Dear Mum

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Family | 6 Comments

A good friend’s mother died recently. I felt an immediate pang of sorrow for her, but in the days following the pang grew and deepened, and the feelings awoken by my friend’s loss have taken me into unexpected places.

My mother, who never once ventured outside England, died a few years ago. I had not lived in England for over 30 years, but ten months before her death I left the U.S. and returned “home.” I had no clear idea why I was returning. Read more

Come Fly With Me: Travel Tips

Filed Under All Posts, Group Posts, Travel | 6 Comments


The days of Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) have become the days of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and stylish stewardesses (AKA flight attendants) have come and gone. With today’s travel more of a challenge than a delight, we gals at Fifty is the New… thought we’d share some travel dos and don’ts to help make the journey more comfortable, stylish and hassle-free.

Got tips? Share your own travel advice in the Comments section! Read more

I Still Miss You

Filed Under All Posts, Carine Fabius | 7 Comments

Photo by Pascal Giacomini

I was at an art opening a couple of months ago and was stopped in my tracks by a painting. Lately it’s become very trendy to include text in artwork. Does it come from a fear of not being heard through the art medium alone? Is it a need to be heard LOUD AND CLEAR? I don’t know, but I tend to like it, and to be drawn to it. Maybe because the endless supply of sad goings on in our world sometimes make me want to scream out loud?

In any case, the painting in question held me captive for a long time as I stared at the words: I still miss you. The words conveyed emotion, longing, and a fleeting sense of despair. Read more

Being Bea Arthur

Filed Under All Posts, Connie Stetson, Humor, Media, Pop Culture | 6 Comments

Bea Arthur as Maude

I complained to my friend Cathy, not so very long ago, that menopause was making my voice sound like Bea Arthur (if you’re around my age you’ll remember Maude); and she said soothingly, “Ohh, sweetie, you don’t sound like Bea Arthur, you sound like Harvey Fierstein.” It’s the same thing. I had hoped that as I aged I’d purr like Lauren Bacall, but no… I rasp like a drag queen. Like Bea Arthur.

Now I do have to admit that I never emitted tones anyone ever called dulcet. More Ethel Merman than Ethel Barrymore, more gym teacher than yoga instructor. Read more

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish

Filed Under All Posts, Family, Parenting, Prudence Baird | 11 Comments

The author\'s children in 2004, with dreams of Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest dancing in their heads

“Tim must be doing very well!” I can almost hear my friend Sarah’s eyebrows hitting her hairline when I tell her my family is going to England and Scotland for a month this summer.

Yeah, this summer—when a cup of London Starbucks is ₤3, the equivalent of $6.

Even though Sarah didn’t exactly ask the question, she did beg it: Why on earth would a sane person, let alone a family of four, hop the pond now when the dollar is in the toilet and even the esteemed New York Times Travel section trumpets “Europe? It’s way too expensive!” Read more

Gumby is Fuzzy

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Humor, Style | 12 Comments

Gumby dans la douche

I’ll admit it. I need reading glasses.

It took some time for me acknowledge this publicly. A few years back, this was the scenario: I’d be out to dinner at a dimly lit restaurant. It was bad enough that I couldn’t hear (that’s the fashion these days, over-packed rooms with hard surfaces feigning a ‘happening’ atmosphere), but I couldn’t see, either. Casually trying to hold the menu a few inches away, then farther, a bit farther, finally at arms length—didn’t fool anyone. While my girlfriends of a similar age would whip out their fashionable specs, I would scoff because at age 48, I was still able read the fine print, in the perfect light, that is. But alas, I got older and Gumby got fuzzy. Read more

Fierce AND Beautiful

Filed Under All Posts, Melissa Howden, Politics | 4 Comments

Photo by Ted Howden

My brother recently sent me photographs of my nine-year-old niece Emily, playing soccer. The photos arrived (real prints in the mail!) at the same time I was pondering (deeply) the nature of social change and how long it really takes.

Like many others I know, I was deeply disappointed not to have a female presidential nominee this time around. But I will work my a** off to help get Senator Obama elected. I will gladly take progressive patriarchy and Michelle Obama as First Lady over the dark, stupid, evil epoch of the last eight years any day. Coinciding with my 51st birthday, the State of California began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. But as with many hard won victories over the years (Roe v Wade among them) we will have to fight continuously to maintain the rights we should have had in the first place. Change is slow, but fighting, work and vigilance make it possible. Read more

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