Cigna InfographicHalloween is over. Daylight Savings is gone for another year. The holidays are fast approaching. In fact, the days are flipping by faster than a calendar montage in an old black and white movie. This, I find, is what happens as I’ve moved to The Other Side of Sixty. Things get away from me because life is moving double-­time.

I marked mid-­October on my calendar back in August. I knew I wanted to review my Medicare coverage this year and the Annual Election Period runs from October 15 to December 7. We are now into November and I’ve only just begun my research.  

In times past, I had the luxury of ignoring the whole question of navigating my Medicare choices.

My financial situation was such that I just signed on for the top of the line Supplemental, plus Drug coverage, from my provider and thought no more about it. That changed this year. I must look long and hard at what I’m paying for, what I’m getting, and whether I, in fact, need it all. Or need something else. In short, I’m one of the thousands of senior citizens who are reviewing their health and financial goals as we shop for a Medicare plan during this AEP.

I was totally ignorant about the differences between the different kinds of plans. In fact, I’m still not sure if Supplemental is different from Advantage. What I do know is that comparing my husband’s Advantage coverage and my what-ever-­it’s-­called coverage has revealed some shocking facts. For one, he pays much less than I do. For another, his drugs are covered. For a third–­­and this is a big one­­–he has access to a gym membership that I would die for but can’t afford.

When I saw the infographic that Cigna­HealthSpring created for those of us reviewing our Medicare coverage, I realized their tips spoke directly to me:

  • Make a list of your priorities and use it to compare plans: Yes! I thought paying extra so that I wouldn’t be part of some HMO was important for me. I’m not sure what medical problems I’d have to have to make that true, but my primary care physician only refers me to doctors within his large network, and I chose him because he was part of that very medical group.  
  • Be sure your plan offers comprehensive preventive care benefits and use them Oh, okay. I’m so so bad about this. I’ve had referrals from my PCP for a whole range of preventative care benefits and­­ I procrastinate. If I’m going to change to an Advantage plan, I need to make sure those same benefits will be available to me.
  • Know your network: I chose my network because they’re the people who saved my life when I had a ruptured cerebral aneurysm. It’s not just loyalty­­ or that they have my complete records on line going back a decade or so; ­­it’s also that they are one of the top hospital/medical network combos in the country. But­­, and here’s a big but­­, I now live on the other side of town from them. Will I still be able to stay within the same network if I change plans? And if I can’t, will that be a deal breaker for me­­–or can I find a network on this side of LA that would engender the same faith in me?
  • Get rewarded for staying activeYes! Yes! Yes! I want that gym membership. I can’t keep up with changes in my body and activity level that have come with being on The Other Side of Sixty. I need help!
  • Use free resources: There are a number of entities with a stake in America’s seniors being well protected both medically and financially, and they’re offering a variety of free seminars, community and online resources. For example, the free Medicare information guide that I’m using is from Cigna-HealthSpring.

Everyone knows that this whole health care coverage issue is complicated. According to a 2014 Cigna survey, consumers are seeing the connection between health care costs and a secure financial future.  In some ways, those of us who are on The Other Side of Sixty have it easier than those who are pre­-Medicare. But there are still a lot of options and questions and decisions that we need to make, ­­and we need to make them now, before the December 7, 2015 cutoff date.

That’s coming up faster than we think.

I was compensated by Cigna-HealthSpring for writing this post, but the opinions are all mine.


artwork: infographic from Cigna


Was this the summer you promised yourself you’d really get working on your memoir? It’s not too late, you know.

Writing Workshop


I’m offering this half-day workshop in my home to a limited number of writers. We’ll write, we’ll read, and we’ll share our experiences both good and bad in writing memoir. This is very much a hands-on workshop in which everyone will have a chance to be heard.

The cost is $100, which includes lunch. To reserve your place, call me, text me, email me ( or leave a comment here.

I will be requiring that prepayment be made by the 10th of August, at which time I’ll give you directions to my house in Sherman Oaks.



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51102F_VtmnAOne of the side benefits of my trip to the Oaks at Ojai was being introduced to a new skin care line, Skin Authority. You all know what a skin care addict I am,  but with age has also come wisdom: I no longer believe all the benefits that the manufacturers promise. That’s a shame considering that the poreless, smooth complexion I thought would be  mine forever is. Not.

That said, I didn’t have any expectations when I started using the Skin Authority products sent me: the Daily Cleanser, Resurfacing Accelerator and Vitamin A Cell Renewal. In fact, I didn’t begin using them until several months after my Skin Authority Fit & Firm Facial w/AHA. I was in the middle of an Algenist regimen and I wanted to see how that went on its own.

Disappointing is my verdict on the Algenist. Considering how expensive it is and the fact that I saw no real results, I was working on being resigned to the state of my aging skin when I finally tried the Skin Authority products. I followed their brief regimen with little enthusiasm and I spent no time peering into my magnifying mirror to see what wondrous changes were not being wrought. The coach had told me to expect some sloughing or as she called it, “purging the first few days because the Resurfacing Accelerator removes/dissolves several layers of dead skin overnight”, but I had none.

Then one day about a month after I began using Skin Authority, I happened to rest my face on my hand (the thinker’s pose) and–whoa! Is that my skin? When did it get so soft, so almost silky, so moist and firm? A fluke of the weather, maybe? But then I noticed it again and again and I thought–hmmmmm, Skin Authority. Let’s go have a look.

Here’s what I found. I still have the wrinkles; I still have the age spots. What I don’t have are the enlarged pores that I had gained in my mid-60s. As a result, my skin is as close to the poreless, smooth complexion I thought would be  mine forever as I think I shall ever see.

If you want to see what Skin Authority can do for you, they have a full line of products at their website, plus the philosophy behind them which includes coaching with an Esthetics Expert.

Skin Authority sent me the three products for the sole purpose of my trying them and reviewing them. I received no other remuneration. My review is completely based on my own experience.


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NewOneMinuteManager hcI never read Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson’s bestselling The One Minute Manager when it came out in 1982. As a journalist and then an academic, the self-help motivational books that defined corporate organization and the ethos of the ’80s were not part of my world. So I can’t say how their recently-published The New One Minute Manager compares. Of the new version, I can say this:

  • I was expecting something more in heft: a total of 92 pages, most of which consist of 12 lines of print in a font that seems several sizes above the publishing standard, ten or twelve point. Is this a record for the slimmest volume with a $23.99 pricetag?
  • I was also expecting something more in terms of the writing. The ubiquitous young man seeking wisdom which he finds in the person of the ubiquitous older man who shares his three secrets of effective leadership. It’s your basic male questing fable which is, yes, universal (at least to your basic males) but could really do with a tad more in the way of imagination.
  • What I was not expecting was to find that Blanchard and Johnson have, in this slim unadorned volume, encapsulated so much of what our country (our world!) needs to hear, to learn, to practice if we are to survive past the midpoint of the twentyfirst century.

If the first One Minute Manager promulgated the top-down leadership style that has come to epitomize American Business As Usual, the new One Minute Manager is singing a totally different tune. He has come to recognize that the worker of today is not the drone serving only the queen of commerce, but is a full-fledged member of the hive, without whom the success of the entire colony would suffer. Excuse me while I go tripping off on that metaphor…is this perhaps the cause of the great decline in agricultural bees, that they’ve been exploited for financial gain without much consideration for their bee needs? But I digress….  As Blanchard & Johnson write:

“Today, people look for more fulfillment in their work and their lives. They want to feel engaged and make a meaningful contribution. They’re less willing to trade time on the job to satisfy needs outside of work….The New One Minute Manager realizes that attracting and keeping talent is a top priority.”

How does he do that? With One Minute Goals, One Minute Praisings, and One Minute Re-Directs. Gone are the authoritarian Reprimands, because (Blanchard and Johnson are masters at coming up with slogans that encapsulate their philosophy)

  • People Who Feel Good About Themselves Produce Good Results.
  • Help People Reach Their Full Potential. Catch Them Doing Something Right.
  • We Are Not Just Our Behavior. We Are The Person Managing Our Behavior.

Imagine if this New One Minute Manager were to move into the mainstream consciousness as the original did. How might that control our incessant urge to view the world, both large and small, personal and political, as a power struggle in which we must prevail, no matter the costs. I hope we’ll find out.

The publishers, William Morrow, sent me a copy of The New One Minute Manager for the purposes of reviewing it. I received no other remuneration and the opinions are all mine.

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The gateWe live behind a gate. Don’t for a moment, however, think Gated Community with a uniformed attendant screening our visitors. Nor should you imagine one of those  motorized gates where at the flick of a something or other, the gate opens for egress or ingress as appropriate.

No, this is your basic wrought iron, keep intruders out while making them think you have some taste in barriers gate. It is manual. That is, when we drive up, we need to get out of the car and go (yes, go, at least several feet, up a slight incline!) to unlock it with a key. On the other side, when we wish to go out, we need to use said key. In both cases, the moving of the gate requires not a little person-power, i.e., muscles. [click to continue…]

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