Category Archives: aging

Too Saggy for the SAG Awards?


** This is featured in the Huffington Post Style section!  Check it out here:  (comments welcome)

This morning I had a few minutes to spare, so I thought I’d try on my old black crepe suit to make sure it would be okay to wear backstage at the Screen Actors Guild Awards this Saturday.

When you work on the crew or on the production team of an award show, you’re supposed to dress to blend in. The production companies generally rent tuxedos for the men who might be caught on camera, but the female workers are expected to wear an awards-show-type dress. You know how so many of us have those lying around.

Well actually, from my years of working behind-the-scenes on awards shows, I do happen to have a small collection of semi-formal wear lying around. But the problem is that most of these items are getting a little old and tired, much like their owner. Continue reading

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Filed under Academy Awards, aging, beauty, entertainment, style

My Husband Got Prostate Cancer and All I Got Was A Stupid T-Shirt

In honor of Movember, men’s health month, I have an essay in the Huffington Post about my husband’s prostate cancer and how I pretty much sucked at being supportive.  This essay is a cut down version of one from my book – my unpublished book – maybe the full version will see the light of day down the road?!!

“My Husband Got Prostate Cancer and All I Got Was A Stupid T-Shirt”

When my husband came home from the doctor with the news that he needed a biopsy to rule out prostate cancer, I was instantly worried. Not about the test coming back positive, rather about him becoming a basket case, obsessed with fear that he might have cancer. I couldn’t wait until he got the happy call and we could return to our normal lives.

I even minimized his concerns, “People get biopsies all the time and they usually come back negative. Besides, only old guys get prostate cancer.”

Turned out, I was wrong.

Not only was the biopsy incredibly painful (in fact, more so than any treatment to follow), the results were not the negative ones I had so confidently predicted.

When the doctor uttered the “c” word, I was in more shock than my husband. He had already accepted his fate. I, on the other hand, was dumbfounded and even suspicious, like the time my dentist told me I needed a crown right after he boasted about purchasing a new boat. KEEP READING


Filed under aging, cancer, health, life, medical, relationships

Don’t Hate Me . . .

“Don’t Hate Me Because I Can’t Hear You’

My post from Blogger Idol, made it into the HUFFINGTON POST! 

and now also in the Limping Chicken – UK’s online news source for the hearing-impaired

Check it out.  Comments welcome!  (So they ask me back!)

Don’t Hate Me Because I Can’t Hear You”  by Kristen Hansen Brakeman

“We cran do your earwig pest cow,” the nurse said.

“What?” I asked.

“I said, ‘We can do your hearing test now.’”


Over the last few years, I’ve noticed my hearing is starting to go. I’m constantly asking people to repeat themselves. At restaurants, I have to lean in and strain to decipher the conversation, and at home, my kids regularly tease me about my hearing, shouting out non-sequiturs like “Louisiana Purchase” or “Barack Obama” to illustrate how far off I am with my guesses at what they’ve just said.

So, it was no surprise when, after finally working up the nerve to get a hearing test, the results were grim. Part way through the test, the audiologist stopped, looked at me as if I only had months to live, and said, “You have a significant hearing loss, and it’s likely degenerative, so you should start wearing hearing aids now.” (keep reading)


Filed under aging, culture, health, HEARING, humor

Don’t Call Me Ma’am


(Post Featured on Freshly Pressed!)

There is a single word in the English language that has the power to ruin my whole day.  That word is Ma’am.

I could be having a perfectly fine day – a great day even – the kind of day where my car starts on the first try, my kids get off to school without a ton of screaming and, when I check myself in the mirror I actually think, “Hey, I don’t look half bad.”

Then I stop by the local coffee place and the hipster barista dude, the one who wears the gross earring gauges, hands me my non-fat latte and says, “Here you go, Ma’am.”

Ah, come on.  Really?  Did you have to?

Of course I politely say “Thank you,” back to the little whippersnapper, but in my head I’ve added a very irritated, “Don’t call me Ma’am, d#$%khead.” Continue reading


Filed under aging, beauty, comedy, culture, Uncategorized, women

Why I Got My Dog Cosmetic Surgery

I’ve often IMG_5606made light of people who get too much cosmetic surgery, so the idea of putting my own dog under the knife seemed completely out of the question.  But two years into owning Buddy, our German Shepherd/hound rescue dog, I noticed that his appearance had changed somehow.  He wasn’t the cute, curious looking dog he once was.  No, age had not been his friend. Continue reading


Filed under aging, animals, beauty, dogs, humor, plastic surgery

Take Me Out Of The Softball Game

Photo03261100I’ve never liked the phrase, “There are two kinds of people in the world,” but when it comes to sports, I suspect it’s true.  There are jocks and non-jocks, and I’m definitely one of the latter.

So when a couple of women on my husband’s rec league softball team canceled at the last minute and he asked me to fill in, I was not enthused.  As a kid I was always the “last pick,” and the idea of getting out on that field filled me with painful memories.  To make things even worse – I had no softball costume to wear.

My husband said some nonsense about having the right men to women ratio and having to forfeit, and blah, blah, blah, cry me a river.  Continue reading


Filed under aging, comedy, culture, humor, life, softball, sports, Uncategorized

Out, Damned Spot

I’ve never understood how otherwise sensible people let themselves get carried away with cosmetic procedures.  Can’t they see there’s a point where they start to look worse instead of better?

I suppose they begin by wanting a minor fix and then, pleased with the results, opt for another . . . and another . . . and another, until they run out of money or end up on one of those plastic surgery victim websites.

It’s the addictive nature of it that’s kept me away from plastic surgeons and dermatologists alike.

Until now. Continue reading


Filed under aging, comedy, cosmetic surgery, health, illness, life, medical, plastic surgery, Uncategorized, women

Chopper Lives! And lives and lives and lives . . .

DSC_0517Some of you may have read my earlier piece about how we inherited my in-law’s aging one-eyed dog.  If not, Chopper – who we believe to be about 112 years old – is a terrier mix that my in-laws rescued about 7 years back.  When both of my in-laws passed away last summer, someone had to take Chopper in.  Much to my chagrin, we were that lucky someone.

I didn’t mean to be insensitive to Chopper’s plight, but we already had a dog and a cat, and between work and looking after three kids, I didn’t need more on my plate.  And as my husband pointed out, Chopper was likely on his swan song and his stay with us would surely be short.  In fact, my father-in-law even joked that he and Chopper were in a race to the finish line.

When he arrived at our home, Chopper was in such bad shape that he couldn’t lift his body over our 4-inch Continue reading


Filed under aging, animals, death, dogs, Family, humor, pets

The SAGgy Award Goes To


(Featured on the WordPress “Freshly Pressed” page)

This morning I had ten minutes  to spare so I tried on my old black crepe suit to see if it would be okay to wear backstage at the Screen Actors Guild Awards this Sunday. When you work on the crew or production side of these award shows, you’re supposed to dress to blend in. The production rents tuxedos for all the men who might be caught on camera, but all of the female workers are expected to wear an awards show type dress. You know how we all have those lying around.

Well actually, from my years of working behind the scenes on these things, I do happen to have a small collection of semi-formal wear lying around.  But the problem is that most of these items are getting a little old and tired, much like their owner.

I had spent much of the weekend racking my brain, wondering what I would wear to this year’s show, then I remembered this black crepe suit that I bought about 15 or 20 years ago. I wore it when I worked on the Oscars the year before my first daughter was born. Continue reading


Filed under Uncategorized, kids, humor, comedy, beauty, women, aging, fashion, entertainment



I used to make fun of my mom for reading the obituary section of the newspaper. Besides being morbid, it seemed absurd. After all, she didn’t know the deceased, and clearly she never would.

But as one more piece of evidence that I’m slowly turning into my mother, I now read the obituaries too.

Even though they can be horribly sad, I find them fascinating. I pour over the choices people made in their lives, their schooling, their careers, the number of times they were married – decades of living all condensed into a few paragraphs and easily digested with one’s breakfast cereal. Continue reading


Filed under aging, comedy, culture, death, humor, life, musings, Uncategorized