Housing for Seniors

October 2013, This is so amazing:  Housing within Reach of Most New Yorkers By Linda Hoffman
 It’s no secret that housing costs in New York City are among the highest in the nation.
 That is why we at New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, the only non-profit, non-sectarian organization serving seniors throughout New York City’s five boroughs, developed the intergenerational Home Sharing Program, which eases financial burdens and provides companionship for both young and old.
 The only one of its kind in the city, our free matching service pairs “hosts” who have extra private bedrooms in their homes or apartments to share with responsible, compatible “guests” seeking suitable affordable housing.
 The service matches adults 18 and over; either the “host” or the “guest” must be 60 years of age or older. The Home Sharing Program also provides housing for individuals with developmental disabilities capable of independent living. “Hosts” offering their homes to these high-functioning individuals must be age 55 or over.
 Learn How It Works along with Additional Housing and Services call: 212-962-7559, or visit: www.nyfsc.org

A Second Chance at Life

Guest blog by Senator Sandra Tiffany

A year ago, Nevada Senator Sandra Tiffany never would have thought she would be speaking out about a virtually unknown illness called sepsis. Today, she is taking it upon herself to increase awareness about sepsis and ensure that others receive the same quality of care that saved her life. Sepsis affects nearly three quarters of a million Americans each year. Despite these statistics, which equate to more lives touched than breast, colon/rectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancer combined, sepsis is difficult for doctors to diagnose and few Americans know that sudden, severe, flu-like symptoms may be a warning of a life-threatening condition. 

While traveling in California, Sandra became nauseous and sought medical attention at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. A bacterial infection related to a blocked kidney stone was the source of her sudden change in health. Her condition continued to worsen and after she underwent surgery, she was rushed to the ICU and placed on life support. Finally, Sandra was diagnosed with septic shock and treated with a breakthrough therapy that likely, saved her life. This care approach allowed Sandra to make a full recovery and continue impacting lives. 

Sandra--or Sandee, as her friends call her--is fortunate to have received the kind of care she did. But more than that, Sandee's story can serve as a powerful example to women everywhere. From a professional perspective, Sandee is a strong female politician who is comfortable speaking out on behalf of constituents. Now from a personal perspective, she understands that she was one of the fortunate ones and must fight for others who may not receive the same quality of care she did. 

To ensure that others receive the treatment they need, Sandee continues to promote sepsis awareness. Because of her efforts, The Nevada State Department of Health agreed to collect, track and report sepsis data by regulation and Senator Tiffany proposed a resolution to document these agreements. Because too few Americans even know sepsis exists, patients and their families are prevented from being active participants in health care decision-making. Senator Tiffany's personal story of sepsis has led her to become a driving force in the battle against this silent killer.

Sandee's life-threatening experience made her want to encourage other women to take their health care and their lives into their own hands. She is active in Keep Our Doctors in Nevada (K.O.D.I.N.), an organization whose goal is to keep quality physicians in Nevada through reforming the state's tort laws. As a member of K.O.D.I.N., and an active legislator, Sandee was called upon to help the women of Henderson, Nevada. With less than three weeks notice, the only provider of obstetrics and gynecological services in the area was forced to shut down because the cost of its medical malpractice insurance became too high. Sandee fought tooth and nail to keep the clinic open, calling the state governor and the state department of insurance and persuading them to provide a quote for insurance to the clinic. Even after getting the new quote, the clinic choose to close its doors, but this only made Sandee more determined to reform Nevada medical malpractice and tort laws. She is on the forefront of trying to get these issues passed during this session of the Nevada Legislature.

Sandee is also working on several other women's issues during this legislative session. One issue she is closely involved in is the creation of a scholarship program for college-aged women that would allow them to attend the National Education for Leadership Women's (N.E.W.) Program. The N.E.W. Program is an intensive six-day program where various women leaders speak to college-aged women about the issues facing them, and the issues facing the next generation of women leaders. Sandee is working to get the program $75,000 in scholarships in June 2003 so that more college students can participate in the program. 

The N.E.W. Program is only one facet of the programs Sandee is actively involved in as an advisory member of the Women's Research Institute of Nevada. The Women's Research Institute oversees the N.E.W. Program as well as other programs that mentor college-aged women. As member of the Institute, Sandee talks to college-aged women about their individual goals and the role of women in society today. 

Sandee is a mother and a legislator who has been given a second chance at life. She is using this second chance to make a difference in individual women's lives-by instituting model legislation, reforming antiquated laws, and passing her knowledge onto the next generation of women leaders. She is a survivor who knows how lucky she is and says only this, "I've been given a new lease on life and it's made me realize what's truly valuable - living every moment, caring for those I love and doing what I passionately enjoy - making a difference as a legislator." 

Use Astrology to Change Your Life for the Better!

Guest blog by Stephanie Clement
Author of Charting Your Career: The Horoscope Reveals Your Life Purpose

As we enter the autumn season I am reminded of the many times this meant a return to school. After a summer of vacations, part-time jobs, and outdoor activities, I went back to the classroom to begin a new learning cycle. Even now I feel the strongest urge to explore new subjects in the fall. It happens again in January as we start the New Year.

Are you looking for something new to wrap your mind around? Make astrology your new subject this year. You'll discover there is much more to the subject than just your Sun Sign!
How can you make use of all that astrology has to offer, even if you don't feel like becoming a professional? My clients ask me this question often, so I have gathered together some suggestions for using astrology in your daily life. Let's start with your birth chart.

Understanding Your Chart

The basis of astrology is the birth chart. Each of us has a unique chart for the time, date and place where we were born. Here's what you can find out from your chart:
· about your individual potential
· how to direct that potential to become a creative, happy person
· how to develop satisfying relationships
· how your chart reflects your personality and desires

Here's a short list of what astrology can tell you about yourself:
· Sun - You as an individual
· Moon - How you act from instinct and accomplish goals
· Mercury - how your thinking is organized, how you communicate
· Venus - how you attract love and harmony into your life
· Mars - how you experience action and desire in your life
· Jupiter - how you expand your thinking, your philosophy
· Saturn - how your structure your life on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual planes
· Uranus - how you experience imbalance in your life, how you use intuition to regain balance
· Neptune - where you experience glamour and illusion, how you cultivate compassion
· Pluto - Your power and will
· Ascendant (rising sign) - the mask you wear, your personality
· Midheaven (the highest point in your birth chart) - what you can learn about yourself, your self-awareness

As you learn about the myriad differences among the planets and signs, you gain a new appreciation of the variety and power of opportunities you have. You develop sympathy for other people, whose potential takes them in different directions. And you learn how to work with other people more successfully.

Career: cross reference to Vocational Astrology

Guest blog by  Stephanie Clement
Author of Charting Your Career: The Horoscope Reveals Your Life Purpose

The two most frequently asked questions in astrology relate to relationship and career. Of these, career exploration combines the best of traditional astrological methods with the best of modern psychological astrology. In addition, Vedic astrology includes very specific data about the type of career one may pursue.

Exploration of the career includes several factors in the chart:
· Individual creative capacity. Everyone is creative; vocational astrology looks at creativity as it impacts career choices.
· The careers that suit the individual chart. These reflect the planets, sign, and aspects related to the 10th House and its rulers.
· The actual workplace and the people found there, reflected by the 6th House and its rulers. This includes the geographic location, the type of building, and the location within the building where one works.
· The source of one's personal income, reflected by the 2nd House and its rulers. This house also includes money management, material goods, and also self-esteem.
· The personal style of the individual. This includes myriad factors, with a focus on the Sun, Moon, Ascendant and Midheaven signs.
· The place to begin one's career path (indicated by Saturn)
· The personal activities concerning career (indicated by Mars)
· Character traits that may affect job performance (sign and element of the Sun and Moon, speed of the Moon in the birth chart, position of Mercury relative to the Sun, and numerous other factors)

When career considerations are expanded to include the concept of vocation or mission, the astrological delineation of career takes on a philosophical, or even spiritual overtone. If one's vocation is a calling, who calls? The ideal career satisfies this calling in a direct way. The astrologer can help the client listen to the inner voice, or daimon, to understand the unique personal life path he or she is intended to pursue. The astrologer then uses the above considerations to identify careers that suit the individual mission.

Twenty-first Century vocational astrology has unique demands, considering the rapid changes in the work arena. Significant careers from the past no longer exist, or have metamorphosed into something unrecognizable by a 19th Century person. For example, candle-making was once an essential occupation. The contemporary candle maker is either working in a highly mechanized atmosphere, or is making candles for the love of the task. Very few people make their living in this career. However, like the butcher and the baker, the candle-making profession may be seeing a small revival, as people indicate their desire for "the real thing."
The distinctions between work roles have blurred. For example, where a business person once had a secretary to prepare all letters, email now is an essential component of an executive's work skill package. Yet skilled letter-writing retains a place in the career mix, and is a creative art to be developed by those who aim to get ahead. The executive has acquired the increased need for written communication skills.

A second example involves libraries. The internet and computers have resulted in major revisions in the way libraries operate. Once the province of a professional librarian, book cataloging can be done quickly and inexpensively by staff with far less technical training, and a library collection in Pueblo, Colorado can be viewed by a patron in Italy. In this case the clerical workload of collection management has been shifted to another staff member, and the professional librarian has moved into the role of collection development and reference services to a large extent.

What do these changes mean for the vocational astrologer? The astrologer has to keep current with career changes. Vocational and professional training information forms an important part of the astrologer's resources. Similar to the career counselor in a school, the astrologer must be able to relate the client's astrological vocational picture to the career market of the day.

The astrologer can act as career coach as well. Help with choosing the career field remains the main focus. In addition, the astrologer can coach the client in how to present his or her skills effectively. A third part of the astrologer's role is to help the client present his deeper character traits effectively. Missing from resumes of the 20th Century, effective communication of one's character may be the deciding factor in gaining employment in very tough job markets. The astrologer is well positioned to provide essential information in this regard.
Vocational astrology is a growing segment within the broader astrological career field. The use of traditional charting methods and contemporary computer-aided astrology make this a dynamic branch of a profession that dates back at least to the Greeks and their Arabian contemporaries.

Start Your Own Second Act Sisterhood

Guest blog by Sue Shellenbarger

One of the toughest aspects of a midlife crisis for most women is the isolation they feel. Our culture affords no customary, established ways for midlife women to meet, share their experiences and find a sounding board for the dreams and questions that surface for many of us at midlife. Yet a critical difference between women who manage a midlife transition successfully and those who remain non-starters is often a supportive network of female friends who offer feedback and encouragement. If you read The Breaking Point to better understand your own restlessness or frustration, you may want to consider starting a Second Act Sisterhood (SAS). Here are some recommendations:

1. Gather a group of friends who are also in the middle of life, however you want to define it, and who have some goal or dream or desire they would like to pursue, no matter how distant or difficult it may seem. This might be either a new or existing group, such as a book or investment club that wishes to shift gears for a while. The meeting should be held in a place where everyone will feel at ease - perhaps at a restaurant or in a participant’s home. 

2. Have each person discuss her dream along with the fears and obstacles that stand in her way. It may be helpful to assign each woman a defined period of time to speak and hear feedback, such as 15 to 30 minutes each. 

3. After each woman has presented her goal or desire, the other women should each be allowed time to respond. Only positive feedback or support is permitted; disapproval, criticism, and sarcasm are not allowed. Even if someone's ambition seems far fetched, the members of the group should support the member’s wish for change and brainstorm for tactics and ideas that could make it happen.

4. Members should lend more than vocal support to each other if they can. For example, if one group member wants to pursue outdoor activities and adventure and another is a member of a ski club, this is an ideal opportunity for one member to help another realize her ambition.

5. Set a regular meeting time when members can reconvene and talk about progressing toward their dream, perhaps bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly, either indefinitely or for an agreed-upon period, to share and support each other’s midlife dreams, goals and renewal.

6. Every meeting should offer each woman an opportunity to present her experiences and steps forward. Every Second Act Sisterhood member should know that her voice is heard and that she is in good company as she continues on her pathway toward personal growth. 

One of the women profiled in The Breaking Point said that hearing other women's stories of midlife crisis and resolution is like passing a recipe on to someone else. With your Second Act Sisterhood you're ensuring that one person's recipe for change and happiness can be shared, adapted, and applied by other women living through a similar transition.

Perhaps, It’s All In A Name

Guest blog by Sharon Kava

Sharon Kava’s first novel – a suspense thriller – still sits in a bottom desk drawer after receiving 116 rejections from literary agents. Alex Kava’s first novel – a suspense thriller – received three offers of representation and went on to be a bestseller with a first printing of 70,000 hardcover copies, and the recently released paperback hitting #23 on the New York Times extended bestseller list. The difference? It may very well be all in the name, because I wrote both of those novels -- one under my real name, Sharon; the other under a pen name, Alex.

When I randomly sent out that first novel as Sharon Kava, I received quite a few conflicting responses from literary agents. Notes in the margins of my query letter said things like, “Wonderful suspense, but too harsh for a romance.” Or “tone down the violence and add some romance.” I wasn’t trying to market the novel as romantic suspense, and yet, it appeared that literary agent after literary agent was trying to put me into that genre. I began to wonder if these agents – many of whom are women with remarkable track records – simply didn’t believe women wrote hard-hitting suspense thrillers. It seemed as though they needed to fit me into the romantic suspense genre in order to believe they could sell my novel.

Two years later, I quit a full-time job as a director of public relations for a small college. I was burned out and ready for a change. I decided to give novel writing one more try. Only this time, I would eliminate as many obstacles as possible. 

First, I finished the manuscript. I polished, revised and edited, then revised some more. I was living off my savings and then my credit cards. I taught part-time and even had a newspaper delivery route. I could hardly afford the $100 editing fee, but still, I hired a professional editor to go over the manuscript. 

Then I did my research on literary agents, carefully choosing agents I’d like to work with and finding out as much as possible about the current authors they represented as well as recent sales they had made. I narrowed my list to thirty-two literary agents and prepared custom-designed submission packages to each agent’s specifications. But before I sent out a single one, I decided that Sharon Kava would become Alex Kava. 

That past experience had left me with what was, perhaps, only a gut instinct. However, I was determined to remove as many obstacles as possible, and if there was the slightest chance that a perception existed that women wrote romantic suspense while men wrote suspense thrillers, then I would try to remove that obstacle the best way I knew. So I looked for a name, that when spelled the same way, could be misconstrued male or female. Of course, it also had to be a name I liked and could live with, if need be. But most importantly, I didn’t want agents determining my manuscript’s plight by a simple glance at my name and pegging it into a certain genre before they even read it. 

A half dozen agents wanted to see more. Three requested the entire manuscript to read. Those three offered to represent the book, calling and asking for “Mr. Kava.” None of them had been able to distinguish whether the manuscript had been written by a man or a woman. For me it was the ultimate compliment, my reasoning being that good fiction should be, in a sense, genderless. After all, isn’t that what writers strive for is to be an all-knowing force, an omnipotent narrator who can relate to and see into the hearts of minds of their characters, whether those characters are male or female? Besides, I had also just accomplished the first step in what some claim is the equivalent of winning the lottery – I was on my way to getting my first novel published, and whether it was as Sharon or Alex, it was still my novel.

What If I Find It Difficult To Trust My Spouse"t To Trust My Spouse

Guest blog by Shannon Eldridge
Author of The Passion Principles: Celebrating Sexual Freedom in Marriage

I’ll never forget the sound of Tonya sobbing uncontrollably over the telephone as we talked about the many ways she was driving her husband (and herself!) nuts. She would intercept every magazine that came in the mail and cut out every picture of any woman whom she perceived as even possibly “prettier” than her. When I asked her why she felt that need, at first her reply was, “Isn’t it my responsibility to keep my husband from lusting after other women?” 

“No, Tonya, it’s not your responsibility. You can’t control anyone but yourself, and your husband can’t be controlled by anyone other than himself. You realize that, right?” I inquired. 
“I guess, but I still feel as if I have to control his environment. When we’re at dinner parties, if he leaves the table to go to the bathroom, I go to the bathroom too, just in case there’s some other woman along the way that wants to try to talk to him,” she confessed.
“How does your husband feel about you following him to the bathroom?” I asked.
Tonya admitted that it probably drives him crazy, and that the fact she would even feel the need to do such a thing drove her crazy too. We talked quite a while longer about the great lengths she would go to in order to “control his environment.” Basically, this guy didn’t make a move without his wife knowing about it. And both were panicked over what it might mean if any of her suspicions were ever confirmed.

“Have you ever heard of a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy,’ Tonya?” I asked, going on to explain that sometimes we create the very behavior in someone else that we are trying so desperately to control, simply by being so controlling. When someone gets the message loud and clear, “I don’t trust you. I can’t trust you!” then guess what? They begin to believe it themselves. They are brainwashed by their own spouse into thinking, “I’m untrustworthy.” So then they simply act in accordance with what they believe about themselves. We can create the very unstable relationship that we fear most—all because of our own insecurities!

Truth be told, I’ve talked with numerous “Tonyas” in my life-coaching practice, as well as many “Toms” (the male version). Their tactics have included:
• Forcing their spouses to go to counseling in spite of their unwillingness to do so, sometimes to deal with issues that only exist in their own heads.
• Following their cars to see if they go where they said they were going after work.
• Stalking Facebook pages, text messages, e-mails, etc.
• Privately asking their spouses’ coworkers to comment on his/her office behavior. 
• Enlisting a friend to “spy” on them at the fitness center, or worse, to even pretend to flirt with them simply to see how they’d respond.

My best advice to anyone who feels compelled to go to such great lengths to “follow up” on a spouse’s faithfulness or “set a trap” to catch him or her in the act—professional help is definitely needed, but you may be more in need of it than your spouse! And if you indeed discover that there is an issue that warrants your concern, I hope you’ll both get counseling rather than just expecting your spouse to deal with his or her issue alone. It takes two to tango in any dysfunctional relationship dance.

Marlene has experienced both extremes – being externally motivated by a controlling husband, and being internally motivated thanks to a trusting husband. She shares these words of warning and encouragement:

“I’ve travelled for business on a regular basis for the last twelve years. The first five of those years I was in a controlling, manipulative marriage where I was expected to phone at a certain time each day, my suitcase was scrutinized to see what I was packing and if I had a bathing suit with me. I would do laps in the hotel’s pool, but the interpretation was that I was trolling for men. I was grilled on who I met with, whether they were male or female, what I wore . . . you get the idea. 

“The behavior certainly didn’t motivate me to honor his demands and, in fact, did become a self-fulfilling prophecy, eventually leading me into an extra-marital affair. Don’t misunderstand—I’m not saying my husband’s actions were responsible for my affair. Clearly that was a choice I made myself, out of low self-esteem and a need to find affirmation. I contrast those first five years with the past two years since I’ve remarried and I’m so grateful that my new husband gives me the benefit of the doubt. I’m highly motivated to let him know I arrived safely somewhere and to text him throughout the day to let him know how things are going. He trusts me completely and, as a result, I respond in kind and honor his trust. The responses the two different behaviors elicit are night and day. Everyone needs to understand that negative actions result in negative responses.” 

Do you have this kind of unwavering trust in your marriage, or might there be some “self-fulfilling prophecies” in the making? If the latter is a truer statement, what do you think your own relational insecurities communicate to your mate—1) I have a high enough self-esteem to expect my spouse to be fully committed to me, or 2) I have such a low self-esteem that I automatically assume that no one would ever be faithful to someone like me? Your answer to that question will most likely reveal a lot more about yourself than it does about your spouse.
Before you let your own personal insecurities ooze out and ruin the very fibers of your relational rug, consider taking the high road. See if you’re able to make the following declarations to your spouse:

• I believe in you 100 percent and I trust you completely.
• Although you’re a fallible human being, I know your conscience will be your guide. I trust you have the Holy Spirit guiding you.
• I don’t feel the need to go behind your back to check up on you, and that feels really good. 
• If I have any concerns about your marital faithfulness, I will ask you with complete confidence that you will be honest with me, regardless of what the answer may be.
• As we continue “putting all of our emotional eggs in each other’s baskets” from day to day, I have no doubt that you’ll treat my heart as carefully as I will treat yours.

Always remember that a person is innocent until proven guilty, and keep your personal insecurities in check as your own issues to deal with, rather than turning the tables and letting them evolve into relational poison. And as you put this kind of stock in your spouse’s character and integrity, I believe that it will yield a tremendous amount of compound interest! Your spouse will undoubtedly want to rise to the occasion and prove incredibly worthy of your trust.

God, please show me how to inspire rather than require
sexual integrity from my spouse such that I never create a “self-fulfilling prophecy.” Help us trust one another completely, or at least trust the Holy Spirit inside one another. Help us to be as faithful to each other as You are to us.

Ten Suggestions for Creating a Lasting Love...All by Yourself

Guest blog by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D
Author of The Feel the Fear Guide to Lasting Love

The power is yours. Whether your relationship simply needs some fine-tuning or whether it is in serious trouble, you will be amazed at how much relationship-healing you can do all by yourself. And if you are not in a relationship, there are many ways of approaching members of the opposite sex in a new and welcoming manner.

So how do we begin? Here are ten suggestions:

1) Expand the purpose of your relationship. As I see it, a relationship has two important purposes-a Practical Purpose and a Higher Purpose. The Practical Purpose of a relationship is simply to have someone with whom to share our lives. Traveling the road together can be a joyous experience. But sometimes problems with money, sex, children, work and the like can make the journey together very difficult. It is for this reason that we need to have a Higher Purpose. 

The Higher Purpose of a relationship is to learn how to become a more loving person--despite what problems come up. It is our using all the problems as a vehicle for seeing what we need to work on within ourselves to keep love in our heart. Too often, without remembering our Higher Purpose, we begin longing for the initial bloom of love and the downward spiral begins. We blame our mate instead of realizing that this is a great time for learning and growing. Anger and resentment build. And for too many of us, we can safely predict that the end is near. 

If, however, we focus on the Higher Purpose, that of becoming a more loving person, the outcome can be very different. Problems can become a plus instead of a minus. We learn, we grow, we are filled with creativity, we take responsibility, we feel strong and our love for our mate grows. There is no question that it is through our Higher Purpose that we ultimately experience the exquisite beauty of real love. 

2) Handle the neediness. Neediness is an emotion created by fear and is one of the prime destroyers of love. It stands to reason that if we are feeling needy, consciously or unconsciously, we are always trying to manipulate our mate with the desperate hope that they will make us feel whole. Neediness causes us to protect ourselves at the expense of our mate, to close our hearts, to judge our mates and blame them for our unhappiness, to become angry, resentful and defensive. Not a pretty picture! 

But when we feel whole...when we feel strong...when we feel we are a part of the hugeness of life...we can be safely vulnerable always knowing … that no matter what happens, we will handle it all. In this way, our neediness disappears. We are fulfilled. And our ability to love with a sense of confidence and joy radiates throughout our being. We become a magnet to all that is good in this world...and that includes a truly wonderful relationship. 

3) Radiate a positive and loving energy. Science is actually proving that feelings are contagious. This means that if you think and act lovingly, your partner will actually "catch" that loving energy. You become a model that evokes love in your mate. And the whole nature of the relationship begins to move in the direction of love. 

Of course, the opposite is true as well. If you think and act un-lovingly, your partner will "catch" that un-loving energy. You become a model that evokes conflict in your mate. And the whole nature of the relationship moves itself in the direction of conflict. And you know where conflict leads…often to the end of the relationship. 

Bottom line: If you are feeling resentful, negative, disdainful and the like with your mate, work on changing your energy to one of love, appreciation, and caring. It can make all the difference in the world.

4) Pick up the mirror instead of the magnifying glass. What does that mean? The magnifying glass represents our symbolically pointing a finger and blaming our mate for our unhappiness. The mirror represents looking inward and taking responsibility not only for our actions but also for our REACTIONS to what is going on in the relationship. The mirror is self-awareness, and self-awareness is the first step toward positive change. A few examples:

The magnifying glass: I am angry he is not making more money.
The mirror: Why am I blaming him? It's my own fear that is stopping me from creating money all by myself. I have to work on my fears.

The magnifying glass: I am angry because of her taking time away from me to spend time with her friends.
The mirror: Is my life so limited that I can't function without her for a few hours? It's time for me to take responsibility to create more balance in my life so that I don't feel empty and needy when she is not around.

5) Become the mate you want your mate to be. First make a list of all the characteristics you want your mate to have. It could look like this: loving, thoughtful, warm, considerate, caring, appreciative, romantic, generous. Now for the big challenge...pick up the mirror and begin developing these qualities in yourself.

You may be someone who resists this challenge. But how can we ask our mates to be something we have been unwilling to be ourselves? Also, as you just learned, loving behavior is contagious. Just incorporating all these loving qualities within our own being can dramatically alter the thoughts and actions of our mate. Also, remember the Higher Purpose of your relationship...and that is to become a more loving person. This is a perfect opportunity to do so. Your goal? Maximum caring and minimum need. Powerfully loving, indeed! 

6) Validate your mate. We have to learn to notice and openly express thanks for the beautiful things our mate does for us. (And if you can't find anything to thank him for, then why are you there?) It makes our mate feel so good when we let him know the things we appreciate about him. And it encourages him to continue doing beautiful things. 

Remember that every relationship has its good and every relationship has its bad. By focusing on the bad, we starve. By focusing on the good, we thrive...allowing us to creatively and lovingly deal with the bad. So begin right now by appreciating all that your mate does in your life. Don't let another day pass before you say "Thank you for being in my life. I love you." Say it today...and say it often. 

7) Don't be passive when it comes to love. I think it's really important to keep in mind that love is an emotion but just as importantly, love is an action. The question you need to keep asking yourself is, "What am I doing to keep love alive?" Action is key when romance is involved. It's also a way of keeping us conscious! We need actions to help us keep our focus on how blessed we are to have our partner in our life. 

I suggest you do just do one thing daily as a way of honoring your mate and your Higher Purpose, that of becoming a more loving person. It may take time to push through any resistance you may be feeling, but keep pushing. Eventually you will get yourself on the side of love. 

8) There are times to "lie" lovingly. You sit down to dinner together and you want to complain about the fact that your mate was late coming home from work. Knowing that he/she is in the middle of a lot of pressure at work at the moment, it would be irrational and punishing to say, "It really makes me angry that you came home late today." Instead, with clenched teeth, if need be, let what comes from your mouth be loving, even if you are not feeling loving. Say something like, "I'm so happy when we are together. I love you." You will most likely get a loving response back. And the miracle of such an approach is that your own tension will melt and you will feel that beauty of the moment instead of being the one to destroy it.

9) Stop gender bashing. You've probably been guilty of telling (or at least laughing at) jokes about members of the opposite sex-even when your mate is in the room. Don't do that. What seems like "harmless" joking may actually be working against your efforts to move out of the realm of "selfish" love and into the realm of "real" love. When you participate in the bashing of members of the opposite sex, you are behaving in a hurtful and unloving way. Remember, if you don't love, respect and admire the opposite sex, you won't, by definition, love respect and admire your mate. 

10) Celebrate the wonderful fact that many of the old "selfish" reasons for being in relationships are gone. Women are learning how to take care of themselves financially. Men are learning how to cook, clean and care for children. Take advantage of the opportunity to nowbe in a relationship for much more fulfilling reasons than in earlier times. It's no longer about survival; it's about learning and growing together; it's about supporting each other's dreams; it's about the wonder of walking the walk and talking the talk. These are beautiful components of real love, in which men and women help each other to become whole. 

Yes, the power is yours. We can all make the decision to live our lives with dignity, love and caring, and to push through the inner fears that keep us from being a loving person. We all have that choice. No matter what the state of your relationship, it offers you an incredible opportunity for learning and growing. It is definitely worth all the effort you put into it. Why? A loving relationship feels sublime and brings you great joy; it makes life sweeter and easier. You delight in your ability to give to your mate; you feel abundant as you take in the love that he gives to you. Just sharing the journey with someone you love…it doesn't get any better than that. 

How Can We Put The Joy Back Into SEX?

Guest blog by Susan Quilliam
Author of The Joy of Sex: The Timeless Guide to Lovemaking, Ultimate Revised Edition
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

It was a great day for me when I was first asked to reinvent the seminal sex book "Joy of Sex". The original - written by Dr Alex Comfort - was a groundbreaking work, coming as it did at the start of the sexual revolution of the 1970s; now I was being asked to revisit the work, update, rewrite and bring it into the twenty-first century.

And indeed, the years of work and the launch of the book have been absolutely rewarding. But it's dawned on me, gradually, that much has changed since the original publication 37 years ago. Sure, in those decades, we've become more liberated, more uninhibited, more able to have sex with who we want, when we want and in the ways we want.

But... but... I kept reading the original, with its energy and enthusiasm for lovemaking, its bright eyed optimism about a world where sex would be wonderful all the time.... And I kept looking around at the world of the Noughties, and realizing that optimism wasn't well-founded.

For many of us don't feel the joy of sex that we want to feel. Perhaps because we're more aware of the dangers - how easily sex can be misused, how easily it can be abused. Perhaps because there is more pressure to have sex, great sex, 24/7. Perhaps because in our lives, in our relationships, the pleasure has died... as my work on the book continued, and my understanding of the issues involved developed, I started to feel, strongly, that we need to reintroduce the joyfulness, the enthusiasm, the optimism, that - naively perhaps - was there, forty years ago, when Joy of Sex was first written.

Let's be sex positive

There are in our society so many warnings against sex - often for good reason. But let's also remember that in its essence, between two loving and responsible adults, sex is a wonderful thing. It builds physical health, improves mental health, boosts self esteem, possibly lowers the risk of some kinds of cancer; it even helps you live longer. 

Let's make sex anxiety free

One of the most practical and straightforward things we can do to have joyful sex is to remove all the anxiety from it. Reliable contraception reliably used, reliable protection reliably used; then we can relax and enjoy what follows. Being well-informed about safe sex, getting - and giving - the support we need to have sex safely. 

Let's make sex central

We live time-poor lives, where we have to work long hours to make ends meet, and then rush from one demanding commitment to another. Let's take time out for ourselves, to make love with a partner. The most recent research suggests that carving out a weekend every few months can reignite our desire for each other. No more excuses; we need to do it.

Let's make sex meaningful

What we now know - where perhaps in the 'sexual revolution' they didn't - is just how powerful sexual contact is. It binds you to a partner, creates a link between you that always remains even if the two of you don't stay together - when you make love, you do just that. Let's take sex seriously, and treat it with respect.

Let's make sex varied

We can fall into the trap of thinking that we know what we like sexually - and what our partners like. But tastes change, and routines normalize. So why not keep checking in with ourselves and with each other whether what 'always works' still does. And why not introduce new options, new moves, new possibilities; the Japanese kept a 'pillow book' of ideas by the bed to inform and inspire, and we can do the same.

Let's make sex fulfilling

It can be - particularly for her - that climax gets put to one side. Over time, perhaps it becomes acceptable that she doesn't orgasm every single time. The ideal is that both of us should do so most times we make love - if that's not happening, no wonder the joy is seeping away. Learn how to make that happen...

Let's troubleshoot if we need to

Sexual problems of some sort hit most couples - it's no shame if you are struggling. Age is no bar to good sex (recent research suggests sex gets better with the years) but can create physical or emotional blocks. So let's not be ashamed to go to a health practitioner if desire, or performance drops away. We have a right to lifelong sexual pleasure.

As for me, I've been commissioned to write more books in the Joy of Sex series, and to lecture on sex-positive programs in education and health contexts. In short, I feel that as my writing of Joy of Sex has come to an end, my campaign to reintroduce the joy to people's sex lives has only just begun. 

Reducing Skin Aging- How to Get The Wrinkles Out!

Guest blog by Shari Lieberman, Ph.D., CNS, FACN
Author of Glycemic Index Food Guide: For Weight Loss, Cardiovascular Health, Diabetic Management, and Maximum Energy
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog!

Researchers examined the diets of approximately 2,000 people who were 70 years and older to see if what they ate made a difference in the youthfulness of their skin.The participants were from Australia, Greece, China, Japan and Sweden. 

Rather than using the skin on the face, the skin on the back of the hand was examined and tested to assess actinic damage or skin aging. The back of the hand was used since some participants may have been using cosmetic products that reduce skin aging and wrinkling on the face. A silicon rubber impression method was used to keep an actual model of the skin, its texture and signs of wrinkling for each participant. 

Oxidative stress in skin is induced by sun damage and inflammation. Also, when damage occurs (e.g. exposure to sunlight) antioxidants in skin may undergo depletion. If antioxidants are not replenished continuously, deterioration of the skin can occur leading to accelerated skin aging and wrinkling. 

Topical application of numerous antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, Coenzyme Q10, alpha-lipoic acid, and flavonoids in green tea, have been shown to decrease sun damage and protect the skin against aging, improve skin wrinkling and possibly prevent skin cancer. Studies using oral antioxidant supplements of vitamins C and E simultaneously have also shown a reduction in sun damage and wrinkling of skin. However, this is the first time that daily food intake was examined to see if specific foods would protect the skin, reducing wrinkles and other signs of aging. 


Overall, those with a higher intake of vegetables, legumes, olive oil, monounsaturated fat (e.g. olive oil) and legumes, but a lower intake of milk and milk products, butter, margarine and sugar products had less skin wrinkling and aging. Eggs, yogurt, legumes (especially broad and lima beans), vegetables (especially green leafy, spinach, eggplant, asparagus, celery, onions, leeks, garlic), nuts, olives, cherries, melon, dried fruits (in particular prunes, apples and pears), multigrain bread, jam, tea and water were all shown to protect against skin wrinkling and aging. Higher intakes of vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, and retinol (vitamin A) were also very protective against skin wrinkling and aging. Whole milk sweet milk desserts, ice cream, red meat (especially processed meat), potatoes, soft drinks, cordials, cakes and pastries were associated with increased skin wrinkling and aging. 


Vegetables have a high content of antioxidants beyond vitamins C and E and beta-carotene. In particular, flavonoids and other powerful phytonutrients present in foods such as tea, apples, onions, garlic and eggplant are extremely powerful antioxidants. Tufts University has identified prunes, strawberries, berries, cherries, and tea to have some of the highest antioxidant activity compared to other foods. These foods are rich sources of polyphenols have a higher antioxidant activity than vitamins C or E. Legumes are a rich source of phytoestrogens that also have potent antioxidant activity. Collectively, these powerful antioxidants protected the skin against wrinkling when consumed in the diet.

Fish intake was shown to reduce skin wrinkling when consumed with other protective foods such as vegetables. Fish is a rich source of PUFA in the form of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). While EPA and DHA are extremely important essential fatty acids that are not only important for skin, but for the cardiovascular and immune system as well, they are still susceptible to oxidation because they are categorized as PUFA. Therefore, a higher intake of fish must be accompanied by a higher intake of antioxidants. 

A diet rich in monounsaturated fat (MUFA) from olives and olive oil may increase the MUFA content of skin. MUFA is much more resistant to oxidative damage than polyunsaturated fats found in other types of oil. Also, oil assists the absorption of fat-soluble antioxidants such as vitamin E and lycopene. Margarine is made of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and frequent intake was associated with more skin wrinkling and aging. This may also be due to the more damaging effects of trans fatty acids and their greater susceptibility to oxidative stress than other PUFA. Margarine contains far more trans fatty acids that are formed during the hydrogenization process than would ever be found in nature. Even though saturated fats resist oxidation, foods high in saturated fat such as meat and butter did not protect against skin aging and wrinkling. 

High sugar intake was associated with greater skin wrinkling. This may be due to a greater production of advanced glycosylation end products (AGE) and less clearance of these damaging compounds. AGE are found in excess as a result of the aging process and also with conditions such as diabetes. AGE are closely associated with oxidative stress and have similar damaging effects. 


The skin is very susceptible to oxidative damage due its high content of lipids, proteins and DNA all of which are extremely sensitive to the oxidation process. By consuming more vegetables, legumes and switching to olive oil (preferably extra virgin) and eating less meat, dairy, butter and sugar you can protect your skin against wrinkling and aging. 

Selected References

1. Purba M, Kouris-Blazos A, Wattanapenpaiboon N et al. Skin wrinkling: can food make a difference? JACN 2001;20(1):71-80.
2. Boulanger E, Dequiedt P, Wautier JL. Advanced glycosylation end products (AGE): new toxins? Nephrologie 2002;23(7):351-9.
3. Shapiro SS, Saliou C. Role of vitamins in skin care. Nutrition 2001;17:839-844.

How To Age Well

Guest blog by Shirley Madhère, M.D.
Watch the interview www.youtube.com/thewomansconnection

Aging is a natural phenomenon; we will all experience it. How we age is a matter of a number of variables, including genetics, lifestyle, health, stress, the environment, and choice. One such choice that is popular in age management is within the realm of plastic surgery. For those who choose to undergo some “intervention,” it may be in the form of minor, in-office procedures as injectables (Botox, fillers, etc.) and skin rejuvenation (laser, chemical peel, Vitaglow, etc.), or a “nip/tuck” (operative plastic surgery). Nevertheless, regardless of how one chooses to manage and show one’s age, whether or not with the help of a surgeon’s needle or knife, it is beneficial to age well and to look good for one’s given age, i.e., to be a better version of one’s current self. Before one can undertake an age management program, it is important to empower oneself by understanding how we age and what can be done to influence the process.

There are a number of factors that contribute to aging. These may be generally classified as intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic factors are those with which we were born and thus cannot be controlled. Extrinsic factors are typically learned or acquired and therefore can be altered. Factors that lend to aging which may not be adjusted include genetics, skin type, and pore size, while those that may be changed for improved health include lifestyle, nutrition, and stress. Of note, appearance and how one feels about different variables of his/her life are now believed to play an increased role in wellness. In fact, the World Health Organization modified the definition of health as “… a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Moreover, wellness has been defined by the National Wellness Association as "an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence." Therefore, aging well is an individualized and holistic process that encompasses internal and external aspects of health and living.

The outward manifestations of aging occur on the level of the skin and begin by age 30. As we age, the facial skin becomes dry, less elastic, less firm (from the loss of collagen), and may show signs of sun damage. It may also be uneven, discolored, sagging, and develop wrinkles and loss of volume or facial fat. These manifestations are the result of a combination of natural aging (intrinsic) as well as extrinsic aging. Although each individual is genetically programmed differently and the rate of aging will vary from one person to the next, these changes will nonetheless occur to some extent at some point. For example, the 40 year old woman will have hopefully built a healthy skin foundation that she began in her 20’s, adjusted for her 30’s and now, in her 40’s, will modify to suit the particular changes her skin has undergone, namely dryness, loss of firmness and elasticity, and possible sun damage. Typically, more definitive steps should be taken to address these issues. While a healthy skin regimen should be a part of every woman’s (and man’s) routine, it may be appropriate also for women in their 40’s to consider office-based rejuvenation procedures as Botox (to soften hard facial lines), fillers (to add lost volume), chemical peels (to even out skin tone), Vitaglow (to help increase facial blood flow and help stimulate collagen), and plastic surgery to help manage excess, sagging skin that may not respond to other therapeutic modalities. The decision to undergo any of these procedures is highly personal, where one considers one’s beauty philosophy, budget, time, and expectations, and should discuss with her plastic surgeon. 

Taking a holistic approach to beauty and wellness is how I advise my patients to look as great as they feel. I believe that beauty emanates from within and that healing occurs from the inside out. Therefore, to age well, I “prescribe” the following 10 tips to looking fabulous at every age:

1. Establish a good foundation: take care of your skin. Moisturize it, protect it from the sun, and stop touching it throughout the day! Whether with injectables or actual surgery, healthy, well-moisturized skin responds better to the needle and the knife;
2. Practice a holistic approach to beauty. The healthier you are overall, the better your skin and tissues will respond to a surgeon’s “interventions” or any other treatments. Also, know who you are and know who you are not: understand what effects look good on you; know your own face. What fits your best friend’s cheeks may not be suitable for yours;
3. Keep your mind active and your brain performing; engage in lifelong learning;
4. Stop smoking. Period. If you need help, get it;
5. Avoid prolonged, unprotected sun exposure. Enough said; you have heard it all before;
6. Be emotional: maintain an optimistic attitude and try to live an emotionally enriched life every day. Also, nourish your spirituality and have faith. Explore your metaphysical core. Be present. Practice detachment. Look for deeper meaning;
7. Honor your temple with good nutrition. A proper eating regimen will help to ensure normal healing, maintain active metabolism, and encourage efficient elimination of toxins. If healthful eating is lacking, take vitamins and supplements as directed by your physician or nutritionist as a complement to eating well. Limit intake of sugar, fat, and alcohol and stay hydrated to help your body clear itself of toxins. This is particularly helpful after surgery when your body enters into a state of relative dehydration and is briefly deprived of nutritional support;
8. Remain social: studies have shown that a strong social network may improve health and that close friendships may increase natural immunity;
9. Exercise regularly. There is really no way around it;
10. Manage stress effectively and often. Get consistent and adequate sleep every night. Listen to your body.

Aging well is as dynamic as the aging process itself. To look and feel well involves a balanced lifestyle that incorporates a variety of factors to help achieve successful living. With or without the knife, it cannot be argued that beauty is health and healthy is beautiful!
. Shirley Madhère is a plastic surgeon who practices “holistic plastic surgery” in New York City. 

Is There an "All Natural Alternative to Antibiotics?

Guest blog by Susun S. Weed
Known as one of the "founding grandmothers of the herbal renaissance"
Author of Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

There are good reasons to use antibiotic drugs. That said, most physicians and healthcare professionals agree that they are often overused. The overuse of antibiotics has created "superbugs" that are immune to the most common antibiotics. But on a more personal level, antibiotics can wreak havoc on your own immune system and gastrointestinal tract.

The good news is that there is an all-natural alternative to antibiotics that I've found to be very effective. If your infection is not life threatening, you may wish to try herbs instead of, or in addition to, regular antibiotics. Of the most-often used herbal anti-infectives—calendula, chaparral, echinacea, goldenseal, myrrh, poke, usnea, and yarrow—it is the lovely purple coneflower, echinacea, that I most often turn to. 

I find echinacea as effective as antibiotics (dare I say sometime better than!) if E. angustifolia/augustifolia—but not E. purpurea—is used when you make your own tincture; tincture, not capsules or teas, is used; the root, and only the root, is used; and very large doses are taken very frequently. 

To figure your dose of echinacea, divide your body weight by 2; take that many drops per dose. There are about 25 drops in a dropperful; round up to full droppers. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, take 90 drops/4 dropperfuls. There is no known overdose of echinacea tincture. With acute infection, I take a full dose every 2–3 hours. When the infection is chronic, I take a full dose every 4–6 hours. 

Many infections can be countered by echinacea alone. But, when there is a deeply entrenched infection in the pelvic area, for example, I add one dropperful of poke root tincture to my one- ounce bottle of Echinacea. Poke is an especially effective ally for men with prostatitis, women with chronic bacterial vaginal infections or PID, and anyone dealing with an STD/STI or urinary tract infection (UTI).

There are many good-quality vendors who sell echinacea root. To make your make your own echinacea antibiotic tincture: Put 4 ounces, or 115 grams, of echinacea cut root in a quart jar. Fill the jar to the top with 100-proof vodka. Cap tightly, and be sure to label it and keep it safely out of children's reach. Wait at least 6 weeks before use. This tincture is even more potent after 1 year.

Unmarried Couples Should Consider Living-Together Documents

Guest blog by Stephanie Ackler
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

Many unmarried couples living together should have several written legal documents to serve as a proxy in place of a marriage contract and to help minimize potential financial disputes or complications in the event of a breakup or death, say financial professionals.

Unmarried couples face many of the same financial issues as married couples but without benefit of marital laws: property rights, inheritances, employee benefits, and division of income and debts, for example. Unmarried couples should consider signing these legal documents when one or both bring substantial assets or debts to the relationship, they plan to stay together a long time, children are involved, or they plan to buy a home or move into one of their homes. 

The first key document is a non-marital agreement, commonly called a "living together" or "domestic partner" agreement. This agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement that a couple with accumulated assets might sign before they marry.

The agreement can be as specific or as broad as you wish to make it. Typically, the agreement will spell out how assets and income will be divvied up during a relationship, or after a relationship should it end. For example, it might spell out what portion each will contribute to the monthly bills. Will paychecks be pooled or kept separate? Will assets each person brings to the relationship be pooled or kept separate? What about assets inherited by one person during the relationship? Will they share employee benefits if the employer allows it? Will ownership of property bought during the relationship be based on who actually buys the property, kept proportional to the income each party earns, or split down the middle? How will existing or future debts be handled (it's often best to avoid jointly titled credit cards)? How will property be divided at separation or death?

A living-together agreement is especially important when the purchase of a major asset is involved, such as a home. How will ownership be titled? Who pays what portion of the down payment and monthly mortgage, and how will any gains from the sale of the house be split up? 

The agreement also might spell out a method for resolving future financial disagreements, such as using third-party mediation before resorting to the courts. Some agreements even go so far as to delineate who will cook and wash dishes and take out the trash, though some legal experts recommend that a separate agreement might be drafted for non financial issues. 

While there is little in the way of state statutes, most courts recognize living-together agreements-even oral agreements in some cases. But interpretations vary, so you'll want to hire an attorney (perhaps one for each party) to draft the agreement based on your specific needs and local court rulings. 

A living-together agreement is only a start, however. Unmarried couples also should have a will, living will, and powers of attorney-legal documents even married couples should have. A power of attorney allows the partner to step in financially should the other become incapacitated. You can rescind such a power as long as you're mentally competent, so don't feel stuck with it. 

A living will spells out what life-sustaining medical treatment you wish or don't wish should you become incapacitated, and the medical power of attorney grants your partner or other appointed agent such as a relative the legal authority to make medical decisions on your behalf, usually based on what you spell out in your living will. While married couples should have such documents, they are especially important to unmarried couples because relatives would otherwise likely supercede such decisions.

The same goes for a will. While married couples should have wills, state statute will typically-though not always-distribute property to the surviving spouse where there is no will. For an unmarried couple without a will, however, it's unlikely property or custody of a child will go to the surviving partner. 

All these agreements may sound unromantic, but many relationships, unmarried ones as well as married ones, can end in bitter feuds. Written agreements not only can minimize such feuds, they can actually promote a healthier relationship by focusing attention on financial issues central to all relationships.

(Please consult with your own tax and legal advisors before taking any action that would have tax consequences.)

Equal Pay Day

Guest blog by
President of Source: Soroptimist International of Chicago
Submitted by: Marion E. Gold, Marion Gold & Co
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog!

According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, a woman will have to work Jan. 1, 1999 to May 11, 2000 to earn what a man would have between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 1999. Here are some suggestions on how individuals, companies and organizations can recognize Equal Pay Day: 

- Restaurants and retailers can give a 27 percent discount to women, good for the day.  
- Coffee shops can sell special $1 cups of coffee to men, and charge women 73 cents.
- Organizations can hold brown-bag luncheons to discuss topics such as "How To Negotiate A Fair Raise" or "How To Ask For A Raise."

Older Women MUST Prepare Better For Retirement Years

Guest blog by Stephanie Ackler
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

Men and women hoping to retire within the next five to ten years are being forced to face a cold truth-they may not be financially prepared to retire. And women are especially vulnerable. Consider these facts about older women from the Administration on Aging:

· In 2001, women accounted for nearly 60 percent of the population age 60 and older, and 70 percent of the population 85 and older.
· Seven out of ten baby-boom women will outlive their husbands.
· Older women are twice as likely as older men to live in poverty, and half of the elderly widows living in poverty were not living in poverty before their husbands died.
· Older women are three times as likely as older men to live alone.
· Most older women depend primarily on Social Security for their retirement income, and are half as likely to receive employer pension benefits as men.
· According to the Census Bureau, retirement income for women over age 65 is just over half of the retirement income received by men in the same age group.

The reasons older women find themselves in this financially precarious position are many, ranging from working fewer years in lower-paying jobs than men, to saving less for retirement. But the question now is, how can older women approaching retirement make up for lost time?

Make retirement a priority. It's common for women to make financial sacrifices during their working years, such as staying at home to raise children or care for elderly relatives. And many tend to rely on their husbands for their principal financial support. But the problem is, women outlive men by an average of five years, and thus have more years in retirement to fund. Their husband's income from Social Security and employer pensions will drop significantly if the husband dies first, which is why widows commonly fall into poverty unless they have some of their own retirement resources. 

Beef up savings. A woman in her fifties or sixties can't make up for decades of lost retirement income and tax-deferred compounding, but she can at least make up some of the shortfall by beefing up savings. First, establish one or more retirement accounts if you don't already have one, such as joining a retirement plan at work or opening an individual retirement account (IRA). Even a nonworking spouse can put up to $3,000 a year into an IRA, and an additional $500 if she is age 50 or older. 

Next, pay your retirement accounts just as you would any critical monthly bill-before it is frittered away in discretionary spending. Direct deposits make it easier and less painful.

Contribute the most you can afford to contribute and that rules allow-at least enough to earn the entire match an employer might make into a 401(k) plan if that's available, and ideally up to the maximum allowed by the plan. For many types of retirement plans and IRAs, workers over age 50 can kick in an extra "catch up" contribution above what younger workers are allowed.

Beef up Social Security benefits. Returning to work can beef up a woman's Social Security benefits ultimately earned in her name. Social Security bases its payments on a 35-year employment history, and even part-time work may earn more in a year than what she might have been making three decades ago.

Know your retirement rights. For example, women are guaranteed to continue to receive a portion of their husband's company pension if their husband dies before they do-unless they sign away that right. Women sometimes do that out of ignorance or because the couple decides to take the "single lifetime" payout because it provides a higher income stream than the "joint and survivor" payout. But those single-lifetime payouts stop when the beneficiary dies, and women are more likely to outlive their husbands.

Older women also should educate themselves about what Social Security benefits they might receive because they are married-and what benefits they might still receive in the event of divorce.

Long-term care insurance. While many men and women should investigate long-term care insurance, it can be especially important for women. Women are twice as likely as men to live in a nursing home, and they're less likely to be able to stay at home because they will have outlived their husbands who might care for them.

(Please consult with your own tax and legal advisors before taking any action that would have tax consequences.)

Don't Overlook These Lessor-Known Features for Long Term Care Insurance Policies

When buying a long-term care insurance policy, most consumers concentrate on the basic features of the policy such as the dollar amount of the daily benefits, the length of coverage and what circumstances trigger the policy's benefits. But newer LTC policies offer features and options consumers frequently overlook, that can be very beneficial to the insured. 

Survivorship benefits. This is an attractive feature for couples who buy individual policies from the same insurer. When one spouse dies, the company waives the remaining premiums on the surviving spouse's policy. For this to go into effect, the insurer generally requires that both policies have been in force for several years (typically seven to ten years), and some policies require that no benefits have been paid to either spouse during that period. 

Shared benefits. Couples who buy policies with benefits for a limited number of years, such as two or five, versus lifetime benefits, might find this feature attractive. This comes in three forms. One type allows people who exhaust their benefits to dip into their partner's policy benefits. Another version creates a third pool of benefits that either partner can dip into. A third form is to have a single pool of benefits that both partners draw on.

The obvious risk here is that with two of the types, you could drain the other partner's benefits. Financial planners commonly recommend that consumers buy lifetime benefits if they can afford it.

Alternate plan of care. One reason consumers are reluctant to buy an LTC policy when they are younger (say in their 50s) is the concern that the policy will become obsolete and not cover newer forms of care. For example, adult day care centers and assisted living facilities weren't around years ago, and older policies still in force won't cover them. With the alternate plan-of-care feature, the insured, his or her doctor, and the insurance company will ideally agree on a plan of care not currently specified under the policy but which the company will pay for.

Accelerated payments. This allows you to pay up the policy within a certain period instead of over the rest of your life by making accelerated premium payments. Examples include ten-year pay or payments made until you turn 65. Accelerated premiums, which are not allowed in some states, might run two to three times more than lifetime premiums.

This feature eliminates the challenge of making payments when you're living on limited retirement income, and it can provide a tax advantage for some business owners (especially C corporation owners). On the other hand, should you need the policy earlier in your lifetime than is normal, you've "overpaid" your premiums. Disciplined savers also could bank the extra premium money they otherwise would have made, letting it earn interest and drawing on it for premiums once you're retired.

Enhanced elimination period. LTC policies offer a choice of elimination periods, which is the number of days you must pay for long-term care out of your pocket before the policy starts paying. The elimination period may range from zero days up to 180 days or even a year. The longer the elimination period, the smaller the premium. 

With an enhanced elimination period, you can start or accelerate the elimination period "clock" with just a few home health care visits. This can save you out-of-pocket expenses during the elimination period.

Respite care. It's common for family members or friends to provide informal care at home to someone who otherwise would have qualified for their policy benefits. When this occurs, some policies will pay for temporary care while the family caregiver takes a "break," even though the insured has not met the elimination period. Policies typically limit the number of respite days you can take.

These are just of a few of the lesser-known long-term care features. Others include bed reservation benefits, non-forfeiture benefits, geriatric care management coverage, international care, return of premium upon death, restoration of benefits and caregiver training. Some are standard in most policies, others are offered as options at additional cost. Review these and similar features with your financial planner and long-term care insurance agent to see if they're available and if they make sense for you.

(Please consult with your own tax and legal advisors before taking any action that would have tax consequences.)

Tenderloin Steaks with port and mustard sauce/Filetes de solomillo con salsa de oporto y mostaza

Guest recipe by Simone & Ines Ortega
Authors of 1080 Recipes

Serves 6.

· 6 tenderloin steaks, about 5 ounces each
· 4 tablespoons olive oil
· ½ teaspoon mustard
· 5 tablespoons port
· Salt

Brush both sides of the steaks with a little of the oil and let stand in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet. Season the steaks with salt, add to the skillet, and cook over high heat for 2-4 minutes on each side, until done to your liking. Transfer to a serving dish and keep warm. Stir the mustard and port into the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour the sauce over the steaks and serve immediately.

Pecan Caramel Cheesecake

Guest recipe by Sandra Lee
Author of Semi-Homemade The Complete Cookbook

Pecan pie or cheesecake? Try a bite of both with this no-bake New York-style cheesecake smothered in caramelized pecans. The inspired combination of creamy cheesecake, gooey caramel, and crunchy pecans is a two-in-one treat, perfect for parties, special dinners or starting a new Thanksgiving tradition. Be generous with the caramel -- and don't be afraid to let it drip down the sides. It just looks more homemade. 

Serves 12 to 16

2 boxes (11.1 ounces each) real cheesecake dessert mix, Jell-O No Bake® 
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 1/2 cups cold whole milk
1 cup butterscotch caramel sauce, Mrs. Richardson's ® 
1 cup pecans, toasted, chopped
1/2 cup golden brown sugar, packed

Prep time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 5 hours


Line bottom of 9-inch-diameter spring form pan with parchment or wax paper. 
Mix 2 packages of crust, melted butter, sugar, and water in large bowl until well blended. Reserve 1 cup of crumb mixture for topping. 
Press remaining crumb mixture onto bottom of prepared pan (not up sides). 
Combine 2 packages of cheesecake filling and cold milk in another large bowl. 
Beat for 3 minutes, or until smooth and thick. 
Fold 1/2 cup of caramel sauce into cheesecake mixture. 
Pour mixture into crust-lined spring form pan. 
Mix reserved crumb mixture with 1/4 cup of caramel sauce, pecans, and brown sugar. 
Sprinkle atop cheesecake. 
Refrigerate cake at least 5 hours, or until set. 
Run warm knife around pan sides to loosen cake; remove pan sides. 
Transfer cake to serving platter and drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup of caramel sauce. 
Serve cold. 

Copyright © 2003 SLSH Enterprises

Peanut Butter Mini Mud Pies

Guest recipe by Sandra Lee
Author of Semi-Homemade The Complete Cookbook

Makes 6

6 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, Jif®
6 mini graham cracker crusts, Keebler Ready Crust®
3 1/2 cups (from 1 quart) coffee ice cream, Häagen-Dazs® 
1 bottle (7-ounce) milk chocolate shell topping, Hershey's® 
1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs, Nabisco Honey Maid®

Prep time: 10 minutes
Freezing time: 1 hour


Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter into bottom of each crust. 
Using 1/2-cup or 4-ounce ice cream scoop, place ball of ice cream into each crust. 
Freeze for at least 1 hour, or until ice cream and crusts are frozen solid. 
Remove pies from foil pie tins; place pies on plates. 
Drizzle milk chocolate shell topping over ice cream in crusts. 
Immediately sprinkle 11/2 teaspoon of crumbs over each pie and serve. 

Variation: To make mini chocolate pie crusts, scrape the filling from cookies, then finely grind the cookies in a food processor. Mix the crumbs with just enough melted butter to moisten lightly. Press the crumb mixture over the sides and bottom of mini pie pans.

Copyright © 2003 SLSH Enterprises

My Paella: Paella a mi estilo

Guest recipe by Simone & Ines Ortega
Authors of 1080 Recipes

Serves 6-8.

· 11 ounces raw shrimp, shells on and heads attached, if available
· 2 ¼ pounds mussels or 1 pound 2 ounces littleneck, steamer, or cherrystone clams
· ¾ cup olive oil
· 1 small onion, finely chopped
· 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
· 3 tablespoons tomato sauce or 1 large, ripe tomato, chopped
· 2 small squid, cleaned and cut into ¼ inch thick rings
· 2 ½ cups long-grain rice
· 3 sprigs fresh parsley
· pinch of saffron threads
· 2 chicken bouillon cubes
· scant 1 cup drained canned peas
· 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
· salt
· lemon wedges

Peel the shrimp and reserve the shells and heads, if attached. Set the shrimp aside. Put the heads and shells into a pan, pour in plenty of water, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the stock into a bowl.

If using the mussels, and they have not been pre-cleaned, scrape the shells with the blade of a knife and remove the "beards," then scrub under cold running water. If using the clams, scrub under cold running water. Discard any shellfish with broken shells or any that do not shut immediately when sharply tapped. Put the shellfish in a pan or skillet, add ¼ cup water, cover and cook over high heat for 3-6 minutes, until the shells have opened. Left out the shellfish with a slotted spoon, discarding any that remain closed. Reserve the cooking liquid.

Remove nearly all the shellfish form their shells but leave a few in the shell or half shell for the garnish, strain the reserved cooking liquid through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into the shrimp stock. Add enough water to make 7 ½ cups, if necessary. Pour into a pan and heat gently, but do not let boil. 

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Pour just enough of the oil into a paella pan or large, heavy skillet with a metal handle to cover the base and heat it. Add the onion and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the tomato sauce or fresh tomato and cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes. Reserve a few shrimp for the garnish and add the remainder to the pan with the squid rings and rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until the squid becomes opaque. Add the shelled mussels or clams. Season with a pinch of salt and pour in the hot stock, gently shake the pan to make sure the liquid is evenly distributed.

Pound the parsley with the saffron in a mortar, or process in a mini-food processor. Mix in 2 tablespoons water, and add to the paella pan. Crumble in the bouillon cubes. Gently shake the pan or stir with a wooden spoon. Add the peas to the paella and cook for a few minutes more. Garnish the paella with the strips of bell pepper, the reserved shrimp, and the reserved shellfish in the shell. 

Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Spread out a dampened dishtowel on a work surface. Remove the paella pan from the oven, place it on the dishtowel, and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve the paella with lemon wedges hung over the side of the pan.