Category Archives: Products

Remains To Be Seen

Adrienne Crowther
Adrienne Crowther

Let’s face it – no one likes to talk about death. Whether it’s our own, our parents, a spouse, or a friend, it hasn’t been a conversation topic of choice…..until now. Not surprisingly, we baby boomers are re-inventing our end of life practices and attitudes around death.

Here are the facts:

  • Cremation rates have soared to more than 40% of all deaths (close to 90% in some states)
  • Burial costs have reached high, sometimes unaffordable levels
  • Families are transient, and family members no longer live in close proximity to each other, nor to a family burial site
  • Religious tenets are more flexible regarding cremation as an option for disposition

Many recent articles, books, and other media point toward the growing number of cremations, both in the US and worldwide. Baby boomers especially, are breaking tradition in their spiritual beliefs, environmental convictions, and affinity toward individuality in all aspects of life. The funeral industry concedes to this rapid conversion to cremation, yet products for containment of cremation remains are limited, and are often mass-produced and outsourced.

Shine on Brightly
Shine on Brightly

Shine On Brightly is an online company that was launched in 2008 – the result of a lifelong passion for art, love for people and their stories, and lots of research on the changing trends around life and death rituals (especially among baby boomers). Fifteen months later, Founder and Owner, Adrienne Crowther lost her husband of 30 years. Nine months after that, his sister, who had been one of her dearest childhood friends, also died.  Adrienne’s work and business is truly unique and I thought it appropriate to address this subject for our

Annice and dad
Annice and dad

What are your plans? When my own father died in 2011, I was grateful that he had taken care of all his burial plans.  Everything carefully outlined and paid for- in advance.  What a gift that was to all of us.  And what an alternative Adrienne has to offer to both the living  who want to plan their end of life rituals, or for those who will be making arrangement for their  loved ones.

The Best Hip and Joint Tablets for Dogs (and Cats)!

Bello and Me at the Ocean
Bello and Me at the Ocean

I didn’t want kids and I certainly didn’t want a puppy.  And while the kids never came, Bello did.

Sakshi felt strongly that we needed a dog when we bought our fixxer-upper back in 2002.  I don’t remember having any big discussion about it; I just said that I was busy with real estate and he would be busy fixing up the house for years with no time for a pet.

So when he called from the chestnut stand a week later saying that he found our dog, I wasn’t very happy.

Even when “our new puppy” lay sleeping next to me on the couch (with Sakshi placing him next to my back when I was sound asleep so that we could “bond”) I just couldn’t get really excited because all I could think about was how much work it would be to house train it, take it for walks every day, and make sure it was fed with fresh water twice a day.

After 11 years, it turns out that Bello is almost human, has a very big heart, has never once had an “accident” in the house, and lets me sleep in without making me get up to take him out.

He’s also been a blessing in that we both love to go on walks with him which makes me get some exercise, and you know they say that after 50 it is important!

Puppy Bello
Puppy Bello

We were both really sad this past spring when Bello hurt his back right knee so badly that the vet told us he would probably have to have surgery, and even then, it might not help.  Plus with the other leg compensating for the injured one, it was likely to be damaged too within a short period of time.  I cried and cried, but not in front of Bello, who also seemed so sad.

I was seriously thinking about having him put down, since I couldn’t bear knowing he would be in pain and not be able to walk.  Sakshi thought I was a monster with no heart, and said we could have that back leg amputated, which made me think he had lost his mind!

Since there were so many brands and types of hip and joint products in the pet stores, trying to find “the one that worked” was way too overwhelming, so we tried several that friends said were nothing short of a miracle for their dogs, but, Bello never got better.

Bello's First Experience of Snow
Bello’s First Experience of Snow

Then a friend, Adeha, told me about something that she said I should get before I put Bello down, and told me the story of how the company, EHP,  is small and still family-owned.

I thought this would be my last shot at trying to find something that worked, so I ordered the EHP tablets for dogs online (they have formulas for cats and for people, too).  They were cheaper than the ones that I had bought that didn’t work.

Within a week after taking the EHP tablets, Bello seemed to be completely back to normal.

So I’m sharing what I believe has saved him from a life of limping and pain.  He acts like he used to before, which is great because we would like to have a few more years together.

Here is the link, just click on it:

Happy Trails!


Bello Now: 11 years young!

Are Women Over 50 into March Madness?


Is it just me or is it because I live in NC where basketball is king that I’m overwhelmed with March Madness?  To be honest, I really don’t care about it.  There it is.  I’ve said it.  I’ve got enough madness in my life, thank you very much.

Another truth, I never even heard about it until I met my husband 16 years ago.  He loves college basketball, and all sports except NASCAR (thank God).  Come mid-March, Madness lives in our living room because we are not a home with multiple televisions, something I insisted on long ago.  That means whenever there is any kind of tournament  (World Series, Super Bowl, PGA Golf, Wimbledon, etc.) the T.V. is on and on and on until I try to convince my husband to go downstairs to his office to watch this Madness on his laptop.  Needless to say, he doesn’t enjoy that AT ALL.

When I can no longer endure the basketball game in our house, I politely hand over the Sennheiser wireless headphones (which I highly recommend)  to  my husband before muting the T.V.

Sennheiser Headphones

When I question him about all this basketball, he thinks I’m crazy.  “Everyone watches college basketball this time of the year,” he assures me.  Really?  I’m pretty sure most of my friends don’t watch it.  I’m sure if I had sons who played basketball I’d be more interested.  Don’t get me wrong, I admire, even envy the talents of super athletes and their victories.  Who doesn’t like to see their team triumph?  But two weeks of basketball?  So, I’m asking, how many of you are really into all that March Madness?



Women Over 50 Who Love Their Pets


If you recall, over a year ago, I wrote about Gus, my 10 year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever.  We rescued him eight years ago, complete with a bullet underneath his belly.

Gus taking it easy

My post at that time was about how constipated he was and how putting him on prednisone turned him into the dog from hell.  Needless to say, it was a messy time for both of us.

Well, poor Gus is not only constipated again but it’s much worse: perianal fistulas.  When the vet gave me the diagnosis, I immediately went home to research it.  I already knew the condition was painful because poor Gus took forever to poop, and moan while doing it.  Besides the pain, there was the itching, and irritation of the skin surrounding the anus.  Worse still, the poor guy has the beginnings of small ulcers surrounding his anus (I’ll spare you the photos).  Since Gus can’t take prednisone, he has to take an immunosuppressive medication (cyclosporine) which costs almost $300 for a month’s supply, and that’s if I buy it in Canada.  The doctor doesn’t know how long he has to be on it, but Gus doesn’t care than it costs more than my car payment.  Oh, he’s also on an antibiotic, and Flagyl (prescribed for  anti-inflammatory bowel).  And don’t let me forget to mention, he’s also taking Tramadol for pain relief for the ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) connecting the shin bone to the thigh bone.)

Gus at play
In the end, we’ll probably have to change his diet to an even more expensive one because studies have shown the benefits of feeding afflicted dogs a grain-free diet containing one single protein the dog has never eaten.  This reduces the possibility of triggering the immune system and preventing abscesses from healing.   Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance (Venison & Sweet Potato, Lamb & Rice, Sweet Potato & Fish) and Blue’s Buffalo Venison, Sweet Potato & Vegetables is another option.  Oh, I could also make his food, in which case, I could eat it, too, and keep it simple in the kitchen!
Good dog

Despite all that, Gus is still very athletic, eats like it’s his last meal, and scares anyone who comes to the door unannounced.  And most of all, he’s extremely affectionate and worth all my efforts.  Obama care for dogs?  That’s what I’m talking about!

Cool Women over 50: Sadhvi & her new Mac loves everyone and everything!


Being a woman over 50, I find that I can take a lot because I like routine and dislike change in my life.  Take my computer for instance: while my husband and many friends (even my Mom!) have Mac’s, I got a free pc years ago and it’s been fine.  Fine because my monitor is a Sony, my keyboard is ergonomically designed for my comfort level, and my genius trouble-shooter husband has made so many upgrades and improvements to it over the years, including keeping the much-needed virus protection up to date, that I am never really aware of any problems – only he is, and that’s Ok.

Sadhvi's new mini Mac

But all that changed last week when I couldn’t get to my email (I used Microsoft Outlook 2007), and I was not able to access the Internet.  I’ve never been addicted to crack or cocaine to experience “cold turkey”, but I imagine that’s what I experienced during those couple of (long) days without a computer: I paced, sweated, and felt very restless – I was desperate to check my email and yes, even Facebook! Continue reading Cool Women over 50: Sadhvi & her new Mac loves everyone and everything!