stand straight 

“Okay, guys. Now turn and face that wall and stand up straight!”

That’s exactly what I said to these two policemen before taking their picture yesterday. They had refused to let me photograph them from the front, saying their boss, “wouldn’t like it.” Instead, they let me shoot them from behind. I mean, seriously, when was he last time you told two officers to “stand up against that wall,” and they complied? Made my day, cause they turned back around with big, wide grins.

I had spent the afternoon looking for down-in-the-mouth people who were slumped as they walked. My goal was to get them to smile. So, I first asked if I could take their picture. Then, before I did, I asked them to stand up as straight as they could. 

After stopping countless people for pictures, only one declined; an old woman who informed me that she did not want to find herself, “on some porn site.” Quite honestly, given her age (and mine) I thought her concern was perhaps not one.

Nonetheless, you can see the results.  Keep in mind that none of these folks looked happy when I first saw them.  The two most dramatic examples were a tired, bent-over, UPS guy who transformed into a gold-toothed, gleaming, smiling, tall giant of a man and an 80 year-old lady who seemed at first decrepit, but burst into a joyous smile with shoulders flung back looking years younger.

 stand straight11stand straight4stand straight1stand straight10

Look….time takes its’ toll. After thousands of days of presenting ourselves to the world we just get tired—and it shows. Our bodies start to slump over. Pace slows down. Some of us even shuffle. 

What to do?? FIGHT IT!! When you get out of the car, force yourself to stand up straight. Pull those shoulders back. Take one, long, deep breath, and then march into that supermarket like you OWN it. Sure, it’s temporary. But I promise that you will feel better. Who knows, you might just make someone else smile.





Did you know that right now there are 800 million of us over the age of 60? And guess what else? We have a few things going for us that I didn’t even know:

  1. Our immune systems are stronger so we get fewer colds.
  2. We suffer less migraines—(maybe because we have less to think about?)
  3. We’re less sweaty. . .(unless you fall into the next statistic).
  4. 75% of people in their 80’s report better sexual satisfaction than they had in their 40’s!
  5. While we aren’t as good at math (that’s what calculators are for) and are slower to respond to commands, (likely purposeful), our vocabulary, spatial orientation, verbal memory, AND problem solving abilities, are better than they were in our 20s!
  6. We have less allergies because our immunoglobin E production (which exacerbates them) decreases as we age.

 Frankly, that’s nothing to sneeze at.  And if you’re my age or older–you won’t!



50 years ago Halloween

An old friend just sent me this photo of me taken on Halloween exactly 50 years ago. I had chosen to be a boy beatnik and even painted a mustache on my upper lip with black, eyebrow pencil. Not only do I remember the photo being taken, I also remember vividly wanting to be a boy at the time. Why? They had more fun.

A year later, I recall playing tennis in the middle of summer with a boy my age. After a few minutes of play, he took off his sweat-soaked T-shirt. I followed suit. Within minutes, a man in a golf cart showed up and demanded that I put my shirt back on.

“Why?” I asked indignantly. “He took his shirt off, too. Why doesn’t he have to put his back on?”

“You’re a girl,” the man replied. “You can’t take off your shirt. Those are the rules.”

Reluctantly, I did put it back on but I was mad and not one bit embarrassed. Why did a man have more freedom than I did? And besides, the two of us looked exactly alike shirtless!!

I suppose I should have become a feminist and burned my bra but truth was I didn’t wear one. Besides, by the time women’s rights were the rage, I had long decided that my gender would NOT define me. In hindsight, it did, though I was not conscious of it at the time.

A few days ago, while listening to Goria Steinem on NPR I understood why. She is 81 now and was reminiscing about turning 60. “Remember how you felt at 9 or 10? When you could just go out and climb a tree and not think about anything else? You were just free to be yourself? That’s how I felt at 60.” 

She talked about the role expectations of women in their 20’s, “to be beautiful and sexy” and their 30’s “to be accomplished” and their 40’s, to be “parental role models.” But as the 50’s fly by and hormones go south, (along with the anatomy) there is no longer the pull and tug to act or be in the mainstream of those social, gender expectations.

So, I’m thinking now that one of the BEST perks of getting older is a ‘Gloria’s’ sense of freedom. So youngsters, take note of who you dress up as tonight. It might just be the real you. :)  


wanted senior1

Here is the Ad I posted in our local paper last week: “Wanted! Strong, hard-working, high school senior who wants to earn extra money after school, moving heavy boxes, cleaning roof gutters and other yard work. $15/hour.”

Only ONE person answered my ad. The guy pictured above. Yup. Not only was he older than I am, he arrived at my doorstep wearing a back brace AND a knee brace!

“Um,” I smiled as I opened the door. “You aren’t exactly a high-school senior,” I said.

“Oh,” he countered. “I didn’t see the ‘high school’ part. I just saw ‘senior’….and I’m definitely that!” Understatement. 

According to Fact Tank, by 2022, 31.9% of the work force will be people over 65! If my gentleman caller today is any indication, they are right.  Putnam Investments recently published a survey, which found that 7 million previously retired folks have even returned to the work force! That rate is projected to jump to 67.5 percent by 2022.  

Scientific studies prove that when men, in particular, retire their risk of clinical depression and even suicide rises sharply. The research shows that, “A man is about as likely to ask for help for depression as to ask for directions, and for much the same reason.  It’s part of the male code, part of masculine culture.”  So I’m glad that my retiree showed up for his sake, as much as mine.

Well, my ‘senior’ spent about 4 hours at my place and did one heck of a job. (Though I was a bit nervous when he first headed up the ladder). In fact, he was far more thorough than the last high school senior I hired. Not only that, we had interesting, thought-provoking conversations and given our ages, we certainly had lots in common.

But here is my real concern: how come not one, single teenager responded to my Ad? Are they over-booked? Or do they just not need the money? If things were ‘right’ in the world, people over 65 would not HAVE to labor for $15/hr. If things were even ‘righter,’ teenagers would!!!



skype helen

Honestly, I really am trying to stay ‘with it’ in terms of technology…but I just keep hitting roadblocks. I finally purchased an Internet phone, but I don’t ever use it for email because the darn screen is too SMALL to read. I even connected it to the Bluetooth in my car but am too nervous to use that because it involves pushing a button here and there which means I have to look away from the road. I also confess that I have yet to activate the voicemail. Why? Because if someone should leave me one while I’m driving, I would have to pull off the road, punch in my code, listen to the whole thing and respond. By then I figure, I’d already be home.

Oh, and did I mention I finally purchased a Mac? My husband, (probably counting on my college degree) told me that I didn’t “need to purchase the additional $99 fee” to get an Apple expert to walk me through the basics. As a result, I have had to Google EVERYTHING, including how to take a screenshot. I have done this now, 6 separate times……and every time I STILL have to look up how to do it.

But here’s the clincher: my youngest recently insisted that I open a Skype account so that we could talk to each other face-to-face. Easy enough, I thought. So, last night, I picked a user name, made up yet another password and clicked the camera button. (Do NOT attempt this if you are my age and had only 5 hours of sleep the previous night.) Once I did, this wrinkled, gray-haired old lady was staring back at me. I thought I’d reached some crazed operator in a foreign country. Nooop. It was me. Scared me to death.

Thus explains the above photo. I want to CONNECT with my child, not scar her for life!!! Look, I’m always encouraging my readers to embrace change and stay current—but you do pay a bit of a price if nothing more than in sheer vanity.


young pup old hand

I’m embarrassed to say that it took me more than half a century to learn to love man’s best friend. But oh I do now….and with a passion and gratitude. If you have an older relative, or lonely friend, get them a companion. A dog would be great, but even a fish would do. It is a great way to focus on the here and now—particularly when that attention is on someone other than your self.

I did not own my first dog until I was almost 60. Why? I hated them. My hatred, though, came from plain, old ignorance. I feared them because I knew nothing about them. In fact, I was SO stupid that the first time I dropped a sock and my pup brought it to me, I was completely amazed. So amazed, that I posted her feat on Facebook and received some 35 comments. One said: “Um, Helen. That’s called ‘fetch.'”

My dog has connected me to all kinds of people: big and small, young and old, every race, color, creed and political bent. She has made me realize that we are all in this together. And, I think we would enjoy the ride more with a pet at our side.  Even science has documented proof that dogs increase our lifespan as well as our health:

1. Dog owners walk more and have lower blood pressure than those without dogs.

2. Petting your dog actually releases oxytocin, a relaxation hormone!

3. Having a pet helps you connect with others.

4. People with pets are generally happier and less lonely.

5. People with pets are less likely to visit the doctor with minor concerns.

Yeah, they are a bit of work, but unlike kids they do NOT bite the hand that feeds them. Instead? They lick it. You can be gone for five minutes or five days but upon your return, you will be greeted with a tail-wagging excitement unlike any other. They know when you are happy or sad or sick and will stay close to you through all of those moments.

Now, I brush my pup every night before bed. I even brush her teeth with an extra electric toothbrush head. 50 times on each side. Silly? Maybe. I just want to keep her molars clean so that she can live a long and healthy life …..right by my side.



(My friend, Ivan who is pushing 80!!  Yup 80.)

According to Buzzfeed, there is now an actual word for young people who act older than their age: “Yoldies.” Apparently these are the 20-somethings who like to watch Netflix on a Saturday night instead of going out drinking because bars are just, “too loud.” These are also the kinds of kids who take their own recycling bags to the grocery store and wear practical shoes. They even pride themselves on their ability to knit. Put simply, they are old people trapped in a young person’s body!

That set me thinking about those of us youngsters who are hopelessly trapped in these older bodies. We are “Yoldies,” too! You know who you are: the grandpa who still drives that little, sports car that he can barely bend into, or the arthritic grandma who still prances around town in those death-defying stilettos.

mac lesson

(a 60-something learning how to use his Mac from a 20 something.)

What the young don’t get is that who you are NOW stays with you until your last breath. Don’t believe me? Check out these pictures of a few “oldsters” I captured around town this week. ‘Young’, old folks or ‘old,’ young ones, it’s all the same. The only difference is time.  And boy does it fly when you’re having fun!!!

collander on head

(My husband clowning around with a colander on his head.)