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Lois Alter Mark
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Lois Alter Mark is the founder of MidlifeAtTheOasis.com. She won BlogHer Voices of the Year "People's Choice" Awards in 2012 and 2013 and was selected, out of 100,000 applicants, to accompany Oprah Winfrey to Australia as one of 150 Ultimate Viewers. She is the Flicks for Kids Editor at NickJr.com and the author of “Wonderplay,” the bestselling parent/child activity book written in conjunction with New York City’s 92nd Street Y. She was also selected as a Shot@Life Champion.

Entries by Lois Alter Mark

Amster-Damn

(5) Comments | Posted April 9, 2014 | 2:35 PM

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Let me start at the beginning.

We were on a tour bus in Amsterdam when the guide mentioned Hans Brinker.

"Who's that?" my daughter asked me.

"You never heard of Hans Brinker? The boy with the silver skates? The one who put his...

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What's So Funny About Turning 55?

(0) Comments | Posted January 23, 2014 | 6:32 AM

My father thinks it's hilarious that I'm turning 55 today.

Why? Don't ask me because I don't find anything funny about it.

But, the other night, when someone mentioned that my birthday was coming up, he started laughing hysterically.

Hysterically.

To the point he could barely speak.

"What are you...

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Gaining Horse Sense at 55

(4) Comments | Posted January 9, 2014 | 10:55 AM

We've always been taught to get our information straight from the horse's mouth.

But, as I recently learned firsthand, the deepest truths just may come from the horse's hoof.

For five years, my husband and I have been making annual trips to Miraval, a wellness resort whose signature activity...

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Lesson Learned

(5) Comments | Posted December 18, 2013 | 5:38 AM

I've always been a magazine junkie.

I suffer from a serious Us Weekly addiction, as I described in a recent post, but my obsession goes way deeper than that.

Growing up, I devoured every type of magazine -- fashion, celebrity, travel -- carefully cutting out pages which I...

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When Winning Is a Crime

(1) Comments | Posted November 11, 2013 | 3:34 PM

I've spent many emotional hours in baseball dugouts. I've supported players through dry spells, celebrated underdog victories and been moved to tears by the genuine camaraderie between teammates.

I've heard players express deep yearnings to attain the same level of success their idols have and I've also heard them wonder...

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Khaled Hosseini on And the Mountains Echoed

(0) Comments | Posted May 21, 2013 | 5:33 PM

With his first two novels, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, becoming book club classics, Khaled Hosseini is in that rare strata of authors who are so beloved by readers that the publication of a new book becomes a major cause for celebration. Well, get ready to take...

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A Grandfather's Gift Goes Beyond Words

(6) Comments | Posted May 18, 2013 | 7:53 AM

2013-05-15-StoriesforAmanda250.jpgstyle="float: left; margin:10px" Meeting 77-year-old William Weinbrecht was one of the biggest blessings to come out of the hospice work my husband has been doing. Michael was so moved by the book Bill had written for his granddaughter that he came home and shared the...

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It's National Shrimp Day!

(8) Comments | Posted May 8, 2013 | 2:31 PM

May 10 is National Shrimp Day, and it's a perfect time to celebrate the iconic food that so many of us tend to gravitate to at the all-you-can-eat buffet.

Shrimp is the most popular seafood choice but, surprisingly, even though we fill our plates with shrimp cocktail and happily dip...

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I Was a Giver for World Book Night 2013

(2) Comments | Posted April 25, 2013 | 11:45 AM

My favorite gifts to give - and get - are books. If you're a reader, I don't think there's anything more personal, thoughtful and meaningful than a book someone picked out especially for you.

So, when my friend Pamela Lear wrote a post last April about

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The Week That Tested the Hearts of Mothers

(21) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 12:25 PM

Last week was the kind of week that tests the hearts of mothers.

On Marathon Monday, I entered my local movie theater to review 42, where I spent two emotional hours sobbing over how horrible people can be to each other and feeling grateful that my children were growing up...

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Forget Aging Gracefully, I'm Planning to Age Gratefully

(26) Comments | Posted March 27, 2013 | 6:01 PM

I have no interest in aging gracefully.

Passionately? Oh, yes.

Enthusiastically? You bet!

Gracefully? Uh, no.

To me, the word "graceful" conjures up quiet images. Beautiful, for sure -- just think Audrey Hepburn and the aptly-named Grace Kelly -- but subdued and staid, with perfect posture and a lilting voice.

...
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Tina Fey, Paul Rudd and Paul Weitz on Admission, Parenting and Mean Mommy Bloggers

(7) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 1:42 PM

Anyone who has been through the college admissions process knows how harrowing it can be. But what is it like when you're the one making the decision, rather than waiting for it? In Admission, which opens Friday, Tiny Fey's character gets a rare opportunity to experience the stress on both...

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Meet the New Moms: Same As the Old Moms?

(27) Comments | Posted March 6, 2013 | 1:29 PM

I was so lucky to meet so many great people on my trip to Australia with Oprah (yes, I love to casually fling those words around!) and it's inspiring to follow what they've been doing since then.

You may remember Cecelia Behar-Bush from "The Oprah Show" -- she's...

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Why I Traveled 3,000 Miles to Advocate for Children Who Aren't Mine

(2) Comments | Posted February 22, 2013 | 10:13 AM

Every 20 seconds, a child around the world dies from a disease that could have been prevented by a vaccine. Annually, that number equals almost half the children entering kindergarten in the United States alone this year.

As a mother, I find that devastating.

As a human being, I find...

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Nicholas Sparks on Bringing Safe Haven to the Big Screen for Valentine's Day

(4) Comments | Posted February 11, 2013 | 1:34 PM

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Last summer, I was invited to visit the set of Safe Haven, the movie based on Nicholas Sparks' bestselling novel. I flew to beautiful Southport, North Carolina, where I got to meet the author along with stars Julianne Hough and...

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Meet the Real Sex Surrogate Portrayed by Helen Hunt in 'The Sessions'

(115) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 9:38 AM

One of my favorite movies of the year is The Sessions, based on the true story of sex surrogate Cheryl Cohen Greene and her work with Berkeley-based poet and journalist Mark O'Brien, who was confined to an iron lung after contracting polio at age 6. The story is riveting, and...

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My Mom, Style Icon

(14) Comments | Posted January 24, 2013 | 10:35 AM

It's a total shock to the system the first time you realize your mother had a life before you were born.

So you can only imagine how my sister and I felt, at ages 7 and 10, when we were grocery shopping with our mom one afternoon and were...

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The Soundtrack to My Life

(31) Comments | Posted January 18, 2013 | 2:23 PM

Just a couple of notes of Carole King's "It's Too Late" and I'm right back in the summer of 1971, with long, straight hair, wearing my pink cotton Indian shirt with the tiny mirrors all over it - a shirt I so wish I still had. I can actually feel...

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Anne Lamott on "Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers"

(6) Comments | Posted December 21, 2012 | 6:12 AM

If I had to pick one author whose words stay with me, inspire me and haunt me, it would have to be Anne Lamott. I have devoured every word the woman has ever written and I am as enamored as much by her attitude and subject matter as I am...

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40 Things 'This Is 40' Gets Right About Middle Age

(97) Comments | Posted December 21, 2012 | 4:50 AM



I am over 50 but "This Is 40," the new movie starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, empowered me more than any self-help book I've read about middle age and long-term marriage. And I've read a lot.

Director Judd Apatow, who is best known for his signature crude humor, has crafted a surprisingly moving, totally honest and absolutely hilarious movie which made me feel like he had been eavesdropping on my life.

"The best thing you can do as a creative person is to share your story with people," Apatow told me, "because it makes other people feel less alone and it makes them feel better."

Here are 40 apparently-universal truths about middle age that are featured in the movie and to which, for better or worse, I totally relate:

1. We have fond memories of growing up without electronics.

2. Women don't want to know their husband is taking Viagra.

3. Megan Fox's body makes us feel bad about ourselves.

4. Sometimes we just want our spouse to go away so we can miss them.

5. We freak out on birthdays that end in a zero.

6. Sprinkles cupcakes are as addictive as cigarettes.

7. The combination of our hormones and our teenage daughters' hormones is explosive.

8. Our iPhone calendar is filled with doctor appointments.

9. Women still like to talk about problems, and men still want to escape.

10. Top 40 music can keep us young or make us feel very old.

11. Widowers get more action than widows.

12. We can rationalize getting high because it's medicinal marijuana.

13. Shopping at certain stores feels like a rite of passage we don't want to go through yet.

14. We understand why Meatloaf was "praying for the end of time."

15. Our seduction attempts often look like wardrobe malfunctions.

16. It's hard to remember what year we used for our birthday.

17. We miss passion.

18. One night away can do wonders for a marriage.

19. One minute back, and it's like nothing has changed.

20. We still crave our parents' approval.

21. We realize money is finite.

22. "Lost" leaves us lost, but "Mad Men" is smoking.

23. We like to keep a little mystery in our marriage.

24. Mama bears get more ferocious with age.

25. Our spouses often feel like siblings -- or business associates.

26. Men of a certain age have a tendency to look like pedophiles.

27. One partner needs to be the fighter.

28. Bodily functions do not constitute foreplay.

29. We still have our childhood insecurities.

30. Moods change very quickly.

31. We have less of a filter when we speak.

32. Being the meat of the sandwich generation makes us want to become vegetarians.

33. We remember Graham Parker in his heyday.

34. Some days, everything our spouse says is just plain annoying.

35. Husbands want their wives to look at them in the same loving way they look at the kids.

36. We believe the wisdom born of age has made us smarter than everyone else.

37. It's impossible to connect when one partner is on Venus and the other is on Mars.

38. Laughter can get us through almost anything.

39. We still like to be flirted with.

40. Marriage is worth working...

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