December 11, 2011

A happy plug.

Happy holidays to all!  Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, whatever you celebrate, it's a season of miracles, family, and joy.  I don't have a big family, but the one I do have is happy and fun and brings me ooodles of happiness.  Sometimes, I wish I had that big noisy family, the one that gathers and cooks and watches football and share as each others' babies grow up and mostly just love each other.  But most of us don't have all that, so it's good to appreciate just what we have.  So many have so much less.

I didn't celebrate Christmas until I was nineteen and I never really understood Chanukah as a child, but I did get a gift. My birthday falls in that period of time, so sometimes it was a Chanukah-Birthday gift all in one, but I'm all grown up now and have to be grateful that my own daughter has created a warm and lovely holiday, full of traditions, and her own family that enjoys it all.  And that they like to have me help celebrate with them.

Mostly, really, our happiness comes in what we ourselves create, not from what is given to us by birth.  I had one of those experiences last night, an evening with a new friend I loved as soon as I met her,  at an evening of music and fun and sweets.  Two of the ladies in Wow are members of Sentimental Journey,  an amazing group of singers.  They are available for parties, events, birthdays, and any time when you'd want to be have entertainment that makes you laugh, brings back happy memories, and is worth any drive or price to hear and see.  My friend and I saw their holiday show last night and, although I've attended several of their performances in the past, I continue to be amazed at their varied choices of songs, their joy at performing, and their harmony which is, really, truly, angelic. Sometimes I just close my eyes when they sing so that I can hear every part of their harmonies, it's so beautiful.  And I realized that, not only is their show a pleasure to hear and watch, it really makes the me happy. So, this is my unabashed plug.  If you need a really fun show for your next special event. check out their website at, where you can even listen to them singing a holiday song or buy their CD, and send them an email at or call Karen at 818-362-7419.

My wishes for you all are a healthy new year, many moments to make you smile, and happy times with friends and family.

November 19, 2011

Joys Shared.

It's that time of year.  Shop too much, eat too much, work too hard, get wet in the surprise rain, be sad about not having holidays like the movies, sending out cards, and sometimes feeling bad about not having a mate to share what is supposed to be a happy coupled time.  So, for this month's Wow meeting, we put all that aside and gave thanks.  Thanks for something that happened this year that made us glad, something good that happened that we didn't expect, and even the littlest things we remember to remember each day that give our life meaning and value.

After a particularly yummy potluck, we gathered in a circle to share our blessings for all to hear.  A few of the ladies are welcoming new grandchildren and one is welcoming her first great-grandbaby.  One worked her usual challenging hours in a difficult job and managed to complete a yoga instructor's course.  One was grateful to be alive and barely injured after a car accident, another after a slip-and-fall head injury.  One survived cancer surgery with chemo and radiation, along with a hip replacement, all with a cheerful attitude...and not only realized that she was more than her body, but that it was really OK to allow others to help and love her through her hard times.  One was proud to have had a potential relationship that she stopped after only four months when she realized it would never work...and yet realizing she liked who she was in the relationship. One was grateful for a "calm" year, the ability to do whatever she pleased without having to consult a mate, and that she still had her job in such a tough economy.  One was grateful for returning to singing, a pleasure she had not allowed herself since high school.  One realized she was finally recovering from the passing of her husband and was finding herself, learning who she really is...and choosing to adopt a new puppy. And one was grateful to have finally come to accept her three year relationship with a very nice guy, finally not wanting more, but choosing to enjoy exactly what they shared.

The most prevalent topic of gratitude was our families, how relationships with daughters were being repaired and renewed, how one finally had created a close relationship with her daughter-in-law, and especially how one whose daughter was becoming her friend after many years of estrangement. It was almost if these relationships between mothers and daughters were changed magically and surprisingly this year...and each woman was especially appreciative of whatever brought them closer to those they love so much.

Even more touching to me was that so many of the ladies expressed their appreciation to me for holding this group for so many years and to the other women for being so open and kind, that the sharing of one's trials and accomplishments enriched the lives of the others.  Just hearing about another's struggles and joys seemed to touch the hearts of each of us, that maybe we were lucky not to have suffered their particular troubles, that maybe we are pretty blessed after all.

For me, I'm warmed and touched that the women come as strangers and yet share their hearts with each other....and that we are all so changed and uplifted and enriched by their openness and their honesty.  We really do need each other.  We really do.  Oh, what am I most grateful for?  That my now 40-year-old beautiful curly-haired daughter is happy and healthy, has a wonderful husband, and is starting to find her  passions, realize her  strengths, and has continued to allow me to enjoy the company of these two amazing 8-year-old grandchildren (showing off on the first day of their brand new braces, pain and all, and smiling):

September 27, 2011

A Luxurious Wow Night

Another Thursday night, another wonderful Wow meeting.  Yummy food, good conversation, giggles, and lots of hugs were shared by the ladies.  

And we were blessed by the company and wisdom of yet another great speaker.  Dr. Shira Miller is a "Concierge Holistic Menopause Physician" in Los Angeles who specializes in "luxurious menopause." She presented a fascinating slide show with the help of her handsome and very nice husband Sean, whose company we also enjoyed during dinner.  According to Dr. Miller, although we are taught that menopause is "normal" and usually occurs around the age of 51,  it is a phenomena of the recent 50 years, since women before then didn't usually live past that age. Menopause is known for hot flashes, fatigue, sweats, dryness, depression, weight gain, osteopenia and osteoporosis, decreased libido, anxiety, palpitations, and feeling invisible. I could see all the ladies nodding as each symptom was mentioned. Taint easy being a woman.

Many of us were taking hormonal replacement therapy (HRT), using lab-created hormones or ones made from pregnant horses' urine, until a study a few years ago linked HRT to a variety of nasty illnesses, like cancer and heart disease.  So, abruptly and without examining the study carefully, many or maybe even most doctors took their female menopausal and post-menopausal patients off of HRT.  Turns out that the study was flawed in many ways and really quite inaccurate.  I remember a doctor at that time telling me that the study was done on women in nursing homes who were sedentary, women who were quite different than me and my active friends.  Dr. Miller purports that keeping women's female hormones at levels similar to those in their thirties promotes wellness and optimizes health in women our age.  

Having worked in medicine for my whole career, I appreciated that Dr. Miller, early in her conventional medicine career, became jaded about how ailments were treated.  In my work, I see that the lack of female hormones can cause osteoporosis and very painful spinal compression fractures, for which my physician employer surgically injects a type of cement to build up the vertebra.  Primary care physicians treat osteoporotic patients with drugs that can cause nasty side effects and, per Dr. Miller, the patient isn't deficient in the those drugs but deficient in hormones that would have prevented the onset and progression of bone loss.  Love her thinking, I do. 

After a consultation of 3-4 hours, extensive blood testing, taking a comprehensive medical history (including diet and habits), and a variety of other examinations, Dr. Miller will consider placing her female menopausal patients on bio-identical hormones. She will talk to the patient on the phone as a courtesy before the first appointment, making sure that she is the proper provider and often will refer the patient to a fellow practitioner if the patient has unusual medical issues.  Compared to what my docs charge for their services, Dr. Miller's rates are surprisingly low.  Her all-inclusive first in-person consultation is about the price one of my patients recently paid for just his pre-operative tests at a local laboratory, so don't hesitate to consider her obviously careful and wise services because of costs.  Here's her picture - she's just as lovely in person.

So I had a yummy meal, saw some lovely friends, and was fascinated by Dr. Miller, all in one evening.  You can call Dr. Miller at 310-734-8864, visit her website at, or sign up for medical updates at her Facebook page at  Sounds to me like you've got nothing to lose....and lots of good health to gain.  My sincere thanks to Dr. Miller for providing my ladies with such important information that could so obviously change our lives.  

September 1, 2011

Who and how do you love?

                                                 Meet JJ Flizanes!                                                        

Lucky me, another evening with my fellow Wowettes!   Yummy potluck, fun company, and a passionate and inspiring speaker.  I read about our speaker, JJ Flizanes, and was impressed with her philosophy about finding our mate when I read her quote, "When we create our own happiness through our body and mind, we are able to naturally manifest a partner who recognizes and respects us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.I liked reading that finding a partner was not about how we act or how we dress or our age or weight, but who we are....inside....and how we feel out ourselves.  

JJ is the author of "Fit 2 Love - How to get physically, emotionally, and spiritually fit to attract the love of your life," (a best seller on!) Much to my surprise and pleasure, she started her presentation with the statement that the love of our life is...ourself.   She said that we must be the person we want to be to attract love, that the blueprint of how we treat ourselves is how others treat us, and that everything we do shows how we respect and love ourselves.

So why don't we have the mate of our dreams?  Again, it's all about how we treat ourselves, the results, and our self-perceptions.  JJ gave us a written exercise called " Our Body Blueprint" to allow us to find the story we tell ourselves.  Apparently, we only hear 18% of our thoughts and the rest are put in our subconscious before we are nine-years-old. The blueprint asks about our attitudes and actions related to exercise,  diet, rest, play, and self-talk and we followed that exercise with one titled, "What Does Your Body Blueprint Say?" I was startled to see my results showed such great conflict.  I want to do the right thing and take good care of myself in all those areas, but my answers were mostly "sometimes."   It's like I still have those two creatures on my shoulders, the devil on one and the angel on the other, each telling me to do the opposite of the other.  

So I vow to follow JJ's wisdom, to listen to the angel, to love myself by taking care of myself as best as I know how, and, while waiting for the Prince to come, I will learn to love and respect own rules.    Thanks, JJ, for a evening that brought each of us closer to knowing ourselves, to knowing our truth, to living a more loving life.  (If you want to be a better person, to make your own life better, you can reach the lovely JJ at

July 9, 2011

He what?!?!?

Geez, time flies.  We had a Wow meeting recently and finally here's the scoop on what happened.  We were supposed to have a Q&A about dating and relationships with a local life coach-therapist-dating column writer, but she flaked at the last minute, so I thought we'd just go ahead and talk about the questions ourselves, since the ladies had each sent me a few ahead of time.  I asked the questions and what followed, of course, was a fun, silly, and occasionally informative time with the Wowettes.

I started with the obvious and easy questions, like "Why do men take your number and never call you?"  (Because they really aren't interested.) "Should you sleep with someone you are attracted to on the 1st date?"  (YES!  NO!)   "Is it OK for the woman to make the 1st move?"  (YES! Which led to, "what moves should the woman make?" Most said that it was good to encourage the guy, with a smile or a look or a hello, and then let him take the lead.  Who wants a guy who can't 'be the man'!)

Then the tougher questions.  "Why is it that you can spend a whole evening with a man who makes a point of expressing his attraction to you, his enjoyment of the evening together, that your goals are mutual, asks that you call when you get home from the meeting, and then you never hear from him again....why bother with all those words if he wasn't interested?"  (They changed their mind?  They are nuts?  It's good they showed you who they really are, by not being honest, right away?)

Another tough one.  "We all have baggage, such as health or financial issues or that we're taking care of ailing what stage do we talk about these?"   (Not on the first meeting.  As the issues arise, such as not being able to see him on a certain night because that's the night we see our mom.  Over time, slowly, but not all the details of the situation until the relationship shows it might be getting more serious. And we certainly want to hear their issues before too much time goes by....)

Tough again.  "Why is it that men have difficulty with our close friend of the opposite sex....are they lacking in close relationships themselves so they don't understand ours?"  (They're jealous, so drop them....or maybe it's better to back off a little from those friendships when we find a guy we might want for a relationship.)

And finally, my favorite."Since we're pretty much stuck with internet dating in this point in time, how do we get past the guys who, in face-to-face life, wouldn't attract a woman but can put anything they want on their online profile, such as a picture when they had hair and no belly....and ask for the woman of their they present themselves as so fabulous when they're not and asking for a petite, slim, blonde, fit mate who will ride on their Harley with them into the sunset?"  (This one pretty much stumped the ladies....until one who has been internet dating for a long time said that she is beginning to notice that the men she is meeting online seem to be more realistic, seeking a sincere mate their own age who understands them and will be an equal partner. Oh, that's comforting...I like the thought of that!)

So we had fun, laughed a lot, learned a few things, met a few new and very nice ladies, and shared a yummy meal and dessert.  As usual!

June 4, 2011

An angel passes

I believe in angels.  Those people on earth who bring sunshine wherever they go, no matter what their situation or troubles might be.  I've known someone like that for many years and yesterday he passed on.

On those days that I felt low or maybe even a little poor-me, I'd always see David.  He'd be in his electric wheelchair, smiling and making jokes and spreading joy as he rolled along.  Always cheerful, always wishing me a good day, always telling happy stories, always bringing a smile to my face.  When I would call the hospital blood bank to make appointments for my surgical patients to donate blood for themselves, David would answer the phone and say, "wait, let me get my brain."  Born with many birth defects, his body was small and mis-shaped, and he was without much use of his hands or arms, but he would still grab his dictaphone and save the information I would give him about the patient.  Really, I could never quite understand how he managed to do all he did, get around on his own, perform his job well, and make everyone he met a little happier.

I don't know why some people have it easy or why some people have it tough in life. David was dramatically challenged yet never complained, never talked about his situation, and never seemed anything but upbeat.  It was a medical miracle that he survived so long with his condition, well into his fifties, and a local research hospital was even studying him, following his life as he aged. To me, he was an angel, a person put on earth with a special show us how to make the best of life and to spread sunshine to all he met.  I just can't imagine not seeing him anymore, but I'll never forget him.  If there is a heaven, David is there, enjoying freedom from his earthly pain and smiling.  I just appreciate that he was a part of my life for so long.  Thanks, David, for all the happy moments you brought me.  I wish you  peace and joy forever.

April 22, 2011

A car, a bus, two planes, and one very big boat.

What a few weeks!  I've worked 10 hours a day straight almost every day and come home and crashed, celebrated my daughter's 40th b'day, suffered through hearing about my little grandson's head being shaved (damn lice!), arranged a housesitter for my very spoiled cat, found out that my new obviously not-so-smart phone hasn't taken your messages so you must all think I'm a bigger flake than usual, and now.....drumroll.....yes, I'm a-going away.  So what if the weather report predicts not just cold, not just rain, but, yes, thunderstorms, I'm going!  And after booking TEN surgeries today (for the next few weeks), which normally I would do that in about two or three weeks or more, my boss said, you're going away for TWO weeks?!?!?  NOOOOOO!!!!!  Yes, I said.  But what will happen, it'll be such a mess, he said.  Ah, don't worry, I said, they'll all do just fine and you'll be OK.  Ah ladies, is hard work really that good for us?  OK, I admit that, every morning when I take my walk before work, I do the gratitude thing, that I'm grateful that I CAN walk, that I can hear and see, that my daughter and her family are healthy and happy, and yes, that I have a job.  

So, I'll be away for a few weeks for what I think will be a very cool trip with a very dear friend who, I still wonder, might have been kidding when she said, "I'm gonna be 60 soon, I should take a fabulous trip....wanna go?"  Kidding or not, we're off for what I imagine will be a great time of friendship, meeting new people, laughing a lot, seeing some great sights, and some just doing a lot of nothing but watching the ocean go by.  Maybe all that hard work is gonna be worth it, after all!

April 8, 2011

Ah, Eva.

Sometimes ya just gotta be there.  That's my best explanation for the recent Wow meeting.  Delicious dinner, delightful conversations, lots of hugs and kisses, and my home is filled with beautiful women enjoying each other's laughter and stories.  Is there a adequate word for the pleasure women friends bring?

So, in addition to all that joy and fun, we had the pleasure of meeting Eva Nemeth of the "EVA Approach."  This is what her website ( says about her, ...."has been a physical therapy and wellness consultant for more than thirty years.  She began her professional career as an internationallly celebrated gymnast and later taught modern dance and rhythmic gymnastics.  Today, her hands-on workshops, seminars and speaking engagements have established her as one of the leading specialists in achieving physical and mental well-being.  Her EVA Approach starts with a radical assumption; though we walk, sit, stand, and lie down every day, we don't do these basic things in the right way.  The EVA Approach corrects lifetime habits that undermine us daily.  In one lesson, she imparts knowledge that leads to immediate results: her clients instantly feel better and look better." 

In person, Eva is a charming, fun, funny, and strong woman, determined and dedicated to encouraging and teaching her fellow humans to be healthier, both physically and emotionally. She taught us anatomy and physiology and posture exercises and proper positioning of the parts of our body as we move, but remember I said you had to be there?  Here's a photo experience of Eva, teaching us with tennis balls and toilet paper, yep, to do exercises that will bring wellness:

See the pic below, there's the toilet paper used for toe exercises, tennis balls to put under our feet and roll against our muscles, and one reluctant but surprisingly flexible Wowette helping demonstrate a stretch with the smiling Eva:

You sit all day at a computer?  Those back muscles tighten, altering our posture, so put your hands against the wall and get someone to pound hard on either side of your spine with their fingers and you'll be able to breathe better.  We did it to each other and it worked.  Amazing. Just gotta convince my co-workers......

I can't fully understand or explain Eva's theories, so you can go to her website and sign up for a seminar or a (very reasonable) private lesson to find out for yourself.  Per Eva, our pain and tension are symptoms, and sometimes she finds that negative experiences in our childhood result in the pain in our adult bodies, so she doesn't just teach exercises but helps us find out reasons for our physical distress.  She said things like, "Feet have eyes that talk to our brains," and that, to be healthy, we need to "eat, sleep, touch, and be still."   Yes, we had fun and we laughed, but we were enraptured by her teachings.  I don't think I'll ever forget when she stopped teaching to the group and looked up into the teary eyes of one of our daughters, who is very tall and shared her angst about her height and hearing Eva say, as best as I can remember, "You are beautiful, you are tall, you must own this beauty.  No one else is you, you must walk proudly."  Eva didn't stop telling her that she was beautiful until I think that the lovely young woman started to believe it herself.  Eva said that we must love our bodies, tall or fat or skinny or short, that we can't be walking around all day with someone we don't like.  She asked us to take two minutes a day to stop and appreciate our bodies, to wrap our arms around ourselves, to consciously acknowledge our presence in our bodies.

For sure, I am standing more tall, sitting with less pain, and walking farther and more joyfully.  And, in the few weeks since meeting Eva, I am much more accepting of myself, much quicker to forgive my errors, and much less anxious.  I told you that you had to be there!  Call her, take a class, participate in the magic that is Eva.  You'll never be the same.

Here's the happy Wowettes surrounding the lovely Eva.  None of us wanted to let her go.

February 24, 2011

Heroes in Heels

I'm a believer in the idea that we are born as blank slates, that each action we take affects the picture of who we are and what will happen in our future.  Like a fork in the road, each of our choices affects the journey of life.  The Wowettes had the pleasure recently of meeting someone who changed all of us, someone who uplifted and encouraged and taught us how to create more happiness and joy in our lives.

Carrie Flintom is the author of Heroes in Heels, Ignite Your Soul and Awaken the Hero Within.  She drove hours to visit our Wow group and share with us her wisdom and we were moved and awed by her beauty, both outside and inside. Years ago, she began to realize that women had become competitive, instead of being supporting and loving and connected.  She realized that she was so busy with the details and demands of her life that she felt empty and wondered how she had got to the place where she was everyone's everything, sleepwalking through life, feeling like she had it all but was living in a dark place.  Like many of us, she asked herself, "Who Am I?" and embarked on a journey to find the answers, trying the advice of every self-help guru she could find.

Carrie decided her plan to improve her life and create happiness and joy must have the following criteria: 1) Be easy, 2) Be quick, and 3) Have results.  So she came us with what she calls "SMARTS," and here is the plan's brief summary:

S:  Share.  This is a call to action for the day, making one conscious decision to make someone's life better, one act of kindness, one "heroic moment."

M: Get Motivated.  Use music or a quote or think of what you were doing when you last felt moved to be motivated.

A: Affirmations.  Carrie says that 70% of our self talk is negative and, in women, often 90%.  You know how it is when someone says something nice about us and we push it away, like we can't accept a compliment?  That negative self-talk teaches us we don't deserve it.   Affirmations are short and positive statements that are true and, when said often enough, will help us to realize and belief how special we are.

R:  Record and Reward.  Carrie suggests that we use a notebook to write what "share" we did today so that we can go back and re-read it and acknowledge what good we've done.

T:  Thankfulness.  Carrie told us that gratitude opens up more space for what we feel and creates more gratitude.  The simple act of counting our blessings, those little blessings in our lives that we often forget, can change our attitudes.  We are often hindered by our fears, and Carrie says that we cannot feel fear and gratitude at the same time.

In following these steps, Carrie reminds us not to strive for perfection, but to be real and create meaning in every thing we do, to focus on what we are becoming, to be aware of how grand life really is in that very moment.  This short evening with Carrie was magical in itself, and each and every one present said she was the best speaker ever. For me, she was like a bright light, bringing with her the joy and happiness she wanted us all to experience.  You can meet her yourself by visiting her website at or calling her at 858-997-6305.  She's a life coach and I imagine that anyone spending even one hour with her will be changed forever.  Thanks, Carrie, for showing us all a path to a more meaningful and happy life.  You gave generously of your spirit to a room full of strangers and we are all very grateful you did. xo

January 1, 2011

The joy of women.

A lovely evening was had by all.  My favorite Wow meeting of the year took place a few evenings ago, a time full of joy and good food and friends.  Lauri, an original Wowette, hosted the meeting at her home full of twinkling lights and warmth and good cheer.  It was a full house, almost overfilled with the usual group and a lovely assortment of their guests and new members.  And it was a night that will be in my memory for a long time.

At this meeting, it's our tradition, created by a beloved member who moved across the country for adventure and a new life, to sit in a circle and share our dream for the New Year, but to do it in a way that is in the present.  Rather than "I will get more exercise" we say, "I am getting more exercise," as if to take the goal and make it real, right then, in that moment.  This exercise is always a special time when the ladies are quiet, listen to the hearts of their new and old friends, and share their own.

The ladies shared that they "are" volunteering, traveling, making better choices, being brave enough to be successful, expanding their horizons, healthy and open, spending quality time with family, healthy and taking better care of their health, singing and dancing, working out like they did years ago, participating in activities that bring laughter and conscious joy, appreciating their personal gifts, being comfortable expressing their feelings, clearing clutter, pursuing interests that fell by the wayside, reading more, watching what they eat, walking more, recognizing and appreciating their blessings, and able to express gratitude.  As each women quietly yet boldly shared these feelings, I could see and feel the others in agreement, as if each woman's desires were those of all the others present.  I was moved and touched by their openness and honesty, allowing us all to see below their surface, to share how much alike we all really are, both in our joys and our pain.

What amazed me most was that there was one thing each woman shared and one thing that none of the ladies said.  What each woman said was that they wanted to make more friends and dedicate more time to the ones they already had.  What none of these single women said was that they were seeking to find the man of their dreams. Here we are, women who go to singles events and who use online dating sites, who often share their angst about dating and not being able to find a great guy, and not one expressed even one thought about finding a mate or a husband.  Their most common desire was to create and nourish friendships with other women, the exact reason I created this group over five years ago, and clearly the love and closeness with other women continues to be what fills us with joy.  For me?  I deeply appreciate your friendships and how each of you opened your heart to the group on this most memorable evening.  We are so lucky to have each other.