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Contents August / September 2012 Volume 4 l Number 3
Cathy Baker Tells It Like It Is With a flair for her straight forward and direct advice about the mortgage and real estate industries, Cathy Baker has made a name for herself and for Baker Mortgage as a mainstay in the industry during the ups and downs of the housing and mortgage markets. Described by her listeners as a cross between Mother Teresa and Judge Judy, Cathyâ€™s no nonsense approach to educating - and advising - clients on mortgage matters has raised the bar on industry standards.
Features 16 Exploring Independent Bookstores Take a step back from your digital domain and into the world of independent bookstores to discover a rich collection of literary gems from past to present.
20 Behind the Scenes of The Bourne Legacy
Entertainment Editor Nick Nicholson brings us into the world of espionage with the next installment of the Bourne series. The cleverly developed storyline continues without Jason Bourne and gives viewers a broader look at the intelligence community and the origin of soldiers like Bourne.
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Are You Ready to Get Your Life Back? Read a Real Patient’s Story: “Dr. Shel has been an answer to my prayers. I came to her about 2 years ago with post menopausal symptoms: hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, weight gain, mood swings, and low libido. She tested my hormone levels and got my hormones and thyroid balanced. Within just a few weeks of taking her recommended Bio-Identical hormone replacements and supplements, I was sleeping great, my hot flashes disappeared, and I was feeling energetic again! I feel wonderful! I feel like a new person, like I’m young again! And now women that are half my age cannot keep up with me. Thank you, Dr. Shel!!!”
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w w w .D r S h e l . c o m Photo by Alisa Murray Photography
14 Hot Time in Washington D.C. Reach your financial potential in today’s uncertain market.
chick flicks 19 Breathless
Texas trailer housewife Lorna and her best friend take matters into their own hands when Lorna finds out her husband has come into a small fortune he doesn’t plan on sharing.
22 The Bourne Legacy Jeremy Renner picks up where Matt Damon left off in the enigmatic, highoctane series which follows the journey of a government trained super soldier who is left with more questions than answers.
25 Things We Love
stepping out with focus on women
Do we need it? No, but we gotta have it! Check out these fabulous finds.
29 FBJSL and Sponsors to Create a Peaceful Holiday Market Gather your girlfriends for this year’s groovy market featuring the best in early holiday shopping.
28 Early Diagnosis and Treatment Is your headache more than tension or even a migraine?
30 August 2012 • Steel Magnolias • Comedy Sportz Houston Annual School Supply Drive
23 Ask the Expert
• Best of Brahms’ Work • Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
By H.H. “Will” Hardee, AWM Are your finances secure?
26 Woman to Woman
pearls of wisdom
By Alisa Murray If girls rule … where does that leave our boys?
18 Assembling Your Wellness Team
Teresa Cox Reading, RN
32 The Last Word By Tanya Sterling The Future is NOW
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24 Perimenopause: The Storm Before the Calm Lauren Phillips, MD
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editor’s point of view I
Patti Parish-Kaminski, Editor in Chief
A Woman’s Place is in Command
hese are the first words that I saw when I walked into Cathy Baker’s office. Prominently displayed on a brass plaque on her desk, the phrase set the tone not only for our interview but was evident in Cathy’s philosophy in business. Her straight talking, no nonsense approach to educating clients is refreshing. Her knowledge and unique ability to get her point across in a poignant and unique manner is what sets her apart in the mortgage industry. If you haven’t met Cathy or heard her on the radio, you haven’t heard the “real deal” on buying or refinancing a home. Cathy is a girl’s best friend because she will – despite what you want – tell you like it is. In this issue, you’ll meet Cathy as well as explore some institutions that like Cathy, also educate and entertain. Jennifer Babisak takes a look at Houston area independent bookstores that despite today’s digital world, are still making their mark with both authors and readers. I confess that one of my guilty pleasures is visiting bookstores. I say “guilty” because I don’t just go, get what I need and leave in an efficient manner. I shop, read, enjoy a snack or beverage – all at a very leisurely pace. And, while I’m confessing, I’ve taught my children to do the same – relish in what an old-fashioned bookstore has to offer. Read about three of our best independent bookstores, and plan your own field trip with your kids or girlfriends. You’ll enjoy the unique environment, the quiet time, and yes, gain some knowledge in the process. Nick Nicholson takes you behind the scenes of the latest in the Bourne film series – a series that began in bookstores in novels by author Robert Ludlum. The new espionage thriller fades the line between reality and fiction in technology warfare, and Nick visits with the creative minds behind the newest chapter in the saga. It’s definitely an education of how modern warfare has changed and what the not too distant future holds. Educator, minister and Salt Lake City founder Brigham Young appreciated the value of knowledge – of education. He said, “You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” Profound words from the founder of Brigham Young University. Ladies, keep listening, keep reading, keep watching, keep learning. We have a generation to educate.
Patti Parish-Kaminski editor@FOWmag.com
August/ September 2012 Vol. 4 l No. 3 4655 Techniplex Dr. Suite 400 • Stafford, TX 77477 www.FOWmag.com
To advertise call 281-690-4242 • TOLL FREE 1-888-430-7469 Direct mailed to physicians in the area and to Focus on Women subscribers, and available at demand distribution locations. Michael & Lisa Fredrickson L. Dean West Patti Parish-Kaminski Nick Nicholson Jessica Kij Michelle Moore Henry Pineda, Jr. ACCOUNTANT Erin Sanders ART DIRECTOR Grace Belleza ART & PRODUCTION CONSULTANT Joey Belleza GRAPHIC DESIGNER Elizabeth Pace COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR Sarah Greeson WEB DESIGNER Joey Belleza / JOBpageGraphics.com INTERN Sarah Jane Knowlton The views and opinions expressed by our advertisers and columnists do not necessarily reflect those of the Publishers and their staff. 2012 Focus on Women Magazine. No material from this publication may be copied or in any way reproduced without written permission from the publishers. Published by absolutely! focus media PUBLISHERS GENERAL MANAGER EDITOR IN CHIEF ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES
ON THE COVER Cathy Baker
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contributors Nick Nicholson is the Entertainment Editor for Focus on Women and the Film and, Entertainment Critic for CNN Radio, the Fort Bend Star newspaper, Fort Bend Focus and Pearland Focus magazines. He is the co-founder of the Houston Film Critics Society and is currently the President of the organization. In Behinds the Scenes of the Bourne Legacy on page 20, Nick explores the next installment of the Bourne series and the in depth research of espionage and government agencies that strive to produce the perfect soldier. Nick and his wife, Mikki, reside in Sugar Land, Texas.
Tanya Sterling, wife and mother of three, is the founder and director of the JOY Ministry, a special needs ministry at First Methodist Houston, and a freelance writer. On page 32 in The Future is Now, Tanya ponders her future role as a grandparent and the impression she wishes to leave on her grandkids. Tanya and her family reside in Sugar Land, Texas.
Jennifer Babisak has written for numerous regional and national publications. In Exploring Independent Bookstores on page 16, Jennifer showcases three Houston bookstores that offer literary gems from past and present and a human interface that rivals the less than personable process of online ordering. When she’s not shopping local, Jennifer keeps busy by home schooling her children and squeezing in time for corporate, family and travel writing. Jennifer lives in Pasadena, Texas with her husband and three children.
guest columnists H.H “Will” Hardee
Hardee Investment Group Pages 14 & 23
Alisa Murray 14
Alisa Murray Photography Page 26
Irfan Lalani, M.D. and Azul Jaffer, M.D.
Methodist Sugar Land Hospital Page 28
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cover story By Patti Parish-Kaminski Photo by Nesossi Studios
Tells It Like It Is
or more than fifteen years, Houstonians have heard her distinct voice regularly on the radio. Known for her straight forward, no nonsense, and well, very direct advice about the mortgage and real estate industries, Cathy Baker has forged a name and a stellar reputation for herself and her company that has been in business since 1955. So what’s the secret to her success despite the ups and downs of a volatile industry? Educating consumers with compassion and care … and of course, telling it like it is. Cathy began at Baker Mortgage 35 years ago because of a special request. Her father, Gordon Baker, started the company, and when Cathy was taking accounting courses with her sights set on a career at IBM, her father came to her with a dilemma. “My father came to me and asked for my help because he discovered someone who had worked for him for years was embezzling from him,” said Cathy. “Since he was my father, he offered me $50 more a month than I was making and asked me if I could come on board with him until he gained an element of trust
focus on women
back within the company. It was intended to be a temporary situation.” Though Cathy didn’t know anything about mortgages, that did not dissuade her father from bringing her into the business. “We had a family insurance agency in the same office, and I worked for years in both sides of the business. I had the opportunity to stay in the comfortable insurance business or go out on a ledge with my father in the mortgage business during the ugly 80’s when interest rates were horrible. I chose the latter.” Cathy’s temp job turned into a lifelong career, and she enjoyed 18 years working side by side with a great teacher: her father. In addition to the mortgage business, Gordon Baker instilled in Cathy what she calls the golden rule. “If you can’t afford it, you don’t buy it. And, most importantly, treat everyone with respect, the way you want to be treated,” said Cathy. In an industry where encouraging people to spend more is the norm, Cathy’s approach is very different. Her straight-shooting advice is not always what her clients want to
l August / September 2012
hear, but it’s what they need to hear. “Unfortunately, the mortgage industry is ripe with people who are self-dealing rather than looking out after the best interest of their clients. I figured out a long time ago that if I looked after my clients, they looked after me. I tell clients by watching out over their bottom line, mine gets taken care of.” Cathy devotes a great deal of time to simply talking with and educating clients and potential clients. Sometimes she may not hear from a client again for years, but because she spent time listening – and educating – clients come back when they are ready to buy. “I have people who come to me who think they are ready to buy a home, and if they’re not ready, I tell them that. I’m risking that I may never see or hear from them again, but more often than not, I hear from them later when they are ready.” Cathy’s greatest joy in her business is being a resource for people, which comes across when listening to her on the radio. On air, she’s been described as a cross between Mother Teresa and Judge Judy. “Being on
the radio started as fluke,” said Cathy. A radio station that she used to advertise with said wanted to try something new and asked her to call in to a show about money management and give a mortgage tip for the day. “I did it, and the next day, the station called and asked me to do it again – every day. For three years at 4:22 pm five days a week, I was on air with the mortgage tip of the day.” In typical Cathy Baker style, her tips were – and still are – to the point. “If I scared someone out of doing something stupid on a loan, I’m glad. I know it sounds harsh, but when it comes to a mortgage, you can’t take it back if you decide you don’t want it. If you have a problem or change your mind with a mortgage, you’ve got a big problem.” A male-dominated industry, there are still few women in leadership positions in the mortgage industry. As president and chief executive officer of Baker Mortgage for over sixteen years, Cathy knows – and has what it takes – to be successful in a good ole boys club. “In many large companies, the majority of the big money winners are still men. It takes women who are very strong-willed and have a lot of endurance willing to put in long, hard hours to succeed in the mortgage industry,” said Cathy. “To be good at it, you have to be willing to tell people no and when they are making a mistake. Some women don’t feel comfortable in those positions. For women who do, it’s very appropriate. It takes a lot of teaching, mothering and handholding to do it right.”
“It takes women who are very strong-willed and have a lot of endurance willing to put in long, hard hours to succeed in the mortgage industry,” said Cathy. With the ups and downs of the economy and the real estate industry, under Cathy’s leadership, Baker Mortgage is holding its own. “It got way too easy to buy a house; it’s a shame people at the top didn’t see this coming,” said Cathy of the numerous foreclosures over the past few years. “I saw it coming as soon as it started – way before it started. It does not make sense to give someone a loan who has low credit scores and no money. It’s a good thing now people have to put money down and be involved in getting loans processed and approved. People don’t appreciate things they get that they haven’t worked for, and that’s why we have so many foreclosures now.” Cathy’s passion for education isn’t limited solely to her clients. She is a regular in Washington, D.C. and in Austin where she attends lobby days and has served as Outreach Chair and Legislative Chair for the Greater Houston Association of Mortgage Brokers. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Better Business Bureau. And perhaps one of the most interesting – and fun, according to Cathy – activities she has participated in is attending the FBI Citizens Academy. An outreach program of the
Lowell Schmidt, Cathy Baker and the late Shirley Schmidt at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.
FBI, Cathy was selected to participate in the program she describes as “the most fun I have ever had.” The last day of the course culminated at the FBI’s shooting range where Cathy was able to shoot targets with the elite law enforcement group. The target now hangs in her office, and you guessed it, she shoots just as straight with a handgun as she does with her no-nonsense advice.
Cathy Baker’s Top Mortgage Tips Debt: Don’t pay off all of your debt before qualifying for a mortgage. Not paying your debt off usually won’t keep you from qualifying for a mortgage but having no money will.
Changing Jobs: Get your house bought or refinanced before you change jobs or become self-employed because it’s a lot tougher afterwards. Closings: Let the lender you are working with know that you want to make sure your papers are at the title company a day or two prior to closing. Don’t go to a title company for a closing where you haven’t received the documents ahead of time, in particular the closing statement and the note. If they have to delay the closing, that’s okay. You need to know what you’re signing up for; surprises are for parties, not for closings. Buying a Car: If you are getting ready to buy or refinance and need a new car, there’s a great way to get around this problem: rent a car. That way a car payment won’t be held against you as part of your debt ratio. I’ve never had a client not be able to get a car because they have a house, but I’ve had lots of clients who couldn’t get a house or the house they wanted because they just bought a car. August / September 2012 l
financial savvy I
Presented by the Hardee Investment Group and RBC Wealth Management
Girls just want to have fund$
Hot Time in Washington D.C.
his is both an exciting time and a confusing time in the investment world today. Confusing because everyday brings new concerns about Greece, Spain, Italy and Europe in general. Exciting news because this is where opportunities present themselves. Remember the adage is to “buy low and sell high.” This only occurs in times of uncertainty and distress. We look to shed some light on the investment world after our return from America’s Top Financial Advisors conference in August that is held in Washington D.C. This conference is sponsored by Barron’s, which is a sister publication to the Wall Street Journal and owned by Dow Jones News. This will be our third consecutive year of being honored as one of America’s Top Financial Advisors. This year I will be a keynote speaker at the conference on the subject of how you design and build custom investment portfolios using stocks, bonds and exchange traded funds. Additionally, we’ll discuss the psychology needed to be a successful investor. I also have the opportunity to talk with some of the best and brightest minds about what they see and are doing for their clients in today’s environment. Some of the topics to be discussed are risk
management, dividends as a source of income, political outlook and the upcoming election, and leadership. These are but a few of the topics to be covered. This conference is always timely and Washington D.C. will be especially hot this year. Our goal will be to bring back the best practices and ideas and share those with you over the coming months. Interested in having one of America’s Top Financial Advisors custom-design your portfolio suited specifically for your needs? Call us today at 713-853-0869 or visit us online at your convenience: www.HardeeInvestmentGroup.com. We would be honored to receive the opportunity to help your family reach their financial potential. This article is provided by H. H. Will Hardee, AWM, a Financial Advisor at RBC Wealth Management’s Houston Center office, and was prepared by or in cooperation with RBC Wealth Management. The information included in this article is not intended to be used as the primary basis for making investment decisions nor should it be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any specific security. RBC Wealth Management does not endorse this organization or publication. Consult your investment professional for additional information and guidance. RBC Wealth Management does not provide tax or legal advice. RBC Wealth Management, a division of RBC Capital Markets LLC, Member NYSE/FINRA/SIPC.
Is your financial services firm built on a bed of sand? Let us show you how it feels to be rock solid. By continuing to utilize sound business practices and a conservative investment philosophy, RBC Wealth Management has not only weathered the economic storm, but has grown to be the sixth largest financial services firm in the United States.* If you are ready to place your assets on a firm foundation, give us a call.
Hardee Investment Group (713) 853-0869 • (800) 838-0757 www.hardeeinvestmentgroup.com *Based on number of registered representatives. © 2011 RBC Wealth Management, a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Member NYSE/FINRA/SIPC.
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Independe nt Bookstore s
Blue Willow Bookshop.
today’s digital world, hardcopy books are quickly fading into oblivion. Of course, many bookstores are following in this trail of demise with even large chain stores liquidating stock and shutting their doors. However, many independent bookstores continue to thrive in the face of technological and economic adversity. In fact, independent bookstores experienced strong sales during 2011. “These sales numbers reflect what we are hearing from our members across the country,” said Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association. “An array of factors are fueling the resurgence of independent bookstores including the growing acceptance of the ‘local first’ movement; an extraordinary level of innovative and creative entrepreneurship; a willingness to adapt to changing retail trends including selling both print and digital books online; and, most importantly, continuing to be an unmatched source of credible information about books and authors.” Fortunately, Houston boasts several fabulous independent bookstores that offer the innovation and creativity that Teicher describes.
For a rich immersion into the world of words including exceptional customer service and carefully refined selection, check out these three literary havens: BLUE WILLOW BOOKSHOP This West Houston shop boasts a terrific selection for both adults and children in addition to hosting weekly story times and game hours. The store offers special summer activities for children such as Camp Blue Willow. Each week at this book camp, participants listen to a reading from a book or a selection from a novel and then, enjoy a fun activity to tie in with the book’s theme. As a bonus, the book featured in the program is offered at a discount for children who wish to take it home.
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Valerie Koehler, a lifelong book lover, opened Blue Willow in 1996 when her sons were in elementary school. With an almost entirely female staff, (Koehler says that they have employed “token” males from time to time) the shop offers a unique working environment. “To have so many woman of all ages on staff means that we work hard to respect everyone and to be attuned to each person's strengths,” Koehler said. “It also means we can dish all the time!” And, Blue Willow trumps online retailers in one important way: human interaction. “I think most people – not all – want some sort of human interaction on a daily basis. People want to be with like-minded people.” Koehler reflected, “We want the opportunity to discuss our interests, our families, our lives. I also firmly believe that buying a book is not like buying mayonnaise. You wouldn't think of asking the clerk in the supermarket line what she or he might make with the mayonnaise. You just hope they are courteous and accurate. But when you browse for books, you want opinions, recommendations, and validation.” Though it’s often difficult to pull today’s youngsters away from their video games and into the pages of a book, parents can lead by example, reading various forms of print throughout the day. “Buy whatever you can afford. Go to the library regularly,” Koehler recommends. “Be generous with newspapers and magazines. Have them everywhere in your home, car, and bag. Never pass up a moment of reading. And read yourself all kinds of material. Talk to your kids about what you are reading. Talk to your
over 200 authors held books signings at the store. “In the past few years friends and family while they are in earauthor events have become a huge part of our business,” said Murder By shot. Make it key to your life, and your the Book’s Publicity Manager John Kwiatkowski. “One of the ways we're children will learn by example.” able to help offer an experience is by giving readers a chance to meet their Blue Willow anticipates a busy Aufavorite authors, have a picture taken with them, or ask them a question gust hosting two in-store book clubs, a regular Thursday toddler story at an event. Author events are another great way to get introduced to time, and a visit by Jan-Philipp Sendker, the author of The Art of Hearnew authors, and we try to host a wide variety – from New York Times ing Heartbeats, on August 9th at 7 pm. bestsellers to debut authors – of authors across different mystery genres.” BRAZOS BOOKSTORE The store prides itself on customer service, going so far as to give first Located in Rice Village, Brazos Bookstore appeals to literary readers time customers a tour to acquaint them with the layout. “I think one who value personalized service and carefully curated selection. When of the reasons customers choose our store over online retailers is that we the original owner, Karl Kilian, decided to close the store in 2006, 27 really try to give them an experience when they come to the store,” said of the shop’s customers banded together to purchase Brazos Bookstore. Kwiatkowski, “If someone comes in and mentions they've never been Today, the store is managed by Jeremy Ellis, who emphasizes that in before, we take the time to give them a quick tour and explain how Brazos Bookstore offers an experience incomparable to that of imperour store is laid out. We love giving personalized recommendations, and sonal online shopping. “The experience of browsing well-curated bookif someone tells us they liked a certain book, we're able to recommend shelves is not easily duplicated online or in big box stores that focus on other titles and new authors that would appeal to them.” bestsellers first,” he said. “Brazos Bookstore works hard to expand a Murder By the Book’s discussion groups are free and open to anyone, curious reader's literary horizons. Each of our seven employees is a paseven welcoming participants who have not read the book selection. The sionate reader. We're always glad to talk books and help our customers August meeting is August 22nd at 7 pm, and the discussion theme is find perfect pages for them.” “Escape from Houston” covering the books Three Bags Full by Leonie The shop’s curator, Danielle DuBois Dimond, sorts through the Swann and The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart. hundreds of thousands of books published each year to select the most interesting, exciting and unusual titles to sell at Brazos. Ellis points out that even if a customer can’t find their preferred title in the store, the BLUE WILLOW BOOKSHOP staff will go to great lengths to find the book, “Our number one goal is 14532 Memorial Drive, Houston to solve the customer's problem,” he said. “Whether that means plac(281) 497-8675 • www.bluewillowbookshop.com ing a special order, calling other stores, or doing online research to determine where in the world the book is, we are committed to connecting BRAZOS BOOKSTORE readers with the books they want.” 2421 Bissonnet Street, Houston In addition, the store is committed to supporting the Houston writ(713) 523-0701 • www.brazosbookstore.com ing community, which Ellis describes as “arguably, the most vibrant in Texas.” The store hosts frequent author visits in addition to partnering MURDER BY THE BOOK with Inprint and the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. 2342 Bissonnet Street, Houston They also offer a consignment program to sell the works of local and (713) 524-8597 • www.murderbooks.com regional authors. On September 12th, the store will host acclaimed short story author Andrew Porter, whose debut novel In Between Days, is set in Montrose. MURDER BY THE BOOK As one of the foremost mystery bookstores in the US, this shop, located just down the street from Brazos Bookstore, hosts hundreds Event Planning & Coordination of book signings per year and lines its shelves Weddings • Parties • Festivals with handwritten staff recommendations. International Events • Corporate Events Offering a selection of 25,000 books including a substantial used section as well as Flowers • Balloons collectibles and first editions, the shop frequently hosts author events. In 2011 alone, email@example.com
August / September 2012 l
Pearls of Wisdom
By Teresa Cox Reading, RN
Assembling Your Wellness Team
t the offices of William H. Reading, MD, we know you cannot do it all alone – or that you would want to. We believe a support system is important for our own self-care. We want to be understood. We want others to listen to what we think, feel and hold dear, as well as the struggles we encounter. We want encouragement, a kind word or simply someone to be there, comfortably, in the silence. Who can you trust to be included in your support system or on your “wellness team?” Here are some suggestions: Positive Family Members: We all have family members who we love but who should not particularly be on your “wellness team,” and that is perfectly okay. Positive Friends: Friends who you trust. But, be careful not to “burn them out” and to balance the “here I am” with “there you are.” Supportive Spouses: Remember, it is a give and take, and you live with them. Spouses
can burn out when dealing with things on a daily basis. Exercise moderation. Group Activities: Exercise groups, book clubs, social groups, special interests and even the internet, but remember to be careful and balance your online time with one-on-one, person-to-person interaction if possible. Faith-Based Groups: Religious or spiritual, these groups can provide powerful support. Civic Organizations: Nothing gets your mind off that “negative thinking” like helping someone else and feeling good about it. The benefits of volunteering may surprise you. Pets: Pets can be an amazing, comforting support, but a word of caution: research what type of pet fits your lifestyle and the breed. You do not want to re-home a pet. Emotional Wellness Team: Your life coaches, therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists for when a little more support is needed. We truly have to get over any “stigma” associated with someone seeing a therapist.
Remember when it was hush hush to talk about breast cancer? Support Groups: There is something to be said for people who share similar circumstances and situations. Ourselves: Last but not least, we have to count ourselves in this formula. We need to be committed to doing better, feeling better and having the best quality of life for ourselves. There are so many ways assembling your wellness team can help. We hope that these tips on putting your team together makes a difference in your life and is collected along with other gems in this segment of Pearls of Wisdom. Until next time. Teresa Cox Reading is a Registered Nurse, Clinician and Practice Administrator for Reading Recovery, Psychiatric and Psychological Services. She is on the board of Mental Health America of Fort Bend County and Committee for Suicide Prevention.
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By Nick Nicholson
I Photos courtesy of Universal Pictures. Jeremy Renner
Behind The Scenes of Behind the Scenes With
s the filmmakers of the Bourne franchise pondered the next chapter in the series, they faced a conundrum: At the end of The Bourne Ultimatum, the protagonist had been involved in a shootout in London’s Waterloo Station and then an even more high-profile car chase gunfight through the streets of New York City. Jason Bourne had gone public in a big way. He was poised to expose the U.S. government for its litany of crimes when he vanished. Producer Frank Marshall explained the hurdle: “The challenge was ‘Where are we going to go now?’ Jason Bourne knew who he was, didn’t want to be in the same business anymore and wanted to go off on his own. We had to create a new set of circumstances for the story to go forward.” Despite the hesitancy, Patrick Crowley, who, alongside Marshall, produced the three previous entries in the series, admits that it was the fans’ interest in additional stories that kept the franchise alive. “We touched a nerve with people who would come up to us and say, ‘I like those movies so much. I hope you’re going to do another one,’” offered Crowley. In April 2010, several months after Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon opted not to
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participate in this chapter of the series, producers Jeffrey Weiner and Ben Smith met with the franchise’s narrative architect, Tony Gilroy, and asked him if he might spend some time thinking about how to move forward. Gilroy was intrigued and agreed to see if he could find an exciting way to continue this world that had launched a new kind of spy thriller. Several weeks later, Gilroy came back to the producers with a concept for how to approach the material. “The thing that separated Bourne most clearly from the action films of the moment was the depth and complexity of the character’s problem. The idea of an assassin ‘coming to’ with no recollection of his dark past and paying the price for recovering his memory by realizing that he’s not the person he wants to be was an incredibly compelling motor. In the hands of an actor like Matt Damon, there was no limit on how honest and detailed those ideas could be expressed. It was fun to think of ways to stage the Legacy story, but until there was a new character with a new problem that felt as powerful, there wasn’t going to be a script. When that last piece fell into place, when Aaron Cross came into focus, became as clear
l August / September 2012
and soulful to me as what we’d gone after with Bourne, that’s when everyone decided it made sense to move forward.” Gilroy then began work on a treatment for the project even as he outlined a blueprint for where the story might go after The Bourne Legacy. He began an in-depth research process that would serve as the underpinning for both documents. He looked most particularly at the secretive U.S. government agency known as DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) that is hard at work trying to figure out how to make better soldiers. DARPA and its intelligence counterpart, IARPA (Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity), fund many research programs with the objective of enhancing the cognitive and physical performance of American soldiers and spies. According to Gilroy, “There’s no drug testing in war. There’s a very real appetite to have soldiers with increased energy, higher pain thresholds and less need for sleep. The warrior who heals, learns and processes information faster is the dream of every commanding officer.” Just as in The Bourne Legacy, DARPA and its counterparts are working closely with the pharmaceutical industry, medical researchers, Silicon Valley and others to find ways to make humans into better warriors. Gilroy found that there was a burgeoning post-9/11 marriage of biology and warfare: a top-secret America that has proliferated, funded by the U.S. government and staffed by scientists often working for large corporations. It has, in fact, become so large that it is impossible to fully oversee by any one branch of the U.S. government. According to the director, “This was an odd story to research because I was doing more confirmation than prospecting. I kept finding that my imaginative ideas for Outcome and Candent and NRAG were already there and in play. Every hint that we’d laid along the way in the trilogy about Treadstone and its science-medical background fit perfectly into the existing reality.” After finishing the treatment for The Bourne Legacy, Gilroy decided he would be interested in making this his next directorial effort. Although he began his career as a screenwriter, Gilroy has become an accomplished director with two features to his credit: 2007’s Best Motion Picture nominee Michael Clayton, starring George Clooney, for which Gilroy
received Oscar nominations for both directing and writing, and Duplicity, the 2009 romantic caper starring Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. Marshall said, “One of the best things about the movie was getting to work with Tony as a director. I’ve been involved with him on the other three movies as the writer, but way back on The Bourne Identity, I knew that someday he was going to direct.” To collaborate on the screenplay, Gilroy called upon his brother, fellow screenwriter Dan Gilroy, for their first professional teaming in many years. “Tony and I actually co-wrote several
unproduced screenplays when we were first starting,” said Dan Gilroy. “It was an easy fit then and pretty effortless now. When we’re working, it’s seven days a week—long hours. I’m in L.A, and he’s in New York, but these days, distance doesn’t matter. There’s no ego involved. It was a blast. We were both on the same page and committed to tuning every element to the highest possible degree.” The two writers expanded upon the research that Tony Gilroy had done for the treatment, while also developing the intense drama of the story. “We hope Legacy lives up to its title by expanding the mythology in smart, imaginative and absolutely realistic directions,” shared Dan Gilroy. “All technology referenced in the film is either in development or in use by the U.S. intel community. The hardest part of the job was creating a character with a need that makes the film personal, and Tony had the core of that before I came on. Aaron Cross has a primal need that creates constant intimacy with the audience.” Marshall was thrilled with the resulting script. “The genius idea was Tony and Dan’s: expand the world that Bourne lived in and see what else was out there and who is controlling
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whom. This way, we could build upon the world the audience had discovered via Jason Bourne and then have an opportunity to see new characters and the bigger picture.” Crowley agrees that the writer/director and his brother nailed it. The producer marvels at their crafting of a language specific to this series and how they connected everything in this world. “Tony’s obsessed with the intelligence community. He lives and breathes it, asking, ‘How would these people think, how would they act, and what are the relationships that you would have in the intelligence community?’ It thrilled me that we have a writer who is the soul of the whole series come on board to direct this one.” In keeping with Gilroy’s previous screenplays for the Bourne series, this script diverges dramatically from the plotlines of Ludlum’s Cold War-era novels but retains the author’s themes of conspiracy and government programs run amok. According to producer Ben Smith, “What’s special about Robert Ludlum’s work and about these movies is that they talk about the power of an individual. In these times of massive corporations and governments and multinational interests, the films make us feel that we can make a difference.”
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By Nick Nicholson that there are actually a variety of intelligence programs, that the CIA’s Treadstone was but one of the early developments and that Bourne’s actions are creating a tremendous anxiety that other programs may be exposed. Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is one of six agents in a program called Outcome. Unlike the CIA’s Treadstone, Outcome agents have been developed and trained for use by the Department of Defense. More than assassins, Outcome agents are designed for use in isolated, high-risk, long-term intelligence assignments. Edward Norton plays retired Colonel Eric Byer, the director of a black-line agency, NRAG (National Research Assay Group), at the heart of the Bourne universe. Byer is the man who’s built these programs, fought to keep them funded and shopped them to a variety of eager U.S. intelligence services in the vast, post-9/11 espionocracy. Pulling back the curtain, we realize he’s been there all the while, watching as the three previous
he narrative architect behind the Bourne film series, Tony Gilroy, takes the helm in the next chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise that has earned almost $1 billion at the global box office: The Bourne Legacy. Building on the foundation of the Bourne universe created by Robert Ludlum, the writer/director expands the saga with an original story that reveals a larger conspiracy. Twelve years ago, audiences were introduced to Jason Bourne when he was pulled unconscious from the Mediterranean. Over the course of three films, they followed his journey to survive and discover his identity. They watched his CIA handlers mount an increasingly desperate worldwide manhunt. They learned about the Treadstone program and Bourne’s special skills and abilities, and at the trilogy’s conclusion, they may have even felt the story was complete. The Bourne Legacy pulls back the curtain to expose a darker layer of intrigue, a deeper mythology, and a new hero who must battle to stay alive when his program suddenly becomes a liability. Jeremy Renner is Outcome agent Aaron Cross in The Bourne Legacy. Bourne’s public exposure at the end of The Bourne Ultimatum sparks a bonfire that threatens to burn down decades of research and development into the building of better spies and warriors. Audiences will discover
films have played out. It’s Byer’s world that’s being threatened as the CIA fails to contain Bourne, and with the realization that Treadstone’s fall will expose the close working relationship between two of his chief medical directors, Byer has no choice but to sacrifice Outcome. That means eliminating everyone involved, including the science and medical researchers who helped to create it. Academy Award-winning actress Rachel Weisz stars alongside Renner as Dr. Marta Shearing, a research scientist with top-security clearance and a high paying job in the Maryland laboratory of corporate pharma-giant Candent. It’s the groundbreaking science developed in her lab that’s responsible for Outcome, and her job includes monitoring the Outcome agents on the rare occasion that they pass through the area. She knows Aaron as she knows the rest of them: as a number, as a clinical subject, as a
Rachel Weisz and Jeremy Renner.
guinea-pig. She’s ignored the ethical conflict of her work, but when the entire program needs to be terminated and it’s her life in jeopardy, she’s forced to confront the morality of her choices as she fights to stay alive. Byer has built his NRAG network at the Beltway nexus of the intelligence, military and corporate communities. Stacy Keach plays retired Admiral Mark Turso, Byer’s chief advisor Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) views Cross as simply a research subject and link to the Pentagon. Dennis Boutsikaris plays Terrence Ward, the CEO of The Candent Group, the big-pharma giant working beyond the cutting-edge of science and medical ethics under the banner of national security. The appetite for enhanced warriors, a very real military/intel dream over the last 60 years, has finally met the moment where breakthroughs in biochemistry and genomics are making things possible. We learn very early in The Bourne Legacy that Treadstone was but one of Byer’s early programs, and as the film progresses, we discover that even Outcome has been upgraded. But just as each of these programs carries the promise of more perfect agents, so do they each present their own unique bugs and flaws. Aaron Cross’s physical enhancements will feel familiar to fans of Jason Bourne. His cognitive lift, however, makes for a more adaptive and provocative skill set. It also holds a great danger: The Outcome agents have proven difficult to control, and Cross, once cut free of the leash, makes for an even more dangerous threat to his creators with this brilliant conclusion to the epic Bourne series. The Bourne Legacy
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton & Scott Glenn Director: Tony Gilroy Company: Universal Now Showing: In Local Area Theatres MPAA Rating: R Grade: A+
Photos are courtesy of Universal Pictures.
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What’s the biggest concern you’ve seen in your practice?
In the following order it would be 1) creating wealth; 2) preserving wealth; and 3) protecting wealth so that it can be passed on to heirs. Creating wealth can involve investing in assets such as stocks, bonds, real estate, family business, etc. Each has their own unique risk and reward characteristics. Preserving wealth means generating enough income to meet your lifestyle needs and still allowing the principal to grow. Intergenerational wealth transfer means passing your wealth to children and grandchildren in a way where it won’t be wasted but preserved.
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Pearls of Wisdom
By Lauren Phillips, MD
Perimenopause: The Storm Before the Calm
ave your hormones gone haywire? Does your body feel out of whack? If so, you may be experiencing a phenomenon that can turn your world inside out. Perimenopause is the transitional period before menopause in which hormone production fluctuates wildly, leading to changes in menstrual cycles, hot flashes, mood swings, bone changes, and a decreased sense of well-being. This transition may begin as early as age 35 or as late as 59 and can last up to 8 years. Menstrual cycle irregularities are the most common complaint during perimenopause. The length between periods can be anywhere from 21-50 days, and 90% of women report heavier flow. Some “red flag” signs you should discuss with your Ob-gyn are: periods lasting longer than 10 days, changing pads or tampons more than every two hours, and bleeding between periods or after sex. Luckily, there are medications and simple office procedures
that can help. I offer a minor in-office surgery called a uterine ablation that can significantly decrease or stop periods completely. Until periods stop for one year or hormone levels show you are in menopause, pregnancy can still occur. Thanks to advances in medicine, there are many options for birth control including long acting reversible contraceptives and in-office tubal sterilization. Some women are especially sensitive to the hormonal fluctuations that occur during perimenopause and may experience mood changes and hot flashes. Women suffer from depression two to three times more often than men and are most at risk during perimenopause. For some women, hot flashes can be debilitating. You are not alone! Talk to a doctor about your symptoms; there are effective treatments. During this stage of life when women are often their busiest juggling family, careers, and other responsibilities, it’s important to take
good care of yourself. Annual exams, mammograms, and bone density scans are a few of the screening tests that will help you stay healthy in the long run. Perimenopause is a real phenomenon, and the experience is different for all women. I encourage you to empower yourself and learn about the possible changes ahead of you. This is a time to develop a trusting relationship with your Ob-gyn. We are here to help during all stages of your life. At Sugar Land Women’s Health, I offer personalized and compassionate care for women of all ages. Take action, and treat yourself to good health! Lauren M. Phillips, MD is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist at Sugar Land Women’s Health. She is a member of ACOG, Texas Medical Society, and the American Medical Association. For more information, visit www.laurenphillipsmd.com.
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By Alisa Murray
Woman Woman If Girl’s Rule . . . Where Does That Leave Our Boys?
as it occurred to you that the dichotomy of genders in our society has gotten so misconstrued that what is normal is actually the opposite of what needs to be? I ask you, what’s the big deal? Who’s getting short-changed, and what kind of impact will this have on our
society in 20 or even 40 years from now? Maybe I am a closeted anti-feminist, but I don’t think so. I’m just a real smart woman getting angry about excitement when a pregnant woman gets named CEO while the latest reports indicate that men are completely displaced and no longer catered to beginning with the earliest of their education. What is deemed ideal today is unfortunately a poor attempt to turn the tables on gender equality. All things girl are seen as ideal, and all things boy have been frowned upon. Squirmy boys who ask ques-
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tions are not the ideal students, and let’s face it, most boys are squirmy and inquisitive – at least the variety whom I hang out with are! I am frightened at what kind of crazy our society will find itself in, and how dramatically different things will be since we are moving even faster with the social media and cultural gaps closing. I watched a report by Susan Spencer for 48 Hours concerning gender politics. “There’s a kind of anti-intellectualism of young men that really bothers me,” Delahunty stated. “Not only do they (males) not enroll in college at the same rate as women, they don’t graduate from college at the same rate. Male college enrollment has been sliding for four decades, and it’s expected to get much worse. The less you can do in school, the more masculine you are, and it’s not just about grades. It leads to being about getting good jobs and finally affecting men as providers for their families.” I always find myself amazed at the realization that for my grandmother, housekeeping, child rearing, teaching and secretarial work were her career choices. Sure, a few nurses were sprinkled in the mix, but alas, for the most part their lives and experiences were limited. Granny went to East Carolina, graduated from the university and taught third grade for years. Mother was a registered nurse. So hurray for those who pushed forward and carved out a new line up of choices for women! We are all enriched and society is better for it. It is still hard, though, bearing the guilt of taking a box of store bought cookies instead of making them homemade. And yes, it still stings to miss a baseball game or the first ten minutes of a dance recital. It takes two to parent. It has always taken two to do so, and whether the male or the female chooses to stay at home to do the vast
majority of childrearing is neither here nor there in terms of better or best. Yes, those decisions are personal and at least most of us can agree amongst ourselves that within the context of a marriage, it is between the husband and wife to know who is better at it. Getting down to the real bottom of it is this, and these are the cold hard facts: The greatest task we have is to rear and grow up new babies and carve out a progressive and sustainable generation of competent and educated, as well as morally sound, people. At some point, and I am quite frankly in the throes of it parenting a teenage daughter and raising a son, something has got to give. By my best observation both in reading and paying attention to what is happening in the world is girls rule and boys are, well, left behind. It’s a brave new world for boys, and I am not digging it! Recently, I became aware that our sons are so displaced in the classrooms that they are failing in terms of grades and falling, as it were, by the wayside. The very things we love about girls such as sitting still and raising their hands politely are looked upon as the ideal student, and squirmy boys are frowned upon, especially talkative ones. “Please sit quietly, do all these work sheets.” And God forbid you need to ask questions! That appears to now be the unwritten rule for education, and this has made it nearly impossible to be surprised at where we are headed as a society. I love the fact that men are staying at home. Are you kidding me? I hate to clean, can’t bake a thing and forget the laundry! I love the fact that we have pregnant women being crowned CEO’s all over the land. Who in their right mind wouldn’t be? What I am perplexed about is that we have to stop acting like being crowned a CEO while pregnant is a big deal because it really isn’t a big deal at all . . . at least not anymore. She is a woman, and by the virtue of being so, can bear a child. What is a big deal is who is going to educate the boys – rear them and uplift them into becoming men? With the emphasis on what is best for a convenient and passive aggressive educational environment, I am very worried. Take care of you!
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well woman I
By Irfan Lalani, M.D., Neurologist, and Azul Jaffer, M.D., Plastic Surgeon
Early Diagnosis and Treatment Prevents Serious Complications
my, a woman in her early 30s, wasn’t prone to headaches. Then suddenly she began experiencing severe headaches that only improved when she would lie down. Her headaches worsened upon sitting or standing to the point she could barely function. Fortunately for her, Amy’s rare condition was diagnosed through a neurological evaluation and a series of neuro-imaging tests.
Not A Migraine or Tension Headache “Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is an uncommon condition characterized by unprovoked leakage of cerebrospinal fluid from the spinal canal,” says Irfan Lalani, M.D., board certified neurologist on staff at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. “The resultant drop in pressure in the brain results in severe headaches when in an upright position. The headaches are also often accompanied by tinnitus (ringing in the ears), nausea and vomiting, and can be debilitating.” SIH may be mistaken for migraines or tension headaches, but it is a more serious condition with potentially life-threatening consequences. “SIH is not easily diagnosed,” says Dr. Lalani. “The diagnosis is made by taking a detailed patient headache history, combined with a complete neurological examination. Subsequent specialized neuro-imaging techniques are used to identify the location of the spinal fluid leak.” Diagnostic tests used to detect SIH include: • MRI • CT myelography • Radionuclide cisternography (nuclear scan test to diagnose spinal fluid circulation problems) All of these specialized imaging tests are available at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. “Because diagnosis of SIH is difficult,
focus on women
it is important to have a sub-specialized radiology department with the technology and expertise to uncover this condition,” says Dr. Lalani. “Our community is very fortunate to have a top-notch team of radiologists at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital.” Young women in their 20s to 40s are the most likely demographic to experience SIH.
Early Detection Is Key “Early diagnosis is critical in SIH cases,” says Dr. Lalani. “The procedure for treating the condition is relatively simple and very effective when performed early. The area of leakage is repaired by performing an epidural blood patch, which is using the patient’s own blood to form a blood clot in the affected area. It can prevent life-threatening complications.” Recovery consists of a couple days of rest as the blood clot heals. If you suddenly begin suffering from unusual or debilitating headaches, make an appointment to be evaluated by a neurologist. For an appointment with Dr. Lalani or another neurologist in your area, please call our physician referral line at 281-274-7500.
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Relief through Neuroplasty Neurologists And Plastic Surgeons Working Together For chronic migraine sufferers, there is hope when all other treatment options have fallen short. “There is a small subset of headache patients who continue to experience debilitating headaches even after trying multiple therapies, including behavior modification, medications, tablets, creams and stimulators,” says Azul Jaffer, M.D., board certified plastic surgeon on staff at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. “For those patients who can’t function due to their extreme headaches, neuroplasty, a micro-surgical procedure, may offer relief.” Dr. Jaffer explains, “Most nerves pass between two separate muscles. However, in some cases, nerves come through the muscle itself, resulting in severe pinching all around the nerve. To relieve this pinching or squeezing of the nerve, a microsurgeon (typically a plastic surgeon with experience working on delicate, small nerves) removes a small segment of the muscle tissue surrounding the trapped nerve. This allows the nerve to expand, relieving the pressure and the pain.” “The success rate for this procedure is extremely high at 90%,” says Dr. Jaffer. “Of that 90%, 30% of patients will no longer experience headaches. For the rest, headaches are less frequent and less severe, making them much more tolerable.” Methodist Sugar Land Hospital has the personnel, equipment and technology to offer this solution to headache patients who have tried everything else. Dr. Jaffer is the first physician in Fort Bend County and is one of two physicians in the Houston area to perform this procedure. A referral from a neurologist is required before proceeding to neuroplasty.
FBJSL and Sponsors to Create a Peaceful Holiday Market
hile visions of swimsuits and flip flops may be filling your head this summer, visions of hearts and peace signs are filling the dreams of Fort Bend Junior Service League (FBJSL) members as they plan the 12th annual Sugar Plum Market with the theme, “Peace, Love, Sugar Plum.” Presented by title sponsor Methodist Sugar Land Hospital and supported by the City of Stafford, the event will again be held at the Stafford Centre Performing Arts Theatre and Convention Center. The festive and groovy Market dates are Friday, November 2nd and Saturday, November 3rd, plus Preview Night the evening of Thursday, November 1st. Last year’s market raised a record $200,000 which was distributed to 15 local Fort Bend charities. The Sugar Plum Market committee appreciates the community’s role in its success and welcomes the continued support for the 2012 Market. “Trustmark Bank is honored to once again be a part of the Sugar Plum Market, which is such an important event that does
so much for our community,” said Travis Van Horn of Trustmark Bank. Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities range from $250 to $5,000 with a variety of benefits suited to both individuals and businesses. In addition to the Sugar Plum Market’s title sponsor, Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, top sponsors to date include City of Stafford, Pamela Printing,
Fidelity Investments-Sugar Land, Focus on Women and Trustmark Bank. For information on sponsorship opportunities or vendors, please visit www.sugarplummarket.com or call 281-636-6272. Individual tickets are $10 and will be available for purchase September 1st. Preview Night tickets are $60 each and also available beginning September 1st.
Kaelyn Bujnoch and Leena Taneja, Methodist Sugar Land Hospital; Jamie Hill and Ann Smith, Pamela Printing; Rebecca Hathorn, Stafford Centre; Haley Millis and Susanne Hiegel, Sugar Plum Market Co-Chairs; Laura Thompson, FBJSL President; Stephanie Van Horn, Sugar Plum Market Co-Chair; Ryan Davis, Fidelity Investments; Patti Parish-Kaminski, Focus on Women and Travis Van Horn, Trustmark Bank. August / September 2012 l
August 1 – 19: Steel Magnolias. Now an iconic film, Steel Magnolias was first an Off-Broadway play that tells the bittersweet story of southern women’s friendship, compassion and grit. The play centers on the women who gather at a beauty shop for a wedding and the ups and downs of their sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, life events over the next three years. Their light hearted humor even in the face of tragedy conveys the ability of southern women to be delicate as magnolias and tough as steel. Wednesdays & Thursdays, 7:30 pm Fridays and Saturdays, 8 pm Sundays, 3 pm Stages Reparatory Theatre www.stagestheatre.com
August 17 – 18: Comedy Sportz Houston Annual School Supply Drive Benefiting West Houston Assistance Ministries. Receive $2 off ticket prices for Comedy Sportz by reserving tickets and committing to bring school supplies for the West Houston Assistance Ministries which helps Houston and Alief school districts have an easier start to the school year. Comedy Sportz is Houston’s longest running interactive, competitive improv show. It focuses on clean hilarity and so is good for comedy fans of all ages. Friday & Saturday, 8 & 10:30 pm Comedy Sportz Houston www.comedysportzhouston.com
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september 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
September 1 – 30: Best of Brahms’ Work. Explore the timeless work of Johannes Brahms, composer and pianist, with the Houston Symphony as Conductor Hans Graf explores the dramatic, exhilarating Romantic period. Thursday, Saturday & Sunday, 8 pm Friday, 2:30 pm Jones Hall www.houstonsymphony.com
September 25 – 30: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Experience the magical and heartwarming Disney film and Broadway masterpiece that has become an international sensation. Featuring the hit film’s Academy Award winning score with additional songs with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Tim Rice, the show tells the tale of Belle, a smart young woman who is forced to live with the Beast, who is really a prince trapped in a monster’s body. Unless he learns to love and be loved he will remain in that form forever, but can Belle learn to love him? Tuesday – Thursday, 7:30 pm Friday & Saturday, 8 pm Saturday, 2 pm Sunday, 1 & 7:30 pm The Hobby Center www.thehobbycenter.org
Photo courtesy of www.thehobbycenter.org.
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the last word I
By Tanya Sterling
The Future is NOW
Grandparents lovingly step in as needed when parents are overworked, ill and overwhelmed.
focus on women
s a mom, have you ever wondered what kind of grandmother you would be? If you are already at that stage in your life, are you the grandmother you dreamed of being? For many of us with small kids and teens, the very thought of becoming a grandmother is in the far and distant future. My goodness, we are already busy with our children, spouses, activities, friends, family and trying to keep our house quasi-clean. However, this thought has fascinated me for a while now so let’s explore it together. My husband and I occasionally have conversations that go something like this: Me: “I wonder where Leah and Ryan (our two kids) will eventually live and raise their family?” J: “It will be interesting to see, yep.” Me: “Well, wherever it is, we are going to get a second home in that vicinity no matter where.” J: “Why would we do that?” Me: “So we can actively help out with the grandkids, you know – chauffeur them to their activities, babysit and spend lots of time with them.” J: “We are not buying second homes near both of the kids, T. They may live in opposite sides of the US or even overseas. We can visit them and help out per their parent’s request.” Me: “I get that, J., but I want to be the best, hands-on, involved grandma I can be. Those kids will love hearing all of the family stories and memories that we will have created by then and busy parents always appreciate a helping hand. We are those busy parents today, after all.” At this point, my calm hubby just smiles, shakes his head and continues on with his day. I know why I am like this, I was not fortunate enough to have active, healthy, hands-on grandparents due to death, illness plus living in different countries. I also know of other women who never experienced having those lovey dovey grandparents due to family conflicts and ongoing tensions. Whatever the reasons, I do not have those memories but sure want my own grandkids to positively experi-
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ence their grandparents ... who would be us! So, I am always checking out grandparents as they volunteer in the schools, frolic in the park with their grandchildren and take them on various outings. I have watched television programs about grandparents lovingly stepping in as needed when parents are overworked, ill and overwhelmed. As much as I have observed, I have made the following determinations: • As a grandmother, I will help out their parents as they need and as much as I realistically can. Yes, we will be the grandparents that • take our grandbabies on summer trips. I want them to have clear, positive memories of us. Yes, I’ll babysit and yes, I’ll need to have a • few articles of clothing kept at our home. Obviously, I have thought about this whole “when/if I am a grandmother” topic. Here are a few reasons why: • Exposure to grandparents allows grandkids to respect the continuity of life. Not only do they develop a healthy respect for elderly individuals, they get to see how we interact, socialize and even tend to our parents’ health needs. Grandparents get to stay active as well! • They get to know the personalities of their grandchildren while running around with them, traveling with them or just spending time with their younger generation. As parents, we are constantly nurturing, • disciplining and teaching our kids. While the kids are with their grand parents, we can mentally and physically relax while knowing that our precious babies are being cared for and nourished with, hopefully, some those same values we have instilled in them. So, as I enjoy my own young kids in this specific season of life, I will continue loving on them, teaching them life lessons and exposing them to various positive aspects of life. After all, I am not only prepping for my role as a momma of successful, productive adults, I am also prepping myself as an active grandma whose life will be enhanced with grandbabies way, way, way in the hazy, distant future. Cheers to now, and cheers to our futures!
Join us for
Pretty in Pink Town Square Presented by
Kelly Dempsey, M.D. and Sandra Templeton, M.D. in partnership with Methodist Sugar Land Hospital and the Fort Bend Junior Service League
October 19, 2012 6-9 p.m. Sugar Land Town Square
Light up Town Square Pink at sundown to honor all cancer survivors. Pretty in Pink – Town Square is a charity event for the entire family. 100% of the proceeds from Pretty in Pink will stay within our community to assist patients with the personal costs associated with fighting cancer.
Keynote Speaker: Gail Parker, Breast Cancer Survivor Pink Fire Truck Live Music Moonwalk Face Painting Magician Balloon Artist
Go to MethodistSugarLand.com and click “Pretty in Pink _Town Square” This ad generously donated by Fort Bend Focus on Women Magazine.
Thank You to Our Sponsors Kelly Dempsey, M.D. & Sandra Templeton, M.D. Texas Spine and Neurosurgery TNT Dynamite Sugar Land Vein Specialists Pierre Chevray, M.D., Ph.D. Consolidated Home Health Houston Radiology Associated Methodist Orthopaedic Specialists of Texas Renew Laser and Skin GHA Colorectal Surgical Associates Richmond Gastroenterology Associates Sugar Land Colon and Rectal Clinic Stephen Phillips, M.D. Advance Oncology Charles Conlon, M.D. Clive Shkedy, M.D. Sugar Land OB/GYN Sugar Land Oncology Sugar Land Pulmonary Associates Uttam Tripathy, M.D. & Imran Mohiuddin, M.D. Turner Construction Company
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