Archive for the ‘Aging’ Category


Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

This is not a gimmick.  I know because I have done it for ten years.

Watch for an intro in the coming weeks as I am getting together a site so all of you can enjoy the benefits of this innovative easy regime in the privacy of your own home, with no equipment to buy. For new update's on FastFace check out my site Flashfictionforall.comafastface1.






SECRET: Remember to always *smile hard and big.  It is part of the exercise!

Memories Are Personal

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Memory is strange. Thinking logically, it would seem that people sharing the same life experiences would share the same memories, but that is rarely the case. I remember chuckling to myself as a teenager whenever my grandmother and her sister, Aunt Jeanie, would have conversations about their childhood inOhio. They both had crystal clear recollections of their home and neighborhood – and these memories were totally different. They talked about the corner grocery store, but they each placed it on a different corner. When they discussed their older brother, Uncle Bill, as child, he came across as two people or one with a split-personality.

That suppressed laughter came back to haunt me a few years ago in discussions about my childhood with the brother and sister closest in age to me. After awhile I began to wonder if we had lived in the same house during those early years – and whether we had actually grown up with the same parents!

These thoughts came to mind today when I attended a session at the library. Charlotte Hinger(, author of numerous books and articles, talked about the unreliability of family stories. A native ofKansas, she was involved in writing a book of family histories for the county she lived in. She discovered that no family has one history. Each family member has a personal history – and as I had discovered for myself – these histories seldom agree.

Charlottealso talked about family stories that have been passed on through generations that have been proved to be factually false, but the tales continue to be passed on. Amazingly, these fabricated family legends are most treasured.

Sometimes families keep secrets through tacit agreements for many years. Then when the people involved get into their 70s and 80s, they begin to talk. Such was the case inCharlotte’s family. One day a cousin approached her with a question for her then elderly mother. WouldCharlotteplease ask her if Aunt Margaret really did kill Aunt Mattie? ThusCharlottewas thrust into research into her own family history.

Consider your childhood memories. Are these recollections shared with anyone else or are they unique for you?

Sheldon and Ida Through the Lens

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Sheldon and Ida decided to leave the Hope Lodge.
Ida held Sheldon’s jacket then slipped into her own coat.
With a quick glance in the mirror she placed her purple cap on her salt and pepper hair, then propped Sheldon’s white one on his.

After unlocking many dead bolts out Ida turned her body back to the door and re-locked one.
Then they slowly descended the wide marble stairs to the lobby and arm into arm they walked down thirty second street towards Broadway.
A crowd pushed past them forcing them to move a little faster across the busy street, until they reached a curb, where Ida helped Sheldon up onto it.

After which, she stopped them in their tracks and ruffled through her bag for some cash, then turned to Sheldon and said, “Maybe we should go to the Roxy Deli and sneak a quick knish. What do you think?’
Sheldon turned back and said, “If it’s okay with you, it’s okay with me.”

Again they locked arms and proceeded ahead.


See more flash fiction by Fay Ulanoff here.

The Good Die Young

Friday, October 21st, 2011

The Good Die Young

By Fay Ulanoff

Ulysses wobbled and tilted towards a blank area but would
not be pushed off.

Well at least not yet. He was not ready.

Being the biggest one of the cluster, he stood his ground.

As the day became shorter he tried to force himself to stay
on course and last as long as he could while being attached to a strong branch.

Ulysses watched and pushed a corner of his body towards the
smaller leaves that fell almost as soon as a breeze took them. He’d call out their
names. “Lillian, I just met you this spring. Don’t you recall the simple
pleasures of watching the sun rise and set, and then when the long days of
summer were upon us we were moist and pliable. Why I would not have broken a
sweat trying to grab one end of you while you still grew.

I had hoped that we
would always be friends and that we would be able to jump our last jump
together, but alas it might not work out that way.”

“Don’t worry about me. Save yourself and perhaps you should
try to break the fall of the small ones like me.”

Ulysses stood and watched as the smaller leaves, than the
medium ones were slowly unhinged from their branches and drifted to the ground.
He held back Lillian with the bottom of his body, but she was almost detached
when the sun faded and the wind picked up.

“Here Lill, jump on my back and as soon as I feel I’m on the
move to the ground we will go together.”

All right Ulysses, I’ll try,” she said while giving it her

The wind swept through the yard and became stronger while
both leaves drifted into an already pile of fall leaves.

Ulysses, with all his red, brown and green color lay on top
of Lillian’s small still green body and he smiled, while she did the same
because they knew they would be together forever.

The End

Nameless, Faceless Society

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

I miss being a person with my own individual characteristics and idiosyncrasies. I know that I’m sounding like the old lady I am, but I reminisce about going into the bank and visiting with the teller when I cashed a check. Now the tellers can’t be bothered with cashing checks. It’s “use the ATM” to get your cash. I liked to go to the gas station and not only have someone pour the gas but, also, wash the windows and check the tires and talk to me about my car. Now I must get out and pour my own gas and wash my own windshield. I used to go to a corner grocery store and visit with the clerk, who was also a friend from school. Now, it’s rare to have the same checkout person twice in a row – and, of course, you’re encouraged to do self-check out if you are only buying a few items. The personal contact is gone. The sense of the individual is no more.


This anonymity has recently manifested in my life in even more ominous ways. When I moved into a large apartment building (200 units) about four years ago, I knew that it was owned by a large corporation and managed by another big business enterprise, but I still felt like the local people listened to me when I had suggestions or complaints. The building was sold on December 1st of last year and a new management company was hired. Now, everything is decided on the corporate level. The employees at the building level have no authority. The response to every concern is, “It can’t be changed. It is the established policy.”


So preference for parking is given to nonexistent possible patrons of the few businesses occupying the ground floor of the building. Residents are not allowed to park in the rows of spaces near the doors and elevators for easy access to their apartments. Nameless, faceless people inTexaslook at the listed number of spaces and the number of residents and decide that there is no problem. They do not look at the parking area.  Never mind that there are huge cement pillars to hold the building up and that many of the parking spaces are difficult, if not impossible, for me to park in. I am just a nameless, faceless person carrying heavy bags of groceries struggling across all the empty spaces reserved for others to park in. The local manager says “I will pass your concern on to the corporation.” Nothing changes.

Seeing with New Eyes

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

I am always amazed at how our bodies adjust to whatever is going on with them. I thought I was seeing fine, even though the optometrist kept telling me that cataracts were growing on both eyes and would eventually have to be removed.

Then I started having trouble driving at night and I couldn’t read street signs even in the daytime. I went to see the eye surgeon and she confirmed that the cataracts on both eyes had advanced beyond the “annoying level” into the “need to be removed level.”

She asked me what kind of vision I would like to have. What! I get to choose my own vision? She explained the options and recommended that I go with mid-vision for distance so that I can still read without glasses. If she had corrected fully for distance, I would have needed reading glasses.

I have had the surgeries on both eyes and it’s truly a miracle! I had forgotten how bright colors are. The numbers on my bedside clock stand out clear and precise. I can read the restaurant sign across the street. And I can now read printed materials at exactly the distance the surgeon had described.

I still can’t drive until I get new glasses, but I can walk around downtown. I can read the newspaper and my computer screen. I can enjoy the bright emerging colors of spring. I am truly enjoying “seeing with new eyes.”

My Father's Hands

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

The Weekly Writers Workshop does a freewriting exercise to start off each meeting. One of the exercises that was picked said to write about your father’s hands, but a workshop member said the exercise had been done before. I couldn’t let go of the desire to write that …

My father’s hands are pockmarked, fingers swollen with thick, cracked nails. Skin is pulled taut like a white sheet, straining simple movement. Knuckles are towers of folded skin covering what used to be piano fingers …

Just like mine are now …

My father was at work a decade ago, using a voltmeter to measure electrical current. The instrument exploded, causing first- and second-degree burns on his face and second- and third-degree burns on his hands.

To me, my father’s hands looked like foreign objects, first in gloves to help healing. And then, when no more could be done, they turned into a display of an undecipherable riddle of scars. It was as if the cliché that wrinkles tell stories of a person’s life fell apart. My father’s scars began telling me the story of an accident, hiding the wrinkles that speak of a man’s love for his daughter and son:

He lifted us onto his shoulders,

Carried each of us together, a hand on our backs.

Played stick-around, letting us run out of his lap,

Pulled us in again

To twirl in circles,

Holding our bodies out,

Our anchor in his clasp. 

Family photos lend memories:

I am on his lap as he shows me his work,

Or lean into him in our Mickey Mouse ears,

Looking up, or being around or laughing,

I am Daddy’s little girl,

Not thinking of my father’s hands,

Just him,

The beauty of –

I could not fathom

The accident,

That could break a man’s heart,

For awhile,

Until these stories despite the fire that burns –


All that my father’s hands could do turned more difficult, a slow letting go of a young man’s dreams burned up in an instance. But then he retired and returned to fixing up his old house, a sparkle coming back into his eye about what he could do despite the scars.

Decade Birthdays

Friday, March 18th, 2011

My brother Dennis will turn 60 in a few days. The family gathered in Black Hawk for a joyous celebration. Brother Bill and his wife Earlene graciously took me up and helped me get around as it was my first trip there in over fifteen years ñ and things have changed!

We went on Wednesday and had our own time with the Birthday Boy and his wife Claudia that day and, again, Thursday morning before others began arriving. Brothers Ralph, with wife Cheryl, and Roy, with wife Sue, arrived yesterday. Sister Linda was unable to join us due to health problems.

About 1:00 this afternoon (Friday) we all gathered in a room at the Ameristar Hotel. We lit candles on a large cake ñ 6 candles, each representing 10 years ñ and sang Happy Birthday. We basked in our time together and admired the glorious scene of snow on the evergreen trees from our vantage point on the 23rd floor. We brothers and sisters donít always agree with each other 100% (no political discussions by mutual agreement), but we do always love and respect each other.

Now in the quiet of my own home, I am reflecting on the tradition of noting decade birthdays in special ways. I remember aiming to get my doctorate for my 40th birthday. I missed that goal by a few months ñ receiving the Degree in December instead of May of that year, but I was still 40! My sister Linda threw a surprise party for my 50th birthday. We had a great brunch in the Sheraton Hotel in Lakewood with family and close friends. I was awake to greet my 60th birthday at 12:01 a.m., but exhausted, sitting in an airport in Lima, Peru, waiting to return from an inspirational two-week trip featuring Caroline Myss. The family honored that birthday a few weeks later with everyone giving me packages containing 60 of something ñ paperclips, note pads, marbles, stuffed mice, pennies, etc. When I turned 70 last May, Bill, Earlene, and Linda hosted a fabulous party for friends and family. I am truly blessed.

Yes! Letís celebrate life! Letís celebrate each decade and continue to anticipate even greater events and joys as we move into the challenging and unchartered territory of a new age.

The Comforts of Old Age

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Our society tends to discredit any advantages to growing old. We seem to have an inbred cultural fear of looking old, acting old, being old. But, hereís the surprise ñ once you are old you discover much to be grateful for.

Now that I am old, I never wear shoes that are uncomfortable. Ditto for clothing. If itís too tight, too loose, too short, too faded, too ragged, too anything ñ itís zap into the Good Will bag. Itís out of here.

I no longer eat foods that I donít like, just because they are supposedly good for me. I donít eat cucumbers, bell peppers, or radishes. I will try a new recipe or take a chance (once in awhile) and order something different in a restaurant. If I donít like it with the first bite, Iím finished. I have actually asked the server to take the offending dish away and bring a different one ñ something I would never have done in my younger years.

I do not have to finish reading every book I start or continue viewing every movie I tune in to. Some books and movies are boring; some use language that ìhurts my earsî; some have scary scenes that I donít want registered in my subconscious. Put the book down. Turn the movie off.

Speaking my mind comes more easily now. I hope that I continue to be sensitive to the feelings of others, but I donít have much patience left for dealing with what I consider to be a lack of common sense. I am also less argumentative than in past years, so I have cultivated the habit of changing subjects and, sometimes, walking away.

Dressing in comfort, eating what I like, enjoying books and movies, and expressing my true self. Who could ask for more? Life is good!

Choosing to Be a Crone

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

What is a crone? What traits does she possess?

First, I would like to make clear that not all old women are Crones. Becoming a Crone is a conscious choice. It involves a declaration of intent and a positive way of thinking. Of course, we will all continue to age as long as we stay alive, but it is up to each of us to choose the role we will play in this final stage. Will you choose to be a Crone or will you choose to just be an old lady?

What are we committing to if we agree to be crones?

Crones are authentic. We have reached a stage in life where we can truly be ourselves. So what if I have some gray hairs? So what if I have some wrinkles? So what if I have gained a few pounds? So what if I donít fit the prototype of the young woman promoted everywhere I look. I am still me. I have value. I am a vibrant, living, beautiful part of the human race.

Crones accept this final phase of life with joy and anticipation. We accept that although our souls are immortal, no one lives on this plane of existence forever. We have other places to go ñ other realms to explore.

†I love a story that I read in a forwarded internet message some years ago. Seems people were surprised when they viewed the body of an active parishioner during her funeral service. As they looked into the coffin they spotted a fork in her right hand. Perplexed they asked the minister why this was so. He replied that this lady had attended numerous pot luck dinners at the church over the years. She told him that as the dinner plates were removed from the tables, someone would always shout, ìKeep your fork, the best is yet to come!î She had thus asked to be buried with fork in hand.

Crones welcome the mysteries of life. We believe in the magic of existence. Crones know that not everything has an explanation. Some things just are. We trust our insight and intuition in daily living.

Crones are grateful for all of the experiences of our lives. We are thankful for the advantages of our many years, while recognizing that old age is not all strawberries and cream. We have experienced the joys of life, but we have also experienced grief, some of us in great measure. All of us have lost people that are important to us. Many of us have outlived our parents, some have outlived our husbands, some have suffered the tragedy of outliving a child, and all of us have lost friends and mentors. We are sometimes tempted to give in to feeling lonely, even depressed. But Ö

Crones live in the present. For some of us, it is a temptation to live in the past ñ to revel in former accomplishments and happier relationships. And sometimes I get caught in that trap myself. My husband died 13 years ago and not a day goes by that I do not think of him. But when I start getting nostalgic, I endeavor to remember the words of Eckhart Tolle. In The Power of Now, he tells us that dwelling in the past always brings regret ñ thinking about good times that no longer exist evokes feelings of sadness and discontent. Regretting mistakes that cannot be changed results in guilt and frustration. On the other hand, thinking constantly about what the future may hold takes us into a state of worry or consternation. Tolle admonishes to live in the present. All is well in this moment. Celebrate the temporary. †Enjoy the now.

Crones have compassion. We care for others and resist passing judgment on them, realizing that each person is following his or her own path through life. It is not up to us to criticize anotherís journey. We just need to to offer support and encouragement.

Crones live in love. Crones know that the beginning of all love is self-love. We remember the words of Jesus, ìLove your neighbor as you love yourself.î He was telling us that we must first have self love before we can truly express love for others.

We are women. We have within us all of the experiences of life and these experiences have made us who we are. We are survivors. We are strong. We offer a sisterhood of support. †

Life is a journey and we are on the home stretch. Letís cheer each other on.