Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fifty Years of Leave it to Beaver

Can you believe it fellow boomers? It’s been 50 years since Leave it to Beaver first made its debut on television.

To commemorate this occasion, TV Land is holding a 50th year marathon of the show. The episode I’m currently watching (as I write this) is the one where Wally hosts a teenage shin-dig but doesn’t want to invite his little brother. Beaver gets upset and decides to sabotage the party. He does this before Wally has a change of heart---at the urging of his always neatly dressed mother---June Cleaver.

OK, I admit that, as a little black girl, I used to watch the “Beev” because he was a kid just like me. I never gave one thought to the fact that he (and his family) didn’t have any black friends or that his school environment was quite different than mine. His dad surely wasn’t like my dad. He didn’t go to work everyday wearing a suit and tie but I bet my dad worked HARDER than Beev’s dad and he did so for HALF the pay. The only time my mother ever wore pearls was to go to church and you would’ve never seen her cleaning the house wearing them in one of her BEST dresses.

How much times have changed over the past 50 years……or have they? Let's ask our kids.

Friday, September 28, 2007

An Open Letter to Oprah: "You're Not Alone, My Sister."

Dear Oprah,

When you recently announced you had a problem with your thyroid, I immediately thought, “Welcome to my world.” I’ve been suffering from hypothyroidism for several years now. As a matter of fact, there are more than 10 million of us (90 percent women) struggling with this disease. And believe me when I tell you, it can be a STRUGGLE. An underactive thyroid often results in weight gain, fatigue, depression and other symptoms.

Oprah, I have to be honest with you, I never gave one thought to my thyroid gland in the past. I didn’t even know where it was because that wasn’t one of the things that ever got checked during my “routine” annual exams.

I heard you say your condition was triggered by stress. Girlfriend, so was mine! Being in a loveless marriage and the sole provider for a child---coupled with working in a thankless job sent my thyroid into overdrive. I know those weren’t YOUR issues, which just goes to show you stress comes in all kinds of ways.

Initially, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroid---also known as Graves Disease. That’s when your thyroid glands are TOO active. I was walking around with bulging red eyes, looking like I was high all the time. To make matters worse, I was jittery and had a hard time focusing. That would sound like a drug addict to me. I was a mess!

The only course of treatment for me, according to my doctor, was to have the radioactive iodine therapy. The name sounds lethal doesn’t it? But I believed it saved my life. Now I am resigned to spending the rest of my life taking a drug called Synthroid. Oh, and I’m battling the battle of the bulge with vengeance.

You know, I’m really glad you came forward with this news. You have the kind of power that can make a difference in how this disease is treated by medical professionals, the media and society in general.

It’s always something though—isn’t it bad enough that we also have to deal with menopause?

Oh well…so goes life.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why Exercise is Important to Baby Boomers

Why Exercise Is Important

• It strengthens your heart
• Improves your circulation
• Keeps muscles in tone
• Helps prevent osteoporosis
• Helps with weight control
• Helps hold down your blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels
• Makes you look and feel better

As we age, exercise becomes even more important. Older adults who exercise regularly tend not only to be stronger and have better balance and coordination, but to be better able to manage the sorts of daily chores that allow people to remain independent. They are also more likely to be physically fit.

Fitness is having the health, strength, endurance and range of motion needed to do physical work without becoming exhausted. A fit person can perform better and with less effort in sports and other physical activities and therefore is more likely to enjoy them.

One of the suggestions I make in my book, Whatever! A Baby Boomer’s Journey Into Middle Age, is to keep a journal of your eating and exercise habits. That way you’ll have a good idea of what is or is not working when it comes to weight maintenance.

Women’s Health is offering a great FREE calendar/journal, full of information about and for women. It talks about topics of interest to us such as health, nutrition, life etc. Most women don't find out about this book until Nov/Dec. and by then they are usually out. So you have an early heads up. Click on (or paste and copy) the link below and get this great calendar/journal.
Here’s to aging gracefully!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Baby Boomer's View of the Jena 6

As a veteran journalist and baby boomer, I have followed, with much interest, the controversy surrounding the Jena 6 in Jena, Louisiana. This is one of those times when I wish I was still working in the newsroom---fighting for the right to cover stories of the injustices done to African-Americans---especially to African-American males.

I have seen very little coverage on this story and I know why. The “white shirts” who run newsrooms around the country don’t see the same significance as they do in a story berating OJ Simpson. It’s OK to kick a black man down BELOW the ground but don’t try to lift him up because he might try to steal a white woman.

I worked in an environment where an Assistant News Director expressed his fear of driving in a predominately black neighborhood and chastised me for his belief that I wanted him to show me favoritism because of my race. My question was----and still is---how do you get objective news reporting coverage from a manager like that?

What is getting ready to happen in Jena is historic. But let’s not forget, it’s happening in other places across America. Take the case of James Johnson in Wilson, NC who is scheduled to stand trial for the murder of an 18 year old white girl next week. There is NO EVIDENCE linking him to the crime but the District Attorney seems gung-ho on connecting him since he was apparently at the crime scene with another young man who has already confessed that he did it and he acted alone.

The Jena 6 movement is also very similar to the marches of the late 1950s and 1960s when people who believed in freedom marched and said “I ain’t gon’ let nobody turn me around..turn me around…turn me around…”

It is somewhat similar to Woodstock, when free thinkers said make love---not war.

I salute Davie Bowie who recently donated $10,000 to a legal defense fund for the six black teens charged in the alleged attack on the white classmate in Jena. It tells me that there are baby boomers who still have a conscience and awareness for what SHOULD be right with the world

Now I know this blog is going to piss some people off but I thank God I live in a country protected by the First amendment.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Let the "Good Times" Roll in Atlanta

Every time I go to a book signing, I always seem to walk away with an experience that I just have to write about.

This past weekend, I went to Atlanta for a book signing, which was part of an event called For Sisters Only. It was, by far, the biggest event I’ve been to at this point in my new career as an author/motivational speaker/entrepreneur.

As I was networking and attempting to sell books from my own little booth space, I noticed a familiar face walk in with a small entourage. It was none other than “Thelma” from Good Times! OK…her real name is Bern Nadette Stanis but everyone---and I mean EVERYONE---knows her as Thelma----the teenage daughter from the 1970s hit sitcom.

I couldn’t help but stare as a crowd gathered around her. She was so poised and so gracious to everyone---not just to the people who purchased her book, Situations 101---she was even nice to the jerks who came up to her trying to flirt.

The 53-year-old actress exemplifies what it means to age gracefully so, of course, I had to invite her to become a member of the Baby Boomer Diva Web of Fame. I have also invited her to be a part of the Baby Boomer Diva Girlfriends Retreat in Daytona Beach next April.

The one question I wanted to ask her was if she had become acquainted with any of the 7 dwarfs of menopause yet. I certainly saw no signs of it or maybe she just knows how to wear menopause well. Bern Nadette reminded me of that 80s song by DeBarge: “You Wear it Well.”

“You just smile, yeah
And walk on through, oh, oh
You’ve got that personality, babe
And it sure looks good on you, yeah

Not the ordinary
Anything wear looks good on you especially
Nothin’ I can tell you
You haven’t already heard a half a million times
But I’d still like to say

You wear it well
You wear it well, you wear it well”

Next month, I’ll be back in Washington, DC. I’m wondering who I’ll meet there.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

One Size DOES NOT Fit All

Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you can’t get a sexually transmitted disease. As a matter of fact, more than ten percent of all new U.S. AIDS cases are now in people over the age of 50. In the last few years, new AIDS cases rose faster in middle-aged and older people than in people under the age of 40.

In older women, sexual activity has been the most common cause of HIV infection, followed by infection from a blood transfusion before 1985. Women and men are equally responsible for protecting themselves before engaging in sexual intimacy.

The problem is some older men feel condoms are not for them. On top of that, some health professionals say they are regularly confronted by men's complaints that condoms do not fit, or that they are uncomfortable. Correct condom use is critical for preventing unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmissible infections (STI), yet an Indiana University study found that study participants who reported problems with the fit and feel of condoms were also among those who reported the highest rates of condoms breaking and slipping.

Although condoms remain one of the most effective means of preventing both unintended pregnancies and sexually transmissible infections (STI) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV. Ensuring that men and women use condoms consistently and correctly, however, is often a challenge. In addition, discussing penis size or condom issues with a healthcare practitioner can be challenging for many men.

One size DOES NOT Fit All: In the Indiana University study, a substantial number of men reported a variety of problems with the fit and feel of condoms. Specifically, 21 percent reported that condoms felt too tight; 18 percent reported that condoms felt too short; 10 percent reported that condoms felt too loose; and 7 percent reported that condoms felt too long.

So what is the answer? Viagra advertisers need to stop encouraging the former Woodstock- free love baby boomer generation to get it on and, perhaps, work with condom manufacturers to get it right.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

"Enjoy Your Menopause" without Hot Flashes!

Did you know there are certain foods that can trigger hot flashes during menopause?

Hot and spicy foods, caffeinated beverages, excess sugar, dairy products and alcohol can trigger hot flashes and even make them more intense. Here are some tips on how to keep hot flashes to a minimum:

Eat a nutritious diet low in saturated fat. This will help reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Experts recommend that you keep your fat intake to 25 percent or less of the total calories you consume. Substitute olive or coconut oil for hydrogenated oils and most vegetable oils.

Add Soy Foods To Your Diet:

Increase your intake of soy-containing foods, including tofu as well as flax (linseed) oil. Eat a plant based diet, emphasizing plenty of fresh, preferably organic vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and fruit.

Increase Your Calcium Intake:

While the decrease in bone mass accelerates at menopause, it begins around age 35. After 35, women lose 1 percent of their bone mass per year. So be sure to consume enough calcium. 1,000 milligrams of Calcium a day for premenopausal women and 1,500 milligrams for postmenopausal women is what my gynecologist recommends.

Drink Plenty of Water:

Drink plenty of water about eight glasses a day. Drinking plenty of fluids is important, especially after exercising. Being property hydrated helps keep body temperature in check.

September is Menopause Awareness Month. Enjoy your Menopause! Be sure to stop by and take my Menopause Quiz at

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

An Anorexic Baby Boomer Diva? Never!

I used to be a size 0. That’s when I was a cart-wheeling, straddle-jumping, booty-shaking teenage cheerleader. These days I’m a size “nunya.” What’s that, you ask? It’s better known as the “nunya business---don’t ask me again” figure. It’s a size Ann Taylor needs to pay close attention to if she’s going to seriously market to baby boomer women.

While doing my morning walk/run on the Duke University cross-country trail today, I resigned myself to the fact that some of these extra pounds I’ve packed on over the last 10 years are NEVER going to come off. My doctor told me it is important to keep in mind that this weight gain is normal and to be expected. Studies have shown that about 90% of menopausal women gain some weight between the ages of 35 and 55. But you may not necessarily have to blame yourself for this newly acquired weight - research now shows that weight gain during menopause is caused by shifts in your hormones, not greedy eating.

So you know what? I can accept that fact as long as I feel good about who I am on the inside and I feel great! Furthermore, I do believe it’s alright for a baby boomer diva to have some meat on her bones because it’s how you work what you’re workin’ with that counts!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Menopause: An Equal Opportunity Annoyer

All of my life I’ve faced some type of discrimination. Either I wasn’t the right sex, race, or age; or in some cases I was shunned because I chose to be a working mother.

But here I am today, proud to say that as a woman going through menopause, I am not being discriminated against. Menopause is an equal opportunity annoyer. Now I know someone is reading this and saying, “Menopause does discriminate because MEN don’t experience it.” But I’m here to tell you that men have their own midlife issues and while they may not be identical to what I experience as a woman, they’re going through their own version of menopause.

September is Menopause Awareness Month---a time when we should educate ourselves on the facts surrounding the subject.

According to the National Women’s Health Resource Center, age at menopause is not influenced by race, height, the number of children a woman has had or whether she took oral contraceptives for birth control.

Some women go through menopause before age 51 and some experience it a bit later. Early menopause is defined as occurring at any age younger than age 40. Early menopause can occur naturally, but premature menopausal symptoms may signal an underlying condition, so it is important to discuss any symptoms with your health care professional.

What does influence the time of menopause? Genetics are a key factor. The age at which your mother stopped her periods may be similar to when you stop your menstrual periods. And women who smoke cigarettes experience menopause two years earlier, on average, than nonsmoking women.

The good thing to know is Menopause is controllable with good nutrition, exercise and a healthy, positive mental attitude. So “Enjoy Your Menopause!” And I hope to see you in Daytona Beach in March.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Menopause Awareness Month

September has been designated as Menopause Awareness Month. According to the American Menopause Foundation (, more than 1,500 American women reach menopause every day.

Why is it important to have menopause awareness? Because the same thing that causes periods to stop also causes menopausal symptoms in two out of three menopausal women. The ovaries stop producing estrogen, potentially causing hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and decreased libido. Regardless of whether or not a woman has menopausal symptoms, the decrease in natural estrogen production increases a woman's risk for several conditions including heart disease, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease.

On a Lighter Note:

Midlife is when you go for a mammogram and you realize that this is the only time someone will ask you to appear topless.

In Midlife the memory starts to go. In fact the only thing most of us can retain is water


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Baby Boomers and Charity

Imagine my surprise when I checked my mailbox and found an invitation to attend a Monte Carlo Night in the San Fernando Valley of California. At first I thought it might’ve been SPAM but when I took a good look at the invite I realized it was from someone I knew.

Cartwright Entertainment has requested the honor of my presence at a $250 per person event on September 29. Oh, and the $250 is just to get in the door. There’s another $250 to “donate” if I want to play in the Texas Hold ‘Em No Limit Poker Tournament. This annual charity event benefits the Devonshire PALS Youth center for at risk kids. It’s an event Nancy Cartwright holds near and dear to her heart.

Now I know you must be wondering, how in the world do I know Nancy—the actress and the infamous “voice” behind the Bart Simpson character? Well, it just so happens this fellow baby boomer and I went to college together and were members of the Forensics Team. Since then, we’ve kept in touch on and off over the years. Nancy is still the same sweet person I remember from back in the day. She hasn’t let success and stardom go to her menopausal head.

I am, indeed, honored, to have received a "personal" invite and you can believe I’m going to do everything in my power to get there. How could I pass up an event that will have an open bar, valet parking, dancing under the stars, with an opportunity to win prizes like: A day on the set of several top TV shows; A Simpsons Pinball Machine signed by the cast; Four tickets to the American Idol Finale 2008.

Certainly, anyone who cares to donate to the “Beverly Mahone Monte Carlo Night Fund” can do so and I’ll be sure to let everyone there know I couldn’t have gotten there without your help. I’ll even pass out your business cards if you like since I know there will be lots of celebrities there to mingle with.

And who knows, I may even be able to convince Nancy to come to my Baby Boomer Girlfriends’ Retreat in March.