Social commentary on life from a Boomer Broad's Perspective (aka Lynda's soapbox)


Imagine . . . if women ran the world

war1I’ve always maintained that if women ran the world there would be no war. I cannot imagine a woman possessing the surge of testosterone required to push the button that brought down the airliner over the Ukraine or firing missiles at our neighbours. We would never send our husbands, sons, brothers and lovers off to kill other people to gain a bit of dirt. We’d put the kettle on and solve our differences over a nice cup of tea and plate of brownies. That premise got me thinking about what else would be different in the world if it were run by women. Here are a few possibilities to contemplate:

  1. Governments would have balanced budgets and would be relatively debt-free, allowing for a minor misstep whenever summer shoes go on sale early. Federal budgets aren’t that different in principle from personal budgets. We wouldn’t need all those war toys to demonstrate how big our balls are. That money could be put to much better use for such things as daycare, healthcare and improved assistance for the truly poor.
  2. All males would be required to pee sitting down. Enough said.
  3. There would be no tailgating on the highways. Accidents would be greatly reduced with less speeding, lane-hopping and road-racing. Imagine how that would impact the insurance industry.imagine3
  4. Fighting in hockey would be strictly forbidden. It would return to being a game of skill and endurance.
  5. Those evil-minded Wall Street bankers would now be doing hard time and making restitution. Those who are left would have salaries and benefits capped, be required to do community service—and report to women.
  6. Health care for everyone in the United States and other countries around the world would be a right not a privilege enjoyed by the rich few.
  7. Low-heeled comfortable shoes would be considered objects of beauty.
  8. Useless calories and fat would be legislated out of all foods.
  9. Weight and waist-line issues would be a thing of the past (see Item 8 above).
  10. Older, mature women would be the most respected and revered members of our society for their wisdom, experience and inner beauty.
  11. Wine, chocolate and bread would be declared health foods and would have no adverse effects.
  12. Adult children would leave home at the age of 18 and stay gone, forever, be financially independent and live happily ever after.
  13. Affordable, convenient, quality daycare would be easily available for all parents.
  14. All electronic equipment such as computers, tablets, Smart Phones, cable and satellite remote controls would be simple to use even for beginners, be voice activated and do exactly what we want them to do, without complications, errors, breakdowns and tantrums.
  15. That unfortunate thing that happens to all women around the age of 48-50 would never transpire. We’d remain eternally wrinkle-free, slim, fit and dewey moist in all the right places, forever.imagine2

The possibilities are endless and intriguing. Imagine a world without wars, without borders (and the attendant customs duties), a world that is kind and nurturing, wise and wonderful. Many ancient societies were matriarchal including the early Egyptians and most indigenous people.  Let’s start by replacing Vladimir Putin with Elizabeth Warren as President of Russia.

John Lennon got it so right in his beautiful song, “Imagine”.  Bette Midler echoed it in “From a Distance“. There would be no hunger. There would be no child abuse, no rape, no oppression of individuals due to gender, faith, economic status or nationality. Just imagine. . .



The joy of menopause . . . the honest-to-goodness truth

The book begins slowly and builds to a multiple orgasm at the end.

The book begins slowly and builds to a multiple orgasm at the end.

Last week as I was watching Bill Maher on HBO, he invited author, speaker and performance artist Sandra Tsing Loh to join the panel at the half-way point in the show. This is usually when the new guest often has a book to promote. More than once I’ve enjoyed this part of the show so much I’ve gone on-line and ordered the book immediately and that’s exactly what happened when I downloaded Tsing Loh’s The Madwoman in the Volvo on to my Kindle before the show was even over.

Subtitled My Year of Raging Hormones, the book describes Loh’s midlife struggle with combining motherhood, overseeing an aging father, a marriage breakup and new relationship and depression while entering that dicey time of life known as menopause. She describes her daily life in terms any working woman can relate to. Driving children to various functions in the midst of domestic chaos, stressing about work deadlines, trying to keep a marriage viable with creative meals and date nights and coping with a difficult aging parent are life scenarios most women can relate to. Loh’s situation is further complicated by having two children who are still in elementary school at an age when most women are seeing their progeny off to college. She finds herself ill-equipped to deal with the noise, the demands and the sheer physical energy required to keep all the plates spinning while she’s experiencing hot flashes, depression, anger, resentment and loss of libido.

maxineAs I started reading I found myself thinking, “This is just another one of those books about how life is demanding, not always rewarding and sometimes you just want to give up. Ho hum, nothing different here.” What makes this book different and so incredibly special is her stark honesty about her shortcomings and coping mechanisms. We can sympathize and empathize with her often hilarious descriptions of dealing with her 88-year-old Chinese father’s issues and the day-to-day challenges of family, work and marriage. Things really picked up in the latter half of the book where she looks deeper into the harsh truths about her own makeup and how she turns things around. She exposes her barnacles and gives us permission to do whatever works for each of us to get rid of them and find our joy. From the halfway point the book just gets better, moving with a nice rhythm, picking up speed and climaxing at the end in a wonderful multiple orgasm of wisdom and support. It’s almost as if you should read the book from back to front.

northrupHappily, The Madwoman in the Volvo is not encumbered with pages and pages of footnotes and bibliography material. It is not a rehash of other people’s research and studies. The only major book she references  is Dr. Christiane Northrup’s The Wisdom of Menopause, a hefty tome that is universally read and respected as the definitive word on menopause issues.  Loh’s book is a wonderfully subjective, humorous recounting of her own experience and recommendations. We are not told to choke down eight glasses of slimy green liquid every day, subject our bodies to yoga and pilates or live on a diet of kale, broccoli and boiled chicken. In fact, trying to add these disciplines to our already-busy lives can often add to our stress levels when we’re barely holding ourselves together.

dwarfsOne of the most interesting things I learned is that our estrogen-fuelled years between puberty and menopause are actually the “unusual” years because we are pumped up with a temporary supply of  hormones (estrogen, progesterone) to cope with mating, child-bearing, mothering, and nurturing. When we hit menopause, our hormone levels actually return to where they were before puberty so we are in fact once again our authentic selves. That’s why she maintains there’s nothing wrong with telling the kids to make their own lunch, leave home or simply grow up. She gives us permission to get more sleep, hire help around the house if we want to and treat ourselves with a little TLC.  Don’t beat yourself up because you’re a few pounds overweight – after all, we didn’t have waistlines when we were ten years old either. After all those years of putting everyone else first, menopause brings us back to square one where it’s natural and not unhealthy to make ourselves a priority. Isn’t that wonderful? No need to feel guilty.  We’re vindicated. Girlfriend—you nailed it. I’d give Madwoman in the Volvo 10 out of 10.



I’m not OK. Are you OK?

Was it something I did wrong in the 60's?

Was it something I did wrong in the 60′s?

Could the once-brilliant minds of our entire Boomer generation be slowly slip-sliding away? Was it too much wine and other mood-enhancers?  Do we have late-onset brain damage from all those years of sleeping on brush rollers in high school? Or are we retiring too early and “losing it”? Perhaps the sins and excesses of our youth are coming home to haunt us. In a short 24-hour span this past weekend I experienced and witnessed enough lapses in cognition to cause major concern.

It began on Friday when I joined a girlfriend for lunch at her condo. The table was beautifully set with fine china, colourful, origami-folded napkins, a little gift bag at each place and large goblets for our flavoured mineral water (if we drink wine at lunch we fall asleep before dessert).  When I questioned the third place-setting and my hostess mentioned it was for so-and-so, I reminded her that so-and-so had e-mailed a week earlier that she couldn’t come. OMG. Hostess didn’t read the entire e-mail and just assumed the reply was an acceptance. On the positive side, that meant that I could gorge myself silly on extra finger sandwiches and fruit flan.

The second misadventure was a double-header. When my honey and I got married, the wedding date conveniently corresponded closely with his birthday so he’d have no excuse for forgetting our anniversary. Anniversary on the 12th. Birthday on the 16th. Simple. On the morning of the 12th I gave him his birthday present and cards and wished him a happy birthday. “But it’s not my birthday” he said. Second OMG. “Oh no. You’re right. Today’s not your birthday, it’s our anniversary” I yelled as I snatched the gift and cards from his hands. “It’s our anniversary?” he replied. Emergency run to Superstore for flowers and card. We’d both screwed up. The honeymoon’s over.

Nothing evokes memories quite like a bad road trip.

Nothing evokes memories quite like a bad road trip.

About an hour later, we received a phone call from friends who’d gone to a cottage for the weekend. After taking a day off work on Friday and driving four hours to get to the cottage, they arrived to find no-one there—they’d got the date wrong and were a week early! Another four-hour drive and they’re back in the city and miraculously, still married.

Finally, on Saturday we went to my husband’s birthday celebration (on our anniversary, in case you’re having trouble keeping all this straight) at his son’s place in London, Ontario. During the late-afternoon cocktail and munchies fest, his grandson asked my husband what type of car he should buy. Puzzled by the question, said grandson produced a blank cheque I had written for said grandson’s birthday. In the course of writing a number of birthday and graduation gift cheques I had inadvertently neglected to fill in the amount. Thank God no one at Canada Post intercepted that one or we’d be living in our car and getting paper routes to keep us in Pinot Grigio.

Calendar confusion? Inattention to detail? What’s next? It wasn’t that long ago I used nail polish remover instead of toner on my face when I inadvertently picked up the wrong bottle. What if I mistake a tube of bathtub grout for my retinol cream? How long will it be before I start hiding my own Easter eggs. Has the Mad Men/Mad Women era finally arrived—literally? I’m not OK with that. Are you?


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Coming soon – Sensitive Skin

Sensitive Skin should offer up plenty of relatable lifestyle issues for Boomers.

Sensitive Skin should offer up plenty of relatable current lifestyle issues for Boomers.

Mark your calendars and plan to enjoy a glass of wine while you watch HBO Canada on Sunday, July 20th at 8:00 p.m. That’s the launch of a new Canadian series that’s sure to appeal to Boomer Broads.

Sensitive Skin” is based on the original British series starring Joanna Lumley (one of my absolutely fabulous favourite actors) about a boomer-age couple who sell their family home and transition into a new lifestyle in a hip condo in downtown Toronto. Sound familiar?

The series stars Canadians Kim Cattrall (of Sex & The City) with Don McKellar as her husband. An early trailer I saw on TV showed Kim’s character peering like a helpless child above the pharmacist’s counter begging him to renew her prescription for HRT. Don’t you just love it already?

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With this ring, I thee divorce

Whatever would I do without my morning Globe and Mail for blogging inspiration? Today’s issue concerns divorce. In the Business divorce3section, Bryan Borzykowski profiled a Montreal jeweler seeking advice on how to increase sales in a line of rings that celebrate the freedom associated with divorce. Break Up Gems concluded that with 40% of marriages ending in divorce there’s a market for people wanting to have a tangible reminder of their new-found freedom.

divorce1Three marketing experts offered their advice. Axle Davids of Distility Branding recommended the company focus more on the positive feelings associated with the divorced person’s new status and the story behind it. Sandy Huang of Pinpoint Tactics takes this a step further and suggests also providing supportive information to people going through a divorce. Finally, Sanjay Singhal of recommends the jeweler research and pursue more effective and accurate targeting of the specific market niche in search of such products.

Now, what you’ve been waiting for—my own take on this dilemma. As a retired corporate marketing professional and previously divorced Boomer, I can’t resist offering my own opinion. First of all, I think the original assumption is misguided. Having a high divorce rate doesn’t automatically translate into a potential marketing bonanza for this demographic.  Divorce for most people is a painful, last-resort action that does not call for celebration. Grieving tends to be the more appropriate response. However, for those individuals who are thrilled to be “let out of jail free (or broke)”, marking the event with a celebratory piece of jewelry is understandable.divorce2

Break Up Gems’ website is in the process of changing its name to That’s a good start. Focus on the positive. In reviewing their website, I was not impressed with the selection of jewelry offered. In my opinion, most of it was not particularly unique and in no way enticed me to click on “Add to Cart”. The prices were reasonable but the designs were as ordinary as something I could pick up from impulse purchases beside the cash register at any gift or card shop across the country.

If I’m going to purchase a piece of jewelry I want it to be unusual, a conversation piece, and unlike anything else I have. It must make a statement and if it involves recycled precious metals and stones, that’s even better. For example, last year I purchased on-line a stainless steel bangle made from parts of guns turned in during an amnesty in Newark, New Jersey. The bracelet has a hammered finish and is inscribed with the serial number of the gun from which it was made. That’s different. I wear it everyday and delight in telling people the story behind it.

Mr. Pinkesz, I suggest you go back to the drawing board and come up with some really kick-ass designs. Take Sanjay Singhal’s advice and re-evaluate your marketing strategy to target this very specific niche. Ignore Sandy Huang’s suggestion to broaden the offering to include supportive information. Stick to your core business—making jewelry, and don’t pretend to be a shrink. There are definitely people out there who want this kind of thing but you’ll never get rich on it. Go with the advice behind Door #3, Mr. Sanjay Singhal—and of course my own brilliant suggestions. You’re welcome.


It’s about those Honda Civics

Boomer Broads (Killer B’s) may remember a song from the late 50′s called “The Little Nash Rambler and the Cadillac”. It describes the humiliation of the driver of an expensive, high-powered Cadillac whose ego is shattered when overtaken on the road by a little Nash Rambler, a fifties version of the SmartCar. In today’s world it’s Honda Civics that are overtaking us on the road and that’s not a good thing.

King of the Road and soon to be conquered.

King of the Road and soon to be conquered.

It seems to me that every arsehole on the highway who is dangerously jumping lanes to gain precious inches or tailgating in speeding traffic is always driving a Honda Civic. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that the driver is a sunglass-wearing male, in his 20′s, with the driver’s seat tilted back to an angle that makes even seeing the road a challenge, which I suppose helps disguise the fact they’re texting while driving. And his car stereo can be heard clear from Toronto to Vancouver.  Is there something in the Honda Civic owner’s manual that stipulates that their vehicles must be driven at death-defying speeds or the warranty is voided? Are Civics that maneuverable and finely tuned that no other car can match its dexterity and nimbleness?

Gotta get me one of these signs.

Gotta get me one of these signs.

I genuinely try to be conscientious about obeying traffic rules. I’m considerate and yield when someone wants to get into my lane   and I do not tailgate, unlike most men I know. I only drive in the outside passing lane when I’m actually passing and I do not hesitate to correct my friends when they do not do the same . That’s probably why they love me so much. There’s nothing more endearing than having a friend in the passenger seat to point out their driving infractions.

Those Honda Civic drivers, however, will be the death of me and I’m afraid, literally. When they misbehave on the road as they are wont to do, I want to drive my little old lady SUV right up their hatchbacks and park on their windshields until they feel the full weight of my wrath.

Perhaps the solution is to make it illegal to sell Honda Civics to anyone under the age of 50. If Baby Boomers were the only eligible

Don't mess with Killer B's. We're not to be trifled with.

Don’t mess with Killer B’s. We’re only in second gear.

qualified buyers then I could cruise peacefully along the 401, 407 or QEW listening to my Bob Dylan anthology without fear of being bumper-car’d off the road. Or—I have an even better idea. Let’s lobby Honda to market Civics to boomers exclusively and make them available in one colour only—Mary Kay pink. If they ran commercials with old ladies like me tooting off to our book club meetings and mani-pedi appointments driving a Honda Civic, perhaps they would lose their cachet. After all, we are surely a demographic larger than the 20-somethings. A spinoff benefit would be fewer thefts. Honda Civics are the most frequently stolen vehicle on the market. What self-respecting dude would want to steal or even be seen driving a pink car associated with old Boomer Broads. Beep beep, beep beep.


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