Remember when everyone thought it was okay if your blood pressure increased with age?   Well, that’s all changed now.  Here’s what the American Heart Association has to say:


“High blood pressure should be treated earlier with lifestyle changes and in some patients with medication – at 130/80 mm Hg rather than 140/90 – based on new American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines for the detection, prevention, management and treatment of high blood pressure .Nov 13, 2017”

Notice they’re recommending lifestyle changes as the best way to treat high blood pressure.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve been on blood pressure meds a couple of times, and the side effects started dragging me down within a few days.    So here’s the good news about that.  Recent studies  at UCLA have shown that you can lower your blood pressure in as little as three days to three weeks by doing three things:

1 Exercise
2. Decrease sodium intake
3. Increase potassium intake by consuming more fruits and vegetables

Apparently, you don’t need to exercise all that much—maybe a fifteen minute walk. The important thing is to do these things every day, and make them a part of your permanent lifestyle.

At lunchtime, try substituting a high sodium soup and sandwich with a high potassium fruit/yogurt smoothie

 Here’s an easy recipe, but you can use different high potassium fruits like oranges, apricots or mangoes. Mix in fresh and frozen fruits for an icy texture. And don’t forget, yogurt is also a great source of potassium

                                        Fantastic Fruit Smoothie

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 banana
Handful of blueberries
10 seedless grapes
1/3 cup fresh pineapple chunks

Put all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.  Potassium: 600 mg.  Calories: 175



If you were around in the 50’s or 60’s, you might remember that popular ballad by one of the greatest vocalists of all time, Nat King Cole.

“Pretend You’re Happy When You’re Blue” lyrics went like this:

 Pretend you’re happy when you’re blue
It isn’t very hard to do
And you’ll find happiness without an end
Whenever you pretend
Remember anyone can dream
And nothing’s bad as it may seem
The little things you haven’t got
Could be a lot if you pretend

We all have “blue,” days.  Maybe you had a disagreement with a friend, got into a fender bender, or lost your purse.  Perhaps you’re sick and tired of hearing about Trump and feel like the world is falling apart. Whatever the reason, you haven’t slept well, and you wake up in the morning feeling down and out.  What to do?  Mope around all day? Overeat or feed some other  addiction like nicotine or alcohol?  No, just pretend you’re happy and act accordingly.


Smile. If it’s a nice day, put on a clean outfit and a pair of walking shoes, put one foot in front of the other, and take a walk through the park.  Watch the squirrels chase each other’s tails.  Listen to the birds singing.  Laugh as the geese stop traffic while nonchalantly walking across the road. Admire the flowers. Watch green tree leaves fluttering with the wind.  Feel the warm sunshine on your back. Keep going until you feel your mood lift. 

Come back home, fix a cup of tea.  Get up and go out with ordinary people, some of whom may be handicapped, yet still going on with their lives.  Retail therapy helps if you don’t go overboard.  Or maybe an hour in the reading room at the library.  Whatever lifts your spirit and makes you realize your troubles aren’t nearly as serious as you thought.

And if you sing this melody
You’ll be pretending just like me
The world is mine, it can be yours, my friend
So why don’t you pretend?



When I saw the first picture of Tia Coleman, the woman who lost nine family members on a duck boat accident in Missouri, my first thought was “how can she survive this terrible loss?” Most of us have experienced at least one or two serious losses, and somehow gone on with our lives.  But it’s hard to imagine anything worse than losing your husband and 3 children, plus five other relatives all at once.

Then, I remembered Betty Spencer, who was the sole survivor of the 1977 Valentine’s Day  home invasion and murders of her two sons and two stepsons by four men armed with sawed off shotguns . After being shot in the head, she lay still and pretended to be dead.  Betty was a patient at the Indiana hospital where I worked.  I don’t remember how long she was there, although I’m sure it was several weeks.  But I do remember seeing the nurses pushing her up and down the hallways in a wheelchair, day after day.  Pale and ghostly, Betty stared straight ahead, with vacant, unseeing eyes, never moving a muscle until they finally returned her to her room.  I never saw her stand , walk, eat, talk, or smile. At the time, I thought, “this woman will never survive.  She’ll probably have to be put in a nursing home.”  She later said that during that time, she was begging God to let her die.
And yet, four years later, she found the strength and courage to found the Parke County Victims’ Advocate Foundation , and became a national speaker on victims’ rights before her  death in  2004, “The Hollandsburg Murders taught me that I am not afraid to die,” she wrote in a February 1988 Bereavement magazine article,   “But more than that I have learned that I am not afraid to live!”
I have a feeling Tia Coleman will find a way to survive and I wish her Godspeed on the difficult journey ahead.




When I was a child, doctors made house calls, and it was wonderful to see old Doc Sullivan walking into my bedroom with his black bag if I was sick. If he was called, it was always something serious.  Like the first time, when I had blood poisoning at age 13, and penicillin was new on the market. He diagnosed my problem without a single blood test,  And he cured me. Next time, I was 21, told him about dark urine, and he accurately diagnosed hepatitis A. The treatment consisted simply of home bed rest and a high carbohydrate diet. Within a few weeks, I was perfectly well.  I wasn’t afraid of doctors then.


My latrophobia (fear of doctors)  started when I began having scary mammograms that turned out to be false alarms. Besides several call backs, and repeat mammograms, I had at least 4 biopsies.   Now, my blood pressure (which had always been low) would skyrocket each time I walked into a doctors office.  Naturally , I’d be put on meds that brought my blood pressure so low I  nearly fainted, because I didn’t have consistently high blood pressure to begin with.

   Always, my blood pressure zooms if I have to see a doctor.  My husband sees a lot of doctors (fortunately he doesn’t have latrophobia ) and it seems to me that they often  hit the alarm button over some little symptom.   As an example, one night we went to a 24 hour clinic for my husband’s dizziness, and the doctor suggested we go to the hospital for a brain scan.  Nope, didn’t go, and the dizziness was gone by morning. That was five years ago.  Overall. though, we can’t complain  because he has some serious health issues  and wouldn’t be alive if not for his doctors.

Obviously, the doctor – patient relationship changed when malpractice suits became so popular in the 70’s that they ruined some doctors’  reputations.   Last week I read that a couple of doctors are suing patients who gave them bad reviews on Yelp.  And many hospitals email you a survey after each doctor visit , asking your opinion of your doctor.  How could anyone evaluate a doctor based on one visit?
So now, doctors and patients are skittish unless they’ve known each other for a long time. New statistics show that doctors only listen to their patients for 11 seconds! Doctors are leery of new patients, so they order all kinds of expensive tests that scare the patient to death, because they want to defend themselves against a lawsuit in case something goes wrong.
Something very sacred has been lost.   My parents would never have dreamed of suing old Doc Sullivan, even if I had died from blood poisoning. They knew he was doing the very best he could, and that’s all that could be expected.  Modern medicine has come a long way, but sometimes, I wish we could go back to the old days.



Okay, I’ve been putting this off for about ten years.  But it’s been so hot that it may as well be winter, when you’re stuck inside for days at a time.  What to do?  I can only spend so long reading books.  Then of course, there are the on-line games that get a bit tiresome after awhile.  Time to face the music and tackle the clutter.

 Here’s how it went:

First, all wires, old laptops, anything electronic, cameras, kindles, and instruction books that went with old printers, computers, cell phones, etc.  I had a drawer full of this stuff.  I mean, isn’t it smart to hang onto things you  might need someday? For example, two old laptops when you just bought a new one? No, I don’t think so.  It took about an hour to separate the wheat from the chaff here, and I ended up with a black garbage bag so heavy I could hardly lift it.  And that’s just one drawer!
Next, endless files of first, second and third drafts of my first novel, Take The Money: Romantic Suspense in Costa Rica, finally published in 2014 and still selling copies on Amazon, much to my amazement.  Ditto for 2nd novel, Chasing Their Losses.  Ditto for my husband’s memoir, APreacher Called Sinn.  Unfinished manuscripts of novels I gave up on.  Short stories I had published.  Stacks of how-to books about novel writing, editing, memoir writing, marketing, etc.  Rejection letters and letters of encouragement from literary agents and publishers.  Shoe boxes full of floppies and CD’s. This pile was so heavy that it took two more big black bags, because if it all went in one, it would be too heavy.
By late afternoon, I was worn out with decluttering.   But that was just the beginning.  In the coming days ahead  there were closets to clean, drawers full of old Tee shirts from every event I ever attended or country I visited.   Other drawers full of travel items like old toothbrush and soap holders.  Outdated cosmetics. Two sets of electric hot rollers from the long hair days, like maybe 25 years ago.  Why in the world did I save all that junk?  
Now, I’ve finished with solo decluttering. Next,  my husband must participate in our joint project of cleaning out the medicine cabinet, and then, the most daunting task of all: A basement full of memorabilia going back 40 years, shelves full of holiday decorations, old pictures, vases, pots,  and pans. My goal is to have all of this finished by November.
Working in a cool basement is fine now, but I don’t want to shiver in the furnace room come winter. During the dog days of summer, I would encourage all the hoarders out there to get busy decluttering.  If I can do it, anyone can! Read, DeCluttering Diary, Day 93 @  https://livingwellafter80.com



While watching one of our favorite talk shows Friday night on public television, we weren’t impressed with two of the three female guests. How can you take a woman seriously who lets her short skirt move way up above her knees, showing off her bare legs and thighs while participating in a serious political discussion? HELLOOO! This is not an episode of Sex and the City, and it’s not the morning show on ABC, NBC, or CBS.

What would we think of a male journalist who wore a kilt and propped up his hairy legs as he loftily critiqued the actions of various elected officials?

Feminists decry their lack of career opportunity, and yet when they do the short skirt act, they will not be respected.. If you watch the show, notice how the elder stateswoman, presents herself.  No, she doesn’t dress like a Vogue model. And yes, she has a down home, Hoosier look—slacks and jackets and sensible shoes.  But she looks professional and you are impressed with her impassioned,  intelligent comments, even though you might not agree 100% with her liberal convictions.

Ladies, if you want to be taken seriously on public television, and you want to wear a skirt, make sure that it covers your knees.  Or, if you must show some flesh, sit behind a desk or counter.



Do you like waiting in line at the grocery store checkout?  I do, because I can laugh at the latest “made up” news.  Examples: Kate and Camilla hate each other.  Hillary has brain cancer. Catherine Zeta Jones tried to commit suicide.  Harry is sick of Meghan and is going to dump her.  George Clooney and his wife had a knock down fight at the royal wedding and are getting a divorce.

Sometimes I think it would be fun to sit around with a bunch of other writers and dream up crazy ideas for juicy stories about celebrities.

What really amazes me is that these tabloids are  pricey.  And yet, they’re sold in dollar stores , drug stores and supermarkets, which  means ordinary people are willing to waste five bucks to read a bunch of fantasy stories, and the entire paper can be read in five minutes (or less, while you’re waiting in a long line and don’t have to pay for it.)

Usually, the tabloids are full of bad news. Someone is getting a divorce, or committing adultery, or had a terrible face lift.   It seems the general public has an insatiable appetite for schadenfreude (German word for enjoying other’s misfortune)

Your own life may be boring or full or stress and you might not have enough on your debit card to pay for everything in your cart. To make things worse  when you’re standing in line, you might feel a twinge of envy when you see pictures of  successful  beautiful people.  But wait, here’s a story about some movie’s star’s nervous breakdown.  It seems there is an endless market for stories of misery and downfall. If there aren’t any this week, the tabloids can just make something up, because they know that everyone loves to gloat  over the misfortunes of  the rich and famous.