A New Community Tribe: The First NotMom Summit

Months ago I was asked to participate in an event that would be the first of its kind. You never know what to expect in these situations but my participation made sense. This was the first ever conference for women without children. The idea was to bring together women who made the choice to not have children as well as those who did want kids but over time and circumstance find themselves without them.

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The first-ever NotMom Summit took place in Cleveland, Ohio on October 9th and 10th.

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How We Live Now: A Review

I usually save my favorite books for the holidays but this one was published just this week and I like to keep readers up with the latest news. Even though there are a plethora of books on my shelf that I could recommend this is the one I think you should add first.


Like many of you, my life is always on the go so I can’t always find time in my busy schedule to sit down and read an entire book. But if you don’t read anything else, this is the one to pick up from Amazon today.

Here are a few reasons.

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A New Beginning: A Dream Becomes Reality

My Vision of Community

This is Part 2 of My Journey. In Part 1 of My Journey, I wrote about my recent move to a mini-pocket neighborhood – essentially developing a group of shared homes.  (PS. Sometimes we leave out the most obvious details – as if you can read my mind… I still live in Asheville, NC) I also wrote that it signaled not only an important change in my life but also for Women for Living in Community. To read Part 1, click here.

My Journey: A New Chapter for WLIC (June 5th)

For the past few years I have focused much of my attention on the education and awareness of issues surrounding living in community and aging.  I have worked hard to build and promote Women for Living in Community as a resource to families and individuals (men and women) who are seeking alternatives to aging in community for themselves and their families.

I am now beginning a new chapter, a chapter focused on the building and development of a community model for aging in community.  A community not focused on the physical structure with amenities (like nursing homes and retirement homes) but creating a community designation that can be adaptable to where you live, whether you live in a single family home, mobile home community or a NORC (naturally occurring retirement community), live in shared housing or any combination of newly emerging models like the tiny-house community.

The fundamental problem with the way we view aging today is the focus upon the physical needs which tend to place focus on the physical models of living such as retirement communities. These are designed and built solely for the purpose of aging adults and their healthcare but not built for their welfare. These models fail to place focus on the “living aging” and it is this kind of thinking that scares most of us.  We wish to change that focus and in doing so, change lives and how we “age” in community as an active, living, vibrant part of life.

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Group Visioning About Community

In the next chapter of my life, I hope to make connections and partnerships with people, professionals and groups that want to join me as we develop this new community model designation that focuses on the welfare of individuals,  families and the surrounding area.  This is a model that can be implemented right where people live now, not forcing them to move to some “center”.  There will be much more on this.  This is a dream that because of Women for Living in Community network, supporters, and people like you, can now be realized.  Look out for Bettyz Playz.

I’ve Moved! Why and what does this mean for WLIC?


Welcome to my house!

NOTE: This is Part 1 of My Journey update. Part 2 coming next week.

I’ve moved!

This is something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile. I’ve explored many opportunities, some that came to me and some that I sought out.  I reviewed each of them but for one reason or another, they didn’t seem to fit or be the right thing at the right moment.

What about this move made it the right thing to do and how does my move fit in with Women for Living in Community? After all, a big part of my story has been my shared housing arrangement that I’ve been living in for the last 4 years, often referred to as the “Golden Girl” lifestyle.  (Click here for related blogs about ‘Golden Girls’ style living)

What I am doing now is expanding the shared housing concept in a mini-pocket neighborhood.

Shared housing is a very important and a viable, wonderful, life fulfilling learning experience for anyone who is seeking a better way of living as we age.  A mini-pocket neighborhood is an expansion of the shared housing concept. Imagine if the Golden Girls ladies lived in a neighborhood made up of other shared housing homes.  That’s what I am in the process of developing for myself.

My shared mini-pocket neighborhood

My new home and land are a perfect setting for me to take in housemates (I will have a part-time housemate for now).  I will also be sharing a larger piece of property and another house with a friend, essentially creating a mini-pocket neighborhood.  Already, opportunities are expanding.  There is another house on the property who is interested in possibly living as a mini-pocket neighborhood. Hope, hope,….

Will this be my last move?

Since moving to Asheville and launching Women for Living in Community, I have moved 7 times.  My moving has, in a way, been “on the job” training for me as I have explored various alternatives to living in community in order to find the right one. (Sure has given me good stories for my talks too!) I have learned something new about myself and the types of arrangements – all lessons I have shared with you and the Women for Living in Community network. While I hope this is it, I cannot say what the future holds. This move actually signals another important change and development in my life.

A Look Back: Over the Years slideshow:

The Next Chapter

In many ways this move has also signaled a turning point for Women for Living in Community.  More on that in Part 2 of My Journey update.

Down the Rabbit Hole: The Alphabet Soup of Medicare


DISCLAIMER: the following story is only my experience! Do not use for factual basis or advice, not that you’d want to. You’d be in the looney bin with me if you did. Just sayin’.

Medicare: this is a positively monumental experience for most of us. It is a literally coming of age.

This is my story.

So, what happened to easy to follow directions? I miss kindergarten where it was all about using safety scissors and learning how to glue.

Timing: prepare for hours…day…weeks…years? Pack a lunch. This could take a while.

The steps look a little…what’s the right word? Ambiguous?

Did you know that you’re supposed to register for Medicare with the Department of Social Security three to six months in advance of your birthday? No one told me? How does anyone know that? Did I miss a memo or a piece of junk mail or is this something you’re just supposed to know how to do like eat with a fork or saying please and thank you?

So first, I had to go on the Social Security website to sign up to be able to sign up. Or I could just go to the Social Security office. The mere thought of standing in line with my little paper number waiting for it to ding on the sign as I listened to nauseating Muzak… not my idea of a good time. Government websites are scary, but their offices can be scarier.

Oh look – I found a clue! I feel like Sherlock…

rabbit holeThese official looking BIG envelopes look like they are from Medicare, or an insurance carrier, or AARP… Well, they’re really from an independent insurance agent who seems to have received some sort of notification that I am now officially old enough to target. I wonder when they learn that trick in insurance school.

They send these internet related keys that are supposed to be only for me, but how am I supposed to know? I called the help line, but I wasn’t fooled. They want to get me as a customer, but I think I can figure this out for myself.

I hope.

But the more information I read, the worse it got. Paper began stacking up on my desk.

As I read through the mountains of paper I had been receiving, my eyes began to glaze over. I needed to call in the troops…but who are the troops?

I believe in community so I figured I’d crowdsource some help on this thing. I talked to my sister and friends who have already done it.

My friend Linda told me, “I think I am pretty smart but… I’m doing it with someone else so we cannot lose our minds!” She is quite smart. If she can’t help me, I might be helpless.

Well, it helped a little, but I still felt like I killed a few too many brain cells and I might be descending quickly down the rabbit hole.

Is there anyone I ask? Can you just tell me what to do!

Well that depends.


author and friend, Maria

The official information is enough to cause anyone to question their sanity. I began to call it alphabet soup. Parts A and B are basic Medicare. Okay, I was fine with that. But then if you want more coverage you need to tack on supplemental plans. They’re listed A through N or something. Serious alphabet soup. Why can’t they use some other designator like colors or animals or something? Anything else but more letters!

Seriously, there is an alphabetical list on the left side of the chart that tells you about some parts of the plan. On the top of the chart is another alphabet with the kinds of coverages you can elect to supplement. They aren’t different letters. It is all the same jumble.

Hey look! The Drug/Pharmacy plan is called Plan D. Finally, something makes sense! And, of course, it is about drugs. I don’t just feel like I’m in Alice in Wonderland. I feel like I am in Jefferson Airplane’s psychedelic “White Rabbit” song.

I really don’t like to think of myself as old but this really feels like it is part of that Luminosity memory training challenge.

And this is only the first year. I have the privilege of doing this every single year if I want to. Shoot me now!

From all of my online belly-aching, one of my friends took pity on me and suggested an insurance agent she knew who specialized in Medicare. Score! That was just the ticket. I am usually quite self-reliant but my brain felt like those old commercials with the eggs: “This is your brain on Medicare…” I give up!

Oh, wait, there are a few more gems!

Are you familiar with the tier of drugs? Seriously, I think it should be tears of drugs. By the time I got to figuring out what I needed, I was positively sobbing.

And they send you a card for Medicare like you would get for any insurance plan. It has your social security number on it! Hasn’t the government ever heard of identity theft? Sure, I’ll just carry that with me everywhere…

Bottom line tips:

  • Find a doctor before you turn 65 who takes Medicare patients. After this nightmare you don’t want to have to pick a new doctor, too.
  • Find an insurance specialist who handles this kind of stuff and start talking with them before you need it. It will save you from the same PTSD.

Love in Community: Happy Valentine’s Day from the Grand Nudge


From the Grand Nudge:

Based on some of my most recent posts you might think that Valentine’s Day would be a “Bah Humbug” holiday for me. While I do get a little annoyed at the Hallmarkian quality of it throughout the first two months of the New Year, I’m surprisingly a bit of a romantic. That is why I advocate love in community.

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Happy Holidays from The Grand Nudge


From The Grand Nudge:

Have you ever heard of Krampus? This guy is getting a lot of press these days, but many of us have never even heard the name. In some parts of Germany, St. Nicholas is keeping some rather strange company. In this mythology, Krampus is a horned fellow not unlike your average furry, goat-footed demon and he and St. Nick are old buddies. The history of Krampus, much like many Christmas traditions, is murky at best. And really, I’m not overly concerned about the “why,” but rather the “who,” or at least what he represents.

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5 Things I Know For Sure


I’ve had a few years’ experience in my life. I mean, I won’t say I am a wizened ancient (quite yet) but I think I’ve picked up a few things along the way. These are just some truths, at least for me, which I feel could apply to anyone.

I know for sure:

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Happy Thanksgiving from the Grand Nudge


So it’s that time of year again. We cook up a turkey and spend an afternoon listening to Aunt Josephine rattle on about her gout. Sometimes I really wonder what the meaning of all this really is. Are we honoring our thankfulness – a virtue we should have all year round – or is it a big marketing plan from the turkey farmers and cranberry growers?

In truth, I think it is a little of both.

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The Grand Nudge Halloween Celebration


Ooh, it’s my favorite time of year again! Halloween gives us all a chance to wear a mask and step outside of ourselves just for one day. For me it means donning my feather boa, sporting my cat eye glasses, and taking up the mantle of the Grand Nudge.

Last year many of you met me in my Halloween manifesto. My role in this life is to challenge all of you to move forward.

Stop thinking and start doing.

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