One Life, A Treasure Chest of Stories

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersIn honor of October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I’m pleased to bring you an essay written by Antoinette Truglio Martin, the author of an inspiring memoir, Hug Everyone You Know, A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer.

In 2007, when Antoinette was nearing 50, she received a Stage I breast cancer diagnosis. A speech therapist and special education teacher by training as well as a successful children’s book author, Antoinette started her fight against cancer with words, journaling and sending emails to family and friends who wanted to offer their support. The emails were addressed to ‘Her Everyone’ and she signed each email with the reminder to’hug everyone you know.’

Those emails and journal entries are at the heart of her memoir. The book is moving, brave, informative, and occasionally funny. As the the press release says: “It speaks to us all.”

I hope Antoinette’s essay will touch you with the tenderness that it touched me. I give you Antoinette’s essay:

One Life, A Treasure Chest of Stories
by Antoinette Truglio Martin

Antoinette Truglio Martin; Hug Everyone You Know; SheWritesPress; breast cancer awareness month

Antoinette Truglio Martin is author of a new book “Hug Everyone You Know.”

“Stories fill our lives. We wake up, meander through our routines, and return to the day’s end. Along the way, stories collect. They are born from our observations, interactions, and adventures. The upsides of life are celebrated. The hardships are pondered and wrestled with as we attempt to steer from a dark abyss. Stories that stand out are shared. Memorable ones are retold, rewritten, remembered through the generations. We are truly the keeper of story treasure chests. Continue reading

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Enjoying A Day of Tasting and Touring In The Tualatin Valley

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50The sun was shining for day two in The Tualatin Valley, during my visit to Oregon’s Wine Country last month. My trip was courtesy of The Washington County Visitors Association (WCVA).*

Jackie, a member of the WCVA team, picked me up early at my lodging at McMenamins Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, to begin a full sunrise-to-sunset of tasting and touring around the area.

The Tualatin Valley; The Willamette Valley; Oregon Wine Country; Oregon

The Tualatin Valley is situated in the northern Willamette Valley wine region.

Breakfast At Maggie’s Buns
Maggie’s Buns, known for its baked goods, is a fun, quirky cafe with delicious, homemade food,” said Jackie. It was a perfect place to go for breakfast. The cafe, located right by Pacific University, one of the oldest universities in Oregon, was packed with students.

Good thing I left my gluten-free diet at home. The pastry case was filled with freshly baked  buns, muffins and scones. Ooh, ooh, ooh, the smell of cinnamon filled the air, as did pots of Stumptown coffee, a favorite beverage of Oregonians.

Maggie's Buns; The Tualatin Valley; Forest Grove; Oregon

Maggie, pictured left, and her team enjoy serving homemade baked goods.

We sat at one of the mixed matched tables and chairs and poured two large mugs of coffee. Then Maggie and her team came out all smiles holding a tray of assorted baked goods. It was so good, so good, so good.

Maggie's Buns; The Tualatin Valley; Oregon wine country; Forest Grove; boomer travel; travel

Maggie’s Buns baked goods were scrumptious.

I could have lingered all morning, but we had to leave to make it to the town of Sherwood for our tasting at Ponzi Winery.

A Progressive Wine Tasting
I was eager to see what the Ponzi Winery had to offer, especially since The Tualatin Valley is situated in the northern Willamette Valley (WV) wine region, which was named by Wine Enthusiasts as 2016 Wine Region of the Year.” Ponzi Vineyards is internationally acclaimed for producing some of the world’s finest, limited production Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, White Riesling, Arneis and Dolcetto.

Ponzi Winery; Ponzi Vineyards; The Tualatin Valley; Williamette Wine Region; Oregon wineries; boomer travel

Ponzi WInery has been producing wines since 1970.

The Ponzi Winery, founded in 1970, is a family affair. Our guide Jake shared the story of owners David and Nancy Ponzi, who went to Italy to find their original grapes. “They brought back clippings in suitcases to start their winery,” said Jake. “Ponzi is one of six founding wineries in The Tualatin Valley. They share a lot of knowledge with other winemakers in the community. It strengthens the region.” Continue reading

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Happy October! It’s Time To Get Your Flu Shot

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellness“It’s October. The flu season has officially started. Let’s go get our flu shot,” I said to my boyfriend L last weekend. Since I’m a CVS Ambassador*, we went to the MinuteClinic at our local CVS Pharmacy for our shots. There was no line. We walked right in.

“Who wants to go first?” said Karen, the nice nurse practitioner. “Me, me, me,” I replied. I’m not a fan of needles so I wanted to get it over with. I rolled up my sleeve, took a deep yogic breath, and before I could say ‘one, two, three,’ NP Karen shot the vaccine into my left deltoid.

CVS Health; MinuteClinic; flu shot; flu vaccine; influenza; flu season; #CVS

I got my flu shot at the MinuteClinic at CVS Pharmacy.

It was L’s turn next. “Do you want the higher dose?” asked NP Karen. “The higher dose is recommended for anyone over 65.” L agreed and soon his left deltoid was vaccinated too.

CVS Pharmacy; MinuteClinic; flu shot; influenza; flu prevention

My boyfriend L went with me to get a flu shot.

Why Should You Get A Flu Shot?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone who is eligible and at least six months old get a flu shot when the vaccine becomes available, preferably by October. Plus, according to the experts at CVS Pharmacy, getting a flu shot is the most effective way to protect yourself and your family from catching the flu.

“People may not realize that it can actually take up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to build immunity,” said Angela Patterson, Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer at MinuteClinic. “For this reason, CVS Pharmacy actually recommends that patients get their flu shot as soon as the vaccine becomes available to ensure you have the best protection before flu season peaks. Additionally, influenza strains tend to change each year, so it’s very important to get vaccinated every year to make sure you are protected.”

Are you convinced yet? Continue reading

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Exploring The Great Outdoors In The Tualatin Valley

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Do you know where the Tualatin Valley is located? I bet you don’t, but you should. It’s right outside of Portland’s backyard. That’s Portland, Oregon. And it’s one of the most beautiful places to vacation in the USA if you like the great outdoors. I had a chance to visit this month, courtesy of The Washington County Visitors Association, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.*

As I get older, I like to be outdoors during my life after 50. Maybe it’s because I spent so much time indoors during my 30+ years working in a corporate environment. Now that I have more flexibility it’s great to have time to travel and explore new places. Much of my recent travel has been international, so it was nice to explore the USA, especially the Northwest.

The Tualatin Valley, Willamette Valley, Oregon, boomer travel, post 50 travel

My plan included three days in the Tualatin Valley, about 30 – 40 minutes outside the city, and two days in Portland. It was a perfect mix of country and city living. Plus, despite all I had heard about rainy Oregon (and sadly the forest fires), we had sunny and warm weather the entire week.

The Tualatin Valley, Willamette Valley, Oregon, boomer travel, post 50 travel

DID I SAY I LOVED BOTH THE TUALATIN VALLEY AND PORTLAND ? DID I SAY I WANT TO GO BACK?

Yes, Yes, Yes! And you will too.

Welcome To The Tualatin Valley
“It is our pleasure to welcome you to our version of paradise, the Tualatin Valley. Ours is a destination filled with vineyards and wineries, u-pick farms, golf course, shops, main streets, festivals, restaurants and a variety of lodging options, and much of what makes Oregon a must-visit location,” says the tourism brochure.

Between my arrival on Tuesday and departure for Portland on Thursday, Washington County Tourism team members Sylke, Jackie and Ariel made sure I sampled a bit of almost everything (except golf since I’m not a golfer). Continue reading

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It’s Nice To Be Recognized As A Boomer Blogger

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomers

When I started blogging 10 years ago, I never thought much about where it would lead or what type of opportunities it would bring. I just wanted to capture my feelings as I approached my milestone 50th birthday. As many of you know, losing my husband two weeks shy of my 50th, broke my heart and turned my world upside down. (You can find my original blog at A Baby Boomer Woman’s Countdown to 50.)

In 2008, I decided to start this blog that you are reading today. It was a way to share all the changes I was going through at the time during my life after 50 — selling my house, emptying out my nest, meeting a new man, leaving my full-time career, pursuing my yoga teacher training, and traveling the world. During the past 10 years I reinvented myself and I continue to do so as my life evolves.

Judy Freedman, Judi Freedman

Now that I’m a few months away from 60, I like the new me. I’m also proud of the recent recognition that my blog and my writing has received. It has helped me open new doors that I never thought possible.

The blogosphere, including the boomer blogosphere, has become much more crowded in the past decade. Yet, I have never wavered from my values. I treat my readers with integrity and respect, the same way I want to be treated.

Top 75 Baby Boomer Blogs
“I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog A Boomers Life After 50 has been selected by our panelists as one of the Top 75 Baby Boomer Blogs on the web,” said Anuj, the founder of Feedspot, in his email to me earlier this month. “I personally give you a high-five. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 75 Baby Boomer Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!” Note: My blog is #36 on the list.

75 Best Boomer Blogs

Feedspot curates blogs on the worldwide web. It was rewarding to see that they included my blog among other noteworthy boomer bloggers. I know many of the bloggers on the list and would like to congratulate their work as well. Be sure to check out all the boomer blogs.

Contributor to GettingOnTravel
Another way to be recognized in the blogosphere is to be accepted as a contributor to other blogs and websites. For example, I am a contributor to healthywomen.org, which features many of my blog posts, and to The Huffington Post. My writing has appeared on other midlife blogs, such as My Itchy Travel Feet and Midlife Boulevard.

This month, I became a contributing writer for GettingOnTravel, A Fresh Take On Luxury For Travellers Over 50. GettingOnTravel, was co-founded by two award-winning travel writers Irene S. Levine and Janice Mucalov. As the website says “GettingOnTravel is a premier online magazine for eye-opening explorations by seasoned travelers who are also great writers. Our awesome team of talented travel writers and bloggers are some of the best out there, writing especially for you!”

Getting On Travel; boomer travel; luxury travel for over 50

GettingOnTravel showcases information for travellers over 50 — including stories about cruises, food and wine, hotels and spas, adventure, books and gear, and more travel resources. They host fun giveaways too. Continue reading

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Honoring World Alzheimer’s Month: Keeping The Brain Healthy

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersI read The New York Times blog called The New Old Age written by Paula Span. This week, Paula introduced herself in The Story Behind The Story column. She says that “With more than 20 percent of the American population projected to be over 65 by the year 2030, per the Census Bureau, I’m unlikely to run out of material.” In fact, she adds “the list of subjects I hope to tackle keeps lengthening.”

Let’s see, how old will I be in 2030? Hmm, hmm, hmm, I’ll be 72. Ouch!

As I approach 60 next year, I feel like I’m in pretty good shape. However, every aging body has something. Right? My one friend has knee issues, my other friend has rotator cuff issues, another friend has back problems. My vice is my teeth – I’ve got one implant already in my mouth and lately with the pain I’ve been having, more to come. Plus, I have flat feet, which is minor only when they hurt after a long walk and add to my difficulty finding comfortable shoes.

Alzheimer’s and The Aging Mind
Then there’s the aging mind and memory. I try to keep my mind active by teaching and doing yoga, reading the daily newspaper, and researching and writing this blog. However, with the growing statistics on Alzheimer’s and dementia, it’s all so scary.

According to the National Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, a number that is expected to rise as high as 16 million by 2050.

Let’s see, I’ll be 92 in 2050. Ouch! How should I keep my brain healthy as I age?

Since September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and many more women develop the disease than men, I thought I would take time to share my interview with Dr. Michelle Braun, a neuropsychologist, who knows a great deal about Alzheimer’s and keeping the brain healthy. Dr. Braun developed the Brain Health Quiz, which she shares more about in the interview below.

Note: This is a very long blog post, but there is so much good information that I wanted to share it all. So just read the Qs and As that you are interested in, or read it all if you are really interested! I’m sure many of you may also be caregivers to parents or other relatives who have Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Michelle Braun; Healthy Brain Quiz; Alzheimer's; healthy brain; aging

Dr. Michelle Braun is a neuropsychologist.

Here are excerpts: Continue reading

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These New Books Will Help You Reinvent Yourself

aboomerslifeafter50.com; boomer women; life after 50It’s been many years since I’ve had kids at home who are starting a new school year, yet come September I always think about new beginnings.

The past month, my mailbox has been filled with new books that can help you reinvent yourself and make positive change. Since it’s September (can you believe it), I thought I’d share a few of the titles that resonated with me, in the hope that they may resonate with you too.

(Note: I’m giving away a copy of Do One Thing Every Day That Makes You Happy, so read on and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below!)

The Power of Positive Energy by Tanaaz Chubb
This paperback includes “everything you need to awaken your soul, raise your vibration, and manifest an inspired life.”

Being a yogi, I really like this book. It’s an easy read with techniques to invite positive energy and gratitude into your life. Tanaaz is the founder of ForeverConscious,com, a site that promotes spiritual well-being.

The Power of Positive Energy; Tanaaz Chubb; #positiveenergy; positive energy; reinvent yourself

According to Tanaaz, “Positive energy is anything that makes you feel good, and feeling good happens when a vibration resonates with your soul.” She says that your energetic vibration dictates how you see the world: “People who are vibrating on a higher frequency tend to be able to see the positive side to any situation, whereas people operating on a lower frequency tend to only be able to focus on negatives.”

How are your vibrations today? Most days I’m more positive.

By following her exercises Tanaaz says “readers can adjust their auras to emit calm, peaceful, and positive energy instead of unhappiness or stress.” Know wonder I like Tanaaz’s book! BTW, this topic is SO TRENDY, with nearly 1 million #positiveenergy hashtags on Instagram.

Writing For Bliss by Diana Raab, PhD
If you like to use writing as a creative outlet or have thought about writing a memoir during your life after 50, Diana’s book is for you. Diana is an award-winning memoirist, poet, speaker, educator and survivor.

The subhead for her book is “A Seven-Step Plan For Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life.” To master this plan, she provides prompts in each chapter for both the seasoned writer and novice writer and she does it in a mindful way. As you follow the prompts you may feel like you are going through a therapy session with the written word. Continue reading

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My First Visit To Greece: Sea-Worthy Adventures in Santorini

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50

 

My first trip to Greece with my sister N and daughter A would soon be coming to an end. Thankfully, we saved our sea-worthy adventures in Santorini for the later part of the week, including a trip to the Perissa black beach and a sunset catamaran cruise around the island.

Santorini, Oia, Greece

I went to Greece with my daughter A (center) and sister N (right).

Breakfast and a Visit to the Black Beach
On Thursday, we headed out for breakfast at Passaggio, a cute spot on the edge of Oia’s town center. Passaggio is a small bistro where you can takeout or eat in. We each ordered coffee and yogurt and fruit bowls. They also make homemade smoothies which looked yummy. We decided to sit on the terrace where there is a beautiful island view. Passaggio’s breakfast bowl was the creamiest  Greek yogurt I’ve ever eaten and the honey on the bottom thin and light with just the right sweetness. It was so good, so good, so good.

Passaggio bites and drinks

Passaggio is a cute place for breakfast with a view.

Passaggio bistro in Oia; Oia restaurants; Santorini restaurants

A lovely view from the Passaggio terrace.

Knowing it would be a long trip to the beach, we were glad our tummies were satisfied. We boarded the local bus to Fira (the capital of Santorini) and from there took another packed bus to the beach all the way on the other side of the island. It took about 90 minutes one-way for the trip. (Note: Originally we had planned to rent a car. However, after seeing the rugged roads we decided against driving in Santorini – which was a wise decision. That’s why I’m still here to tell you all about my travels.)

Santorini black beach, Perissa black beach; Santorini, Greece

The black beach in Santorini has pebbles for sand.

While it was a hot and long journey, once we arrived at the black beach, it was very relaxing. The “sun beds” and thatched umbrellas are free as long as you buy drinks or food from the beach’s restaurant. There are also bathrooms in the restaurant should you need to change into or out of your bathing suit. Continue reading

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My First Visit To Greece: Enjoying A Wine and Food Tour In Santorini

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Are you ready to hear about my culinary explorations and libations in Santorini? While a few months have passed since returning from my first-ever trip to Greece with my daughter A and sister N, I so love reminiscing about our travels.

A Fabulous Wine and Food Tour in Santorini
It was mid-week in Santorini and A and I were looking forward to learning more about the food and wine culture of the region with Santorini Wine Trails. We had registered in advance for the “Foodie Tour,” which includes visiting a family-owned farm, walking in an 80-year-old vineyard, and sampling local wines and beer. (Note: N didn’t join us for the tour. She wanted to rest after our previous day’s strenuous hike from Fira to Oia.)

Prickly Pears; Santorini; Greece; Santorini Wine Trails Foodie Tour; travel; boomer travel

Prickly Pears grow on the family-owned farm in Santorini.

Iliana, our guide, picked us up at the Oia Post Office around mid-morning. Three other women who were vacationing from Chicago joined our group at the next pickup.

Iliana was filled with history about the island. We told her we were enjoying the beauty of Oia and our lodging at Nicoletta’s Loukia Cave House. She shared details about how Santorini and Oia have changed over the years.

“Everything that has happened here – roads, businesses – has happened in the last 20-25 years,” said Iliana. “After the 1956 earthquake, people were scared and left the island. In the 1980s, more investment happened and people started to return.”

Santorini; Greece; travel; boomer travel

The Santorini countryside has changed a lot since roads have been built.

We shared our story about our hike through the mountains from Fira, the capital of Santorini, to Oia. “Oia was always isolated from the rest of the island. The hike was the only way originally to get there. Not until the mid-90s when they started to build the roads could you get there by car,” said Iliana. Continue reading

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My First Visit To Greece: Soaking In The Splendors of Santorini

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Now that the weekend was behind us and we had experienced city life in Athens, it was time to spend a week soaking in the splendors of Santorini. My first trip to Greece with my sister N and daughter A was about to get even better.

We packed our bags and headed for the Athens airport for a short flight aboard Aegean Air to Santorini. (Note 1: You can also take a ferry ride to Santorini but a friend recommended flying as a quicker and calmer option. Note 2: It is cheaper to book your luggage fee online before you get to the airport.) Upon landing, our transport was waiting to drive us to Nicoletta’s Loukia Cave House, our Airbnb booking, high up on the hill in Oia. OIa is at the northern tip and one of the most popular and picturesque villages on Santorini’s 15-mile-long main island.

Santorini; Oia; Greece

The Loukia Cave House was perfect for the three of us and could have fit up to six. The house had everything we needed for seven glorious days in Oia – comfortable beds, hot water for showers (as long as you remembered to turn the hot water on before you showered), a kitchen for cooking, a patio for sunbathing, and daily maid service.

Santorini; Oia; Loukia Cave House; Greece

Loukia Cave House; Santorini; Oia; GreeceOne BIG thing to remember in Santorini is that toilet paper must not be thrown in the toilet – it must go in the trash. The sewer system throughout the island is not very advanced. That’s why you need the daily maid service. Got it?

Exploring Oia
Not wanting to stay inside while the sun was shining, we lathered on sunscreen, put on our hats and visors, and ventured out to explore all that Oia has to offer. Despite the crowds of tourists from multiple cruise ships, we managed to find our way to the town center to scope out the shops and restaurants and bask in our spectacular surroundings. Continue reading

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