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"Does she have a thyroid problem?" Two women looking at a photo of an obese relative.  "Have you talked to your doctor about portion control?" A mother says this to her daughter as she eyes her up and down.  "How can you not go to the wedding (when you're almost related)? "How can you be invited to a shower when you're not invited to the wedding?" A friend makes both statements to her friend on the phone. Some friend.  "You spend so much more on clothing than I do. I would never buy that at that store." Sister says this...

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We were raised conventionally, prudishly. Both of us were brought up in homes where the topic of sex was never or rarely mentioned. Nice girls didn’t talk about sex, or "do it" before or out of a marriage. When we started dating, our mothers would remind us not to do anything they wouldn’t do. Implicit was: Don’t have sex, get pregnant, and ruin your life. That was just understood.  But we never had that conversation.    Once we reached puberty, sex was on everyone’s brain. Most of us didn’t have the benefit of sex education at home and, if taught...

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“Oh my aching back!” “When I get up from a chair, I can barely move.” “I was bending down the other day to put a pot away and suddenly I heard a pop.” These are typical comments from those suffering from implacable back pain.  A few years ago, I did a story on back problems and discovered one of the best ways to ward off back problems is really very simple: Take a walk. Apparently hoofing it strengthens stomach and back muscles and bones and keeps your heart rate up doing something aerobic that isn’t stressful on your body as...

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My mom is slowing down. Her memory isn't as sharp; her gait is slower, and she now depends on her cane or walker to get around. I'm sad about what I know is just around the bend.  Truth be told, my daughters, son-in-law, grandson, beau, and I have been lucky. She's 96 1/2, still living alone and independently, discussing the political scene with vitriol, and enjoying a hearty appetite. Her voice still sounds robust, too.  These changes, albeit gradual, are quite obvious to us…and are disturbing. I brainstorm with my daughters and our immediate circle about ways to help her remain...

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When it comes to medications, there is no magic pill, although many times in my life a medicine has offered a wonderful aid to recovery. An antibiotic helps when I've had a serious infection, an aspirin or related product cures a strong headache, and even a Xanax relaxes me when I am terribly anxious whether it was during a difficult divorce or when I experience turbulence in the sky since flying is not my favorite mode of transportation.  Yet, I've learned with the good comes the not so good. Medicines have their side effects. I know firsthand. My move to...

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