My Viking Journey: A Grand Finale In My Favorite City of Rome

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50My Viking journey on the luxurious Viking Star ocean liner to the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land, was about to come to an end. My boyfriend L and I were traveling courtesy of Viking Cruises.* Our last stop was Civitavecchia, the port of Rome. We would spend our final day touring my favorite Italian city. L had never been to Rome. I was so excited to share the famous landmarks, piazzas, and most of all the pizza.

“I can’t wait for you to see the spectacular sites in Rome,” I told L as we prepared for our 10 hour excursion. “I know you will be exhausted after walking around town but you can rest on our plane ride home tomorrow.”

Rome; Colosseum

I was glad to show Rome to my boyfriend L, a first-time visitor.

The Large Port of Civitavecchia
Ciao everyone,” said our guide Monica. “We are in Civitavecchia, a port built more than 1000 years ago. It takes about 90 minutes to get to Rome.” On our way, Monica provided a history lesson.

Civitecchia, Rome

Arriving at our last port in Italy.

Civitavecchia is a large city for Italy. It means the ‘old city.’ During World War II it was bombed to ruins, ” said Monica. We approached the 255 miles long Tiber River, which divides Rome into two halves and flows out into the Mediterranean Sea. We drove by the countryside lush with olive trees and vineyards. Tuscany is only an hour from the port. Continue reading

It’s Bladder Cancer Awareness Month: Time To Share My Story

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersMay is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month. It’s time to share my personal story. Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer (and 11th most common for women) – a cancer I never knew existed until I was told six months ago that “you have bladder cancer.” Not something I wanted to hear on the eve of my 60th birthday.

You Have Bladder Cancer
I asked my urologist Dr. F three times if he really said the “C” word. Mind you, I had never seen  a urologist before.

“Did you say cancer?” I asked Dr. F after my surgery to remove a tumor from my bladder. “Yes, it looks like cancer,” said Dr. F.

Bladder Cancer; Bladder Cancer Awareness Month

Orange ribbons are the symbol of bladder cancer. Photo courtesy of BCAN.org.

Why me? Men are more likely to develop bladder cancer than women. I am not a smoker and during my full-time career I wasn’t in an environment where I was exposed to certain harmful substances — two of the risk factors. According to BladderCancer.net, people who are older are at a higher risk for developing bladder cancer—around 90% of people diagnosed with it are over the age of 55. I’m over 50, guess that’s me! “You live in New Jersey. It’s the chemical capital of the U.S,.” said my friend L. Ugh, that’s right!  

Bladder Cancer; Bladder Cancer Awareness Month

More men are diagnosed with bladder cancer than women. Stats from BCAN.org.

“You mean it’s cancer?” I asked Dr. F again. “Yes, we have to wait for the biopsy report to determine next steps.” Those were the longest two weeks ever, especially since one of the weeks I had a catheter attached to my bladder to facilitate healing. Ugh! I was scared. I was really scared. Not able to do yoga, I used all my mindfulness meditation tools and techniques to calm my thoughts. Continue reading

In Praise of The New “RBG” Documentary

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer women

Give me an R!

Give me a B!

Give me a G!

What does that spell?

“RBG,” the title of the new documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

This documentary is a must see for every woman. I feel honored to have gone to the same alma mater, Cornell University, as Justice Ginsburg. She is truly “Notorious RBG” as the younger feminists call her.

At 84 years old, having survived two bouts of cancer (colon and pancreatic), she is still sharp and strong. She even has a personal trainer. If you want to practice her workout routine, there’s a book about it.

RBG Documentary

Justice Ginsburg mid workout routine in RBG, a Magnolia Pictures release. Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

I had an opportunity to screen the new “RBG” documentary this week. I was captured from the first five minutes and stayed up past midnight to watch the entire film. (Note if you cannot see the trailer below click on this link.)

It’s amazing how much we take for granted regarding today’s women’s rights. It wasn’t always that way – from getting a credit card to getting a loan – a man’s signature was required in the early 70s. As A.O. Scott wrote in his The New York Times review, “The idea that women are equal citizens – that barring them from certain jobs and educational opportunities and treating them as the social inferiors of men are unfair – may not seem especially controversial now. “RBG” uses Justice Ginsburg’s own experiences to emphasize how different things weren’t so long ago.” Continue reading

Capture the Memories: It’s Great To Be A Grandmother

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

While I’m not a grandmother yet, when the team at Bluestreak Books (an imprint of Weldon Owen) asked me to partner with them to talk about grandparenting and offer a special giveaway for their new Grandmother’s Journal and Grandfather’s Journal, (plus a webcam) I agreed. It’s a timely gift for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.*

 

Grandmother's Journal

Enter the giveaway for Grandmother’s and Grandfather’s Journals

Memories of My Grandmothers
I’m fond of talking about my grandmothers. I was lucky to know the two through my teens. Both my grandfathers died before I was born. In fact, my mother never really knew her father. He passed away when she was a toddler.

We called my maternal grandmother Nana. I think I was one of her favorites because I was the youngest grandchild. She lived nearby our apartment in The Bronx, NY and spent summers with us in Long Beach, NY. I so enjoyed visiting her after school. She would make brownies and store the brownies in an empty Maxwell House coffee can. They were as hard as rocks. We would have tea time and dunk our crusty brownies in the tea. Sometimes my Nana would read my tea leaves at the bottom of the cup. My fortune was always a good one.

Nana Mary

My maternal Nana lived nearby.

Growing up, many Sunday afternoons were spent at my paternal Grandma’s home, also in The Bronx. She only spoke Yiddish. All the aunts chatted while the uncles played cards. I had many cousins so it was quite lively. Grandma would make homemade honey cake, knishes, and kugel. She was a good cook until her hearing and eyesight declined.

Thankfully, they both lived into their late 80s and early 90s, respectfully.

It’s Great To Be A Grandmother
Although I’m not a grandmother, I wanted to know more about grandparenting. So I asked some of my friends and blogging buddies. The answers were pretty consistent — it’s great to be a grandmother!

Grandmother's Journal

There are pages to share your wisdom.

S spoke about the differences between her four grandchildren: “The random mix of genes in their biology continues to amaze me. The youngest has my curly hair but his mom’s fair skin and freckles. His older brother has the serious demeanor and scientific curiosity of my late husband and has inherited his straight light brown hair.  Two of my grandchildren have my husband’s high forehead and one has a nubbin of hair growing at the nape of his neck, precisely where his father and his grandfather had theirs.  And yet they have gifts from others that did not come from me – my grandson’s musical ability, my granddaughter’s visual and artistic leanings. All mixed up and a new unique person emerges.” Continue reading

My Viking Journey: Peaceful & Pleasant Days At Sea

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50If you’ve read my previous posts about my Viking journey on the luxurious Viking Star ocean liner to the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land, exploring ports in Greece, Cyprus and Israel, it’s now time to take a break for our days at sea. My boyfriend L and I were traveling courtesy of Viking Cruises.* 

There’s much to do on the Viking Star during days at sea and I (with L by my side some of the time) was eager to discover all that the ship had to offer. From morning workouts at the gym to walks around the upper and middle decks, from visits to the spa to lazy lounging by the pool, from afternoon tea to a behind the scenes look at the galley below, I was on a mission to completely consume these peaceful and pleasant hours.

Aegean Sea

Are you ready for days at sea and the beautiful Aegean waters?

Wellness at the the LiV Nordic Spa
The team at Viking didn’t have to twist my arm to get me to book a massage and facial at the LiV Nordic Spa. LiV has a full service spa menu including massages, body scrubs, facials, skin analysis, and hair and nail salon. There’s also royal Nordic grooming available for men.

My first treatment was a Swedish mindful massage. Ewa, my therapist was from Poland. “You have a PRC,” said Ewa. She was referring to my “personal rock collection” in my back with tight muscles and trigger points. I had never heard such a phrase, but it made me laugh. She got out all my knots. Ewa suggested I use Epsom salts and baking soda with lavender oil in my baths at home.

LiV Nordic Spa; Viking Ocean Cruise

Ewa said I had a PRC, personal rock collection of tight muscles.

On my second day at sea, I selected a Nordic Classic facial. It was organic, anti-aging, and tailor-made. Shayle was my esthetician and brought me into full serenity, exfoliating with a papaya and vitamin C mixture and then applying a jasmine and honey mask. She  ended with cupping on my face to help with lymphatic drainage, plump the skin, and stimulate my circulation system. She said it is very detoxifying and soothes the skin. Continue reading

Disrupt Aging: Expert Tips To Stay Wealthy, Wise and Connected

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

If you knew you were going to live to 100, what would you do differently today?

In my last blog post, I introduced this question and provided some reflections from the 2018 AARP Disrupt Aging: The Implications of Living 100 Forum. As promised, this week I’m going to share tips from some of the experts who spoke about changing the way we earn and learn.

Changing the Way We Earn
“The only time I hear people talk about God and money is when they say ‘God, I wish I had more money’,” said Suze Orman, The World’s Personal Finance Expert.

Suze Orman; disrupt aging; #live100

Wealth expert Suze Orman focused on managing finances to live to 100.

According to Employee Benefit Research Institute 2016 stats, 41% of American households headed by people 55-64 have no retirement assets.

Maybe that’s why Suze hit hard on the importance of saving for old age: “At 25, if you put away $100 a month until 65, you can have $1 million at 65. If you start at 35 versus 25, you will net only $300,000 at 65.” At the same time she was adamant about paying down debt, especially credit card debt which has high interest rates.

“Money alone will never make you happy. But lack of money will make you miserable,” said Suze. Seeing her parents struggle financially made her want to become monetarily successful and help others become fiscally fit too. After working really hard and making lots of money, she retired two years ago at 65 and moved to a private island in the Bahamas. Sounds pretty successful to me? Continue reading

Living 100: How To Make The Most of Living A Longer Life

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomers“Current 10 year olds may age to be 104,” said Jo Anne Jenkins, CEO of AARP, as she kicked off a conversation about longevity at the 2018 AARP Disrupt Aging: The Implications of Living 100 Forum, powered by Forbes and held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. last week. The event featured presentations with leading experts in health, tech, work and personal finance, education and policy to discuss one simple question:

If you knew you were going to live to 100,
what would you do differently today?

#disruptaging; AARP; Live 100; living to 100

Disrupt Aging: Implications of Living 100 Forum was held at the Newseum in D.C.

(Note: Be sure to read to the end of the post and enter the giveaway for a copy Jo Anne’s bestseller, Disrupt Aging.)

Implications of Living 100
With this overriding question, each speaker challenged us to shift how we think about our own aging and rethink how we earn, learn, connect, and live in the present. The facts and figures were staggering. Here goes:

In 1960, 9 percent of the U.S. population was over age 65. In 2060, that number will grow to 24 percent. “You’re either going to be a caregiver or need caregiving,” said Jo Anne. Ooh, ooh, ooh, I’ll be in the ‘need caregiving’ if I live that long and will be over 100! How about you?

By 2030, the first Boomers will turn 85, the first Gen Xers will turn 65, and the first Millennials will turn 50. Ooh, ooh, ooh, I’ll be in my early 70s and my kids will be in their 40s. How old will you be? 

#disruptaging; AARP; Live 100; living to 100; aging

How old will you be in 2030?

The 50 and over category is worth $15 trillion and $7.6 trillion of annual activity is done by post 50 people in the U.S. Wow-o-wow, we’re worth a lot and we’re sure active individuals!

75 percent of Boomers in the U.S. plan to work past 65, and many will have two, three and four different careers in their lifetime. Hmm, I started out as a magazine editor, then I went into public relations, then corporate communications. Now I’m a blogger and yoga instructor. Where are you on your career spectrum? Continue reading

My Viking Journey: The Secrets of the Ancient City of Acre

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50

It was Friday, our final day in Israel. After visiting Jerusalem and Haifa earlier in the week, our excursion would take us to the ancient city of Acre. For sure, my Viking journey on the luxurious Viking Star ocean liner to the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land was exceeding expectations. My boyfriend L and I were traveling courtesy of Viking Cruises.* 

 

Viking Ocean Cruises; Israel; Ancient City of Acre; luxury cruises; Viking Star

My boyfriend L and I traveled to Israel with Viking Ocean Cruises.

“Tomorrow will be Shabbat, so we say ‘Shabbat Shalom’ because it is the Sabbath,” said our tour guide Simon. “Acre’s markets will be crowded as people shop for food before sundown.”

Viking Ocean Cruises; Israel; Ancient City of Acre; luxury cruises; Viking Star; Market Street in Acre

Fishmongers sell fresh fish on Market Street.

A City Above and A City Below
“Acre is a 2000 year old city,” Simon said. “Acre was the main port in the north of the country during the 19th century. Then the port of Haifa was built and became the main port.”

Viking Ocean Cruises; Israel; Ancient City of Acre; luxury cruises; Viking Star; Acre port

The port of Acre is home to sailboats and fishermen.

The Old City of Akko (Akko means Acre) is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an historic walled port-city with continuous settlement from the Phoenician period. As we walked, we learned more about its secrets. According to the Israel Ministry of Tourism, “Only in the Old City of Akko will you discover a perfectly preserved Crusader city being unearthed and brought back to life, located directly under the city built above it. Continue reading

Help! My Body Is Aging And I Want To Make Peace With It

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersLately I’ve been feeling that my body is aging rather quickly. I know I’ve always been an optimist, but as I progress in my 60th year and into my sixth decade, I’ve noticed my body is shifting and I want to make peace with it.

My Cholesterol Is Rising
“My cholesterol has gone up more than 50 points since last year,” I said to my BFF M. “It’s at 297. It’s my genetic makeup.” “Mine is really high too,” said M. “Mine is hereditary too. I’m not worried about it,” said M. I wish I could make peace with it like M.

“I’ve tried two different statins,” I told Dr. S at my annual physical. “Each time I have muscle problems.” “We usually try three different statins and then if it doesn’t work we’ll have to see what’s next,” said Dr. S as she wrote the prescription for a low dose of pravastatin. “Your HDL, the happy cholesterol, is really good at 86. Your LDL at 189 is high.” She also recommended I try CoQ10 as a supplement to help with any side effects.

I so wanted the pravastatin to work. After three nights of pills, my muscles were weak.

“I know what I can do,” I told myself. “I’ll lower my LDL on my own.” My heart was listening yet my emoji was sending LOL signals.

I exercise each morning on my stationary bicycle, do yoga, and try to get in my thousands of steps each day. I’ll do more cardio. Maybe that’s it. I’ll work out more to lower my LDL. There goes my emoji again sending more LOL signals. Make peace with it Judi, make peace.

aging

Continue reading

My Viking Journey: Sightseeing In The Beautiful City Of Haifa

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50The snow may be piled up from our fourth nor’easter, but I’m going to take myself back to the beautiful city of Haifa. Come join me for a sightseeing tour of some of Israel’s spectacular natural beauty including the Baha’i Gardens at Bahji in Acres and Rosh Hanikra National Park, the only point in Israel where the sea meets the cliff.

We’ll also make a stop at the Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra, which was part of our optional excursion during my Viking journey on the luxurious Viking Star ocean liner to the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land. My boyfriend L and I were traveling courtesy of Viking Cruises.* 

Port of Haifa; Israel; Haifa; Viking Ocean Cruises

The sun was shining as we pulled into the Port of Haifa.

It was my first-ever visit to Israel and after a memorable day in Old Jerusalem, I couldn’t wait to see our next city. According to the Viking Daily, “Haifa is one of Israel’s most important and beautiful cities.” It’s stunning because it is built on the slopes of Mount Carmel and overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Haifa; Israel; Viking Ocean Cruises

The view of Haifa from Mt. Carmel is stunning.

An Introduction to Haifa
“Good morning. Welcome to Haifa,” said our tour guide Abby. “This is an awesome tour. There’s never a dull moment.” We hopped on the bus and drove up Ben Guerion Street which is the German colony of Haifa. Supposedly World War II changed things. Many Holocaust survivors came to Haifa after the war and restored the houses around this area. Continue reading