Catching Up With..

Catching Up With...Betsy Robinson

By Bob on September 16, 2011 6:57 AM

Betsy Robinson is an accomplished author and former actress happily living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. This New York City boomer loves her dog, reading and writing to her dead mother. Maybe I should let her explain that one...

Betsy Robinson-296.jpgWhat are you doing these days? What gets you out of bed in the morning?

I'm either looking for editing work these days, or doing freelance gigs, or selling my new book, Conversations with Mom: An Aging Baby Boomer, in Need of an Elder, Writes to Her Dead Mother. My central question in that book is whether it's permissible to be me: a person who is pretty much off the grid.


I don't care about iPods or DVRs or vacations or much "stuff" because ... I just don't. I never have. I care about people, animals, well-being, what we're all made of, what we're doing on this planet, free time, fun, and freedom. There just isn't a whole lot of need for gadgets in all that.


But I do love my computer and the connections to people and places (such as The Boomer Brief) that I never would have known about otherwise.


I've lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan since I moved to NYC to be an actor in 1972. I've been in my present apartment--rent stabilized!--since 1974. When I was an actor doing temp work during the day for money, it was like having an arts grant; since getting laid off from a really good job when the economy imploded in 2008, it has been an absolute Godsend.


Acting? What have you been in?

I appeared in John Sayles first two movies, Return of the Secaucus Seven and Lianna. I loved acting and did it for more than a decade, but ultimately I couldn't make a living at it. I'd always been writing--plays, short stories, and toward the end of my acting career when I was working nights at a law office, I wrote a novel.


It took sixteen years to find a publisher for my first novel, and during that time, I shifted into work that I loved. It stopped making sense to do work I hated, and I got into publishing. I worked for two magazines and did a ton of freelance work, and my last job was as managing editor for a magazine. Since being laid off, I've been doing mainly book editing for indie publishers and individual writers. I love being master of my own time and life. I love thinking whatever I want to think and pondering life's questions. I'm suited to this life.


What do you enjoy doing?

I love being with my dog and doing exactly what I want to do when I want to do it: taking long walks, lying on my couch, writing, reading, meditating (or pretending to), talking to a few good friends, not having to go to an office.


Name three things in your fridge.

Broccoli, soy milk, brown rice. (I know, I know. But vegans are healthy.)


Coffee or Tea?

Coffee. A lot of it. It's my one vice and I'm not giving it up.


Favorite fast food.

Are you kidding?


Where is your favorite vacation?

What vacation? I'm not one of these baby boomers with disposable income for gadgets ...or vacations, and not only that, I have no desire for these things. When I listen to music (CDs on my big sound system), I'm in the act of enjoying music, not walking around or driving. On my CD player, I've been listening to Bette Midler's Experience the Divine album, Eva Cassidy's Imagine, and Krishna Das's One Track Heart. My whole life is a vacation.


Favorite iPhone app?

Now you're just trying to make me laugh.


What kind of car do you drive?

I live in NYC. If it's less than 30 blocks, I walk!


Favorite TV show?

I'm addicted to The Office. I watch the same episodes over and over and never tire of them. If I were still acting, I'd love to be on that show. Great acting. And I swear I have worked in that place.
Red Thong Strong: Girlfriends Little Secrets to Smoothing Lifes Panty Lines
Guest Room

Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

ChickenBurritoBowlEverydayDiabetes 600.jpg

By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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Windy City

It's been almost 18 years since Alison Krauss gave us a solo album, but the wait is over with Windy City. The release (her fifth solo studio album) features ten covers of classic songs (and some bonus tracks) she picked with producer Buddy Cannon.

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