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Who Are AC & CA?

Anne Catherine Roark (AC) and Catharine Anne Balster (CA), co-creators of the “Ladies’ Cyber Club,” are two women who enjoy aging but hate ageism.

two-women-dancing-one-in-yellow-dress-and-one-in-black-dress-with-tambourine-hiYou likely have seen them, “mature” women in their chic outfits, strolling along boulevards in Paris or avenues in New York. They are the wise and worldly relatives we all wish we had. Preternaturally powerful women who can charm an irascible boss with a faint smile, quiet an overbearing family member with an acerbic quip, commandeer a dinner party with a riveting tale.

1-ACandCA-001Now real-life—if somewhat less glamorous—versions of those grand dames are here to listen to your stories and sort out your predicaments. From time to time, we all find ourselves in awkward situations—unsure what to wear, what to read, what to say, or what to do with our lives. Tell us about it, but, please, don’t try to be clever about your predicament. (There’s too much of that going around already). Just describe the problem, and someone at the Ladies Cyber Club is sure to know what to do about it. If it turns out the problem is beyond us, we will direct you to someone who can help. 

You’ll meet the rest of the party as time goes on. For now, here’s a bit about the two women who invited you here.


Catharine Anne—CA as she signs her letters—is quite happily a wife, mother, sister, and friend. She is also a painter; pianist; philanthropist; gardener; chef; consumer of books, television, and food; and native Californian. Such dilettantish pursuits, however, were not always the order of her day.

Being utterly unflappable and ever so organized, immediately after college, she went to Washington, D.C. and plunged into the maelström of professional pursuits as a management consultant. She focused on programs for incorrigibles, the denizens of the juvenile and criminal justice system. Eventually, she hung up her high heels, and fashionable wardrobe, which only working gals can justify, returned to California to take on motherhood, raising three children just two years apart. (If you can figure out that one, you haven’t lost all your marbles!) But she didn’t forget all those poor troubled children. She founded an organization to raise money for parents to help them pay the exorbitant cost of therapy, medication, and special education that give emotionally troubled children a chance to become productive and law-abiding adults. Rest assured, Dear Readers, no matter how gnarly or embarrassing your family situation, CA has seen far worse.
What an insufferable bore this noble and accomplished person might have turned out to be, had it not been for the fate of birth order. CA is not, as you might suppose, a firstborn with all the natural superiority that attends the eldest child in a family, but the fourth of five. Constant humiliation and a steady grinding down by older siblings gave her great depths of fellow-feeling for others and a practical, down-to-earth approach to life, which readers should find both comforting and inspiring.
She fancies herself—nay is—the more sensible member of this journalistic duo.

Tea Mug

Anne Catherine—who uses the handle AC (and spells Catherine correctly)—is a Boomer wife and mother, amateur interior decorator, and sometime fashionista. She is an avid reader of newspapers, novels, poetry collections, medical journals, cookbooks, and porn. (That last bit is something of an exaggeration given that The Scarlet Letter is probably the most titillating book in her library.)

A journalist by profession, AC has been a senior staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and an assistant editor at the Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington, D.C. She left the newspaper business to write a sprawling (and still unfinished) novel set in White Woman City, Kansas, a fictional version of the small town where she grew up.

After her foray into fiction, she returned to journalism in the digital arena. She worked as a blogger for “med3q,” one of the earliest (but sadly, now-defunct) healthcare websites. Her job was to create and write two blogs (one for doctors, “Not on Call,” and one for patients, “The Good Patient: Getting Better”).  More recently, she has written for the “The New Old Age,” a blog in the New York Times.

Her latest venture has been to learn everything she can about the history of etiquette and the science and politics of aging. She has a penchant for simple questions with complicated answers. (Why do most people grow duller and dowdier as they age when they could become more engaged and engaging?)

Occasionally indulging in grandiose reveries, she envisions the Ladies Cyber Club as a staging site for anti-ageist activism. As you may recall, the last time the Sixties’ Generation went to the streets to protest inequality and bigotry, the country’s attitudes toward women and minorities were upended. Surely, AC reasons, grown-up Baby Boomers could break away from their Botox boosters long enough to push America to rethink its attitudes about aging.

3 Comments on Who Are AC & CA?

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