The 70-Something Blog is now The 80-Something Blog. Stay tuned in ten years for The 90-Something Blog!

Hot Pots

Attention:  Monday and Tuesday are Amazon Prime Days.  This is the fifth year that Amazon will offer its bargain-loving customers short windows of savings on many popular items in honor of its own birthday.  Only those who have “Amazon Prime” ($119 a year for a membership that includes free shipping) may participate, meaning that potentially 101-million people could be competing with you for a limited supply of robot vacuum cleaners.

(I have heard that other big stores are hoping to join in the fun by matching Prime Day prices—no membership required.)

Last year Amazon sold 300,000 hot pots on Prime Day.  It boggles my mind to think of Amazon employees scurrying around warehouses looking for hot pots to pack into boxes for delivery to 300,000 customers all over the world.

I don’t own a hot pot.  I don’t want more “things.”  I will not be tempted by Amazon Prime Days.

Will you?


How Healthy Do You Feel?

Next Avenue is a digital platform produced by PBS.  Simply put, it is a website that produces excellent articles aimed at baby boomers. 

A story last week, The Surprising Way Older Adults Describe Their Health reported that most older people feel healthy more often than we think they do, even though about 60% of them have two or more chronic illnesses.

In the 2017 National Health Interview Survey, 82% of adults ages 65 to 74 described their health as excellent. So did 73% of adults 75 or older.

Younger people have different assumptions about their health. They believe that their health should be perfect so anything less is bad.

For baby boomers and those even older, resilience, gratitude and realistic expectations all play roles in how we feel about how we feel. 

Like so many things in life, it’s all about expectations. 


You can get on the Next Avenue mailing list here.




We don’t know all the neighbors on our corridor very well.  But we have been observing Naomi.  She is a very tiny 90-year old who goes out every day, no matter what the temperature.  She’s bundled up like an Eskimo in the winter and under a big hat in the summer.  We hear classical music coming from her condo, and rumor has it that she was a wonderful classics professor. She walked 2.1 miles each way to Boston University every day.

Peter talked to her at our condo’s community cookout last week and offered to help her with her computer.  He spent about a half hour with her the next day.  He was unable to help her deal with her 20,000 unread emails! They agreed that she needed to go to the Apple Genius Bar.

On Wednesday, Naomi and I were waiting for the elevator together and we chatted about the hot day and then she asked, “Is that man you live with your father or your husband?”

I discussed this with Peter. We’re not sure whether I look young or he looks old.  Maybe both.  I still grin when I think about it. 

Peter thinks Naomi needs to get her eyes examined.

Where Did theYear Go?

It’s July.  How is that possible?  In just a few weeks, we will have been back in Cambridge for a year.  Our apartment feels much more like home now.  Its imperfections are still here, but we are used to them.  We have established some routines.  We know when to avoid the laundry room and how to get rid of stuff that’s too big for the trash chute.

Our landlord has extended our lease for another year so we’re actually considering buying towels that match our bathrooms.  We’ve gotten used to the sound of traffic and never tire of our wonderful view of the crews rowing down the Charles River at dawn.

Most of all, we are happy to be with our friends of so many years.  And we’ve made some new friends too.  We are happy to be back with our doctors although we wish we didn’t see them so often. 

Do we miss anything about our life in Washington, DC?  Yes.  Being near our kids and grandkids was amazing.  It just wasn’t enough.


How Old We Are

We all know how many birthdays we’ve had.  But do we know how many we want?  Sure, it will depend on how healthy we are, how lucky we have been, the choices we’ve made, what’s happening in “our” world and “the” world and more.

While doing pushups the other morning, I wondered, “How could an eighty-one-year old do twenty-one pushups every day?”  My answer: “They couldn’t so I couldn’t possibly be eighty-one."

What about you?  How old are you?  How old do you feel?  I really want to know and will report what I learn (without names of course). 



Flowers and Me

I’ve been pretty open about my craving for coffee ice cream.  I feel that fresh flowers are also a necessity in our home.  They cheer me up. I was extra happy this week when dinner guests brought us a beautiful bouquet.

A recent report supports what I already knew. A ten-month behavioral study conducted by Rutgers University explored the link between flowers and life satisfaction. It found that flowers are a natural moderator of moods and have strong positive effects on people’s emotional health.

Most weeks I buy white flowers.  What I didn’t know until now is that white symbolizes openness. White blossoms are most often associated with purity, honesty and perfection.

Need I say more?

Dinner Parties

Years ago, a 70-something friend announced that she was done giving dinner parties.  Eating out was “so much easier,” she said.  It didn’t occur to me then that my generation would feel that way some day.  But that day has come.

For me, eating out is not much of a pleasure.  Watching all the gluten-eating people at my table order from a full menu of delicious choices while I look for the few items that are marked GF (gluten-free) takes away the thrill of not having to cook.  Watching my friends chomp on beautiful desserts while I can only choose the lemon sorbet—not much fun.  (I have to admit that things used to be much worse.)

So here’s my compromise.  We invite friends to dinner at our home.  But instead of the four or five courses that I used to serve, I offer three.  I don’t use as much butter (much to Peter’s dismay) and I find that simple can be delicious when the ingredients are fresh.

Last week, we had company for dinner twice.  Peter and our guests loved both meals.

I could eat everything.



I Love My Cellphone, But...

On a recent June morning, Peter and I walked around the Fresh Pond Reservoir for the first time since we returned to Cambridge.  A stone’s throw from our former home, we have spent countless hours walking there.  (In truth, when we moved to Cambridge in 1995, we spent countless hours running there, but that was then.)

There have been some wonderful improvements made to the surrounding park over the years, and it was great to see that it continues to get a lot of attention.  What it doesn’t get is a lot of appreciation from the people who use it.  Almost everyone who was walking or running alone was on a cellphone.  Maybe they were listening to a favorite podcast or catching up with a friend, but what they weren’t doing was enjoying where they were.

Don’t get me wrong.  I rely on my cellphone.  I wouldn’t give it up. But I like to say “Hi” to people while I’m waiting for elevators or at bus stops. I like to smile at the stranger sitting next to me at the theater.

That’s hard to do when they are glued to their phones.




Quelme (pronounced I-don’t-know-how) is our lovely Brazilian house cleaner.  Our son Seth who lived in Brazil and travels there often says the Brazilians are the cleanest people he knows, often showering three times a day.  And Quelme does make our apartment sparkle.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that she has to move everything that isn’t nailed down in order to do it. Which can be a problem because she rarely puts things back correctly.  So when she leaves, I have to straighten every picture on our walls, put our bathroom rug back where I want it rather than where she left it, etc.

The other day I told Peter that we might need a new mattress.  “Every night I feel like I am about to fall out of bed,” I explained.  We took a closer look while changing the sheets and discovered that the front leg on Peter’s side of the bed was sitting on the molding at the bottom of the bedroom wall, about three inches higher than the other three legs.  We lowered it to the floor, and we no longer need a new mattress. Clearly Quelme had lifted the leg to clean under the bed.

Things are complicated by the fact that Quelme doesn’t speak much English and I speak even less Portuguese.  Once when Seth was here (he is fluent in Portuguese), I asked him to ask her to put things back where they were, assuring her first that we love her work and are very happy to have her.  He did, but nothing changed.

Then last night, our alarm clock went off at midnight.  We rarely set an alarm, and we would never set it for midnight.  I quickly turned it off and went back to sleep.  Ten minutes later, it went off again—I had pushed “snooze” instead of “off”. As I lay in bed, now unable to go back to sleep, it took me a while to figure out what had happened.

Quelme had cleaned that day.

I don’t know how to explain that one to her.  I guess I’ll just straighten the pictures AND check the alarm clock before going to bed on the days that she has made our apartment sparkle.




Eight months ago, I learned that I have breast cancer.  Having just returned to Cambridge from  Washington, DC, we were busy settling into our new apartment and re-connecting with our friends (and doctors).  My diagnosis changed our priorities, and we spent much of the fall thinking about my treatment options.  Deciding what to do was the hard part, but once we had a plan, we were OK.

For readers who asked for an update, here’s how it went.

I am pleased to report that I feel great.  My surgery went well and the month of post-surgery radiation was easy.  It was harder to find an anti-estrogen medication that I could tolerate, but after rejecting the first one I tried due to its unacceptable side-effects, I seem to be doing OK with the second. I plan to continue doing OK for the five years I have to stay on it.

No readers asked for an update on my coffee ice cream consumption, but my love of coffee ice cream is almost as important to me as my health.  So I thought I’d update my readers on that too.

I long ago had decided to limit my coffee ice cream consumption to every other day until I turned eighty, at which time I planned to enjoy this treat daily. 

I’m pleased to report that I kept my promise to myself, eating a serving of coffee ice cream every day after my eightieth birthday, until last week when I failed to find any after a frantic search of the freezer.  I debated running to the store and opted instead to eat some of Peter’s pistachio ice cream.  It wasn’t the same, and that won’t happen again.

Everything else is status quo.  Which is a good thing.