Tune Up


My husband and I recently had dinner with old friends who we have known since 1969. My friend Eileen spoke of the wellness difference between our parents and our generation. Our parents didn’t have the opportunities we have to extend their lives. As Eileen said, “ We can go in for a tune up, like the local auto repair. We can have cataracts removed, heart ablated, new knees installed and hips replaced without cutting a muscle!” Our parents and generations before them could only sit and suffer the pain. They couldn’t walk and stay fit. The best they could do was commiserate with their Doctor, who they treated as a “God, “ says Roger, Eileen’s husband. Today we get many opinions and treat our physicians as partners in our wellness program. Big difference!

We are so lucky.


BIRW 2017 Race Committee Recollections


By Sally Willits

Aboard the Signal boat Sarah, for the White Fleet, at the start of BIRW the weather is as different from Miami as it possibly could be. Definitely, for June, that’s a positive! Arriving on Saturday, from Coconut Grove, we enjoyed a “blue bird” day at the Boat Basin below the Oar Restaurant. This is our 4th BIRW, our third as Signal. My husband Chris has been a member of Storm Trysail Club for many years and we love to help out with Race Committee. We have the perfect boat, a Grand Banks 46-comfortable and stable.

Volunteers are busy sorting gear at the Race Committee white supply truck.  Placed at the end of the dock, it was poised to equip the 22 RC boats covering 4 fleets with a Medical Boat, 2 Press Boats and Support Boats.  The hub bub was just beginning.

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Block Island is an island lost in time. The spirit of it’s New England settlers is still alive in simple wood clad Victorian and beachy cottages, creamy ice cream, lobster rolls and cat-tail rimmed ponds complementing the rocky shoreline and dramatic cliffs. Families have summered here for generations, only going back to inland Massachusetts or Rhode Island when school starts. The weather is perfect for summer; cool nights and breezy warm days. Below, the Oar and tent before the action begins.

As a child I spent many weeks here with my family at Twin Maples, which was then retired barracks. We ate in the old mess hall, family style with all the other “guests”. Even before that, my mother ran a boarding house near the old Spring House during WW II. Collecting beach plums for jam, reading old paperbacks on the porch of the Narragansett Inn and searching for shells on the rocky beaches, our end of summer was complete. Always the monotonous and dreamy sound of the fog horn from BI Light is heard. The island hasn’t changed a bit.

Our Florida Team can adjust pretty easily. This is the opposite of crazy Miami. But then there’s the fog…….

which doesn’t deter our group as we go out for our practice day. Below, Rick Bischoff’s Amulet, racing to retrieve marks.

Things turn around pretty quickly and you have a finish like this!

Full speed ahead on Sunday, our practice day. The first boat to leave the harbor is Sean Adams in his Ahi who scouts the wind in Block Island Sound where our fleet will be racing. He reports back to Dick Neville and Dave regarding trends in wind and current, fog and other conditions. This determines the plan for the day.  Race Committee duty begins when we depart Great Salt Pond . This is no small feat.  The day prior, we get the boat ready for our week’s long duty.

PVC pipe is taped to the rails of Sarah to hold flags, radios are charged in the cabin, all paperwork is gathered, computers are plugged, and foul weather gear is stowed forward in case of foul weather. We have wifi in case the hotspot the RC provides doesn’t work. Wifi goes in and out as we all well know! The keep away float is laid on the starboard rail for storage when not in use. The big board which shows courses is taped to the bridge aft by the mast for all to see.  On the bridge of our Grand Banks 46, sits my husband, Captain Chris, Dave Brennan, the PRO who calls the shots, and his faithful and funny scribe, Charley Wullschleger. It’s serious up there. But always, there is levity, stories and terrible jokes.

Below, Chris Willits and Eric Kreuter sharing a salty story.

On the bow we have our very professional an experienced Timer, Barbara Velvet Voice Neville, Lucy Bertold, Betty McMahon, and Elaine Rosemond on flags. Below, Barbara, Elaine and Skip.

Saint Rosemond, the very dutiful and patient MacGyver who moves gear and helps where needed (anchoring and setting equipment) is always on duty.

 From the deck Kendra Brennan, Betty and I do check in and Kendra and Barbara do finishes with our DRO John Sweeney. Betty and I sometimes back up finishes if there looks to be clusters of boats finishing quickly. You can’t have too many eyes, as the finishes and timing are very important. First to finish in class all week may not be the overall winner. Connie Bischoff, whose eyes never get tired, as scorer  works tirelessly with Kendra to record finishes using Yacht Scoring, a program that Luiz Kahl wrote. Below, Lucy and Connie working hard scoring.

 The program gives immediate results to the  results committee on shore. Skip Mansfield,below,  who has been to every Race Week since 1965,  at age 93 graces our bow with elegance and manages sandwich duty for each day.

It’s a well oiled machine that most of the time works like clockwork. Below, RC Meeting at start of day on the dock.

And since BIRW is the only true week-long big boat regatta left, we all love to come to join in the festivities and support the sport we love. Below, Sarah resting before the work begins..

The paperwork needed for all of the races is voluminous. Charley as scribe must track Dave’s every word, lat and long of signal, all incoming radio traffic and of course, the all important over earlys. She is irreplaceable. Below, Charley, John (DRO) Sweeney, and Dave Brennan on the bridge.

 The weather mark boats must record mark rounding order, as do the gate boats. The pin boat must provide a square line and take down over earlys and make sure the boats over early hear their calls so that they return and restart. Many times the pin boat, weather mark and gate are rocking in rough seas and it’s not easy to perch and write; or keep paper and pen handy and dry. This takes coordination and a good stomach. Picking up and dropping anchors like 20 year olds ( and paying the price the next day) is not for the faint of heart. Most of us are over 60. And fog and rough seas are no fun.

Chris, John Lowe (weather mark), Dave B (PRO), Rick Bertold (pin boat), and Bruce Harper (pin). Missing Bill Moriarty (gate) Rick Bischoff (gate), and Scott Giering (gate), and Shawn Adams.

Bruce, Bobby Brennan  and Lucy Bertold (flags) at the big tent.

On Race committee we have fun ribbing each other, telling jokes and pride ourselves with loyalty to a sport that we have enjoyed since we were kids. We follow now as the seniors who watch crisp starts and finely tune weather legs.  We take great pride in being able to work as a team supporting precision sailing and competition at the highest level for many classes. And we always have fun. Below, Elaine is enjoying time off the water with Saint and John Lowe..

It’s pretty special to support the sport of sailing. The attention to detail,  camaraderie, respect for the weather and competition, and skill of our sailors and teammates is very gratifying.

Do as I Say not as I Do!!

Do as I say, not as I do!

Jane Brody is one of our favorites. She brings up a number of interesting points in her article in the NYT Tuesday April 11,2017, called “Our Parents’ Health Mistakes”.

The article really made me think about the differences in health care in today’s world vs the 40s and 50s.

My mother and father smoked. Today, in America, many smokers are ostracized.

My mother and father ate packaged deli meats filled with nitrates. And they loved hot dogs, scotch, gin and ice cream.

My mother and father ate white bread until the 70’s when they got smart reading Adele Davis and bought whole wheat.

These two athletes  played tennis and golf regularly, then gave the sports up when work and family intervened.

My mother in particular started walking the beach regularly after her first heart problem.

My father gave up drinking after the first cancer and never missed it.

In the 70s my mother and father changed their eating habits and became hippies. They made granola, gave up whole milk, bought organic meats and fish. They stopped smoking.

It was too late. The damage was done.

No wonder they died of heart disease and cancer! No wonder they both had high cholesterol!

We now know that “ smoking… increases the risk of heart disease, raises blood pressure, diminishes exercise tolerance, decreases HDL cholesterol and increases the blood’s tendency to clot”.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the US.  We have a long way to go to eradicate it. Now we treat the consequences and ignore the prevention . Expensive procedures like stents and valve replacements could be avoided by diet, exercise and taking an inexpensive statin.

Jane feels we can take our cue from the South Americans known as the Tsimane. “They have a “forager/horticulturalist” life style. Tsimane men are active for 7 hours a day accumulating 17,000 steps. Women average 15,000 steps a day. Smoking is rare. “ The Tsimane diet is high in fiber and unprocessed carbs with foods like corn, brown rice, nuts and fruits. Protein is important and comes from animal meat low in saturated fat. They are not vegetarians.

How do we modify our lifestyle? Only 20% of  Americans get 30 minutes of physical activity a day and most do not do anything meaningful for their health in terms of exercise. Michelle Obama was not wrong that we need to get moving!

5 days a week of 30 minute exercise is mandated.

OK senior couch potatoes, get your podcast app on your phone and listen while you walk!

We have to keep our numbers up, Baby Boomers, so the Gen X and Millennials don’t vote to replace our Medicare!



What do you think of when you hear the word “time”? We most often think, “Is it time for cocktails?” Do you constantly refer to your watch to see how much time you have left before going somewhere? Do you check to see if there is just one more task you can accomplish before you run out the door? Are you always late because of this? Are you always wondering where the minutes, hours, months have gone? Is there a calendar close by to constantly check dates?
We Seniors realize how important time is. It can neither be created nor manipulated. So, what can we do about managing it?

First of all:
• Prioritize – hourly, daily, weekly and monthly
• Organize – Years ago, a friend was visiting me while I was cleaning house. She began to laugh and then told me that I looked like a chicken with its head cut off. I would go into one room, find something and take it to another room and once there find something else. She said, “Why don’t you do a room at a time? Do not leave that room until you are finished. If you find things which belong elsewhere, whether it is trash or laundry, leave them by the door.” She was right, isn’t organizing your house cleaning comparable to trying to organize your life?
• Remind – Use your calendar not only to mark commitments but add the dates when you have to mail greeting cards (buy 10 great ones, address them in advance and put a Post-It with the mailing date on each card. Add those dates to your calendar too.) Make sure you have a big calendar with large squares for each day. Hang it where everyone except the dog and cat can see it. Make sure it has a blank page for the next year. Once you get ahead of the game, you will be happier.
• Remember – Use the Notes app on your smart phone to capture good ideas. Make sure that you put the list header in bold so that you can easily find it. Whether it is inviting someone over to dinner or finding a fun gift idea, or a place to travel in the future, if you add it to a list which is easily found…it cannot escape.
• Exercise- Take a daily walk; even a short one. You will return to your to do list energized and refreshed. While it might seem strange to waste your precious time to go for a walk, you are doing it for more than exercise. It frees the brain to think. Be sure to take a notebook and pen or your Smart Phone, to record the ideas which bubble up from your brain.

Time is limited. Your goal is to use it wisely. Whether you are writing a book, addressing birthday cards or adding items to your bucket list, you are in charge. Enjoy the time you have! Every minute!

Ban the term ELDERLY!

We hate it when the media announces, “elderly lady hit by car”……..and then the rest of the article says “65 year old Gert Goodknees, riding her bike on I75, was struck…..” I think we should start a petition to ban the term elderly! So who defined ELDERLY? That term, defined as ‘past one’s prime’, ‘long in the tooth’ (are we wolves?!), or ‘aged’ /‘aging’ is an anachronism today. We are all ‘aging’ including those ‘aging’ out of diapers! Joan Rivers was working and living the high life well into her 80’s. And, we personally know a 93 year old gal who still loves to sail, a 75 year old guy who bikes for miles daily, an almost 86 year old young chic who runs sailboat races and, in her spare time, works as a volunteer scientific expert at Fairchild Butterfly House. And, we play tennis and golf with and two late 70 year olds. It is a new and exciting world out there for all of us! The older population is soaring! In numbers and ability! Ban the term ELDERLY!

LOL… Here come more acronyms

We love acronyms, letter abbreviations or initials for popular “sayings” and names which are pronounced as a word. Anacronyms are acronyms which are so old or insular (SPQR from the Roman Empire, SCUBA and COBOL) that no one even recalls what the letters stood for.

Acronyms have been inserted into our language via the Internet. They are fun to use, too. Many, like MOAB (Mother Of All Bombs), SNAFU, TDY and PDQ have a military background. We can tell our grandkids that we used to eat SPAM (Something Posing As Meat)! (Only some of us). Some acronyms are called pseudo-blends! UNIFEM is one of these…..and it doesn’t mean feminists united (too bad), it means United Nations Development Fund For Women.

So, what does this have to do with Turning Out The Lights With A Smile? You can’t even get through a conversation with a Millennial or Boomer without hearing OMG, TMI, DIY, BYOB, FYI, LOL (Laugh Out Loud), or JSYK (Just So You Know). Text messages are full of these! We need to be up to date on the current jargon because we have FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) (especially with our teenage grandchildren). The current most important “justification” for acronyms is for the abbreviation of messages to limit Tweets to 140 characters! We certainly can’t talk anymore! Why waste the time?

The most up to date acronyms take the place of phrases. Here are three which are pronounced as words: WAYTTP (What Are You Trying To Prove?), IMBOBINDY (I May Be Old But I’m Not Dead Yet) and WIZYWIG (What You See Is What You Get!).

Don’t you think that YOLO (You Only Live Once!) should become our motto? Enjoy life today, even if we have to use an occasional acronym!