BOOMERBROADcast

The voice of baby boomers, the silenced majority. Rants and reflections on lifestyle, fashion, current events, books and more . . .


4 Comments

Today’s lesson for Boomers. . . 1 + 1 = 1

Math has never been my strong suit. I’m a consistent 20% tipper in restaurants because it’s easier to calculate 20% than 15% in my head (and because I was a waitress a long time ago, so I appreciate the value of tips to servers). But, as baby boomers age, we realize that it’s easier to get through life with two people than it is with one. I was single for ten years before I married for the first time and spent seventeen years between husband number one and number two, so I’ve had a total of twenty-seven years of experience being single and on my own. And I’ve come to the conclusion that as we round out our third quarter, as The Beatles so eloquently put it, “we get by with a little help from our friends”. And that includes husbands, partners, neighbours, family members and even pets. They all help us get through the day. They filled the void during all those times I was on my own and continue to do so. The much maligned phrase uttered by Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire, “You complete me,” is suddenly not so corny.

I’ve written before (click here to read I’m not OK. Are you OK?) about the downside of certain aspects of aging. Being forgetful or absent-minded is natural—rather like defragging our hard-drive. Our brain has to dump old data to make room for new input. Regrettable but understandable. But my honey and I have recently experienced too many memory faults and error messages to write them off as simple updating of our ROM. Just last night we were sitting at dinner and couldn’t figure out what year we moved into our house. Was it two years ago or three? The mental exertion soon proved to onerous so we moved on to dessert.

Never again.

One day when I was checking out of a big box store I got caught with 12 items in my cart and only 11 items on my bill. I’d picked up two bags of pecans and accidentally only rang up one. I naively thought I was intelligent enough to handle the self checkout but obviously I over-estimated my abilities. To make it worse, just as I was standing there sorting out the issue with the checker at the door, while the lineup of impatient shoppers grew even longer behind me, I hear “Hi Lynda”. My friend Jeannette happened to be passing by just in time to witness my embarrassing shakedown by store security. Two lessons emerged from this experience:

  1. I am incapable of managing self-checkout without supervision
  2. Henceforth, I will always check out with a cashier because, a) they not only do a better job, but, b) I’m saving a job. Self-checkouts and other self-serve functions deprive someone of a real job and that’s not good for anyone.

Last week I mentioned to my husband that the windshield washer tank in my car was empty. When I kept pushing the lever, nothing happened. He was inappropriately smug and a tad too condescending when he informed me later that I’d been pushing the wrong lever.

And the list goes on. I gathered some girlfriends recently to watch a Christmas movie and swill wine but my television froze. Nothing worked. A couple of days later when the cable guy came out, it was a loose connection on the back of the receiver—which I had already checked, several times. He was very understanding, under the circumstances (dealing with an old lady).

But the pièce de résistance came earlier this week when my laptop computer died. It’s only 18 months old and when I bought it I also purchased every warranty and service package available to humankind for just such occasions. I checked the power outlet to make sure it was working, even moving it to an outlet in the kitchen to double-check. I changed the battery in the mouse and double-checked that the mouse was ‘On’. I couldn’t even reboot, which usually solves most problems, because it wouldn’t turn on or off. I pushed the laptop’s On/Off button multiple times with varying degrees of pressure and lengths of time in futile attempts to achieve ignition. No luck. Like Monty Python’s parrot; it was dead—not resting, not asleep—definitely dead!

So, I called Microsoft and the nice man informed me I might have a faulty display driver and suggested I take it to the Microsoft store where they would address my problems and perhaps replace my laptop. I was thankful for my brilliant foresight in purchasing those expensive warranty and service contracts. The next morning I made a 45-minute drive to the store. When I explained my situation to the little boy working there, he laid a nice protective pad on the counter, placed my dead parrot on the pad . . . and . . . TURNED IT ON. It worked!!! Heaven only knows why I couldn’t do the same thing pushing that little button; maybe my laptop just wanted to go for a nice long car ride and be fingered by someone with a gentler touch. Even my technically challenged husband now takes great delight in offering to turn my computer on.

I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.

As I said earlier, I’m not a math whiz; in fact I’m a complete ditz but when it comes to numbers. Fortunately my husband is amazing so he helps me. But he’s not good with the English language, written or spoken so I’m always available to bail him out with spelling and pronunciation issues. It’s the perfect yin and yang. We support each other’s shortcomings. Watching my parents as they grew older, I began to appreciate the value in having someone alongside to help shoulder the load. Now we’re in the same boat. What one can’t do, the other usually can. We muddle through. My friend Terry showed me how to use the timer on my oven; Gail’s our social convener; her husband Mike’s our go-to I.T. guy. I’m the source of new Britcoms on television. When we’re feeling discouraged or in need of a little moral support, who do we call? Our friends.

The challenges of aging aren’t what John Lennon and Paul McCartney had in mind when they penned “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends” but even then they understood the depth of meaning in the words to When I’m Sixty-Four. So far, he still needs me, still feeds me (twice a week when it’s his turn to cook), and still sends me Valentines. Mine for ever more. The reciprocal shortcomings of two people added together equals a whole in any equation. That’s not just science; it’s life. Maybe Jerry McGuire wasn’t so stupid after all.

To order a copy of my latest book BOOMER BEAT from Amazon, click here.

When I’m Sixty-Four

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine
If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four
You’ll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with you
I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds
Who could ask for more
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four
Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight, if it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck and Dave
Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four
Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
When I’m Sixty-Four lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
With a Little Help From My Friends
A little help from my friends
What would you think if I sang out of tune
Would you stand up and walk out on me
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key
I get by with a little help from my friends
I get high with a little help from my friends
Going to try with a little help from my friends
What do I do when my love is away
(Does it worry you to be alone)
How do I feel by the end of the day
(Are you sad because you’re on your own)
No I get by with a little help from my friends
Do you need anybody
I need somebody to love
Could it be anybody
I want somebody to love
Would you believe in a love at first sight
Yes I’m certain that it happens all the time
What do you see when you turn out the light
I can’t tell you, but I know it’s mine
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Do you need anybody
I just need somebody to love
Could it be anybody
I want somebody to love
I get by with a little help from my friends
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends
Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
With a Little Help From My Friends lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


Leave a comment

Reese Witherspoon’s Whiskey in a Tea Cup is delicious beyond words

Every so often we come across a book that is total escapism. When I read Hollywood actor Reese Witherspoon’s Whiskey in a Tea Cup I was released into a world of southern ladies preparing high-calorie comfort foods and relaxing on wide, breezy porches sipping mint juleps. The title is a metaphor for strong southern ladies in delicate, feminine packaging. Same idea as steel magnolias. This is one of those books that embraces you right from the get-go. It’s a combination of lifestyle, memoir, decorating, fashion, culture and down-home cooking in perfect harmony. And the photography is a visual feast.

Strong southern women, in fact strong women in general, are often the daughters and granddaughters of strong women. Following in the footsteps of their mothers and grandmothers, today’s women embrace and respect the traditions of earlier generations while painting their own lives with modern and progressive brush strokes. Witherspoon shares the history of her southern roots to create a beautiful and evocative mural of genteel living.

This southern belle is more than a pretty face.

This book is not a Hollywood memoir with a chronology of lovers, movies and name-dropping. It’s a sharing of lifestyle and personal experiences in the company of family and friends. We’re given a brief family history which builds to sharing of family recipes and traditions. Witherspoon appreciates and values her relationships with long-time girlfriends and they are part of the thread of her everyday life. Entertaining is the essence of southern hospitality and she shares menus, recipes, decorating and even suggests music playlists she’s created to enhance the southern experience.

Witherspoon has a busy life outside of her acting career. The mother of three has her own retail line, “Draper James”; she hosts a popular on-line book club and in 2016 established Hello Sunshine, a female-oriented media brand and content company dedicated to female authorship and storytelling across all platforms.

The book is “Martha-esque” in format but much more welcoming and casual. Many of the wonderful recipes include such low-tech ingredients as Cool Whip. I’ve tried a couple already and next on my list is her Summer Squash Casserole. All are exquisitely photographed.

Michael from Stratford, Ontario learned a thing or two about baby boomer women in BOOMER BEAT that surprised him.

I originally downloaded Whiskey in a Tea Cup from the library and loved the book so much I decided I should have my own copy for future reference so I purchased it from Amazon (where it was cheaper than the big box store). In fact, I also bought it for a couple of friends I knew would love it as much as I do. It’s a 9 out of 10 and would make a wonderful gift, not only for yourself, but as a Christmas, hostess or birthday gift. Enjoy, y’all.

Click here to order Whiskey in A Teacup by Reese Witherspoon from Amazon.

To order a copy of my latest book BOOMER BEAT from Amazon, click here.→


4 Comments

What’s up in men’s underwear?

Have you taken a close look at men’s underwear lately, other than what turns up in your weekly laundry? I had occasion to peruse the men’s lingerie section of a major department store the other day and I can’t tell you how much fun it was. The names the marketing people come up with to describe men’s skivvies are just too hilarious. They surely deserve a Nobel Prize for creative fiction. The brand names are all riffs on size, power and even calibre! Check these out:

  • Magnum
  • Big Eagle
  • Champion
  • Colt
  • Performance
  • Prodige
  • Hero
  • Urban Touch (seriously??)

What I didn’t see was:

  • Crop-duster
  • Skidmark
  • Babyface
  • Rust belt

I don’t think I’ve ever seen women’s underwear with similarly ambitious names. Our frillies are usually just called “Thong, Bikini, Hi-rise leg” or a similar fairly obvious description. Maybe there’s an opportunity here for creative marketers to jump on the bandwagon with new names for women’s underwear:

There could be a considerable difference between what’s advertised and what’s in the package.

  • Stud buster
  • Steel magnolia
  • You wish
  • Secret treasure
  • In your dreams

Men’s underwear names are ego-enhancing and denote power, which I am pretty sure is not always reflective of the contents or the wearer. But then, most women know men’s egos need constant stroking! Baby boomer women were raised to be good listeners. As soon as we started dating we were coached to ask our dates about themselves, and they were only too happy to oblige—for hours and hours and hours. We’ve already proven our staying power.

I know it’s always risky to generalize but when I read about dates-gone-bad in the agony columns in local newspapers, the challenges never change. Even enlightened millennials are forced to suffer through painful first dates with guys who are so self-absorbed it never occurs to them that we might have something of value to say as well. “All he did was talk about himself; his work, his car; his sports” is a common complaint from women in the dating market. And they wonder why they’re ghosted.

Some things never change, including what’s up in men’s underwear. Until attitudes change and women start insisting upon proof in advertising, we’ll just have to double check for inferior goods and not fall for false claims. If they aren’t willing and happy to meet us on equal ground and recognize that we’re also worthy of such labels as Heroine, Boss Lady or Conqueror, then just leave ’em on the shelf for some other less discriminating poor soul. Thank heavens we were born women and don’t have to suffer the stress of constantly stroking our ego, through our underwear.

Deb from Milton thinks it rocks!

To order a copy of my new book BOOMER BEAT from Amazon, click here.

 


Leave a comment

Spoiler alert: Punjabi widows are not always what they seem

If you enjoyed the movie *The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its sequel and you’re up for a bit of naughty, then you’ll love reading Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. When we start reading a new book we usually have an idea of what it’s about from reading a book review or getting a recommendation from a friend. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows was a title that kept popping up but I had no idea what it was about when I downloaded it and was wonderfully surprised that I loved it right from page one. Set in London, England, the story starts with second generation Indian sisters discussing a decision by the older sister Mindi to advertise for a husband—to facilitate her take on an arranged marriage. She can’t find a husband on her own and she wants to get on with her life. Her younger sister Nikki, a law school dropout who works as a bartender and lives in the flat above the pub where she works is appalled by her sister’s plan. As a practising member of various feminist groups and rejecting her family’s traditional ways, Nikki is still exploring her own way in life but it sure doesn’t involve an arranged marriage, particularly with a husband picked by her traditional Punjabi-born mother.

When Nikki reluctantly goes to the local temple to post her sister’s advertisement for a husband on the marriage bulletin board, she spots an ad for someone to teach writing classes and language workshops two evenings a week. With no experience and no other candidates applying for the position, Nikki is hired by a community services worker who has problems with English.  Neither of them is entirely sure what the job involves but the community worker who hired Nikki knew the widows in the community who frequent the temple were in need of education, entertainment and something to do to fill their time. Nikki thought she was going to be teaching a class in creative writing, not knowing that most of her students were illiterate and unable to read or write either Punjabi or English. The resulting syllabus the group concocts is hilarious.

Girlfriends enjoy sharing wicked secrets regardless of age or culture.

Nikki soon discovers that her students are frustrated, illiterate, smart women who want to relive their youth through sharing erotic, soft porn stories they either make up or have secretly experienced. Even modern Nikki is shocked by their output but goes along and arranges for the ladies to dictate their stories, all done covertly to avoid the community morals overseers. The popularity of the classes takes off and it becomes increasingly difficult to hide what they’re actually talking and writing about.

Underlying the salacious stories they produce at each class, we learn about the restrictions, culture and gossipy nature of their tight community. There’s a mysterious death or two, exposed family secrets and plenty of insights into the conflicts and tensions between traditional Indian immigrants and their British-born offspring. The stories are told with humour, sensitivity and first-hand insights. There are some delicious minor plots and character studies that kept me engrossed from start to finish. I loved this book and rate it 9 out of 10.

The inspiration for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and the book is way better.

To order Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal from Amazon, click here. (The Kindle edition is only $1.49 and the paperback is just $13.28.)

*The movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is based on the book These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach and I considered the book far better than the movie, which, of course, everyone loved. The characters in the book were more multi-dimensional, funnier and far more textural than what could be conveyed in a 90-minute movie. Do yourself a favour and also read These Foolish Things.
To order These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach from Amazon, click here.

To order my new book BOOMER BEAT from Amazon click here.

 


2 Comments

Mirror mirror on the wall . . . what the hell happened to us all?

My friend Margaret had already purchased the 10X magnifying mirror—before I could warn her about the consequences. As we progress along the aging continuum (how’s that for euphemizing ‘getting old’?) we often need help chasing down those errant eyebrow or chin hairs. Over time, we move from 5X to 7X and we’re now at the 10X stage which can be truly traumatizing when we go exploring.

If you want to restart your sluggish heart or enact your own version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream, then checking out your face in a magnifying mirror is guaranteed to get all your bells ringing. The reason our eyesight gets weak as we age is an earned kindness. We were never intended to see the resulting wrinkles, pitting and pigmentation we’ve acquired over the years. When we look in the (regular) mirror we hazily see pretty much the same face that stared back at us in our twenties, and that one was rather pretty. Why spoil the illusion by getting a magnifying mirror? In fact, they’re so distorting it’s impossible to cram your whole face into one full-size shot to apply makeup and we are forced to view our imperfections pixel by pixel. Downright horrifying.

Those pores and fine lines I keep working so assiduously on trying to wrangle with expensive lotions and creams appear like moon craters. Stray chin hairs look like birch trees in a field of dried grass. Tiny wrinkles become trenches. And, I’ve discovered, it’s not just men who get unsightly nose hairs. It’s best not to be confronted with the harshness of all that reality. I was much happier and prettier before burdening myself with a magnifying mirror. Facing the truth in the mirror can be very demoralizing.

Makeup mirrors should come with a warning label. At the very least, they should have a decal affixed, like on the side mirrors of cars: “Image may appear scarier than it really is.” It’s too late for me and my friend Margaret but I’m warning you. If you’re contemplating buying a 10X magnifying mirror—DON’T. Just slap on the spackle, paint those eyebrows somewhere in the middle of your forehead, add a slash of blusher and put on a great, big smile. It’ll remove years. Face it; you’re the best you’ll ever be; you’re still able to admire yourself so be thankful and celebrate it.

To order a copy of my latest book BOOMER BEAT from Amazon, click here.