10 Things You Should Have in Your Bathroom if You’re Over 50

10 Things You Should Have in Your Bathroom if You're Over 50

1. Magnifying mirror. Because objects seen in regular mirrors are really larger than they appear. The little hair chin – that is actually two inches long, the stray brow – which is actually creating a bridge across your nose, that cute freckle – that is actually a smear of lunch’s BBQ sauce. Caveat: you should have a double sided mirror where the other side is not magnified. Make sure you leave it on the normal side until you’re ready to get serious about the face search – I have scared the heck out of myself more than once by turning on the bathroom light and having that jumbo magnified face staring back at me!

2. Truthful lighting. You’re not doing yourself any favors by having soft lighting that makes you appear to be bathed in the glow of a candle. You are setting yourself up for a heartbreaking double-take when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the rearview mirror as you head off to face the world with a make-up job that wasn’t intended to see the harsh light of day.

10 Things You Should Have in Your Bathroom if You're Over 503. Fierce toenail clippers. The kind that don’t take “no” for an answer. Have you seen the kind with scissor-like handles? Better aim with less slippage.

4. Serious tweezers. “Cute” doesn’t cut it here. You want tweezers with a sturdy grip and a slanted edge – tweezers that can take on the tough tasks and get the job done. Keep them somewhere close to that magnifying mirror.

5. Soothing body powder. You will want to use this anywhere that skin touches skin that it didn’t touch previously. Please don’t make me be specific here.

6. Paper and pen. For when that “must do later today” flashes through your mind – because you will NOT remember it by the time you get to the kitchen.

7. Aquanotes. It’s a pad and “pencil” that sticks to the wall of the shower. Because the chances of you remembering that great idea long enough to rinse off and get to your paper and pen by the sink keep getting slimmer. 10 Things You Should Have in Your Bathroom if You're Over 50

8. Extra eye or reading glasses. So on a groggy middle-of-the-night visit you can grab them quickly to determine what that large object on the floor actually is – and whether your sudden shaking is making it seem to be moving . . . or worse.

9. Counter-top pump body lotion. If you can fit your body lotion in a drawer, you’re probably not using the volume of moisturizer on your arms, hands, elbows, feet, knees – among other areas – that you should.

10. An object that makes you laugh, smile, or feel inspired. A whimsical shower curtain, a silly toilet paper dispenser, a framed motivational saying. Other than your bed, chances are the bathroom is the first place you go* in the morning and the last place you go* at night. Might as well begin and end each day with a smile on your face!

*No pun intended

What’s YOUR now-that-I’m-over-50 bathroom staple?

Motivational Monday #12

As we age we face a multitude of challenges – physical, emotional, spiritual. We can’t control what life deals us, but we have options for how we deal with what life offers. The key?

Motivational Monday #12


Top 10 Reasons Why Having a Colonoscopy Makes You Smile

Top 10 Reasons Having a Colonscopy Will Make You Smile

I’m not going to talk about how having this simple procedure detects cancer early and, literally, saves lives – that’s old news. And I’m not going to try to persuade you to have one by telling you how one no longer has to drink gallons and gallons of nasty-tasting stuff like they used to the night before – you’ve probably heard that 100 times. What I DO want to talk about is the benefits of having a colonoscopy that nobody else is talking about – the ones that will make you smile. There wasn’t room to list them all, so I have selected the Top 10 Reasons Why Having a Colonoscopy Makes You Smile.

10. You get to utter mysteriously: “I’m having a medical procedure done tomorrow.”

9. You get the day off work.

8. Just when you think age has caused you to slow down, the time it takes you to get to the bathroom from the living room will prove you wrong.

7. Free fuzzy socks with non-slip grippers.

6. The warm blanket – mmmmmmmmm. You’ll be so busy wondering where you can buy a blanket warmer, you’ll forget why you’re there.

5. It will be the one time in your whole life when you will be encouraged to pass gas while others are present.

4. You’re sure to lose a pound or so in the process – without exercise!

3. You will finally get some of that sleep you’ve been needing.

2. You will have earned the right to nag others who haven’t yet had “the procedure” and are now qualified to proclaim self-righteously: “It’s just not that big a deal.”

And the number one reason why having a colonoscopy makes you smile??

1. You can now participate in those conversations that you were formerly banned from due to your lack of experience. You know – the ones that use phrases like wooshing feeling, never moved so fast in my life, I was relieved to find out that. . . “


Top 10 Reasons Having a Colonsocpy Makes You Smile

* We are both qualified to tell you that!

Motivational Monday #4

You have more power over your own life than you may think. While you don’t have control over everything, you have control over what is most important. As Maya Angelo said:

Motivational Monday

November GoalFest!

GoalFest NovemberI have never met Alison Sweeney. I don’t even know anybody that knows her. I have no reason to think she is anything other than a wonderful person. So it is irrational for me to be so annoyed by her ubiquitous presence.  I read numerous magazines each month to generate writing ideas (which, of course, makes the subscriptions tax deductible!) and I swear she’s in every one. And not just a headshot or a quote from her – like four and five-page spreads! I’ve never watched either of her shows, but I know she has two and that she’s leaving one after twenty-one years because every magazine I read says so. If she were a song, she’d be an endless loop of It’s a Small World After All.

So recently, as I tried to flip through yet another spread on her (with no end in sight), the letters BFF jumped out at me. INovember GoalFest had to stop and roll my eyes at her use of the junior high cliche. But she was using it to abbreviate Best Fitness Friend. Oh. Hmmm. I had to admit that was a usable concept.

We are often able to accomplish more of our fitness goals if we have a buddy going through the paces with us, cheering us on, and holding us accountable. (Sorry for prematurely judging you, Alison.) So let’s extend this concept just a bit further for GoalFest – because not all our goals are fitness -related. How about BGF for Best Goal Friend (which sounds better abbreviated!)? I was lucky enough to have one for the October goal and, even though we were on different continents and our goals were totally unrelated, it was fun to stay in touch, root each other on, and offer sympathy and even suggestions for some of our challenges. I highly recommend it! And for those of you who are internally motivated, self-disciplined and don’t need the support of a BGF to obtain your goal, you are probably just the person to be a great BGF to someone who could use one!

So let’s talk goals! We’ll go first:

Getting Fierce Goalfest!My October goal was to get the old bicycle out, find a place to get it serviced, get it overhauled, and ride 20 miles. I achieved about 75% of that and learned some valuable lessons. I was able to locate a reputable place about a half-hour away, made the bike appointment, took it in, picked it up the following week. And then I rode less than 20 miles. I will never again use the expression “it’s just like riding a bike” when referring to something that’s easy to pick back up after a long time. I knew I had shrunk about an inch in height over the past few years, but I assumed it was in my back, not the length of my legs. But they clearly got shorter because I can only touch my feet flat by actually resting on the crossbar (I had to be cool and get a guy’s bike years ago) when standing. Being past childbearing years (assuming God doesn’t decide to prank me!) I am not as concerned about that status as I might have been a few years back. What I didn’t expect was the exertion involved in riding (after all, I had used stationary bikes through months of physical therapy after knee replacements) and total jelly legs after a mere 15 minutes of riding! I plan to stick with it, though. And I’m proud to say that my BGF, Pauline King, hit 100% on her goal – completing a painting she had started some time back. If any of you read her blog post on wanting to cultivate the magic in her life, you’ll see she accomplished some of that in her finished work of art!

The Wonderland of Alys by Pauline King

The Wonderland of Alys by Pauline King

NOVEMBER GOAL: This may sound odd to you, but I am committing to not sitting consecutive hours without getting up and standing/walking for a few minutes every 30-40 minutes. I’ve seen almost as many articles on the danger of sitting too much as I’ve seen about Alison Sweeney. Doing so makes one much more vulnerable to stroke and heart attack. Between sitting in the office, sitting in court, sitting in the car for long commutes and (for a change of pace) sitting and watching TV in the evening, I need to be deliberate about moving more. Studies have shown that even daily exercise does not counteract the effect of serial sitting. I want to cultivate the habit of regularly getting up and moving throughout the day, and being intentional about it for a month should help me accomplish that.


Getting Fierce GOALFEST!My October goal was to organize one of my piles of torn out magazine articles/recipes/decorating tips and to finish an afghan I started for my daughter YEARS ago. I am pleased to report that I did indeed organize one of my piles and even started on a second. I loved re-finding all those articles I squirreled away and have actually used two of the recipes.  1 point!!! On the afghan, it is a 25 square piece finished by joining all the knitted squares via crocheting. I found 18 finished squares, completed two more, but sadly, am still in need of more time to complete.  -1 point!!! I guess that leaves me at zero. The afghan is now definitely on my radar and my new goal for the afghan is to finish in time to included with my daughter’s Christmas items.

NOVEMBER GOAL: This month, I would like to complete organizing my other pile of articles/recipes/decorating tips. It really was great to have them all in one container that allowed me to search and retrieve them sooooo easily. For the second goal, I have committed to 5 days a week of 3.5 miles walking each day. To help me stick with it, I can only read, knit, watch TV for 1.5 times the amount of hours that I have moved. Right now 3.5 miles takes me about an hour and 15 minutes. So I am allowing myself not quite 2 hours in the evening for my sedentary activities. I like the idea of having to earn my AIS time (a@! in seat time). If I combine knitting with watching a favorite show, I will feel even better – efficient at using my earned ‘down time’ :)!!


 Now, about your goals:

FIRST: If you set an October goal, how did you do? Please let us know in the comment section if you are still in the process of obtaining your goal, if you have achieved it, and what you learned along the way.

SECOND: Declare your November goal! You know putting it in writing makes it much more likely you will follow through! Tell us what you have planned!

THIRD: Check out the Wailani site so you can be thinking about what flavor body scrub you’ll pick if you win the random drawing out of those who accomplished their October goals! The winner won’t be drawn until Friday to give everybody a chance to get their comments in.

Click picture to check out Wailani's Body Scrub flavors!

Click picture to check out Wailani’s Body Scrub flavors!

FOURTH: Check in on Friday to see if you won!


Wonky Whisker

Wonky WhiskerI was brushing my teeth when I saw the smear on the side of my chin. How could my face possibly get dirty while I slept? I put my glasses on for a better look. What the . . . ? It was a hair the length of my arm! Attached. To my face. How could something that long just pop up overnight? And of course it did pop up overnight. Because if it didn’t, that would mean that thing had been dangling from my face for weeks. No way – somebody would have told me. On the other hand, maybe all that snickering I experienced over the past month wasn’t a result of my sparkling wit as previously assumed.

I stopped with the trying to figure out its genesis and asked myself what do I do with it? The way I saw it, there were three options.

One, I could buy a black pointed hat, learn to cackle and just roll with it.

Two, I could take that allegation made against me once during a past argument literally and actually split hairs. Or hair. If I could split it into three, I could braid it. Maybe tie it off with a colorful teeny-tiny rubber band. Other people decorate their faces with tattoos, noserings or brow studs – my facial artistic expression could be a chin braid.

Three, I could remove it. I knew better than to shave it off. You know – the whole it-grows-back-twice-as-thick-thing. I remembered the pulled-tooth method. I could tie it to a door knob and have someone yank the door open. An attempt to do so informed me that the hair wasn’t quite as long as it appeared in the mirror. The job could be done with tweezers. I grabbed some and yanked that sucker out. It dropped to the counter in the shape of a mocking smile. We both knew I had won the battle, but the war was ongoing. -El

Wanky Whisker

Monday Confessional – ‘You Might As Well Live” (Dorothy Parker)

You Might As Well Live_2First of all, I am confessing to not even picking up the afghan I am supposed to be finishing for my daughter this month!!! Hello it’s October 22 already, I need to get with the program – geez! On the other hand, I did manage to make a dent in the torn out magazine articles/recipes pile.

Secondly, and the point of this post, is that I confess to my desire to be a domestic goddess/kept woman . Well not a goddess exactly or even domestically, I just want to have the time to enjoy my home and all that goes with that statement. I was listening to a Selected Shorts story on NPR by Dorothy Parker. There were two humble working girls fantasizing about what they would spend a million dollars on if someone had left it to them with the stipulation they had to spend it all on themselves. My first choices would have been retire, retire and then retire. I stayed home with my children when they were little – a luxury I will always be thankful for and don’t regret a single day. I was out the door to work with my youngest on her first day of Kindergarten and have worked outside the home ever since. Loved having a job, the social network that came with, the paycheck that came with, and the confidence that solving problems brings. Trust me, as I am sure most of you know, work problems are a cinch to solve!

A couple of weekends ago, I spent the days making grape jam from MI Concord grapes from my neighbor’s backyard (no, I did not tiptoe over there under cover of darkness, she gladly let me have as many as I wanted) and applesauce from any old gnarly apple tree outside in our yard that provides some of the ugliest looking fruit every other year. I can’t let these bounties go to waste. The gorgeous jars are so rewarding and the house smells amazing throughout the process. Combined with some homemade deli rye bread that rose and was kneaded as required during the day, I was in heaven.I also want to travel, travel, travel.

I want to do whatever I feel like doing with my days and no longer need the satisfaction of doing a good job at work! I don’t need to solve all the ‘family problems’: they don’t seem nearly as troublesome (could be due to the fact that my children are no longer in their teens and early twenties!!). Most things work out despite, or even in spite, of my ability to provide solutions. Did I mention that I also want to travel, travel, travel.

Does that make me any less fierce? I think not!!!

Stopped by the blog Frugal Confessions and serendipitously stumbled upon this postI will be researching and implementing some of these ideas with the goal of getting to retirement more quickly than my current plan gets me there. This goal is not going to languish in a basket in my craft room.  -M

You Might As Well Live


What to Say – and What NOT to Say – When They Tell You They Have Cancer

What to Say and What NOT to Say When They Tell You They Have CancerSo many of us don’t know what to do or say when we find out someone we care about has cancer. My recent experience with breast cancer has given me an opportunity to find out first hand what was helpful, and what not.

Before I get to my list of what NOT to say to someone who tells you they have cancer, let me put things in context. First, some of the things I suggest you don’t say may be appropriate in a flushed out conversation with someone you love. It’s my opinion they’re not helpful as a first response when someone tells you they have cancer.

Second, if you recognize something you said to me on the list, please know that I was not offended (with the exception of number 7) and I knew it was coming from a good place. I’m just saying it wasn’t helpful.

What NOT to say:

1. How old are you? The lawyer in me mentally responded: “Objection! Lack of relevancy.” The implication is if you’re old enough, it’s okay that you have cancer. It isn’t.

2. How long had it been since you’d had a mammogram? Why don’t you just ask me if I brought this on myself?

3. Can’t you just lop them off and be done with it? Um, I’m pretty sure it takes longer to do than to say. No trauma there, right?

4. It’s not a death sentence. Death?!? I was focused on surgery, radiation and whether or not I’d need chemo. Oh, crap – I could DIE.

5. Call me if there’s anything I can do. You know I’m not calling, right? No matter how sincere the intent of the offer, it’s vague to the point of meaninglessness. (See suggestions for specificity below)

6. Nothing. It’s what many of us say when we can’t find the right words. It’s better to say something to somebody we care about, even if it comes out a little clumsy, than to pretend cancer doesn’t exist or have them think it doesn’t matter to you.

7. How can you keep walking around with that growing inside of you? This was said in response to me telling someone I was going to take some time to think before making a decision on my course of treatment. Saying nothing would have, indeed, been preferred to this ugly statement. As my mother may have said, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. As I wanted to say . . . never mind. Suffice it to say I’m not as nice as my mother.

What to Say and What NOT to Say When They Tell You They Have Cancer

Here are some things people said that were well-received. A couple even made me smile.

1. I don’t know what to say, but I want you to know that I care. Is there a more honest, sincere summary?

2. I’m sorry you have to deal with this. You’re acknowledging their struggle and letting them know it matters to you

3. I hear you have some big challenges, you’ll be in my prayers. Only say this if you truly will be praying for them.

4. Cancer sucks. An expression I’ve always avoided because of its crassness suddenly seems appropriate. Cancer sucks – it just does.

5. Could you use a second set of ears at your next appointment? People can get emotional when discussing diagnosis and treatment and sometimes don’t hear or fully process all that is said. It can be helpful to have along someone who has more objectivity. It’s a bonus if they are in, or have a good understanding of, the medical profession – they may think of questions the patient didn’t ask.

6. Can I call you in a couple of days and touch base? This acknowledges it is an ongoing situation, lets them know you’ll be there for them, and displays sensitivity with regard to the unknown of whether or not they want to talk about it.

7. Mommy will kiss it and make it all better. “Mommy” was 87 and lives in Florida. I was 54, living in Oklahoma. It not only made me smile, it left me with an overwhelming desire to jump on a plane. Never underestimate the healing power of a mother’s love.

8. Can I drop off some dinner – I’ll just leave it on the porch. Dear friends wanted to do something for me the day of my first surgery and offered to bring dinner. They knew I probably wouldn’t feel like interacting with anybody that day, so they made sure I knew they didn’t intend to stay and visit. I told them I appreciated the offer, but no thank you. They brought it anyway – complete with simple freeze/thaw/heat directions to be had at our convenience. It was delicious.

9. Can I (put SPECIFIC offer here)? Telling someone to call you ‘if they need anything’ puts them in the position of asking for a favor. Be specific in your offer to help. Here are suggestions that may be helpful over the course of illness and treatment:

• Babysit or offer to get the children out of the house for a while

• Pick up or take children to school or extracurricular activities

• Pinch-hit for them for duties at their children’s school or other obligations

• Transport them for treatments

• Pick-up requested library books

• Sit with them during chemotherapy treatments

• Make calls or write notes on their behalf to people/groups (i.e. book club, civic organizations) that need to be aware of the situation

• Run specific errands for them (cleaner’s, groceries, pet needs, etc.)

• Clean their house

In addition, one can’t get too many cards and positive notes (email and Facebook count) when they are dealing with challenging circumstances. You don’t have to say something profound. A simple statement like: “I want you to know you’re in my thoughts and prayers” will be well-received. Not the praying type? How about: “I wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you and wishing you the best.” It truly is the thought that counts – and following up on that thought.

If you have suggestions for other things to say – or NOT to say – upon hearing a loved one has cancer, please share it in the comment section below.

5 We Don’t Miss

5 We Don't MissOne of the nice things about being over 50 is we can appreciate the evolution and added convenience of the every day things we use. Like the telephone for instance. Most of us aren’t angsting about the amount of time it takes to power up. We’re still delighted to find ourselves untethered from the wall with phones that fit in our pockets. Does anybody else remember party lines?! Here’s 5 more we don’t miss!


1. Fishnet stockings. I’m not sure I was actually allowed to wear black, but I definitely remember rocking those 1970s lime green and hot pink versions! These things were so cool I was willing to ignore the walking-on-broken glass feel of the mesh cutting into my feet on a long day.

5 We Don't Miss

2. Levered ice cube trays. If you were looking for cracked ice, these were perfect. If you were looking for whole ice cubes that didn’t dilute your drink in the first 22 seconds, you had a few years of wait time ahead.

5 We Don't Miss

3. Movie projector and screen. The best part of that duo was how my vocabulary increased in direct proportion to how many times my father had to deal with the inevitable snap of the film and splicing attempts on home-movie nights.

5 We Don't Miss

4. The Dating Game. Let’s see . . . how could we describe that show to someone who had never seen it? Cheesy. Smarmy. And other icky words that end in y. To this day if you look up “cheesy” in the dictionary the first definition is “The Dating Game.”

5 We Don't Miss

5. Sanitary Belt. The only thing worse than wearing a sanitary belt was switching to the new self-adhesive pad and realizing you had put it on with the sticky side up.

5 We Don't Miss


Getting Fierce GOALFEST!

Get Fierce GoalFestGoals play a major role on the journey to getting fierce. Planning them, setting them, realizing them. Studies show that you are more likely to accomplish your goal if you write it down. And to boost your chance of success further, tell someone else about the goal for built-in accountability.

In order to help us get more intentional about reaching our goals, we are starting PROJECT GOALFEST. The first Monday of every month we’ll each set a goal for the month and record it here. Whether it’s trying something new, exercising more, cutting an unhealthy food from your diet, adding a healthy food to your diet, connecting with a neglected friend, meeting a writing word count, organizing a closet, or anything else you want to achieve, set your goal. We’ll help you get there by encouraging you, cheering you on and providing a source of accountability.

And to make it just a little more fun, on GoalFest days we’ll have a random drawing from the names of those of you who have met your goal for the previous month. The winner will be sent a small just-as-random prize to celebrate the accomplishment!

Okay – we’ll go first:

Getting Fierce GOALFEST!

I can be a bit like a kid in a candy shop when it comes to starting new projects – I want to start them all. Problem is, I don’t always want to finish them all. The pile of ‘must have’ yarns and closet organizers and menu sorters is quite impressive as you walk through my house.  My OCTOBER GOAL: Complete the aghan I started for my daughter many, many years ago AND tackle one pile of torn out recipes from magazines and file them accordingly.


Getting Fierce Goalfest!

My bike hasn’t made it out of the garage in 3 years. For the past two, I planned to take it to a bike shop to get it new tires and the attention it needs to hit the road again. It’s time to convert that plan into action. OCTOBER GOAL: Find a bike repair shop, take the bike in for service, and log 20 miles on it by the end of the month.


Head toward FIERCE with us! Declare your October goal in the comment section below. We’ll be checking in with you from time to time.

Get Fierce GoalFest!

Now let’s DO this thing!