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Talking With My Sister Eileen

August 23, 2016 at 6:00 AM

Eileen Fisher Kreiss

I often talk with my sister Eileen about aging while I’m driving. Even though she passed away more than 15 years ago, she still answers me, most of the time.

I tell her, “you wouldn’t like this, you know. Being in your eighties isn’t so easy!” “I know you were beautiful your whole life, but now you would wake up with your eyes swollen (as I do) for no reason. Your stomach would stick out no matter how thin you are and I’m pretty sure I’m shorter so you would be too. Our feet are funny now, and you know that small waist I used to brag about to you? It’s gone too!”

While I’m lying around today, reading the Sunday times in my long t-shirt and no makeup on, I know you would be in a beautiful dressing gown (one of the ones you had made just before you left). You never looked less than beautiful! And we would talk on the phone. It’s a sunny August day, but I can’t bring myself to make chit chat with anyone on the outside. I really just want to talk with you. I needed to be alone today so it was good that Bob decided to play golf! I’m happy reading the paper and Vanity Fair. You wouldn’t recognize anyone in either the paper or the magazine anymore. I don’t, and I’ve been here all along. I wish I had you to discuss everything with. You know, what should we wear for fall? what colors? What coats? Or should we keep our hair long or go shorter? You always say, ‘keep our hair long, of course.’ Our same conversation we had every year.

I miss Thelma our oldest sister, too, but in a different way. You wouldn’t believe Terry’s daughter is going off to college and Jimmy’s boys are starting high school. Bob and I have been together thirty years now and I talk to your son, Tommy at least once a week. Isn’t it amazing how life went on but left me an only child (albeit an old only child), even though I was the youngest of three girls?

Most every day, I’m happy, but today, I’m missing you!!! Send me a sign.

Your loving sister,

Beverlye

 

Hiking For The Soul

August 16, 2016 at 6:00 AM

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Sometimes there is an exercise that not only helps the body, but also clears your head and feeds your soul. Hiking in the mountains is one of them. To go in the forests and to think of nothing but your next step is so Zen and pure. You have no time to think of mundane realities that play a big part in your life – – only the next step. I love hiking and hope to do it until I can’t. When will that day come? I have no idea.

As much as I love the beach and the sand, that’s how much I love the mountains. I love the fresh air, the feeling of being away from everything and the strength that takes you every step. Hiking makes me feel I can do anything, if I put my mind to it. It makes me feel strong and, ok I’ll say it, young! I know. I know. I’m fooling myself, but if it feels good and it’s good for you, who does it hurt?

I’m in one of the most beautiful places on earth right now, Sun Valley, Idaho. The streams and the mountains and the Aspen trees shaking so gently in the breeze has me mesmerized. The town itself is wonderful, but the mountains really do it for me.

Even though, SV is beautiful, mountains anywhere will do the job and have throughout my life.

Hiking is it for me! Do it!

“The trees were friendly, they gave me rest and shadowed refuge. Slipping through them, I felt safe and competent. My whole body was occupied. I had little energy to think or worry.”

– Aspen Matis, Girl in the Woods: A Memoir

 

Escape

August 9, 2016 at 7:00 AM

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Sadly, I went to a memorial service last week for a dear friend of my kids. He was a great kid who had grown up next door. He was way too young to die! Then, I heard a friend of ours had died. A friend that had taken good care of herself. A good woman who had battled fiercely for her life. More sadness, I went to the Dr. and he said, “let’s look at some issues of yours when you return from your vacation. Just have a good time.” It was all too much!

I needed an escape from reality for a couple of hours, where you don’t think of anything, but instead listen to great music and look at pretty faces. The newest Woody Allen film always does it for me. It really doesn’t matter which one it is. Of course they’re not all Annie Hall. But they are close enough. There is always someone playing Woody and then he has a slew of the newest and prettiest faces in the business saying what he thinks about life. It’s a great gig for him and for us. He gets to do a movie a year and we always know there is another Woody Allen film right around the corner. I love the skylines of whatever city he is filming and invariably he ends up in the city he loves the most, New York. Every scene is a love letter and I get totally caught up in it. For two hours, I am his. I know what he thinks about love, death and sex (his favorite topics) because he says it in every film using different actors, in a different period, in a different city.

As we get older and we all are so vulnerable and looking for an escape, we need a good book, a great movie, or a wonderful concert. We need something to carry us away from reality and yesterday this did it for me.

See Café Society, it’s a good summer movie!

Crash

August 2, 2016 at 6:00 AM

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Tonight on television I watched the glass ceiling come tumbling down! I watched history being made and I was in awe. This was not about politics for me. This was about history. This was about my grandchildren growing up in an era where they have seen a black president be elected, serve, and be reelected as President of the United States of America, and a woman be nominated for that same highest post in the country.

They do not see anything unusual about this. When I grew up both of those were impossible feats! Both of those were not imaginable. Not for young girls, nor for young African American boys to even dream of. Not possible! Tonight it was not only possible, but a reality. I was chocked up from Donna Brazil on. We saw Bill Clinton in a whole new light, painting a picture of his wife as someone he chased after, as a mother, as a caring person and a change maker her entire life. As one commentator said, “The dots came together on Hillary tonight. Everything she has worked for her entire life led to this.”

Even with what we have all been through together in this country during the last few years – terrorists and shootings and brutality to black lives and blue lives – I still believe we are the greatest country in the world! Tonight made me proud to be an American again. Tonight Michelle Obama made me proud and cry, and was a model for all young women to aspire to. I’m sorry Donald Trump supporters, but after watching all the poison being spread like germs into the air last week I just felt sick.

Tonight, I thought, we have a chance! I cried with Meryl Streep, I cried with Alicia Keys. We can improve! We can try if we all pull together. We can make our world safe again with openness, and bridges and no more guns. Is that Polyanna? I don’t know, but I know it made me happier with these thoughts than the ones of hate I heard last week. I know politics is politics and you can’t believe everything anyone of them says, and believe me I know no one is perfect, but there is a difference between trying for some change with qualifications to do so and just self gratification.

We live in an amazing era. From medicine (where in my case I live with 9 stage IV tumors, and other diseases I would have died from 20 years ago), to all the technical advances that have changed our lives. From planning our visit to Mars, to finally hearing that crash of the glass ceiling. I’m overwhelmed with being an American and to have been able to live this long to see all these changes come to fruition. I was born in 1934 and I wonder what took so long? But then I’m grateful it’s here! I want to help. I want to make us better. I think we can do it.

I would only love to be able to see what our grandchildren will do with this world with all the new knowledge they have now and will have in their future.

You know what? I think they’ll do just fine!!!!

I thought this was the end of my blog but then I watched the other nights of the convention. Each speaker blew me away, including Hillary herself. The tone of the convention was elegant and eloquent! She provided us with what she stood for and what she will do as president and how. She said this all quietly and confidently! She showed (and beautifully, I felt) that every little girl can dream to be president and be taken seriously.

I didn’t mean for this to be a speech, but I am moved! America is still great!

BTW, if you haven’t guessed, I’m with her!!!!

Welcome back readers!

Ageless Amazing Women

June 28, 2016 at 6:00 AM

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I was walking along and saw her sitting on a bench and just had to stop and take a photo. I could see Betty had a great style and joie de vivre.

She was waiting for children and grandchildren (which she said she had a lot of) at the Coral Casino. She was like a painting sitting there. I talked to her and asked what she advised those youngsters in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s coming up behind her. She said, “Smile when they are feeling down and always think happy thoughts.”

I love that!! It’s a perfect simple advice!

Let’s all think happy thoughts!!

After June 30, when I give a talk at Watermark in Los Angeles, I’m going to take Betty’s advice and think happy summer thoughts. I look forward to swimming, reading, a lot of golf and hanging out with my husband, friends and family!

I wish you all the same.

Have a wonderful July everyone!!!

This is Betty, enjoying life in great style at age 96.

Big Headline: Women Are Just Getting Started

June 21, 2016 at 6:00 AM

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I feel this enormous ground swell of women gaining power and appreciation, really, for the first time. I talk to women’s groups everywhere, and they are more involved, more interested and more interesting than ever in history! For example, they are forming think tanks all over the country. What is the reason? I heard today that the future is in women’s hands because they will see their children getting an education! That is a part of it albeit, only a small part. Most of it is about women wanting change and creating it.

When I am asked to speak, my purpose is to inspire. I want people (not only women, but everyone) to know how we can make our lives and future generations healthier and happier. When I leave the podium, however, I leave with more inspiration from the people I meet than I could ever hope to give. I’m the winner in this scenario by walking away with excitement and hope. What a great era we live in! My generation has been given more years of healthy living than ever before. It is up to us what we choose to do with it.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about what lies ahead of us. Let’s look to aging and what women can bring to change in a whole new, exciting light.

I’m just sayin’.

 

 

 

It’s Possible!

June 14, 2016 at 6:00 AM

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When I was in my thirties, I started to hear rumblings of cigarettes being bad for you. What? Everyone smoked cigarettes, pipes, cigars. Everyone cool did. That’s what the movies showed us. Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Steve McQueen, everyone smoked! But, alas, it was true. Smoking had something to do with cancer. My kids ganged up on me to stop and I did. Just like that! It wasn’t bad at all. I was never a heavy smoker and so one day, that was it! End of addiction.

Many years later, I have been having a terrible problem with sleeping. No matter what I did or what I took – nothing helped. I found myself reading my iPad all night long, and wandering room to room so as not to wake Bob. I was wide awake at night and tired all day. Book after book was coming out on how dangerous not sleeping was. I was afraid to read them. I didn’t want to know. I was a hopeless insomniac. This has gone on for at least four years. The more I would lie there thinking about going to sleep, the more anxious I would become about not going to sleep!! My every night routine had become a vicious cycle.

One night, I was in L.A. having dinner with my kids and grandchildren. I muttered the words about being a hopeless insomniac and they all pounced on me, “you can’t read your iPad before you go to sleep!” they cried, “and not in the middle of the night either,” they insisted. (this included iPhone and computer).

I shouldn’t have brought up the whole thing. I can’t give up my iPad. It helps me fall asleep and I don’t have to have the light on to keep Bob awake. It’s also so easy to travel with. I don’t have to carry books – and on and on I went. My son said, “she doesn’t really want to sleep.” My grandson Alex gave me a bunch of facts about how the light stirs up your brainwaves. I kept arguing with them. They all said, “you will never give them up.”

Well, guess what? I did. That night, and forever after! It’s been about a month and I’m sleeping!! I still take an Ativan to relax me and I read a magazine or book before I go to bed, but no electronics. It was hard. I wanted to keep reaching for my iPad or iPhone, but I didn’t!!!!

I’m through with not sleeping. When I get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night I’m up for a little while, but not like before. I fall asleep to begin with quite easily now, whereas before I would lie there forever.

It’s possible! That’s the message I want to send out to all of you non sleepers out there!

Now about my other addiction, chocolate ——-

The Sun Valley Wellness Festival 2016

June 7, 2016 at 6:00 AM

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It all started many years ago when my friends Anne Kalick and Teri Lebow introduced me to Cheryl Welch Thomas, owner of the Chapter One bookstore. She is also head speaker at the Sun Valley Idaho Wellness Festival’s committee every year. They had an opening and I was invited to speak about my first book “I Can Do This, Living with Cancer.” I had a very small but loving group come to see me.

This is the second time I was honored to be invited to be a speaker at this great festival. What a treat! The weather didn’t know it was May. It thought it was July! The hills were green and the flowers sparkled. After I spoke about finding love, passion and laughter after fifty on Saturday (which was to a totally filled room with standing room only – I’m proud to say), I signed my books Aging In High Heels and then sat by the pool at the newly redone Sun Valley Lodge. It is beautiful! The spa is really gorgeous and we loved having a massage there.

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Bob and I stayed with our dear friends Claudie and Bob Goldstein the first two nights at their beautiful French farmhouse and then moved over to the Lodge. We found time to hike, shop and eat, but most importantly we were inspired by the speakers. At the helm was Heather LaMonica Deckard, who is the Festival Director. She directed everything that was going on at all times.

We learned and shared our lives with new and old friends. Every speaker had something else to bring to the table. There were yoga classes, concerts, and book signings, helped by Chapter One bookstore. All their people interspersed with a concert given by Jewel, who talked and sang about her unbelievably challenging life. She had everyone at “Hello.” We listened to Father Brian Baker speak about Burning Man and what it meant to him, and the ever brilliant and scintillating Marianne Williamson, who talked about sadness and today’s depression in our society. Her sincere delivery literally knocks you off your feet!

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There were MC Yogi and Stephen McGhee who we did not get a chance to see but we heard were both great. Stephen became a friend and I can see why he has so many followers! One of the highlights of the trip was the dinner given by the chairs of the event, Pirie Grossman, and president Elizabeth Grabher, where the donors and speakers could get together and all meet each other.

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The Sun Valley Festival has grown up to be one of the most inspiring of all four-day events you could ever imagine set in a paradise of a place. If you want to be inspired, and lavished with beauty, this is the event for you!

 

Sun Valley

May 31, 2016 at 6:00 AM

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Wellness Festival where speakers come from all over the country (including lucky me) to give their talks and workshops.

Class of 2016

May 24, 2016 at 6:00 AM

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This week we went to the 2nd of many senior events for our first grandchild to graduate high school. It made me think of all the other sons, daughters, sisters, brothers and grandchildren all over the country that are starting new lives this year. Whether it’s a gap year or going straight to college, everything they know to be true and routine for them will change forever!

So here they go! Parents have done everything they can. In the eyes of the law, they are adults now. They are responsible for themselves (with a little help thrown in from Mom). Basically, childhood is over and a whole new adventure lies ahead. It’s a readjustment for everyone (says a teary grandmother). But what we really hope for when we have children is to teach them enough so that when the time comes they will be able to fly. Isn’t it?

A little painful, but right and just all the same. It’s their turn now to greet new friends, new lives, make mistakes, have triumphs and pave their own way!

What a wonderful time in their lives. Yes, I know the world is not in great shape right now, and we worry about that, but this group is more prepared than any group proceeding them. They can handle this!

So, congratulations kids and family alike. You’ve done a great job. Now it’s time for them to flap their wings———

Watch out world. Here comes Class of 2016!!!