...where every woman over 50 is TOP DOG!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dogs Rule!

Dancing dogs. One joyful dog with only two left legs. The tiniest dog. Footage of the largest dog. A dog who does math problems—without a calculator. A Golden Retriever who nurses tiger cubs. A dog, rescued hours before he was to be put down, doing “handstands” for Oprah.

Pretty doggone amazing. WOOFers sure picked great role models. Even though there are those in the canine community who come to an untimely end, through no fault of their own. But right now that’s not the intent of this post.

This post celebrates people who stand up for animal rights. Folks, like the caregivers at Angel Gate who believe in nurturing animals disabled from neglect or abuse by focusing on what they can do. Not on what they can’t.

Oh, and how do the dogs in their care respond to that kind of treatment? Come here. Let me lick your nose, and I’ll show you.

d.d. dawg (Diana)


I recently saw the movie, The Women, and was struck by a conversation two characters had concerning the fact that women often “shrink to fit” their mates.

Since we are generally, by nature, “people pleasers,” I think most of us often give up a lot-- or give in too much-- in many of our relationships. We start by trying to be the daughter we think we are supposed to be, adjust to blend into our husband’s life and schedule, and make major “shrink to fit” sacrifices when we have children.

I think that is one of the many advantages of being over 50. Most of us have more freedom now, and no longer have to “shrink to fit” anyone. Not that we don’t always want to try to please others, as well as practice compromise in our relationships. It is just that, in our middle years, we can embrace just being who we are. We can spread our wings to their fullest span and fly! Nothing is there to hold us back.

Hopefully, we learned things like patience, persistence and appreciation for the world around us during our “shrink to fit” days. So when we do get that chance to fly, we take our time, sail through the currents, and soar higher than we could have in our younger years. And that is when we realize that the view is so much more spectacular when you have waited a while to see it.

Melinda--"Mad Dog"

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Wiley WOOFer

I could see she had spunk when she marched into the booth.

“Hello there…” I began my usual pitch.

She grabbed a copy of WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty, and thumbed through the pages. “I’ll take it.”

“Great,” I said. “Is there someone special you’d like me to inscribe it to?”

“Yeah.” She beamed, pointing at her chest. “Me!”

Handing over the signed book, I thanked her and commented, “I love it when a woman gets it for herself.”

With a snort, she turned on her heel and called over her shoulder. “Sometimes that’s the only way you get it!”

WOOFer wisdom at work.

Diana (d.d. dawg)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

TaeKwondo at 51!

Kim Kistler Grobholz, "L. A." born and raised, moved to Frankfurt, Germany in 1970 after meeting and marrying her first husband who she met hiking as a student in Austria. She has two children and has lived in Munich for the past 17 years. She studied music and history at the University of Maryland, and later trained as a veterinary practitioner. She now has her own clinic in Munich. (In the picture with her is her "golden love," Buddy.)

By the time I reached 50, my 26-year-old daughter had her brown belt in Taekwondo after 5 years of regular, dedicated training. She infected me so with her enthusiasm for this Martial Art, that by the time I turned 51, I told myself that I´d try it…if I could get out of bed the next morning after my first training. And I did!

The idea of turning my body into a “fighting machine,” was humorously encouraging. Learning one form after another was a tedious and often frustrating challenge (24 in total. I'm at # 10). The belt tests – which often involved humiliating failures at trying to break a board with a kick or hit - took place every year, from white to yellow to green to blue to red and ultimately – what I hope to be achieving soon – black. This is my 10th year, and the boards break easier as training becomes more intensive and my energy better channeled.

I am almost always the oldest in the group, but that never bothers me. It has been nice to work out with so many young people over the years, to share the same goals and challenges. When it comes to sparring and other exercises, age plays no role, as nature gives us all strengths as well as weaknesses, and both are there to be worked on and transformed.

Martial Arts bring benefits that spill over into one´s daily life. Practicing falls take the fear out of them, bones are strengthened through percussive training and warm-ups, and I noticed quite early that my piano and cello playing improved remarkably. It has something to do with that “Chi-flow” which is what Martial Arts are all about.

It seems that the body is so grateful for improvements as one grows older, benefits, even in memory and concentration, make themselves noticeable. Aging can mean poorer blood circulation as time goes on, but with dedicated training not only muscle tone improves from tip to toe), but the inner organs remain well supplied with nourishment, which our skin reflects.

Turning 60 a few weeks ago, I never felt more vital, healthier, or stronger in my life. I got through those years of physical change without hormone therapy, and finally have the figure I´ve always wanted!

A great gift from my daughter who has been my inspiration.

Thanks, Kim for sharing your inspiring story!

Mary Cunningham (Milkbone)

Mary Cunningham Books

Sunday, September 14, 2008

"OLD" Friends

Remember when, in the 60s and 70s, one marketing strategy manufacturers used to entice shoppers to snatch their laundry soap off the grocery shelf was to include a “gift” inside each “specially marked” box? Customers proudly stood in line at the cash register, confident their detergent was, in fact, “stronger than dirt,” and a bit smug that they were savvy enough to spot and take advantage of an added bonus – a bath towel. Who cared that it was yet another item to be laundered and therefore increased the need to buy more detergent. It was free!

Oh, and what lovely towels they were. They were decorated with big splashy roses. Red and pinkish roses, in all their full-bloom glory, from one end of the cloth to the other. Speaking of fabric, one must assume that in order to package each towel along with the powder detergent, it had to be fairly thin. It may not, however, explain why the texture of every towel was like that of an emery board.

So there we were, back in the day, my “old” friend and me, at the A&P in our small Southern Indiana hometown. In a hurry, we’d split the shopping list, Carol taking one half of the store, me the other.

What happened next created one of those moments when time stands still. Often in those instances, it takes a second to comprehend just what has occurred. But on this day, unfortunately, I knew exactly what I had heard. And then I heard it again.


It was Carol, at the other end of the store, on the detergent aisle. She’d spotted the brightly colored box that we’d just seen advertised on TV for the hundredth time. With the same zeal as the lady in the ad, though with not quite the same size viewing audience, but believe me, it was big enough, Carol was reenacting the commercial.

Just the other day we were again together in a grocery store. Trying to select the best fruit, with the produce manager restocking right next to her, Carol kept dropping bananas on the floor – then placing them back on the display.

I will forever be grateful she didn’t burst into a rendition of “I’m a Chiquita banana…”

I wouldn’t have put it past her though. She still has the spunk to do such things and does so without shame. I just think this time it slipped her mind.

Age has its rewards. Like two “old” friends still shopping together.

Carol (Proffitt) is an original in many respects...only one of which is being a charter member of WOOF. For a story about her delightful mother, check out WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty!

Diana aka d.d. dawg

Monday, September 8, 2008

Should I Apologize?

Walking on a nature path near my home this morning, I spot a "senior" gentleman pushing a baby stroller and slowly moving toward me.

But, what got my attention was the cutest Basset Hound puppy on a leash trotting alongside the stroller. It was love at first sight! Especially since I once had a Basset named Wilbur.

The man introduced me to Daisy and she obligingly rolled over on her back so I could rub her warm puppy tummy. The gentleman and I talked for about 10 minutes about how he'd lost his 19-year-old beagle in April and still wasn't over it (evidenced by the tears in his eyes). I chimed in about our 16-year-old mix, Molly and how we were struggling with the "inevitable."

We exchanged good-byes and continued on separate paths. I still had a smile on my face thinking of Daisy when I stopped and realized in horror that I not only hadn't asked about his grandchild sitting quietly in the stroller, I didn't even know if it was a boy or girl!!

What kind of grandparent am I?? The woofie-loving kind, I guess.

To read a story about Wilbur, read WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty

Mary Cunningham (Milkbone)

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Number Too BIG To Ignore!

Fifty. The number catches the attention. Not only of women reaching that milestone, but women younger and older than 50, men of all ages and even “tweens.”

This claim is based on the past weekend’s Decatur Book fest. In the Echelon booth, perched on a stand, stacked on a table, here, there, everywhere…were copies of Women Only Over Fifty, a big old 50 plastered on a red cover. Yep, hard to ignore.

So for two days I met the most wonderful people who were drawn to that number. Men who bought our book for their spouses—to show support if their wives were feeling a little anxious about turning 50 or to honor the fact their partner had accepted it with grace. Young women who bought the book to celebrate a sister or an aunt who would soon quality as a WOOFer or were already enjoying the decade. A young man bought it for his mother. A junior high student stood staring at the cover for the longest time, drawn to it for reasons I will never know, and maybe she hasn’t even yet processed.

Then there were the women of this “certain age” who couldn’t wait to buy it for another friend who was crossing that threshold either willingly or being dragged.

Perhaps the women who touched me the most, when I asked who they wanted the book dedicated to, were the ones who proudly pointed to themselves and answered, “Me!” I particularly remember one woman who then quickly added, “I deserve to be nice to myself.” I told her, she was the reason we wrote the book. She represents the best of this WOOFer breed.

WOOFers. Women not afraid to embrace (with vigor!) wherever they are on their path. Especially so when times are challenging and unfamiliar. But on we go. Head held high and humor well intact!

A big thank you to ALL you wonderful people who stopped by the booth and made my weekend!

The book sales were great. Which means: There are a lot of us out there, in numbers too big to ignore,
and we’re gonna…

WOOF on!

Diana (d.d.dawg)