The voice of Baby Boomers from a woman's perspective

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All we want is the whole truth and nothing but the truth

The current “he said—she said” flap about the economic viability of Ontario’s Smart Meters has me totally baffled. Should I or shouldn’t I have a smart meter?  Who should I believe? The Auditor General for Ontario, Bonnie Lysyk or the Hon Bob Chiarelli, the Minister of Energy for the provincial Liberal government?

The premise seems quite simple. According to Ontario Power, here’s what new digital Smart Meters do:

  • Measure how much energy you use and when you use it
  • Send your meter readings, automatically via wireless technology
  • Eliminate the need for you to submit your meter readings (if you do so today)
  • Eliminate the inconvenience of providing access to meters located indoors, behind locked gates etc.

smart metersWe have been further informed that by monitoring our smart meters we have the option of using our high-consumption electrical appliances during hours when rates are lower such as weekends and in the evenings. Sounds simple enough. That bit of logic prompted me to stop doing laundry whenever I felt like it during the week and switch to doing it on Sunday mornings when power rates are considerably lower. I no longer start the dishwasher after mealtime but now wait until later in the evening before I go to bed. That’s a no-brainer.

And now Bonnie Lysyk, the Auditor General for Ontario who has criticized the reporting of smart meter technology is accused by Bob Chiarelli of being incapable of truly understanding the complexity of the business case, despite the fact she has many degrees and qualifications in addition to years of practical experience in the power business in Western Canada. Is it because she is a woman and that’s just too much intelligence for her pretty little head to process? Or is Bob Chiarelli hiding something his government doesn’t want us to know?

Would someone please tell me the real truth here.

Would someone please tell me the real truth here.

Here’s the way I see it. Smart meters are a good thing. Using power during low-demand hours helps the service providers (I can’t even figure out who’s who now so I’ll just use the name Ontario Hydro—for those of us who also still prefer the Imperial system for measuring things) distribute their resources more evenly. Giving users a discount during these times as an incentive makes sense. I think the Auditor General’s beefs are with the reporting systems—by both Ontario Power (or whatever they’re called) and the Ontario Government. That would make sense as we all know what experts they both are in the use of smoke and mirrors to throw us off the scent of what is really rotten in the state of Ontario.

Therefore, nothing is new and probably nothing will change. We would be well-advised to embrace the technology of smart meters and modify our usage patterns. How can that be a bad thing? But don’t believe what the service providers or the government are telling us. Their individual prime objectives are to make themselves look good regardless of whether it’s good for us taxpayers and utility users or not. They’re the users. We’re the pawn. And I’m still baffled. Would someone please just give me the truth. I can handle it.


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For a look inside the life of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll, read on . .

caitlin1Caitlin Moran’s books aren’t for everyone. Moran is a British columnist, interviewer and broadcaster who authored How To Be A Woman, an account of her life growing up in the Midlands in northern England. She dropped out of high school and became a rock music critic in London. Her latest fictional book entitled How to Build a Girl draws heavily on this background of working class family with many children. This book is not for the squeamish. Moran’s main character, Johanna Morrigan is an exceptionally precocious overweight fourteen-year-old who uses her intellect and determination to grow her brand beyond Wolverhampton. Johanna earns a position writing critical reviews of alternative music groups for an underground publication in London and over a three-year period experiences a lifetime’s quotient of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. At times I felt the graphic narrative as being a tad gratuitous but then again, that’s the essence of the book.

Moran is a brilliant writer. She has a wonderful command of slang and idiom peculiar to the northern working class and indie music insiders. While I enjoyed the book it was mainly because of her writing style rather than the story itself. The pace of the narrative is like a bell-jar; it begins at a nice even pace, picks up speed in the middle and tapers off toward the end without actually blowing me away. I would love to see her write about something outside her usual scope but writers are advised to write about what they know and that’s what she knows. Moran views life from a unique perspective and the words she uses to describe what she sees are amazing. I’m definitely looking forward to her next project which I hope will branch out to include a wider range of life experiences.

If you don’t get offended by graphic descriptions of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll scene, then you’ll enjoy the book. If you’re a bit sensitive, then I’d skip it. But, as I said, I love the way she writes regardless of what she writes.

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Blowing off Boomers

I'd like another table please.

I’d like another table please.

Emma Teitel is regular columnist in Maclean’s Magazine who represents the voice of Canadian millennials, in case the rest of us don’t hear their whining. Her contribution to the December 22, 2014 issue entitled “Boomers: Do as I say, not as I did” had smoke coming out of my ears. Teitel condemns the new Ontario law that bans smoking on restaurant and bar patios and the sale of tobacco products on college and university campuses. She attacks self-righteous Boomers for instituting a “nanny-state” that selectively denies millennials and young people in general the right to pollute the open air by smoking in public spaces. She suggests we’re on a slippery slope to banning poutine and questionable choices in music.

Well. My dear. First of all, I applaud your activism. It’s refreshing to see young people look up from their smart phones long enough to notice the world around them and voice an opinion on something they disagree with, however misguided the issue may be. Not everyone has a worthy cause comparable to ending the Vietnam War or furthering civil rights. And no one understands better than Boomers the high that comes from the freedom of leaving home for university, college or a job and finally being able to make our own bad choices about how we spend our recreational time. While we also learned to drink, smoke and otherwise break the rules of the establishment, we were never so stupid we required puke suits. Gotta make a parent proud to see their young ‘uns going to the hospital to have their stomachs pumped so they don’t die.

And as for smoking, who is leading the charge for legalizing weed? You got it—Baby Boomers. We learned that taken in moderation and eliminating the criminal element, it’s not so bad. And it has been proven to have medical benefits for people who have seizures and chronic health issues. Personally, I don’t like the stuff for the same reason I don’t like liquor or tobacco and I’ve had my share. I hate not being in control of my mind and body and the possible repercussions of same.

I have yet to understand the benefits of cigarette smoking or drinking yourself into oblivion other than we learn from our mistakes. Sitting at an outdoor patio on a beautiful sunny day next to a table of smokers infringes on my airspace and stinks up my clothes. I agree there are a lot of things wrong with our world and our laws but this new law is not one of them. When workplaces, elevators, movie theatres, airplanes and restaurants became smoke-free I was ecstatic. For the most part, smokers have been very respectful of the rest us by taking their dirty habit outside and around the corner. Just like most dog owners considerately pick up after their pets when they defecate in public spaces.

As Boomers we have made our share of mistakes but ultimately we’re all trying to make the world a better place one step at a time. Hopefully, our activism on sexual abuse and equal rights will produce some productive outcomes before we depart this polluted world. In the meantime, take your dirty habits around the corner and don’t whine to me about your rights.

For further insights into the Boomer perspective on business, fashion, mind and body, order my new book, BOOMERBROADcast. It makes a great hostess, birthday or Christmas gift. Click on this link:


Joy to the World . . . I got carded

old lady1Sadly, most Boomers are past the age we need to show I.D. when buying liquor. But at the other end of the scale, we now qualify for seniors’ benefits in many establishments such as movie theatres and retail stores. The age requirement can vary anywhere from fifty to sixty-five depending on where you live and where the purchase is being made. When I first started dating my husband he would request seniors’ tickets at the movies. Too vain and nervous to be questioned about my age at the time (I was in my fifties), I would discreetly stand back while my white-haired partner did the dirty work.

Then one day when I attended a movie alone, I found myself having an internal debate about whether to chance buying a seniors’ ticket when I was only sixty-three, but being the honest person I am and fearing being asked to produce I.D., I deferred and paid full adult price. Then, when I handed my ticket to the attendant inside, I noticed to my horror that the stupid child in the ticket booth had pegged me as a hag and without asking had sold me a seniors’ ticket. I was awhile recovering from that humiliation.

Age is a beautiful thing.

Age is a beautiful thing.

Then, today as I was paying for some Christmas cards at a store I asked if this was seniors’ day. The clerk looked at me questioningly and hesitated. Jokingly I asked if she wanted to see my drivers’ license, and she did!  I was thrilled and noticed my fellow crones behind me in line smiling at my obvious joy as I produced the document. Is being recognized as a senior a good thing or a bad thing? We tend to want it both ways, don’t we. We don’t want to be perceived as old crones but we enjoy the benefits of seniors’ pricing. Getting carded reminded me that I’m not only vain, I’m cheap and old too. And if you don’t believe me I’d be happy to show you my I.D.

For more excellent advice on how I’m trying to make the world a better place through business, fashion, mind and body, order my new book, BOOMERBROADcast. It makes a great hostess, birthday or Christmas gift. Click on this link:

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Curses on Black Jack Cherry frozen yogurt

cherry2It’s not my fault. My husband brought it home the first time, probably because he couldn’t resist the name. Then, I made the mistake of tasting Black Jack Cherry frozen yogurt. It’s a taste sensation unlike any ice-cream or frozen yogurt concoction I’ve ever tasted. Anything with nuts or crunchy things in it makes it doubly appealing as the chewing process makes it linger twice as long. Maple walnut, butter pecan, Rocky Road—they all qualify as gifts from heaven but there’s something about Black Jack Cherry that puts it in a class all its own. For starters, it’s bubblegum pink. Who can resist that! Then, it’s packed with chunks of real dark cherries and chocolate in generous portions so that every bite is a slice of heaven.

Despite cruising down the frozen desserts aisle of the grocery store with eyes right at the refrigerated rows of cottage cheese and zero fat yogurt, that freezer door just flies open, a giant arm reaches out, pulls me over and casually tosses a container of Black Jack Cherry frozen yogurt into my cart. I don’t tell my husband in case he finds my stash and decides he wants some too. I don’t share. I eat it right out of the carton until I can’t stomach another mouthful. It’s disgraceful, disgusting and humiliating but impossible to resist. For the most part I’ve been fairly successful in minimizing my intake of carbs and sugar, but all resolve to be a good girl dissolves in the frozen desserts aisle.

cherry1Different stores carry a variety of brands of Black Jack Cherry frozen yogurt so it’s as easy to buy as weed in a school yard but Canada’s own Chapman’s brand is particularly decadent. The junkies prey on my weakness and label it low-fat despite having 120 calories per half-cup portion. Half a cup is only one bite! That’ll never happen. Like I said, it’s not my fault.

For even more excellent advice on how I’m trying to make the world a better place through business, fashion, mind and body, order my new book, BOOMERBROADcast. It makes a great hostess, birthday or Christmas gift. Click on this link:

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Blessed are those blessed Christmas newsletters

letter1December means it’s time to brace yourself for those ubiquitous Christmas newsletters that make the rest of us feel like losers. You know what I mean.

“Dear Friends: 2014 has been a crazy-busy year but we’re still here to count our blessings. As you know Rob has been researching cures for cancer and we’re expecting a major breakthrough any day now. The grandchildren are all doing well and we’re so proud of them. Little Logan came top of his grade three class and blew everyone away with his theories on cold fusion and nuclear physics. Sarah won the “Best Girl” award in her middle school for scoring perfect marks in calculus, biogenetic engineering and early nineteenth century Russian literature. Coming first in track and field, long distance swimming, gymnastics and wrestling helped seal the deal. She’s a go-er just like her brilliant, handsome Dad. Both kids are great little savers too, salting away the money they earned modelling for The Gap, Joe Fresh and Abercrombie and Fitch into RRSPs and RESPs.

busy1I’ve been busy with my new job as a social worker in inner-city neighbourhoods putting in 120-hour weeks but Rob picks up the slack. When he’s not curing cancer he cooks gourmet organic dinners for us between stints of neighbourhood watch and meals-on-wheels. We managed to squeeze in a much-needed vacation in June when we travelled around the world building schools in third-world countries and feeding the hungry. During down-times I raised $4.5 million by baking individually decorated cupcakes for critical research into attention deficit disorder. blah blah blah. . .”

Whew! After that, I’m sure our friends will be fascinated to know that I got my oil changed in April, George had a colonoscopy this summer and we painted the front hall. We also set aside some time to discuss where we want to be buried but that proved too much of a challenge so we gave up. Our social schedule was jam-packed with George watching NFL re-runs while I caught up on my episodes of Downtown Abbey and Boardwalk Empire. Oh, and we finally managed to get rid of the ants at the back door.

All joking aside, we do enjoy hearing what’s been going on in the lives of those we don’t see as often as we’d like. And despite all the excitement of power-washing our deck in June and visiting the dentist in September, we can report that our family is healthy and living happily ever after. What more could we ask for! We are indeed blessed.

For even more excellent advice on how I’m trying to make the world a better place through business, fashion, mind and body, order my new book, BOOMERBROADcast. It makes a great hostess, birthday or Christmas gift. Click on this link:



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Hair, there, everywhere

There is a variety of Moroccan oil products on the market. Take your pick.

There is a wide variety of Moroccan oil products on the market. Take your pick.

Before you get too excited, this is not about Brazilian waxing. It’s about multi-purposing products. If you’ve read my blog before, you know I have hair issues. As one who’s follicley challenged I’m always complaining. In fact, my friend Terry said she’s going to have “Finally she’s quit complaining about her hair” carved on my tombstone. So, why is it I require a minimum of five different hair products to see me through my morning ritual: shampoo (from a variety of formulas depending on my current crisis), conditioner, styling mousse, hair spray and Moroccan argan oil.

The other day as I lined up my five bottles of hope and salvation on my bathroom counter, I marvelled at what a product junkie I’ve become. Actually this has been a life-long battle but perhaps there’s hope in sight. After I massage a bit of Moroccan argan oil into my over-processed highlights, I use the residue on my fingertips to apply to my eye area. Can’t hurt. Then, one day I took it a step further and squeezed a bit more out of the bottle and massaged into my wrinkled sports-sock-like old neck. Hmmm. The results were rather delicious. Next thing I knew, I was applying it to my scaly old legs, feet and arms. And again, the results were quite impressive.

Oils have become the new go-to for beauty miracles (see my earlier blog on the issue) since BB and CC creams reached critical mass. Every company is now marketing a line of oil-based products for whatever your ailment. The true beauty of it, however, is that my Moroccan argan oil is a two-fer, three-fer or more-fer for a variety of beauty issues. I can now dispense with separate expensive eye creams, neck creams, body butters, foot creams and cuticle oils and wrap the job up with one go-to product—Moroccan argan oil. And if you’re into Brazilian waxing, I’ll bet it feels great there too. I’ll just take your word for that one.

For even more excellent advice on how I’m trying to make the world a better place through business, fashion, mind and body, order my new book, BOOMERBROADcast. It makes a great hostess, birthday or Christmas gift. Click on this link:


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