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

Friday, May 28, 2010

Support One Of Our Own! Charter WOOFer Dot Patterson

There are some WOOFers who simply grab your heart and won’t let go. Like Dot Patterson, one of the original WOOF pack. “Pedigree” (an appropriate WOOFer name to reflect her blue-blood heritage!) lives life to its fullest no matter what it hands her.

We first met in our 30’s during the “songwriting” phase of our lives. Every other month or so, Mary, Dot and I would put pedal to the metal traveling from Louisville, KY, to Nashville, TN, pumped that Music City’s country song publishers and top ten artists would roll out the red "song-contract" carpet for us. Alas, after crushing (but honest!) critiques and disappointing appointments, we’d steer our car north on I65 and high tail it out of “Dodge.”

Looking back, those were such great times. No, we never achieved our goals of a Number One Hit Song or a Grammy, but we actually accomplished something far more valuable: a lifelong friendship.

So in 1996 when Dot was diagnosed with MS, it was a blow to us all. How can this vibrant, beautiful woman—a woman who sings like Carline Carter and belly dances and has an amazing talent and eye for gardening, fashion, decorating and art—be hit with such news?

Well, as it turns out, just like every time we returned from those sad song sojourns, Dot was the first to bounce back and move forward.

Today, Dot’s doing so well, her doctor says she’s his “poster child.” Since starting Copaxone therapy, she hasn’t relapsed. Still she must use a cane or walker to get about which means she can’t carry or walk with her grandbabies. Sometimes it takes both hands to move one leg, and yes, that can be a bit frustrating. Never one to lose her sense of humor, she laughs that maybe she should use her good leg to kick her bad one out of the way!

One way Dot stays emotionally healthy is her involvement with MS volunteering and fundraising. She says, “I find it truly empowering and the benefits have spilled over into all aspects of my life. You quit feeling like a victim and join the human race again.”

Her husband, Phil, is right there supporting her both at home and with volunteering. For each of the last 13 years he’s participated in the two-day 150-mile bike ride fundraiser in the beautiful landscape of Kentucky horse farms. This year's event is June 5 & 6, and both Dot and Phil are actively participating.

I'm personally committed to helping "Team Dot" raise funds for the MS Society in an effort to educate people on the disease and find a cure. 87% of the money raised goes back into communities as well as MS and related autoimmune diseases research.

If you’d like to join Team Dot, there are a couple of ways you can do that. On Facebook, on the left-hand column of my profile page is a secure place to donate ("Support Me"). It is linked to the MS Society and "Team Dot" will receive credit! You can also donate through my profile page provided here by the MS Society.

Thanks in advance for reading about this amazing woman, our very own original WOOFer! And also for your donation of any amount.

As I like to say about Bike MS 2010: On Course for Team Dot & A Cure for MS!

-- Diana

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

WOOF: 50 Women Over 50 - Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

In 1996, Harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor herself experienced a brain hemorrhage so severe that, it would take her eight years to completely recover.

In her best-selling memoir My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey (Viking Penquin), Dr. Jill shares her medical recommendations for recovery from stroke. But perhaps more poignantly, she opens up about the loss of left-brain skills and the resulting shifting away from “reality.” And how in that place, without being able to do such things as categorize, organize or judge, she discovered living in the moment and being “at one with the universe.”

Time Magazine chose her as one of 2008’s most influential people in the world. And rightfully so. Perhaps this taken from her website says it best: “Based upon her academic training and personal experience, Jill helps others not only rebuild their brains from trauma, but helps those of us with normal brains better understand how we can ‘tend the garden of our minds’ to maximize our quality of life. She pushes the envelope in our understanding about how we can consciously influence the neural circuitry underlying what we think, how we feel, and how we react to life’s circumstances.”

Though it’s not quite the recognition given by Time, this week’s Wednesday WOOFer Award goes to Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor for opening all of our minds to new thoughts and possibilities!
pictured above with her mother who was by her side throughout her recovery


For more Women Only Over Fifty thoughts & stories:
WOOF available through Amazon and Echelon Press!

Accentuate The Pawsitive!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

50 Women Over 50: Lena Horne

Lena Calhoun Horne was born on June 30, 1917, in Brooklyn, N.Y. The daughter of Edwin F. Horne, a civil servant and numbers runner, and Edna (Scottron) Horne, an actress, she came from a politically prominent family.

She appeared in films such as, Cabin In the Sky and Stormy Weather - the title song becoming her signature, but turned down other films because she refused to be cast as a domestic or other stereotypical roles.

Racial prejudice dogged her much of her life, but Lena Horne refused to let it get the best of her. Even when she was passed over for roles such a 1946 Broadway revival of Show Boat, being the choice of the musical's composer, Jerome Kern. She would also be passed over for the role in the 1951 film version in favor of the non-singing Ava Gardner. In a further irony, Ms. Gardner's skin was darkened for the part!

She was awarded the NAACP's highest honor, the Spingarn Medal, in 1983, and was a Kennedy Center honoree in 1984. The winner of two Grammy Awards and the best-selling album by a woman in the history of the RCA label, "Lena Horne at the Waldorf-Astoria," she died at the age of 92.

To read more about this amazing performer, who was light years ahead of her time, click on Wikipedia and Boston.com


For more Women Only Over Fifty thoughts & stories:
WOOF available through Amazon and Echelon Press!

Accentuate The Pawsitive!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

WOOF - 50 Women Over 50: Sandra Boynton

She claims Philadelphia’s where she grew up, if indeed she ever really did.

And aren’t we glad she probably didn’t. Grow up, that is.

Since 1975, a couple years after she first began designing cards which she sweet-talked her uncle into printing, Sandra Boynton has delighted millions with simple greetings that speak volumes. (Bet more than a few of you remember opening an envelope with cake-icing-coated fingers and smiling to “Hippo Birdie Two Ewes.”)

So why, you ask, does a woman who “plays” with pictures and simple ideas deserve the coveted WOOFer Wednesday Award?!?!

Because she’s been true to herself for half a century. Yep. She dared to drop out of Berkeley and Yale, of all things! And instead of taking the road more traveled, she went with a career that felt right for her. And she's even said it never occurred to her that she might fail. On her website she writes:

“I choose the projects I do and products I design somewhat at whim, and only if there’s a company that looks interesting to work with. I only 'license' what I can develop and design myself, rather than letting companies adapt my characters according to their own sense and sensibility. I have no agent, no business manager, no contracts attorney. This is a rather haphazard way to do things, but it’s more fun than an actual plan. Since I’m not sufficiently committed to Optimizing Market Potential, I seem to be a bewilderment and, one hopes, a minor annoyance to many.”

Oh, Ms Boynton, we can’t imagine you’d ever annoy anyone with your happy, humble humor. Ewe Quack Us Up!

Photo: Jamie McEwan


For more Women Only Over Fifty thoughts & stories:
WOOF available through Amazon and Echelon Press!

Accentuate The Pawsitive!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

50 Women Over 50: Barbara McPherson - Granny Basketball

"It's something to do with your arms besides reach into the cupboards," says founder Barb McPherson, 62, who organized the first game as a one-time fund-raiser. The inaugural game of the Granny Basketball League was last August in Lansing, Iowa. Since then seniors have been bouncing balls in their bloomers, all over the state.

"It's very energizing. The instant you're on the court, your brain thinks, 'I'm 16. I can shoot,'" says Linda Toerper, 63, coach for the Cedar Rapids Sizzlers in the American Profile article. "It's like being a kid again."

The stands are filled with cheering grandchildren who sometimes question the politeness of the Granny League. "We don't tend to apologize after we foul," says 15-year-old Devin Keenan who watches his grandmother, Betty Vieman. "Or hug each other," his mother adds.

That's not the only difference. The women play in 1920's era bloomers! They don't mind, though. It's all in the spirit of fun and authenticity.

They did have to add a rule, though: Players must be at least 50 years old and able "to sustain moderate physical activity for several minutes without collapsing." Sounds like the perfect sport for WOOFers!

"We're expecting this to sweep the country," says McPherson, who is writing a rule book for granny basketball. She calls it The Joy of Six.

Granny Basketball


For more Women Only Over Fifty thoughts & stories:

WOOF available through Amazon and Echelon Press!

Accentuate The Pawsitive!