Civility Honored – What a Concept!

Tracey Good News

My hat is off to Allegheny College ( for their first ever “Prize for Civility in Public Life.” Given to journalists and commentators David Brooks of the New York Times and nationally syndicated columnist Mark Shieds, this award acknowledges two members of different ideological beliefs “who show noteworthy civility while continuing to fight passionately for their beliefs.”

What a concept – the art of respectful discourse in the face of opposing opinions.

Who among us can be happy with the disintegration of political discussions? How absolutely refreshing for a respected institution of higher learning to publicly acknowledge the value of conversation that is respectful, courteous, and polite.

My thanks to  Allegheny College for their brilliant concept, and the gumption to act upon it, and to both Mr. Brooks and Mr. Shields for showing all of us how beneficial it is to practice simple civility.

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Pollyanna Lives!

Tracey Tracey's Blog

First of all, my heartfelt thanks to all of you who took the time to  connect with me following the launch of my web site and blog. It’s just the kind of thing that reinforces my belief in the goodness of people.

And isn’t that sometimes a little hard to believe – that there are good people in the world? I don’t know about you, but I often feel  bombarded with so many negative stories, both in the 24/7 news cycle and from people who seem to be drawn to the dark side. It can make it pretty hard for me to keep my happy face on!

But, by golly, that’s my goal! I know, I know – unbridled optimism is thoroughly irritating to some people. Curious, isn’t it, that a positive outlook or cheery demeanor can rub people wrong? I certainly understand this from a psychological perspective and frankly, I feel for people who need to traverse their lives wearing their grumpy pants. I believe it is a hard road to travel.

But in the meantime, I’ll just happily bop along on my Pollyanna path. Yes, it’s my habit to look for the good in people and, here’s the great part, I generally find it!

(Click here to see other random thoughts)


Should she try online dating?

Tracey Columns

Dear Tracey,

I’m a 60 year old woman who has been single for about eight years. I have plenty of friends and a nice social life. But, like so many people, I would like to meet someone special. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking to necessarily marry again but a companion at this stage of life would be nice.

I have had lousy luck meeting men. I’m hardly going to hang out in the bars, I don’t go to church. While I do belong to some service groups, I’ve known most of those men for my entire career. I’ve taken some classes hoping to connect with someone but that didn’t work.

Lately, I’ve have been seeing ads for an online dating service that is for people over fifty. Do you think they work? It kind of scares me but my kids date people they meet online all of the time. They say I should sign up, that online dating is the way to go. I feel very cautious. Do you think it’s safe?


Single and Curious


Dear Reader,

Online dating services have exploded over the last ten years. They have proven themselves to be a viable option for millions of people. Apparently, they have worked for your kids. I know online dating has happily worked for my kids. It just seems to be that those of us over fifty are the ones feeling  the greatest reservations about meeting people this way.

Naturally, you would be cautious about venturing into this arena. That’s a wise approach. Take time to identify exactly what it is you want. Know your values and your interests. Are you looking for someone to share dinner and a movie?  A travel companion? Should he live locally or are you willing to try a long distance relationship? Once you have a realistic idea of your needs, it’s time to approach an online dating site.

For anyone using online matching services, regardless of his/her age, I’d recommend the following:

*  Make sure any service you use allows you to communicate with another member without initially disclosing your contact information. Most sites have a secure, internal, messaging system. This allows you to control how fast you want to progress, as well as how much information you want to share.

*  Use your common sense! One of the problems with Internet communication is that people tend to feel less inhibited. Anonymity propels some to say what they think others want to hear or agree to things they normally might avoid. Remember, without crucial body language and vocal qualities to help us clearly understand what is being said, it’s easy to get swept away by the written word.

*  Take things at your own pace. After exchanging messages and email, always move onto a phone call. (Never skip this step! If a man won’t agree to this, you have all the information you need to end things right there.) Listen for inconsistencies in his story – use those instincts you’ve honed throughout your lifetime. Feel free to ask for a photo. When you have  those first calls, block your phone number if it makes you feel better. Remember, this is about you having a safe and enjoyable experience.

*  Don’t set up a first date until you feel comfortable. Agree to a public place and arrive in your own car. Coffee or lunch is a great way to begin. Get to know him and pay attention to his answers. Always have  a charged cell phone with you and if he suggests moving the date to another locale, go only if you feel comfortable and again, in your own car. (Make sure a friend knows you are meeting someone – better safe than sorry, right?)

Remember, you know what you are looking for at this point in life. Don’t feel pressured into anything that isn’t a good fit for you. We’re talking about your happiness.

Perhaps all of these cautionary tips make you feel even more leery of online dating. They shouldn’t. Think of them as simple guidelines that would benefit anyone dating in this day and age.

(Click here to return to The Second Half online archives)

Life After Retirement

Tracey Ask Tracey

What do you think of someone who is ready, and financially able, to retire and try something completely different? I think “hip, hip hooray!”  One of the amazing things people discover after they retire is the freedom they have to explore their interests and expand their activities. There is nothing more thrilling that mixing things up a bit. Sure, it can be a little nervous making but hey, what do you have to lose?


(Click here to see other Ask Tracey tidbits!)

Creative Writing of a Different Sort

Tracey Bucket List

Dear Tracey,

I LOVE it that you have a place to share our Bucket Lists! People might think mine is a little funny but I recently completed a calligraphy class. It is something I have always wanted to do but thought a person had to be artistic. No! It is very satisfying and here’s the best part – I am now addressing my daughter’s wedding invitations. Simple pleasures! Thanks, Alice R.

(Click here to see what others have checked off their ‘bucket lists’)

Positive Attitude

Tracey Ask Tracey

I think maintaining a positive attitude about aging is one of the healthiest things I can do for myself? What do you say? Signed, Susan D.

I say I could not agree with you more! A positive attitude has been shown to be a real longevity booster – it can lower our stress levels, ease physical pain, and help keep our brains active and engaged! While at times it can be challenging to maintain such a positive outlook, I truly believe it is something that can not only make our lives easier but is also a worthy  contribution for a better community.

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Books: Misc.

Tracey Books



Slouching Towards Adulthood

Slouching Toward Adulthood: Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest


Sally Koslow






Packing for MarsPacking for Mars; The Curious Science of Life in the Void


Mary Roach






When the Killing's DoneWhen the Killing’s Done


T.C. Boyle



The Big ShiftThe Big Shift, Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife


Marc Freedman




Empty NestingEmpty Nesting: Reinventing Your Marriage When the Kids Leave Home


David H. Arp, Claudia S. Arp, Scott M. Stanley, Howard J. Markman, Susan L. Blumberg







The House is Quiet, Now What?The House is Quiet, Now What? (Turning Points)


Janice Hanna & Kathleen Y’Barbo Turner






The Complete Eldercare PlannerThe Complete Eldercare Planner, Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, and How to find Help


Joy Loverde





(Click here to see what else Tracey has been reading)

Books: Recent Reads

Tracey Books

MY RECENT READS … in no particular order! /

The Geography of BlissThe Geography of Bliss,


Eric Weiner






Daughter of FortuneDaughter of Fortune,


Isabel Allende







The LacunaThe Lacuna,


Barbara Kingsolver







Notes from a Small IslandNotes From a Small Island,


Bill Bryson







At HomeAt Home,


Bill Bryson







Travels with my AuntTravels With My Aunt,


Graham Greene







A Good Indian WifeA Good Indian Wife,


Anne Cherian







Monkey DancingMonkey Dancing: A Father, Two Kids, and a Journey to the Ends of the Earth,


Daniel Glick






(Click here to see what else Tracey has been reading)