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Two Rescue Dogs and a Cat

A Balancing Act I Would Not Change for the World

Judy Katz with petsTally the weights of all three of my roommates—they add up to the 20 pandemic pounds I am eager to lose. I am not willing to lose my roommates, even though all three following me into any room I enter, even the shower, can sometimes be disconcerting. Sometimes , a moment before, they were snuggled up with me on the couch,  and because I got up, they had to move around again. Mainly though, it’s endearing to be so loved.

Bindy came to me four years ago from The Sato Project, which rescues dogs from Puerto Rico. A month ago, tiny Lia came to me—interestingly, also from Puerto Rico, but from Love of All Dogs Rescue. Both dogs are bilingual.  Just kidding: they understand body language, hugs and kisses, good food, and yummy treats.

Read the full article on TheThreeTomatoes.com

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When Running Away Seemed Like the Only Option

Just Katz and a friend

This story is part of the CelebrEighty Series written by Judy KatzIt was 1958. I was 18, taking the subway from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn to Port Authority, Times Square. A Trailways bus was leaving in twenty minutes for a three-day ride to Los Angeles, California—and I planned to be on it. I’d left no note for my parents. I took off with one change of clothes in a cardboard suitcase and the $500 I had earned as a summer camp counselor.Judy Katz on a pathway

I was running away from the life my parents had mapped. Live at home while attending Brooklyn College. Marry a doctor, lawyer, or career-track businessman—someone who could take good care of me. Become a mother and school teacher. Big perk: you can have your summers off.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with these things, the life stretched out before me seemed like a punishment. There had to be so much more. I didn’t know what other kinds of life I could discover and live, but I knew there was “something.” I had to find it.

Writing this now at age 81, I want to shake that thoughtless, albeit desperate teenager and urge her to find a far better way to carve out a dream life without inflicting such fear, confusion, and pain on her mother and father. I disappeared and did not let them know I was all right for three days—days of desperation on their part when they thought I’d been kidnapped or killed. Read more

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My Year of Dating Cary Grant

Judy KatzI was 28 the day I met Cary Grant. He was 68. It was 1972. I was in charge of Madison Square Garden’s public relations. The Garden, under its President Irving Mitchell Felt, had just bought O’Hare International Hotel, located within the airport. The immediate project was to hold a gala launch party for travel agents from all over the country. Many celebrities and VIPs had accepted our invitation, including Mayor Daley. I arrived the day before the event to go over last-minute arrangements.

That night, when I stopped at the front desk to get my room key, the manager, whose name was Bob, told me that Cary Grant was having dinner in the hotel restaurant. “Why don’t you invite him to your party,” he suggested.

“I don’t want to bother Mr. Grant while he’s having dinner,” I protested.

Bob smiled, “I know he would be happy to meet you.”

I let Bob, the manager, lead me to Cary. There was Cary Grant, looking exactly as he does in his movies: patrician features, beautifully if casually dressed, but with a shock of snow-white hair that you don’t see in his many starring roles. He was seated at a small round table with another man, who turned out also to be named Bob. They shared a real estate project in Ireland and had met at the airport hotel to discuss business. I knew I found Cary attractive—who wouldn’t!—but I was not star-struck. I had worked with many celebrities, even that early in my career. To me, they were just people—even Cary Grant.

Read the full article on SilverDisobedience.Rocks

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Cryonics: Planning for Life After Life? Just Don’t Freeze Your Assets

Image of a brain in a cube of ice

Sometimes when I’m walking down the street, I think, “When I end, all this will just keep going on” It’s a hard pill to swallow—and one that some people try to avoid through technology. Many billionaires and other rich and famous people have been eager to pay vast sums of money to a company like Alcott to cryonically “preserve” them. In some cases, they froze their entire body. For others, more affordably, it was just their heads to preserve their brains (“neuro-preservation.”).

For some people, cryonics is their “Hail Mary.” When the legendary Larry King repeatedly said that he wanted to be frozen so he could conceivably come back someday, Dr. Oz went on his talk show to talk him down. His family picked up the argument, and Larry gave up his quest for immortality—at least that kind.

Among the living persons contracted to be cryo-preserved: billionaire Peter Thiel, a co-founder of Pay Pal and first outside investor in Facebook. Peter is now 54. Likewise, Seth Mac Farlane, screenwriter, producer, actor, animator, and creator of the TV series Family Guy and many other popular series, hopes to be reanimated. He is now 48. They are just two of many others from all walks of life—as I said, famous and unknown. Read more

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The Lie That Launched My 57 Year Career

several people in a business setting talking

At 24, I was delusional. Many young people are. Returning to New York from Berkeley with my undergrad degree in English Lit and four years of weekly columns at the school newspaper—I was sure I’d land my own column on the New York Times. I just needed access to the right person.

My first stop: a highly-recommended employment agency. The interviewer barely glanced at my pile of weekly columns. Her only question was, “Do you type?” Keep in mind that this was 1964. I typed: on an old Remington typewriter in the college newspaper office, where I also did my homework since I was too poor to afford a typewriter. But something instinctive kicked in, and I told her that I couldn’t type. In retrospect, I might still be in the typing pool if I admitted my ability in that arena.

My next interview was at William Douglas McAdams, Inc., then the sixth-largest medical advertising agency in the U.S., still in business today. I was hired as a lowly Photo Researcher. This meant that I had a desk next to several tall file cabinets filled with headshots. My job was to find the right photo for each story. After barely two weeks of this, I was ready to pull my hair out. Read more

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Supergenarians Give Us Hope for Living Longer—and Better

Judy KatzAs of September 30, 2021, the oldest living person was Kane Tanaka of Japan at 119. She is only four years shy of breaking the record of the oldest person ever, which currently belongs to Jeanne Louise Calment of France, who lived to be 122. Supercentenarians are still uncommon, although the numbers of people—more women than men as it turns out—who live from ages 100 to 122 are growing.

My boyfriend Jerry Siegel lived till seven weeks shy of his 99th Birthday. We all just mourned the death of Betty White, who was within reach of her 100th Birthday.

These people who break through to extreme older age are still the exception. But we as a species are living longer. In 2020, life expectancy at birth was 77.0 years for the U.S. population. Compare that to 73.7 years in 1980. You’re likely to live longer than your parents, and your children will likely live longer than you. Records are made to be broken. That is the history of human progress. Read more

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CelebrEighty at Dairy Queen

Judy Katz at dairy queenIt was a balmy Saturday on August 29, 2020, when I set out to celebrate my 80th birthday. My thoughtful daughter Heather had a surprise for me: the arrangements she made would allow me to experience the top item on my Bucket List. A luxury car was about to take the two of us and my executive assistant Layla from the Upper West Side of Manhattan to a Dairy Queen in Union, New Jersey. I was so excited!

The friendly, talkative driver, hearing us chatting away about the outing from the back seat, was confused. Looking at us through his rearview mirror as we crossed the George Washington Bridge, he questioned: “Excuse me asking, but are you seriously going to a Dairy Queen to celebrate your 80th birthday? Before I could answer, he hastily added: “Not that you look 80. I’d have guessed years younger! But there’s got to be more exciting things you could be doing to celebrate such a big milestone.”

First, I look 80, or at least my version of it. I’ve observed that there’s no one catch-all way to “look one’s age.” How we “look” varies across a broad spectrum. For example, my late lamented 99-year-old boyfriend was long, lean, still sexy to me, and sharp as a tack. Jerry lit up any room he was in till his last day on earth—at age 99—in his villa in Casa de Campo while we were enjoying cocktails. That’s what we want to aim for, to light up the world, or at least our corner of it—and go out (preferably fast, as he did), with a smile on your lips and love in your heart. So, considering this, I don’t put too much worry into whether any of us “look our age” or not because there is no one standard—or certainly shouldn’t be.

Read the full article on SilverDisobedience.Rocks

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Are You 80+? Please CelebrEighty With Me

Judy holding a balloon-CelebrEighty

I’m in my 80s. Eighty-one, to be exact. Do you ever wonder what older people like me — and maybe you — are supposed to be doing? Taking a much-needed nap, perhaps? Soaking our dentures while trying to remember where we put our eyeglasses—which are most likely on top of our heads?

I reject the idea that our lives have to grow smaller as we grow older. They can expand. Eighty-somethings can write a bestselling book, a play or a symphony; give a lecture to a packed university auditorium; run a company; invent the next technological breakthrough — all while maybe also being a grandparent. We oldies might be volunteering our time and experience to help others succeed in their own lives. And, we may even be browsing through dating sites seeking new vistas for love in our next big act three after the death of a partner, a divorce or maybe a lifetime of being single.

All this only touches the mere surface of who we  are — a collective, accomplished, fully-alive group of us in our mid-70s, 80s, 90s, and even 100s — and what we are up to! And this is why I decided to start writing this CelebrEighty column and opening up a community discussion.

In the weeks, months, and (universe willing) years ahead, I plan to share my experiences—personal, professional, and perhaps even romantic. I invite you to join me in each of these discussions, sharing your experiences and perspectives. I plan to dive in and explore such topics as:

Dating at Eighty and Beyond

How Our Adult Children Welcome Our Wisdom — or Not

Who We See in the Mirror and How it Reflects Our Inner Selves

Gifts to Give Now and Those to Leave to the World

Why the Fear of Death is In Fact Fear of Life…

Read the full article on SilverDisobedience.Rocks

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Writing Your Book: A Ghostwriter’s Perspective

Writing Your BookIn the beginning, there was the business card.

Then the e-mail address.

Next, the website.

Today, as a businessperson, if you are not an author, you lack a certain credibility.

Authoring a book has become the must-have for big media placements, speaking opportunities, and bigger clients, not to mention your chance for grabbing that elusive brass ring, a bestseller. Hey! You just never know!

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My Heart Bleeds for Innocent Would-Be Authors

would be author

Think of life as a round circle, like a pizza pie. One slice of the pie is your area of core competence, perhaps even genius. It’s what you do so well. Next to that slice is another slice of equal size, what you know you don’t know. For example, I know I cannot add, subtract or cook anything edible.

Then there’s the rest of the pie, the three-quarters of things in life that we don’t even know we don’t know anything about. In that mysterious realm, for most people, lie the secrets to successful book writing, publishing and marketing.

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