Once you reach retirement age, well meaning family and friends urge you to make some important life changes:  They say you should move to a one story house and hire a cleaning lady. A few years later,  you’re advised  to prepare for the inevitable realities of aging, and move to a retirement community where you will be relieved of most household chores.   You’re assured that a workout room  is usually available if you’re concerned about your health and want some exercise.  But which is best? Housework or workouts?

How many healthy seniors do you know who  have followed  the conventional wisdom  of forfeiting their privacy and independence? Even though they are in good health ,  half of my contemporaries have moved on. Those who’ve moved to smaller homes or apartments may hire cleaning women while they go to Planet Fitness.  Those who live in retirement communities have few household chores. They can spend the winter months playing bridge, reading books, and other sedentary activities. When spring arrives, and they find their clothes are too snug , they resolve to work out on the treadmill or do some stair steps.

Seniors are often advise to move to retirement communities where they do no housework. But is that healthy?

Did you know that vacuuming floors burns 170 calories per hour? The good news about housework is the satisfaction you get from not only getting exercise, but the feeling that you’ve done something productive.   I know, it’s not very classy to admit you spent the morning cleaning the bathroom. But  scrubbing down a bathroom for 35 minutes burns more calories than 35 minutes on a treadmill.

 So, you don’t have to tell anyone your dirty little secret to avoid gaining weight   You can pretend you spent the morning doing pilates before having lunch at the Panda Garden.  No one needs to know you cleaned your bathroom , but you!

One more reason to stay in a two story house : stair climbing  burns calories at a faster rate than many other forms of exercise,  It builds muscles, strengthens bones and leads to greater cardiovascular health.

For a complete list of calories burned doing various household chores,  follow this link: http://calorielab.com/




Were you ever dumped by someone you loved?  Did you miss getting on a plane that later crashed ? Sometimes, you’re upset when things don’t go the way you expect.  But later, it turns out you were better off. Did you dodge a bullet today?.

I tend to be an impatient person, which I can easily blame on my mother, for her DNA didn’t include  a patience marker.  My brother and I both lacked that trait,  while my two sisters got the laid- back gene inherited from  my father.

If you’re impatient, you tend to get upset if things don’t go smoothly.  Like, if you’re waiting in a long line at the grocery store on a stormy day and someone’s slowly writing a check, and the cashier has to call a supervisor from the back of the store to mosey up and  okay the check.   While you’re  irritably  clocking your wait time ,  the other lines are moving swiftly.  Then, the moment you finally  walk out of the store, the rain stops,  the sun comes out, and you see your worst enemy in the car next to yours, backing out of the parking lot. . Yes, you dodged that bullet.  Now, aren’t you glad you got stuck waiting in line?

Dodged a bullet means you avooided something seriously wrong, although you didn't know it at the time
When something doesn’t go well for you, it may turn out that you’ve dodged a bullet.

The most common dodged- that -bullet scenario comes from a relationship that went south.  Say you were engaged to a guy who broke it off, and later he gets  arrested for doing drugs. Or a man regrets not marrying his beautiful young girlfriend.  Fast forward five years, and he sees her hanging out at a bar, haggard, overweight and  drunk.

Once, I applied for a  job that I really, really wanted.  Didn’t get it.  Two months later, got a job that ended up being my career until retirement.

Other bad things that happen can be a blessing in disguise.  You get fired from a crappy job and get a better one later. You were saving for a  move to California when your car breaks down. A week later, you meet the love of your life right in your own hometown.

The next time something doesn’t go well,  you may have dodged a bullet.  Every cloud has a silver lining.


Back in the 60’s, I was a full time housewife in suburban Chicago.   I drove my husband to the commuter train each morning with the kids in the back seat, then returned home to take care of my children and keep house.  There weren’t many working wives in those days.  Needless to say, I did much more cooking from scratch.   But even after I became a working mom, I still fixed batches of spaghetti sauce on the weekends and stored what was left in the freezer.  It only needed an hour of simmering, but I liked the way it filled the house with a delicious fragrance, so I kept it on the stove for 2 hours or more.  Here is my  recipe for Mama Lucia’s Spaghetti Sauce.

You could make it with ground chuck, but I prefer using very lean ground beef.  It’s a  bit more expensive, but the low fat health benefits are worth the cost.  What gives the sauce its special flavors are the red wine and a pinch of cinnamon.


One batch of this spaghetti sauce will make three or four meals
Red wine and a pinch of cinnamon makes this Spaghetti Sauce special


1  lb.  94% lean ground beef

¼ cup olive oil

1 half  onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 Tablespoon oregano

2 Tablespoons  basil

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 28 oz can stewed tomatoes

2 6 oz cans tomato paste

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

1 bay leaf

½ cup red wine

Crumble the ground beef into small pieces while you saute in olive oil with garlic and onion.  Add rest of ingredients, and simmer 1-4 hours.

If you simmer the sauce longer than 2 hours, it may begin to thicken too much.  If that happens, stir in a little water to thin it down.

Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf before serving over cooked pasta. .

There will be a lot of leftover sauce..  Spoon it  into quart zip lock freezer bags and ,lay them flat so that you can stack them neatly after frozen.   Now, you have 3 or 4 quick meals to pull out of the freezer on busy days.

Once you taste this heart healthy recipe,  you will never buy bottled spaghetti sauce again.


Lately,  my city has been the focus of a debate as to whether we should allow a proposed casino to operate here.  Our county has some dismal statistics:  We rank in the lowest quarter of almost every State Department of Health statistic in terms of obesity (31%) and children living in poverty (49%).  Unemployment rate is twice the national average, and our household income is lower than most other cities.   We are in dire need of more business, more jobs, and higher wages.  The question is: Will the wages of sin save us?

Our city has a high rate of poverty, yet some citizens don't want a casino
The morality police in our city say we’re better off with out a casino

Since the city can boast five colleges and universities, it boggles the mind that we’re in this position.  But most college graduates don’t want to live  in a place with low wages and  a deteriorating inner city. And so,  we have a brain drain, with most of the educated young people heading for greener pastures.

The bill to bring a casino to our town has already passed the Indiana Senate.   But it hasn’t passed the Indiana House, and some people are hoping that it won’t.  Lots of our citizens—apparently those who don’t live in poverty—are objecting on grounds of morality.

The morality police say it’s better for our city to continue its downward spiral than to embrace the gambling business..    They believe that bringing in a casino will destroy families when a parent is addicted to gambling.  They say it will attract  criminals, prostitutes and drug dealers.

Considering the fact that our local  jail is already overcrowded with drug dealers, I’m not sure a casino would add to that problem, but at least we could blame it on the gambling business.

If we’re going to ban  potentially addictive businesses,  why not outlaw all bars and  liquor stores?   Next, we might close down McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and all the other fast food restaurants because of Indiana’s escalating rate of obesity.

Over the years, my husband and I have visited casinos in,  French Lick,  Las Vegas, and Biloxi.  We always enjoyed the shows and good food.  We set ourselves a limit as to how much we would lose before stepping away from the slot machines.  Neither one of us ever became addicted to gambling.

I hope the Indiana House Public Policy Committee will vote in favor of Senate Bill 552 next week.


A recent survey of millennials itemized their top stressful scenarios.  After reading them over, I’m thinking how lucky these young people  are, and how little they know what’s coming.  What stresses you out?  Apparently, it depends on when you were born.

Things that stress millennials seem trivial to the over 50 crowd

Generation X, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generations have far more complex concerns.   Anyone over fifty would love it if losing their credit card was one of their worst stresses.  I’ve lost many a credit card over the years, and I can remember when it did seem like a terrible stress.  Now, if I find it’s not in my wallet, I pick up the phone, call Visa for a new one, and use my husband’s credit card until my new one arrives.  What’s to worry about?

Here are the top 10 stressful scenarios reported by millennials:

  1. Losing your wallet or credit card
  2. Arguing with a partner
  3. Commute or traffic delays
  4. Losing your phone
  5. Getting to work late
  6. Slow Wifi
  7. Phone battery dying
  8. Forgetting passwords
  9. Credit card fraud
  10. Forgetting phone charger

So, in no particular order, here is my suggested  list of top stressful scenarios for Gen X, Baby Boomers, & the Silent Generation.*

  1. Chronic disease or illness (arthritis, diabetes, cancer, lupus, etc.)
  2. Care giving of elderly parents or disabled spouse
  3. Deaths of family and friends
  4. Job security (50% of people over fifty with lose their job to a younger person)
  5. Addiction (Self or family member)
  6. Weight Control ( 1/3 or people in my state of Indiana are obese.)
  7. Cataracts, Macular Degeneration
  8. Hearing Loss (hearing aids not covered by Medicare)
  9. Loss of balance, falls
  10. Anxiety over teenage children & grandchildren
MIllennials:   If you think losing your cell phone is a big stress,  just wait. It’s going to get worse.  But somehow, you will survive.


Generation        Age

* Millennials  22-37

Generation X 38-53

Baby Boomers 54-72

Silent Generation 73-90



Less than fifty percent of Americans watch Network TV or Cable News around dinner time.   We watch  every night, but if you decide to do something else, I can hardly blame you. Does nightly news depress you?

Local news isn’t  quite as bad as national news.  It’s often rather bland, and heavily focused on the weather. On the other hand,  national news is geared to making your blood pressure rise.  Every single tornado,  car wreck, terrorist attack,  plane crash, and celebrity downfall is gleefully reported in excruciating detail.

David Muir is our favorite newscaster

Our favorite newscaster is ABC’s David Muir, mainly because he’s so hunky and dynamic.  Your heart speeds up  when  he urgently announces, “we have a lot to report tonight.”  What disasters are we about to observe from the warmth and comfort of our den?  The world he sees is filled with death,  destruction and tragedy.  And yet, at the very end, he tries to lift us out of the doldrums with a heartwarming story .  Maybe some endearing thing a little kid said or did –anything to reassure us that there are  pockets of hope in the world.

Some news stations like CNN and Fox News can be counted on  to tell us  what a horrible president we have, or what a great president we have.  Realistically speaking, no president is perfect.  See:  SOME  POTUS WERE A LITTLE OFF @  https://livingwellafter80.com/some-potus-were-a-little-off/re-a-little-off/

Having lived through the Nixon resignation and the Clinton impeachment, I don’t relish the idea of putting our nation through that kind of prolonged melodrama.   That’s what  elections are  for, folks.  If you don’t like the guy in the White House, just vote him out of office. It’s called democracy.

But  it’s not just the news and politics that gets you down. The really, truly depressing aspect of watching the entire evening news hours is the plethora of pharmaceutical drug ads.

Within the time frame of a mere hour,  the commercials will  remind  about  all the terrible diseases you could develop at  any given moment.  There’s cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and COPD  for starters.  It seems like everyone is at death’s door, and the only hope lies with some sophisticated, expensive drug that you’ve never heard of, but are supposed to demand that your doctor prescribe.

Whatever happened to all the cheerful commercials such as  “I’d like to teach the world to sing?” by Coca Cola?  I wouldn’t  even mind seeing some perky housewife talking about the best toilet bowl cleaner.  Any TV commercial  that doesn’t remind me of sickness and death would be preferable to what dominates the airways around dinner time.

If you prefer sweet dreams to nightmares, you might turn off the television at 6 o’clock.


As the parent of a child  who received a  scholarship to an Ivy League school through hard work, brains, and true athletic ability, I’m disgusted by the nationwide college admissions cheating  scandal.  And yet, I’m not at all surprised.  It’s always been a fact of life that the kids of rich people  were admitted to  better colleges. But  all of this  may  backfire on the colleges, themselves.  Many bright young people had  already  decided a college degree isn’t really worth it.   ( See link here :  https://livingwellafter80.com/why-some-bright-kids-drop-out-of-college)   And now, thanks to celebrities Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin,  the value of a college degree just nosedived once again.

Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin just helped downgrade the value of going to college

The college administrators  claim ignorance that admission tests were faked and coaches were bribed,  but I’m sure they had an inkling of what was going on. Didn’t it seem odd that celebrities children were so brilliant ?   And everyone always  knew that  most college athletes  weren’t quite as bright as the other students.  Football players, especially,  bragged about getting good grades in spite of flunking quizzes and missing classes.  It was all part of the game.

Generations of young people knew the system was rigged, but we put up with it.  Why?  Because a college degree led to a better job, more social status, and a higher income. That’s still true, to a certain extent.  Many young college grads have good jobs and high salaries.  But guess what?  They owe thousands of dollars in college debts, can’t afford to get married, much less buy a house and start a family, until they’re almost thirty.  Many will dip into their retirement funds in order educate their own children .

Meanwhile, the high school grad  who went into a skilled trade  married young, bought a starter house, and had a couple of kids.   By the time they were thirty, they  could move up to a better  neighborhood, and– with no college debts–  enjoy the good life.

So, perhaps  all the  rich and famous cheaters  who bribed their kids way into college have inadvertently done young people  a favor.  They’ve proven that the college admissions process is rigged, and probably not worth the effort.

 Most state universities have  seen  an alarming decline in freshman enrollments for the past few years, and it’s not expected to get any better. The value of a college education just nosedived once again.