Har har har…

Check out “Success,” and don’t forget to laugh at least once a day.  😉

(from http://kickarr.imgur.com)

Yours in aging with class,

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New Gardens For a Changing World, Part 2

Speaking of New Gardens for a Changing World and wildflowers, check out Elizabeth Gilbert’s gardens.

Elizabeth is one of my favorite writers and happens to be selling her home in Frenchtown, NJ, one of the most attractive and remarkable houses I have ever seen.

(Photo (by Sam Oberter) and article on the house from nytimes.com)

In this video, she delightfully whimsically narrates a tour of the inside; at 13.43, she’ll treat you to her splendid vegetable, flower, and herb gardens.

This photo, taken by Jessica Antola, comes from oprah.com’s article, Elizabeth Gilbert, Full Bloom.

Wish I could buy this house.  Sigh…

Yours in aging with class,

P.S.  BTW, gardening aficionados will certainly want to read Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book, The Signature of All Things.


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It’s Come to Taking Drastic Measures…

Guess what?  I’m finally taking a major plunge…

It all started a year ago when I went on my first cleanse program...for ten days.  Before the cleanse, I had been chronically tired, bloated, and my back itched.  And these symptoms disappeared at the end of the ten days.

Although I didn’t take the time to figure out what foods were having detrimental effects on my particular body, since that time, I’ve been focused on healthier food habits:  reading ingredient labels, eating organic as much as possible, and studying nutrition.  I’ve been eating much healthier since then, but it hasn’t been good enough because I’m back to scratching my itchy back and feeling continually exhausted.  As if this weren’t enough, I suffered a chronic cough last winter that lasted three months.

My gut tells me the culprit is sugar.  I have been craving sugar since childhood and have been in denial about it.  When my sister and I were kids, we sneaked to the store down the street regularly, behind my mother’s back, to buy ice cream and candy as much as we possibly could.  We begged our friends to buy us stuff.  We even climbed over the chain link fence behind the store to retrieve empty Coca-Cola bottles that had been returned for deposit, only to return them again for coins to buy more sweets.

Heck, in my 20s, I used to have one of these every day:

(The photo of this delectable banana split comes from the talented food photographer, Stephanie Salo at lensandladle.com.)


And the older I get, the worse this addiction has become.

This June, I will be 65.  A milestone.  And so I’ve been thinking the time has finally come to address this sugar monster once and for all.  Yet, I want to find a sense of balance — to savor my beloved sweets once in a while without overdoing.

My first attempt involved signing up for two separate dietbetter.com “diets.”  It didn’t work.  I’m just not able to enjoy an occasional small amount of sweets.  It triggers bingeing on tasty, sugary provender and bingeing on foods in general.  It’s all or nothing with me.

(from PlantBasedDietician.com)

It wasn’t until a few days ago, when I read this post, Our Year of No Sugar:  One Family’s Grand Adventure by Eve O. Schaub, that it occurred to me to try something drastic.  When she wrote, “What I didn’t expect was how not eating sugar would make me feel better in a very real and tangible way…It was subtle, but noticeable; the longer I went on eating without added sugar, the better and more energetic I felt.”

I want some of that!

I also just finished Dr. Kelly Turner’s recently-published masterpiece Radical Remission:  Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, and what she says about the health evils of sugar confirmed again that I must do something drastic.

Anyone, not just cancer patients, can benefit from Dr. Turner’s book and what she says about sugar (see p. 15):

While researchers are still not clear whether a high-sugar diet causes cancer, what we do know is that once cancer cells are in your body, they consume anywhere from 10 to 50 times more glucose than normal cells do.  Therefore, it makes logical sense for cancer patients to cut as much refined sugar from their diets as possible, in order to avoid ‘feeding’ their cancer cells, and instead rely on the glucose found naturally in vegetables and fruits.”

Check out DrKellyTurner.com for more informative, fascinating details.

If I analyze how happy I am when I gorge on sweets, the answer is, short-term “happy” for sure, but long-term, bottom-line “happy,” not so.  And because of all of the above, my plan is to give up sugar for a year.  I’ll keep you posted on this drastic journey.

Yours in aging with class,

Posted in Diet, Giving up Sugar for a Yr, Guest Articles/Videos, Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Inspiration for the Month: New Gardens for a Changing World

If I had my own yard, I would scatter wildflower seeds everywhere.  This is one of my dreams.  And so I was happy to come across excerpts from Jane Goodall’s new book Seeds of Hope in an article by Bill Moyers:

Last month Gombe videographer Bill Wallauer wrote to tell me about how he and his wife, Kristin, were transforming their “typical ridiculous American lawn” into a native plant habitat for bees and other insects and birds and a whole host of small creatures.

Right now the biggest new gardening trend in the United States is the elimination of fertilizer-​dependent and water-​draining grass lawns. Instead, gardeners are discovering the joys of creating more environmentally friendly habitats with native trees and plants — those that have been living in the area for hundreds of years and are adapted to the climate.

“My favorite spot is our beautiful native-​woodland-​wildflowers area, which has species like wild ginger, wild leak, and trillium,” he recently wrote to me. So far he has recorded 37 bird species in their “tiny little backyard.”

Almost everyone I meet wants to save wild animals and insects, but they often don’t realize how important it is to preserve the anchors of the wildlife community — the native plants.


Jane Goodall

Involving Children in Planting Gardens (Photo from studiomatthews.com)

Nice, eh?!?

Yours in aging with class,

P.S.  Photo of Jane Goodall found at this link.

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Contribute and Care!

Enjoy this lovely, short video from ILikeGiving.

There are many ways to contribute as you age gracefully.  Even when you’re 97.

Yours in aging with class,


Posted in Compassion, Friendship, Guest Articles/Videos | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

The Mother Puckers

Yes, this is the name of my sister’s ice hockey team.  They were in town yesterday, competing in a hockey tournament.  Their league consists of women ages 30 and older; some are even in their 60s.  And it was remarkable seeing them hustle on the ice with such stamina and enthusiasm.

My Sister and Me:  Pre-Game

My Sister and Me: Pre-Game

My Sister and Me:  Post-Game

My Sister and Me: Post-Game










Yours in aging with class,

P.S.  I am 12 years older than she, and it seems like just yesterday that I was changing her diapers…  😉



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On Handwork

Listen to the lilting, soothing, meditative voice of *Renate Hiller in this short video, and you will find a precious gem.

She says, “Our destiny is written in the hand. And what do we do in our modern world with our hands? You know we move the mouse, we drive and so on. We feel plastic most of the time. The hands are relegated to very little that’s actually bringing dexterity to our times. So we have come ever more estranged from nature and from also what other human beings are doing.”

And also, “If you do practical work somewhere on the school grounds, there is practical work going on. The children will all go to that. They’re really drawn to that. They want to experience it and however the reality is that there’s less and less of that. In the home, you know you can use already bought vegetables, all chopped up and ready to eat. There is very little activity like kneading the bread, and you know children grasp first an item and then they grasp with their mind. So if they have very little to grasp other than plastic ready made toys then what their mind grasps is very little.”

As we age, it’s just as important to connect with creative activities as it is for children.  Finding the purity of something beautiful, away from the craziness of our plastic, modern world.  Knitting is one way to do this.

Max in a sweater knit by yours truly.

Max in a sweater knit by yours truly.



Shawl knitted by me

Shawl knit by me

Yours in aging with class,

*Renate Hiller is the co-director of the Fiber Craft Studio at the Threefold Educational Center in Chestnut Ridge, New York

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