Almost  every adult has been through at least one mammogram scare.  This affects not only women, but the men in their lives who love them and share the worry.
Here’s how it works: you calmly go in for what is called a routine mammogram.  Let’s say you have no family history of breast cancer,  you’re relatively young, so you’re not really worried about the results.  Then, the next day, you get that scary call that there’s something not quite right and you need to come in for another test. This might be on a Friday afternoon.  So now, you must get through a miserable weekend, worrying about the  results.  Then, even if you go back on a Monday, it may be Tuesday before you are given an all clear diagnosis, because of course, a very busy radiologist must read every x-ray.  And if a needle biopsy is recommended, the wait and worry can go on for another week.

And now, you’re always going to be stressed out before your next mammogram. Talk to any group of women willing to share their thoughts, and they’ll  tell you that once they’ve had a “bad” mammogram, they’re nervous wrecks days before and after they have their next one. Also, the more needle biopsies you have, the more likely there’s scar tissue or calcium deposits that will trigger another abnormal finding. And many times, the patient learns that a mere wrinkle in their skin caused the concern. 
Modern technology has done a better job of screening, with equipment that’s reduced the dreaded call backs by approximately 40%.  But that leaves the other 60% going through way too many false alarms.  Consequently, many women decide to stop having mammograms at all.  Surely, the system could be improved, so that the waiting time is never more than 24 hours when there’s a problem with your mammogram.


Most working people dream of the day when they don’t have to set the alarm clock anymore.   And yet, when retirement day finally arrives, you may find yourself waking up early every morning, anyway.   Then follows a period of self imposed busyness. You volunteer, baby sit your grandkids, go on trips, join  clubs…anything to get back that sense of purpose you once had.
After several years,  all the work you’ve created for yourself begins to feel like—yes, work.  You tire of the endless squabbles among volunteers, the self imposed deadlines, driving here and there to attend meetings, dressing up for card parties that are beginning to tire you, and the gym workouts you’re starting to dread.  And so you slow down.  Your knees creak, your back aches,  you stop doing much of anything, and sink into a low mood. 
Your get-up-and-go just got-up-and-went.
Especially if you’re on various medications,  you may wake up so groggy that it takes all morning just to fix a bowl of cereal. After you manage to get dressed, you might sit in a chair all day and watch television, read books, and feed the cats. It seems a lot easier, especially if your spouse or partner is slowing down, also.  
Now is the time to make yourself get up and go.   You’ll feel more alive and cheerful after a brisk walk in the park, even if you have to bring along a cane.  If you’ve always been a swimmer, it may seem like too much bother to go to the YMCA, change your clothes, and do those laps.  But you know what? When you walk out that door and into the sunshine, you feel like a new person.  Tell yourself to get some kind of exercise every day.  If you don’t like walking, you can enroll in an exercise or tai chi class for seniors.  Don’t go a few times and give up; stick with it until you feel better. Or, if your knees are in good shape, take some dance lessons.  This time of year, gardening is a wonderful way to work your muscles, pump some oxygen into your blood, and have a feeling of accomplishment.  Even housework qualifies as good exercise.
Stop regretting the past and dreading the future.  Enjoy life right now! Get up and EightyGo.



What could be worse than a soggy salad drenched with dressing?  Especially when it’s served in an upscale restaurant.  Any chef who can’t serve a good salad isn’t worth his salt.

At home, the bane of crisp salads are bottled dressings, with a mixture of  the oil and vinegar poured over the poor, unsuspecting  greens.   When tossing a good salad, you must add the oil and vinegar separately.  There’s an Italian saying that  when dressing  a salad, you need  a miser to add vinegar, a judge to add salt, and aspendthrift to add oil.
Many chefs will tell you to add first the vinegar, then the oil, but I prefer the Italian way of tossing a couple teaspoons of oil on my individual dinner salad, putting it in the fridge while we have a glass of wine, then tossing again with  a teaspoon of  vinegar and just before adding salt  My salad is always crisp, fresh and green. If you’re serving extra people, just remember that you want twice as much oil  as vinegar.  My husband is on a soft diet, so he enjoys his canned fruit while I relish my green salad.
While most people prefer using  olive oil, I like walnut oil for it’s nutty flavor.  My special vinegar, stored in a separate jar, is doctored up with a variety of herbs and spices—basil, oregano, chopped garlic, curry, paprika and anything else that looks interesting. You might add a tablespoon of brown sugar to smooth out the tartness.  A jar of this seasoned vinegar usually lasts a month.  Plain vinegar will do as a base, but a bit of red wine or balsamic vinegar will perk up the  flavor.
And now, the lettuce.  A mixture of different lettuces like leaf, arugula and romaine is fine, but that can get expensive if you end up with a lot of unused wilted lettuce.  I normally buy romaine hearts and chop them up myself, although there’s been a scare about romaine lately.  Red and green leaf lettuce is just as good.  A few tomatoes and maybe some grated carrots , radishes, or cucumbers  will add color and texture, but they say no good green salad will have more than three added ingredients.

If you decide to make your own salad dressing,  you will no longer have numerous bottles of store bought dressing taking up room in your refrigerator.  All you need  is a bottle  of vinegar, a can of oil, and herbs from your kitchen shelves.   And think of the money you’ll save.

Celebrate Earth Day with a delicious salad!  🌍



Yesterday, the media giddily reported that a tenured college teacher in California had called the late first lady a “witch” and that she was glad that Barbara Bush  had died.  The media also gave plenty of coverage to someone I never heard of called Roger Stone, who said the woman was a vicious drunk and she deserved to rot in hell.

Not just the fact that these people were so lacking in respect, but that the media would even cover such rot and give these rude people any voice at all.  Weren’t we always taught that you don’t speak ill of the dead?  Especially when they’re not yet cold in the grave? But then, of course, we have the former head of the FBI calling our duly elected president a “liar,” And said president turning around and calling that same man a “slimeball,” among other things.

What has happened to the YMCA core values of caring, honesty,  respect, responsibility? Name calling has always been the sign of a bully and a guttersnipe.   Respectable people kept such thoughts to themselves or shared them privately.

And how in the world can we explain all of this to our grandchildren?



How far should you go in pursuit of the fountain of youth?  If you visit  a shopping mall or restaurant in South Dakota, you probably will see plenty of white haired ladies with as many wrinkles as Barbara Bush.  Hop on a plane to Palm Springs, and you won’t find many women  growing old gracefully.  Some face lifts do take years off your face, if that’s what you’re going for.  Others can be grotesque, with skin pulled tight over cheekbones and lips plumped up like a duck.  You see a lot of the latter in California.  The one time I asked my husband if I needed a cosmetic surgery, he nearly had a heart attack, remembering all the botched face lifts we’d seen.   “Don’t you dare mess with the face of the woman I love,” he pleaded.  So that was the end of that.

Dental implants are popular to upgrade your smile, but some people go too far.  Perfectly formed and obviously fake white teeth can be a bit startling in an aging person , calling attention to the lines around their mouth. 

By the time I graduated from college, I had a “skunk” streak of white hair.  Often, I was asked if I had paint in my hair, but more often someone would say something like “you have white hair” as if I didn’t know .  I got so tired of the comments that I started “dyeing” my hair as soon as I got away from home.  My mother thought no lady would ever dye her hair, and that’s what they called it back then.  It was thought to be a bit trashy.  When it finally became fashionable to “color” your hair, I had already been doing it for 30 years.
Weight control is another problem, because the body needs fewer and fewer calories as we age.  But does it really matter that much if you’re slightly overweight?  Medical studies have shown that it’s healthy for the elderly to have a few extra pounds to get them through any ailments.  Some older women still work diligently to weigh what they did in their 20’s, but it doesn’t do a lot for their face.  A little padding helps smooth out the wrinkles.
By the time you’re a lady of eighty, you aren’t particularly vain about your looks.  You’re more interested in getting a hearing aid that works.  Eventually, you take a look in the mirror and say to yourself, “this is as good as it gets.”  What a relief.


Do you remember the last time you received a handwritten letter?  If you’re under fifty, you may have never received one at all, except for some hastily written sentences scrawled at the bottom of a greeting card.
Before e mail and smart phones and texting, it was costly to make long distance phone calls, and people actually sat down and wrote letters.  Especially if you were in the dating mode.  I had boyfriends in the service , boyfriends who went to colleges a long way from home and boyfriends who’d moved away , and it was exciting to wait for the mailman and see your name scrawled across an envelope with their return address.  Heart pounding, you would tear open the envelope and pore over  every single word.  If it was a love letter, you would hide it in a drawer so your mother wouldn’t see it, and read it over and over again until you got another one.
My college girlfriends also wrote letters in the summer, full of news about vacations, who they were dating, and all those gossipy things young women talk about.  Their handwriting and enclosed snapshots were unique and personal,  almost as if they were right there in the room.
After I was married and lived far from home, my mother and I exchanged letters every week, pounded out on an old typewriter.  We never bothered with spelling and punctuation  corrections (too much trouble to stop and erase), but we both looked forward to hearing about what was going on in each other’s lives.  I  could go back to the letter all week, anytime I was  feeling lonely and missed  my family. A personal letter was a comfort and also a great compliment .  It meant someone cared enough about you to sit down for maybe an hour, address an envelope, buy a stamp, and take it to the post office.  

You know what I’ve going to do today?  I’m going to sit right down and write someone a letter.


If you’re looking for comic relief in the nation’s toxic political environment, you need look no further than the dialogue between James Comey and Donald Trump. 

I must admit I’m impressed with Comey’s euphemisms in describing Trump’s character.  Instead of calling Trump a fraud, he says he’s “untethered from the truth.”  He believes Trump lacks an “external moral framework,” but never comes out and calls him an adulterer and a thief.  Very lawyerly, indeed. You can’t be sued for libel and defamation of character with those high brow comments.  A few years ago, I ran across  “moral compass”  in a book,  and liked that term  so much that I used it to complain to a real estate company about one of their agents who had lied to us about the condition of the apartment we rented, yet refused to give us a refund.  I didn’t call the guy a liar and a thief, and I never got my money back, but the person in question was soon out of a job.
Then we have Trump’s unrestrained name calling in response to these carefully worded opinions.  Comey is a “liar, loser, weakling, slimeball, and a leaker.”  Whatever pops into Trumps’s  head comes out of his mouth like a playground bully.
But of course, beneath every comedy is an undercurrent of tragedy, and in this case, I believe the entire episode is harmful to all the citizens of this country, no matter who they voted for.   The issues of war and peace shouldn’t be in the hands of a couple of clowns.