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From Me To You...
They say that “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”, and we can certainly hope so. This winter has been wet and cold, and I for one am ready for some sweet, warm, lamb-like weather before we rush into the blast furnace that is summer in the desert.
It was March 2004 when we first came to Arizona to look for a house. We left the chill of a New York spring and landed in 82 degree sunshine. At the time we could not imagine it getting any hotter. We kept asking people, “How hot does it get here in the summer? Is it much warmer than this? How will we survive?” I suppose it is all relative. Now, the thought of 82 degrees makes me feel warm and cozy, I would discard my sweater for sure, but would probably not switch to shorts quite yet.
Growing up in the frigid North of England I remember a heat wave in the summer of 1976 when the thermometer made it all the way to 86 degrees! We did not have air conditioning, or even ice cubes for our drinks, but what we did have was thick stone walls and heavy curtains
to keep out the heat. I also had no responsibilities and nowhere to be, so that was a glorious summer for me.
Adapting to the severity of Arizona summers has to be the hardest part of living here. As I drove our car west that first summer, I watched the thermometer climbing and climbing, hardly able to believe it could get so hot. Now I think nothing of going for a walk, or joining a pickleball game on a summer evening when it is 104 degrees or more.
It is amazing how adaptable we are when we have to be. As someone famous once said, “God never gives us more then we can handle”and so far that seems to be true. I will enjoy as many balmy days as I can get before it heats up; and even when summer hits I can relax, knowing that no matter how hot it gets I have access to as many ice cubes as I want.Catherine Uretsky Editor, Viva
On Our Cover
The first meetings of The Women’s Giving Circle of PebbleCreek (TWGC) were held in 2020 with thoughtful consideration given to social distancing. Covid gave the club’s founders a sense that unprecedented needs were placing a strain on existing social safety nets; the club was born of the idea that members could offer something new to the PebbleCreek community a way to offer support productively and sustainably to non-profits in the West Valley.
Since that time, the club’s efforts have generated gifts of money and product valued at over $20,000 in support of local efforts to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, benefit local crime victims through the Southwest Family Advocacy Center (SWFAC) and alleviate period poverty by hosting the popular Annual Packing Party with home sewn bags on behalf of Go With The Flow (GWTF).
This year, a new effort, Date with a Plate, was inaugurated to benefit the Agua Fria Food Bank. The event raised an additional $5,800 that was donated directly to the organization. Agua Fria Food Bank is a well-known southwest valley agency that serves roughly 50,000 residents each year with emergency food; many PebbleCreek residents are regular volunteers.
Club President, Willa Kravitz, was introduced to the Date with a Plate concept through her professional non-profit career and was excited to introduce it to our community. The event is based on sharing table settings – the sort of thoughtful table settings that you might imagine creating for a treasured family member’s milestone birthday or to honor a significant achievement. Guests at the sold-out event sipped champagne and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres while touring the exhibitor’s tables and hearing the stories that inspired each display. Offerings ranged from designs honoring family members recently lost to
cancer, Zen Garden inspiration, Elvis Presley and even the Dollar Store. In addition to the table settings, a silent auction was held based on items donated by PebbleCreek artists – it was exciting to see the work of our talented community offered in support of such a critical – and undoubtedly growing – need. As interest exceeded capacity, the club is planning to host Date with a Plate again in January 2024.
As the rapidly growing West Valley continues to emerge from the covid pandemic, there will be an ongoing need to support local non-profit efforts. For more information on The Women’s Giving Circle or to join the club, plan to attend the Spring Semi-Annual Meeting in the Chianti Room on April 17th at 4:30pm or reach out to the club at email@example.com.
Blessed AND Depressed
Many people feel so blessed in their lives yet they also feel depressed and they don’t know why. Some feel guilty about it, others are confused. Guess what? Gratitude and depression are NOT mutually exclusive. Here’s why:
1. Just like our parents can pass on their eye color or their predisposition for diabetes, they can pass on depression and other mental health conditions. Your life may be great, but you still have to contend with genetics that aren’t within your control.
2. Just because there are many good things in your life doesn’t mean there aren’t also bad things, too. Maybe you live well, but you’re lonely. Maybe you have a happy marriage and healthy kids, but you also have an incurable illness. Maybe you have a good life and support system, but you just lost your spouse of many years.
3. Even though you are very blessed now, it doesn’t mean that you haven’t had a rough childhood or life before now that’s left an
indelible impact on your mental health.
4. We face a very real enemy. Satan’s job is to keep us away from God. He tries to make us doubt God and the plan He has for us, including putting thoughts in our heads that are dark or depressive.
5. Human nature is to focus on the negative. The brain processes negative emotions more thoroughly than positive ones. For every negative comment we hear, it takes at least five positive comments to counteract it.
6. Things aren’t always as they seem. Just because someone has a good life on the outside doesn’t mean that things are good behind closed doors. Maybe they secretly live with an addict, maybe they’re being abused, maybe they’re in so much debt they can’t see straight. The cover of the book may be beautiful, but the content really sucks.Submitted by Jennifer Bellingrodt, Psy.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist.
With so many places to see, both close to home and abroad, it can be hard to choose. To help, here is a short list of the best travel destinations for next year.
Leap across the pond to explore the many historical landmarks of London, United Kingdom. In 2023, tourists will have the chance to experience the London Games Festival in April or Trooping of the Color in June. History buffs can take a guided tour of Westminster Abbey, experience the modern landmark at the London Eye or explore the many sprawling and luxurious rooms of the famous Buckingham Palace. After a busy day exploring, settle down at one of London’s famous high-tea cafes, or cozy up at a famous local pub. As a popular year-round travel hub, there are ample lodging options when exploring London to meet every budget and taste, making it the perfect fit for those looking for a luxurious getaway or for those looking to vacation affordably with the whole family.
Spend a cozy weekend nestled in the Rocky Mountains of Bozeman, Montana. Celebrated for
its picturesque scenery and rich history inspiring a new hit TV show, Bozeman will undoubtedly be another hotspot for travel in 2023. While it is known as a “home base” destination for those planning to take in the sights of Yellowstone National Park, the city itself also has so much to offer. Whether it is taking in the views on a nearby hike, experiencing one of the city’s bars or restaurants, or heading to Yellowstone for a guided tour of the Old Faithful Geyser, Bozeman offers a range of activities, ensuring there’s something for every traveler.
Immerse yourself in new cuisine, culture and experiences in Tokyo, Japan. In October 2022, Japan reopened its borders to independent international travelers, making this an exciting hotspot for 2023 tourism. Tokyo, the bustling capital of Japan, is known for its remarkable skyscrapers and breathtaking public gardens, all while offering luxury, modern and boutique hotel options for every type of traveler. Visitors can take in the famous Mount Fuji from hotel rooftops or check out the Sumida River that ripples through several Tokyo neighborhoods. Additionally, exciting nightlife buzzes in Shinjuku, Roppongi and Shibuya.
Exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle at every age, but it is particularly important for seniors. Why? Sharlyn Green, a national trainer with SilverSneakers, says it goes beyond physical wellness. “Regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, boost your memory and decrease the risk for some diseases such as Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” she said. The problem is, a gym can be intimidating! To help everyone feel comfortable and confident Green recommends these steps:
Step 1: Get a tour
Have someone who works for the gym show you where everything is. Don’t expect to understand immediately what it all does or how to use it. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask questions during or after your tour. Employees at a good gym will be happy to help you.
Step 2: Request a training program
People new to gyms typically get the best results from a personalized program created by a trainer. Print out the program for reference and
to record what you do - which machines, how much weight, how many times you lift.
Step 3: Know your exercises
Work with a trainer who can guide you on proper techniques so you get the most out of your workouts and prevent accidents. Understanding the equipment and gym etiquette is important for your safety and others’.
Step 4: Learn how to adjust machines
You may need to adjust certain machines every time you use them. When in doubt, ask. It’s better to pause and use a machine correctly than go forward and risk hurting yourself or others. A trainer or gym employee can help you, so don’t be shy.
Step 5: Know how much weight or resistance to use
A good trainer will guide you in finding the appropriate weight or resistance for each exercise and share that information in your program. Use this as a foundation and adjust as needed, keeping in mind that as you progress, you’ll likely make changes to continue your health journey. Again, if something isn’t clear, ask!
NON-STRESS PAY ON DEATH DESIGNATIONS
To avoid probate, beneficiary designations work well for accounts and real estate, if you are leaving assets to a few people or charities.
Without a beneficiary designation or trust, you can avoid probate only if the assets do not exceed $100,000 of real property, $75,000 in personal property (cash, accounts and tangible personal property), or you do not expect more than $5,000 in wages in the year after your death.
For accounts, there several terms used: pay on death pay on death (or “POD”) or transfer on death (or “TOD”). For IRAs and 401ks, the terms “designated beneficiary” is used.
Financial institutions do not use the terms POD and TOD interchangeably. If you use one of the terms and are told that the bank does not have that type of designation, then ask for the other type of designation, or even ask whether any beneficiary designation is available.
Remember never to list a minor on a designation for POD, TOD or IRA type account. A minor cannot receive more than $10,000 in a year without a court conservatorship; which is more costly than a probate and distributes the funds when the child reaches 18. In such cases, a revocable trust and Will are more effective and less expensive.
Sharon Ravenscroft, Esq., The Cavanagh Law Firm, PA, Sun City and Phoenix offices, (623) 815-7451 or Sravenscroft@CavanaghLaw. com. Sharon’s practice focuses on Wills, trusts, probate and trust administration. For more information www.sharonravenscroft.com
The Doctor Is In
For those seeking a mental healthcare provider, finding the right one can feel much like dating - overwhelming to find someone who shares the same values, meets your needs, and with whom you feel a connection. However, finding an attentive, caring and knowledgeable therapist can pay dividends on your mental well-being.
1. Understand your needs first
First, determine whether you need a psychiatrist or therapist. Psychiatrists are doctors who can diagnose psychiatric conditions and prescribe medication, while therapists are licensed providers who can assess and support emotional or behavioral health concerns through talk therapy. Once you know the type of professional you’re looking for, do some digging into what a potential provider offers. Does their experience and specialty areas meet your needs? Do
they offer night and weekend appointments?
2. Location doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker
Many health plans and employers have expanded benefits to cover virtual mental healthcare services. Building an ongoing relationship with a virtual therapist or psychiatrist is just as meaningful as it would be with an inperson provider.
3. Dig deep on the first date
Some questions that may help gauge your compatibility include: What is your training and background? Do you have experience with the issues I am facing? How can we work together to achieve my goals? What does a typical session look like?
4. Recognize when it’s time to move on
If you find that sessions aren’t making you feel better generally, you’re not making progress with the goals you established together, or you feel they are not making adequate space for you, it might be time to find a different provider. No one should be forced to settle in a relationship, romantic or otherwise.
Stuffed Peppers - Serves 4-6
1 pound lean ground turkey
1/4 pound lean ground deli ham
1 cup of white or brown rice, cooked
6 large bell peppers (any color)
3/4 cup of onion, diced
3 teaspoons of garlic, minced
1 cup of cooked white rice
1 teaspoon of salt
14 ounces canned diced tomatoes
4 ounces of tomato sauce, divided
1/4 cup of golden raisins
1/4 cup of toasted slivered almonds
1 teaspoon of salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon of dried leaf oregano
Chopped cilantro for garnish
* Preheat oven to 350 degrees
* Bring a large pot of water to a boil
* Cut the tops off your peppers and set aside.
Carefully pull out the seeds and membranes, creating a cavity inside
* Dip the peppers into the boiling water, letting them cook for just 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, and drain on a paper towel
* Meanwhile, saute the onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons of oilil in a skillet for 5 to 7 minutes until translucent
* Toss in the cooked rice, half of the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, raisins, toasted almonds, seasonings, salt and pepper
* Stir to combine and cook until just heated through
* Lubricate a casserole dish by using a paper towel and a tablespoon of oil to prevent sticking
* Place the peppers in the casserole dish and spoon the meat and vegetable mixture into each of the prepared peppers
* Top each pepper with about a tablespoon of the tomato sauce
* Sprinkle with a little oregano and chopped cilantro, and cover the dish with foil
* Bake for 10 minutes, remove foil and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes
* Carefully remove from oven, let cool and enjoy!
Every year the month of March is recognized as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. It’s your annual reminder that screenings that can detect polyps or early cancers in the colon can be life-saving. Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers in the Unites States, and the third-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. During the pandemic, many put off their annual screenings, and now is a great time to get back on track.
Nearly all colorectal cancers start with a polyp, which is small area of unchecked growths on the inner lining of the colon. Polyps and colon cancers rarely create symptoms such as pain or bleeding. Early detection and treatment, even before symptoms appear, results in improved survival rates.
“The colon is the lowest part of the intestine, also called the large intestine. Its inside lining where growths called polyps can appear, and some polyps can grow into colon cancer. Through colonoscopy, doctors can inspect the
inside lining of the colon and remove polyps which helps prevent cancers from forming,” explained Dr. Sushil Pandey, a colorectal Surgeon on the medical staff at Abrazo West.
It’s important to find cancers early or find them as polyps and have them removed. The incidence of colon cancer is increasing among younger people, and the recommendation is that screenings begin at age 45.
“The risk of developing colon polyps and cancer increases as one ages. The majority of colon cancer is found in patients without any symptoms or a family history of colon cancer. ” said Dr. Carlos A. Esparza, a colorectal surgeon on medical staff at Abrazo West Campus.
If you think you are at increased risk for colorectal cancer, speak with your doctor about when to begin screening, which test is right for you and how often to get tested.Submitted by Abrazo Health
This samurai sudoku puzzle is a great way to engage the brain and help develop logic skills. To solve this Samurai puzzle use standard sudoku rules for every 9x9 grid: each digit from 1 to 9 can only appear once in every row, column and 3x3 box. Good Luck!
Solutions are on our website www.EstrellaPublishing.com
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