Category Archives: General

Kiss This One Goodbye

She’d been a widow six months. He lost his wife two months before. So when they met through a mutual friend, it was natural to plan a dinner date.

Then another. And another.

“It was wonderful to have a friend to talk to who understood exactly what I was going through and we helped each other get through the same problems,” she said.

But girls will be girls and, as Melania Trump says, “Boys will be boys.”

“I was shocked last night when we got back to my house and he wanted to become intimate,” she confessed. “I enjoy a hug, a kiss on the cheek, his arm around me. But I’m not ready for anything more and I was shocked that he didn’t know that.”

Why would he?

She comes from an era when nice girls didn’t “do that” and no one really expected them too. But she felt sad that she couldn’t “accommodate” her friend.

She doesn’t have to feel sad about it. We all should realize that’s what happens when two people “keep company” for any length of time, and it takes physical attraction as well as kindness to respond.

Because there are so many more widows than widowers, he’ii find any number of women to take to dinner who WILL want to become intimate with him.

She, on the other hand, can enjoy pleasant evenings out with some of the smart, wonderful women who meet at the events in senior centers, libraries, churches, and local colleges.

And who knows? A man she CAN respond to emotionally  may just turn up at the next bridge  table.###

No Place Like Home?

My friend Marilyn has always been the leader of  our pack.

In high school she was a cheer leader,then the first married, first to have babies. Everytime we had a club or school reunion–Marilyn was in the center of each crowd, our cheer leader again and always.

It was fun to just be around her.

Now that she’s in her 80s, her family and friends who are left still rally around her and always try and get her to come to reunions–no matter how far.

So last month her 91-year old aunt and 97-year old uncle asked her to join a family reunion  across the country in San Francisco.

You couldn’t stop her. All the sights just waiting for our Marilyn to visit. So off she flew with her daughter and they settled into a nice hotel for a week.

Did they have fun as usual????No way.

“My aunt’s become so crabby and demanding. My uncle doesn’t know what’s happening, two others had to fly back home to Florida because of the hurricanes. It was just awful. We did a little sight seeing and couldn’t wait to get home.”

That was unusual for Marilyn–who always has the best time anywhere because SHE’s there.

But you know what? As we get older and finally do adjust to the life we’ve made by ourselves—-sometimes there’s just no place like home.

There’s a new sense of freedom most of us never knew before.


Laughs from Rabbi’s Lips to Your Ear

I was fortunate to be in the audience Sunday when Rabbi Barry Schecter, of  Kol Emeth Synagogue in Skokie, IL presented one of his free  “jewish Laughter” programs.

My favorite takeaways, that left me laughing out loud overnight and into morning are the following:

1.A woman stole a can of peaches from the store and was arrested.

The judge asked how many peaches were in the can.

When she said “six” he sentenced her to six nights in jail–one for each peach.

That’s when a man in the front row stood and said, “Judge, I’m her husband! She stole a can of peas too!!!”



2. A young man called his mother and said, “Hi Mom, How are you?”

She answered, “I’m fine, Son. How are you?”

And he said, “Oh, I see you have company. I’ll call back later.”


Does that last one sound familiar?


Remembering Long Ago Rosh Hashanah

This is Rosh Hashanah, the season when Jewish people celebrate a new year.

Men go to temple or synagogue to contemplate their relationship with God, and glory in starting a fresh year with good intentions and a clean slate.

And women go to the kitchen to contemplate their relationship with a beef brisket, roasting it in a pan handed down, along with the family’s secret recipe, from grandmother, to mother, to daughter. (Often, it’s also given to a daughter-in-law, who much prefers her own mother’s recipe, but uses this one to keep peace.)

That recipe may involve carrots, prunes, onions, garlic, dry onion soup mix, or even beer.( That right, beer.) After it roasts all day in a 300 degree oven, we spend another half hour letting it cool and yet another trying to carve it neatly against the grain before decorating it with those soggy, overcooked carrots and prunes–and setting it on a holiday table, to be served to the family sitting around it.

And that, in a nutshell, (nuts being served after dinner just in case everyone hasn’t had enough) is the essence of being a Jewish Mother.

Unfortunately, many of us are facing a new situation, now that our husbands are no longer at that table and our children have taken over this and all other holiday meals.

But that doesn’t stop most of my friends from getting out that pot, along with the prunes, carrots and/or onion soup, and making the brisket to drag over to their kids’ holiday table whether it’s wanted or not.
It’s’s called “identity.”

And that always reminds me of the time I covered a holiday program at the Bernard Horwich Senior Center in Skokie, Il for my newspaper. I was a young, Jewish, married mother/reporter, and thought it was a charming idea for a feature story .

But when I got to the buffet table and reached over to put some brisket on my plate, a lovely, white-haired senior gently tapped my wrist with her large silver serving spoon and said, “”I”m the server.” And she proceeded to fill my plate with much more brisket than I ever could eat. (That, too, is the essence of being a Jewish Mother.)

The social worker standing at my elbow later whispered. “You have to remember that Rosie once sat at the head of her large family’s holiday table and served each person brisket with love. Now she lives in a back bedroom in her eldest son’s home, and she rarely is allowed in the kitchen. This is where she comes to be ‘the server’ again. ”

I never forgot Rosie, and her memory is refreshed every time I hear one of my friends say, “I have to get home and start the brisket for my daughter’s holiday dinner.”

Even if they don’t get to be “the server” they all get compliments on their brisket, and can share at least one of its secret ingredients.



Have Meds Ready to Go for Disaster Evacuations

Most of us have given thought to what we should do to prepare for emergency evacuations. But I don’t know anyone who considered the points in the following report from The American Heart Assn. News blog.

It offers several suggestions on what to take along for cardiac, and other health issues.

And I suggest including a “med pack” for your pets too.

Read on:

What Katrina can teach us about disrupted cardiac care after Hurricane Harvey


When patients with cardiac health issues face evacuation due to flooding, fire or other natural disasters, a spike in stress and anxiety levels may be only the beginning. For sudden, jarring, life-changing events—like that of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana this past week—can markedly disrupt months or years of steady treatment and control of heart disease and other conditions.

At last count, FEMA officials estimated 30,000 people will have evacuated their homes for shelters due to Harvey.

And just like that, what yesterday were quite manageable illnesses and conditions like high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and diabetes can become life-threatening in an extended emergency. When people are forced to flee their homes without time to gather medicines, records, prescription refills and glucose monitors—plus essentials like batteries for medical devices and mobile phones—anxiety and complications can surge.

In times like these, patients and caregivers, in addition to first responders, can learn from doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians who have been through similar trauma before.

“With [Hurricane] Katrina, the biggest issues were not the event itself, but trying to provide the [sustained] medical follow-up” said Paul Pepe, M.D., professor of emergency medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who served at the command center for Katrina in Baton Rouge and in on-scene reconnaissance of medical needs.

When citizens with existing medical conditions arrive in a distant city or makeshift shelter, even when they have not been able to pack a proper “go” kit, they can bolster their health status almost immediately by simply bringing existing medications in air-tight, waterproof plastic bags or containers.

Many electronic medication records maintained by national pharmacies can offer assistance in reconstructing key patient records, diagnoses and dosages from afar, said Pepe, who is also City of Dallas director of medical emergency services for public safety, public health and homeland security.

“The interruption of care needs to be handled as best as possible,” offered Keith Ferdinand, M.D., of the Tulane University Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans and immediate-past chair of the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.

“The stress and anxiety related to a natural disaster can be overwhelming to patients—not only those immediately impacted by flooding, but to those who have seen their family and friends affected,” said Ferdinand. “This is especially felt by elderly patients moving, maybe for the first time in years, which can also lead to disorientation.”

Ferdinand knows firsthand. During Hurricane Katrina’s landing in 2005, he treated patients in Atlanta who were evacuated from New Orleans, nearly 500 miles away. “It was a loosely organized evacuation,” he recalled. But it was effective.

Emergency medicine doctors advise evacuees with existing conditions to:

–take an ample supply of medications while transferring

–have phone number of doctors, health insurance companies and a pharmacy available, separate from that saved on a cellphone contact list

–write on paper all diagnoses and recent treatments recalled, as well as histories of blood pressure or blood glucose levels that can be recalled, and enclose those papers in plastic to take with you

“When they get to the evacuation centers, the most important [readings] are blood pressure and glucose,” said Ferdinand, “because these can fluctuate greatly in a short time.” He adds that most pharmacies have interstate delivery systems that can operate efficiently across borders in emergencies.

Endocrinologist Tina Thethi, M.D., a colleague of Ferdinand’s at Tulane, points out that when diabetes patients arrive at a shelter or evacuation site after a hurricane, they are apt to be in “survival mode,” and greatly stressed. They may not have the option to be selective about what they eat, or to keep their routine, Thethi said. This then affects blood sugar maintenance and wound or infection healing.

In a 2010 study led by Thethi that appeared in Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, she and her colleagues found that measures of blood pressure and lipids showed varied rates of recovery post-Katrina “to predisaster levels.”

Anand Irimpen, M.D., chief of cardiology at Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in New Orleans, advises heart failure patients to be as diligent as possible in keeping prescription schedules during a flood or emergency.

Irimpen noted that “being separated from one’s medications can be catastrophic for diabetic and cardiac patients both short- and long-term.” In fact, a 2016 study in Circulation found an average three-fold increase in heart attack admissions at Tulane Medical Center in each of the 10 years after Katrina, compared with the two years before Katrina.

“We realized patients with heart attacks post-Katrina had higher incidence of hypercholesterolemia, medication noncompliance, smoking, substance abuse and psychiatric disturbances,” said Irimpen, who was the study’s senior author.

“Most patients [temporarily] neglected their health and tried to rebuild their homes and get their lives in order. Health was generally low in priority,” he said.

Super Crazy from Krazy Glue

Had a pipe leak in the bathroom cabinet, that loosened the wood strip on the bottom, so I decided e to get some Krazy Glue, drop in on the strip and hold it there 30 seconds.

My husband did it all the time., At least that’s how he told me about it later.

So I went to Home Depot, bought the Krazy Glue, opened it as the package directed. Did every single thing it said, and guess what? The wood strip stuck! Good as new!

But all ten fingertips also were caked with Krazy Glue that hardened in 30 seconds too.

Searching the Internet for removal directions I found several, but took the quickest route: nail polish remover.

Soaked them a few minutes, then rubbed with doused cotton balls as I do to remove nail polish and most of it did come off. An emory board pretty much cleared off the rest, and I can  once again tell where my fingers end when I tap the table.,

I confess I never actually WATCHED my husband do that repair and now I’m sure he wore work gloves. Otherwise I’d have heard about that too.

So why in the world doesn’t the Krazy Glue package carry one more line in its directions:



Widowslist rates AMC Theatres: ‘Best’

If you like to go to the movies (and show me a widow who doesn’t) , you’ll appreciate AMC theatres that offer regular treats for all of us,

Currently, my local AMC theatre in Northbrook Court, in Northbrook  ,Il, offers $5 tickets to everyone all day Tuesdays. This will go on through October for plain folks, but if you invest in an Insider membership for $16, you are eligible for that bargain all year.

Your local AMC theatre may not offer this particular “come on” , but all have special promotions throughout the year for special groups, such as seniors, etc.

One other treat is the seats that you choose when you buy your ticket either on line or in person, because, those leather-like seats are the most comfortable we’ve found anywhere. They slide back with the touch of a button, sending your headrest down and your footrest up . Then you pull over the side tray to hold purse or popcorn.

This theatre group is certainly trying hard–and as far as I’m concerned–it’s succeeding.


Fill Emptiness-Join Senior Center, Library

Regardless of how busy we try to stay, going to movies, reading books, keeping dates with friends and family–there always are moments when you feel lonely.

I often tell people, ” I’m not alone—I”M here.” But sometimes even that isn’t enough and you crave more stimulation for your brain, which usually can only come from being with others.

In such a mood, I recently decided to throw ice cubes on my brain and began with a trip to my library. Picking up a copy of the month’s calendar, I circled a current events meeting, and a Classic Films showing of “On the Waterfront, ” and oh, how wonderful that was! I also plan to drop in to hear a Sunday afternoon concert .

Next I drove to the North Shore Senior Center in Northfield, IL, founded by market research legend A.C. Nielsen, and I joined for $70.That allowed me discount admission to all activities, particularly its LifeLong Learning Programs. These are top notch lectures on art, science current events, and also films and dramatic programs.

Best of all, it offers day trips, including one to Chicago’s loop by bus with the group to see Hamilton, something I’ve been planning to do since reading Hamilton, the book, and listening to the CD Hamilton over and over while studying the lyrics.

I had to get up at 6:30 a.m. to get in line for that ticket but am glad I did.

With “ice cubes on my brain” again, I’m back among the living.

I learned we can’t waste a moment of the precious days left to us.


“Elder Orphan?” Who? Me?

I  tuned in to National Public Radio while driving to the supermarket yesterday and heard Carol Marak, spokesperson and advocate for Aging, Alone, discussing “Elder Orphans.”

“What’s that?” I thought. Having been orphaned myself at an early age, I paid attention.

But this wasn’t about growing up without parents. Marak, who is single with no children, was explaining she had taken care of her parents through their old age and illness until death. Then she realized that when it’s her turn to go through that, there won’t be any one to give her that loving care.

She emphasized that she, and many people she interviewed, did not regret being childless, but did have the same qualms. So she decided to find a solution.

Her answer was to create an online community for adults aging alone–that anyone can join by Googling: Elder Orphans Facebook Group.

There are fascinating, active chat lines, with problems and answers such as the following dialog:

Comment: “Just recently, I moved from suburbia into a highly urban area, where there is a metro, you know, transportation, buses, public transit. I’m also very healthy fortunately, but I do walk. I run my errands via foot, so I kind of kill two birds with one stone there, stay fit and run errands. And I live in a high-rise, because I want to surround myself with other people. I don’t want to live in a home, isolated. So, we have to think about those things, how we plan for aging alone.”

A.” I would suggest, first off, just reaching out to the local area agencies on aging. Then, I would also reach out to senior centers. Just go where seniors hang out.”

When asked how to stay in the family home after every else is gone, and it feels lonely as wells being difficult financially, Marak pointed out some solutions, such as renting a room to another Elder Orphan, or possibly turning it into a “group home.”

Marak also put forth the unique concept of adopting a family.

She noted, “Well, I mean, think about it. How many families are maybe without an older individual, or maybe they’ve lost their parents or they’ve lost their grandmother? Of course, it requires a lot of forethought, and even some help with legal matters, but I think it’s an option.”

In return for becoming part of a family, she added, the Elder Orphan can consider legally naming the family members heirs to whatever estate he or she leaves.

Other issues considered on the site include ways to stay fit and eat healthy foods, things too many people living alone stop doing. Discussions also include ways to reach out to the community by giving volunteer help to others.

On that Facebook Group page, people mostly share what they are feeling each day.

“We discuss transportation options, emotional things that might be affecting us, how are we feeling about not having children — although most of us are grateful to not have children, because we have members who have been really estranged from their families, which is hard,” Marak added.

“So, it’s just a great place to come and feel accepted, and find friendship and connection. What’s so wonderful is that when you start a discussion, you’re always going to have someone participate. And you can also pull it offline if you wish, and private message someone, and then take it from there. Many of us are breaking off and starting our own face-to-face groups, which is really, I think, the next step for all of us.”

And that’s when I arrived at the market, and went in to buy a small quart of milk instead of the less expensive half gallon I can’t finish–because I live alone!

Whaaaat? Whoooooo?

You know you’re getting old when you pick up a  copy of People magazine and see that David Cassidy is fighting dementia—-and you don’t even recognize  anyone else.