June 14, 2024   12:00am

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Cindy on Leadership Family, Friends & You

If life’s a stage, who are you?

“Like a repertory actor, a fifty-year-old woman has played so many roles and found herself in so many different dramas and comedies of the season of her adult life, that when it is time to move on, she finds herself on the empty stage costumed in the equivalent of a medieval wimple on her head, a Brechtian shawl around her shoulders, a Joan of Arc breastplate, Chorus Line fishnet stocking on one leg, and an assembly line work boot on the other. The accumulated accessories no long enhance the actor underneath. They obscure her.”

I love this characterization of waking up at 50 by Suzanne Braun Levine* because it raises some interesting questions for each of us: What is underneath our costumes? How many of us feel “obscure”? If so, how do we rediscover – or even discover for the first time – our sense of self? These are not easy questions, and I would like to offer a starting point.

My past two years have been about shedding the costumes bit by bit; realizing I don’t want to play some of my roles any longer. It has been an intuitive, subtle process — not a deliberate one. I got in touch with a little voice that kept asking “why?” “Why am I doing this when it doesn’t feel right?“Why doesn’t this make me happy?” “Why DO I assume I have to do this or that…?” Honestly, I had neither posed these questions of myself nor listened for the answers in a very long time.

Posing the “why” questions gives me the courage to own the answers. I may be on the verge of giving up my unbecoming but starring role as victim of my own life (bye, bye breastplate). Some days, I wear two fishnet stockings because I want to (and make my husband a happy man). Lots of days, I try to wear no costume at all. These days feel the best.

The whole process is helping me explore who I am and who I want to be. I don’t have a neat answer yet. I suspect one never does. What I do believe is that until we stand center stage without costumes and props and stop allowing others to change the sets behind us, we will not become the director of our own production.


*There are tons of books out there on women and midlife transition but this former Ms. Magazine editor’s Inventing the Rest of our Lives: Women in Second Adulthood truly touched me. I will use it often as inspiration for “What’s Next?” I recommend it to you.

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Tips for your doctor’s visit from the WSJ

A sidebar in a Wall Street Journal article, Oct 31, 2007, Personal Journal, page D1,”Making the Most of Doctor Visits”:

Pinched for Time

Some tips for getting the most of your doctor’s visit:

  • Write down questions/issues for the doctor beforehand, in order of priority
  • If it’s a diagnostic visit, prepare a detailed description of the symptoms
  • Bring a list of content medications and dosages
  • Ask for decision-support aids, and print or reliable web-based infromation about conditions and treatments
  • Make sure before the visit that the doctor has received test results/reports from other labs or doctors
  • If you’re unsure whether you can effectively interact with the doctor, bring a family member or friend
  • Take notes and/or ask the doctor if you can record the session for later review (note from snoety: with all the litigation around I’d be surprised if NY doctors would allow the last, but I could be wrong)
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20 Somethings

Pharmaceuticals: the new thing


Pharmaceuticals are the new thing, without a doubt. Popping Ambien, Xanax, Aderall, Ritalin, Oxy-whatever, Vikadin and going out drinking is very popular because you can drink much less and still get fucked up. Its cheaper and, for some, it doesn’t leave a bad hangover so some think its healthier. Its not. It’s horrible for your body. People also snort many of the drugs, including caffeine pills, because it hits you faster and stronger. They will also lace weed with pills. Aderall is by far the most abused drug because it allows people to study like crazy. One of our friends at Michigan Law said that he hates aderall but is going to have to start doing it because everyone uses it. He doesn’t know a single person there that doesn’t use it to study. Many people say it’s equivalent to buying grades. Personally, no drug scares us more considering the future of society than Aderall because ‘good kids’ that would never do another drug use it and think its like Tylenol. It’s not. The fact is Aderall is chemically the exact same as Speed. It is an amphetamine. It is everywhere. Some people refuse to do work without it while others use it only for finals. Not everyone uses it but it’s hard to compete with those that do in an academic environment. One friend calls it an academic steroid. People also enjoy blowing it before going out because, like we said, it is speed. Methamphetamines get lots of press in the middle of the country and among the poor but the only people we know that touch the stuff is the homosexual community.

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Bruce on Acupuncture Food, Fitness & Health

Reduce facial lines

Most people don’t realize that acupuncture can help reduce and sometimes eliminate lines on the face — especially those on the forehead, corners of the mouth, the “smile lines between the bottom of the nostrils and the mouth, and “crows feet” on the side of the eyes. The treatment can also help keep those lines from getting worse. The reason is that facial rejuvenation acupuncture helps eliminate facial tension from stress and helps kick-in collagen production. However, going for this takes a commitment – 12 sessions (1 or 2 a week) within a 14 week period. And then, once a month for at least a year.

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Food, Fitness & Health Stefanie on Eating

Broths, grains & gluten-free

  • Bouillon is a better option than packaged broths. When cooking with packaged broths, the food assumes the flavor of the broth. When cooking with bouillon, the broth assumes the flavor of the food – much tastier!
  • There are so many alternative grain pastas on the market…in my opinion, by far the best brand is TINKYADA.
  • Quinoa, an ancient Aztec grain, has the most complete nutrient profile of all of the grains … it is the healthiest way you can go when choosing a grain to eat!
  • Try cooking rice in coconut milk or broth instead of water. Even try using juice. One cup of rice to 1-1/2 cup of liquid (though if using brown rice, use 2 cups of liquid).
  • When looking for gluten free foods check out Pamela’s brand when it comes to sweet treats like pancakes, brownies and cookies. Top notch!!!
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Food, Fitness & Health Wine

Wines for fall entertaining

Party On with wines that do “double duty”

If you’re planning a party this season, you may be wondering what wines to buy. It can be challenging to find wines that do “double duty” – pair well with the foods you’re serving and also stand on their own.

You can always play it safe and serve a single varietal of white and red – a Riesling and a Pinot Noir. These wines are what my friend calls the “hussies” of the wine world: they’re indiscriminate about what they’re paired with, go with virtually any dish and show everyone a good time – even without food!

Want more wine adventure … and tips on getting the best value?

You can be adventurous and take your guests on a little around-the-world journey out of their comfort zone. Here are some tips:

  • Choose lesser-known and under-appreciated varietals, like Malbec from Argentina, Tempranillo, Ribera del Duero and Albarino from Spain, and a sparkling Prosecco from Italy.
  • Buy by the case. Retailers often let you mix and match 12 different bottles and still offer a 10% case discount.
  • Shop for bin-end sales. You can often find some real treasures when retailers have excess stock.
  • Ask your local retailer for help. They’re always on the look-out for great values for themselves.

Plan on between a half to one bottle per guest, and be sure to stock up on inexpensive glassware.


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