Monkey See, Monkey Do: How To Be Role Models for Our Kids

We tell our children not to lie or their noses will grow like Pinocchio. The puppet’s creator Italian author Carlo Collodi, who died in 1890, was a writer and social commentator. He was steeped in an 18th century Italian culture where marionette plays helped teach kids right from wrong.  There are some who believe his children’s story about a naughty puppet had a powerful social message. pinocchio-1193969_640In the original story, Pinocchio’s carpenter father lies, and then so does his puppet son.

One of my kids is getting confirmed this year. The reverend told parents that we need to model the behavior we want to see in our kids. He said that if  we don’t want our kids to drink, take drugs or smoke, then parents shouldn’t do so either.  It’s the old motto:”Monkey see, monkey do.  I couldn’t agree more.  Which brings us to the case of a chain-smoking chimp who learned how to do it from his trainer.   The video is going viral.  You can watch it here.


My advice to parents is to stop mucking around. pinocchio-595732_640-1 Children have a memory of what we do that is longer than Pinocchio’s nose.

Save Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers Before the Wicked Witch’s Hourglass Runs Out

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is heading down the Yellow Brick Road on a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to conserve  Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers.  The Smithsonian is asking the public to help save the slippers, trying to raise $300,000. Over half of the money needed has already been raised in two days.  Judy Garland wore the slippers in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.           


Courtesy of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.

Museum spokesperson Melinda Machado tells me that the slippers have “wear and tear and fading over time you’d expect for something which has been so cherished by the public.” 4e1309997b3410a8e7e02c982c676a68_original

She said the slippers have been damaged by light and need to be restored and preserved in a new state-of-the-art display case.  She said that an anonymous donor bought them at an auction and gave them to the Smithsonian in 1979.  Aside  from cleaning them and briefly loaning them out to places like the Victoria and Albert Museum in England and to Oprah Winfrey’s Show, Machado says this national treasure has been on  continuous display in the American Stories exhibit at the museum.

Kickstarter is a third-party online funding platform where the goal must be met within 30 days.   The launch began on October 17th.  If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, Kickstarter says backers’ credit cards are charged when time expires. If the project falls short, no one is charged. Funding  is all-or-nothing.  If the goal is exceeded, the museum will use the extra funding for outreach and educational programs.

The public can back the project on the Kickstarter page, .  The campaign ends Nov. 16.39c4d0fd73afb878350564ab83deebd5_original

In 2018 the slippers will be moved to a new pop culture exhibit tentatively called On With the Show along with American treasures such as Muhammad Ali’s training robe, Jim Henson’s Muppets, John Coltrane’s saxophone, R2-D2 from Star Wars.

dolls-373469_640-1Another campaign is raising money for other iconic treasures to be displayed at the National Over the Hill Museum in Palm Beach, Florida.  These items  include my bubble cap, stretchy pants and retired flip phone.  So far $1.50 cents has been raised that was pledged by my mother.

the-wizard-of-oz-516687_960_720You can follow the Ruby Slippers campaign on social media using the hashtag #KeepThemRuby. Tony Award-winning Broadway costume designer William Ivey Long  has created an exclusive, custom Ruby Slippers design for many of the rewards given to project backers.  These include rewards for contributions from $10 to $100, including digital and printed posters, a decal, tote bag and t-shirt.  Long will sign and “hand-glitterize” posters at the $500 reward level. Other rewards include a custom hand-sewn replica pair of the Ruby Slippers by Randy Struthers, and a behind-the-scenes look  at the Ruby Slippers at the museum.

You Better Pass on the Crumpets and Prune Juice

If you want to fudge about  your age, it’s not just sitting and knitting that will give you away.  Pass on breakfast.crumpets-1385193_1280

BuzzFeed  says that what you eat for breakfast gives your age away.  They even have a test you can take here.

I took the Buzzfeed test and my choices reveal that I’m 24 years old.

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-10-05-11-amcereal-635741_640Even though Ovaltine and Raisin Bran weren’t on the menu, I found this result very surprising for someone who is over the hill.  The test told me that I like convenience.  If eating a convenient breakfast is actually making me younger, maybe I should head over to a fast food place.   McDonald says it’s serving breakfast all day.  So if I eat a savory sausage, egg and cheese McGriddles at midnight while watching The Late Show, I may be able to hold off on the cold cream.

A fisheye image of a woman dressed for a beach vacation guzzling a fancy cocktail.

If that doesn’t do the trick, tossing out the OJ and having a Ponce de Leon cocktail may help me find the Fountain of Youth.



Hairdresser Gives Birth to Baby with Bouffant Hair Who Is Mane Attraction

There is a baby who has become an internet sensation because of his hair. Junior Cox-Noon from Brighton, England was born with a full head of hair. His mum is a hairdresser which comes in handy since he has so much hair that he needs to have it blow-dried. The Daily Mail Online in England is reporting that it takes his mother two hours to food shop because so many people stop to comment about her son’s amazing locks. Meet little Junior nicknamed “Baby Bear” by his mom Chelsea Noon.

There is an old wives’ tale that says the stronger the heartburn during pregnancy the more hair a baby will have. The Daily Mail says Chelsea suffered from heartburn during her pregnancy with Junior.  He is now two months old and his mother says none of his hair has fallen out.


A  Johns Hopkins study found that there is actually a correlation between how severe a pregnant woman’s heartburn is and the amount of hair her baby will have.   So if hairy heads run in your family, you better load up on the Tums.

pool-1593845_640Another study conducted by Over the Hill Mom found a connection between playing pool when you’re pregnant and having a baby who is bald as a cue ball.

How Mother Hens Can Cope When Their Kids Fly the Coop

When our children are young we measure the milestones. When they are grown and far we measure the miles and the minutes we get  to see them. boy-526223_960_720 I have two older children who live very far away and miss them each day. One friend whose child just moved said:”You spend the whole time raising them desperate for a moment to yourself, and when they leave you hope for a moment together.”  So true.

I won’t be an empty nester anytime soon since I had a third child in my forties. Even so, I miss the ones who are gone.

It’s lonely settling into a new routine without your kids.   It really hits you for the first when you drop them at college.  I’ve done this twice.  The first few weeks are really tough. You even miss their footsteps at 2:00 am in the morning – fumbling in their pockets for their cell phones to wake you up like you ever went to sleep not knowing where they were.  I sobbed when my kids left for college.

I cried when they graduated and moved away.   I cry each time they come and go.  I’m probably personally responsible for an increase in Kleenex sales.   I do talk to parents who say: “It’s time,” when their kids leave.   I never felt this way. I’m a helicopter parent and mothers like me probably have the hardest time.  We are used to doing everything for our kids.  My husband always tells me to be happy  that the kids are developing  the skills to live on their own.

The Free Dictionary defines a basket case as  “a person who is suffering from extreme nervous strain; nervous wreck.” Here’s how to prevent the basket case blues when kids fly the coop:


  • Avoid sitting in your child’s room  unless you enjoy going to funerals
  • Wait until they dump whoever they dated before putting together their graduation photo albums  so you can get those pictures photoshopped
  •  Set a date when you know you’ll visit the child if they’ll let you
  • Resist calling and wait until they call so they don’t think you are a desperate housewife

Remember that it’s tough for children too.   They get used to living on their own.  When they come home it isn’t about rules and curfews anymore. chicks-1433003_960_720-1 They don’t want some real mother hen clipping their wings or hatching up plans and feeding them worms.starbucks-569062_960_720  They want to head to the Hen House Market  and get  a chicken panini and a caffè latte at Starbucks and call it a day.


Wax Museum Stiffs Separated:Angelina and Brad Divorce

You would think that an earthquake has hit LA as Hollywood megastars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie call it quits.  Rumors are swirling everywhere like aftershocks since the news broke that Jolie filed papers Monday to end her two-year marriage.  CNN says she cited irreconcilable differences.  So much for finding and keeping  love  in the limelight.  Brangelina is no more. It’s all come to a sorry end, the way it did with Brad’s first wife Jennifer Aniston.

But just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, comes news from Madame Tussauds that the museum has separated the wax figures they have of Brad and Angelina.  A spokesman in the U.S. provided this statement for Over the Hill Mom:

“Following the news that has shocked celebrity watchers worldwide, we can confirm we have separated Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s figures. Both figures remain in the attraction, now at a respectful distance from each other.” – Madame Tussauds Hollywood & Las Vegas.

The announcement was confirmed on Twitter.

The Twitter announcement came from Madame Tussauds London. The wax museum founded in London has branches in a number of major cities.  I’ve been to the museums in London and Hollywood.  This certainly is crushing news.  I’m sure that many of us will wax nostalgic and regret that things aren’t what they used to be.

The couple has six children.  We all know that divorce is tough on kids.  Some experts say that a friendly divorce is better on kids than a nasty marriage.

Her lawyer has released a statement to Reuters asking for privacy saying Jolie will not comment at this  time.  It looks like Angelina will be taking the high road, even if Brad has been the pits.



Where to Send Your Child to College: Avoiding ‘Time Bomb’ Roommates

If  you’re biting your nails and grinding your teeth wondering where to send your child to college,  U.S. News & World Report  has just released the 2017 Best Colleges rankings.  Princeton University has the topped the list of  Best National Universities again.

2017 U.S. News Best National Universities

  1. Princeton University (NJ)
  2. Harvard University (MA)
  3. University of Chicago (IL) (tie)
  4. Yale University (CT) (tie)
  5. Columbia University (NY) (tie)
  6. Stanford University (CA) (tie)
  7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  8. Duke University (NC) (tie)
  9. University of Pennsylvania (tie)
  10. Johns Hopkins University (MD)

I’m always happy to see my alma mater, Duke University,  make the list. I turned down an Ivy League to go there.  They didn’t have the U.S. News rankings then, but all of the Ivies were placed  higher at the time.  I was cleaning out a closet at my parents’ house last year after Dad died.  I found the Columbia University acceptance letter in an album along with five departmental prizes from my junior year in high school. Did I make the wrong choice?  There’s an old saying, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Looking back, I picked the right school  for me.  Duke had the programs that I wanted.  Would I feel this way if the school wasn’t so highly ranked today?   I didn’t care then, and I don’t care now.  Some of the criteria used to rank seems bogus.  The Wall Street Journal has just come out with it’s own U.S. college rankings that  “pull back” from traditional measures like SAT scores or the accept rate and look at how engaged students feel and how well graduates do.   WSJ ranks Stanford and MIT  higher than the Ivies.  WSJ doesn’t rank some of the Ivies too well.

  1. Stanford University
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  3. Columbia University
  4. University of Pennsylvania
  5. Yale University
  6. Harvard University
  7. Duke University
  8. Princeton University
  9. Cornell University
  10. California Institute of Technology

It all comes down to how you look at it.  There are many good schools that employers recruit from. Did you notice how my alma mater bumped up a spot?


Winnie Chen Twitter Post

Parents should worry more about what happens when their child  gets to campus.  There is a dramatic email exchange between future college roommates  that is going viral.  It’s at one of the U.S. News & World Report’s highly ranked public colleges.  In a Twitter post, incoming UCLA freshman Winnie Chen showed  screenshots from the purported email exchange.  One of her two future  roommates, only referred to as Ashly, sends an angry list of demands to Chen and refers to herself as a “ticking time bomb.”

 “I want the desk that’s near the widow.  Plain and simple…Don’t try me,” writes Ashly who admits she has “anger issues.”

 You can read more about the exchange in an interview with Chen on The Tab.

My advice, have your freshman request a single.  If that fails, make sure your child packs a wire cutter and some running shoes.

Middle-Aged Mother Gretchen Carlson Gets Apology from Fox

A middle-aged mother of two has toppled a cable news empire’s powerful chairman. Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox Television anchor, took on her old boss and won. CNN is reporting that Fox is set to pay $20 million to settle a lawsuit with Carlson who accused Roger Ailes of sexually harassing her. CNN’s Brian Stelter has more.

Legal experts have taken to the airwaves after the swift decision, saying the repercussions from this settlement will be felt across corporate America for years to come. I am a former broadcast journalist. What happened to Gretchen Carlson isn’t as unusual as you would think. For decades in broadcast news, women like myself silently suffered through this demeaning treatment at the hands of male bosses. One network producer I worked for in New York City rebuked me when I repeatedly rejected his sexual advances.  He told me that I didn’t get how the system worked. “There is no your way,” he told me, “there is only our way.” Well, Carlson certainly showed him. It’s a shame it took so long.

On Carlson’s Twitter page she describes herself as:
“Journalist, wife, mama, warrior for women, 100% believer in life motto Carpe diem, author of Getting Real.” She knows herself well.

I think a lot of women devalue themselves as they get older. Carlson’s victory against a cable news channel shows us that a mature, self-assured woman has a lot to offer. I believe that women are more confident in their 50s. This gutsy 50-year-old trailblazer has made the road ahead easier for our girls. You can see the apology from 21st Century Fox on Carlson’s website where she states that:

“I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life in which I will redouble my efforts to empower women in the workplace. I want to thank all the brave women who came forward to tell their own stories and the many people across the country who embraced and supported me in their #StandWithGretchen. All women deserve a dignified and respectful workplace.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Fox News should have thought twice before they let the fox guard the hen house.  But ultimately,  it was a foxy lady, and not the fox, who killed the pig.

Can a Digitally Impaired Blogger Make It in an Internet Age?


When I thought about starting a blog, I had that childlike feeling of elation …  like when you find a light-up Saber spoon in your Froot Loops or first learn how to roller blade without crashing headfirst into the garage door.  But how would a  middle age mother raised on an Olivetti typewriter and a push button phone figure out how to set up a blog? Uggh! I am digitally impaired and dyslexic. I probably would have a better shot trying to learn morse code than computer code.

Since I started blogging in 2014,  I still can’t wrap my head around  some of the basics like how to link my posts to my Facebook fan page. Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 8.35.18 PM There is no number to call at Facebook.  I can’t find one for WordPress either.  Instead, these companies direct you to help forums where other pathetic, digitally impaired bloggers ask the same questions hoping you know something they don’t know about plugins or backlinks to build a blog and an audience.  Good luck if you’re counting on me.  Until a month ago, I couldn’t even figure out how to comment on another blog until I read a beginners guide  from  blogger Darragh Doyle. I highly recommend it for other bloggers who need a little dumbing down.


I think children today are born knowing how to surf the web. They live in an age where life is driven by the internet.   But it’s all still Greek to me.  I resist change and still won’t give up my flip phone.

“You are an embarrassment with that phone,” my oldest daughter said trying to grab it out of my hand over lunch at a restaurant  in the Upper East Side of New York City recently.  “We can’t even communicate,” she huffed.  “You are from the ice age,” she blurted out, before stating that she could only spend short amounts of time with me because I get on her nerves.  I guess my unfavorable rating with my daughter is as high as the one for Donald Trump in the latest Washington Post/ABC News survey.  Seven out of ten things I say annoy my daughter.

When she insisted that I get an iPhone and wanted to head to the Apple Store, I still wouldn’t budge.  Old habits die hard.

 “You’d be a better blogger with an iPhone,” she told me saying I could be keeping up on all the latest apps, tweets and trends and shoot video to drive traffic to my blog.

 sapm-909485_960_720It took me over a year to figure out how to add share buttons to my posts.  I think I added too many buttons, but I’m afraid to edit anything that actually works.  My best advice to the digitally impaired is to try to master at least one concept a day.  YouTube tutorials are easy to follow.  You’d be surprised at how fast you can catch up this way. Simply put a question in the YouTube search bar and someone usually has made a video with the answer.  These YouTubers have mastered the key to being successful in the digital age.  People who can solve a problem and provide valuable content get views.

People send private messages all the time asking me why I don’t syndicate my blog by having an RSS feed.  I’m lucky if I feed the kids.  I never find time to cook.  So the next time you hear me talking about spam, I’ll probably be eating a cold sandwich out of the can.


The Dryer Ate My Gym Socks and Other Lame Excuses for Not Working Out

As I stare down at the scale, I have that feeling of dread…like when you find a hair in your soup or the man on the bank line in front of you is wearing a ski mask.  Uggh!!  I’ve gained another pound.  How did I do it? Too little rhubarb, too much spiked seltzer!  I step on and off the scale a few times.  First I remove my socks, then my earrings, and finally in desperation I fling off the wedding ring.  But the number doesn’t change.  I am packing on  pounds faster than a sumo wrestler on steroids.


You know you’re overweight when you step into the elevator and a stampede of people run out fearing the weight capacity has been exceeded. You notice that it’s not just shoes, but clothes that come in wide sizes.  You pull a disappearing act with the bowl of Halloween candy.  When you go to the car wash, they find Tootsie Roll wrappers under the front seat of your Volvo, a melted Hershey’s chocolate bar sticking to the registration in your glove compartment, and half-eaten candy eyeballs you got on sale at Walmart hidden in the trunk.

belly-2354_960_720Everyone knows your metabolism slows as you get older.  So why aren’t I working out?  I have been coming up with a variety of lame excuses like: the dryer ate my gym socks, my husband likes a woman with meat on her bones, and I have an embarrassing hole in my sneaker.

Okay, so by now you realize that I make a lot of excuses for myself.  All summer long I work hard to control my weight and stay fit, but as we head into the holidays my good intentions fly south for the winter.  Like a lot of women, I have gained and lost the same ten pounds for my entire adult life.  I was talking to a woman recently  at a luncheon.  She told me, “I hate looking in the mirror every day and seeing another mole, or fold under my chin, or gray hair.”

“Let me guess?” I added.  “You can’t stand feeling over the hill.”

“Yeah,” she said patting the bottom of her chin. “It STINKS!!”

I feel that same way about my middle age bulge.  Why can’t I ever get a handle on this?  I’ve done some soul-searching which leads to questions like, “If Marie Osmond can do it why can’t I?”

Or this: “Where is Richard Simmons when you need him to tell you how to get a terrific workout from a chair?” And: “Does Dr. Oz know the Wizard of Oz?” Perhaps I just don’t have the motivation or discipline that all the fitness gurus claim you can muster with the latest fad diet, pill or exercise plan.

My idea of a workout is going to the Y and sitting on a mat and doing a few Diary of a Wimpy Kid type stretches.  Then I’ll give it a go for a few minutes on the elliptical machine. I barely break a sweat before my bad knee starts aching or my trick elbow starts to twitch. I don’t think Fitness Magazine is going to put me on the cover anytime soon.   So next time you go to the beach and think there is a huge, hairy porpoise or a whale struggling in the water, don’t call the Coast Guard. It’s only me.

Editor’s Note:This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been revamped. Unfortunately, my figure has remained the same.