He was a darling Old English Sheepdog who was always glad to see me and never criticized unlike some people I know. While he has gone to his reward and is enjoying dog heaven he left many great memories behind. One of the great benefits of my relationship with him is that I walked morning and night for at least an hour each day, whether it was raining or the sun was shining, whether the weather was exceedingly hot or miserably cold. And that is something I continue to do each day, every day. It’s now part of who I am and I owe it all to Spencer. (Of course, now on really miserable days I drive to my local mall to walk.)
            Having a dog forces you to walk. You can’t escape it, no matter the size of your best friend. In my walks along the lake where I live, I see all sorts and sizes of dogs. Some are so huge that they could almost be classified as small horses, while others are so small, you can hardly see the body at the end of the leash. Sometimes I can’t avoid a second look like when I see a middle-aged woman who often pushes her hairy little animal in a baby stroller as she walks merrily along. Perhaps her dog is old or unable to walk long distances. I don’t know the story and I can hardly stop to ask her about it, can I? Well, one of these days I may do just that. 
            No matter what the dog looks like, I find that all owners seem very happy to walk along with their best friend. Walking is good for whatever ails you. I find that walking relieves any stress I may be feeling about issues in my life. They somehow become clearer and not as daunting.
            Walking is also good for the body, we all know we have to exercise to stay healthy. Experts who have studied the habits of people in various countries say that the data is clear. The people who live the longest are those in countries where taking 11,000 steps a day is the norm rather than the exception.
            To see how many steps you take in a day, you can purchase a pedometer and train to increase your level of activity or you can get a dog. It will force you to get out and get going every day.
While owning a dog is good for the body it also provides a friendship that does the soul good.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Thanks but No Thanks
At some point everyone over 50 decides that it’s time to downsize. The reasons vary, but often it’s when boomers come to the realization that their living space is much too large after the children have (finally, in some cases) left the nest. And they wonder why they have so much stuff. Time spent caring for that stuff could be better utilized elsewhere.
            Many of us don’t just accumulate, we collect. Case in point, I love things made of copper. Over the years, I regularly added to my collection whenever something made of copper caught my attention. The end result was a rather large eclectic assortment of interesting pieces, but of little use except for a few select pans. One day, prior to a move, I realized that, like it or not, I had to trim it. After I ascertained that my children had absolutely no interest in getting any of the pieces (Thanks, Mom, but no thanks), I got rid of my collection gradually, keeping only a few favourites. It felt good and it cleared a lot of space in my kitchen where it was displayed.
            One other thing I have accumulated over the years is books. I love to read, and I held on to most of those books until, that is, one day I realized that apart from a few, a lot of them were outdated because research is ever expanding. Fiction ones, except for the more classic titles, of course, were also dated. It was time to do something. After a bit of research I found an organization that ships books to Third World countries, and it made me happy to donate of lot of my books to them. Today, I exchange books within a group of friends, so I have stopped accumulating.
            I found it interesting that my children, and yours as well I’m sure, seem to have little desire in getting any of old “stuff”. Tastes change over the generations, and while many of us were proud to wash our exquisite “Sunday” plates by hand, our children only want dishes that can be loaded into the dishwasher. Please, Mom, no washing by hand! And certainly nothing that needs to be polished.
            So what to do with our silver, china, etc? Sell them ourselves or contact antique dealers because while our children say: Thanks, but no thanks, there are many collectors of all stripes out there, and the cycle can be renewed.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A few days ago I heard an acquaintance comment that while she used to have a nice figure, her boobs are now hopelessly sagging. “Soon they’ll be at my waist!”
            Gravity is relentless. It’s always pulling us down as if afraid we might fly away. When we’re young, it’s nothing to worry about. However, when gravity has been at work for a few decades, results begin appearing. While our noses and earlobes elongate throughout our lifetimes due to gravity that also seems to be the case when it comes to women’s breasts. Like many other minor irritations, us ladies must simply learn to live with that reality.
            But what about all the young women who, in summer, proudly display the tattoos that seem to sprout when light clothing is the norm. What will happen to the cute little butterflies or pretty roses now adorning their d├ęcolletage when gravity wins the battle, as it always does? If nothing else, it’ll be interesting, don’t you think? I see lovely little butterflies expanding downward to, no doubt, look like they had a mishap of some sort. 
            And what about all the other works of tattoo artists on the arms and legs of so many people, men and women, these days. I wonder what will happen to the designs when some elasticity is lost or when limbs become either fatter or skinnier with age. Today’s snake design the artist spent so much time perfecting might need some artistic makeover, don’t you think?
            I never explored the possibility of tattoos for myself. A good thing since I have enough problems with gravity as it is without having sagging art adding to the confusion.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Aging Memory
It has been my experience that one common fear people over 50 have is that they will suffer from dementia, perhaps even early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Of course, many of us are aware of someone who is battling the dreaded disease, often someone close to us, so it is natural to wonder if we will also suffer the same fate.
          Since people are living longer, the statistics seem to be dire. However, all is not lost. While memory undergoes subtle changes with age, there are many things that can be done to keep our brains healthy. It is not unusual to forget simple things like the reason we came into a room or the name of our neighbor’s dog. My friend Barb calls those brain farts. Colorful word but rather accurate, don’t you think, since we do remember a moment later.
          If we forget where we parked the car in the large lot of a mall, we may be tempted to think we’ve really lost it, but that happens to people of all ages. In the days when cars had actual radio antennae, people put a flag or other colorful aid on it so a car could be found easily. Of course, since the car antenna today is mostly invisible within the glass of the windshield that option has gone out the door although we can use our remote keypad as a guide.
          Experts say that it’s important to pay attention to simple things that may be causing less than perfect memory, and which we can remedied.
<    -- Fatigue: when the body if tired, memory is not as sharp.
<    -- Absentmindedness: thinking about half a dozen things at the same time the mind is not as focused.
<    -- Grieving: the loss of a loved one can play havoc with our intellectual ability for a time.
<    --- Depression: when the mind sees only the dark side of life, memory can become clouded.
<    -- Medication: some medication can lower our level of perception.
<    -- Alcohol: excessive drinking can perturb the way the brain works and lead to short-term memory loss.
      -- Stress and anxiety: they keep attention focused on only one aspect of our lives and can make us forget things we normally would not.
    It’s important to get the help we need when we need it to keep the brain and memory sharp.