RAISING THE BAR LIFE AND LOVE IN THE SECOND ACT
JENNIFER MAXWELL, FOUNDER OF JAMBAR
NORTH BAY 50+ LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE | PUBLISHED BY THE BOHEMIAN AND PACIFIC SUN
EAST BAY & NORTH BAY
YOU ONLY HAVE
2022 NORTH BAY
HEART-HEALTHY HAVOC Letter from the Editor 4 RETAIL THERAPY Estuary opens in Petaluma 5 THE SEXY QUINQUAGENARIAN Mid-life 10
THE BEAT GOES ON JAMBAR creator Jennifer Maxwell 20 SENIOR SUPPORT Vivalon’s Healthy Aging Campus 24 AGE IS JUST A NUMBER Youth is a state of mind 28
WALLFLOWERS Sarah Rodebaugh’s wallpaper creations 16
CEO & EXECUTIVE EDITOR Dan Pulcrano PUBLISHER Rosemary Olson EDITOR Daedalus Howell COPY EDITOR Suzanne Michel CONTRIBUTORS Jane Vick Michael Giotis Christian Chensvold COVER PHOTO Paige Green
PRODUCTION OPERATIONS MANAGER Sean George EDITORIAL PRODUCTION MANAGER Phaedra Strecher SENIOR DESIGNER Jackie Mujica ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Lisa Marie Santos OFFICE MANAGER Liz Alber ADVERTISING ACCOUNT MANAGERS Karen Klaber, Danielle McCoy, Mercedes Murolo, Lynda Rael
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THE BEAT goes on.
Have a Heart Mid-life crisis at 100 BPM
ometimes I get these wackadoodle letters to the editor complaining how I’m out of touch with certain segments of this magazine’s readership (read: those on the more autumnal end of the life cycle).
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Two notions simultaneously come to mind. First, I wish I had the free time to write letters to the editor that some of my readers apparently have. Second, I have a vague memory that the plot line of Herman Hesse’s novel Steppenwolf involves a man having an existential crisis on the eve of his 50th birthday. Since I never finished the book, I’m clearly not benefiting from its Jungian-steeped wisdom. I suppose I should open my heart, or at least my heart app, and welcome the wisdom of my elders. Perhaps that’s what my letter writers have been attempting to do all along—impart some much needed wisdom upon me. Ok, boomers, I’m here to learn. Make me wise beyond my jeers. —DAEDALUS HOWELL , EDITOR
PHOTO BY ALEXANDRU ACEA
Unfortunately for all of us, I’m not one to sigh, “Ok, boomer,” and call it a day. Like those Pantene shampoo commercials from the ’80s, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful,” hate me because I’m a confrontational personality enamored of courting controversy and liable to run a scorched earth campaign that leaves my professional reputation in tatters and
my Google search history proof that I'm a cyberstalker, a rogue intelligence agent with a grudge or both. Yes, I’m a B-movie subplot with wifi. Then I remember that my doctor encouraged me to lower my resting heart rate with meditation and an app that chides me for failing to do so. To wit, I think this recent editorial paroxysm broke my phone. So, here I go downshifting further in self-parody, lest my heart explode (though that’s cheaper to replace than a new phone). I admit that I'm on more of the “50” side than the “Up” side of our demo (see what I did there?). In fact, by the time these words print, I'll be staring down the barrel at my 50th birthday.
LOCATION Estuary is located in historic downtown Petaluma.
F April Frederick opens Estuary in downtown Petaluma BY JANE VICK
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PHOTO COURTESY OF ESTUARY
By the Water
ull of historic waterfront buildings and old factories converted into artist lofts and studios, Petaluma just keeps getting cuter. And in November 2021 a business joined the Petaluma waterfront that’s only upping the factor. Welcome to Estuary, a sustainable lifestyle brand providing quality, conscious home and garden goods. »»
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FAMILY The Frederick Sisters (from left), Andrea, Gabriella and April.
opened November 20th, so that was pretty tight. With that kind of an aggressive timeline, even though my background is in branding and marketing, I haven’t done a tone of marketing, it’s been more of a soft launch. We’ll do marketing in the spring. But the community has so embraced us.” The store fits seamlessly into Petaluma’s overall feel. Frederick has spent years here, and her goal has always been to open a store that she would want, that her family would want. The offering felt right, and as Frederick says, her products are additive to the other retailers in town. “I’m not trying to do the same thing as
the other fabulous retailers in town. I’m trying to do something slightly different, and I think it’s been well received. And we want to serve the community. Right now our demographic is about a 50/50 split of locals and people visiting from out of town, and we really want to make it clear that we’re here to serve the local community, providing them with things they need for their homes and gardens.” When Frederick says she does things different, she means a few things specifically. “For me doing things different is about making looking at what other vendors carry and making sure that I’m not carrying the same products. And I’m really looking at the sustainability »»
PHOTO BY MICHELLE PATTEE
Ower April Frederick has had this dream for a long time. “I’ve wanted to open a store in Petaluma forever. I moved here when I started college at Sonoma State and I’d spend ages walking around downtown, looking at every building. I always kept my eye on real estate—I always had the dream of opening a retail store, but it was never in the cards for me. First I was in college, then I had my son, then I spent years developing my business skills, working in brand management.” Frederick was the brand manager for Annie’s for six and a half years—the white cheddar mac and cheese is a must try— before moving to Amy’s Home Kitchen and then spending the last seven years with a company called Mommy’s Bliss. “I was working on my career and really understanding natural foods and sustainability, and still always in the background having this dream of one day owning my own store.” In the summer of 2021, the fates finally aligned. “The company I was working for had just sold,” said Frederick, “and a building became available downtown. It’s one of the most beautiful storefronts in Petaluma and the back opens right up to the river. We have skylights—it’s just a gorgeous spot. And it seemed like finally the right moment, for me and for Petaluma. So I did a little business planning, looked at my financials, and here we are.” Estuary opened their doors on November 20th, and Frederick says it’s hit her expectations, even though opening a business post 2020 obviously presents its challenges. “It was a fast opening, for one thing. I got the keys November 1st and we
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‘I’m really looking at the sustainability of our lines. Where are things manufactured, what materials are being used, and so on. We look at plastic use from any new sources, we review their supply chains. And we’re not perfect, we’re still learning and we will continue to learn. We’re always trying to do better in that way.’ — April Frederick ««
of our lines. Where are things manufactured, what materials are being used, and so on. We look at plastic use from any new sources, we review their supply chains. And we’re not perfect, we’re still learning and we will continue to learn. We’re always trying to do better in that way.” For Frederick, Estuary is about providing goods that will last a lifetime, not poorly-made fast fashion. It’s about longevity and quality both in material and design. “We don’t want to carry things that people are going to buy and throw away tomorrow, or things that are going to break. We really want our clothing to be a piece someone keeps for years, and mends if it gets torn. Bedding that people use for years. Nothing trendy, no impulse purchases.” Estuary has a wide variety of goods. “We have four sections: apothecary, home, gardening, and functional garments. One thing we pride ourselves on is that we have products for men as well, and a lot of couples struggle
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trying to buy their male partners gifts in town, though of course everyone can buy everything, we’re happy to have a wider variety of products. And we’re carrying bed linens, which nowhere else is. We have wool inserts from Sonoma Wool Company in Valley Ford, we have sustainable clothing brands, we have gardening tools including tools built specifically for women, who tend to be shorter and have smaller hands. We have outdoor furniture, local ceramics, large-scale plants—it’s a bit of everything you need for your home and Frederick is committed to stocking her store only with things she would want to own. “A lot of my time is spent looking at products, testing them out, bringing them home, making sure that they’ll work. I want to make sure the consumer will enjoy the product.” Though the business is owned by Frederick, her sisters actively participate. Her oldest sister Gabriela— who goes by Gabi—moved from Santa Barbara to manage the store, and
accompany Frederick to trade shows and act as a general sounding board. Andrea, the third sister, lives in town and comes in to help with window styling and final calls on products. “If Gab and I don’t agree on something we run it by her. I figure if two of us like it, it’s in, and if two of us don’t it’s out. It’s good to have three of us. And we all really specialize in different areas, which adds so much to the overall strength.” Sustainability and conscious living are at the core of Estuary, and Frederick wants her products to make sustainable practices feel approachable, rather than daunting. “We want to convey that you can start small with sustainability, and try to do the best you can. Don’t feel overwhelmed. We also give back 1% of all of our sales to the city of Petaluma— we really are invested in supporting this community. When we think of sustainability and sustainable business, we also think about supporting our local economy. And a sustainable business is also a business that supports our community, through our tax dollars, through supporting local artists, through supporting people who we employ, and that’s an important part of the business for me.” She chose the name to encapsulate the beauty of the water in Petaluma. Something that spoke to water, growth, sustainability, and movement. So much life happens in a tidal estuary, and in the water, that fresh, generative energy is what she aims to perpetuate in her store. Visit Frederick and her sisters in the store from 11-6 Monday through Sunday—shop is closed Tuesdays—and online at www.shopestuary.com
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Good Vibes Sex and Kink after 50 BY MICHAEL GIOTIS
“What kind of things are you processing right now?” I ask. “Lubricants and condoms,” she replies, wry tone. “That great old combo,” I add, straight faced “Yep, gotta have all that good stuff,” she smiles.
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If you travel along the 101 corridor in Sonoma County, you are bound to be familiar with the provocative billboard for Spice. The playfully sensual ads featuring handcuffs and the like are designed to get one thinking. And considering the prime placement along rush hour and weekend traffic, a lot of you have had a thought or two cruising past. Ever wonder what your partner next to you also thought? All you need to do is ask, experts I spoke with say. “Communication and negotiation are key components to pleasurable
BDSM play. This ensures partners have the chance, and responsibility, to express their desires and learn what is exciting for their partner(s). The rewards are increased intimacy, new experiences, and (often) giggles!” according to Dr Celina Criss, a private sex coach focused on sexual expression and BDSM. “BDSM” stands for Bondage, Domination, Sadism, Masochism for you “vanilla” folks. Wait, let’s rewind… Sexual self discovery often comes at a later stage in life. People entering their 50s — as I will in months — or »»
PHOTO COURTESY OF WOMANIZER TOYS
am standing in the back of Spice Sensuality Boutique in Rohnert Park watching assistant manager Sarah Hutchinson unpack and tag cases of product.
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Mature self-discovery might look like: playing with toys to bring one’s self to orgasm without guilt, exploring polyamory or swinging with your partner, learning what kinks turn you on and how to share in other’s kinky fantasies, and even just learning to talk openly about these things. ««
find themselves single or dating in their 60s+ face challenges, but also can become more open to explore and learn about themselves and their partners. Mature self-discovery might look like: playing with toys to bring one’s self to orgasm without guilt, exploring polyamory or swinging with your partner, learning what kinks turn you on and how to share in other’s kinky fantasies, and even just learning to talk openly about these things.
CARE FOR YOUR KINKY SELF “Kink is an excellent opportunity for sexual expression and connection at any stage of sexual maturity, but especially after 50,” Dr Criss noted in an email interview. “With a focus on intentional imbalances of power or control, sharing intense sensations, and the opportunity for role play, BDSM offers a wide variety of possibilities that don't depend on physical responses such as erection, lubrication, or stamina. BDSM isn't necessarily all whips and chains -- it can also be sensual and intellectual. Sometimes the mind games are the best part!”
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Mmm, mind games. Like that time your partner teased you over dinner but when you got home you took your loving revenge in the bedroom. Or kitchen. Workbench? For sure.
YOU DO YOU Of course, self-discoverers do not always have a partner. I ask Hutchinson, “What about somebody who is like, ‘Whoa, I’m 55 or 60 and I’m alone, what’s out there?’” It turns out, often these explorers are women. “We see a lot of women who come in and they’ve been married for most of their life and whether their partner has passed or moved on, they’re finally getting into self-discovery,” she says, adding, “[Many] haven’t got to experience a regular orgasim. They’ve just been used to getting what they’ve been given.” Literally. “It’s nice to see that they are more open to talking about it now, because it used to be very quiet, you know? People wouldn’t [discuss sex] much.” Given the possibility that we will repeat the response of the roaring 1920s to the 1919 flu pandemic and forge our own promiscuous decade, a whole new
world of possibilities could open up. For those of us finding ourselves in a new and later stage of life, this could be our chance to live the fantasy, when for the last 2 years, we’ve been living the nightmare. 50 miles south of Spice is the San Francisco institution — and my Valentine's Day go-to — Good Vibrations. I reached out to Dr Carol Queen, staff sexologist and curator of the unique and excite-frightening Antique Vibrator Museum to ask how sexual activity might look as things open up. While noting that we are living through a period of conservatism, “[the pandemic] has been such a shake-up that I'm sure there will be new explorers … and that absolutely includes over-50 folks,” said Queen. “There will be some divorced and widowed people who've had this on their bucket list; some couples who got adventurous during the pandemic and are waiting for more adventures to explore; and some who will really feel the hand of the passing years on their shoulder now and who will want to break out of their shells.” “In my time exploring Bay Area sexy culture, there have been over-50 folks everywhere,” she added. “I don't see that changing, although some of the older adventurers might wait a little longer in hopes of safer times.”
SEXY IS HEALTHY “Our sexual health is just as important as our mental health and plays a part in it,” says Hutchinson, after returning to our conversation after helping a threesome of customers browsing the prostate massagers, just past the riding crops and cheap enough to rip lingerie. “Seems connected to me…,” I ponder. »»
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“Right? So you’ve got to make sure you are taking care of everything,” says Hutchinson. And really it is as simple as that. We are sexual beings that require sex for our wellness. “We cater to everybody here. Anybody that wants to come in. We’re really comforting. We’re warm. We want to make sure it's a good experience for them,” said Hutchinson. Certainly the younger generations see Spice and Good Vibrations with a different eye than the “sex stores” that older generations grew up with, “when the adult store was a seedy bookstore and kinda, you know, low brow, creepy,” she reminds me. “Ohh, right. It was called Jay Bird in my hometown,” I remember with a laugh. What a name, “Jay Bird Books.” “Yeah you don’t want that association,” Hutchinson responds with an eye roll. “It doesn't need to be like that. That’s why [at Spice] it’s bright, it's welcoming. We want to know what you are looking for.” The whole approach at Spice is to give a safe and warm experience by “making sure the customer gets what they are looking for and help them discover.” I myself have been around the community for a long time and remember that at one time I had to, shy and a little sweaty, break into it. It is daunting. In fact “the community” is one of those insider terms that is going to scare off noobs. (Also, “noobs”). But there are beginner options for swinging, kink, and self-discovery. See the side panel for some places to start.
SAFETY Please remember to be safe. You may be past childbearing years, but sexually transmitted diseases see no age, as
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studies tracking the prevalence of STDs in nursing homes have shown. Nursing homes. Hot. Of course as with all internet connecting, whether a dating app, social media, or a kink hub, always take safety precautions. Meet anybody new to you in a safe public space, let others know where you will be, and when you can, do some research on the people you hope to play with.
ONLINE RESOURCES TO GET YOU OUT THERE: Bumble.com is a dating and hook-up site that puts women in control of connecting. That feels really safe. This site is very highly recommended by many users, who insist that the paid version is worth it. Fetlife.com Can be intense, but great for finding events. Pro Tip: a “Munch” is a casual, public group meet up for coffee or dinner. These are friendly, accepting gatherings that will be happy to have you. Free. Adultfriendfinder.com. I signed up (for your benefit folks!) and received messages within minutes. To see them, you’ll be asked to pay. Feels a little funky. Also, expect ye ole dick pics right from the home page. Still, many of the sources I spoke with mentioned this site first. Truepeoplesearch.com Use this site to verify a person's identity at no cost.
PHYSICAL PLACES TO CHECK OUT: Spice Sensuality Boutique. Friendly, fun, and inclusive. Female staff ready to help.
Omar Ruiz of TalkThinkThrive, a relationship-based counseling service, recommends Truepeoplesearch.com: “This site aggregates a lot of people's information … from social media [and] open chat room platforms.” If you are reading this article, you know dang well that time marches on. There is no better time for selfdiscovery than the present. Go get ‘em, tiger.
Good Vibrations hosts Sexual Health Outreach Workshops. Female led and inclusive. The Antique Vibrator Museum at Good Vibration Fillmore St location in San Francisco. ‘Nuff said.
LESS EXPLOITATIVE PORN: Deeper.com, a paid site that features female directors and a focus on women’s pleasure. Warning, if you last watched porn in the 80s, the average vid is a LOT more “hardcore” now. Not necessarily a bad thing. Lustery.com: Uploaded amateaur porn makes for more accessable vanilla sex experience. Some free access.
ALSO, LOCAL FLAVOR: Grab some Blossom Organics lubricant, formulated to be safe and natural, made right in Sonoma. Micheal Giotis is a heteroflexible poet, parent, and proud kinkster. Follow his work on Facebook or Instagram @ originalgiotis.
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Chronic Biophiliac Sarah Rodebaugh’s wallpapers show the elegance of cannabis BY JANE VICK
annabis—an ancient, complicated plant with myriad connotations. Illegal, dangerous, nefarious, medicinal, healing, sacred. Like any mindaltering substance, government regulation and cultural stigma have made a relationship with weed fraught. It’s hard to fathom that in a 1980 address to the nation—just 42 years ago—Ronald Reagan referred to marijuana as “the most dangerous dangerous drug in the United States” with “permanent ill-effects.”
CANNABIS DESIGNS The grace of the cannabis plant.
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PHOTO BY JANE VICK
Fortunately both for human wellness and in the name of accurate information, times and the American relationship with cannabis have changed. Across the country weed is being decriminalized and recognized as a helpful, multi-use plant that can easy anxiety, body pain, and more. The value of the plant is being highlighted
in entirely new ways, including, from Petaluma-based design company Chronic Biophiliac, its exceptional aesthetic beauty. Chronic Biophiliac, founded in 2020 by interior designer, mother, veteran, and all-around powerhouse Sarah Rodebaugh, is taking weed out of luridly-colored, trippy posters and bedspreads and putting it into graceful, dimensional wallpapers. Says Rodebaugh, of the decision and circumstances that lead to her founding Chronic Biophilic, which she often refers to as ChroBio, “Covid was a big part of how this happened. With my background in cannabis, and knowing that there was a big part of the cannabis industry that wasn’t being approached, plus the found time and the general shutdown, I started looking into what I could do, in terms of design, by myself. I started doing the art, and it turned into surface pattern design for wallpapers.” Though majority of the art and ideation did take shape in 2020, Rodebaugh began doing commercial design for cannabis production facilities in 2015, tired of the 9-5 structure of designing for corporate restaurants. »»
«« The idea for wallpaper first originated when one of her cannabis facility clients asked her to design their home. Rodebaugh set to work designing a living space for a successful cannabis industry couple looking to create a home that accurately and elegantly represented their lifestyle. “While we were doing their house, we were looking for something that represented them. A young couple, incredibly successful in the cannabis area, with a life primarily about cannabis in a very non-secretive sense, and we couldn’t find anything that accurately and beautifully represented that lifestyle in a wallpaper. That’s where the idea for wallpaper as a medium was first explored.” Chronic Biophiliac’s goal is to afford different options for a diverse demographic of clients, so that they are able to curate their homes in a way that makes them feel seen and represented, without having to fall back on something obnoxious or trendy-looking. In other words, to have a classic, visually beautiful representation of cannabis. “I’m also really working on recalling cannabis as a plant, before anything else.” Says Rodebaugh. “It’s botanical design, biophilic design. It’s not like, hey, here’s a drug and we’re only paying attention to its psychedelic properties. We’re bringing it back to the fact that cannabis has all kinds of valuable properties, and is first and foremost a beautiful plant. And further, that the psychoactive properties it does have do more than just ‘get you high’. They’re useful and medicinal.” Rodebaugh’s love of botany is also what inspired the name Chronic Biophiliac, “biophiliac” actually being a word she created. “Biophilia, or biophilic design, is the 18
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human’s innate need to be at one with nature, to be in harmonious natural surroundings. So when I was coming up with the name I created the term ‘biophiliac’ as a description for having the condition of biophilia, or being biophilic in nature. And then chronic is of course a play on both having a condition—as in being chronically inclined towards biophilic living—and Snoop Dogg’s word for weed.” Snoop Dogg, Rodebaugh says, is the only reason she’s watching the Superbowl this year. She even considered getting tickets. Pour one out for the king. Chronic Biophiliac’s designs are classic, like something out of Goethe’s botany sketches, highlighting the elemental nature of the plant, pairing it with roses, birds, bears. There is a grace and softness to the patterns that perfectly achieves Rodebaugh’s goal of bringing nature in general and cannabis in particular into a living space. Rodebaugh says the only pushback she’s found to her line is from people who already carry the idea that cannabis is negative. For the most part, she says, there’s an amazing response, especially when she holds open studios— Rodebaugh works in the Magic Shop Studios on the Petaluma waterfront, check them out at @magicshopstudios_ petaluma. “It’s really fun to watch, because most people get it immediately, and they appreciate that I’ve developed something that isn’t cannabis forward it’s beauty forward. But the most fun reaction is when people come through who aren’t familiar with the cannabis plant and they’re totally enamored. ‘I had no idea it looked like this, I would totally put this on my wall!’. It’s the same kind of impulse as having a daisy-themed wallpaper.
You don’t necessarily grow daisies, or eat them, but when you see something beautiful, you want to put it on your wall. The cannabis plant is the same. So it’s sweet to see people who don’t partake love it as well, for its natural beauty.” Rodebaugh says it’s also a bridge to a larger conversation about cannabis, and she’s happy to help people over that initial gap. “Without having the product put directly in their face, people who are canna-curious can ask more questions and explore more. I’m never going to push cannabis on anyone, but if someone comes and opens that door and is willing to have the conversation, or tiptoe into it, by all means! That’s a fun conversation to have.” She hopes that her designs can be a way in for those struggling to appreciate all that cannabis has to offer, as well as an opportunity for cannabis lovers and appreciators to beautifully express themselves. The company’s ethos and slogan is “live your truth in beauty” and these designs make that possible. The community Rodebaugh found in cannabis has brought her a deep sense of safety and appreciation for the plant, and she hopes to continue sharing that sense of safety and connection. “I’m a creative person, and I relay myself through imagery, so being able to find a way to be a part of this community through my art has been a great joy.” Rodebaugh has recently expanded her range, putting her design on pillows, and she says there’s more to come. “There’s significant demand for these designs, so I’m excited to see where we go from here.” Find Chronic Biophiliac’s beautiful designs at www.chrobio.com and @ chronicbioiphiliac on Instagram. Stay tuned for up-coming open studios!
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Bar None Jennifer Maxwell’s next act with JAMBAR BY DAEDALUS HOWELL
t was writer F. Scot Fitzgerald who opined that “There are no second acts in American lives.” It was JAMBAR creator Jennifer Maxwell who proved him wrong.
Maxwell’s first act—at least in terms of one of her professional pursuits— included co-creating the PowerBar, a product that launched the energy bar market in the mid-80s. After growing the company to wild success over 14 years, the venture was sold to consumer packaged goods juggernaut Nestlé. End of act one. Now, Maxwell is back in the limelight with her new organic, artisanal energy bar, JAMBAR, which she makes in a newly built, state-of-the-art facility in Marin County. “The building has history,” says Maxwell, as she leads this reporter on a tour of the facility. “It was a Hostess bakery. Then it was a printing press for many years. Part of the building was a recording studio for the Grateful Dead.” On cue, Maxwell points to a vast psychedelic mural on one of the plant’s walls that was created by a Deadassociated artist circa ’80s or ’90s. »»
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»» It’s an understatement to say that good musical vibes permeate JAMBAR. Perhaps they’re residual flashbacks from the Dead, but more likely they result from a harmonic alignment of mission, music and sometimes mango. “We built our own dedicated facility just for making JAMBARs, so we control the quality and ingredients from start to finish,” says Maxwell of the certified organic facility, which is tucked away in one of San Rafael’s light industrial areas. The rigor with which Maxwell approaches her new venture is impressive. Every JAMBAR is all organic, non-GMO and is made with premium, real food ingredients, including ancient grains, natural sweeteners and high quality proteins. There are gluten-free, vegan and plant protein options, and they come in four flavors: Chocolate Cha-Cha, Malt Nut Melody, Jammin’ Jazzleberry and—wait for it—Musical Mango. The product names and the brand itself reflect an obvious passion for music—a passion that intensified after the passing of Maxwell’s husband, Brian, in 2004 from a congenital heart problem. “It took me a couple years to get to where I could function again, and in the healing process, music just came to me,” says Maxwell, who found herself raising six young children on her own, among them a seven-month-old baby. Her instrument of choice? Drums. “I've always been an athlete, but somehow drumming—the pulse and the beat and the physicality of it—was so, so captivating,” says Maxwell. “It was hard. I mean, it took me 10 years to get competent at all.” Ultimately, music proved not only restorative and therapeutic for Maxwell; it was an inspiration. 22
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“It aligned my life in a different way. All of a sudden, practice was therapeutic. It was intellectual; learning how to read music is difficult. It was a challenge,” she says, pauses, then adds, “I like challenges.” When Maxwell and Brian first landed on the “energy bar” concept, the term didn’t even exist—they created it. Since then, the category has evolved into hundreds of bars of varying types. Despite this Cambrian-like explosion of bars, Maxwell still felt that there was an opportunity that wasn’t being met in the market. “I was intrigued to reenter this category because the organic segment of the category is not very well represented,” says Maxwell, whose background is in athletic-targeted food science. “I didn't feel there was a really high quality organic bar that I wanted to eat….It was like, there's no bars that I really feel good about putting into my body.” In 2015, Maxwell was at the kitchen table with her daughter, Julia, a recordholding, high level athlete who ran at Stanford University. She shared her lament about the quality of energy bars on the market. Then Julia asked her a fateful question: “Well mom, why don't you invent one?” Challenge accepted. “This is something that I figured I could do,” Maxwell recalls. “I've done it before.” Maxwell began her new venture in fits and starts. “I worked on it a little bit, then I kind of tabled it for a bit, and then I worked on it some more,” says Maxwell, who was also busy raising her kids while experimenting with recipes. This process went on for a few years. As she brought more and more premium ingredients into the mix, it
became evident that she would not be working with a co-packing company that would produce the bars for her. In an unusual move for her industry, Maxwell decided to make a “huge capital investment” and build her own facility. For many entrepreneurs, this would be a daunting undertaking. Not for Maxwell. “I don't live in fear and I don't live with fear. I believe in my product,” she says. “I believe in my mission.” Central to that mission is the “JAMBAR Gives Back” program. JAMBAR donates 50% of after-tax profits to organizations that promote music and active living. Through a special partnership with Marin Community Foundation, beneficiaries span an array of music and athletic organizations, from Enriching Lives Through Music, California Jazz Conservancy, and Coaching Corps, to Tamalpa Runners, Marin County Bike Coalition, Bread and Roses, and Jazz in the Neighborhood. “The vibe of the company is positive and energetic. We encourage music, education and active living. Those are our philanthropic ventures.” JAMBARs can now be found in a multitude of Bay Area natural food and grocery stores and beyond (and even a few music stores and athletic stores). As for Maxwell, she can be found on the production line, cutting mango. “It’s one way to maintain sanity,” she says. “I guess it's to stay grounded. I'm not a particularly materialistic person. I'm not a pretentious person. I'm pretty down to earth. I love to work—I'm so excited and grateful I can come to work,” she says with a winning smile. For more information, visit jambar.com
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DANCE ABOUT IT Age should enhance quality of life.
verybody, if they’re lucky enough, gets old. As David Bowie said, “Aging is the extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.”
Incorporating age back into the community BY JANE VICK 24
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PHOTO PROVIDED BY VIVALON
Vivalon’s Healthy Aging Campus
Joining people in that process Marin County's Vivalon, a central resource hub for Marin County’s older adults. “Aging,” says Vivalon's director of communications Jennifer Golbus, “is a community responsibility, but our state isn’t set up that way. There’s this idea that it’s a family responsibility, and that’s just not enough. There’s so much more support necessary.” To address this need, Vivalon is in the midst of creating its Healthy Aging Campus. Years in the making, the Vivalon Healthy Aging campus was proposed to fill the gap of a facility where seniors could live, hang out, exercise, »»
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‘I could tell you story after story of our members that we interview who have five different doctors or seven different specialists, and they have to go all over Marin to get care. I won’t say our clinic will solve all of that, but certainly some of it.’ — Jennifer Golbus »» receive medical care, and generally enjoy what are supposed to be the golden years. “The main thing for us,” says Golbus, “was that we were not going to build this facility on the outskirts. Older adults need to be embedded in the community, and part of the community. Near where family and friends can visit, near to city amenities, near to public transportation as many of them don’t drive anymore, and so on. Our location search was very intentional.” On January 21, 2022, Vivalon closed escrow on a property exchange with BioMarin and became the official owners of 999 3rd Street, the plot of land that will contain the Vivalon Healthy Aging Campus. Conceived of as a response to the issue of isolation and the income challenges many seniors also face, the Healthy Aging Campus, by their own definition, is an affordable, vital “modern living hub.” Partnering with Eden Housing, the Campus will offer 66 affordable studio apartments for residents of 62 and older, as well as a community center, healthy aging center, and medical facility. This building will be open to Marin elders and their families county-wide, not just to residents of the building. The campus is scheduled to open in 2023. 26
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“It wasn’t easy. We struggled to find a place to purchase because, being a nonprofit and not a land owner we don’t generate the same taxes. In other words, the community wants all the services of a nonprofit, but they don’t love us being a landowner," says Golbus. "Our work around, set in motion by our last CEO, was to approach BioMarin, who is building their own campus, and pointed out the need for them to show community benefit. We did a land transfer with BioMarin, where they gave us a corner of their facility, and we have a location that we gave to them, and the financial difference in the value of those two properties gave BioMarin an opportunity to claim and in-kind donation, which they could write off. That’s what allowed us to get this beautiful piece of real estate.” Golbus says they want to get building as soon as possible, and have already begun a capital campaign. “We’ve partnered with Eden Housing, and they’ll raise the funds for the housing portion of the center. The top floors are going to be 100% affordable housing for adults 62 and up, and the bottom two floors are going to be a healthy aging center, a community center, and a community clinic. We’ve partnered with a health care partner
who I can’t officially name yet, to run the clinic.” This clinic in particular, says Golbus, is addressing a major need Vivalon has heard vocalized by its members time and again. “I could tell you story after story of our members that we interview who have five different doctors or seven different specialists, and they have to go all over Marin to get care. I won’t say our clinic will solve all of that, but certainly some of it. Things like medication management, physical therapy, and piedietry.” And the idea is that this isn’t just a trip to the doctor’s office, it’s also a pleasurable place to be, whether or not you’re a resident. “While you’re there you’re also enjoying lunch, or playing mahjong, or listening to a speaker. There’s a theater, a ukelele class. A lot of the things that we do currently at our healthy aging center, but in an even more equipped facility. And we really want to stress that the clinic is open to the entire community. The healthcare clinic and the campus. They’re open.” This is one of the biggest Vivalon endeavors to date, and something they’ve dreamed of as a nonprofit, and Vivalon doesn’t want to stop here. “When we reached our 10 million dollar capital gain goal we had Mayor Kate Colin and other local politicians, saying ‘this is the model we need to be following, this is the way communities should be doing it.’ We really want other nonprofits to copy us. Our now CEO Anne Gray wants to go out to other communities and share this model so that it can grow.” For more information on the progress and timeline, visit www.healthyagingcampus.org.
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TIME Is on your side.
Joie de vivre at any age BY CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD 28
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No stage of life is more remarkable than the pace of change that occurs between ages 13 and 18. You begin still tied to boyhood pursuits and end with a personality characterized by themes that will stay with you for life. In between is the gangly period known as the awkward age. Fourteen is a lost cause, but sixteen can be a magical year, honored in numerous pop songs »»
PHOTO BY CRISTINA CONTI.
Fifty Going on Fifteen
o be young again, Oscar Wilde famously quipped, you need only to repeat your past mistakes. Age 15 was a great year for mistakes — at least that’s how they seemed to my parents and teachers. It was 1985, and my two-dimensional life consisted of long hair, bad grades, loud music, and parental deceit as I snuck out at night to cross the necessary bridge leading from adolescence to young adult autonomy. But only when I turned 50 did I come to see that age 15 holds hidden secrets to life capable of curing the despondency that plagues men at midlife, plugging into an amplifier of untapped energy to get us through life’s daunting third act.
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Jungian psychology has well documented the entry of androgynous figures into men’s dreams and imagination when they reach middle age. If the archetype is successfully integrated, it can unleash a burst of creative energy lasting for decades. ««
and movies. Wedged in between is the mysterious year of fifteen, which contained its own magic power that certainly eludes you at the time. Midlife crisis sounds like an invention of 20th century bourgeois culture, but there are cosmic forces at work, and the theme of death and rebirth runs throughout ancient spiritual traditions like alchemy. When I reached rock bottom of my own personal hell, it became clear that the only way out was by a sheer act of will. I had to face all the errors I’d made — repressing negative emotions such as grief, selling my soul to the marketplace without realizing it, and becoming internally destabilized via digital technology. When the light finally appeared and I was finding my way out, I was shocked at the recurring feeling-recollections I would get of age 15, a year I’d thought was entirely characterized by a monotonous heavy metal soundtrack. But I gradually came to realize that — at least for many of our generation — this was the last year in unconscious paradise, when subject and object, or self and world, are not experienced as squared off in opposition to each other. This brief stage in which manhood is beginning to appear but shaving has yet to commence is an
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androgynous fountain of youth, the brief sunny day in the springtime of life that gives us the Beautiful Boy motif that has fascinated artists for centuries, as in Renaissance sculptor Donatello’s epicene depiction of the biblical hero David. Eros is the most powerful force experience by humans, and age 15 is when it’s coming on strong, coursing ceaselessly through body and mind. But at this age the typical teenager, though the vehicle of his own developing imagination, plays the dual role of subject and object. Everytime he falls into a daydream of the girl next door, or the heroine in the movie he just watched, his consciousness is suddenly flooded with feminine energy, but has yet to reach the stage when this is experienced as the object his mature ego is supposed to pursue. He simply feels “feminine erotic beauty energy presence” suddenly rip through him. Our group in Rincon Valley had old copies of Playboy we’d pass around, and every so often we’d get to make out with a girl, but we were virgins, and without realizing, both gendered energies were active in our psyches in our dawn-todusk preoccupation with sex. Writing of these first experiences of adolescent
“tender love,” scholar of alchemy and Jungian psychology Johannes Fabricius writes “The partner does not prepresent merely a source of sexual pleasure; rather, she signifies a conglomoerate of sacred and precious attributes which strike the boy with awe.” What else was happening when you were fifteen? Probably you just experienced the roller coaster of your awakening emotions without judging or second-guessing them. You were concerned about the judgment of your peers, but not in the sense of having a persona or ego construct that has to be defended lest you suffer an identity crisis. You can’t have an identity crisis at 15. You simply feel what you feel, with all your shifting moodiness throughout the day, with only minimal ability — and certainly no desire — to change the way you feel. You are raw energy: unrestrained and vulnerably exposed, and this free-feeling energy is precisely what you need to unblock, especially if 25 years of work and family obligations have left you so emotionally constipated you’re incapable of feeling anything at all. This brief time — not gangly 14, not young man of 16 with driver’s license — carries a kind of gender neutrality at its most potent, and cultivating this feeling in middle age can unleash a torrent of the waters of life, as if the Lady of the Lake in Arthurian legend has raised a sword of potency from the murky pond of the unconscious. And the path to this feminine fount and the kingly energies it can unlock pass through an intermediary stage, one whose symbolic image is one’s very own adolescence. Alchemy texts from the Middle Ages are filled with images showing the philosopher-king »»
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(symbol of you, the one seeking transformation), lying in bed “pregnant” with the rejuvenated self to which he will eventually give birth, who is depicted as a golden youth of enlightenment and wisdom sprung from a fountain of youth. “The aged king’s bath of renewal produces his miraculous rebirth in his son,” writes Fabricius. “This is the mystery expressed by the crowned and winged youth— half father, half mother, invulnerable and innocent, beyond sex and aggression.” Jungian psychology has well documented the entry of androgynous figures into men’s dreams and imagination when they reach middle age. If the archetype is successfully integrated, it can unleash a burst of creative energy lasting for decades. Many artists made great work up to the ends of their lives, but not Gustav von Aschenbach, protagonist of Thomas Mann’s 1912 classic “Death In Venice,” given a sumptuous film adaptation by Luchino Visconti in 1971. In the story, an aging artist becomes obsessed with a Beautiful Boy, but fails to understand and integrate the archetype, and it leads to the character’s death with no rebirth. It’s worth noting that Mann was a contemporary of Jung’s in the German-speaking world. We need not meet our
demise when we encounter images of adolescent perfection, we can simply ignore it and slowly turn into a Grumpy Old Man instead of a mellow gandpa, becoming the miserly Mr. Potter from “It’s A Wonderful Life” instead of the wise and gently powerful Ben Kenobi in “Star Wars.” One becomes an old grouch by failing at the crucial crossroads of midlife decades before. The invitation was there to surrender the ego to a higher guiding force and process of continued growth, but the invitation was refused. The grouch tried to stubbornly keep ascending, believing his sun would never set and forbidding the moon to rise. This is the path of shallowness and bitterness, of a man unable to find the “beautiful boy” that he once was in the fragrant springtime of life, even if the fragrance was just of clove cigarettes and album covers. But those who face “male menopause” can tap a mysterious life essence filling them with newfound love for family and friends, an inexplicable joie de vivre that stems from knowing their best years are still ahead. Christian Chensvold writes the Spirit column for The Bohemian/ Pacific Sun, and runs a website on spirituality for men at trad-man.com.
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