Aging gracefully

We’ve all heard it a thousand times – the boomers are the biggest market around.  Our needs are changing the world.  Our aging needs are impacting the retail market, changing the American dream from a suburban two-story with a garage and a white picket fence to a down-sized condo with easy access to shopping and services. Boomers are taking over the cruise industry, and travel industry.  And, even more impactful, our needs are breaking our health care system.

But is this the reality?  Do Boomers really rule?  I beg to differ.  For example, today I thought I would like to listen to some comedians talking about real life as a Boomer – or a senior (I hate that term – it’s a label forced on us when we blow out our 60th birthday candles, no matter how vibrant, health, and productive we are).  I digress.  I wanted to listen to some comedy written by people in my age group for people in my age group – comedy that doesn’t insult our abilities and value to society; comedy that sees the funny side of aging.   But my search was in vain.  The only podcasts I could find through a Google search and Apple podcast search found most are still meant for the youth, even though we boomers have time to listen – and purchase if necessary – these products.  I found health-related podcasts that focused entirely on how to adapt to my supposedly deteriorating body.  Advice on nutrition, exercise, medical treatments and more abounds, but nothing that really talks about how to find fun and fulfillment as we age.

I know podcasts are just a trivial part of life – but I think my search is indicative of how society’s inherent ageism. We still don’t show true respect and value in “seniors”.  I am beginning to experience this myself, but have seen it full force as I watch my parents age.

I rant again – we worship the wrong people in society. Our heroes should be those who get up every day and smile, despite knowing that arthritis has turned their body into a mess of pain – and they now move like they are permanently a part of a Tim Conway old man sketch.  They still want to be independent, still want to take care of themselves, and still want to be seen as valuable to society.

I’m waiting for a batch of  older comedians to catch on to the market – to put out some quality podcasts that entertains us in a respectful, age appropriate way.  I know they are moving into retirement, but what a great part-time job …  Any comedians out there????


Curling Rocks…

Did you know?

In honour of the #RoaroftheRings Olympic Trials taking place in Ottawa this week, here’s some curling trivia:

  1. Canadians started curling as early as the mid 1700’s.  According to Library and Archives Canada, curling came from Scotland and was played informally long before 1800.  Legend has it that the 768th Fraser Highland regiment melted cannonballs to make curling stones.  Records show curling taking place in Québec City in 1759 – 1760.  Who knew!!!
  2. Over the next 100 years or so, curling games were recorded in Montreal, Quebec City, and a smattering of places across the Atlantic region.
  3. In 1807 a group of Montreal merchants banded together and formed Canada’s first curling club.


Who knew!!!  And that’s today’s smattering of useless information:)

curling 2013.jpg

Who’s Getting Funded? – take 2

Even though I have been officially out of the adult literacy field for a few years, I still feel the frustration resulting from the avalanche of funding cuts in the past few years.  Thanks to Bridgette Hays for the following info:

[Something went wrong when I tried to post this] I recently was looking at the underspending by the federal government on literacy projects. This had me wondering what exactly was being funded. You…

Source: Who’s Getting Funded? – take 2

Persoid meteor showers from the comet swift tuttle

True love isn’t all romantic and full of showy gestures.  True love is the little things couples do for each other as they age.   It is the silent helping hand, non-judgmentally helping your partner step up for the chair when she is too stiff to do so.  The quiet act of cleaning the toilet after she has missed the rim late at night,  the partner who secretly takes the coffee cup our of the microwave when he has forgotten it for the hundredth time, or the taking the shampoo bottle out of the fridge when she accidentally stashed it when she was putting away the groceries, her mind too overwhelmed with combatting pain to get all the little details just right.  I picture my mom and dad as having this type of love, perfectly dealing with each other’s aging frustrations and imperfections.  No, they are not perfect.  Sometime they drive each other crazy.  They get mad, get frustrated, dislike what each other is doing , just like everybody else.

But I like to think of them as the kind of senior who tonight, this clear summer night when the meteor showers are at their best, and when one of them wakes up for the fist of many clomping trips to the bathroom, would gently help,each the into the backyard and simply look up,  look up until they spotted a falling star or two.  Then, slowly, carefully they would go back into the house and hobble off to bed, trying to fall back to sleep, t dream of what was, until once again, one of them stirs and carefully and painfully crawls out of bed, dragging arthritic limbs awake, and off to start another day.

Now that is real love at work.

The Icy Floe

Another gem from Dad



THE ICY FLOE                 June 2008


There are stories told by those who knowimage0000013A

Of Northern Tribes from long ago,

When life of use was finally o’er

Were taken to the Oceans Shore

And on a floating Ice Floe cast

To dream of glory days now past,

Then set upon the Raging Sea

To end their life in Harmony.

At times I feel that I’m the One

Whose time of use is surely done,

Now ‘tis time for me to go

Embark upon that Icy Floe,

And spend my time upon the Sea

To meet my Final Destiny.

The Man in the Mirror

My dad wrote this poem on his 71st birthday. I think he captured aging perfectly!!!


Man in The Mirror Sept.07/97 Reflections on my 71 Birthday

Who is that man in the mirror?

With lank grey hair and vacant stare

Who can he be? Surely not me?

With hairy ears and eyes full of tears,

He stares back at me, who can he be?

Surely not me! For only recently

I sat upon my Mothers knee

And only yesterday I skipped to school

To learn the rules of Calculus and Chemistry,

Then a short time hence

I became a soldier for Defence

Of Country King and Liberty.

For only yesterday again,

I took a wife, a lover for life

Then together raised a family.

I was a Farmer, a grower of Grain,

In the Sun and the Rain.

Though this is still a part of me

I must open wide my eyes and see,

That those happy years have fled,

And in the mirror by my bed

He stands; with shoulders stooped

And belly drooped,

Grandfather, Great Grandfather.

Then I know, with feelings of woe


Do I have a tribe?

I’m sittingIMG_5135ng on my deck, sipping at a cup of tea, looking at the mountain view to the west, and listening to – of course – CBC Radio. Today’s interview with Sebastian Junger explaining his new book “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging” gave me a couple of ah-ha moments.  Sebastian writes about the experience of soldiers, first aid workers, emergency workers, and others when they arrive home after a traumatic experience. He suggests the sense of belonging arises from being a part of a team or sharing a common experience and ultimately results in a sense of tribalism within that group.   He posits that once we leave these situations, we lose our sense of self and aren’t sure of how to behave. He shared a story of a soldier who came home after a very intense posting overseas. He was with his wife in the grocery store, surrounded by a plethora of choices. If I recall the story correctly, the soldier was so overwhelmed he couldn’t even pick out his cereal. He didn’t know how to make that choice.  I know I haven’t captured the full meaning of that conversation, but it made sense to me. I will need to listen to it again to fully “get it”. Perhaps I will even read his book!

The interview continued to discuss people’s experiences from events such as World War II, the Springhill Mine Disaster, and more.  My first “Ah-ha”moment – that’s why I remember so many of the seniors talking so gleefully about their World War II experiences.  These were young adults, sent off to “save the world” – and fight for their country. Yet when that fight is over, what is next?  Where do they belong?  How do they fit in and find their new place?

Fortunately I have not been through any such traumatic and life-changing experiences.  But his ideas did resonate.  Do we form our own tribe at work?  Is that sense of belonging developed from being with colleagues, employers, and others involved in our massive world of work, suddenly disappear when we retire?  I’d say yes.  I miss the sense of being part of that work tribe. Perhaps  I, and others like me, stay in somewhat unhealthy work relationships longer than we should – because we see no alternative tribe to join.  Carrying that deeper – I come from a big family – a tribe of 8 children and a large extended family.  Although I cherish my alone time, I still have always felt a need to belong to some group. I do better overall when I have a group activity or event to go to, even if I need my quiet time and space while with the group.

I think this interview gave me some better insights as to  why I feel such a need to join an adventure, belong to a club, and seek out a new tribe.  All part of the journey, isn’t it!img_0405.jpg

Mary Lee Voort: 29 Years Of “Moonlighting”

Thanks for the great article. I totally agree – Mary Lee has nailed it!

Mark Boogieman

Photo courtesy of Ralph Arnold Photographics

I’ve known Mary Lee Voort for many years primarily because of her role as a rehearsal pianist in the city. Most theatre productions I’ve ever done with Ken Rogers & Fran Rude have included Mary Lee. She’s truly as good as they come and anyone who knows Mary Lee will also agree with me that she’s about the nicest person you’ll ever meet. Aside from being an accomplished musician and an all-around lovely human being Mary Lee was also a dedicated runner. On March 19th Mary Lee will be taking part in her 29th consecutive Moonlight Run. Yes, she’s done every one since its inception. While she doesn’t actually run these days, she’s still a dedicated walker. In between her commitment to the Lethbridge Symphony and her Kiwanis Music Festival students she found some time to answer a few questions about the sport…

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