What is the most important asset a major network news reporter can possess ?  Apparently,  it depends on whether you are male or female.  Men are allowed to age gracefully.  But there is a double standard for men, women and beauty on TV.

How often do you see a female newscaster on CNN, ABC,  NBC  or Fox News who does’t resemble  a fashion model?  Typically, they have cascades of long, wavy hair,  sparkling white teeth, glowing skin,  lash extensions and perfect makeup.  You can’t quite concentrate on what they’re saying, because you’re  wondering if they have dental implants.

Women must look beautiful on television
Beautiful Woman

Just for fun, I clicked on the website for all the major network news reporters and journalists.  And guess what I saw?  Many ordinary looking men, some quite old, with thinning hair.  Conversely, there were few  women who didn’t qualify as the stereotypical  Pretty Woman.   And of course, female reporters must be model thin and wear designer clothes.

There’s a refreshing change when you turn to Public Broadcasting.  One of our favorite  Indiana news review programs features men and women who probably wouldn’t win a beauty pageant . Even though the participants  don’t try to look like twenty somethings, they are neatly groomed and well dressed.  What’s most appealing is the fact that these people   are remarkably well informed and knowledgeable.

Why  must all  major network female reporters  and journalists strive for the appearance of youthful beauty?

It’s like aging is a disease.   Even Andrea Mitchell, who must be in her seventies, has bleached hair,  theatrical make up, and appears to have had  surgical help.  Saw Martha Raddatz tonight on ABC.  She’s pushing fifty,  but still has long,  blonde hair curling around her shoulders like a college girl.   Leslie Stahl  wears slathers of bright,  gooey,  lipstick. Sadly , if these women  decided to look  their age, they  would probably be banished from television.

There is a double standard for  successful news reporters.  Women must be beautiful, and the men may or may not be handsome, but they aren’t  there because of their looks.   Women reporters haven’t come as far as they would like to believe.  They’re still judged mainly on their appearance,  and they won’t get very  far on television  if they look like Eleanor Roosevelt.


When I was a kid growing up in Indiana, we longed for rainy days in the summer.  We didn’t live near an ocean or lake, and didn’t belong  a country club, so the next best thing was rain.  At the first sound of thunder, we  put on our bathing suits, ran outside,  and danced in the rain.  It’s a wonder none of us were ever struck by lightning. Of course, parents today would be accused of child neglect if their kids danced in the rain.  But there are still eight things to love about a rainy day.

dancing in the rain

You can:

1.  Walk into a beauty shop and get a manicure or haircut, without an appointment , because most people are staying home. .

2.  Skip the car wash .  The rain cleans your dusty car.

3. Sleep late,  go to bed early , and wake up feeling refreshed.

4.  Binge on Netflix.  Only dummies  watch movies all day, right?  But you can justify it on rainy days, no matter how well educated you are.

5. Stay in your pajamas all day because no one is apt to drop by.

You don’t have to:

6.  Rake leaves or clean up the yard.  Just stay inside and read a good book

7.   Force yourself to go on a morning run/walk/bicycle ride when you really don’t feel like it.

8.  Attend that boring club meeting, because most people won’t show up.

Above all, do not clean closets, scrub floors, or catch  up on your filing.  Rainy days can be depressing enough without dull, boring chores.

Make Rainy days Fun Days!


When it comes to election day,  the big question is:  what emotion will generate the most votes?  As Tina Turner used to say, “what’s love got to do with it”?  Most of the TV commercials for my state’s midterm election are focused on the awful things the opposing candidate has or hasn’t done. Apparently,  the candidates are banking on hatred for the other guy to win you over.

You have to wonder if all the angst stirred up by the Kavanaugh confirmation is going to mobilize members of both major parties.  Will love or hate  drive them to the polls on election day?  And if so, will they cancel out each other’s votes?  And will the latest odds by CNN prove accurate? They’re saying the Democrats will take the House, and the Republicans will prevail in the Senate.  It will be interesting to see if the predictions are accurate.


In big cities, people with like minded political views tend to hang out together.   But in the small college town where I live, I interact with people from  various economic backgrounds on a daily basis.  I know flaming liberals and die hard conservatives–and right now,  they’re an angry bunch.  Liberals tend to verbalize their opinions openly, so you pretty much know who is going to vote for the Democratic candidates.  The close-mouthed quiet ones are more apt to be Republicans, but that doesn’t mean they’re not headed for the polls in November.

The country has never been so divided and polarized as it is today.  I can remember some very contentious elections, but somehow, people were civil.  No one would have dreamed of attacking a politician in a restaurant or theater and forcing them to leave. About the only place a politician can feel safe nowadays is in a church.  And that could change at any time!


When  I posted DeCluttering Diary: Day One,  last July on my first blog, EightyGo,  I had no idea that it would go viral, or that our decluttering project would continue for so long. I thought we had gotten rid of most of the junk in our house.  Oh, how foolish I was! Yes, I had cleaned out  drawers and closets, upstairs and down, in our two story house, but I hadn’t begun to think about the basement.

Declutterng is hard if you've lived in a house for 50 years.
Everything gets hauled away in a truck

Cleaning out the basement of a house that has been lived in by the same person for 50 years is an overwhelming project.  My husband had two separate careers during that time,  and there were boxes of newsletters awards, pictures, reports from all those years.  But the majority of the shelves full of boxes were there before I arrived 30 years ago.

In yellowed, rotting cardboard boxes—unopened once they were sealed with masking tape a half century ago, were baby clothes, toys, scrapbooks, notebooks accumulated by my husband’s  three children who are now in their fifties and sixties. His first wife had carefully boxed up invitations, wrappings and bows from wedding  and baby showers through the years.  We found boxes of tablecloths, ceramics, trip brochures, towels.  Numerous fans, half empty paint cans, electrical cords—the list could go on forever.  You wonder why anyone would have kept all that stuff. But, I, too came with some baggage—old yearbooks, awards, memorabilia from the 26 years I served as Director of Food Service at an acute care hospital.  And of course, pictures of my three children from babyhood to parenthood.

You can see the truckload that emerged from our basement today.  That’s in addition to another truckload last month.  But we aren’t done yet.  There are still odds and ends that we have to think about.  Like the two oxcarts we purchased in Costa Rica 20 years ago.  Maybe we can sell some of these things on E Bay. This winter, we’ll bring up the boxes of pictures and decide which ones to keep.

We thought we would be finished with all of this purging by Thanksgiving, but it looks like it will go on until spring.

Read  DeCluttering Diary: Day One  EightyGo


When a successful person like Megyn Kelly suffers a setback,  people are apt to quote the biblical proverb, “Pride Goeth Before A Fall.”   The same thing could be said of someone who is too proud to  use a cane when they need one.

After reaching a certain age, an epidemic of falls begin to occur among  elderly friends, family, and acquaintances.  Just this week, I heard of four people  who were hospitalized with broken bones and/or  a concussion, due to a fall.  Only one of these four is known to use a cane. 

Unfortunately, once you’ve fallen, you’re more apt to fall again.  That’s because you lose your confidence, for fear that you will have another bad fall.  You feel unsure of yourself, maybe a little shaky, but you’re determined not to be seen in public with a cane.  I’ve been going through this cycle lately, and finally made the decision that I’d rather use a cane than suffer another fall.  It was a little embarrassing, especially when old friends  asked, “why are you using a cane?”  May I offer a piece of advice?  Don’t ask anyone that question.  I can assure you they wouldn’t be on a cane just for the fun of it.

Now, I’ve started physical therapy with the hope I can walk like I did just a few years ago.   But when I told my therapist my goal of caneless walking, she said that I might always need one when walking through the woods, or on uneven terrain.  It’s all part of aging gracefully, (but not willfully).

Sometimes, even a cane won’t do the job.  My husband is diabetic, has no cartilage in his knees, and little sensation in his feet. He must use a walker if he’s going to walk for any length of time.   Many people might find this humiliating, but I think just the opposite is true.  I’m immensely happy  that he’s facing facts, and cares more about his health than his appearance.

A friend of ours who has experienced at least two bad falls in the past few years, proudly stated, ‘I will never be seen on a walker.” If this scenario hits home, ask yourself these questions. Do you really  want to end up in the hospital or a nursing home, upsetting your family, and no longer seeing your friends?  All because you were too proud to use a walker?

And if you have a grandmother, mother, or aunt who could use a cane, there are lots of pretty canes that would make a great Christmas gift.


Fall came late to Indiana this year, but at last we can enjoy the glorious blue skies and sun shining across  trees bursting with  brilliant colors of red, orange, and gold . Excitement is in the air, and our mouths water in anticipation of  pumpkin pie, persimmon pudding, and last but not least,  southern fried apples.

fried apples

Now that apples are in season,  you have many varieties to choose from.  Some recipes call for  slices of peeled Granny Smiths.  But I prefer tart, spicy McIntosh or Jonathans,  unpeeled, because the red skins brighten up the plate.

Fried apples are super easy to make. Basically,  all you need is butter in the skillet, some sugar and cinnamon. Many recipes call for removing the skins, but  I prefer leaving them on.   It’s a matter of individual choice, but the red brightens up the plate.    Then, there’s the matter of how much sugar and butter to use.  You can  cut the sugar down to half in any recipe, and the apples will still taste sweet.  If there’s a diabetic in the house, another option is to use no sugar at all, then flavor with sugar free maple syrup right before serving. . 

Fried apples can be spooned over ice cream, served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  They are a tangy, spicy side dish for any meat, and a  perfect accompaniment to pork chops.

Here’s a basic recipe for two that you can modify to suit your individual taste.  And above all, don’t overcook the apples!  You want them firm, not mushy.



1/4 cup butter

3 unpeeled red apples, sliced

¼ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Melt butter in skillet; add apples and sugar.  Cover and cook over low heat about 15 minutes or until tender, stirring often.  Add cinnamon; cook and stir a few more minutes before serving.

About 200 calories per serving, or less, depending on how much butter and sugar you use.


Whether you’re eight, eighteen, or eighty, getting to sleep can be a problem.  By the time you’re my age, you’ve probably tried everything imaginable to deal with occasional bouts of insomnia.

You see a lot of  over the counter sleep aids at the drugstore,  but most of them don’t help  me. Awhile back, someone tweeted about an amazing sleep aid  that worked wonders for her.   I rushed out to buy the product, but alas,  it kept me awake all night.   What a bummer!   Finding an OTC drug  to help you   sleep is a matter of trial and error..  What works for one person, doesn’t work for the other.   Prescription drugs can pose a worse problem.  Once, after my husband took a sleeping pill his doctor prescribed, I found him doing laundry at 2 a.m.  The next morning, he couldn’t remember anything about it.


Of course, there’s no way you’re going to sleep well if something traumatic  has happened in your life.  Those are the times you just have to endure until you make it through the storm.  But even minor upsets can increase anxiety and keep you awake.

Here are five things that help me through the night.

1. . No caffeine after noon.  For years, I had to have coffee with lunch.  I’ve heard many people say they can drink coffee after dinner, and it doesn’t bother their sleep.  Well, good for them.  When I lowered my caffeine intake, I began sleeping better.  A great alternative for an afternoon beverage is green tea.  It’s contains an amino acid called theanine, which is supposed to be soothing.

2.   A  warm foot bath in the evening  while  watching television  or reading a book relieves stress and anxiety.   Pamper yourself with a foot bath if you’ve had a really bad day.

3. A walk in the park during the day.   One half hour of fresh air, sunshine and exercise makes a big difference. Once, when I was going through a tough time,  I walked my way out of my anxiety.  There was even a tree that marked the spot where I could feel the tension leave my body.  Swimming is another great exercise, if you have access to a pool.  And even if you can’t swim, water walking or an aquatic exercise class clears your mind and strengthens your body.

4.  No depressing movies  or TV shows about war, abuse,, murder, etc. etc.  Those shows always give me nightmares.   I don’t need to be reminded that the world can be a miserable place.  Give me Dancing With The Stars (especially the one with little kids)  for sweet dreams.

5.  Cover the digital clock on my dresser and the one in the cable box under the TV.  There’s nothing worse than waking up at 2:00 a.m., rolling over, and  checking  every few minutes to see if you’ve gotten any more sleep, and how much.  Don’t worry, you will wake up when the sun rises.

There are numerous habits, foods, and troubles that can keep you awake.   But  remember, you are not alone!   At any given time,  people all over  the world  are struggling with insomnia.