Posts made in August, 2014

Guyside’s Latest Contributor: Introducing Rich Becker

Posted by on Aug 19, 2014 in Guyside | 4 comments

When I started kicking around the idea of handing Flashfree over to men once a week, I never dreamed that I would round up such an amazing group of men to share their stories, trials, tribulations and mostly, their side of the aging paradigm.  It’s Guyside and it’s all about the guys. And it’s about to get even better.

I am thrilled that my friend Rich Becker has joined Bob LeDrew and Danny Brown as a contributor. If you don’t know Rich, he’s an incredible writer and has an inspiring story, which he will be sharing on Wednesday’s Guyside.


More officially, however, Richard (Rich) Becker is an American writer, journalist, communication strategist, educator, and entrepreneur. He is best known as an accredited business communicator and president of Copywrite,Ink. He also serves as a commissioner on the City of Las Vegas Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission, instructor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, editor of the alternative review site Liquid [Hip].

On any given day, his interests and involvements change. He is currently pursuing his certification as a personal trainer. Above all, he enjoys new experiences, especially when they can be shared with his wife and two children.

Welcome Rich! Can’t wait to see what you’ve got to say!


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Reinventing Women: An Open Call

Posted by on Aug 18, 2014 in aging, career | 2 comments









I’ve got a little secret to share with you: I am in the midst of a career change or at least, a significant shift in what I’ve been doing and what I will be doing. That’s all that I am able to say right now but as I move through my journey of reinventing women, I started to recall that about a year and a half ago I ran an ongoing feature about women who were doing exactly what I am doing right now — reinventing themselves. And so, I thought that while I am in the midst of my own shift, I would put out another open call for your stories. One of the most important things that we can do is share our stories with one another and support each other through the different phases of life, love and career. Inspiration can come from the strangest places sometimes.

Consider this an open call!

I want to hear about the career or life changes you’ve made or are in the process of making —  the ‘why,’ ‘what,’ and ‘how’ as well as any other nugget of wisdom that you might impart to others considering a similar reawakening.

If you are a woman, age 44 or older and want to share the story of your transition (or transitions), drop me an email at Tell me a little about you, your age and a snippet of the wisdom or learnings that you’d like to impart to other readers. I am hoping to find at least 10 more women willing to share their stories, their triumphs, their failures and their lessons.

If you’re at a loss, check out the varied stories of three women, collected a few years back. They are likely to inspire and help shake a few tail feathers too!

Reinventing Women. It’s an ongoing movement and it’s all about you!

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Going Green Part 2: The Solar Bullet

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014 in sexuality | 0 comments

Young Woman Lying On Grass


I’ve got an update for all of you earth-conscious souls out there; Micro-Kitty, the solar-charged vibrator, has some competition — the Solar Bullet! I’ve gotta admit; the names are almost as creative as paint and nail polish colors!


0045-10-3xRegardless, the Solar Bullet vibrator offers two hours of pleasure at the price of 8 hours of sun exposure. Detractors say that the ‘vibes’ are too concentrated for them to derive much pleasure while fans of the Bullet say that it’s great for travel since it can get off on any light source (pun intended). The energy pack itself, while pretty discreet, is about the size of a mini-iPod and frankly, looks like military gear (beware of the TSA agent who decides to take it out of your purse at Security!). An extra bonus is the LED light at its tip, which I guess, comes in handy if you can’t see the keyhole in the dark (holy hell, those puns just keep coming and er….there I go again!).

I’m all for conservation but somehow, this design seems all wrong. I’ve not tried it so I may be shooting in the dark here, but even the eco-friendly box, which is printed to environmentally responsible Forest Stewardship Council approved standards isn’t enough to convince me to go green to this extreme.

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Guyside: Old-school wasn’t always bad school

Posted by on Aug 13, 2014 in Guyside, musings, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I don’t own a cottage — although I am quite happy to be invited to other people’s! When we started to get on top of our mortgage and cash flow, and something like a recreational property became an option, my partner and I opted for investing in our back yard instead, and we now call it the cottage.

She’s in charge of the garden and I lend brute strength and occasional good ideas; I’m in charge of drinks, food, and keeping the little patch of grass, the stonework, and anything else that needs maintenance maintained. We’re happy with our choice. We tell people “we can barely keep up with one house — what would we do with two?!

But … I grew up with a “cabin” (that’s what we called it, not a “cottage”, although sometimes it was “the bungalow”) a few miles from our house. What I remember from my childhood is roaming through the little patches of forest with an air rifle and plastic Viking figures that were in my mom’s bags of puffed wheat, setting up shooting galleries and practicing my aim, swimming in the clear salt water of the Bras d’Or Lake, playing with giant inner tubes that my dad got hold of from somewhere, bonfires with toasted marshmallows, and my dad working.

My mom worked when we were out there, but her work never seemed as hard to me as dad’s work. Mom worked on keeping us all fed and watered, on getting bug spray applied, at planting a few flowers here and there, at welcoming friends and family when they’d pull up. But dad… There was a marshy section of the property, and he worked to dry that out and clear it, seed it, and turn it into something you could walk on. Wheelbarrow loads of fill and soil. I first remember actually getting to the lake holding on to a rope that helped you down the fairly steep bank. Then there was a staircase, and then a nicer staircase. My dad would take a swim, but then he’d put on an old pair of sneakers and grab a pry bar and start moving rocks to make a bigger swimming area. When the grass needed to be cut, it wasn’t a ride-on mower, it was a push mower, its motor roaring, its wheels being adjusted to accommodate the rough terrain and stumps and rocks and roots. When it came time for the bonfire, it was he who built the fire, and it was he who would tend it with a long steel poker, making a place where the coals glowed for the best marshmallows.

He worked way harder than I’d be prepared to do at my age. And he did that after a week’s hot, sweaty work at a steel plant. His brother was another steel plant LeDrew — they almost all were — and when his emphysema got to be too much to let him work at his cottage, he stopped going rather than watch his children do what he saw as his job.

We live in an era of specialization and technology. I grew up helping my dad change our car’s oil and do basic maintenance. Much of what we did simply can’t be done on modern cars. Our back yard was landscaped by others. When our dishwasher broke recently (DISHWASHER, my dad would scoff, were he here…) I tried and failed to fix it. In came the specialist.

Our cabin didn’t have any pretensions. It didn’t even have plumbing. The beach wasn’t an endless expanse of honey-coloured sand. But I hope that my dad looked at it with the pride of someone who had used his muscles to make something. That’s what men like him did.

It’s difficult to muster a similar sense of pride over some glowing pixels. Sometimes, there was a nobility and a simplicity about how things were that I’d like to try to recapture now. How about you?

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Aromatherapy and menopausal symptoms; what’s the 4-11 on neroli oil?

Posted by on Aug 11, 2014 in stress, Uncategorized | 0 comments


[Photo credit: Los Angeles Arboretum]

Stress. Lord only knows that it wreaks havoc on our bodies and on our moods. And when it’s exacerbated by the tide of hormones that wax and wane over menopause, it can take an enormous toll. Importantly, the essential oil of the bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium L. var amara), better known as neroli oil, has been shown in animal laboratory studies to reduce anxiety and depression. However, does it work in humans as well?

In a study published in Evidence-Based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine journal, researchers assessed if inhaled 0.1% or 0.5% neroli oil might relieve the psychological symptoms of menopause, i.e. stress, depression and anxiety. While the study included less than 100 women, it was a scientifically controlled trial and the women, all of whom were in menopause, healthy, and not using meds for their mental health  were randomized to neroli oil dissolved in almond oil or to almond oil only.. They were asked to inhale either preparation for 5 minutes twice a day for five days. Measures of sexual desire, stress, quality of life, blood pressure and pulse rate and blood serum and estrogen were taken at the start of the study and the day after.

Interestingly, inhaling neroli oil  significantly improved physical menopausal quality of life scores compared to inhaling the almond-only oil.  The 0.1% formulation also had a significant effect on vasomotor symptom scores. While stress levels were shown to decline in all three groups, the differences were not scientifically significant. And while the neroli oil did help to improve cortisol levels, it had no effect on estrogen. However, it did appear to significantly reduce blood pressure.

Aromatherapy is a practice that is not taken very seriously among medical practitioners yet it’s important to note that neroli oil interacts with the very same neurotransmitters that play a role in regulating body temperature (i.e. the 5-HT receptors). Hence, it is not surprising that in this study, the 0.1% dose significantly improved vasomotor symptoms, Moreover, while the neroli oil did not appear to reduce stress, it did have a positive, significant impact on blood pressure measures, which indicates a role in relieving the body’s cardiovascular responses to stress. The researchers say that neroli oil’s influence on blood pressure might be due to how it interacts with the autonomic nervous system, which among many functions, controls heart rate and breathing.

While neroli oil can have side effects when it is ingested, I have been unable to find similar reports when a small amount (i.e. two drops) is rubbed on the skin and then used as aromatherapy. Nevertheless, you should speak with a licensed, knowledgable practitioner before trying this strategy as people as rubbing it on the skin may cause allergic reactions and does risk that some of it will be absorbed, thereby causing a drug reaction. Most importantly, one study does not proof make. Be vigilant and let’s see if there are other reports in greater numbers of women.

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