Original post by Ann Franks on

The headlines are everywhere: 60 is the New Sexy, 50 is the New 30, 70 is the New 50. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out everyone wants to feel sexy and attractive. But society has been telling women for…well, forever, that after 35 or maybe 40, we’re no longer worthy of attention. After 50, we are most definitely on the proverbial shelf. Not even a decent shelf. I’m talking about the shelf at the back of the pantry where things like that 5-year old can of cranberry sauce sit covered in dust.

That was Then

Think of our mothers’ generation. The majority were housewives and they didn’t have a lot of acceptable options for turning back the hands of time, or at least trying to. In 1956, Clairol introduced at-home hair color with a brilliant campaign, “Does she or doesn’t she?” The Miss Clairol product made it possible for women to use that evasive “only my hairdresser knows for sure,” to avoid divulging the secret that they used hair color to craft an appealing public self. If a woman went so far as to have an actual face lift, she disappeared for two weeks to a “spa vacation” and returned with tightened skin that was explained away as being the result of simple rest and relaxation.

This is Now

At times it can feel as though, if you aren’t doing something to rejuvenate your appearance, you are in the minority. No longer do women trudge off uncomplainingly into a twilight of sensible shoes and elasticized waist bands, awaiting the grim reaper – who just happens to be the only one who still invites them to his parties. We do not accept being labeled as unattractive or uninteresting, and we certainly will not smile while being undervalued.

Women over 50 make no bones about the effort they put into looking sexy and attractive, or the procedures they undergo to put mother nature in her place. Some even share before and after photos on Instagram. Even I posted a photo of myself with layers of foil folded into my hair. My mother would kill me if she knew I shared my highlights with the world.

I noticed a while back that friends of mine were showing up at happy hour with impossibly long, beautiful lashes. Since I never notice things like this, I knew something was up. They filled me in on the eyelash extension trend and I have since been paying attention. They are everywhere and on women of all ages who are willing and able to invest in the once or twice a month ritual. If you look in the mirror and wonder what you can do about looking so exhausted, washed out, or just blah, eyelash extensions are a real confidence booster. Don’t want to commit to extensions? Try these tips.

Bold eyebrows have also become the thing for women of all ages. Where the 90s was about “the thinner the eyebrow the better,” (which I always thought looked dreadful), now, full brows are springing up all over. Not Frida Kahlo, but close. Gels, pencils, tints or professional coloring all can be used to help fight the fading, thinning and graying of brows for those who want to regain that definition that frames your eyes and makes you feel sexy and attractive.

Our Minds and Bodies

The women I know polish their hands, feet, bodies and faces. They whiten their teeth and apply spray or self tanner regularly. They purchase sexy lingerie and are confident enough to assess the latest fashion trends and apply only what works for them. No more going whole hog into something just because a designer or magazine tells them they must. (I’m looking at you, embroidered bomber jacket.)

Women “of a certain age” are savvy enough to know there is more truth than fiction to the saying made famous by Billy Crystal’s Fernando Lamas character – “It is better to look good than to feel good.” There is a power that comes with physical confidence. We know now that there are more benefits to spending time at the gym than just checking that box for our doctor – or checking out that cute guy on the stair stepper. It goes beyond physical health and speaks to our mental wellness.

A Return to Sexy

With the understanding that exercise in the form of cardio, weights and yoga can keep us not only healthier, but feeling and looking better, we are miles ahead of where we once were. Add to those benefits a plethora of available treatments, including hormone replacement therapy, vaginal rejuvenation, and personal lubricants that greatly reduce the postmenopausal issues that once signaled the end of fun in the bedroom.

Many empty nesters have found a return to playful affection and sensuality. Where it was once challenging to be in the mood after the requirements that a job and family placed on you day-in and day-out; sharing some quiet space without interruptions, listening to music and actually talking to each other again has resulted in a significant boon in the romance department.

There are multiple online dating services that cater to mature adults. I know women who are juggling more dating partners now than they did in their 20s – and enjoying every minute of it. At this point in life, smart women know what they want from a partner – in bed and out, and they aren’t interested in compromising.

I suppose the lesson from all this is –

Yes, high heels and high cheekbones are sexy and attractive, as is unblemished skin.

But, so is self-confidence, a healthy body, a good set of lingerie, and knowing how to use it.


Los resultados derivados del estudio WHI (Woman Health Initiative), llevado a cabo en EE.UU. y publicados en 2002, desataron una verdadera tormenta sobre el colectivo de mujeres en edad de menopausia en todo el mundo. Numerosas revisiones y estudios posteriores revelaron el sesgo e inexactitud de dichos resultados. No obstante, estas rectificaciones o acotaciones realizadas sobre el propio estudio, así como la revisión sistemática de todos los ensayos clínicos aleatorizados y estudios epidemiológicos relacionados con la TH y publicados en los últimos tres años, nunca han recibido la atención de los grandes medios de comunicación.
En consecuencia, en la mente del gran público, persisten las asociaciones equívocas y catastrofistas que acapararon grandilocuentes titulares. Y eso, a pesar del esfuerzo llevado a cabo durante más de quince años por parte de los principales organismos de salud relacionados con la Ginecología. Un ejemplo de ello lo tenemos en los repetidos manifiestos que se han hecho desde la Sociedad Internacional para la Menopausia (IMS) de la mano de la Sociedad Norte Americana de Menopausia (NAMS), primero en 2008 y con mayor amplitud en 2013. Seguidos, evidentemente, por los organismos nacionales, quienes como puede leerse a continuación, se adhirieron completamente mediante el siguiente manifiesto:
“La Asociación Española para el Estudio de la Menopausia (AEEM) y la Sociedad Española de Ginecología y Obstetricia (SEGO) han alcanzado un Consenso sobre el uso de la Terapia Hormonal (TH) de la Menopausia en la actualidad, que establece que este tratamiento es el más eficaz para los síntomas de la menopausia. Un grupo de expertos de ambas instituciones han llevado a cabo una revisión sistemática de todos los ensayos clínicos aleatorizados y estudios epidemiológicos relacionados con la TH y publicados en los últimos tres años. De este análisis se ha extraído que, aunque existan terapias alternativas, la terapia hormonal es la más eficaz y eficiente.”
NP Consenso AEEM y SEGO. Madrid, 26 de abril de 2018.
Los resultados de esos repetidos mensajes en favor de un uso científico y racional de la Terapia Hormonal, ha tenido diferentes resultados en Europa. Así, aunque el rechazo a estos tratamientos se produjo a nivel global, el Dr. Sánchez Borrego, presidente de la Fundación Española para el Estudio de la Menopausia (FEEM), asegura que en otros países se usa mucho más que en España. Mientras que en nuestro país no llega al 1% de las mujeres con síntomas de menopausia, en Alemania o los países nórdicos, la reciben hasta el 13 %, en Francia el porcentaje es algo inferior (12%) y en Portugal o Italia está en torno al 7-8 por ciento.
En España subsiste pues, en la actualidad, un problema de desinformación muy generalizado explica la doctora María Jesús Cancelo, secretaria de la SEGO: “Las falsas creencias y los tabúes entre las mujeres han llevado a una hormonofobia en nuestro país. Incluso entre los propios especialistas, que en los últimos años han ido abandonando la información y el asesoramiento sobre la TH, ante la negativa de sus pacientes a utilizarlo”.
Volviendo al estudio WHI, es importante destacar que en él se utilizó una combinación de estrógenos conjugados equinos más acetato de medroxiprogesterona, la combinación hormonal más usada en Estados Unidos por aquella época. Esas hormonas no eran hormonas humanas, fueron estrógenos de yegua embarazada y acetato de medroxiprogesterona. Ninguna de ellas tienen la misma composición molecular que el estradiol y la progesterona humana.
Estudios posteriores determinaron que el incremento del cáncer de mama se produjo por el acetato de medroxiprogesterona y que el incremento de los eventos cardiovasculares se debió a una selección errónea de las participantes del estudio. Mujeres de una edad media de 63 años (llevaban unos 10 años en menopausia) que no habían sido tratadas previamente con THS y a las que no se les evaluó su estado de salud cardiovascular previo. El incremento de dichas patologías no se ha experimentado cuando el tratamiento se realiza con las hormonas naturales de la mujer.
En este sentido, en EE.UU. se empezó a desarrollar hace ya muchos años un tipo de terapia hormonal, en cuál las moléculas que se utilizan son idénticas a las que produce el ser humano. De esta manera el organismo las reconoce como propias. A esa terapia se la reconoce como Terapia Hormonal Bioidéntica (BHRT).
El incremento de la esperanza de vida en países desarrollados durante el último siglo ha crecido en casi treinta años. Hoy podría decirse que la mujer vive más años sin la regla que con ella. El declive hormonal que comporta la menopausia se asocia a una serie de síntomas como la falta de vitalidad y energía, aumento del tejido graso subcutáneo y visceral, disminución de la masa muscular, disminución de las capacidades físicas y cognitivas, disminución de la función sexual y la libido, sequedad vaginal, piel y cabello finos y frágiles, cambios de humor, incluso depresión, dificultad para conciliar el sueño, sueño no reparador…
Va siendo hora de revisar falsos mitos y desterrar la hormonofobia.
¡Consulte con su médico!
Consultar con un experto en la Terapia SottoPelle® puede ayudarle a crear un futuro más saludable para usted. Descubra lo que nuestro método extraordinariamente simple y sin complicaciones puede hacer por Vd.

SottoPelle – What to Expect at the Appointment

I recently wrote a blog (linked HERE) about my menopause journey, which thanks to SottoPelle® was a short story!

There was a tremendous response from women suffering the effects of menopause, many of whom have not found a solution or are suffering with ineffective solutions. Thank you to all the ladies who contacted me with questions and to share their stories.

Today, I invite you to come along and experience one of my appointments with SottoPelle®. A commitment I have been making every four months for six years without hesitation, because, it enables me to live my best life, no hormone surges, none of the symptoms of menopause, no side effects, just a normal well-balanced human being. Well, hormonally well balanced that is, ha ha!

Reception area of the Paradise Valley AZ office

Reception area of the Paradise Valley AZ office

After checking in for the appointment, the nurse ensures nothing has changed since the last visit, no surgeries, no new medications that type of thing, and once you’ve signed off on the paperwork, you’re ready to receive your pellets.

A quick update with the nurse to ensure the records are up to date.


A quick update with the nurse to ensure the records are up to date.

Just to re-cap, SottoPelle® is a hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that uses naturally sourced plant-based, bio-identical hormones in the form of tiny pellets. These are inserted a short way under the surface of the skin in the fleshy part of the butt cheek. Dr Tutera MD, FACOG, founded SottoPelle® in 1992, he was one of the pioneers of this form of HRT which provides the most effective and consistent distribution of hormones throughout the body.

I’ve been seeing Dr Steve for six years but still manage to talk his ear off!

The doctor or physician’s assistant who administers the pellets, checks my file, ensures there have been no changes since the last visit and determines which butt cheek my pellets will be placed on this occasion.  Each visit the pellets are placed in the alternate cheek.

This is what my midlife dynamo looks like!

These tiny compounded pellets are the magic formula to feeling as young as I did in my prime with energy, strength and a sense of complete well-being. Remember, this is a very individual approach to HRT, so my prescription is different to other women based on various factors. Every six months, blood work is taken providing extensive hormone panels to ensure each patient is prescribed the correct dosage, which could mean less or more testosterone, estrogen or whatever your individual requirements are, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

All the procedure requires is to lay on my side with relevant butt cheek up, and a local anesthetic is injected to the site where the pellets will be administered. Once numb, a tiny incision is made, and the prescribed pellets are inserted subcutaneously. Waterproof foam tape is placed over the incision which remains in place for three days and that is it.  The procedure takes about two minutes! I’m in and out of the appointment in about 15 minutes total, if I can keep the chit-chatting to a minimum!

Pellets inserted, off to the mall! Scottsdale Fashion Square is dangerously close to my SottoPelle® office.

This is an example of what I wear to my appointment, something comfortable and lose fitting. There’s no need to undress for the occasion, an adjustment of clothing enough to expose the insertion site is all that’s required. It takes a while for the anesthetic to wear off, but the prospect of squishing into tight jeans doesn’t appeal right after the procedure!

The Only Restrictions

For three days after the insertion, you should not take tub baths, soaking in hot tubs or swimming and no exercise other than walking, which translated means shopping! You can shower! Exertive exercise that uses the muscles in the hips or glutes could possibly push the pellets from their new home, so it’s strongly advised against.

Always on the go thanks to SottoPelle®

Always on the go thanks to SottoPelle®

After three days you can remove the waterproof tape and exercise resumes as normal. A month later you cannot see where the incision was made.

The worst I feel is tenderness around the incision once the anesthetic wears off. As a side sleeper, I sleep on the opposite side to the pellet incision for a couple of nights as it feels slightly sore, and sometimes there’s some light bruising around the area. Three days later though, I’m back out on the tennis court or hiking a trail.

The level of activity you engage in will determine how often you need to replace your pellets, the body draws upon them as they’re needed so the more activity you do or stress you deal with, the faster you are likely to power through your hormones.

Over the years I have referred four of my girlfriends to SottoPelle® who were suffering a myriad of symptoms related to menopause.  They are all still enjoying the benefits of SottoPelle® therapy to this day just as I do.  And, it’s not just for women to enjoy feeling youthful and vibrant again after midlife, men can also benefit from SottoPelle®.


Meet CarolAnn Tutera, CEO and patient of SottoPelle®. CarolAnn’s mission is to carry on the late Dr. Gino Tutera’s passion to improve our quality of life so it can be enjoyed to the full as we age.  She has an active role in the company and continues to broaden the coverage with service providers now in multiple locations all over the US.

For me, SottoPelle® doesn’t just eliminate the symptoms of menopause by restoring hormones to normal, but also aids in the ability to live a healthy lifestyle. Because I have more energy I can maintain an active life, which facilitates a healthy weight and sense of well-being. Other symptoms of menopause can cause over-eating or choosing the wrong foods to comfort oneself in times of anxiety or emotional highs and lows. When hormones are balanced, and normal sleep patterns resume, it’s easier to take control of thoughts, maintain focus, and therefore make the right food choices. All in all, it provides a quality of life that also benefits my health as I age.
If you are suffering any of the symptoms of menopause and would like to find out if SottoPelle® therapy is right for you, you can visit their website here: and click on the “Find a Doctor” button to locate a service provider near you.

As always, thank you for stopping by

Karen xox

This is a sponsored post which I was delighted to write to share my experience of SottoPelle® which has been a faithful partner in restoring my life to normal.

SottoPelle® – The Midlife Game Changer

Menopause hit me like a freight train at 50 years old!

It was as though my body had taken on a whole new set of rules that I wasn’t privy to, except to see and feel the miserable effects that resulted. I wanted me back, the version that ran smoothly like a well-oiled engine, not this one that kept back-firing and faltering daily.

Now at 57 years old, I'm blessed that my fifties were not robbed from me by the onslaught of menopause!

Now at 57 years old, I’m blessed that my fifties were not robbed from me by the onslaught of menopause!

Having always led an active life, it came as a shock when suddenly it took me two days to recover from a tennis match. Feeling sore, achy and stiff during and after exertive activity slowed me down, I had less energy and it became increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy weight. I wasn’t doing anything different, but my equilibrium was going haywire.

As for my nightly eight or nine hours sleep that I’d enjoyed my whole life… menopause had other plans for me and decided two hours would be sufficient after which I would toss and turn until daybreak. Lack of sleep was a sure-fire way to guarantee a short fuse in this gal, additionally I began to struggle with concentration, focus, and when the uncontrollable hot flashes began however momentary they were, I realized enough was enough. I was in no mood for this menopause malarkey!

I believe I have SottoPelle® to thank for helping improve my game in my fifties!

As a lifelong proponent of fix the cause rather than mask it, I’m one of those annoying ‘holier than thou’ types when it comes to taking pills and medicine! So, I was apprehensive about hormone replacement therapy and naturally skeptical about claims many companies made for this pill or that cream to help with menopause. Besides, I didn’t want help with menopause, I wanted it annihilated!

I discovered a local company called SottoPelle® where women were filling the waiting rooms to see Dr Tutera MD, FACOG, the founder. As a pioneer in the use of all-natural plant-based bio-identical hormones, Dr Tutera developed his unique method of delivery, placing the pellets subcutaneously therefore providing the most effective and consistent distribution of hormones throughout the body.

The best thing to happen to my midlife… SottoPelle®!

Our body draws upon hormones as and when they are needed such as during sport or moments of anxiety for example. Therefore, digesting pills or rubbing on creams is not the most effective delivery method as it creates surges in the distribution. Having pellets placed just below the skins surface maintains a consistent level in the body and provides for moments when you may need more.

An important quality that sets SottoPelle® above the rest, is that it’s not a one size fits all solution. Everyone has different hormone levels and requirements. To ensure the optimum balance and correct levels are maintained, SottoPelle® regularly performs blood work for extensive hormone panels on each individual.

So, I bit the bullet, since I didn’t have to swallow a pill, and had the pellets submerged in my butt-cheek by way of a tiny incision, which is fully healed in three days and almost invisible in three weeks.

I don’t feel any different to how I felt in my twenties and thirties, and I’m still enjoying the same antics!

Perhaps because I’m very active, circulation of the hormones took effect quickly. In less than a week my hot flushes had subsided altogether, my sleep pattern was returning to normal and an overall sense of wellbeing replaced the chaos and emotional ups and downs that had previously taken hold.

The most noticeable difference was my energy level and strength capability. I could handle the toughest tennis match and be out on a run the next day. With more energy, I decided to take on more exercise and began lifting small weights, something I’d never done before. The results were very encouraging as I developed muscles that I didn’t know I’d ever owned!

During menopause, if I got through a day without one or other of its symptoms, I thought I was having a good day, so after a while I forgot how normal used to feel. This included feeling sexy or wanting to have sex. I never really considered this a symptom of menopause, it had simply waned into a rarity, besides I was rather pre-occupied fanning myself down and trying not to bite someone’s head off to give it much consideration. After beginning SottoPelle® therapy that completely changed, and a normal sexual desire returned and has remained consistent to this day.

I’ll have that smile off his face on the tennis court later ha ha!

It’s been six years that I’ve been using SottoPelle® therapy. I go every four months to have my pellets inserted which is the time interval that keeps my hormone balance stable. It has absolutely extended the best years of my life such that I can enjoy it in every aspect of fulfillment. I whole heartedly believe that it restored a quality of life that menopause was desperately trying to steal from me. It is not the fountain of youth, and as such the body still ages as the years roll on, but the way you feel doesn’t have to.

You can read more about SottoPelle® on their website: and click on the “Find a Doctor” button to locate a service provider near you. Please feel free to ask me any questions concerning this post or my experience by way of the Contact page and I will respond to you directly via email.

As always, thank you for stopping by

Karen xx

This is a sponsored post which I was delighted to write on account of my experience over the past six years. It is my pleasure to share this company that has been a faithful partner in restoring my life to normal.

5 Ways Heat Affects Your Health

Whew! Anyone else feeling the heat? That would be the warm summer season right around the corner. For many states, such as in the southwest, summer seems to have already arrived.

The majority of us live in towns and cities that get hot knowing the impact of hyperthermia on your health can help you avoid these heat-related illnesses:

  • Dehydration– the loss of fluids as your body tries to cool itself.
  • Heat cramps – muscle cramps from heavy exertion in the heat.
  • Heat exhaustion– a mild form of shock that includes heavy sweating, weakness, a weak pulse, and clammy skin, fainting and vomiting, according Blood flow to the skin increases in an attempt to cool the body, drawing blood away from vital organs.
  • Heat stroke – says this sometimes fatal illness is “Marked by a very high body temperature (105 degrees or above) as well as hot, red, dry skin; rapid, weak pulse and rapid, shallow breathing. The victim probably will not be sweating unless the sweating is from recent strenuous activity. The victim also may be unconscious.
  • Excess water retention due to higher levels of estrogen. Pregnant women, women who are near ovulation, women taking oral contraceptives and post-menopausal women taking hormone replacements typically have higher levels of estrogen. Retaining water can inhibit your body’s efforts to cool itself by sweating so it is even more important for these women to stay hydrated, especially during exercise or other physical exertion.

With summer in the air, take necessary precautions such as always having water and other fluids with you in your car, drinking lots of fluids, especially if you do have to be outside in the heat, and if possible, staying in shady areas and out of direct sun.

Dr. Gino Tutera is a pioneer and leader in the field of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. As a board certified OB/GYN, he has dedicated more than thirty years of his medical career to the clinical study, science and treatment of hormonal imbalance. In 2002, Dr. Tutera founded SottoPelle® Therapy and has since been invited to speak at international medical convention in front of thousands of fellow physicians . Dr. Tutera has also authored three books on the world- renowned methodology of SottoPelle Therapy. His books are sold individually in Spanish and in English in print format or you can download the books electronically. You can purchase them here (link back to our website store) or at the following retailers and websites:,,, and Apple to download electronic versions of the book
SottoPelle® Marketing Group • Health/Self-Help • first two books $9.95 USA/$14.95 CAN, each in paperback • book three $22.95

Mark & Mindy Day in the Life – Part 3

It was a somber evening after Mark told me about his dad’s stroke. I sat on our bed and watched him carefully folding clothes into a duffel bag. He was headed to his parent’s house for an undetermined period of time. I felt physically sick, and not so “all together” emotionally either.

We both walked down the stairs and out the front door. He kissed me goodbye and drove off; I stood alone in the driveway. I had not been feeling all that great lately, but now I felt worse not to mention jittery and anxious. And hot. It was 53 degrees out. So the weather was not the cultrate. Maybe it was all my emotions and the sudden shock of what was going on with Mark’s father that was making me feel “not well”.

I fanned my face with my hand and made my way inside and quickly turned on the air conditioning. Even inside my air-conditioned house, I felt hot. An oppressive heat, almost like I couldn’t breathe.

Had I forgotten to put on my estrogen cream today? My sister-in-law Lorna who got me to try hormone replacement in the first place told me she switched from creams to patches and then to something called hormone pellets, which got rid of all the “ups and downs” on what her doctor called the “hormone roller coaster”. I kept meaning to make an appointment with her doctor to find out more about these hormone pellets, but for some reason, it kept slipping my mind.

I decided to do the same thing I always did when I felt overwhelmed by something– I called my best friend, Gail.

She answered the phone, chipper as ever. Gail always seemed to be in a great mood.

“What’s the story Morning Glory?” she greeted me. She sounded like she had a mouthful of something.

“Hey There. I need to talk. Do you have a minute?”

“Of course!” she said, munching away.

“What are you eating?”

“Walnuts,” she said. A handful of walnuts a day is so good for you. They are anti-inflammatory, full of antioxidants and a great source of vitamin B. Good for anxiety, too. You should try it.”

I smiled and rolled my eyes at the same time. “Did Dr. Oz tell you that?”

“Doctor Oz and about eight other reputable sources,” she replied.

The last thing I needed was a handful of walnuts. What I needed was to share my sorrow.

I told Gail about Mark’s dad. I knew she could sympathize because her husband had lost his mother to heart disease just last year. I also told her about how my husband had changed recently. Lost his joie de vivre, so to speak.

“I’m so sorry, Mindy,” she said when I had finally finished. “I’m sorry to tell you this, but it’s going to be rough for awhile.”

“I know,” I answered. I suddenly felt hot and breathless again.

“Are you okay?” my friend asked.

“Not really…my hormone cream doesn’t seem to be working today, and even worse, I can’t even remember if I put it on this morning.”

“You’re still using a cream, eh?” Gail asked. I knew she was about to tell me how a mix of cranberries, tofu, and some walnuts could regulate my hormones better than any cream. “I started on bio-identical hormones a few months ago. I went to SottoPelle®; they do what’s called Pellet therapy, and it works, they practically invented it!”

“They implant this tiny little pellet under your skin, and it dissolves on its own,” over time. The more hormone your body needs, the more it uses, and vice versa” the less you need, the less your body absorbs, she went on. “No ups and downs, no more hot flashes. And it’s made from the same hormones that your body produces naturally, so it’s metabolized properly.”

As I listened to her, I wet a small towel and put it on the back of my neck.

“From the sound of it, Mark could use it, too.”

“They have it for men?” I asked.

“Yeah. The symptoms for men are a little more insidious. They get depressed or angry. And, of course, the sexual side effects . . .”

I grimaced. I didn’t like sharing our personal issues even with my closest friend, but I had to admit there had been some problems there lately.

“It’s worth taking the time to at least hear the information. I’ll text you the number for SottoPelle®, where Dave and I go. You won’t regret it, Mindy.”

“Okay,” I said, sponging my face and neck with the towel. The hot flash was starting to subside, but I still felt edgy and anxious. Gail could be annoying with her constant health recommendations, but I had to admit that most of the time she was right. She researched everything, and at 54 she was slim, fit, sexy, attractive and full of energy.

“Listen, I gotta go, but if you need to talk, call me anytime. I mean it, Mindy. Day or night. I’ll text you that number. Bye.”

**You can read all past and future parts of this story on our blog.

Mark & Mindy Day in the Life – Part 2

“What is it? What’s wrong?” My knees feel a little weak, and I sit down. My husband has just told me he has bad news. I have no idea what he is going to tell me. Has he lost his job? Is he cheating on me? Has he lost all we own to a secret gambling addiction? Does his car need a new radiator?

“My dad had a stroke,” he says suddenly. “With his age and medical history, they don’t expect him to fully recover, but the doctors are hopefully optimistic.

“Oh, honey!” I exclaim. I think about Mark’s dad, Allen, puffing away on his cigars on the front porch when we’d go to visit. They live two hours away, so we don’t get over there often.

“I need to go there this weekend. Help them get things sorted. Mom is beside herself.”

“Of course,” I say.

Then we are both quiet. I think about my own parents, self-described health nuts living in a sort of old people’s commune (not the right word, but you get the idea) in California. They are the healthiest people I know, but even they wouldn’t last forever. I guess we were getting to that age, weren’t we? The age when you turn from taking care of your kids to taking care of your parents. Or get sandwiched in between. Our son Sam has a wife and baby of his own, so that was off our plate at least. If Mark needed to take care of his parents, we could make it work.

I look up at him and open my mouth to tell him we’ll figure it out, that we’ll do whatever we have to for his parents, and I see that he is staring at the grill again, spatula in hand. His face doesn’t look sad. Doesn’t even look angry. It looks . . . Empty. Old.

I put down my wine glass and go over to him. Without saying a word, I put my arms around him and just hold him. He doesn’t hug me back, but that’s okay. Today I will be his rock. And tomorrow, if he needs it, I will be his rock again. For as long as it takes. Because that’s marriage, isn’t it?

“Come on, honey, let’s go inside and eat,” I say finally. Mark reluctantly lets me take his hand and lead him inside. I tell Alexa to quit the salsa music. It’s not the correct music for the occasion. I think about asking her to play smooth jazz or acoustic or adult alternative, but nothing seems to fit. What music do you play to snap your husband out of a depression? What music do you play to bring the person you love back from the brink?

I settle on 70’s rock, not that it makes a difference. We eat in silence, serenaded by the Steve Miller Band. Keep on rockin’ me, baby.

If only.

**You can read all past and future parts of this story on our blog.

Mark & Mindy Day in the Life – Part 1

No matter how old we get, we still appreciate a good-looking man when we see one. Am I right, ladies?

I met Mark on the dance floor. He was 20 years old and we both were taking salsa lessons (of all things) he was earning his engineering degree and I was still in nursing school. I remember how he looked in those tight pants (long before skinny jeans were in style), his hips twisting back and forth like a washing machine agitator. That first night he spun me around the dance floor, his hand hot on my back, my hip, the palm of my hand, I knew he was the one. I just knew it.

Fast forward 28 years. That hot salsa dancer of mine stands in front of the grill on our beautifully-landscaped patio (he’s good at that, too), flipping burgers around with a spatula. His pants are tight, but for a different reason. There’s a little too much in front and not enough in the back. His hair is thinning on top. But I still love him.

“How is dinner coming along?” I ask him. His beautiful smile hasn’t changed, nor his big brown eyes. But his smile isn’t as quick anymore. And it doesn’t stay as long.

“It’s coming,” he answers.

Then it’s back to pushing burgers around on the grill. He’s taking no joy in it. Even the burgers themselves look miserable.

“I’m going to put some music on,” I say. I shout to our Echo dot on the porch: “Alexa, play salsa.” She starts to play an oldie but goodie. I sidle up behind my husband and move my hips suggestively. “Do you remember this one?” I ask, holding my wine glass high as I make the moves.

He grunts. Grunts! And that’s all I get out of him.

I dance a little by myself. After all, I’ve been feeling pretty good (considering) since I started my bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. It’s been two months and my energy is up, my focus is better, and my libido is . . . well, let’s just say it’s been healthy, unlike my husband’s.

“Come on, papi, dance with me,” I encourage him.

“Not now, Mindy. Cant you see I’m cooking.”

Now it’s my turn to grunt. More of a harrumph! It’s not fair. I’m finally feeling good again, vibrant, healthy, and I’m stuck with an old grouch.

“Maybe I’ll go find myself somebody else to dance with,” I say.

“I’m cooking your dinner for crying out loud! Can you just let me cook?”

My comment was supposed to spark a little healthy jealousy, not set him off like that. I stop dancing and stand there just looking at him. Something is wrong. This is not my carefree, fun, happy husband. He has changed. He has been changing. I’ve noticed it bit by bit.

He is glaring at a grill full of hockey puck burgers. I see they are getting “a little” overdone, but he doesn’t seem to notice. He attacks them with the spatula over and over again. I pick up the plate and hold it out to him. That seems to snap him out of his alternate reality, and throws me an apologetic look, then slides the burgers one by one onto the plate in my hands.

“Mi amor, what’s the matter?” I ask him.

The burgers are all on the plate now, but he’s still staring at the grill.

“Mark, you are scaring me,” I say.

His eyes flick upward and catch mine. He hesitates, and then he says the terrible words: “Mindy, I have something to tell you, and it’s bad.”

**You can read all future parts of this story on our blog.