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.


2 Comments

There’s no business like shoe business


While we can understand Carrie Bradshaw’s appetite for shoes, most of us don’t have her budget.

You’ll definitely feel less guilty about what you spend on shoes when you learn that design mogul Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. just shelled out $1.5 billion to buy Jimmy Choo Ltd. I know I felt vindicated when I compared that shoe purchase to my own weakness for buying too many pairs of FitFlops™. At least my brand of choice provides a level of comfort. Fabulous shoes are like little magic carpets. When we’re wearing great shoes we feel like we can soar above the crowds. We achieve a level of fabulousness that is unmatched and unrelated to size. Yummy shoes are works of art, transporters of emotion, a reflection of our personality. Regardless of our waistline, when our feet look great, we feel great.

It’s obvious to women that most shoes today are designed by men. The styles offered are tantamount to foot binding and even that’s illegal in a certain country not known for a strong history of human rights. Do the stores actually sell those five-inch heels to real women, of any age? So many shoes today are not designed to actually walk in but should be displayed in a curio cabinet or alongside the crystal decanters on your diningroom buffet. And who uses crystal decanters any more. They’re obsolete; their practicality has been usurped by their lack of practicality, which is why I see so many Louboutins, Valentinos and Jimmy Choos on a resale site I like to spy on (my guilty pleasure), with the notation “worn once”.

This must be what heaven looks like.

Boomers are past wearing stilettos. We had our day several decades ago when we could run to work in high heels, eschew arch supports and gad about town in flat-footed cheap sneakers. Who among us hasn’t fallen off our platforms and twisted an ankle? We’re now in the market for industrial strength arch supports and deeply cushioned soles. Many of us swear by Birkies although my foot doc isn’t a fan saying Birkenstock soles are too hard. Others prefer sneakers. I’ve had good luck with Eileen Fisher shoes (only when I can get them on sale) while anything by Franco Sarto cripples my feet. One thing I have learned over the years is that good shoes are worth the extra money. They’re more comfortable; they last longer and they generally fit better. Quality leather is flexible and it breathes. If you’ve ever been afflicted with plantar fasciitis (an inflamed ligament running from the ball of the foot to the heel which generates severe pain when you put your heel down) or other foot ailments, you’re forever diligent about footwear.

With some research and consultation with friends, stylish, comfortable footwear can be found. The internet and various fashion blogs for baby boomer women are helpful in finding what is comfortable and fashionable for our generation. It’s not mission impossible. My personal favourite brand is FitFlop™ designed by a British foot doctor. I own several pair of the sandals and now that they’ve started producing sneakers and other shoes and boots, I’m expanding my inventory. The soles are soft with a slight rise at the heel and good arch supports. I normally wear a size 7 shoe but FitFlops fit large so I wear a size 6 in the sandals and a 6.5 in shoes. Absolutely love ’em. Here’s a link to Amazon if you want to check them out. Click here for FitFlop on Amazon.

I’m not sure Michael Kors got good value for their $1.5 billion investment in Jimmy Choo but we’ve all made our share of mistakes in shoe purchases over the years and have the dust collectors in the backs of our closets to prove it. Shoes evoke such intense attachments, even our mistakes are hard to part with. I’d love to hear your comments on what footwear works and doesn’t work for you. Tell me your stories (click Leave a Comment, above, top left), the good, the bad and the ugly so we can share and learn from our experiences.

What shoes work best for you?

 

Click the “Follow” icon to receive automatic notifications of new BOOMERBROADcast.net postings.

Feel free to share this blog post, with a credit to Boomerbroadcast.net, via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or other social media links below or comment on this post (left column, above, below the date).

 

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


Leave a comment

Irish saga enlightens and educates us on the evils of intolerance


Ireland has a tradition of producing great humour, writing, music, beer and whisky. What they can be less proud of is allowing Catholic dogma to run the country for far too long and their slow acknowledgement of human rights. The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne brings this theme home in a wonderful story of a complicated extended and blended family affected by Ireland’s backward morality and condemnation of homosexuality. Boyne also authored The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas and The House of Special Purpose.

The story begins in 1945 with sixteen-year-old Catherine Goggin, a rural Irish girl who becomes pregnant outside of marriage. After she is humiliated and cast out by the local priest in front of the entire village, Catherine takes a bus to Dublin to begin building a new life. She gives birth to a baby boy who is given up for adoption. The story then follows the life of her son named Cyril by his adoptive parents Charles and Maude Avery, an unconventional couple who provide a comfortable home but without affection. Charles is a banker and philanderer; Maude is a successful and famous Irish novelist. When Julian, who is the son of Charles’s solicitor enters the picture, the boys quickly connect as friends but lose contact until they are designated roommates at boarding school in their teens. As a result of Cyril’s unloving upbringing and isolation as an only child he’s a naïve and socially awkward young man. Julian’s acceptance of Cyril’s quirks and their developing friendship soon makes Cyril aware that his love for Julian goes beyond what is deemed natural and normal in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

For readers living in a country as tolerant and progressive as Canada is now, it’s hard to believe that homosexuality was illegal in Ireland until 1993. (Canada was also not without blame as homosexuality was illegal here until 1967.) Birth control was forbidden and gay marriage was not legalized in Ireland until 2011. For young gay men like Cyril growing up in Ireland in the last half of the twentieth century, life was a constant struggle. Same-sex relationships had to be conducted in secret and there were always misguided moralists eager to expose gays and lesbians. Discovery would mean imprisonment and disgrace. The result of this deception meant that thousands of individuals and families’ lives were unfairly ruined by hypocritical church doctrine. Priests regularly had affairs with members of both sexes (and worse) and fathered children by their partners, yet they condemned the behaviour and lifestyle of innocent gay people.

Cyril struggles through the challenges of reaching adulthood in a country of intolerance and prejudice. We witness his ruined relationships and the abuses he casts upon himself for something he cannot control. At the same time, his birth mother Catherine Goggin makes regular appearances in the plotline without either of them aware of their connection. When Cyril moves to Amsterdam and falls in love with a Dutch physician specializing in AIDS research, his life settles into a kind of marital happiness. A later move to New York complicates the plot and changes his life forever.

The story exposes the difficulties encountered by gay baby boomer men but is representative of all gay men and women in Ireland not that long ago. The lives of Cyril Avery and his extended family are complicated by secrets that in today’s more tolerant world would be unthinkable. But the story comes full circle and despite tragedy and a series of bumps in the road, it has a happy ending. I thoroughly enjoyed The Heart’s Invisible Furies as it further illustrates the evils of intolerance.

To order a copy of John Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies from Amazon.com, click here.

To order a copy of John Boyne’s The House of Special Purpose from Amazon.com, click here.

To order a copy of John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas from Amazon.com, click here.

Click the “Follow” icon to receive automatic notifications of new BOOMERBROADcast.net postings.

Feel free to share this blog post, with a credit to Boomerbroadcast.net, via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or other social media links below or comment on this post (left column, above, below the date).

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


Leave a comment

We’re living in a selfie-obsessed world


What am I missing here?

Is the rest of the world more confident than I am, more vain, more photogenic or simply more important? I rarely use my cell phone and when I do it’s certainly not to take a picture of myself posing with my head strategically cocked at a ‘cute’ angle and a giant fake smile on my face. Am I the only person on the planet who fails to see the point in constantly taking pictures of oneself? Who actually looks at them? Who cares? I’ve watched tourists in the Hall of Mirrors in France’s magnificent Palace of Versailles frantically running around snapping endless selfies in the reflected afternoon sunshine, oblivious to the ambience, history and majesty of the space they’re in.

There seems to be no limit to bad taste in selfies.

Young people seem incapable of carrying out the most mundane functions of everyday life without capturing the image for posterity? Eating a burger at McDonald’s, posing in front of the Apple store, standing on a street corner waiting for the light to change, even sitting on the subway are now evidently all priceless moments worth preserving in history. We’re even coached on how to pose; head tilted, hand on hip, three-quarter profile; stomach in; tits out. Maybe it’s because I am no longer particularly photogenic and I’m certainly not in any way important in the larger scheme of things but I do not consider myself selfie-worthy. In fact, my attempts earlier this year were so horrifying I required trauma counseling when I saw the results. I think I’ll just restrict viewing of my image to live encounters with close friends, family and store clerks. Call it my contribution to a better world. Is there something I’m missing?

Click the “Follow” icon to receive automatic notifications of new BOOMERBROADcast.net postings.

Feel free to share this blog post, with a credit to Boomerbroadcast.net, via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or other social media links below or comment on this post (left column, above, below the date).

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


Leave a comment

I’m glad I don’t have to outfit children for Halloween


It’s a political mine field.

The PC’ers are now targeting Halloween costumes. It has been deemed politically incorrect to appropriate a variety of ethnic looks adapted for Halloweening at school and in your local neighbourhood. Dressing as a Japanese geisha, an indigenous North American or an Arab sheik is considered disrespectful appropriation of other cultures. Don’t even consider outfitting your child in a striped Breton T-shirt and beret to pretend they’re French for an evening of fun. Our go-to home-made costume as boomer kids was usually a tramp because, unlike today where everyone buys their ready-made costumes at the store, we fashioned our own from whatever we could scrounge from around the house. In today’s world that would eliminate a tramp costume in case it disparages the economically underprivileged. Even dressing as a witch supposedly demeans the Wicca religion.

Let me state clearly up front, I agree that Halloween costumes that are intended to negatively represent cultural or religious symbols are absolutely not acceptable. However, some of the most creative and endearing Halloween outfits I’ve ever seen were never intended to demean but most often were aspirational. The children considered their look a compliment, an homage to whatever style they were portraying. Many years ago, a little bi-racial boy in my neighbourhood regularly turned up hand-in-hand with his mother at my door in his dalmatian costume, until he outgrew it. I adored his costume and him. Another little curly-haired brown-skinned seven-year-old was decked out in a three-piece pinstriped suit with crisp white shirt and tie depicting Johnny Cochrane. We may not have admired Johnny Cochrane’s cause, but the costume was brilliant and deserving of an extra treat.

Could this offend farmers?

These issues must present incredible challenges for parents trying to create imaginative costumes for their children. No more cowboys and ‘Indians’; no turbans, no ‘blues’ musicians. Will we be offending a particular group if our children are dressed as rappers or crew members from McDonald’s? If I answer the door dressed as myself, an aging baby boomer in a comfortable T-shirt and yoga pants will I offend my entire generation? That just leaves the graphic not-quite-human comic book heroes like Batman, Spiderman and Wonder Woman. Or would that offend the acting profession? Should we revisit the ethics of actors wearing ethnic costumes of any kind? Would dressing your child as a pumpkin offend farmers? Would dressing as a farmer offend farmers?

When I was little, I dreamed of being a saloon girl, just like Kitty on Gunsmoke. I couldn’t imagine anything better than wearing beautiful, sparkly evening dresses all day every day, feathers in my hair, a handsome Marshall as my boyfriend. I often pretended I was Kitty when playing with friends. But dressing as a benevolent hooker for Halloween in today’s world is unimaginable. I’m just glad I’m not the parent of young children faced with running the gauntlet of political correctness. Oh no! I said ‘gauntlet’. Did I just offend indigenous people? Give me strength. Do I need sensitivity training? Now I can’t even dress up as a ‘Smartie’. I’m so confused. I think I’ll just turn out the lights and hide behind the sofa on Halloween rather than offend someone in the LGBTQ community by giving candy to a small child dressed as a princess.

Click the “Follow” icon to receive automatic notifications of new BOOMERBROADcast.net postings.

Feel free to share this blog post, with a credit to Boomerbroadcast.net, via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or other social media links below or comment on this post (left column, above, below the date).

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


Leave a comment

Have the feds gone mad?


First it was the farmers. Now it’s the minimum-wage earners working in the retail sector. Can the Revenue Canada bottom-feeders stoop any lower? Their pathetic proposed tax grabs are beyond punitive; they border on masochistic. Canada’s Minister of Finance Bill Morneau obviously did not grow up on a farm, or even keep company with someone who grew up on a farm. If he did, he’d think twice about sticking it to farmers who pay their children a couple of dollars an hour to help in the barn with the milking at 6:30 a.m. before they eat breakfast and go off to school. Or variety store owners and other family businesses whose children work nights and weekends to help keep their businesses afloat.

Now the feds have retail and other lower to middle-income workers in their sights. They’re proposing to tax employees on the value of their employee discounts, a tax grab that is beyond shameful. Retail sales associates in clothing stores are encouraged to wear brands carried by their stores to help promote sales. And the system works. I’ve often been in a store, admired something a sales person was wearing and purchased it for myself. That sales person probably earns minimum wage or slightly more and often spends most of what she or he earns in the store. And now that miniscule benefit has caught the attention of the Revenue Canada rapists.

Unless you’re a McCain or a Weston, most family businesses are marginally profitable and come without pensions and other benefits.

Several years ago I worked for a company that provided free parking to employees in the company-owned lot beside the building. The tax auditors tried to extract taxes on an obscure estimated dollar value of that benefit for an amount the employees didn’t even receive. Premiums for supplementary health benefits provided by employers are taxed. Support payments to single mothers that have already been taxed are re-taxed when received by the parent with custody of children. Child support payments are obviously a huge windfall for struggling parents. When is the insanity going to stop? We elect our politicians to represent the people but it seems we’ve elected an economically elite group of Marie Antoinette wanna-be’s who are completely out of touch with how real people live and try to make ends meet. I have no objection to going after the high rollers; that’s the nature of a capitalist society. But picking on the little guy, the ninety-nine percenters is just plain immoral.

Taxpayers must remain vigilant and not let the government get away with their dirty tricks.

I don’t know what the answer is. If I thought elected officials actually listened to the constituents who pay their salaries and grotesquely generous pensions I’d suggest writing, calling or emailing your member of parliament. But they’re probably too busy trying to figure out how to tax the income on your child’s lemonade stand. But it’s worth a try. Unless we storm the Bastille, the elite in Ottawa are going to step up their dirty work. We must remain vocal and invested in what they’re trying to sneak past us. I think they’ve gone mad. They’ve certainly made me mad.

 

Click the “Follow” icon to receive automatic notifications of new BOOMERBROADcast.net postings.

Feel free to share this blog post, with a credit to Boomerbroadcast.net, via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or other social media links below or comment on this post (left column, above, below the date).

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


Leave a comment

Breaking up is still hard to do


As more of our generation is retiring, accepting early golden parachute offers or even sadly, being made redundant through restructuring, I thought I would republish a piece I wrote a couple of years ago. The message endures.

Bette Davis is famously quoted as saying, “Getting old ain’t for sissies”. Retirement is a natural by-product of getting old and requires attention. For some, it’s wonderful; for others, not so much. I definitely fall into the former category but for those who are forced to retire before they’re psychologically or financially ready it can be devastating.

You’re out! You’re no longer part of the team.

At the risk of generalizing, I think it’s often more difficult for men than women to retire. The Boomer generation and our parents’ generation is characterized by men who devoted their entire adult lives to their work. Perhaps it was a family business, a demanding occupation like medicine or maybe it was a prestigious corporate position. Retirement means these individuals have lost not only something to do every day but their very identity. Gen X’ers and millennials watched their parents (us, Boomers) doing this, got the message and have flipped that psychology on its ear.

When you’re retired, people are no longer impressed by what you once did for a living. When you’re not Mr. Big, President of ABC International Corporation it can create a huge vacuum. Because you no longer have the power to improve the lives of your former coworkers they drop you from their social and business circle. This alienation can be devastating. The 2002 movie About Schmidt with Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates clearly illustrates the shock of transition. When Schmidt, played by Jack Nicholson attends his retirement party, the speeches and platitudes from his coworkers at the insurance company where he had dedicated his life were so cliché and familiar it was heartbreaking.

My friend David worked in the marketing department of a giant international corporation. The corporate culture was casual and creative with frequent product launches, brainstorming sessions, corporate retreats and big-budget product promotions . Co-workers often socialized outside of work hours going on skiing weekends and attending parties together.  When David retired he expected his former coworkers to keep him in the loop but the invitations stopped. He was understandably confused and hurt that people he had always considered friends as well as co-workers no longer wanted his company.

business lunch2

Business associates and friends are not the same thing, despite what it seems.

Another executive I know from the financial services sector was similarly affected when suddenly dropped by his circle of business friends when he retired. He felt abandoned and couldn’t understand why his calls weren’t returned and no one wanted to join him for lunch anymore. Once the unspoken message became clear, he was forced to accept the truth—he was no longer a somebody. His business friends were in fact not real friends at all but merely business associates and when he could no longer do anything for them they no longer needed or wanted his company.

This particular aspect of retirement can result in feelings similar to divorce. The entity that has been a huge part of your life is gone and no longer cares to associate with you. Like divorce where you lose being part of a couple, loss of some friends, probably your home and assets, you lose a large component of your life. A new strategy for moving on is required.  For some individuals it might take the form of part-time consulting work to keep a hand in the business world, albeit to a lesser degree. Others may prefer a more relaxed approach, taking time to enjoy all the activities that working did not allow for. This can include golf and other sports, taking courses, spending time with the grandkids, pursuing hobbies or perhaps a part-time job.

Retiring for me, however, meant total and utter freedom at last. Now I have the time to read voraciously, entertain at my leisure, get together with friends, take vacations whenever I please and do dozens of other things I’ve waited for my entire life. Fortunately, it was and is the best time of my life and just keeps getting better.

Over the years I have observed people approaching retirement with different attitudes. Some were looking forward to european travelhaving the time to travel and do things with friends. Others were bewildered and had no constructive plan for filling their time. Those who were not prepared were often the ones who developed health issues that may have contributed to an early demise. Interestingly, many of the retiring career women I have worked with were often the ones who had a Mediterranean cruise or a tour of Ireland scheduled for the week after they finished work. They had plans to volunteer at a library or hospital and hit the ground running. These are generally the people who live the longest and have the richest, most fulfilling retirement.

Enjoying retirement does not have to involve memberships in expensive golf clubs or Mediterranean cruises. The most simple things now give me enormous pleasure. There’s nothing better than enjoying a second cup of tea as I take my time over the morning paper.  The luxury of being able to go grocery shopping minus the crowds on a Tuesday morning or hanging sheets outside on the line to dry in the morning breezes still give me great pleasure. The novelty of enjoying a ladies lunch with a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio and not having to rush back to the office has still not worn off. Entertaining friends is much more pleasurable when you have the luxury of time to shop, cook and prepare for your guests.

Just like in a divorce, breaking up with your employer can be devastating or it can be yourhippie boomers2 “get out of jail free” card. When that door slams behind you, the outcome is entirely up to you. I say, crank up the 60s music and let’s rock n’ roll. As Boomer Broads we’re living our best years now.

Click the “Follow” icon to receive automatic notifications of new BOOMERBROADcast.net postings.

Feel free to share this blog post, with a credit to Boomerbroadcast.net, via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or other social media links below or comment on this post (left column, above, below the date).

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


Leave a comment

Dear Margaret: I was wrong. I’m sorry.


It was a scramble to finish reading the book Alias Grace before the television series aired as I didn’t want to preempt any of the deliciousness of the story line. Written by Margaret Atwood more than twenty years ago, it took me a long time to get to the book because I’d been put off by her later writing, including The Handmaid’s Tale. I disliked The Handmaid’s Tale as I found it too dystopian and weird when I first read it in 1986. Times have changed; the world is becoming scarier and The Handmaid’s Tale is no longer as remote from reality as it once seemed. I’m loving the television series and can’t wait for the next season.

Alias Grace is historical fiction (my favourite reading genre) based on the true story of Grace Marks, a pretty, young Irish immigrant housemaid in Toronto in the mid-1800’s. Put out to work by her alcoholic, abusive father at a young age, Grace secured employment as domestic help in a well-to-do Toronto household where she made friends with Mary Whitney, another young employee of the household. Life was not easy for domestic servants and they were frequently exploited by their employers. When Mary Whitney dies from a botched abortion, Grace is tainted by virtue of her friendship with Mary and is forced to leave and accept a position further north in rural Richmond Hill working for a bachelor ‘gentleman’ Thomas Kinnear. His relationship with his existing housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery soon becomes evident and presents complications for the entire household. Nancy is mercurial, swinging from overly friendly to mean and jealous.

In July 1843, while Kinnear is away from home, Nancy informs Grace and the handyman James McDermott that their services are no longer required and she intends to dismiss them before Kinnear returns. Then the story gets muddy. Thomas Kinnear and Nancy Montgomery are murdered but no one is sure who did it; James? Grace? Or both? The resulting murder trial is a major scandal in nineteenth century Upper Canada. McDermott is condemned to death by hanging and because of Grace’s vague testimony that was highly manipulated by her pro-bono lawyer and her young age (she was only fifteen), she receives a life sentence in the harsh federal penitentiary in Kingston, Ontario.

The complex characters of Grace Marks and James McDermott make it difficult to get at the truth.

During her incarceration, a number of well-meaning citizens and professionals attempt to extract the truth from Grace about the day of the murders but without success. Many people feel she is innocent and lobby for her release. Famous novelist Susanna Moodie even took a stab at getting to the truth (sorry for the bad pun) in her book Life in the Clearing but it was generally acknowledged that Moodie’s tendency to exaggeration and belief in spiritualism heavily coloured her account. After fifteen years of incarceration, Atwood introduces a character called Dr. Simon Jordan who specializes in studying mental health issues (such as they were at that time). He undertakes interviewing Grace over a period of months in an attempt to extract the truth once and for all. Although uneducated, Grace is obviously highly intelligent and articulate which makes it difficult to sort out fact from fiction.

Atwood’s story alternates time frames and narration. We’re often presented with the story in Grace’s own words as well as from the perspective of Dr. Jordan and a third party. I’ve never understood why some writers eschew quotation marks when employing dialogue some of the time but not all of the time. I suppose it’s a technical issue beyond my uneducated grasp but it does make for a bit of confusion at times sorting out conversations. Whoever said Canadian history is boring is just plain wrong. Just as I was wrong in discounting Margaret Atwood’s writing after The Edible Woman published in the mid-sixties and still my favourite Atwood novel. Alias Grace is a wonderful read. You’ll find plenty of touchstones you can relate to and the mystery surrounding the double murder will keep you engrossed in the book beyond the last page into the “Afterword” by Atwood. Millions of book buyers can’t be wrong.

To order Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood from Amazon.com, click here.

Click the “Follow” icon to receive automatic notifications of new BOOMERBROADcast.net postings.

Feel free to share this blog post, with a credit to Boomerbroadcast.net, via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or other social media links below or comment on this post (left column, above, below the date).

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save