Are You Confused About What To Eat, Too?

My husband returned from a doctor’s appointment with the ominous news that he has to go on a low-acid diet. His acidic body is apparently the culprit in recent arthritis attacks in his feet.

What’s a low-acid diet? I asked.

I don’t know. He responded. I guess I’d better look it up.

So began his 5 minute internet research project.


He printed out an article containing a sample list of acid-forming foods which should make up a very, very, very small portion of his overall diet.

The list of no-no’s contained beef, chicken, seafood, lamb, pork and turkey. What else is there?

It also contained all fruits except avocado, grapefruit and rhubarb, all dairy products, most oils except hemp oil and primrose oil (whatever they are), all drinks including beer, liquor, fruit drinks and coffee, most nuts, all candy and sweet stuff, white anything (like bread and pasta), and condiments like tomato sauce, mayonnaise, eggs, honey and vinegar.

Well, what can you eat? I asked.

Vegetables, lentils, tea and water, he groaned.

We looked at each other.

A rigid low-acid diet, of course, isn’t going to happen in our house.

Ray is the cook. I have never liked to cook, which means that in the early days of our relationship he had to learn to cook or starve. These days, whatever he cooks I eat.

He loves steak, pasta Bolognese, hamburgers, bread, fruit for breakfast and a couple of drinks in the evening. He hates vegetables, lentils, tea and water.

We already attempt to watch how much “white” stuff we eat, we avoid desserts more often than we’d like to, and we don’t have steak or hamburgers all that often. We eat a lot of chicken and fish (OK, I eat fish), we have salads fairly often (OK, I have salads), we eat some veggies with every meal (OK, I eat veggies with every meal) and we drink non-sugary drinks or water (OK, I drink water).

So, now what?

He says that he is going to “cut down on some things and eat more vegetables.” I can’t wait to see how that goes for us.


Since I hadn’t heard of an Alkaline Diet, I decided to Google diet plans to see how many others I hadn’t heard about. WebMD lists 107 of them.

The list is in alphabetical order, starting with the African Mango diet and ending with The Zone. I had heard of the Zone, but couldn’t resist looking into the African Mango diet. It’s actually a supplement made from the seeds of African Mango trees. The research is almost non-existent, but expensive pills are available everywhere.

Like the Zone, I’ve heard of the Dr. Oz Ultimate Diet, Jenny Craig, The Atkins Diet, The South Beach Diet, The Grapefruit Diet, the Slim Fast Plan and Wheat Belly. (A friend recently gave me the Wheat Belly book and I’m now overly conscious of the puffiness of my belly, especially when I’m with her.)

Others on the list sound really weird, like the Baby Food Diet, the Cheater’s Diet, the Morning Banana Diet, The Raspberry Ketones Diet, the Skinny Vegan (is there such a thing?) Diet, the Fruit Flush Diet and the Hallelujah Diet.

The only ones I like the sound of are the Cookie Diet, the Fast Food Diet and The Lemonade Diet.


I haven’t looked into all of these, but I know enough from my many years of investigating diets that if I want to stay healthy AND lose weight AND enjoy food, I probably won’t find one I’ll stick with very long.

I have actually given up the quest for major weight loss, even though a 15 pound drop would probably make my doctor happy. Instead, I stay within 5 pounds of my current weight and feel OK about myself except at swimsuit season. I have developed my own simple diet when my weight creeps up a couple of pounds. I call it the BBC diet. It has no relationship to the British Broadcasting Corporation but the acronym helps me remember what food to avoid.

Here it is: No Bread (or pasta, potatoes and other white stuff), no Booze (including wine) and no Candy (which includes cakes and cookies). When I don’t eat or drink these for a few days, my belly gets less puffy and a couple of pounds drop away.

Feel free to steal my diet if you’d like.

But if you want to check out the 107 A to Z diets on WebMD, here they are: 107 Diets.

Good luck.

Cathy Green

Are You Surprising Enough People?

My niece, her husband and family just left after a terrific family trip here in Tucson.


A few things my niece Kelly said, and her husband Steve said, surprised me. Sorry, I do not want to share. Nola, their youngest, came out with a surprising notice of a dog on a calendar that she remembered she had seen (a Labrador) when she last visited us years ago in our New Hope house (we visited a farm and she saw a dog just like the one on the calendar). Oh, she’s 5 by the way – this memory was from when she was 3. Maggie, Nola’s big sister also surprised me with a very sophisticated understanding of what she might want to do professionally (teach) and why she wants to do that. At 8 years old her explanation was more soul-searching than what I hear from workplace executives who actually have no idea why they are doing what they are doing.

Got me thinking about being fabulous and being surprising.


It seems to me that what makes one really fabulous, and we haven’t mentioned or talked about at all in this blog is simply this: being fabulous means having some mystery about yourself – and being a bit surprising.


Sadly, most of us, and most of who we know, have “their act” – which may be slightly flawed, lovely, or even over the moon wonderful – but it is predictable. TOO predictable. No one wants a friend or family member who is constantly providing surprises – that is unnerving and perhaps caused by some personality disorder or inability to accomplish or stick with anything. That is NOT what I am talking about.

I am talking about surprising people in ways that are good, if not great, but that they would “never” or “rarely” believe is something we/you would do.

Here’s one: if you are a fabulous woman, but never ever NOT cook up a storm, give up cooking for one holiday event – or scale way back giving others a chance to shine in the kitchen – or not.

Or, if you are a fabulous woman who NEVER cooks, let me suggest you actually prepare (which by the way is the easiest part of entertaining – preparing food is not creating food, as creating food is being a chef) something simple but elegant and bring it to an event during the season. Simple and elegant by the way is another wonderful definition of fabulous that I plan to write a piece about. If you can’t find a great, simple and elegant recipe then I am convinced you are not living in this century – or the last one.

Or maybe let’s go deeper, even more unnerving for those that know you – but in a happy way. Maybe you’re fabulous but a little bit late all the time. Aim to be the first to arrive and look at people’s surprised faces.

If you always make a point of giving books – how about champagne? THE BEST you can afford. Now that will surprise people.

For a really profound surprise if not SHOCK, tell someone that you have never forgiven, or never listened to (in a low key non-big-deal voice) that you realized it is time for you to alter the issue that you know bugs them. And you know what? You are already making a change based on their advice and loving the results!! Yes, you are both apologizing for your most annoying tradition or attitude or approach and letting someone who has been pissed for years about you and this act know, that you are changing. But changing with a tiny twist: noting that the change is for them AND it is for you too! That makes you both unexpectedly kind, but also mysterious and surprising.

This holiday season, this Thanksgiving, don’t give someone a heart attack with your new approach, but do surprise them just a bit. Have them wondering and thinking: “you know, I really don’t know everything about her.” And they don’t.


Are Your Nerves Frayed, Or Is It Just Me?

I was often crazy busy in my 40s and 50s. I juggled a number of things including but not limited to taking care of my aging and ill parents, going to graduate school part time earning two masters and my doctorate while working full time, owning and managing a business, taking weekly business trips by plane, solving corporate and executive problems daily, and also having a busy personal life.

Despite the pace and complexity, my nerves rarely felt frayed. Or at least I don’t remember being on edge as often as I am now – feeling easily annoyed, overreacting to a minor inconvenience or (only occasionally thankfully) acting like a complete jerk.

Of course I had clear expectations of what being in my 60s (fabulous or not) would look like. I expected being fabulous as I aged would require much more work physically to look and feel good and stay in shape; and simultaneously thought the serenity and easier pace of my older years would make my nerves calmer and certainly less frayed.

I pictured myself becoming the wise but still sexy older woman: looking good despite how hard it was, BUT in a nearly constant place of Zen-calm, feeling nothing but love and forgiveness to all persons – including my family. With frequent yoga, a low-fat lifestyle and perhaps less medication, I would also be writing and creating with ease: life would be SO fabulously sweet.

Hmmmm . . . .

serenity now

Here’s what really happened. With all my discipline about exercise, coupled with lots of other “help” for my looks including of course “lotions and potions”, I am actually finding it easier to look good and be fit as a late 60 something. Maybe it’s because some have given up and others are aging badly, or I simply don’t see as clearly so I think I look divine. Or maybe it is just having less appetite so I am not fighting as hard to stay thin which was brutally hard in my 50s, what with menopause which never seemed to end. When it finally did, it reminded me of my new favorite commercial for Geico – the “final countdown”.

What about my other vision for this stage of life? Am I always more calm, loving, nurturing, forgiving and creative – whipping up blogs and work strategies with ease? Yes and no. While I may finally be over some nerve-fraying battles of my youth (which included wondering repeatedly if was I smart enough, pretty enough or assertive enough) – my nerves still get frayed, and sadly sometimes more easily.

frayed nerves

What I had forgotten to factor into my thinking was that all the years I thought I was dealing with tough things well, I was actually handling them well on the surface but chewing my guts out inside. While not literally, I do think I said “no problem” so much my guts stopped listening and just churned knowing I was in some emotional pain. In fact, I sometimes seriously think I “over-used” or “blew” my nervous system. There is of course some truth that our nerves, like our bodies, are wearing down as we age.

But, I have decided to take action. I am going to rewrite my story and remember myself as truly NOT chewing my guts out so much in middle age. In fact, I am going to tell myself that despite the challenges of my youth and middle age, my nerves remained strong and all the pressure gave me a deeper character capable of being Zen-like with ease.


Maybe this new story, plus more meditation and medication, yoga, wine and the biggie: being in the present moment, I can say with honesty: my nerves frayed? Absolutely not!! . . . It is Zen-calm for this fabulous over 60!! What about you – are your nerves frayed too? Any other fabulous suggestions for dealing with it?


Halloween in the 50’s: Better or Worse than Today?

This past Saturday, I dressed in 1920’s cocktail attire for a “wake” at a local speakeasy. It was the first time in years that I had participated in a costumed Halloween celebration and I enjoyed playing the part of a grieving relative along with other women in their feathers, headbands, sequins and diamonds, and men in their black suits, shiny shoes, silk bow ties and fedoras.


The next day, while looking at photos posted on Facebook by relatives, friends, friends of friends and total strangers*, I was reminded how much the celebration of Halloween has changed since the 1950’s when I was trick or treating around Vittmer Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio.

A lot of those Facebook images showed children in elaborate costumes enjoying a neighborhood party before sunset with their parents, many dressed in larger versions of those same costumes. Kids of all ages were also shown gathering candy from stores in the mall, or partying at large school or church events. And, of course, there were photos of ghoulish house decorations: witches with lighted eyes, ghosts flying through the air, creepy mechanical vampires and zombies and, as one friend reported, the sounds of chain saws and screams.

What I experienced in the 50’s was very different.

First, there weren’t any parties, except for some small celebrations at school as teachers tried to keep us calm as we waited for the big night.

And… yes, Halloween trick or treating was always at night. It had to be almost dark, no matter how much we were bouncing off the walls with anticipation. It just wouldn’t be spooky enough to go out earlier.

We stayed around our neighborhoods and our parents didn’t go with us once we were old enough – around six or so, I think – to carry our own pillowcases. They didn’t really want to go and we didn’t want them to either. And they never dressed up or went to their own parties.

Instead, they stayed at home to give out candy and sent us on our way with a few warnings. In my case, they went something like …. “Don’t cross the main street, stay in the general vicinity, don’t lose your younger brother, and be home in a couple of hours”.

I can’t remember any store-bought costumes. I think they became more available in the early 60’s. Although we could get some accessories like masks, face paint or costume jewelry at Woolworth’s Five and Dime, we’d have to shop at home to find things that, with a little imagination, would make us look like a pirate, a princess, a ghost, a witch, a cowboy, a rabbit or a clown. One year, I was a hobo (there’s a word you don’t hear anymore) and borrowed clothes from my dad’s closet that had to be safety-pinned everywhere so that I could walk. I remember my brother wanting to be a mummy and my mom cutting up strips of old sheets to wrap around him. It didn’t take long for those strips to begin coming apart and I had to keep re-wrapping him, which was annoying since it took up too much of my candy-gathering time.

Typical 50s costumes

Typical 50s costumes

Ah, candy! Getting chocolate bars was a big deal. Most of the treats were popcorn balls, candy apples (which we didn’t want because they would melt in our pillowcases), bubble gum, candy cigarettes (remember those?), candy corn and pennies. We had to go to a lot of houses to make sure to get enough of our favorite chocolates like Hershey bars, Milky Ways, Baby Ruths and Butterfingers. And, when we got them, they were full size chocolate bars … not like today’s little bitty versions.


Jack-O-Lanterns, carved by our dads with kitchen knives, were everywhere. I can still remember the smell and feel of the slimy seeds and stringy pumpkin fibers and I can see the pumpkins melting toward the end of the evening after candles burned in them for hours. Almost every house had at least one Jack-O-Lantern to indicate that trick-or-treaters were welcome. And, there was an occasional ghost made from a sheet or a tombstone made out of cardboard.


1950’s style Jack-O-Lantern

I tried to find even one photo of me in costume as a kid. I have many Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and birthday pictures, but apparently Halloween wasn’t a particularly important holiday to my parents. And, they didn’t have the pressure of social media requiring them to post pictures of their precious kids for friends and relatives.

Halloween was always a magical night, though. Keen anticipation, a little fear, a lot of greed, glowing pumpkins, and a dose of independence made it exciting. When I’d dump my candy on the floor that night and realize that I’d be able to have a sugar fix for days, it was a satisfying reward after an exhausting night.

I don’t think that Halloween in the 50’s was necessarily better than Halloween today. In fact, I wish I could have been a much more authentic mermaid, or rock star, or superhero. And, it’s no doubt a good thing that parents are more involved and cautious these days.

It might not have been better, but it sure was a lot simpler.

Cathy Green

*When I first “joined” Facebook to see photos of the grandkids and a few friends, those are the only photos I saw. Now, the ads and videos are overwhelming and the photos of strangers who are in some way connected to the people I’ve “friended” are getting really irritating. What happened to Facebook?

I Love Fall … Again!

Last year, I posted a blog (see below) about my favorite season… fall. Once again,  I’m taking photos of beautiful autumn scenes in and around Asheville, NC. This one is shot from my deck… with a Halloween theme.  


My blog partner, Patty, tells me that she had one of the greatest fall foliage trips ever as she drove from New York to Chicago a couple of weeks ago. Here’s her shot of pumpkin season in Chicago.  

IMG_1383 Enjoy fall, everyone!

Via Cathy – November 5th, 2014:

Fall is my favorite season. I have loved it since I was a young Cincinnati girl growing up on Vittmer Avenue, a cul-de-sac lined with large oak trees that turned bright yellow, brown and orange in October.

When I moved to Florida in the late 80’s, I missed fall so much that I traveled with Ray to Maine trying to “time” the peak colors each year. When we finally bought a home there, we stayed until mid to late October when our “leaving” tree would tell us it was time to go. That’s what we called a beautiful birch tree in our yard that turned bright colors before shedding its leaves and ushering in the beginning of winter.fall-pic1-300x200

And now, living in one of the most desirable “leaf peeper” cities in the country – Asheville, NC – I get to see the spectacular changes in color at several different elevations over about six weeks. Traveling on the Blue Ridge Parkway almost every day – only 5 minutes from my home – is incredible.

Here are a few of the reasons that I love fall so much…

  • The changing colors of the leaves always amaze me. I take more pictures in the fall than in any other season and most of them are of yellow, red and orange trees glowing in the sunshine. My cell phone has at least 100 of those photos right now. Here’s one:


  • The air is crisp and clean. I have good hair days, I can wear light jackets and there’s a spring in my step. Lexie, our Labradoodle, is thrilled because she gets to be outside with us – running around the yard, hiking or going to festivals called Pumpkinfest, Octoberfest or Pecan Harvest Fest in small cities all over Western North Carolina.
  • I enjoy a fall wardrobe. I look better in sweaters and scarves, and they feel “cozy”. Bathing suit and bare legs season is over (thank god!) And, fortunately, orange, yellow and black clothing looks good on me.
  • Halloween is a great holiday. I like the scary ads and ghost stories, the Halloween pop-up stores, corn stalks, pumpkins, candy corn and parties. I don’t go to the haunted houses, but I read about them and might just get courageous enough to walk through one someday.
  • A fire in the fireplace on those first cool evenings is a special treat. The hypnotic flames, combined with the smell and warmth of a fire, makes me want to bundle up on the couch with a blanket and listen to James Taylor and Bruce Hornsby.
  • It’s time for crockpots and chili – my kind of comfort food! And, I love the strange looking squash, the thousand varieties of apples and the weird-shaped pumpkins that are everywhere – in stores, restaurants and at roadside vegetable stands.
  • It’s great to decorate the house with fun things … witches, ghosts, black cats, pumpkins, candles, cinnamon brooms, door wreaths and mums. And, the color orange – a bold, optimistic and uplifting color – is everywhere you look!

Just one thing has been bugging me this fall. For the first time that I can recall, it dawned on me to question why this wonderful season – unlike the others – has two names: fall and autumn. If you don’t know the answer to this either, I found a blog that seems to provide an answer. It seems to be one of those British vs. American things!

Whether you call it fall or autumn – it’s a great time of year, so enjoy!

Cathy Green

Reluctant Sunshine Girls

I spent a recent Saturday with my dear old friend Susie talking about life and our futures — the whole “where to next” conversation so typical of FabulousOver60s.

Bill and I are recent downsizers: we went from two houses to one in the beautiful desert of Arizona as home base. Susie and her husband are also joining us – in downsizing that is, with home base in Florida.

We feel blessed to have great places to be when it gets cold and dreary – can’t beat winter in a sunshine state. But we are reluctant to lose our roots and time in the northeast where we both grew up. While not miserable (no fabulous women are miserable – we correct that state of affairs pronto) we want it all – our sunshine homes but also more time in the places more historical and varied with a change of seasons and not just “fun in the sun”.


Seems Susie and I are in the swim – we both live in states that have the oldest populations of over 65s – yes, Florida and Arizona. But being part of the trend doesn’t seem to make us less likely to think about old-fashioned Christmas’s in NY or CT or Denver. Nor are we believers in the “dry heat myth of Arizona” or the “just a little humidity myth of summers in Florida”. Too much of anything (except shoes) is always a bad thing. Our husbands disagree – both want to spend more time in the sun and resist any talk of a second permanent apartment/condo where we grew up.


I wonder how many other FabulousOver60s are reluctant sunshine girls – loving the privilege of avoiding the winter but wistful for more energy from the big city. Or seeing the leaves change and getting started again on a project just like we did when younger?

Am finding that there is no more a perfect retirement/semi-retirement lifestyle than there was a perfect lifestyle in one’s 30s or 40s. We were a generation of woman who wanted it all. Many of us had a solid version of that juggling careers, family responsibilities, travel and an occasional sun baked vacation. It makes me a little sad to read how much things have NOT changed in workplace where the wars still wage on gender equality and work/life balance. There are new voices of course – but on-going issues.


Perhaps what we can model to younger women is a better range of options as we age; and changing multiple times, not just getting “set” and keeping that one lifestyle and approach. As Sheryl Sandberg recently said in an interview: “No one can have it all”. We were wrong to think we could and now we are equally wrong if we think we can have a perfectly ordered, balanced older life – with just the perfect amounts of work (paid and unpaid), fun, sun, our roots and traveling. It is always all about price isn’t it?

I have always believed life is like a garden – tons of gorgeous flowers to pick and hold close. But every flower has a price tag – from orchids to daisies – we make choices. And those choices lead to leaving things behind, doing less of some wonderful options, and accepting the downside to any great choice. No matter how much you love and honor your partner – if you never have a day dreaming of their demise I don’t believe you.

We can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan – and never let him forget he’s a man.

It wasn’t true then – it isn’t true now. Relax and have fun, love your choices and be open to change. That is the best thing to model to our younger friends and children – no matter where you live, or what you do. Encourage them to accept and enjoy NOT having it all – instead loving the best parts of what they have chosen – just like us FabulousOver60s do. Or at least try to.


A 19 Year Old Granddaughter Raids My Closet

This weekend, granddaughter Rainey drove more than an hour out of her way to visit us in Asheville. Ray and I were thrilled. She had been with friends in Johnson City, Tennessee, and was returning to Knoxville where she is a sophomore at UT.

She called us that morning – right after her decision to visit with us – and we invited her to stay overnight. We were even more thrilled when she said yes. Ray and I decided to take her out to dinner in downtown Asheville.

She arrived mid-afternoon, beautiful as always, dressed in short shorts and a tee shirt carrying a small bag. We hugged, we talked, we began catching up on her college stories and, bundled into one of our fleece jackets, she accompanied her grandfather as he took Lexie on her afternoon walk.

Rainey and Lexie

Rainey and Lexie

Around 5:00pm, Rainey casually mentioned that she didn’t have anything else to wear to dinner. She hadn’t anticipated needing anything when she headed out with her girlfriends.

Can I wear something of yours, Grandma Cathy?

I knew immediately that this would be a problem. Rainey is about 5’ 3”. I’m over 5’ 7”. She wears a size 0. I wear a size 12. She weighs about 100. I weigh…. never mind!

Maybe a sundress or something? she said innocently.

A sundress? When was the last time I wore a sundress? 1985? And, even if I had one, it would definitely be a Large and she would need a Small if not an Extra Small.

I’ll come with you to your closet and we can find something! She said brightly.

I knew immediately that this exploration of my closet would prove embarrassing. I was wracking my brain for anything I might have kept buried in a drawer somewhere that could work. An old pair of leggings? A blouse that didn’t fit anymore?


I reluctantly accompanied her to the closet and watched as she began pushing hangars aside to check out the selections. Looking through her eyes, I saw how big the pants were, how drab the colors were (lots of black) and how big everything was – and I mean everything.

Things were looking bleak and I was feeling ill. Wasn’t there anything that could work? Was I going to have to admit that it would be better for her to wear short shorts and a tee shirt on a cool evening in Asheville than to put anything of mine on her tiny body? Would she remember forever that she couldn’t find anything to wear in her Grandma Cathy’s closet?

And then a miracle happened. I saw it: a dark blue silk pull-over blouse that I had worn earlier in my life over matching slacks. The slacks had gone to Goodwill many years ago, but I had saved the blouse – “just in case”. Well, it was just in case time.

The blouse was over 30 inches long, and Rainey was excited. Perfect length, I thought.

I could wear it with a belt to make it shorter! Do you have a belt I could use?

I opened my belt drawer, once again eyeing all of the Large size stretch belts. But Rainey saw the chain belt before I did and determined that she could wrap it around her body – probably more than once.

Perfect! She said.

And it was. She looked beautiful and elegant. She had a new silk “dress” that she would wear with her pretty sandals. Voila! She was ready to go to dinner.

It worked!

It worked!

Well, almost ready. The blouse/dress was silk and wouldn’t provide much insulation for the cool night, so we went on a mission to my coat closet. Fortunately, I had a beautiful new silky black jacket that fits me perfectly as a jacket. It became a big slouchy silk coat for Rainey. She was set!

So, my blouse became a dress and my jacket became a coat.

And, hopefully, that’s all Rainey will remember of Grandma Cathy’s closet until one of her own granddaughters puts her through the same embarrassing closet raid someday!

Cathy Green

Fabulous “Enough” and “Older” at 65

At 60 there was little doubt Cathy and I were totally fabulous. Fabulous is many things, but simply put it indicates living and deciding how to live at a constant state of high standards and strong principles – being a good person, a good citizen, family member and friend. It is caring about oneself and one’s life, work, obligations and connections and, yes, how we look. It implies trying harder and doing more than just slouching toward the end zone of one’s life.

A fabulous woman has respect for everyone and many things, but most definitely respects and cherishes herself. Fabulous women aren’t victims, takers, people who do the minimum, connivers or bad people. They are not perfect but they are perfectly fine in the broadest sense of that word and absolutely self responsible.

hc real

At 65, we know we are still completely capable of being fabulous. But, it is no longer a given. Working at being fabulous takes more energy that on some days we just don’t have (or what I find very telling), we don’t want to have. Let me not speak for “us”; let me say for just me, some days it is now OK for me not to be fabulous. Ouch. I never thought I would say that. But it is true. Finally, at age 65, I just let myself off the hook in one or another small way that I have learned doesn’t matter or shouldn’t matter any more. And in my view, that means I am not quite as fabulous – but fabulous enough.

The term I am getting more comfortable with is “older”. I know I am not young. I know I am not middle aged, but I am not yet ready to be called or labeled old. To me old, and I do think I will be old, is 80 and up. Just how I feel it goes in this early part of the 21st century. Certainly 100 or less years from now, old may be 90 – or 100 – but from where I sit, where and what I see, it is now 80. Of course I know developmental psychologists have a number of models that label stages of life in other terms than simply old and young and older. Stages of one’s life is a common way of looking at a person’s life from birth till death that explains the challenges and approaches to life one takes at various times. It is interesting reading if you haven’t had the chance to explore it.


I bring this up because my comfort with being called and labeled “older”, is for me a great bit of progress. Being “older” doesn’t let me off the hook for anything I don’t want to do anymore. That is being lazy – and women who use the “I am older” card to get out of perfectly simple things clearly are not fabulous. But being “older” to me implies I have had certain experiences that have given me knowledge about what works for me and what does not work for me right now.

I have exercised enough to know when my body says no more and means it.

I have prayed enough and meditated enough to know when it isn’t worth praying for something or my mind and heart are not ready for the truths being whispered to my highest self.

I have worked enough to know when something just isn’t worth the time, effort or money that has to go into it to achieve anything.

I have done enough things that I did not want to do believing they were the right or only thing to do to know for sure that some things are truly important and absolutely worth doing even if you don’t want to. But that list is VERY small versus all the stuff I thought was on that list.

And I have worn enough “on sale” or second rate outfits to know being cheap with oneself is always a bad investment.


So I am at peace with being older – and I like it. It doesn’t hurt my feelings that I just don’t want to do or be something anymore. Selectively it is OK. It is what I earned. I am not so much letting myself off the hook as I am conserving my lessening energy and passion for those things and people that honestly are important for me now.

If you just give up because things are hard, you lose your fabulous self. But when you are more discriminating in the BEST sense of that word, you become someone more deeply yourself: mysterious and wonderful. “Older” – and that is just fabulous enough for me.


Don’t Say It If You Aren’t Going To Do It

Today, I ran into a friend of a friend who has been at several of the same parties we’ve attended.

Ray and I have always enjoyed our conversations with her and her husband and on every occasion, including today, she has made a point of telling me that she will call so that the four of us can get together. So far, that hasn’t happened. It’s been at least a year since she first told me she would call.

Did she mean it at the time, but then forget or get too busy? Or, did she just consider it a friendly thing to say?

Whatever her reason, I now feel somewhat uncomfortable running into her since those unmade phone calls hang over us.


From time to time, we all get caught up in the moment and make a quick commitment to do something. Later, it’s not always easy, or comfortable, to follow through.

Case in point: Ray and I were at a party two years ago and were introduced to another couple who spend the winter in St. Petersburg, Florida. We sat with John and Sue over dinner and drinks, talking for more than an hour about mutual memories of Florida, shared acquaintances, reasons for moving to Asheville and more.

Several times, Sue mentioned how great it was that we would be in Florida at the same time and only a few miles apart. “I would really like to take you to our favorite restaurant”, she said more than once. I agreed it could be fun.

As I left the party, she handed me a slip of paper. “Here’s my number. Since you get to Florida a little later than we do, please call us and we’ll get together.”

Yes, I will, I assured her. Please don’t forget, she said.

About two months later, settled in Florida, I called her.

Cathy, who?

Somewhat uncomfortably, I explained where we had met, what we talked about and why I was calling.

She was distracted, apologized for not remembering me, and explained that she and John had guests in town, and then would be hosting family members, so this would probably not be a good year to get together.

Although a little embarrassing, that was fine with me. Ray and I were busy, too. I didn’t call her because I needed more things to do in Florida or because I wanted to go to a new restaurant. I called her because I said I would and I would not have felt right if I hadn’t.

I ran into Sue a couple of months after getting back to North Carolina. When she saw me, she realized who I was. She apologized again and said that she was going to take the initiative next time. She took my cell number and the dates we will be in Florida. We’ll definitely go to that restaurant, she said. This time, it’s her commitment to keep or break.

It isn’t always easy to say what you’ll do and do what you say, but I believe it’s one of those important rules to live by at any age and in any situation.

To live it, you first have to really mean what you say. Even with the best intentions, some of us fall into the trap of over-committing or of not being totally honest. It often seems easier, or more polite, to say yes when we’d really rather have said no (or nothing at all).


Once you’ve said it, however, it’s time to follow through. That means remembering what you promised (this one gets harder as we age!) and taking action even when it’s hard or inconvenient.

The bottom line, fabulous women, is that when you say what you’ll do and then do what you say, you are operating with integrity and demonstrating respect for yourself and others.

And, according to Gandhi, you’ll be happier.


Cathy Green

Musings about Celebrating Birthdays….

A wonderful friend had a party for me on my birthday last week. She assembled other good friends who gave me fun cards and presents, she orchestrated a great meal and she served my favorite birthday cake… white cake with thick white icing. She even made sure that there was only one candle on the cake. So thoughtful!

And, of course, as the cake was presented, everyone sang the obligatory Happy Birthday to You. As always, faced with being the center of attention during that song, I just smiled, nodded and felt a little foolish.


Let me digress about the birthday song for a minute.

Did you know that there is a lawsuit currently pending against Warner Music Group, which has had the rights to this song since 1988? The lawsuit is attempting to get the song declared in the “public domain” and not subject to licensing fees. Apparently, any use of the song in a for-profit venture is subject to a hefty fee. No wonder the chain restaurants have come up with their own versions of birthday songs to torment diners!

Here’s an article about the lawsuit … you can also watch the video to see how TV shows have been getting around the fee.

While my birthday was a great excuse to get friends together for dinner, drinks and laughter, I was torn about being the reason for the party.

Celebrating the day one comes into the world is supposed to be flattering. “We’re so glad you were born!”

But as the years go by … and especially as the decades go by … I worry that the celebration might have some overtones of “We’re glad you’re still with us!”

I have to admit that I used to enjoy birthdays and birthday parties a lot more. Even when I hit some “big” numbers (like 40 and 50) and protested getting “old”, I didn’t really feel that old. Now, I really feel old (and cranky).

I know that my parents had birthday celebrations for me when I was young because I have pictures to prove it. Here’s one of me when I obviously decided that receiving presents was fun.

It’s all about me!

And here’s a more thoughtful photo of a wiser, more mature me:

These are really for me?

These are really for me?

My celebrations were small ones, though. The next-door neighbors may have come over for some cake and ice cream, or occasionally one or the other set of grandparents would show up. Not like the parties that seem to be so popular today with tons of other kids and their parents.

During my busy career years, birthdays flew by without a lot of celebration. I received some cards in the mail (such a quaint idea these days!), got a few calls and was invited out to dinner once in a while. The only “big” celebration I can remember was when Ray had a 40th party for me. I was not yet that cranky about my age, so I remember enjoying it a lot.

Then, over the last decade or so, Ray and I have tended to use the week of my birthday for travel. It’s a good time since it tends to be less crowded in the islands, or in Maine, or in many of our other favorite vacation spots. Kids are back in school and the fall tourist crowds haven’t yet begun to hit the roads or airports. So, celebrating my birthday “on the road” — just the two of us — has become the norm.

These days, Facebook provides a way for a lot more people to say Happy Birthday. It’s easy. No one even has to keep track of your birthday. A notification shows up on their phone or tablet that morning. Since I’ve been on Facebook these past several years, I’ve kind of liked getting greetings from a larger group of people than in the old days.

So, now that I think about it, I like having my birthday acknowledged every year. I don’t always want to be the center of a celebration, but once in a while that’s pretty nice too.

So, friends and family, I’m going to keep celebrating my birthday every September 12 until I can’t. And, if there are any future birthday celebrations, I’ll just assume they are “glad you were born” parties … just don’t forget the white cake!

Cathy Green

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