I never felt better: What did they put in those capsules?

When I ran out of the probiotic, it took me some time to re-order. I began to feel bloated and tired and disgusting. I’m 57-years old yet my stomach blew up as if I were a 28-year old pregnant woman: a beach ball, a basketball, a watermelon, or a child in my belly. Your choice.

I recently received two emails from Amazon telling me that my purchases of Align Probiotics would be refunded because they are not the genuine product. Hmmm… The box they arrived in looks exactly like the one I would get at Walgreen’s. The capsules are sealed in silver foil blister packages. How in the world could someone fake this? How would you retrofit fake capsules into sealed packaging like that? I did wonder why the price was so fantastic compared to any other sellers on Amazon and compared to the pharmacy. I didn’t wonder that hard; I just took the deal.

Maybe I should compare this box to one from Walgreen’s, but doesn’t it look real to you?

Since taking the Mis-Align-ed products I have never felt better! Seriously, I had finished the package of Align I bought from Amazon in April, which means I ingested 56 capsules from this seller whose product is not “genuine.” When I ran out of the probiotic, it took me some time to re-order. I began to feel bloated and tired and disgusting. I’m 57-years old yet my stomach blew up as if I were a 28-year old pregnant woman: a beach ball, a basketball, a watermelon, or a child in my belly. Your choice.

So I ordered another 56 capsules of Align Probiotic and began taking them again on June 28th. As before, I never felt better! My bloating subsided, I didn’t feel vaguely ill in my digestive tract. I could eat anything. I took about 10 days worth before receiving Amazon’s refund emails. And Amazon tells me these are fake capsules and they recommend that I stop taking them.

If those weren’t genuine Align capsules, what the hell were they? How did they get them into those packs? I did think it was a little strange that some of the capsules were a bit flattened, but I figured that was due to the package banging around the truck during shipping. I still have some at home, but now Amazon has ruined this for me. I should open up a capsule and see what’s inside it. Maybe it’s just empty.

Wouldn’t that be hilarious, if I felt better from taking an empty capsule?


Cats Tales and Blue Jays, Interview with Author Faye Rapoport DesPres

Little White, who has a book named after her which will be out on October 16th!

I met Faye Rapoport DesPres in the summer of 2008 when I entered the Solstice MFA program at Pine Manor College.  We were the same age, both from a Jewish background, and both with a deep desire to write creatively.

Author Faye Rapoport DesPres

Although Faye was a semester ahead of me, we shared writing workshops for nearly two years.  We have spent the last ten years supporting one another’s writing efforts over numerous cups of coffee and talk.

I have always admired the beauty of Faye’s work, her ability to take an everyday situation and turn it into breathtaking prose. Although I know writing is hard work for her as it is for most writers, her finished pieces evoke deep emotional responses. Often you don’t  realize you’re being swept away until you finish a piece and realize you need to breathe deep.

Not surprisingly, Faye has a long list of publications, first with her beautiful collection of essays, Message from a Blue Jay; then with a string of high-quality works published in literary journals and anthologies; and now upon the publication of her book children’s book, Little White: The Feral Cat Who Found a Home. The e-book is currently available for pre-sale now at Amazon   and will be available a paperback and hardcover on October 16th.

Faye has loved cats and writing since she was a little girl. Truly, she has been devoted to animals and the written word for her entire life. Now Let’s hear more about her pursuits.

CZ: I know you’ve been writing for a long time, but when did you first realize that you weren’t just “writing” but that you were “a writer?” Take me through the stages of your writing life. 

FRD: Some people say that anyone who writes is a writer. If you go with that definition, I’ve been a writer since I was a child. I have been keeping diaries since I was very young. I still have them, little books with snaps that close and tiny locks with keys.

When I was a pre-teen and a young teenager, I wrote a few stories about twin sisters named Karen and Karena. I wrote them to entertain a friend, and they’ve been lost to time. I also wrote bad poetry from a young age, although eventually it improved, and I published a couple of poems when I was in my twenties. For a while, I thought I was a poet.

CZ: You also make a living as a professional writer.

FRD: My writing skills eventually led me to a career that has moved back and forth between journalism and public relations or marketing writing for a long time, because I needed to work and have an income. Journalism, especially, taught me to be disciplined about my words and sentences.

FranklinFaceShot copy
Franklin, one of the heroes of Little White’s story.

CZ: When did the desire to do more creative writing take hold, and where did it lead you?

FRD: When I was in my early forties, I realized I hadn’t written anything especially creative in years. I had always dreamed of writing a book, so I decided to dedicate two years to creative writing by entering a low-residency MFA program. That’s when things in my creative life turned around. The very first day, I realized my writing needed a total overhaul if I was going to jump from journalistic prose to something new and different and expressive of who I am. Creative writing is a very different skill than other kinds of writing.


CZ:   I’ve noticed that many of your essays and short stories involve birds and animals. Why do you think you write so often with our fellow creatures in mind? 

FRD: I’ve loved animals since before I loved writing. I don’t remember a time when animals weren’t an essential part of my life. We had a cat and a dog when I was very young and living in New York City, and after we moved north to a farmhouse in upstate New York, a parade of animals passed through our family life. Over the years we had cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, mice, fish, guinea pigs, a skunk, and even a sheep. I adored them all.

I was also passionate about the wildlife and the birds outside the windows. When I was 10, I walked door to door getting signatures on a petition to ban leg-hold traps. As an adult, I ended up working in communications for environmental organizations. Animals, wildlife, and nature are an essential part of my life and who I am.

 CZ: And the birds?

FRD: I have a special affinity for birds, maybe because my name in its various translations (Hebrew and Yiddish) means “bird” or “little bird.” When I was in high school, I played the role of Chava in Fiddler on the Roof, which has the song, “Chavala” with the lyrics, “Little bird, little Chavala…” In my twenties, I recorded some songs with a friend, and we put them on a CD and named it “Little Bird Rocks.”

Faye, in her natural habitat.

CZ: In Message from a Blue Jay, your book of related essays, the Blue Jay is both real and symbolic.  Can you talk about why the Blue Jay is so pivotal to that book?

FRD: I think the blue jay in the title essay “tells” me something that echoes through the meaning of every essay in the book. It’s funny, because most of the essays appeared in literary journals before they were included in the book (and I am grateful to the editors who published them), but “Message From a Blue Jay” was never accepted by a journal. Yet since the book was published, so many readers have written to tell me that it is their favorite essay.

I mention this to let writers out there know that it’s true what one of my teachers, Michael Steinberg, always says – the rejections are often just as arbitrary as the acceptances. I love that essay, and I’m very proud of it. So, I decided to toss aside the rejections and make it the centerpiece of my book.

LittleWhite and Tribbs boosted clarity.png
Little White with her handsome dude, Tribbs.

CZ: Tell me about the newest book, due out  on October, Little White: The Feral Cat Who Found a Home. What inspired you to tell Little White’s story rather than say, focus on one of the other cats you’ve known? And why did you write it in verse?

FRD: That’s a really good question. Little White’s story is about loneliness and fear and abandonment. It is a story about being rescued. But at its heart, it is a story about how love rescues us, and that transcends species. Maybe I related to that just a bit.

I do have a few stories about other cats in mind. Two other cats especially, Tribbs and Franklin, were an important part of Little White’s life, and mine, too. I tell her story in more detail on her Facebook page than I do in the children’s book, and Little White’s fans there love to hear about Tribbs and Franklin when their part comes up. There might be a series in the works.

The text of Little White is not in verse. Originally, I tried to write the text as a ghazal, a certain kind of poem. A friend, poet Alison Stone, writes a lot of ghazals, and I enjoyed reading them. It turned out not to be the best format for Little White’s story, but trying to write it first as a ghazal helped me find the story.

Little White Cover

CZ:  How do you know when you have a “book” as opposed to a single essay or poem?  

FRD: After Message From a Blue Jay, I had a tough time writing another full-length book. Message From a Blue Jay revealed a lot about a certain time and certain experiences in my life, and I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to do that again.

Little White’s story is from real life and is relatable. It had a message that rang true for me. Wanting to tell it came from my heart. I liked the idea of doing a children’s book and speaking to a new audience, so I gave it a try. I enjoyed the process a lot.

 CZ: What do you dream for your future? 

FRD: That’s a hard question to answer. I think the future in general right now feels so uncertain that it’s hard to think about my own dreams. I would like to believe in a future where neither people nor animals have to suffer or be abandoned, but I don’t know if such a future will happen. I’d like to believe that the environment and wildlife and habitats will be protected for future generations, and I continue to try to be part of that fight. But if we continue moving in the current direction, I am very afraid it’s a losing battle. I read recently that giraffes are disappearing. Can you imagine a world without giraffes?

I’d like to believe in a future where love really will conquer all, as it did for Little White. Maybe if we write it, it will come.

CZ: Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your life and writing. I can’t wait to read your latest book.

Please visit Faye’s author website to learn more about her and her writing.

Little White’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OurLittleWhite/

Faye’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/FayeRapoportDesPresAuthor

Faye’s Twitter page: @FayeRapoDesPres  https://twitter.com/FayeRapoDesPres

Check out her work at fayerapoportdespres.com

Are you from Newton?

I nearly jump back in surprise, and mentally, I have leaped into an abyss of shock. Her hair, what she has of it, appears stuck to her scalp in buzzed patches — white and black and gray.

She sells the coffee I buy

The woman behind the counter at the Honey Dew Donuts says to me, “I like your haircut.”

My hair is very short, close-cropped. My hairdresser uses a number three clipper blade, which allows a hint of scalp to show for a week after a haircut. The cut is sharp, neat, and frames my face well.

“Thank you,” I say.

She lifts her Honey Dew cap. “Mine is short, too!”

I nearly jump back in surprise, and  mentally, I have leaped into an abyss of shock. Her hair, what she has of it, appears stuck to her scalp in buzzed patches  —  white and black and gray. For a woman with very little hair, hers is a mess. I eek out, “I like your hair, too,” because she seems so proud and pleased with her haircut.

“How much does it cost to get your haircut?” she asks. The woman is in her 50s, maybe her 60s, plump, cheerful.

I tell her my haircut costs $40 and when she asks how often I go, I say every four weeks.

“I go to the barber,” she says. That explains a lot. “It costs me $10 bucks. I can’t afford to go every two weeks like I want, so I go every four weeks.” She adds, “Are you from Newton?”

I’m dressed in a short winter parka and jeans, like anyone on a cold day in Massachusetts. But when she asks if I’m from Newton, I realize she thinks I’m rich; forty dollars for a haircut must seem extravagant to her. I tell her I’m from Stoughton, which is a middle-class town, about as different from “Snootin’ Newton,” as my mom used to call it, as you can get.

Mine is kind of like this but not purple

“Well, there are plenty of barbers in Stoughton,” she says. She wants to help me save money.

You may or may not find a woman with short hair attractive, but there is no denying that my not-quite-a-buzz-cut hair looks perfectly styled. There are no patches in my hair. It is clipped, shaped and textured expertly, and tapered in the back to add a feminine touch despite the short length.  I have a talented hair dresser, and that’s what I pay $40 dollars for – and because I can afford it.

“Hey, thanks for the coffee,” I say as I start to leave. “Have a great day.”

My house would be the small one in the middle. I wonder if she has a house.

As I climb into my car, something else she probably can’t afford – a good, newer model vehicle – I become aware of the great economic divide between us. We’re both middle aged, but she’s making minimum wage selling coffee and donuts and with a bad haircut.  I’m making a decent salary with benefits as a business analyst where I sit in a comfortable chair all day. Now I will drive home, to my house, a modest, but very comfortable and recently refreshed colonial with new paint, carpet, and furniture. I feel relieved that my status and quality of life are what they are. I’ve worked hard, after all, and for a second, I feel proud of all I’ve accomplished.


I think of my parents who were solidly middle-class and who gave me every privilege: a house to grow up in, a good suburban education, lots of food, clothing, toys, and everything I needed to be successful in college and beyond. I imagine the Honey Dew Donuts lady grew up poor. Perhaps she grew up in a tenement or in a unkempt and broken house. Maybe people sometimes yelled out to her “Trash!” as she played jump rope in the yard. I could be imagining all this, I could be stereotyping her, but as I start the engine of my car, I feel no pride at all.

This is why I wanted a red chair

Recently, I purchased a red chair from Wayfair.com to spruce up my house, which I’ve had repainted and re-carpeted (upstairs) after years of shabby flooring and aging wall paint.  The chair is a faux leather red. It’s inexpensive as I have two cats, one of whom likes to scratch his way through the furniture.

This is the new red chair. Note the cat toy on the bottom left of the screen. I find that toy all over the house, dragged there by the mama cat, Mia.

We had a red chair in my childhood home in the room we called “the den.” In that chair, I would color with crayons and coloring books filled with animal outlines, forest trees and fields of flowers. I watched The Lucy Show and Simba the White Lion, played with a Lite Brite, Legos, and Colorforms. I read my first books in that chair. When I was a young child, my mother spent time in the room, too, sitting in the red chair herself or on the couch, as we watched The Ed Sullivan Show or Red Skelton.

cindy mom red chair.jpg

This is the red chair from the den of my childhood home. One of my favorite photos because my mom and I are in it together.

It’s easy to idealize one’s childhood when five decades have passed since you were a kid. Of course the truth is things weren’t always easy in that house. My parents separated when I was four years old and eventually divorced, and my parents argued, especially after the separation. My father came to visit on Sundays and sometimes roared his anger. It could be frightening. My mother went to work and was out late most nights. She drank too much on those nights. That could be frightening, too.

This is the house I grew up in. The tiny figure at the front door is my father. I can tell by the slope of his shoulder and his stance. I think the man in the driveway may be Mr. Budd who lived across the street. So often, I wish we could all go back to that time and start anew, do it right.

It is equally easy to forget that growing up wasn’t always bad. There were those red chair moments, for example, the great food my mother cooked for us, her generosity with buying us clothes and toys, her gentle demeanor and her sense of humor. And my father, he took us out for rides on his boat from Quincy to Cape Cod. I enjoyed those afternoons. I remember one day in particular when I was perhaps 10 years old. It was just he and I walking into a marina store so he could look at the latest line of new boats. He could be great company when he wasn’t angry. He could be funny and engaging. I felt happy to be out with him on a sunny Sunday afternoon.


My brother and me in the den. If you look to the far left, although it’s dark, you can see part of the red chair. This looks like a good day.

Childhood was a mix of good and bad, which perhaps it is for many people. In my fifties, I choose to focus on the good that my parents provided.

The red chair of my youth represented happiness, so I purchased the new red chair to link it to the past. Sometimes when I sit in my red chair, childhood memories rush back, and it’s almost as if I am a child again. It’s almost as if my mother and father are young again.

What’s in a Butch’s Purse – Redux – Excerpts – Part 1

This one was blonde and buxom and needed to drink Cape Codders to get through a date with me. I do not remember this woman’s name. Let’s call her Jezebel.

Test KitchenHi everyone,

I’ve been quietly working on the expansion of my 2014 chapbook, What’s in a Butch’s Purse. My vision is to have a longer book that maintains the humorous nature of the original publication but that allows for serious moments.  I’m hoping to add some gravitas with the expanded edition to avoid a work that is all punchline humor. Real humor needs character, situation, and story.

Below are a few excerpts from the expanded work, which I hope to publish in 2019. I would like to every so often test out some passages to see if they spark your interest; thus my test kitchen.  Feel free to tell me what else you might like to read about in terms of dating or family humor.

The Hottie in the White Shirt with the Big Red Drink 

This one was blonde and buxom and needed to drink Cape Codders to get through a date with me. I do not remember this woman’s name. Let’s call her Jezebel. Jezebel lived in the next town over from me, so I had really closed the geography gap this time. Not only had I flown all the way from Boston to California for a blind date with Claudia years back and traveled throughout New England for myriad dating opportunities, I even flew a couple of blind dates up to Boston so we could meet: Ms. Arizona, Ms. Tennessee, and Ms. Georgia. They couldn’t afford the flights so I paid. All disastrous attempts to find love.

The Over-Prozac-ed Girl 

She lurched forward as she walked across the parking lot, as if she would expend too much energy should she stand completely upright. I don’t remember her name, but let’s call her Stacy. Her hair was prematurely gray, messy, shapeless, and brittle. Stacy was a woman in her early thirties, yet skinny wire-frame glasses balanced below the bridge of her nose as if she was somebody’s grandmother. Her face was pock-marked and drawn. Behind her spectacles, her eyes were glassy. I was oddly mesmerized by how unattractive I found her.

I can’t recall what led to this date after communicating with her via internet, but I assume it was my desperation to meet someone who could be the next love of my life. Apparently, in my mid-thirties, I would meet anyone “just in case” she was “the one.”

I was not pretty and I smoked in those days, so I knew I was no prize, but Stacy was unabashedly unattractive. As I watched her jerky movements toward the restaurant door where I waited, I hoped she might be a sparkling conversationalist.

Haulin ‘ The Fridge

Jan lives in a crumbling little Lowell apartment that occupies the top floor of a very old house. She lives near a factory, and the smell of the sewage it spews into the nearby river reeks into her upstairs hallway. She doesn’t seem to notice. She owns the house and rents out the first floor. Jan is a small-time mogul of dilapidated real estate: the collapsing cottage in Maine, the stinking house in Lowell, and the freaky and ghoulish two-family rental she owns a few towns over in Beverly, with the kind of attic where you hide your crazy old auntie.

She says, “If I end up alone, I plan to live in the attic.”

Jan has no plans to sell any of these houses; they make her feel secure. She’s on a mission to fix them up, find a wife, and live happily ever after. She spends an inordinate amount of time buying hardware at the Home Depot, starting projects she rarely finishes. Last week, she tore the back porch off the house in Lowell. A few weeks back we hauled a top of the line toilet up to the broken cottage in Maine. Last weekend, she peeled the old wallpaper from the attic apartment in Beverly, by hand, a little at a time, talking about our future.

Good lord.

Thank you for reading.

Now I’m 56. Wait. What?

Slowly I disintegrate. The final years of middle age are upon me; old age is on-deck. I imagine a batter in a Yankees uniform (why Yankees?), wearing a saggy pinstripe uniform. Popping out of the top of the uniform is an old gray haired head. It takes ten minutes to make it to the plate, but “old” arrived in an instant.

It seems like yesterday when I posted about turning 55 in Happy Birthday Blog: All the Great Things About Turning 55

Alas (doesn’t anyone actually use that word nowadays?), I have turned 56. I closed my eyes and a year sped by; I woke up and I was no longer 55. I am now officially closer to age 60 than age 50.

Left: The good ‘ole days when I was 55.

Slowly I disintegrate. The final years of middle age are upon me; old age is on-deck. I imagine a batter in a Yankees uniform (why Yankees?), wearing a saggy pinstripe uniform. Popping out of the top of the uniform is an old gray haired head. It takes ten minutes to make it to the plate, but “old” arrived in an instant.

I have cataracts in both eyes. The cataract in the right eye is becoming a serious issue. When I hold the palm of my hand over my left eye, my right eye sees a slight yellow haze and a world with fuzzy edges. I will probably have the cataract(s) removed in 2019, because it hinders my ability to read, especially printed books, and eventually, the cataracts will make it dangerous for me to drive a car. In 2010, I earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the Solstice MFA program at Pine Manor College, which required an abundance of reading – books, handouts, student drafts for workshop. To put the cataract issue in perspective: I would not be able to get through that program today because of the issues with my eyesight.  Usually, the condition is reserved for those over 70, but my mother had cataracts in her fifties.

Yay Mom! Yay 56!

My gums are receding.  Ice cold water or ice cream can set off nerve-ending pain that sears and shrills through my gums and face as if someone were beating me in the mouth with an ice pick. I have to stop what I’m doing and yell, “Owwwwww!” even if silently to myself.  The gums near the lower left molars are in the worst shape, although I have milder issues in other areas.  I have no doubt a root canal or gum graft (I don’t know the difference ) is in my future.  Right now, my dentist will fill the gaps between the exposed stem of the teeth with a tooth-tinted composite. This is what I’m doing Tuesday evening. Don’t be jealous. My mother had horrible gum disease in the last years of her life, and while I don’t (yet), I can see the potential.

woman in grey notched lapel suit jacket holding smartphone sitting beside wooden table
Do you think SHE has receding gums?

I weigh more than I ever have. This is due to eating more than I ever have. This is also due to aging, as one’s metabolism slows. I read in AARP’s newsletter (yes, AARP) that I can expect to weigh the most I ever have in my fifties.  So I guess I’m doing something right, right? I weight 40 pounds more than I did in my twenties, and 20 pounds more than I did in my forties. Most people don’t see too much of a difference, because I hide the extra bulges with blousey tops and less than skin-tight jeans. My stomach hangs out over tight pants where it used to be flat and muscular.  My body is starting to resemble my mothers: relatively slim legs and arms and a beachball stomach.

Yay Mom! Yay 56!

The membrane in my left nostril has deteriorated. Last summer, I found myself in the throes of a bloodbath, with severe nosebleeds bursting at will. Literally, I had blood vessels bursting through the worn nasal membrane.  Let me spare you the details except to say I wondered if I would drown in my own blood rushing down my throat or if I would be found dead from blood loss. (I guess I didn’t spare you.) Thirty minutes, sometimes longer, to stop these hemmoraging incidents. I finally went to a specialist who cauterized the the weak areas. For the most part, the worst of it is over. Now I imagine turning into an old lady who can’t stop the bleeding. Imagining the worse, staying loyal to my Zelman roots. (Nod to Dad!) Ah, well, no use worrying about something that “might” happen. I’ll just keep my nose to the grindstone (yeah, I know.)

Long ago and far a way, I used to be so skinny my ribs showed through. My eyesight was so strong that I could sit for hours in a poorly lit room and read, read, read. I had no cavities and perfect gums. The nosebleeds? I have struggled with them throughout my life, but they were so minor, nothing but a nuisance, not a (perceived) near-death experience.

But still, I count my blessings. I have seen so much in 56 years that I realize I am so far, one of the lucky ones.

Happy Birthday Blog: All the Great Things About Turning 55!

There is a small chance I can save my teeth if I wear a $625 (not covered by dental insurance) night guard, which is basically a very expensive piece of plastic. I saw night guards in CVS for $21. Hmm.

happy-birthday-grandmaAlthough I wrote this post months ago and am now closer to age 56 than 55, I stumbled upon the hand written draft in a little blue notebook I scribble in occasionally to remind myself to write. I hope you enjoy this post.

  • I am now eligible to buy a standalone dwelling in an over 55 community, and if I were to do so, I would be one of the “kids” of the neighborhood.
  • I now feel worthy of all those AARP benefits I’ve been getting since I was a young sprite of 50.
  • I can look at the pic of me in the bikini at age 42, cut and slim with ab lines (vertical only), and say, “I’m too old to ever look like that again” as I stuff my mouth with chocolate cake.red-bikini-cartoon-woman-manga-manhwa-eba78ced9994-breasts-eab080ec8ab4-korean-cartoon-beach THEN
  • Although I am 55, I still have the body of a 54-year old.10281217-Chubby-Woman-In-A-Red-Bikini-Stock-Photo NOW
  • When I say I have “old” friends I am not using figurative language any longer.
  • When I forget someone’s name five minutes after being introduced to them, I can blame it on my age so long as I don’t admit this has been a lifelong issue for me.
  • I no longer require tampons or pads. It’s been quite a number of years since I’ve had a period, but no longer needing menstrual paraphernalia is still one of the main benefits of surviving menopause, and quite the money saver. As well, no more hot flashes or hormone cream.
  • I’ve saved enough money to have my emerging double-chin removed.
  • The cataracts the doctor diagnosed are still relatively small, “normal for my age,” and I can still see a little.
  • There is a small chance I can save my teeth if I wear a $625 (not covered by dental insurance) night guard, which is basically a very expensive piece of plastic. I saw night guards in CVS for $21. Hmm.
  • I know longer have career ambitions. I just want to keep my head down at work until I am ready for retirement. (I wrote this before being laid off in June. I now have a better job and more ambition and realize job ambition is about motivation and being in the right place at the right time.)
  • I don’t have a sex drive anymore so that should help to limit my disastrous relationships (read any of my published work.)
  • After the many, many women I had in my 40s, I’ve only had one in my 50s, meaning I no longer need to think of myself as a slut. And no, I am not with my singular woman from my 50s. I live with two cats. See point above.
  • I’ve lost all the hubris I once possessed and realize what a jerk I was, so ytgggg5’m a much nicer and more compassionate person than I was 10 years ago.
  • In four and a half years, I can access my retirement savings with no penalty. And while I was unemployed, I learned that if you are over 50 and have no job, you can access the money with no penalty in that situation as well. That might be important to some of you.
  • I can appreciate more and see with a better perspective. I know you want a concrete example. I will try to think of one. Okay, here’s an example, albeit a general one: I know that I can find solutions to most problems or work on them to be less problem some. I can manage the bad shit.
  • I’m better at sticking up for myself. Earlier in the year, I was at a concert with a friend at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston.  To men sat down across the table from us and one of them said, “Which do you want? The blond or the brunette.” Eventually, after more suggestive comments, including “Well, girls, it looks like we’re on a date tonight,” I said (imagine snide anger in my voice), “We are not on a date and we are not girls!” Well, it’s an example.
  • As Kathy Bates said in the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes, “I’m older than you, and I have better insurance, as she slammed into a car with two young women into it that had just stolen her parking space. I could do that, too. Well, I have, although not on purpose.
  • Being 55 is better than being 56, at least in theory. I truly hope I’m wrong about this.