Welcome to the Gen Plus Blog

It's a backstage pass to info on jobs and life at 50+. Gen Plus, headed by Janet Wendy Spiegel, is dedicated to baby boomers and the plus generation of age 50 and older. Read up and speak out on issues affecting your future: jobs, income, life and respect.

About Me

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Northridge, California, United States
Successful businesswoman, consultant, entrepreneur. I operate two businesses -- social media consulting, AND premium pet care services in the West San Fernando Valley. Love what I do, love life.

Gen Plus has relocated to www.GenPlusUSA.com

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm an American-Canadian

It was an honor and a privilege to become an American citizen at the age of 45, in Los Angeles. I lived my first 36 Canadian years, in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. In my duality, I cherish the inherent sense of social responsibility that forms a fundamental part of the core of any Canadian, and do my best to spread that moral responsibility to others. My sister, a Canadian now living in Vancouver, British Columbia, sent this to me, today. A bit late, but an MSNBC report I hadn't seen on Canadian solidarity that was aired on Veteran's Day.

The people gathering on the bridges are not saluting their country in exactly the same way Americans do...they are saluting the individual soldiers, one by one, who lost their lives in Afghanistan and supporting, through their numbers, the remaining mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children.

Monday, November 24, 2008

BBC 95 is here!

I am the proud host of the Blogging Boomers Carnival this week. We are only 5 weeks away from our 100th posting of the weekly carnival and I'm wondering if that means we'll be going into syndication?? Hmmmm....

Without further ado (or posturing...hehe) here is this week's lineup:

From Wes, at Life Two, it’s Divorce Math, where no matter what the story problem, the answer always come out to one. That said, here’s a list of some of the ways to make sure one is not the loneliest number.

Ron at I Remember JFK reflects on Orson Bean: "Orson Bean was born Dallas Frederick Burrows on July 22, 1928 in Burlington, Vermont. He had a cousin you may have heard of, Calvin Coolidge. But speaking from my own perspective, he is renowned for his quick comedic style and demonstrated on various episodes of the Johnny Carson Show which I viewed as a child."

Rhea asks: "I like newspapers. Does that make me old?" Read more at The Boomer Chronicles.

From Laura Lee, Queen of The Midlife Crisis Queen: How do you keep hope alive that the partner of your dreams might be just around the corner? Music is a great solution! "Without music, life would be a mistake!" -Nietzsche

Cindy at Don't Gel Too Soon tells us that scary economic times can really - uh - scare a person.

Staying with the theme of economics, Andrea at The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur notes that Baby Boomers are closer to retirement than younger entrepreneurs. As a result, we should be planning our business exit strategy now. Here's what you need to consider in your succession plan in this two-part post Succession Planning: Do You Have An Exit Strategy For Your Business?

But what if you still need to find a job? With the U.S. jobless rate hitting 6.5% in October, and many economists thinking it could reach 8% by late 2009, many boomers are or will be looking for a mid-life career change. That is why John at SoBabyBoomer.com is offering a number of online career transition resources for the involuntary retired.

But if you are able to ignore economic woes, you might be looking for a way out of the winter weather. Heading south and wondering what to pack? Check out Fabulous after 40 for some up to date travel wardrobe tips to make you look Boomer Beautiful!

Here's one to get you thinking! Ann asks: "What do snowflakes, the lemon wedges you get in bar-bought drinks and flight attendants have in common?" Head over to Contemporary Retirement to find out.

As for me, I'd like to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving celebration if you are a US reader. And to those of you in other countries, I'll be making a virtual place for you at my table!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What a Turkey!

Just when I breathed a sigh of relief that Sarah Palin had temporarily fallen off the media radar, I have been able to lose my appetite, once again, with her Turkey pardon interview. Good gosh. Sarah. Stop giving interviews. If you haven't seen it or heard about it yet, Palin pardons a turkey while a turkey slaughterer stands in the background grinning at the cameras while doing his job...slaughtering turkeys. Crikeys. Don't know how I'm going to eat my Thanksgiving dinner this year. Well, at least I can give thanks she didn't get into office.

It's disturbing to watch any animal get slaughtered, so if you have a weak stomach, don't watch the video (and DEFINITELY not for kids younger than about 17 or 18), but if you can handle it, the woman is more than just gaffe-prone...she's utterly clueless.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Blogging Boomers Carnival #94

It's that time...the Blogging Boomers Carnival is hosted this week at the "home" of one of our BBC founders...Wes Hein at Life Two! Head on over and see what Boomer bloggers have to say.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Soft music of the 50's, and 60's LIVE Stream at BroadwayandVocals.com

Ken Noble, of Baton Rouge, LA sent a message the other day regarding their newly formed online radio broadcast. I checked it out and even though it isn't the music of MY generation, I found it wonderfully soothing in the midst of the wildfire destruction in Los Angeles. Hope it lifts your spirits.

"Soft music of the 50's, and 60's LIVE Stream at BroadwayandVocals.com

The popular standards format that ran for seven months on KDDK-FM in Baton Rouge, Louisiana was recently replaced with youth oriented programming. However, a live stream of that standards show can now be heard at www.BroadwayandVocals.com .

In addition to our core artists like Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Patsy Cline, Tony Bennett, Glen Campbell, Vikki Carr, Nat King Cole, Julie Andrews, Bobby Darin, Everly Brothers, and Elvis Presley, many of the significant instrumentals of the last 50 years are included in our playlist of 2,106 recordings by 660 different artists.

Fifty-one (51) Frank Sinatra recordings are in our playlist. During the first seven days of November we have had listeners from U.S.A., Great Britain, Canada, Philippines, Australia, Mexico, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Venezuela, Malaysia, Ireland, Croatia, Japan, Denmark, Belgium, Argentina, and Sweden. When you go to www.BroadwayandVocals.com , the music stream should start immediately."

Fires in Los Angeles

What a disaster in LA. Less than 10 miles from my home a huge part of the San Fernando Valley is experiencing an inferno. The sky is filled with ash, friends of mine are being forced to evacuate and hundreds of families are being displaced as their homes burn. My thoughts and prayers are with all of them.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

BBC 93

Geez -- the Blogging Boomers Carnival is almost at 100 weekly posts! Amazing that this group would not only stick together, but find it interesting, exciting AND that we'd continue to attract new talent to our group (with a wait list!)

This week's host is a woman who is a changer in her own right. Cindy Samuels has refined the art of e-news conferences and e-media roundtables like no one else I've met in the industry. Just to give you an idea of what this unusual and creative venue is, image a press conference...but via an internet roundtable. Cindy typically invites bloggers only, as she is very attuned to the types of questions we're bound to ask, the honesty we expect from the interviewee, and the immediacy of the response to our blog posts on the interviews. It is a very powerful press conference, but relies heavily on the moderator (in this case Cindy) to keep tight virtual control while ensuring the best of the interviewee is highlighted. I've been invited to a few of her e-conferences that are Boomer related and they are always uniquely interesting.

So, head on over to Don't Gel Too Soon for this week's BBC roundtable! And take a few minutes to read some of Cindy's past blogs if you never have before. Very insightful and heartfelt.

Butter. Real Butter.

As the economic disaster continue to unfold, I find myself turning to comfort foods. I had always loved a good baked potato with sour cream, but in my late 20's I became allergic to white potato starch and also VERY lactose intolerant.

As the years have progressed, my lactose intolerance has become less severe, so I can handle yogurt, butter and harder cheeses in reasonable quantities (and even a bit of ice cream), but not milk. But I never quite found a way to really substitute the glorious satisfaction of a bite of baked potato with sour cream...until now.
But first, I have to take you with me to last summer. When I was still a corporate exec, my company flew me to London, England to train the English (and some of the European) education team. While there I had the privilege of staying in a beautiful apartment in a small countryside town, just minutes walk from the local village shops. Fresh and Easy is a new concept of grocery store in the US, but it is the Trader Joe's of England. There I was able to pick up outstanding frozen Indian dinners, real farm fresh eggs and best of all... Irish butter. I thought I was just buying butter, as I'd gotten used to it in the US. But with my first piece of toast, with just a bit of butter, I was TRANSPORTED back to the breakfasts of my youth. It was the butter I remembered. Of course, everything I could get butter on after that was literally slathered. And so went my butter experience in England.

Last week, in the doldrums over the economy, but feeling a heck of a lot more optimistic over the outcome of the election, I decided to treat myself when I saw IRISH butter in the dairy section at Trader Joe's. Twice the price of US butter, but I thought...what the heck. I had the $3.69 in cash, so I went for it.

And when I got home, I baked up a sweet potato (not allergic to those) and slathered on the Irish butter and ladled on some 2% Greek style yogurt (ALMOST as good as sour cream) and found myself in a little bit of heaven. After a 20 year absence, I was able to capture, if not exactly, then almost, the glory of a baked potato with real butter and sour cream. Ah...blessed comfort!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

That one is The One.

America has spoken. Barack Obama, President -elect has broken racial barriers, voter turnout records, and shown the world that he, and his spectacular team, is capable of re-energerizing the nation. Tears in my eyes, my mother's eyes, and my daughter's eyes, as along with millions of Americans and countless viewers around the world, we witnessed history being made.

Congratulations Barack Obama. Looking forward to getting to know you.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

And if you need a break after voting...BBC 92!

This week's Blogging Boomers Carnival is hosted by the Glam Girls at the always fabulous Fabulous After 40. Check it out when you need to take a break from election coverage!

Today is the Election. Go Vote.

I spent a few hours yesterday at the Obama/Biden campaign offices for the San Fernando Valley, volunteering my time and my cell phone minutes to join hundreds of other people in calling eligible voters to remind them to get out and vote. Never thought I'd take part in a political campaign in any way, and yet, there I was, going through training and making calls with other interested valley dwellers! Surprisingly, it was a lot of fun and whether those I reached were voting for McCain or Obama, they were mostly planning on exercising their right and getting out to vote.

So...forget the polls. Forget the pundits. Forget the past two years (if you can). Today is the day that counts. Exercise your right to vote and do so today. Will there be long lines? Possibly. Might you have to wait a bit? Possibly. I don't know about you, but I've waited in line for a popular movie, to get into an exclusive club, and to buy concert tickets. Today is a bit more important.

Projected numbers don't mean anything. What matters today is that your vote, the vote that belongs to you, gets cast and is counted. So, go on. Get out and vote.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

BBC 91

My apologies to the wonderful Ann Harrison at Contemporary Retirement, this week's host of our Blogging Boomers Carnival. In my malaise, this week, I also forgot to post her Carnival blog! Please head on over and enjoy this past week's Boomer Blogger views of the world!

Which is scarier? Halloween or Nov. 4th?

What an odd Halloween this year. I've been planning on posting several times this week, but my heart was just not into blogging and I couldn't really figure out why. Well, now that Halloween has come and gone, I think I've got it. I'm a bit depressed. Just like the rest of you. No matter the outcome of the election on Tuesday (and I'm very pro-Barack, if you didn't know), we are in a mess in this country. All talk is swinging to the fears that college grads won't find work and my heart is, as always, all consumed with all the Boomers and 50 Plussers who, with the greatest of spirit and skills, will not be able to get a foot in any employers door.

This year, Halloween was odd. Very quiet on the streets, very subdued decorations. Pumpkins went moldy at the sellers because people didn't have the spirit to carve this year. Very few kids on the streets and lots of homes very dark. On the bright side, it seemed that many people pulled others into their homes with parties. (A psychological circling of the wagons?)

And parents meeting other parents on the street talked politics, the insanely high electric and water bill we all got in our 'hood, and the slowing of business all over. Not really about our kids, or holiday plans, or our own plans for the future.

On to Nov. 4th. A pivotal election. Obama is not the seasoned politician that McCain is, but Obama stirs hope AND can surround himself with an incredible pool of talent. After all I've seen, I'm convinced that he'll make solid decisions. I'm not worried about his support of Israel for one major reason. He is going to go full steam ahead on alternative energy sources. And who is the leading country able to turn desert into arable land? Who harvests water from the saltiest of seas? Who has had to rely on invention and the use of alternative energy sources and leads the exploration in that area? Israel. Nuff said there.

I have great respect for McCain, but I think he is better as a contrarian than the leader of the country. I could never trust his "on-the-fly" decision-making in light of his selection of Sarah Palin (and I was on the fence for awhile about McCain vs. Obama having been a true Hillary supporter). But our country needs his 'tude and I hope that if Obama wins he'll hold a pivotal role in that administration.

But the other thing that really got me this week, and that I've not quite been able to put into words, was my daughter's reaction to Obama's politi-mercial earlier this week. My 8-year old has been very interested in this election because my mother and I are tireless in our channel flipping between CNN, MSNBC and FOX to see as many perspectives as possible. And my child has been subjected to this for a very long time. She watched the CNN interview with John McCain with us and then the Obama infomercial.

She didn't understand all of the words, but she had a strong visceral reaction to both. The Obama infomercial was very well done. Slick, manipulative (ummm...not quite the right word...more like orchestrated and on point), and a very strong musical soundtrack. The music combined with Obama's review of his mom's situation struggling with cancer is what got to my child. She was sitting on the sofa, with our dog, Daisy, and started to cry. She asked me if I thought Daisy missed her mother. So the infomercial worked on an 8 year old.

After the two candidates were done, I asked her what she thought about each candidate. Her answer to me was based on two simple things -- the warmth of their eyes and their perceived caring for people. Of McCain she thought his eyes looked angry (he's a fighter, so that would be accurate) and that made her think he might not care as much for the people. Of Obama, she thought his eyes were warm and based on the infomercial, that he really cared for people and loved his mother.

So the polarization between the two camps isn't lost, even on an 8-year old. McCain is a fighter. And his style is to push past our borders and keep the strength of the US boldly fighting abroad. Obama is looking at the internal hurt in our country and believes we need to fix some problems at home, fast and furious, before we compromise our position as world leaders.

I take counsel from my child. I'm not against McCain. I'm just for Obama.