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Senior Outlook Larchmont Chronicle

JuLY 2013

MODEL T FORD carried Marilyn and Wayne Thomas throughout Europe.

POKER strategies.




ExERCISE venues.




July 2013


Larchmont Chronicle

Senior Outlook 2013

Poker keeps you young, just ask engineering wiz George Epstein By Suzan Filipek George Epstein has taught engineering courses at UCLA and for NASA, and he developed military defense systems for the Air Force, Navy and Army. These days he's become a master at poker. After giving a talk on the merits of the game, he was asked to teach at the Claude Pepper Senior Center in 2005. “Gee, what a great idea,” he recalls thinking at the time. “I had no idea it was going to work out like this. It’s just incredible,” the 86-year old area resident said of his classes' 250 membership. "He's the pioneer behind all of this," recreation facility director Gregory Glenn said on a recent Friday afternoon

THIRD book on the game is in the works, says poker maestro George Epstein, left with assistants Pat Box and Shirley Tye.

when the center is packed with some serious players. Studies have shown activity keeps you young. It keeps the

brain's synapses firing, Epstein explains, adding none of his poker students have developed Alzheimer’s.

He refains from playing with his students. Instead he travels to area casinos. He tested his luck recently at Texas Hold ‘em till 2 a.m. at Hustler. “I couldn’t leave, I was winning,” he smiles. He started playing cards as a child when he helped his dad deliver laundry in a Boston suburb. During World War II, stationed in Virginia on a destroyer, he played to pass the time. He was also head of radar, and became a hero on the ship, when he found the cause of recurrent failures. He finished his graduate studies at MIT, and in 1991 he retired from engineering management at The Aerospace Corp., when he considered a second career. Poker was in-

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teresting and challenging, so the answer was simple. He wrote his first book, “Poker for Winners,” and, fol-

FRIDAY GAMES draw a crowd at Claude Pepper Center.

lowing some wrangling at the city, started teaching. Some people think it’s gambling, he explained. Critical requirements It is a game of chance, but, like real estate hinges on “location, location, location,” poker’s “three critical requirements are patience, patience and patience.” He takes notes and sizes up his opponents’ body language. “It gives you an edge." He wins 70 percent of the time, folding five out of six hands. Starting cards are key, as is the game’s algorhythm; he even wrote a book about it. His third book is on the art of bluffing, inspired by his now 17-year old granddaughter. A multi-award winner, his most recent honor was being named a fellow with the Society of Plastic Engineers. Last year he was elected to the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame, and he consulted on U.S. drones in the Middle East. Early on he thought making $10,000 a year would be the key to happiness. As the years passed, and he eventually led a department with 100 physicists, chemists and lab assistants, he found money was not as important as giving back more than he received. He started a scholarship program at Fairfax High in his and his late wife’s name, Irene, 17 years ago. “She believed every kid should have the opportunity for higher education.” And, he plays his favorite game with war vets at the CalVet facility in West L.A. You can’t beat poker, he says. Claude Pepper Senior Center is at 1762 S. La Cienega Blvd. George Epstein's poker classes are limited to 20 students and meet on Fridays from 1:30 to 4 p.m. The next session is scheduled in the fall. Call 310-559-9677.

Larchmont Chronicle

July 2013



Senior Outlook 2013

Women can get fit, learn self defense at Circle 50 Club By Laura Eversz Women 50 and older who enroll in a new program at the Moo Sool Won School can earn a black belt in kung fu after only two years. Nece Strudwick, a white (or beginner) belt in the martial art, came up with the idea for the Circle 50 Club. “The 50s are a very important decade for us as women,” she said. “The Black Belt Program will fulfill the fitness, emotional and spiritual needs of these woman.” Teaching the class will be Grand Master Ari Moon, an 8th degree black belt, along with Master Beth Bueno, 65, who took up Kung Fu at age 54, and is now a 4th degree black belt in kung fu. Bueno, who lives on Fourth Ave., believes the discipline is the key to youth and longevity. “There’s no reason the body should go downhill with the right rest, proper nutrition, correct exercise and a good frame of mind. “Being a part of Circle 50 will allow women to empower themselves by getting in good health—in mind, body and spirit—as well as teach them to defend themselves.” The Korean classical and Chinese martial art using fluid movements of the hands and legs can prevent or eliminate problems often associated with aging, such as fatigue,

weakness, heart problems and liver dysfunction, said Bueno. “The main reason I began kung fu was to handle the start of arthritis in my hands and wrists, as well as old ankle injuries,” said Bueno. “Kung fu targets the joints, making them very flexible.” Today, Bueno says she is arthritis-free and has a healthy, flexible, 35-year-old body. “My mind is fast and clean. Spiritually, I am calm and at peace. I don’t need to worry about life and the future, as it will be great.” An introductory class including a fitness test will be offered at an open house at the School at 1149 Crenshaw Blvd. on Sat., July 27 from 9 to 11 a.m.For more information, call 323-857-1234.

GRAND MASTER Ari Moon, left, demonstrated the eagle pose to attendees at a recent introductory class for women over 50 at the Moo Sool Won School. At center is class organizer Nece Strudwick; at right, Master Beth Bueno.

Service finds best living for seniors Which is the best alternative for an aging relative? Compassionate Senior Solutions is a free service that will find a home for seniors in active, independent living facilities, assisted living communities or board and care homes. Sandra Heller began the service five years ago to help families shop for the best place for their relatives.                          She works one-on-one with seniors and their families by learning more about the specific needs and budget for each individual before making recommendations. Heller also accompanies families on community tours and acts as an advocate on their behalf. Call her at 818-687-8885.

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July 2013


Larchmont Chronicle

Senior Outlook 2013

Widowhood: how to prepare and how to cope afterwards few decades of their marriage, her husband handled all the financial duties of the marriage. “In the early days of our marriage, I would ask about what bills we paid, and his answer was ‘you don’t need to know.’ “I know he was trying to spare me from dealing with finances, but it’s wise to know what bills are to be paid, and to have cars’ pink slips, the

deed to the house, bank accounts and insurance in both your names,” she said. And know where these documents are, she added. “We updated our will, and decided on funeral arrangements.” It’s also necessary to know your spouse’s medical history in case he is unconscious or otherwise unable to talk when first brought to a hospital.

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She credited her banker and attorney for their tremendous help after her husband died. “There is so much of the paper work involved, it can be overwhelming.” Appreciated friends’ support Mary Wilson is a realist. She knows death comes to everyone, so she and her late husband Lloyd prepared for it. Lloyd had been ill for more than a year, and died in 2010, a few months before their 53rd wedding anniversary. “We had talked about final wishes for each other long before Lloyd was ill,” Mary said. discussed burial “We plans—if we wanted religious services, how to dispose of possessions, who would be the executor and other related topics.” In her job as a travel agent, she and Lloyd had traveled all over the globe. Mary had her friends scatter Lloyd’s ashes in 25 different locations around the world. “It’s a comfort to know he is in places where we shared wonderful memories.” She joined a bereavement group soon after her husband’s death. “I think it’s important to share your feelings, and we

learn from each other.” Mary was grateful for the kind gestures from her friends. “It was very comforting.” As a single, she is making a new life for herself. This included selling her Brookside house and moving to Park La Brea. It also meant finding new activities such as painting. She also is taking trips, mainly with Overseas Adventure Travel group. Now that she’s alone, Mary said it’s important not to be afraid to ask for people’s help—even if it’s just to a change a light bulb.

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Plan ahead. That’s the advice a Windsor Square widow gave us. Requesting anonymity, she was emphatic that she and her husband have documents in both names. She was able to prepare ahead, because her husband had been ill for five years since a stroke left him somewhat disabled. She recalled that in the first

Larchmont Chronicle

July 2013



Senior Outlook 2013

Couple see the world from their touring Model T Ford New Zealand in 2009. There, they joined a touring club for an excursion of the north and south islands in 2009. “We arrived shortly after their devastating earthquake,” said Wayne. However, their

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INSTEAD OF A speeding ticket, a New Zealand cop gave Wayne Thomas a lesson in kilometers vs. miles per hour after being pulled over for speeding in his 1931 Ford Deluxe Roadster.

breaking down can lead to fun. “In Pisa, our radiator boiled over, and we had to stop right in front of the tower. The cops were telling us we had to move, but people were so excited they were coming out of restaurants to give us water and take pictures.” Another time they stopped in front of what they thought was a café for a cup of coffee, only to learn it was part of the biggest ham packing plant in Spain. “They took us for a tour of the plant, and we took them for a ride in the car,” remem-

bers Marilyn. The couple was hooked, and signed up for a month-long tour of Northern Italy in 2006. A third trip, in 2008, included the Netherlands, Belgium Luxembourg, France and Germany. “We picked up people for rides, got invited to castles. That’s the kind of stuff that happens, and it’s really exciting,” said Marilyn. The Thomases also have a 1931 Ford Deluxe Roadster convertible, complete with a rumble seat, which they shipped to

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By Laura Eversz When Wayne and Marilyn Thomas purchased an unrestored 1913 Model T Ford, Touring Model in 1980, little did they know they’d someday drive it throughout Europe. But the retired Windsor Square couple—she a teacher, he the owner of a package design business—did just that after joining the Model T Ford Club of Southern California. Restoration of the car was complete in 2003, and the following year they joined several other Model T owners who shipped their cars to Europe for a four-week tour throughout Portugal and Spain. Travelling in groups of about 20 cars, a back-up “trouble truck” carries parts and tires. Because the cars only have 20 horsepower, “we avoided main roads and freeways and instead took side roads, mountain roads and cut through little towns,” said Wayne. “We quickly learned that the driver had better well equip himself with sufficient tools and spare parts in order to stay on the road,” he added. But if you ask Marilyn,

trip was not deterred. “The weather was outstanding as were the sights, food and people,” he recalls. And, don’t forget the cops, interjects Marilyn, who gleefully recounts an incident there. “We’re zooming along (Please turn to page 19)


July 2013


Larchmont Chronicle

Senior Outlook 2013

Bud Rice shares his D-Day experiences as pilot of a C-47 plane By Jane Gilman It was 69 years ago that Julian “Bud” Rice was piloting a plane to drop paratroopers near the French town of

St. Mere Eglise as part of the D-Day invasion of France on June 7, 1944. But the Hancock Park resident remembers it as though

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old pilot during World War II. After receiving 18 months stateside of technical and academic training, he joined the 316th Troop Carrier Group in Sicily in late 1943. He was later assigned to an airfield in England, the departure point for the droplift of the 21 paratroop passengers on the night of June 5. His was one of 72 planes in the armada going to AIRMAN RECOUNTS missions. France to unload the airmen. Rice recalled aged to deliver the personnel heavy fog, which made the and supplies, and who avoided trip even more harrowing. His mid-air collisions in the fog, mission was to descend to 117 anti-aircraft flak and machine feet to drop his passengers. gun fire. To slow the C-47 plane, he re- The audience also heard leased the landing gear. lighter recollections, includ The Air Force veteran said ing buying lingerie in Paris the aerial invasion of Nor- on an unscheduled trip. Rice’s mandy was successful, and he talk was arranged by Perry credits the pilots, navigators, Bowers, Tom Lockett and and crews of C-47s and gliders Chuck Davis. The emcee was who, for the most part, man- Phil Bartenetti.

Boone, 103, feted at Belmont party “I don’t drink, I live life in moderation. My life has been great, and I look forward to each and every day.” That is Ashley Boone’s recipe for a long life. The 103-year-old was recently feted at a birthday party at Hollywood Belmont Village with daughter, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Highland Ave., and other relatives and friends. Boone was born while Teddy Roosevelt was president. He served in World War II, worked for the U.S. Post Office and has been widowed twice. He is the father of four, grandfather of six, and great-grandfather of six. “Dad is always in great spirits and is in good health. He enjoys drives around Los Angeles, from the beach to the mountains and especially loves the views from Griffith Observatory," said Cheryl.

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Larchmont Chronicle

July 2013



Senior Outlook 2013 of gifts from loved ones that you only still have with you because a certain person gave it to you. Let someone else enjoy things that you really don’t want. Grandmother’s sofa in the garage can go, what good

is it doing collecting dust? Give yourself time and start the downsizing process before you even think about moving. This way you can work at your own pace. Even if you never move, by cutting the excess

you will find new freedom in your home and personal life. Chris McKenry, a professional organizer, heads Get It Together LA. Call 323-5712134 or

SCALING DOWN. Client went from a 5,000 square foot home to 500 square feet in as assisted living community. His new home still has the feel and comfort of the family home he left.

Moving to smaller home requires right decisions By Chris McKenry Guest columnist Downsizing a home happens for many reasons and can be a positive experience. Over the years we are fortunate enough to acquire a lifetime of memories, and with those most often we have treasures associated with each memory. But stuff can bury us alive. It can be difficult to find items when they are buried under other items that may be of value even if they are not used. Once that is realized, downsizing is much easier. After years of helping others downsize, I experienced my client’s anxieties as my family home was sold back east. In the same week, I inherited my brother and sister-in-law’s home after their passing. In a week’s time I planned a funeral, de-cluttered my brother’s home for staging and sold it at auction with my family home which was next door. While going through the house, everything brought back so many memories. The process moved swiftly as I kept a few items that had special meaning. I know family friends thought I must be crazy for moving so fast, but there was so much to do and I needed to get back to Los Angeles to both mourn and move forward. As a professional organizer, I know you can’t move forward while holding onto the

past. I paused many times and chuckled how my colleagues would be amazed at my hesitation to let go at times, and shed a few tears realizing it was just stuff that others could enjoy and use more than me. Liquidating an estate after a loved one’s passing may not be the same as downsizing to a more manageable home in our senior years. It may be to just a smaller, more convenient home that is easier to manage, or to an independent or assisted living community. Moving is always an opportunity to shed things long forgotten and find forgotten treasures that can have new meaning. Less space means less room for furniture and storage. Give yourself permission to let go

Tai chi found to curb depression, prevent falls Researchers from UCLA recently found depressed seniors who practiced tai chi weekly experienced more improvement in their symptoms than those treated with medication. They also reported improved memory and cognition, energy level and quality of life. The American Geriatrics Society suggests the meditative exercise to improve strength, gait and balance. It also helps reduce fear of falling as well as actual risk of falling.


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July 2013


Larchmont Chronicle

Senior Outlook 2013

Dancing, bingo, poker, films on calendars at centers Explore keeping mind, body and spirit limber at neighborhood senior centers. Claude Pepper Senior Citizens Center

1762 S. La Cienega Blvd. 310-559-9677 A Parkinson’s support group, 55 Alive driver’s course

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Explore how a growing Jewish community settled, prospered, and helped shape the economy, politics, and culture of a city——and how the diversity and dynamism of Los Angeles have transformed the local Jewish community for the past 160 years.

Also available are beginning tap, line dancing and quilting. Pinochle, bridge and poker are played on a daily basis. Call for schedule. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Freda Mohr Senior Center 330 N. Fairfax Ave. 323-937-5900 Operated by Jewish Family Service of L.A., the Freda Mohr Senior Center’s programs include case management, holocaust survivor support, hot lunches, home-delivered meals, transportation, the LIFE Program at Park La Brea and caregiver support groups. Also available are classes on knitting and crochet, gait and balance, singing, theater and nutrition. Movies are shown on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. and Wednesdays at 1:45 p.m. Bridge is played on Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. There is a Shabbat party every Friday at 1 p.m., and other programs include a Purim celebration, Passover seder, Hanukah swing dance and Roshshana senior program. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hollywood Senior Center 1360 N. St. Andrews Pl. 323-957-3900 Now a part of St. Barnabas Senior Services, the center has redesigned its services and schedule. A library and computer lab are available, as well as classes on computer literacy and commercial acting. Other activities are free movie matinees, an Hispanic club, chorus, bridge, bingo and poker. Seniors may also take advantage of free health screenings and hot lunches, which are served at eight satellite locations including Triangle Square at 1601 N. Irving and the Las Palmas Senior Center at 1820 N. Las Palmas. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pan Pacific Senior Activity Center 141 S. Gardner St. 323-935-5705

ST. BARNABAS has many activities including this cardmaking art class.

Bingo, hot lunches, art, crafts, card playing and a free computer lab are all available at the Pan Pacific Senior Activity Center. Exercise classes, ping-pong table and gym are also accessible. The computer lab is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bingo is on Wednesdays from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Hours are Mon. through Fri., 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. St. Barnabas Senior Services 675 S. Carondelet St. 213-388-4444 Movies, art workshops, tai chi, zumba, Wii games, fall prevention, Korean ESL, evidenced-based workshops and other activities are on the calendar at St. Barnabas Senior Services. Also accessible is an adult daycare across the street as well as case management services, a library, hot lunches, transportation for shopping trips, medical visits and fun outings. A cyber café has computers programmed in more than 200 languages where seniors may access classes on computer literacy. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The adult day care hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Westside Jewish Community Center 5870 W. Olympic Blvd. 323-556-5231 A literature group, actors workshop, movie screenings and world affairs discussion group are some activities at the WJCC. Concerts are given by the senior dance band and the chorus also performs.

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Larchmont Chronicle

July 2013



Senior Outlook 2013 In the landscape section, a freeway painting hangs alongside a Hmong quilt. Inside movement, a Frederic Remington sculpture joins David Levinthal polaroids of plastic toy cowboys riding the plains. There is a wall of 19th cen-

tury landscapes hung floorto-ceiling salon style and an intimate gallery with works by photographers of Yosemite post-Ansel Adams. Basketweaving workshop Several events will be held in conjuction with the ex-

hibit’s inaugural year. Master basketweaver Rachel Hess (Miwok and Paiute) leads a cradleboard-making workshop on Sat., July 13. The Autry is at 4700 Western Heritage Way. Visit

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POLAROID by David Levinthal from his Wild West Series, 198789, at the new galleries at the Autry National Center.

After 25 years, the Autry National Center is redesigning its galleries starting with the “Art of the West” exhibition which opened last month. More than 100 pieces in the collection include leatherwork, basketry, textiles, ceramics, glass, metalwork, wood, jewelry and video. There is a 14-foot-tall crucifix, a Victorian velvet dress, and works by Native peoples from California to the Great Plains shown alongside those by Spanish colonial artists,

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Romantic-era painters, modernists, and contemporary artists. “We have an extraordinary opportunity to reach across art historical boundaries to discover what connects artists of different generations and origins,” says W. Richard West, Jr., president and CEO, Autry National Center. The works—from many places and times—are intermingled around themes of religion, landscape, migration and movement.

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Couple sees world from Model T (Continued from page 15) and I’m looking at signs that have a circle with a slash through it that says ‘60’ when a cop pulls up behind us. He says to Wayne, ‘do you know you’re going over 60?’ and Wayne smiles and says ‘Oh, I didn’t know this car could go so fast.’” After making sure Wayne understood that the 60 was in kilometers, and that he was way over the speed limit, “they had a nice visit about the cars touring New Zealand,” said Marilyn. Through touring clubs, “we have met some really fun, lowkey, adventurous people,” said Marilyn. “It’s very casual… it’s not ‘car-showing’ spiffed up au-

tomobiles. They’re travel cars and they’re really beautiful.” So beautiful, in fact, that the Thomases—who have five children and eight grandchildren—used the cars for their daughters’ weddings. Upcoming adventures are closer to home and include Yellowstone Park and Mt. Rushmore in September and a host of shorter-three-to-four day trips, said Wayne. “We’re getting old, so we haven’t been to Europe lately,” adds Marilyn, who like her husband, is in her early 70s. But not too old, apparently, to discuss resurrecting a postponed tour of Russia. “We’ll see,” said Marilyn.

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Western art rides into the 21st century at Autry exhibit


July 2013


Larchmont Chronicle

Senior Outlook 2013

Brain ball, water aerobics, Wii offer fun ways to stay active, get fit Keep active with water aerobics, brain ball, chair exercises, zumba, Wii games and many other fun physical pursuits at centers in the neigh-

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Ping pong, gait and balance classes and arthritis exercise classes are offered at Freda Mohr. Gait and balance workshops

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are held on Mondays at 11 a.m. and noon and Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. Ping pong takes place on Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. Arthritis exercises are on Mondays at 3:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 12:30 p.m. Westside Jewish Community Center 5870 W. Olympic Blvd. 323-556-5231 Water aerobics, stretch and strengthen and balance and mental challenge classes are available at Westside Jewish Community Center. Senior water aerobics are Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. Strengthen and stretch classes are Mondays and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. Balance challenge workshops are Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m., and brain ball classes are offered Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and Fridays at 10:30 a.m. Pan Pacific Senior Activity Center 141 S. Gardner St. 323-935-5705 Basketball, ping pong and a gym with treadmills, elliptical

machines and stationary bicycles are available to anyone ages 50 and over at Pan Pacific Senior Activity Center. Yoga classes are Mondays and Wednesdays at 9 a.m., with yoga ball classes on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. Older adult fitness classes are Mondays and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. Strength training with bands is Tuesdays at 9 a.m. Hollywood Wilshire YMCA 1553 N. Schrader Blvd. 323-467-4161 Zumba, chair exercises, a gravity studio and Aquatics for Older Adults are some of the classes offered at the YMCA. A swimming pool and lap pool are both available for public use. Aqua Fit & Tone sessions are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. Aquatics for Older Adults classes are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m. Hollywood Senior Center 1360 N. St. Andrews Pl. 323-957-3900 (Please turn to page 21)

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Larchmont Chronicle

July 2013



Senior Outlook 2013

Practical tips for preparing 
for the loss of a spouse


deep by Dr. Rebecca Fitzgerald

Q: I’m older than many of my colleagues and not retiring anytime soon. How can I stay in the work force and still project a young energetic image? A: More people can relate to you than you can imagine. Baby boomers are aging but working as hard as ever. And with the economy in its current state, they’re remaining in their jobs and competing with younger coworkers. Meanwhile a Newsweek poll informs us that looks are valued over education in the workplace (though not over confidence or experience). So much for the not so good news. The great news is that there is a wealth of nonsurgical options that I can offer you that will keep your face looking fresh and your incredibly valuable confidence as high as it should be. In a nutshell, this is an ideal time to be maturing! The first step is Botox or Dysport, to smooth those parallel lines between your brows that make you look tired and cranky at work (even when you’re not). They can also minimize crows feet, lift a drooping mouth and smooth vertical bands on your neck. Injectable fillers, such as Juvederm, Sculptra, and Radiesse work their subtle magic to restore lost volume at cheeks, temples, lips and around the mouth, and under the eyes - all giveaways of aging. We’ve also recently seen some facelift-rivaling results with a few new skin-tightening devices; Ulthera and eMatrix. With minimal downtime you get smoother tighter skin, more even tone, reduced lines and wrinkles, and increased collagen production. To keep your skin in its best condition, periodic IPL’s (Intense Pulsed Light), also called Photo Facials, will remove age spots, freckles, and broken capillaries and simultaneously increase collagen production. Your work experience is uniquely yours. But I see helping you feel your best about your appearance and confidence as my job. It’s what drew me to this profession and what keeps me coming to work. Dr. Rebecca Fitzgerald is a Board Certified Dermatologist Located in Larchmont Village with a special focus on anti-aging technology. She is a member of the Botox Cosmetic National Education Faculty and is an international Training Physician for Dermik, the makers of the injectable Sculptra. She is also among a select group of physicians chosen to teach proper injection techniques for Radiesse, the volumizing filler, around the world. Dr. Fitzgerald is an assistant clinical professor at UCLA. Visit online at www.RebeccaFitzgeraldMD. com or call (323) 464-8046 to schedule an appointment. Adv.

myself,” says Zirkelbach, who had spent so many nights the previous year at hospitals with her husband Ralph, who died not long after being diagnosed with leukemia. “I picked up the phone and there was no dial tone. If the phone was dead, Ralph’s voice would be gone forever.” Through her panicked daze, after having sunk to the floor with her spirits, she realized the phone jack was unplugged. She plugged it in and heard his voice one more time through the answering machine. It would be the first thing she fixed around the house without Ralph’s help in decades. “There were many moments like that in the year after his death. One of the things I had to learn was to find help from many people, whereas for most of my adult life I had the help of many in one man,” says Zirkelbach, author of “Stumbling Through the Dark,” a memoir about an interfaith couple facing one of life’s greatest spiritual challenges. Loving couples wince at the thought of losing their spouse and may even deny the idea despite a terminal medical diagnosis, but accepting the possibility helps in preparing for the years that follow, says

Zirkelbach. She offers the following tips for doing that: Saying goodbye Consider the best way for all loved ones to say good-bye. Ralph’s family comes from an evangelical Christian background, whereas Thelma is Jewish. Memorial services are designed for the surviving family and friends, and Zirkelbach held a service at her synagogue, which was filled with friends and colleagues. “Make sure you do all you can to best say goodbye in your own way, which may include your religion or some other ritual,” she says. Take stock Take stock of the necessary services you’ll need to replace. In many ways, Ralph was an old-fashioned Midwesterner who was a handyman around the house, moved heavy boxes, dispensed with unwanted critters like cockroaches, and acted as a one-man security system. He also provided smaller services in which a companion can help, such as fastening necklaces. Since Ralph’s death nearly eight years ago, Thelma has hired her current handyman, air conditioning technician, accountant, financial advisor and attorney. Accept support No matter how independent you are, accept the fact that you may need emotional sup-

port. Soon after her husband’s death, Zirkelbach joined a support group for widows and widowers and found solace in the company of others who had loved and lost. At one point, the group leader connected with members by saying they were blessed to have loved someone enough to mourn them. “His statement turned grief on its head,” she says. Nurture spiritual life

Nurture your spiritual life. “I have become ‘more Jewish’ during my widowhood,” said Zirkelbach. “When I was a child, Judaism was part of the background of my life, like the Muzak you hear in elevators but don’t really listen to.” Now, however, religion has moved to the forefront of her life, and she adds she is thankful for the strength her faith has given her. “Yes, in spite of loss, I have still found joy in living,” she says.

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Senior Fitness

(Continued from page 20) A gym with exercise equipment and fitness classes offer a variety of options for anyone ages 50 and over at Hollywood Senior Center, now part of St. Barnabas. An Arthritis Foundation exercise program is offered Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Wii exercise games are on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. St. Barnabas Senior Services 675 Carondelet St. 213-388-444 Tai chi, Wii sports, fall prevention, line dancing and zumba are offered. First timers need to make an appointment for a fitness assessment and orientation. Tai chi is Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8:30 a.m. Wii games are Mondays at 9 a.m. and run throughout the week. Zumba classes are on Mondays at 1 p.m. and Thursdays at 2:30 p.m. Fall prevention classes are on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. An arthritis exercise class is on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. Strength training is on Wednesdays at 1 p.m.

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July 2013


Larchmont Chronicle

Senior Outlook 2013

Gardens, libraries, music are topics on social calendar The Garden Conservancy came to town on May 10. The national organization that works with visionary gardeners and community leaders to

preserve some of the country’s most beloved flora began the day early at the Ebell of Los Angeles with a seminar on “The Splendor and Purpose of

Persian Design.” An impressive array of lecturers included archaeologist and historian Patrick  Hunt; Islamic art and textile expert  Walter Denny,

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landscape architect, Christy Edstrom O’Hara and California tile expert Cristi Walden.      At tea time Suzanne Rheinstein hosted the speakers and friends in the garden of her Windsor Blvd. home.  Among those enjoying wine, teas and sandwiches were Joseph Merrick, Jennifer Fain, Suz Landay, Patty Lombard and the Garden Conservancy’s director of education, Jenny Andrews. *** Alexandria  House’s fifth annual luncheon continued its series “WomenSpeak,” highlighting stories of significant  women of our time. Attorney and religious leader Simone Campbell, organizer of “Nuns On The Bus” who delivered the unforgettable salvo on behalf of the Affordable Care Act at the 2012 Democratic Convention, wowed the sold-out event. Among the crowd who also dined on chicken breast and chocolate moose tortes were Catheryn Brockett, Barbara Marcus, Cynthia Comsky, Nicole Perkins, Cassie Nelson, Marion Plato, Pavlina Moskalykova, Michele McMullin, Jackie Kruse, Maria Botham, Cindy Chupack, Nancy Berlin, Alexandria House board chair Caroline Fitzgerald,  and founder

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and director of Alexandria House, Judy Vaughan. Proceeds will provide funds for the organization’s successful transitional housing program for women and their children. *** City librarian of Los Angeles, John F. Szabo invited the Council of the Library Foundation to a special event at the

Around the Town with

Patty Hill Main Library in May. Members and their guests viewed rare treasures from a special collection of maps, botanical art and rare historic posters. Attendees moved next door for lunch to the California Club where  Jil Baldauf, chairman of this year’s literary dinners, revealed plans for the up-coming series  to be hosted in private homes across Los Angeles, each featuring  an acclaimed author. Attendees included  Council president Mary Beth Thomas, chairman Sharon Rising, Janna Harris and Central Library’s assistant vice president of advancement Jean Grant. (Please turn to page 23)


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