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Whistlestop APRIL 2012

E PRESS The Leading Information Resource for Marin's Active Aging Movement

Grandfather Wisdom: Business Acumen Mixed With Love of Family By JOHN BOWMAN


hat does a granddaughter learn from one of the most successful businessmen in Marin County history? Stephanie Plante of San Rafael learned most of what she knows about business from her grandfather, Martin Bramante. But perhaps more significantly, she learned the importance of family. Stephanie, 41, is president of Cal-Pox Inc., the San Rafael firm that her grandfather founded in 1967. When asked about Martin’s influence on her life she said, “He has such a strong work ethic. Still comes into the office almost every day at age 92. He is self-educated and I admire his street smarts. He is a shrewd businessman. He is generous of heart and spirit, but he can also play hardball as a businessman. Very tough. I have learned so much about business from him.” Beyond that, she said that, thanks to her grandfather, she has developed deep respect and value for her family. Stephanie started at Cal-Pox Inc. in 1999 after her mother, Susan Kirby, passed away at age 53. Susan, Martin’s daughter, helped transform Shoreline Center into a buzzing business hub. Stephanie, who had worked for several years in television production and as the on-air traffic reporter for San Francisco’s KRON-TV, was grieving her mother’s death.

Jackson Cafe Featured in the Marin IJ page 4

Stephanie Plante and her grandfather, Martin Bramante, take a moment to relax. She left television to go help out at the family business. “I decided that since no one in the office, after Mom died, knew how to turn on the computers, I would go fill in.” That was in 1999, and six years later, she became president of the company. Stephanie and her husband, Chris Plante, an international development grants executive who works on environmental projects in Asia, have two children. Martin has another daughter, Kathy LeGrand, who has two children, Greg Hansen and Gianna Hansen, also Martin’s grandchildren. Stephanie, Kathy, Greg, who is vice president, and Gianna own Cal-Pox and all serve together on its Board. Stephanie was Martin and Velia Bramante’s first grandchild. “I have woncontinued on page 3

Andrew Mellen Coming to Whistlestop page 6

Bird's Side of Marin page 11

Table of

CONTENTS 3 4 5 6 8/9 10 11 12 14 15

PERSPECTIVE by JOE O'HEHIR The Joy of Grandparenthood

Readers Write In True Heitz From Rocky's Pantry Rocky Packard Kids & Ice Cream Photo by Rick Budde Andrew Mellen Event Whistlestop Classes Activities Calendar The Bird's Side of Marin Richard Pavek Chochoy Rivero Grand Mom Audrey Mettel Fixmer Word Search Paul Gruner

Marin Senior Coordinating Council, Inc. 930 Tamalpais Avenue San Rafael, CA 94901 Chief Executive Officer, Joe O’Hehir Board of Directors President, Dennis Thompson Vice President, Terry Scussel Treasurer, Michael Rice Secretary, Michael Hingson Karen Arnold • Eleanor Delaney • Claudia Fromm Jane Lott • Debbie Mills • Lori Peterson • Bill Saul Bob Sonnenberg Whistlestop Express is a publication of the Marin Senior Coordinating Council, Inc. A 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization The Mission of Whistlestop: To promote the independence and well-being of Marin County’s older adults and individuals with disabilities to enhance their quality of life. Whistlestop Contact Information Main Number 415-456-9062 Whistlestop Fax 415-456-2858 Information & Referral Office 415-459-6700 • Whistlestop Express Editorial, Art Direction & Sales John & Val Bowman Editors 916-751-9189 • Missy Reynolds Art Director Advertising Linda Black • 415-485-6700, Ext. 306 Whistlestop Express is printed on recycled paper To be added to, or taken off, the email list for Whistlestop Express, please call 415-456-9062, ext. 141. Or send an email, with your request, your name and address to Subscriptions mailed to your home are $10/year.



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Whistlestop Express

APRIL 2012


he Marin IJ recently fea- too lax and not involved when tured a story about author I should have been? Lewis Richmond of Mill The beauty of grandparentValley and his new book, Aging hood is that you get to totally as a Spiritual Practice: enjoy your grandchildren A Contemplative Guide without all the trials and to Growing Older and tribulations associated Wiser. Lewis writes about with parental responsia stage in life he calls “elbilities. You experience derhood.” Lewis says that the sheer wonder and we label certain periods joy of your grandchild’s in our life as “hoods”— birth, and the feeling of childhood, adulthood, and happiness being with parenthood. He says that Lexie, one them during their speof Joe’s four elderhood is the stage that cial moments as toddlers has as much usefulness grandchildren and young children. You and integrity as adultcan enjoy laughter inhood or parenthood. stead of worry; silliness instead I would like to suggest that of seriousness; patience instead there is another “hood” period of of frustration; spontaneity inlife — grandparenthood. If you stead of discipline. are fortunate enough to have You can also experience a feelgrandchildren, this can be one ing of pride during grandparentof the most joyous stages of life. hood. There is a sense of accomIt feels a lot like childhood to plishment when you watch your me, except that you are expechildren parent their children. riencing it through the eyes of You then realize that you did your grandchildren. do a good job raising your kids Grandparenthood is quite because your grandchildren are different from parenthood. happy and safe in their care. I That doesn’t mean that we do sense a great deal of satisfaction not love our children as much when my son or daughter shares as our grandchildren. Yet, as the good times and the challenga parent you can sometimes ing times they have as parents feel overwhelmed by the imto their sons and daughters. mense responsibility of caring Grandparenthood provides the for and raising your children. true meaning for the circle of While parenthood is filled with life. Laughing and playing with happy and proud moments, it your grandchild does bring you also brings moments of anxiback to the childhood memories ety and doubt, and a lot of with your parents and grandsecond-guessing. Did I do all parents. You experience a sense the right things in raising of completeness to your life. my children? Did I smother Enjoy the ride. ✦ them with control, or was I Joe O’Heir is CEO of Whistlestop.


Helping You Maintain

WRITE IN You Can Help Paula With Chemo Caps

Your Independence


ur own beloved Paula Ross, age 91, who leads a group here at Whistlestop for people who want to speak German with one another, has volunteered to knit attractive, colorful, warm hats for people who have lost their hair because of chemotherapy. Nurses at neighborhood hospitals say they will be so grateful and will take as many hats as Paula can produce. “I can knit about three a day,” says Paula modestly. “If I keep at it.” On many days you can see her knitting in the Whistlestop lobby after lunch. “Please,” Paula says. “I would like to put a label in each of the hats that says ‘Love, Paula.’ It would be embroidered or written on a small piece of material.” Is there anyone who would like to do that? If you are interested, please contact me through the Whistlestop office. ✦

As everyday life becomes more challenging, a little help can go a long way. x x x x x

A sample of our services: •Grocery HospiceShopping Care Care Care x•• Memory Alzheimer’s • Companion Care Med Reminders Prepare Meals x Med Reminders • Housekeeping • Bathing/Dressing Housekeeping x• Laundry Bathing/Dressing •Light Transportation to Appointment x• Cooking Laundry •Drive Run Errands •Run PostErrands Surgery Care Much More! x• And And Much More!

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Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for You and Your Family?

Thank you, True Heitz,

Free Reverse Mortgage Information

< Continued from page 1

Tap into your home’s value with a reverse mortgage. The tax-free* proceeds are not repaid until you no longer occupy your property. You will always own your home. Minimum age is 62.

derful memories of that time. I can remember many family vacations in Tahoe and Hawaii.” Stephanie earned her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and her MA in Television Production at San Francisco State University. And yet, she has learned so much more from her grandfather, who never graduated from high school. She said that when she was at KRON, “He was a living, breathing business card for me. He’d tell everyone he met that I was on TV.” Stephanie said that while Martin still has a hand in the family business, he also saves time to play. “He loves to play cards, so it’s a bit of time at the office and lots of time at the card table.” ✦

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*Consult your tax advisor. © 2012 1st Reverse Mortgage USA®, Division of Cherry Creek Mortgage Co., Inc. Licensed by the Dept. of Corporations under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act. Advertisement in tended for consumers within CA. To check license status of your mortgage broker visit 3

Discover Jackson Café: Good Food, and Hope for Homeless IJ photo/Robert Tong

BY CHRISTINA MUELLER Marin Independent Journal Correspondent

Maurice Lewis prepares an order of spaghetti Bolognese at Jackson Cafe. ou’ve driven by it 100 times. A thousand. And you probably never noticed it. Whistlestop’s Jackson Café, adjacent to the Marin Transit Center in San Rafael, is one of the many services offered by a 57-year-old organization that promotes independent living and well



Serving All of Marin County


Meal Preparation Grocery Shopping Light Housekeeping Driving/Errands Medication Reminders Bed Bath/Sponge Baths

Years of Experience CNA Certified Good References


Moving Patients in Bed Occupied Bed Lines Wheelchairs Transfer Board Range of Motion Exercise


Anderson Senior Care PLEASE CALL FOR RATES

415.895.1824 Cell 415-497-3733

Providing Hourly & 24 Hour Care Long Term & Short Care – Minimum is 3 Hours 4

Whistlestop Express

APRIL 2012

being among the county’s seniors and people with disabilities. Because you never noticed it, you never thought to eat there, right? Adjust your lunchtime routine, and put your automobile in park at 930 Tamalpais. Here’s why; the food is good and the daily menu of classic, continental American fare — think pork with mustard sauce, spaghetti Bolognese and chicken chow mein — is a steal at roughly $4.50, $7.25 if you were born after 1952, (yes, there is a price break once you grace the age of 60) for an entrée that includes a protein, one or two vegetables and a starch. Added bonus — the people who prep and cook at Jackson Café are either enrolled in or are graduates of Homeward Bound’s Fresh Start Culinary Academy of Marin, continued on page 15

From Rocky's PANTRY b y R O C K Y PA C K A R D

Red Wine Red Marmalade Marinade


his relish can be served hot or cold. When warm, it is excellent over sliced lamb or beef, and, it is an excellent condiment for sandwiches when served cold. Serves 12 2 Pounds 1 1/2 Cups 3 Tbs 2 Tbs 2 Tbs 1 Tbs

Diced Red Onion Red Wine Olive Oil Butter Brown Sugar Fresh Chopped Mint Salt and Pepper

Heat the oil and the butter. Sauté red onion in the oil and butter mixture until evenly carmelized. When carmelized, add red wine and reduce until almost dry. Add brown sugar and reduce an additional two minutes. Cool and add chopped mint and season with salt and pepper to taste. Per serving (excluding unknown items): 1195 Calories; 65g Fat (58.2% calories from fat); 10g Protein; 94g Carbohydrate; 15g Dietary Fiber; 62mg Cholesterol; 496mg Sodium. Exchanges: 12 1/2 Vegetable; 121/2 Fat; 1 other carbohydrates. ✦

I Scream, You Scream ...

Now, there’s a lower cost HECM reverse mortgage. What fun it must be for a professional photographer to take pictures of his grandchildren. Here is photographer Rick Budde's 2003 photo of his grandsons, Raynan and Tony, then ages 5 and 3 respectively. They are the sons of Whistlestop's Rebecca Lack.

Word Search


Available from MetLife Bank, N.A., it’s a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) that may save the average homeowner age 62 or older thousands of dollars. It significantly reduces your up-front costs as compared to our other HECM reverse mortgages. Contact me to get the facts. Tom MacDonald Reverse Mortgage Consultant 415-295-6700

All loans are subject to approval. Certain conditions and fees apply. Mortgage financing provided by MetLife Home Loans, a division of MetLife Bank, N.A., Equal Housing Lender. © 2011 METLIFE, INC. R0911208257 [exp0912] [All States] [DC] 1112-4547 © 2010 5

Whistlestop to Present National Organizing Expert on April 25th


s part of its mission to provide vital services to Marin County’s older adults, Whistlestop presents “Lighten Your Load!,” a workshop for older adults and their families by nationally-known expert Andrew J. Mellen, “the most organized man in America,” on Wednesday, April 25. The event will be from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Jackson Café in the Whistlestop building, 930 Tamalpais Ave., downtown San Rafael. Light refreshments will be served at 5:30pm. Mellen, author of the best-seller Unstuff Your Life!, will discuss simple and effective ways to manage your belongings, your affairs and your life. He will offer an extended question and answer session to address specific problems. In addition, estate attorneys Jennifer Cowan, Bill Saul and Julia Wald, along with experts from Frank Howard Allen, HomeWell Senior Care and Silver Rain Estate Transition Services will be available for individual consultations. Admission is $15 payable to Whistlestop. To buy your ticket, call Whistlestop at 415-4569062 with a credit card, or mail in a check. For more information, visit www.AndrewMellen. com or Mellen is a professional organizer, speaker, and best-selling author. He has helped tens of thousands of people around the world to unclutter their lives and gain time for the things that are really important—which often aren’t even things at all. Andrew has addressed audiences from TEDxKnoxville to NetApp’s Silicon Valley campus. He has appeared on The Nate Berkus Show; O, The Oprah Magazine; Martha Stewart Living Today; Oprah & Friends; Great Day Houston, ABC; NBC; CBS; CW11; HGTV; Ladies’ Home

Andrew Mellen has been called "The most organized man in America." Journal; Woman’s Day; Live Well Network; USA Today; GQ; InStyle; All You; Fine Living; Better TV; DIY Network; and NPR. He also maintains a private practice, offering one-on-one sessions to clients ranging from CEOs, attorneys and psychologists to awardwinning filmmakers, artists and authors. Previously he was an award-winning playwright, actor, producer and director and the former Artistic Director of Alice B. Theater (Seattle), DC Arts Center (Washington, DC) and Shuttle Theater Company (New York). ✦

WELCOME HOME TO TAM HOUSE! Comfortable, Community Living for Independent Seniors 63+ from $850/month (Includes utilities and most food!)

Roomsow! Open N Call: 457-5633 6

Whistlestop Express

APRIL 2012

Whistlestop Gift Shop is a perfect place to find a handmade gift for a birthday, anniversary or new baby. Everything under $10. All proceeds help cover the cost for clients who would be unable to attend our Friday Arts & Crafts class with Vicky. Stop by and check out the fabulous collection of handmade treasures. Contact Vicky at 4569062 or vickyv@

Jackson CafĂŠ â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Best Lunch, Most Economical in Our Best of Marin for Older Adults Survey


histlestopâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jackson CafĂŠ was the favorite of those voting in our â&#x20AC;&#x153;Best of Marin for Older Adultsâ&#x20AC;? survey in two categories â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Best Lunch and Most Economical. The CafĂŠ is located in the Whistlestop building at 930 Tamalpais Ave., San Rafael. Half Day CafĂŠ of Kentfield took the honors in Best Breakfast and Best Brunch. OTHER FOOD WINNERS Best Dinner, Taki of Novato; Best Service, My Thai of San Rafael; Best American Food, Pacific CafĂŠ, Kentfield; Best Burger, Phyllisâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, San Rafael; Hotdog, Costco, Novato; Burrito, Hi Tech Burrito, San Rafael; Soup, Eduardoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, San Rafael; Salad Bar, Fresh Choice, Novato; Buffet, Super Buffet, Novato; Pizza, Mulberryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, San Rafael. OTHER WINNERS Shopping â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Supermarket, United Markets of San Rafael and San Anselmo; Farmerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Market, Civic Center, San Rafael; Clothing, Macyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s of San Rafael and Corte Madera; Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Store, A Childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Delight, San Rafael; Pet Store, Pet Club, Corte Madera; Bookstore, Book Passage, Corte Madera. MISCELLANEOUS Continuing Ed Class, College of Marin in Kentfield and Novato; Computer Class, Whistlestop; Best Park, Gerstle Park, San Rafael; Most Beautiful Vista and Best Walking/Hiking, Mount Tamalpais. â&#x153;Ś



Nancy Mack, RN, PHN, GCM


Luxury Retirement Living in Marin County Gated Community Villas & Condos 750-2400 sq. ft. 24 Hour Security & Call System 2 Restaurants in Clubhouse Transportation, Housekeeping & Valet Services Access to Health Care Providers New Views of The Redwoods UĂ&#x160;Ă&#x160;-Ă&#x152;Ă&#x2022;`Â&#x2C6;Â&#x153;Ă&#x160;>Â&#x2DC;`Ă&#x160;"Â&#x2DC;iÂ&#x2021; i`Ă&#x20AC;Â&#x153;Â&#x153;Â&#x201C;Ă&#x160; ÂŤ>Ă&#x20AC;Ă&#x152;Â&#x201C;iÂ&#x2DC;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x192; UĂ&#x160;Ă&#x160; Â&#x153;Ă&#x160; Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x17E;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x160;iiĂ&#x2020;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x160; Â&#x153;Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x152;Â&#x2026;Â&#x2021;Ă&#x152;Â&#x153;Â&#x2021;Â&#x153;Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x152;Â&#x2026;Ă&#x160;,iÂ&#x2DC;Ă&#x152;>Â?Ă&#x192; UĂ&#x160;Ă&#x160; Â&#x2DC;}>}Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;}Ă&#x160;VĂ&#x152;Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x203A;iĂ&#x160;Â&#x2C6;viĂ&#x192;Ă&#x152;Ă&#x17E;Â?i UĂ&#x160;Ă&#x160; Â&#x153;Â&#x201C;ÂŤĂ&#x20AC;iÂ&#x2026;iÂ&#x2DC;Ă&#x192;Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x203A;iĂ&#x160;Ă&#x160;

>Ă&#x20AC;iĂ&#x160;-Â&#x153;Â?Ă&#x2022;Ă&#x152;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x153;Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x192; UĂ&#x160;Ă&#x160; Â&#x153;Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x152;>VĂ&#x152;Ă&#x160;/Â&#x153;Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x17E;Ă&#x160;7Â&#x2C6;Â?Â?Â&#x2C6;>Â&#x201C;Ă&#x192;Ă&#x160;Ă&#x160;

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For Sales or Leasing Information, Call Smith Ranch Marketing

415-491-4918 â&#x20AC;˘ 400 Deer Valley Road, San Rafael 7

Keep Learning at WHISTLESTOP COMPUTER/PICTURE CLASS Beginning: 2nd Friday • 2 to 4pm Advanced: 3rd Friday • 2 to 4pm Fee: $15 | Instructor: Gene Dyer Registration required: 459-6700 Call for more information and class descriptions. BEGINNING COMPUTERS FOR ADULTS LEVEL I Tuesdays, April 10 - May 15 • 10 to Noon Instructor: Mike Kress | Fee: $60/ 6-week course Pre-registration required: 459-6700 Requirement: Windows-based computer This is a hands-on course that will provide you with the basic skills needed to use your Windows-based personal computer. It is designed for first-time computer users. In this class, you will learn how to: start your computer and turn it off, use the mouse and keyboard to perform basic computer tasks, use Windows components to create and print documents, identify the basic parts of a computer and their use, and search the Internet to find information. Laptop users are welcome to bring their computer to class. DROP-IN COMPUTER LAB Mondays, 10 to Noon & Wednesdays • 10 to 2pm Need help using a computer? We have volunteer computer tutors available to work with you one-onone, if needed. FREE BLOOD PRESSURE CLINIC & MEDICATION CHECKS Tuesdays, April 10 & 17 • 1 to 2pm Facilitators: Student nurses from Dominican University Bring all of your medications and supplements to find out how and when to take them, how to store

COMMISSION ON AGING Thursday, April 12 • 10:00-12:30 pm Where: Picklewood Community Center, 50 Canal St., San Rafael Topic: Public Hearing Presenters: Nick Trunzo, Division of Againg & Adult Service Next Meeting: May 10 • 9 am at Embassy Suites, San Rafael 8

Whistlestop Express

APRIL 2012

them, possible side effects or interactions with other drugs. Don’t miss this opportunity to prevent health problems by keeping your blood pressure and meds in check. RESTORE & IMPROVE YOUR BALANCE TRAINING CLASS Tuesdays & Thursdays, April 10 - May 3 2:30 to 3:30pm Instructor: Thomas Attardi, BS, MA, NMT Fee: $75 for 8-week course Registration required: 456-9062 In the Balance Class, you will learn how balance works, why your balance may be deteriorating, and how you can safely implement simple exercises to train your balance. You will learn the best exercises for stronger legs to prevent falls and safeguard your risks of injury. We will also cover what to do if we fall. Bring a water bottle and 1-pound or 2-pound weights to class. POINTS OF LIFE PRESENTATION Thursday, April 12, 4 to 5:30pm Reservations required: 456-9062 Life is not a problem to be solved but an adventure to be lived. In these funny and informative vignettes, The Elder Ed Players discuss the complexities of a changing society. Their expert panelists will then address legal issues, financial matters, care, cost of care, family communication, family life planning and many other issues. Scene One: Help! My Hair is on Fire! Scene Two: Denial is Not a River in Egypt Scene Three: Pushing Up the Daisies AARP DRIVER SAFETY PROGRAM Saturdays, April 21 & 28 • 9 to 1pm Pre-registration and prepayment required: 456-6700 Fee: $12/AARP members/$14 non-members. Cash or checks payable to AARP accepted. Sharpen your driving skills through the AARP Driver Safety program. This course was developed to help drivers 50 years or older adjust to agerelated changes in vision, hearing and reaction time. Medication and its effects on driving will also be addressed. At the end of this course, a certificate of completion will be given, which may save you money on auto insurance. You must attend both sessions in order to get credit for completing the course.

8th ANNUAL HEALTHY AGING SYMPOSIUM Maximizing Our Potential As We Age Thursday, May 10 • 9 to 1pm Location: Embassy Suites Hotel, 101 McInnis Parkway, San Rafael Keynote Speaker: Joel Kramer, PsyD Presenters: Marin County Division of Aging & Adult Services and Marin County Commission on Aging Fee: $20 (includes lunch) Registration deadline: May 1 Pre-registration required. No admission at the door and no refunds. For more information call 473-2980. MAH JONGG Wednesday • 10:30 to Noon Facilitator: Shirley Etemadfar Donations appreciated Registration required: 456-9062 American Mah Jongg is a game that originally came from China. If you’ve played gin rummy, you have a head start in learning how to play this game. However, instead of cards, you play with tiles that are stamped with symbols and characters. We’ll have cards and Mah Jongg sets available for you to use as you learn. It’s a sociable, competitive, exciting and addictive game that’s truly lots of fun. Beginners and experienced players are welcome. FILM CLUB Fridays, , April 6th & 27th • 1:30 to 4pm Donations Appreciated April6: Invictus • April 27: Afghan Star If you enjoy good films, you’ll really enjoy this program. After viewing her selected films for your enjoyment, Johanna Petersen will lead an interesting group discussion regarding themes and topics of these showings. HEALTH INSURANCE COUNSELING & ADVOCACY PROGRAM (HICAP) 4th Tuesday Schedule appointment: 800-434-0222 Medicare can be complicated, but don’t let it complicate your life. Meet with a HICAP Counselor, who provides individual assistance with: Medicare, prescription drugs, Medicare Advantage (HMO), Medi-gap, Long Term Care Insurance, and billing & claims issues.

FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION FOR OLDER ADULTS By Appointment on Thursdays Must be 60 or older and Marin County residents. Schedule an appointment: 459-6700 Legal Aid of Marin provides a free 30-minute legal consultation. Marin lawyer, George John, a volunteer since 1986, explains,“We give general advice, give them options, explain their rights, and if appropriate, refer them to attorneys who have expertise in certain areas of law.”

JACKSON CAFÉ VOLUNTEERS NEEDED Whistlestop is looking for volunteers to work in the Jackson Café at least one day a week from 11am to 2:15pm. Whistlestop’s Jackson Café, located at the Active Aging Center, serves delicious and affordable lunchtime meals, Monday through Friday to diners of all ages. The Café features daily specials, deli sandwiches, soups, desserts, and fresh salads. The Jackson Café offers a comfortable setting where older adults and their family and friends can eat well and stay socially active. 456-9062 or VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES Contact: Debbie at 456-9062 or • Center Services • Board/Card Game Leader • Chiropractor • Zumba Instructor • Watercolors Instructor • Italian Social Group Leader • Portuguese Social Group Leader • Bi-lingual Computer Teacher ROSS VALLEY SENIORS Thursday, April 5 • 11am Lunch: Noon to 12:45pm | reservations, 258-4669 Fairfax Woman’s Club, corner of Park Road and School Street, Fairfax Topic: Collector's Road Show & Tour Next Meeting: May 3, 11am at Bennett House, 53 Taylor St., Fairfax – Sea Turtle Rescue Story

Transportation Numbers Marin Access Call Center: 454-0902 Get Qualified to Ride: 456-9062, x106 Cancel a Ride: 457-4630 Volunteer Driver Program: 454-0969 9






Whistlestop ACTIVITIES This Month at Whistlestop TIME




9:00–2:00 PM 9:30–10:30 PM 10:00–11:00 AM 10:00–NOON 11:00–12:30 PM 11:10–NOON 2:00–4:00 PM 4:00–5:30 PM

Chair Massage Lamas Qi Gong AM Monday (Discussion) Computer Lab German Social Group Movement & Music ESL (Jan. 23-May 16, 2012) Citizenship Class

Open Open 457-0586 Open Open Open 457-8811 454-0998

$4/8min. $3/class Free Free Free Free Free $25

9:15–10:15 AM 10:45–11:45 AM 11:00–2:00 PM 1:00–3:00 PM 2:00–3:30 PM 2:30–3:30 PM

Whistlesizers (Exercise) Cardio Exercise Class Manicurist Learn Spanish English Conversation Balance Class

Open Open Appt. Needed Open 454-0998 Open

Free Free Free Free Free $10

9:00–10:15 AM 9:00–2:00 PM 10:00–11:30 AM 10:00–2:00 PM 10:30–11:45 AM 10:30–NOON 2:00–4:00 PM 3:00–4:00 PM

9:15–10:15 AM 10:00–NOON 11:00–NOON 2:00-3:30 PM 2:00–4:00 PM 3:00–4:00 PM

1:30–3:30 PM 1:30–3:30 PM 1:30–4:00 PM 2:00–4:00 PM 3:00–4:00 PM

Jackson Café

Monday-Friday 11:30am-2:00pm $10 Located in Whistlestop $4/8min. Active Aging Center

Tai Chi Qigong Chair Massage Seniors' Circle (Support) Computer Lab Corazón Latino Mah Jongg ESL (Jan. 23-May 16, 2012) Basic English for Spanish Speakers

Sugg. Donation Open Open Open Open Open 457-8811 457-0586

Free Free Free Free Free Free

Whistlesizers (Exercise) Knit!!! Latin Rhythm English Conversation Remembrance Writing Basic English for Spanish Speakers

Open 457-0586 454-0998 454-0998 Open 457-0586

Free Free $2 Free $5 Free

ACASA (Support/Training) Practice Spanish (Club) Film Club Arts & Crafts w/Vicky Yoga with Kelly

Peer Counseling Open Mar. 9 & 23 Mar. 2 & 16 456-9062

Free Free $2 $3 $3


Main Entrée $4.50/$7.25 (+$1 for Seafood Entrées) Sandwiches $4.25/$6.25 Soup du Jour $1.75/$2.25 Hamburger w/Fries $4.25/$5.25 Salads $2.50/$4.00 OTHER ITEMS Tuna Salad Side $1.25 Fresh Fruit $1.50 Beverages $1.00 Desserts $1.50

The Caboose, Computer Lab, Board Room and Jackson Café are all located at Whistlestop’s Active Aging Center – 930 Tamalpais Ave., San Rafael. 10

Whistlestop Express

APRIL 2012


The Bird's Side OF MARIN

Preening Means Flying Faster


hen we think of preening, we usually think of men or women vainly beautifying themselves. Not so in the bird world. Preening – combing their feathers with their bills – is an essential activity for all birds and takes up a large part of their day. Before preening, birds fluff their body feathers or spread their wing feathers, then dip their bills in waxy oil from the uropygial gland, usually located at the base of their tails. Preening smoothes the vanes of the feathers and arranges the tiny barbs on the edges to interlock correctly with the adjacent feathers; otherwise, there would be gaps in the wings and flying would be difficult.

Why use a waxy oil? When I was 17, I spent many hours happily waxing the wings of racing aircraft, to make them fly faster. Birds are no different – glossy wings fly faster. In addition, the waxy oil prevents the feathers from drying and wearing out faster and chemicals in the oil inhibit the growth of fungi and bacteria in the feathers. Sometimes beautifying does come into play. A male Sandhill Crane, for example, will smear his feathers with reddish earth during mating season. Looking good for the ladies! Every weekend I email a special bird photo to Express readers. If you’d like something nice to look at amidst the junk in your inbox, ask me at ✦ Till next month, Richard 11

8th Annual Healthy Aging Symposium Thursday, May 10 9:00am-1:00pm Embassy Suites Hotel 101 McInnis Parkway, San Rafael Encarnacion “Chochoy” Rivero of San Rafael (in gray sweater, center) is surrounded by family members at a recent happy gathering.

Love, Discipline, Mutual Respect is Recipe for Success by JOHN BOWMAN The Marin County Division of Aging & Adult Services and The Marin County Commission on Aging Present

Maximizing Our Potential As We Age Keynote Speaker:

Joel Kramer, PsyD Director of Neuropsychology, UCSF Medical Center

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APRIL 2012


ow does a woman raise eight children on her own and inspire them to all finish college and enjoy successful, happy lives? For Encarnacion Rivero of San Rafael, it was a steady recipe of love, discipline and mutual respect. Encarnacion, 74, better known as “Chochoy,” moved from her native Venezuela five years ago, although she had visited her children in the Bay Area and Florida many times over the past 20 years, says her daughter Marina Alfonso of San Rafael. Marina, who operates a daycare here, says her mother worked for years as a high school librarian to support her family. Her husband left early on, so the job of raising eight children, four girls and four boys, landed on her strong shoulders. How was she able to do it? “With lots of love, respect and discipline,” says Marina. “She never let her children be disrespectful to her.” Today all eight of those children are grown and have college degrees, and four of them have their own businesses. Chochoy helps Marina at the daycare. “She also goes to Whistlestop,” Marina says. “She loves it there. She is learning English. She is also studying to become a U.S. Citizen.” Does Chochoy find time to do anything besides help at the daycare and go to Whistlestop? “She is a very smart, wise woman,” Marina says. “She likes to read, walk, solve Sudoku puzzles, and play Scrabble. She’s also adventurous and likes to go camping and canoeing. She loves going for long rides to different states.” ✦

How to Save the Memories Without Keeping all the Stuff By JANE LOT T


s a professional organizer, in every home I clear out, I find boxes of mementos, letters and other papers. Most people I work with protest when confronted with the suggestion of throwing away some of these things. â&#x20AC;&#x153;How will I remember?â&#x20AC;? they ask. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a valid question, for things are touchstones for memories. And in a life packed with so many lovely times, we often need reminders. So perhaps the question should be: â&#x20AC;&#x153;How can I save the memories without keeping all this stuff?â&#x20AC;? One way is to make a photographic record of mementos, either yourself or with the help of a photographer. Check out Professional Photographers of the Greater Bay Area ( Especially if you keep digital photos and have a program to add captions and notes, this method works well for saving memories. Another way to preserve memories is to create a scrapbook, saving bits and pieces of each tangible item â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a dried flower from a bouquet, for example â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and arranging them artistically along with commentary. A scrap-booking professional (you can find one at can help you create your unique books and even have them reproduced to share with family and friends. An even more personal way of sharing memories is to make a video. Using the items as prompts, have family members talk about their memories, and record these interviews. To ensure that nothing gets lost, use a professional videographer (find one at When the process is complete, choose one or two items to save and find appropriate homes for the rest. Whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s your own memories you want to save or those of a loved one who has passed on, sometimes the most difficult part of the process is the decision-making. An experienced estate organizer can guide you ( offers referrals). â&#x153;Ś A member of the Whistlestop board of directors, Jane Lott is a professional organizer for Silver Rain Estate Transition Services. She writes a blog on estate transitions at

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My Grands Are Great


tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s common knowledge that grandparenthood is a well-earned reward for surviving parenthood. You get all of the benefits of having an adorable child without the pain and responsibility. No pain of childbirth, no up-allnights. No having to feed and clothe them. I entered that lofty stage of grandparenthood at age 40. I remember rushing to the hospital nursery to see Jeff, my first-born grand, and announcing to the nurse, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m the babyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s grandmother.â&#x20AC;? I was fully expecting her to look shocked, thinking, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Oh, no! Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re too young!â&#x20AC;? Instead, she asked, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Is this your first?â&#x20AC;? So everybody talks about getting to have all the fun when the grandkids are little. You get to dress them up, love them up, fill â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;em up with sweets and then let their parents â&#x20AC;&#x153;put upâ&#x20AC;? with the consequences. If they lived in the area, I would celebrate their birthdays by taking them out to lunch and shopping for a toy of their choice. I remember Hillary, at age 5, falling in love with a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dydee Doll,â&#x20AC;? so she could feed her baby and then change her diaper when she wet. When her daddy came to retrieve Hillary I laughingly said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Steve, you have another mouth to feed.â&#x20AC;? I maintain, however, that the best years unfold as we watch our grands grow into responsible adults. Seeing them through all of the important stages of their lives, the graduations, college and career choices, marriages, we realize that they become even greater with the years. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s when they bring us even more drama and love than we could have imagined. Today only a few of my 18 grandchildren are nearby, but those who are far off in other states and foreign countries remain close to me through just a â&#x20AC;&#x153;clickâ&#x20AC;? on Facebook or email. They still make me feel loved. Just last night, for instance, that same Hillary made a 90-mile round trip after work to bring me a surprise gift she had made for me. It was a beautiful scrapbook to stir up happy memories of our trip to Luxembourg last September. Having a strong granddaughter with nursing experience as a companion made it possible for me to travel to Europe even at 83.â&#x153;Ś

Salt Water Taffy Caper Easily Solved by 9-Year-Old


ids Say the Darndest Things” was one of the most popular radio and television shows for two different generations, first in the 1960s with Art Linkletter and then in the 1990s with Bill Cosby. Well, kids still say the darndest things. Just ask Ethel Seiderman, 80, of San Anselmo. One of her grandchildren, Noah, 9, who lives with his parents and brother near Melbourne, Australia, regularly amuses and amazes Ethel with his wit. “We email and call back and forth,” Ethel said. “So, one day Noah emails me and says, ‘Gran, you have to talk to your boy. He is misbehaving again.’” Ethel explained that “her boy” is her son, Seth, an accomplished artist. “So, I email back — what’s the misbehaving?” Noah reminds me that I had sent him a favorite treat of his — a bag of salt-water taffy from Bodega Bay. Noah said he had intended to eat the taffy, one piece at a time, so after he ate one, he deposited the rest in his closet. He said that he goes into his closet one night and finds only one piece left. The culprit, he is sure, was Seth.

Noah’s mother, Jenny, a popular English and literature teacher, was not considered a suspect. “So, I email Seth and say, ‘Your behavior is unacceptable; what do you have to say for yourself?’” said Ethel. “Seth emails back with ‘I was hungry.’ End of story.” Ethel decided that next time she will send four packages of salt-water taffy — to her two grandsons, her son and Jenny — each one clearly marked. She will write in indelible ink, “Only to be eaten by owner.” Ethel said that through all of these experiences Noah’s older brother, Ethan, repeatedly just “rolls his eyes.” With four grandsons — two others by her daughter, Abby and son-in-law Bill — Ethel one day will likely have enough stories to write her own book about the darndest things kids say. ✦



< Continued from page 4 which helps local homeless transition back to work. That’s right, it is akin to eating at the Culinary Institute of America, as the students provide many of the menu ideas. Chef Rocky Packard has been on board at the café for just over a year (and serves on the board of Homeward Bound), and business has more than doubled since Rocky’s arrival. When you are only open for a 3½-hour lunch window, that’s no small feat. The menu is decidedly limited. On any given weekday, you can expect one main entrée, as well as a burger and a veggie burger, a chicken salad sandwich and a turkey sandwich, a garden and Caesar salad, pizza and a daily soup. That’s it. But if you do not mind that the simple menu makes your ability to order a piece of cake (they have that, too), take a seat at one of the eight-top banquet tables, greet your tablemates, and voilà, your meal is served. ✦ Excerpt from Marin Independent Journal. 15

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