Nana’s Longevity Tips

As a journalist, I turn to the experts for advice. So this year, at Passover, I asked my 93-year old nana for the secrets to her longevity. It’s simple, she said:

1. Eat right. (Nana has followed a pretty simple diet for the past 50 years. Take whatever you were going to put on your plate and cut it in half. If at a restaurant, cut it by 2/3. Save the rest for tomorrow.)

2. Watch the trees grow. (This she said while pointing to the Magnolia tree on the side of her driveway, planted about 60 years ago. A tree grew in Brooklyn.)

3. Make jokes out of everything. (Of late, she is especially fond of ribald humor you wouldn’t expect from a nonagenarian).

(Note: I know this is a little off topic for my blog, but we should never lose sight of the “life” part of “work/life.” And I hear that tips do well in the blogosphere.)

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"Ethnic" names and other faux pas

At a party last weekend, I was engaging in a little pleasant chit-chat with a very interesting guy. We talked for a while about how he has a very unusual first name (which I won’t reveal since its unusualness would immediately give away his identity), which segued nicely into my mentioning that I had a pretty unusual surname, which I then revealed. When he heard my name, he said, “Alboher…is that an ethnic name?” I stopped in my tracks, trying to figure out what he meant. “Aren’t all names ethnic?” I blurted.

Coming from a white man, it sounded politically incorrect at best.

Upon reflection, I don’t think he meant anything other than “What ethnicity is that name?” but he had no idea how odd it sounded. {For the record, Alboher is a Sephardic Jewish name. My paternal grandfather was from Turkey, or Yugoslavia, depending what what family member is asked.}

It was a little like his assuming that my beau and I are married, which he also did. I’m not the most unconventional person around, so I get a little bit of a thrill every time I defy people’s expectations of me. But assumptions can really offend people. This was a good reminder me to be careful about my own assumptions.

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