BOOMERBROADcast

Enjoy, laugh, disagree or simply empathize with those who lived life in THE sixties and are now rockin' life in THEIR sixties, and beyond.


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It’s true. No news is good news.


I’m surely not the only Canadian who is sickened, angered and appalled by Donald Trump’s reaction to the Florida school shootings. His solution? Arm teachers, but only the ones “who have the aptitude for using a gun”. And they’ll receive a ‘bit of a bonus’ for the extra training to carry and deploy a weapon.” Turn schools into a free-for-all shooting range. Imagine armed swat teams patrolling the halls of your child’s school. That thinking is absolutely insane. They’re also proposing that schools should be equipped with airport style security metal detectors at entrances. These band-aid responses totally ignore the cause of the problem—too many guns. As the anti-gun advocates say, “Mental illness is global; mass shootings are unique to the United States.” The craziness is out of control and if it’s keeping me awake at night, I’m probably not the only one.

We all have friends, family members or acquaintances who are teachers. Teachers are people who went into the profession because they are kind, patient, caring women and men who enjoy promoting and sharing knowledge with children and youth, not hate and killing. School is a place for meeting and making friends, not enemies and killers. Imagine one of the teachers you know being asked to take weapons training and packing a hand gun? It’s so inconceivable it’s ridiculous. As I’ve said before, remove guns from the general population and then no one will need guns. The United States is the only country in the world that doesn’t understand this simple concept.

He just doesn’t get it.

Surviving students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida who visited the White House came away this week feeling their concerns were not heard and certainly not understood. Trump even had cue cards in his hands reminding him to say “I hear you, I understand” because he most certainly did neither and had to be prompted to parrot someone else’s words. If the politicians won’t listen to their children, what chance do they have? The anti-gun lobby in the United States has been impotent against the mighty NRA and they need to up their ante—out-muscle the bad guys. Politicians will address the protests and create a couple of lame-duck new laws that fail to address the root of the problem—guns have no place in society. The NRA contributed $30 million to Trump’s election campaign and he made them promises he intends to keep. Trump’s idiotic pro-gun stance is no doubt bolstered by the fact his sons are “big game hunters”, the horrific and immoral sport of shooting helpless, beautiful animals in the wild for trophies.

I no longer watch local news on television because the litany of shootings, robberies, preventable car accidents, scams and violence is just too depressing. It leaves me angry, frustrated and emotionally drained. In order to keep abreast of what’s happening politically and in business I sometimes watch the national news but it too has become too much to bear. From now on, I’ll just make supper in silence or listen to music and talk to the dog. No news is the only way I can save myself.


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It’s a two-fer: Enjoy tea and get healthy at the same time


I clearly remember my first drink of tea. When I was a little girl, we were having a family dinner at my grandmother’s place and after dinner when my great-grandmother was pouring tea she asked my mother if “Lynda drinks tea?”. “Oh no,” my mother replied. “She’s only five.” When I protested that I was old enough, my great-grandmother splashed a few drops into my glass of milk and a lifelong love affair with tea was launched. So, when Erin Young, a fellow tea aficionado asked if she could write a guest post for BOOMERBROADcast about the benefits of drinking tea, I was happy to accommodate her on my blog.

Erin Young is an aficionado and purveyor of specialty teas.

Erin is a tea blogger based in the United States and offers some great suggestions on how we can use tea to improve our health:

5 Herbal Teas That Will Make You Healthier

Herbal tea and remedies have long been used to treat a variety of ailments. With the busy lives we are living, more people are incorporating medicinal plants and herbs into their diet to stay healthy. From boosting energy, alleviating inflammation and reducing stress; here are five herbs and plants that can help to make you healthier.

  1. Common Sage:

Sage comes from the Latin word ‘salvere’, which means to be saved. Its healing powers have been known for thousands of years. Sage is an antiseptic and has anti-inflammatory properties. Sage can be used to treat sore throats. In fact, a 2009 study showed that an echinacea/sage throat spray is just as effective as a typical chemical-based treatment.(1)

Sage can be bought in tea bag form, or you can simply add fresh or dried sage to a cup of boiling water, letting the herb steep for 5-7 minutes before drinking.

  1.  Matcha Green Tea:

Matcha is a form of green tea and is produced by taking the leaves and grinding them into a fine powder. Matcha boosts energy for 4-6 hours so it is a fantastic alternative to coffee.

Matcha also contains 137 X the antioxidants of standard green tea which protects your body against diseases. Matcha is also known to help boost the metabolism and therefore is a great drink for weight-loss.

Matcha is simple to make. You just need to add ½ a teaspoon of the powder to hot water. There are many other ways to enjoy matcha also, such as making iced tea, a matcha latte or adding it to your favourite recipes. Just ensure you buy high quality matcha so you receive the full health benefits.

  1. Lavender Tea:

Lavender tea is made from the purple buds of the flowering plant. Lavender has a high concentration of vitamin A, as well as calcium and iron.

Drinking lavender tea can help to relieve inflamed tissues and provide relief from headaches and insomnia. Lavender oil can be added to a warm bath, to help relieve stress and tired muscles.

To make lavender tea, place 4 teaspoons of lavender bud into a tea ball. Place the tea ball into a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 10 minutes and then it is ready to enjoy.

  1. Cardamom tea:

Cardamon belongs to the ginger family and is native to India. Cardamom has long been used for medicinal purposes and is used to treat upset stomachs and the common cold. Cardamom can often be found in chai tea mixes.

To make cardamom tea, first, boil some water. Remove from the heat and add the tea leaves. Heat it again until the water starts boiling. Turn off the heat and let the tea steep for around 5 minutes before drinking.

  1. Peppermint tea:

Peppermint is a delicious, fragrant herb where the main base ingredient, menthol, is used in many products such as toothpaste and breath mints. Drinking peppermint tea can help to relieve a headache. Headaches are often caused by constricted blood vessels to the brain, and drinking peppermint tea can open up these vessels and help to ease the pain.(5)  

Peppermint tea has also been shown to provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).(6) Menthol can act as a sedative, so it can be beneficial to drink before sleeping.

Peppermint tea can be made from dry or fresh leaves. First, boil some water. Add the peppermint to the boiling water. Let it steep for about 5 minutes. Pour the tea through a strainer. You can also add honey for some extra sweetness.

In Summary;

Adding herbal tea into your daily routine can benefit your health whether you have had a stressful day at work, or are looking for natural ways to prevent and cure ailments. For energy and antioxidants we can recommend matcha green tea, for relaxation we advise lavender and for sore throats or tummies, peppermint and sage are wonderful. Why not also combine these herbal elements and make your own delicious mixes!

AUTHOR BIO

Erin Young is a health food writer and a tea expert. She owns two tea companies; Evergreen Matcha in the USA and Zen Green Tea Matcha in Australia. She partners with sustainable tea farms in Kyoto, Japan to source her premium matcha green tea powder. Want a free Matcha Recipe book with over 30 healthy recipes delivered to your inbox? Click here.  

References

  1. Echinacea/sage or chlorhexidine/lidocaine for treating acute sore throats: a randomized double-blind trial
  2. Evaluation of anti-inflammatory effects of green tea and black tea: A comparative in vitro study
  3. Antioxidant effects of green tea
  4. Ingestion of a tea rich in catechins leads to a reduction in body fat and malondialdehyde-modified LDL in men
  5. Peppermint Tea May Help Relieve Headaches
  6. How peppermint helps to relieve irritable bowel syndrome


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The Hudson’s Bay Company welcomes new CEO and this shopper couldn’t be happier


Helena, girlfriend, I really need you to listen. I’m only trying to help.

Canada’s venerable 350-year-old Hudson’s Bay Company (for non-Canadian readers it’s comparable to Macy’s in the U.S.) is getting a new C.E.O. Her name is Helena Foulkes and she comes from CVS, a health-care company with about 9,700 pharmacies in the United States. Since January 2014, Foulkes was the company’s executive vice-president and president of subsidiary CVS Pharmacy. As a shopper, loyal Canadian and feminist I’m thrilled with the news and thought I’d take the initiative on behalf of all baby boomer women and make her feel welcome:

Dear Helena:

Welcome to Canada. When I heard you were taking over the reins at The Hudson’s Bay Company, I was so excited I could hardly pour my Geritol this morning. For more than twenty years I’ve been lobbying The Bay, making suggestions about how they could improve business and keep their retail stores prospering. And for as many years I’ve been ignored. Maybe we finally have someone who will listen. After all—I’m just the customer—what do I know? I hope you don’t mind me calling you Helena. I feel we’re BFFs since I wrote that complimentary post about you on my blog recently: (Click here to read Brushing away wrinkles and imperfections doesn’t fool anyone.”). I was soooo impressed that you took a stand against digitally altered beauty ads (Photoshopping) in CVS stores.

Anyway, Helena, as I said, my emails, snail mail, blog postings and letters to a series of Hudson’s Bay CEOs have all been ignored over the years and I really want The Hudson’s Bay Company to do well. To make your job easier, here are a few simple things you can do that I guarantee will improve sales and sustain your retail business. This is a simple a point-form summary but you’re free to read links to previous posts with further details about the issue which I’ve conveniently included at the bottom of this posting.

  1. Hire more sales associates. If it means eliminating a few pairs of designer jeans from inventory to come up with the money to pay these people, it’ll be a worthwhile investment. Unlike in European stores, it’s impossible to find knowledgeable staff to assist shoppers in Hudson’s Bay stores. This is particularly critical in suburban mall stores which are severely understaffed compared to your downtown Toronto flagship store.
  2. Make the cash register/sales desks easier to find. I once stood in the middle of the second floor of the Square One Bay store in Mississauga and literally yelled for help. The place was abandoned.
  3. Train your sales personnel to take pride in their work. And what about paying these people a more attractive salary to improve morale? Coming from a corporate marketing background myself, I’ve always felt that valued employees should be treated like clients. Happy employees are the secret to the success of the company, just like those ‘contented cows’ who produce good quality milk. Nordstrom sales associates are trained to walk around the counter and hand me my little silver shopping bag like it’s a special gift and they value my business. I like that.

    We really want you to succeed.

  4. Up the ante on the on-line experience for your customers. American retailers have nailed this and Canadian retailers are woefully late to the game. I’m a dedicated on-line shopper who prefers to do business with established retailers. As baby boomers age, we’ll come to depend on this service even more.
  5. Speaking of baby boomers—I just want to remind you that we’re a huge, overlooked target market. We have time; we have money; we love fashion. But no one acknowledges us anymore because we’re not the 18-45 demographic.
  6. On the subject of listening, have you ever considered appointing customer feedback mechanisms? Perhaps on-line surveys or better still, customer councils?

I appreciate you taking the time to read this, Helena. I really do want Hudson’s Bay Company to succeed and grow. If you’ll just take my advice, I think you’ll find the boss will want to give you a raise. Feel free to just call me anytime. Let’s have a cup of tea and sort things out. No charge.

Sincerely, Your friend, Lynda

P.S. To give credit where it’s due, I’m glad someone responded to my earlier plea to upgrade the ladies washrooms in suburban mall stores. They were pretty disgusting and I’m pleased The Bay is making an effort to correct this.

P.P.S. Here are the links I mentioned above:

https://boomerbroadcast.net/2017/06/09/top-10-suggestions-for-hudsons-bay-to-survive/

https://boomerbroadcast.net/2018/02/01/its-my-fault-retail-stores-are-closing/

https://boomerbroadcast.net/2013/10/31/retail-rant-hits-home/

https://boomerbroadcast.net/2013/10/29/the-solution-for-canadian-retailers-is-as-easy-as-1-2-3/

https://boomerbroadcast.net/2016/11/07/what-on-earth-was-the-hudsons-bay-company-thinking/

https://boomerbroadcast.net/2014/08/31/support-is-growing-for-truth-in-advertising/

https://boomerbroadcast.net/2014/01/29/hello-saks-goodbye-bay/

https://boomerbroadcast.net/2013/09/14/how-to-improve-sales-at-hudsons-bay/

https://boomerbroadcast.net/2018/01/19/brushing-away-wrinkles-and-imperfections-doesnt-fool-anyone/

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/hbc-cvs-helena-foulkes-1.4520526

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Praying for the victims and their families does nothing


Doesn’t it just make you sick! The wave of finger-pointing following the latest school shooting with seventeen people dead in Florida is enough to whip up a hurricane. It’s not guns – it’s mental illness. What we need is better school security. If teachers had guns they could have taken him down . . . excuses and rationalization abounds. The Americans just don’t get it and it’s their everlasting tragedy that they never will thanks to their ongoing misinterpretation of the Second Amendment.

Other countries have problems with mental illness. Other countries have schools with far less security than those in the United States. Other countries even have guns. What other countries don’t have is the high concentration and incidence of abuse of guns that results in mass shootings. In Canada, the only people who have guns are the police, our military, hunters, a few collectors and some bad guys. Most of us live our lives without ever seeing a real gun—it’s just not part of our psyche. We’ve also had a mass shooting in a school so we’re not impervious but no other country in the world has a gun problem like the United States. Their psychology is warped and that’s never going to change which means these tragedies will continue. Remove guns from the general population and remove the problem. That’s all I’m going to say.


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Who do you love most?


Valentine’s Day prompted me to reflect on the gift of love. Most of us give and receive love from family members, friends or a life partner which helps us cope with the ups and downs of life. One of the pitfalls of love when we’re young is the tendency to focus so much of our devotion on our new love that we lose ourselves in the process. It’s a relationship hazard stemming from lack of experience. After you’ve done this once or twice, you get smart and realize you’re actually a pretty cool person in your own right. In the sixties I dated a trucker who had the bad-boy swagger and looks of a young Jack Nicholson. Before I knew it, I was going to country and western bars, drinking beer and smoking Export A’s. While liking country music is not a bad thing, some of the other behaviours I adapted to be “closer” to him were not so positive. And he ran with a group of very unsavoury friends.

I recently watched a rom-com movie called Fever Pitch starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon. Her character bends to his all-consuming love of baseball to the point she becomes exhausted, frustrated and bitter. It perfectly illustrates the pitfalls of burying our authentic selves to further the relationship. It’s a really entertaining and instructive movie you might want to check out.

One of the greatest benefits of getting older is the advantage of hindsight. We can look back on the compromises we made in the name of love that were not aligned with who we really are. Getting older usually means getting smarter. That includes not bending our personalities to become the ones we think we love. This is not the same thing as compromising on smaller issues for the sake of keeping the peace or accepting minor differences. For example, my husband loves golf. I find football1it excruciatingly boring.  I love words and writing which are anathema to him. I’ll never “get” football but I have no problem with him watching it 24/7 as long as I don’t have to listen to it, which is why headphones are marriage-savers. Accepting and appreciating our inherent differences can actually enrich a relationship when you don’t expect your partner to be your everything. That’s unrealistic. It’s fun sharing your common interests and fun sharing stories about things you do not have in common. Having differences of opinion is natural. Bending your opinions to always be the same as your partner’s is not.

In earlier times when lifespans were shorter, people often died before they racked up 40 years of marriage. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for couples to divorce loversafter 20 or 30 years when they come to the realization they may have totally compromised themselves for the sake of the relationship and that’s not the way they want to spend the rest of their lives. And our criteria for an optimal mate change over the years. When we’re in our 20s we want a cute guy with a sense of humour who’s a good dancer. In our 60s we want a healthy guy with a sense of humour and a good RRSP. Spending the rest of your life with someone who encourages the best in you is infinitely more agreeable than living out your years with someone who expects you to sell your soul. Life is precious, particularly your own. Loving another person is beautiful but loving yourself first is essential. Happy Valentine’s Day my loves.

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To remain fashionable, I might have to get a job . . . again


Blazers are making an encore performance.

The reason? Blazers are back in fashion and I love blazers. I gave all my office clothes to charity when I retired but kept a couple of items that I was particularly fond of. One was a beautifully constructed double-breasted gray pinstripe wool blazer with matching vest that was part of a suit (due to waistline issues, the pants retired too). It was made by Mondi, a German brand that no longer exists but I paid a ridiculous amount of money for it thirty years ago and I just can’t bring myself to part with it.

It’s fun to reflect on the spectrum of fashions boomer gals have worn to work over the years. In the sixties we were just starting out and riding high on Twiggy and our newfound fashion and lifestyle freedom. We had a collection of mini dresses and skirts that make me cringe now when I think of bending over filing cabinets, riding up escalators or climbing steps in the subway. But that was when we still had firm thighs and no cellulite so we bounced around without a thought about modesty. The seventies ushered in maxi length skirts in Laura Ashley prints with go-go boots and form-fitting finely knitted turtlenecks. Those skirts often had matching cowl scarves and we felt oh-so elegant. Our sky-high hair was permed within an inch of its life and sprayed until it wouldn’t move in hurricane.

In the eighties the rules were clear and we abided by them.

By the eighties we were maturing into our ‘careers’ and dressing for success with neat little suits and soft bow ties. Power dressing was the big news in fashion and that’s when I bought that Mondi suit. One year I received a particularly generous bonus at work which I immediately blew on a burgundy-coloured ‘Ultra-suede’ skirt suit that cost me a fortune. I wore it for only one season. The memory of that folly is still a major ouch. Ports was a big brand name back then. We loaded up on their corduroy suits, dresses and silk blouses with dry cleaning bills that nearly bankrupted me. That was before I realized that despite the warning label, silk can be hand washed.

Our fashion tastes in the nineties were restrained by the nearly decade-long recession. Most of us were lucky to even keep our jobs and I was on the receiving end of downsizing that was characteristic of that terrible decade. Discretionary spending on our wardrobe was severely curtailed. By the time we bounced back, Jones of New York was the safest and most affordable fashion brand for working women. Once more we suited up for power but at a better price point and using a little more common sense. By the time I retired in 2005, casual Friday had grown to nearly every day of the week. Pantyhose became a thing of the past, bare feet appeared in open-toed shoes. The old career-advancing adage “dress for the job you aspire to” soon became irrelevant as everyone turned up at work in whatever struck their fancy.

I never felt more powerful, however, than when I was turned out in a smart, tailored blazer with a classy silk blouse. There was something about the structure, the shoulders, the architecture of a blazer that gave me a feeling of supreme confidence when I walked into a meeting. I never had that same sense of empowerment when dress codes relaxed and I wasn’t wearing the blazer and serious wardrobe. Now they’re back and I’m loving the wonderful Glen plaids, houndstooth and windowpane checks. I’ve always loved the look of a well-cut blazer and today we can wear them casually with skinny denim jeans and good shoes or boots. Proper blazers cover errant bums and disguise long-gone waistlines. It makes me want to go out and load up on wonderful blazers again but I’d be all dressed up with no place to go.

Take your time, dear. We don’t have to go back to the office anymore.

I still have an off-white cotton twill Michael Kors blazer trimmed in black grosgrain and leather that I bought nearly twenty years ago. Maybe it’s time to haul that and my Mondi pinstripe out of the back of the closet, brush them off and feel the power once again—even if it’s just to go the grocery store or the mall. It would save me having to get a job to show off my power blazers. Or, better still, I could meet my boomer gal pals for lunch. The best part? After lunch, we don’t have to rush and head back to the office any more. We’re retired, just like those lovely old blazers, but there’s still lots of life left in us yet.

You’re beautiful mes très chères.

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Sleeping on Jupiter is a clash of dreams and reality


This book first came to my attention when I heard the author of Sleeping on Jupiter, Anuradha Roy being interviewed on CBC Radio. Listening to the background story of a young girl from India being told in the author’s lyrical accent prompted me to immediately put it on my ‘To Read’ list. The characters’ stories are linked by their common voyage to the seaside temple city of Jarmuli. It’s beautifully written with many sensory touch-points that take the reader deeper into the scents, sounds and texture of India.

Two story lines run parallel. Three grandmothers have decided to make a pilgrimage to Jarmuli for what baby boomers would call a girls’ week. They have never been away from their families and this act of independence allows them to communicate and explore their separate and different personalities. Latika is slender, not religious and the most modern of the three. She dyes her hair deep burgundy and is the most adventurous. Gouri is devout, traditional and the most conservative. She’s also in the early stages of dementia and its ravages are becoming evident to the point her two friends realize they have to keep close tabs on her to prevent her becoming lost or worse. Vidya is the intermediary and the one least inclined to rock the boat. During their travels and excursions their different personalities both irritate and reassure each other, which is common among old friends.

The fourth woman Nomi’s story begins with a guerilla attack on her family in their local village when she was only seven years old. Her father and brother were killed while her mother managed to escape with Nomi on her back. After days on the run, her mother turns Nomi over to an unknown man on the beach who embarks on a journey with a dozen other young girls to a distant ashram where they are left in the care of a famous guru. They are told he is God and they are to be fed, clothed and educated while in his protective care. Nomi meets the three traveling grandmothers as an adult when she shares a cabin on the train at the beginning of their trip to Jarmuli. As their lives intersect we are introduced to secondary characters whose lives are equally complicated and challenging.

Sleeping on Jupiter is beautifully written. The narrative alternates between first person (Nomi) and third person, and times in Nomi’s life as a child and an adult. The characters and their experiences are described in language that is compelling and descriptive. The darker side of life in India such as child sexual abuse and poverty are handled with sensitivity and understanding. My only complaint with the book is that it ended too soon. There were loose ends and unfinished story lines that I would have liked to be wrapped up. But life does not always have happy endings and satisfactory answers; this book is a slice of life.

To order Sleeping on Jupiter from Amazon.com click here.

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