80 for Brady

"80 for Brady" is a new movie about four women who belong to a fan club for super-star and just-retired-football-quarterback Tom Brady.  The four stars (combined age of 335 years) are front and center on full-page ads for the movie.  I’ve read two reviews, one very positive, the other very negative. 

The four women, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, Lily Tomlin and Sally Field look fabulous.  (By the way, I am especially grateful to Jane Fonda who kept me and two neighbors in shape with her workout decades ago.) The trailer for the movie shows them flitting around like teenagers.

But here’s the thing.  Eighty-plus years old women do not look that way.  The amount of “work” done on these women’s faces (and perhaps more) is obvious.  They are not role models for us eighty-somethings who wear our wrinkles with pride for a life well-lived.

I will skip the movie.

The Grammys and Me

True to my belief that it is never too late to learn, I watched The Grammys for the first time recently.  The Grammys recognize "outstanding" achievements in the music industry and have been around for quite a while, I am told.

Of course, I wasn’t completely in the dark.  I’d heard of Beyoncé and I knew about the Ticketmaster’s meltdown  when Taylor Swift tour tickets went on sale.

I believe my television set sound is not the best.  But I don’t think even the most sophisticated sound system would have made that music suit me.  Also, I found the outfits worn by all the performers distracting, in some cases frightening. 

I stuck it out, and I am proud of myself for opening my mind (for a while).

However, I am going back to Mozart.


Christine Lagarde was in the news last week speaking about interest rates.  Mme. Lagarde is President of the European Central Bank, a position she has held for three years.  Prior to that position, she was Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund for eight years.  Forbes Magazine once named her the ninth most powerful woman in the world and the thirty-ninth most powerful individual.

In 2012, she was the graduation speaker at the Harvard Kennedy School, and I met her at a lunch in her honor the day before.  The next morning, I was stopped by a young man as I was walking into the school.  “Excuse me Madame Lagarde,” he said in his French-accented English.  It is true that Madame Lagarde and I are both tall, slim, and gray-haired, but she is nearly twenty years younger.  None-the-less, I was amused (and he was embarrassed).

So, when her picture appeared in the paper last week, I took a very close look.

That young man would not make the same mistake today.

The Red Lentil Saga

I saw a recipe for red lentil soup that allegedly could be on the table in thirty minutes.  I decided to make it.  There were a couple of crucial ingredients that I was missing (the red lentils and coconut milk) so I picked them up the next time I was in Trader Joe’s. 

When I was about to make the soup, I couldn’t find the red lentils I had purchased.  Further, I couldn’t find the shopping receipt which would tell me if I had paid for them.  Anyway, I couldn’t make the soup.

The next day a neighbor was going to Trader Joe’s, and I asked her to buy red lentils for me again.  Even with the help of an employee, she could only find green lentils, and she called me from the store to tell me so. 

That day I had an Amazon package to return via Whole Foods Market. While there, I found red lentils in their bin department.  I carefully bagged a reasonable amount. At that moment, my phone rang, and it was my friend telling me she had bought me red lentils in a different market.  I was standing in front of the red lentil container, but I had already filled a bag and I wasn’t about to put them back.

Thus, I was well supplied to make the soup.

My neighbor and I use Venmo, a convenient way to pay each other back, even for small amounts, so I asked her how much she paid for the red lentils and she told me $2.29.  I didn’t pay her immediately as I usually do.

The next morning, I got a notice from Venmo saying she had paid me $2.29.

We laughed about it and I sent her $4.58. 

The soup was excellent.

What I Have Missed

As soon as I turned sixteen and got my driver’s license, I regularly tootled around Pittsburgh in my mother’s green Plymouth (stick shift) with the outstanding hits of the day e.g.,“How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” blasting from the radio. 

In college, I started to enjoy classical music as well. (This interest was partially due to my crush on my professor in Twentieth Century Classical Music.)   But I married a man who only listened to classical music, and soon I lost track of popular songs.  In fact, our older son described us as his “classical-music-loving-parents.”

It’s never too late to catch up.

Or is it?

Starting My Day

I can look through the peephole in my door and see the doors of eight units on my floor of our condo building.  When Peter and I moved in 4.5 years ago, there were newspapers in front of five of the doors every morning.  Now, there are only two.  That doesn’t mean my neighbors don’t read newspapers; it means they are reading the news online.

I start every day with stretches.  My reward?  Coffee and a newspaper that I hold in my hands.  And now that it’s just me, I get to start with the front page.

I fear that the day is coming when there will be no more hard copies of newspapers delivered.

Good news for trees; bad news for my breakfast.

Pronouns and Other Thoughts about Grammar

In recent years, pronouns have become complicated. First, “they” or “their” replaced “he or she” and “his or her”.  I understand why that is convenient. What I have trouble with is the addition of she/her or him/his to email signatures.  Really?

Also lately, I have added gender-related terms to my vocabulary, including cisgender, nonbinary, mx, genderfluid, genderqueer, ze and hir. I suspect we have not heard the last of this.

In other vocabulary news, the word "woke" used to (and still) means the past tense of wake.  However, it now also has a political meaning, “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)” according to Merriam-Webster.

Which leads me to ChatGPT, an amazing, but frightening development that has academics scrambling to figure out how to keep students’ writing original.

The pace of change is a bit frightening. Especially if you are 80-something.

Learning and Possibly Forgetting

I am always up for learning something new, especially if it does not include formulas.  Since September, I have been making a feeble and not very successful attempt to learn Portuguese via Duo Lingo.  Still, it’s fun.

Earlier this month, I sat in on an all-day-five-day course at Harvard Kennedy School about the issues faced by contemporary Indian Nations.  The course was co-taught by a professor I knew from my work and a Native American judge who is a faculty member at UCLA Law School, with guest speakers, including tribal chiefs and the Treasurer of the U.S. who is chief of the Mohegan Tribe.

There were about sixty students, including many Native Americans. The first day felt long.  The rest of the week flew by. We are never too old to learn something new.

The challenge in our eighties is remembering it.

The Wedding Portrait

I am always reading a book.  Sometimes it is the same book for a very long time. Occasionally, it is a book I can’t put down. 

My latest in the can’t-put-it-down category is Maggie O’Farrell’s The Wedding Portrait.  The story is loosely based on a 16th century Italian duchess, Lucrezia di Cosimo de’Medici, who is forced into marriage at an early age and comes to believe that her husband is going to kill her.  (This is revealed in Chapter 1.)   It is a good read by the well-regarded author of Hamnet, a National Book Circle award-winner.

Often, when I finish a book, I read its reviews to see what the critics say.  They did not recommend this one.

Read it anyway.


On January 15, 2008, encouraged by our journalist son Seth, I stopped scribbling my thoughts on life in random notebooks and wrote my first post on 70-something.com.  At that time, no one (including me) thought I would still be “blabbing” to a bunch of people I don’t know (and some I do) fifteen years later.

What have I gained from this adventure? I’ve learned about commitment.  Brush my teeth twice a day; write a blog post twice a week. I’ve learned that writing helps me process the joys and disappointments that are part of all our lives.  And much more.

I’ve written 1,570 posts and have received several thousand comments from readers either on the blog site or by email.

At my age, each day is a gift so I don’t expect to be writing this for fifteen more years.

But one never knows.