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December 2015

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The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

December 2015

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Sunday, Dec. 13 • 4pm & 7PM Frazer United Methodist Church • frazerumc.org

committed

a night of music with special guests Winners of NBC’s “The Sing-Off”

MORE CHRISTMAS EVENTS

Frazer Church: find hope, Follow Jesus • Sunday worship 8, 9:30 & 11AM 6000 atlanta Hwy. Montgomery • frazerumc.org • 334.272.8622 Pike Road Campus Coming Feb. 7, 2016 • Meeting in Pike Road School


BOOM!, The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Contents

December 2015

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” Carl Bard

Volume 6 Issue 5

Thought Relationships Taste Inspiration

Humor Advice Health Community

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis

3 Jackson Hospital’s Health News 8 Publisher’s Letter 10 Standing Tall Leigh Anne Richards 12 Your Christmas Story Brandt McDonald 14 “The Journey Continues… Tim Tebow” 15 The 30A Songwriters Festival page 34

Features

32 Memory 2.0 Café uses tablet, smartphones to help with memory loss.

Departments 14 This and That

Now You’re “In the Know”

18 BOOM! Cover Profile 23 Healthy Hearing Casey Gonzalez

40 5 Things To Do...

34 Getaway to ‘Cloud 9’ Turn your knotted muscles over to a Thai massage.

24 Beauty Buzz Time to Update Your Profile

The Minute You Retire.

26 Eating Smart with Tracy Bhalla: Florentines!

44 {12} Things

Solutions for Bored Boomers

27 2015 “Raise the Roof” Event

38 Greg Budell

HAVE YOURSELF A VERY BOOMER CHRISTMAS…

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28 The End is Near! Ask an Elder Law Attorney 30 After a century of life’s bumps...

COVER PROFILE page 18

33 SingFit App 41 Ask Nancy: parents need assistance and choosing the best assisted living page 46

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42 BOOM! Advertising 43 Coping with Holidays and Family Celebrations 46 Grandparent Competition: The Holiday Season

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BOOM! The River Regions 50+ Lifestage Magazine is published monthly by River Region Publications, 6398 Eastwood Glen Pl., Montgomery, AL 36117. The phone number is 334.324.3472. Copyright 2015 by River Region Publications. No part of this publication can be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Opinions expressed in BOOM! The River Regions 50+ Lifestage Magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the owners, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products and services herein.

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Publisher’s Letter

Traditions The mission of BOOM! is to serve the folks of the River Region age 50 plus with information and ideas to inspire new experiences, better quality of life and new beginnings.

Publisher/Editor

Jim Watson, 334.324.3472 jim@riverregionboom.com

Associate Editor Kelly Watson

kelly@riverregionboom.com

Contributing Writers Sandi Aplin Tracy Bhalla Greg Budell

Erica Curless Kathy Flanigan Casey Gonzalez Barbara Graham Carole King Brandt McDonald Karren Pell Leigh Anne Richards Nancy Stein Raley L. Wiggins Kathy Witt

Cover Photography Kim Bethea Total Image Portraits www.totalimage.com 334.261.2080

Our family had an early Thanksgiving dinner this year. Nowadays, with blended families and many emotional directions, traditions are an ever changing part of family. There really wasn’t anything traditional about our get together, instead of Turkey we had a Julia Child classic...Beef Bourguignon, our host and daughter-in-law’s tribute to the French and the recent terrorist attacks they suffered. We spent much time catching up with each other and hearing the latest changes each was going through. Boyfriends, neighborhoods, health issues, work...it was great. We even had a debate around the outdoor fire pit, where my grandsons voiced Jim Watson, Publisher their opinions quite skillfully. I was proud. Now I’m looking forward to our newest tradition, Christmas at our house. Gotta go with the flow. When it comes with going with the flow, our Cover Profiles seem to epitomize that attitude. Carole King and Karren Pell seem as non-traditional as you can get. They have both have an eclectic lifestyle that is interesting and inspiring. They bring fun to aging because they refuse to age. I know you will enjoy reading about their journeys and maybe experience some of their work. We also have many other interesting reads this month, like a spa getaway to cloud 9 or the 5 things your supposed to do the minute you retire as well as the recipe for Florentines, a great Christmas cookie gift. Greg Budell shares some of his Christmas memories that only a Boomer can relate too! Raley Wiggins, our elder law attorney explains the new law on Social Security and the change in “file and suspend” which may effect some of you. Brandt McDonald shares some financial wisdom and encourages us to share our time with others. We have many more good reads this month and hope you continue to find BOOM! the best reading experience for the 50+ community. As always, thanks for being part of what we do. Your comments are the most valuable part of publishing BOOM! each month. Please continue sharing, I love to listen. If you’re not a Digital & Interactive subscriber to BOOM!, please sign up, it’s free. Go to www.RiverRegionBoom.com and fill in a few blanks and you’ll start receiving the full version to your email each month. Thanks for subscribing and thanks again for being part of our BOOM! Community. Merry Christmas!

Advertising

Jim

Jim Watson, 334.324.3472

jim@riverregionboom.com 334.324.3472 cell/text

jim@riverregionboom.com

Design & Layout Lake House Graphics

Distribution

Network Delivery

Printing Publications Press, Montgomery, AL 334.244.0436 publicationspress.com

Please Recycle This Magazine, Share with a Friend!

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Standing Tall

Remember when your mother would tell you to stand up straight? Yes, she was right! Keeping your body in proper alignment, improving your balance and maintaining the proper alignment as you move is “good posture.” Steven P. Weiniger, D.C., author of Stand Taller, Live Longer: An Anti Aging Strategy says the health risks are great if we have poor posture.

times more likely to die than those whose posture was aligned correctly. This is probably because the heart is pumping harder to get blood out of a collapsed chest. Weak posture can cause breathing problems, joint pain, difficulty walking, and may even contribute to falls in the elderly. If your posture is misaligned, your joints may become misaligned

One of the major signs of aging is that if a person has a hunched over look- a forward curved posture of the head, upper back and thoracic spine. It can become excessive over time. Curvature of the upper back can begin to increase in people after 40 and continue with advancing age. It is believed that 20%40% of older adults, both men and women, will develop this spinal deformity called hyperkyphosis (humpback).

Fitness over Fifty

When the head is pulled forward, your torso is rolling forward and the chest caves in. It is hard to get a deep breath. Studies have shown that people with weak posture are more likely to have incidents of cardiovascular and pulmonary issues. Dr. Weiniger states that in a study of women whose heads were pushed forward, they were 1.4

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by Leigh Anne Richards

too and you will feel pain in every step. People with weak posture also look older than people the same age that stand upright. Hyperkyphosis can be a result of osteoporosis and fractures of the vertebrae that result from thin bones. However, research has found that two thirds of people with hyperkyphosis do not have spinal fractures. The development of this spinal deformity may result from just poor habitual posture, muscle weakness, degenerative disc disease and ligament degeneration or hereditary factors.

We at MetroFitness are so fortunate to be associated with Tiffany Higginbotham, a physical therapist that actually has her practice, Body Logic, inside of our facility. I asked Tiffany to contribute to this article from a therapist perspective and the following is what she has to say about hyperkyphosis. As a physical therapist, one of the main things I look at is postural alignment. It is critical to avoiding pain and maintaining balance. There are normal curves that exist within our spine and bony landmarks that should line up that lets us know that someone is “balanced” and that their muscles are not working harder than they need to in order to keep someone upright. I always use the example of “stacking blocks” with patients to give people a visual of this concept. Imagine that you are stacking blocks and want them to balance and not fall. If I stack them to where one is more forward on the next one and then more forward on the next, and so on, they will eventually not be able to resist the pull of gravity and they will fall forward. Now let’s envision that same idea with your head, neck and upper back. If my shoulders and upper back are rounded and my head is protruding forward in relation to my chest, my blocks are not stacked and the muscles in the back of

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


my neck, upper shoulders and upper back are working so much harder to try and keep my “blocks from falling forward”. But if my shoulders are back, my chest is high and my chin is tucked to where my ear is now pulled back in line with the top of my shoulder, then my “blocks are stacked” and my muscles in my upper back can relax and stop working so hard. A large part of upper back and neck pain is simply due to prolonged poor sitting posture in ergonomically incorrect work environments. This situation left untreated then turns into poor mobility in joints and decreased flexibility in surrounding soft tissues that has to be addressed before proper posture can even be obtained. “Keeping our blocks stacked properly” also helps prevent us from having balance deficits and risk for fall as we age. As posture pulls more and more forward, placing our center of gravity way in front of our feet, we become unable to overcome the forward force. If left untreated, I, as a PT, eventually have no choice but to place a walker in front of someone to prevent the forward fall.

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Poor alignment also significantly leads to degeneration of our joints that drastically leads to dysfunction and pain. It is like our tires being out of balance on our carthings just begin to wear unevenly. With poor posture, the discs and joints in our spine have unequal forces and begin to degenerate and form arthritic changes throughout your spine, leading to a whole host of problems. We begin to develop possible disc problems or bones spurs that cause decreased space for our nerves exiting our spine. We then are in a scenario of needing lots of intervention including therapy, pain management and possibly surgery.

to practice these exercises to maintain your new and improved posture (once you get muscles you don’t stop lifting weights). You must maintain and that takes practice. Look for a new upcoming program that Leigh Anne and Tiffany will be starting in January 2016 to benefit posture and balance.

The good news is; this scenario is avoidable. As we maintain flexibility in our hips, legs and chest and strength in our neck, upper back and core, our “blocks stay stacked”. We also understand how important it is to sit less, and when we are forced to sit, we know how to sit well and the proper ergonomics that help us do this. We must retrain ourselves to proper posture. Once you achieve better balance and alignment, continue

Sources: • Tiffany Higginbotham, MS, PT. Has practiced for 18 years with specialties in outpatient orthopedics, manual therapy and pelvic pain. Tiffany owns Body Logic PT & Wellness, a private PT practice inside of Metro Fitness. • “3 Ways to Improve Your posture- And Why you Should”, Andrea Atkins, Grandparents.com • “ Physical Therapist’s Guide to Hyperkyphosis (Humpback) in Adults. MoveforwardPT.com Leigh Anne Richards, MEd, Certified Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, General Manager- MetroFitness. For any questions or comments, contact Leigh Anne at LAMetrofit@aol.com

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Your Christmas Story Every year that Christmas rolls around I am often humbled to hear the beautiful stories about the Spirit of Christmas! It’s a spirit that embodies charity, humility, forgiveness, friendship, unselfish giving, love and generosity. But most of all it’s about grace and mercy. It’s a time to remember “The Reason for the Season.” As a financial advisor, I spend every waking moment of every day studying global financial markets and researching investment ideas to provide the best possible advice I can to my clients. I absolutely love my clients because I have the privilege and the honor of getting to know them and their families on a very deep and meaningful level. They’re not just clients! They’re real families with real problems that need real solutions. The greatest thing though is that I get to hear their STORY! Everyone has a story, right? And, they’re all unique to us, individually. Sometimes our stories take violent turns that seem like the most out of control, raging storm ever created in the history of man – only reserved for us to experience in the most chaotic fashion. But, then those storms quickly begin to fade and we look up to see a new dawning, a new horizon, and a new day; a day that brings with it tranquility, rest, peace, and happiness. From the best of times to the worst of times, LIFE is all of that and everything in between. And then, there is Christmas!! It’s that one time of year when everything changes for the better. Gift giving, in my opinion, is about honoring someone you love or care about. Of course, when you have over 50 people in a family that meets this criteria, a quick phone call to the bank for a new line of credit might be in order – LOL! But, seriously, borrowing money to buy Christmas presents is the absolute worst possible mistake I see people make every year. It’s amazing to me that when government data is released every year

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about the overall level of revolving debt in this country that most economists and retail research analysts simply want to know if consumers have “room” to borrow during Christmas!!! This is the primary research tool used to gain insight into holiday spending. Why in the world would anyone even dream about borrowing money to buy things that they can’t afford? Did you know the average credit card debt in America is $16,140? If you with calculate interest Brandt McDonald and make the minimum monthly payment it will take a person 16 years to pay off and that debt ultimately becomes $35,728.58!!! The vast majority of credit card debt occurs during Christmas. Don’t buy “stuff” for $3000 that ultimately costs $6641 for stuff that will be obsolete before it’s paid for!! Talk about an investment!!! I would love to be the

Financial Thoughts

it comes to Christmas, let’s all take the time to invest some of our story into people who need help creating a story that shines a light on Christmas. After all, storytelling is fun! This Christmas, when you contemplate gift giving, I challenge you to give a gift that doesn’t require pulling out a credit card!!! How about giving someone your time? Listening to someone’s burden? Providing encouragement and hope? What about giving someone GRACE when you feel like they don’t deserve it? After all Christmas is a story for ALL of us, wouldn’t you agree? It’s a story about a savior that was injected into the timeline of life so that we all may have life, regardless of background or circumstance. Take the time to love people, wherever they are, no matter what they’re going through. I think if we all did that, we would discover that it was US who received the gift in the end. There’s no greater feeling than giving of yourself to help someone in need. THAT is the story of Christmas!!! From all of us at McDonald, Barranco, and Hagen, it is our sincere hope that you may all be blessed this Christmas season. May your stocking be full and may you fill someone else’s stocking with hope, peace, joy, and forgiveness.

credit card company. In my business, that’s called being on the wrong side of the trade!! If you can’t pay cash then don’t buy it. And if you don’t have the cash? Then remember, you have yourself!! Give of yourself!! It may be the greatest thing you do all year. In my world, everything is about making investments. My conversations almost always center on money – how to get it, how to get more, how to keep it!!! And those are all fine questions. But, when

As I always say, until next time, remember to never run with the herd, always be thankful, and look to the future with anticipation of what’s yet to come. Brandt McDonald, Managing Partner McDonald, Barranco & Hagen Wealth Management LPL Branch Manager MBCapitalWealth.com Direct comments and questions to bailey.worrell@lpl.com or 334.387.0094 Securities offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.

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i

This & tHAT “The Journey Continues…Tim Tebow”

The Cancer Wellness Center of Central Alabama announced Heisman Trophy winner and former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow would be the featured speaker for “The Journey Continues…Tim Tebow,” benefiting the Cancer Wellness Foundation of Central Alabama. Guests will enjoy a special evening of engagement at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center with Tim Tebow, ESPN SEC Network Analyst. By the end of his college career, Tebow had already won two NCAA Football Championships, earned the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s best quarterback, and was the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. In his first professional season, he led the Broncos to their first playoff game in five years and went on to play for the New York Jets. The event will be Saturday, January 16, 2016 at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center. Tickets are now on sale by calling the MPAC 334.481.5100 or online at mpaconline.org or ticketmaster.com . Tickets for the event will start at $60. Sponsorship opportunities with reserved seating and other benefits are also still available. For further information on sponsorships, contact Lucile Waller at 334.273.2279, or by email at lwaller@montgomerycancer.com.

Wetumpka Depot Players Present Radio TBS

The award winning Wetumpka Depot Players are wrapping up their 35th Anniversary Season with a comedy sure to put audiences in the holiday spirit. The funniest women on wheels are decking the halls at the Luna Del Mar Manufactured Home Oasis. Join them and the Wetumpka Depot Players for a holiday show complete with teased hair, Elvis and a drive by Nativity! Radio TBS ( Trailer Park Broadcasting Scandals), written by Mark Landon Smith plays on the Depot stage December 7, 8, 10, 11 and 13-15. “Don your tackiest Christmas sweaters and bring your camera to fit right in with the cast of Radio TBS, “ said director Tom Salter. “This is a show that will make you feel better about your own quirky family! Throw in preparations for the Miss Manatee pageant, and a road trip to Graceland to pay homage to Elvis, the teased haired residents drive home the real meaning of Christmas.“ Tickets may be purchased online at wetumpkadepot.com or by calling the box office at 334.868.1440. Box office hours are Wednesday-Friday 9am-3pm. The award winning community theatre is located at 300 S Main Street in historic downtown Wetumpka.

Two Different Kings

A Christmas Multi-Media Presentation: “Two Different Kings” . This presentation in the Roman theatre contrasts the difference between the world of King Herod and the character of the reign of King Jesus as understood by his early followers. The show will feature the discoveries at the recently excavated tomb of Herod. Show times are 7:30 pm on December 4 & 5, 11 & 12, 18 & 19 & 24. The location is the Biblical History Center, 130 Gordon Commercial Drive, LaGrange, Georgia. Admission is charged. For more information, call 706.885.0363 or visit explorationsinantiquity.com

Get Your Affairs in Order, FREE Estate Planning and Asset Protection Workshop Wednesday, January 27: Hosted by Red Oak Legal, PC: 1:30 - 3:30 pm at the Archibald Senior Center (MACOA) in Montgomery. This educational workshop presented by local attorney Raley L. Wiggins covers wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, living wills, probate administration, protecting assets from creditors, bankruptcy, divorce and remarriage, nursing homes, long-term care and Medicaid qualification. Registration is required. Call 334.625.6774 today to reserve your seat or register online at www.redoaklegalpc.com.

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The 30A Songwriters Festival

The 7th annual 30A SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL- set for January 15, 16 and 17, 2016 - has announced the initial line-up for the 2016 celebration of singers and songs. The festival, held in venues along scenic Highway 30A in Florida’s South Walton County, will feature headline performances from esteemed artists Jackson Browne, Grace Potter, Shovels & Rope and Wine, Women & Song featuring Matraca Berg, Suzy Bogguss & Gretchen Peters. Also confirmed are Ani DiFranco, Emerson Hart (Tonic), Kristian Bush (Sugarland), Shawn Mullins, Jay Farrar (from Son Volt), Peter Holsapple (the dB’s), Drew Holcomb, Jeffrey Steele, Parker Millsap, Dan Bern, Steve Poltz, Hayes Carll, Charlie Mars, Grant-Lee Phillips, Bob Schneider, David Ryan Harris (John Mayer band), David Hodges (Evanescence), Bobby Bare, Jr., Chris Stills, Jim Lauderdale, Callaghan, Kris Delmhorst, Kristy Lee, BettySoo, Randall Bramblett, Griffin House, Jennifer Knapp, Toby Lightman, Liz Longley and Heather Maloney. Headliner Jackson Browne has written and performed some of the most literate and moving songs in popular music and has defined a genre of songwriting charged with honesty, emotion and personal politics. He was honored with induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2007. He will perform Saturday afternoon, January 16. “Hopes and dreams become reality at the 30A Songwriters Festival,” says Russell Carter, co-producer/Festival Chair. “We are thrilled to present Jackson Browne as the 2016 headline act. Jackson will perform solo on guitar and piano. It is a singer songwriter performance in its most basic form and it is quite simply profound. The 30A Songwriters Festival takes place January 15-17 along scenic highway 30a in Northwest Florida. There will be 150 artists and 25 venues. For more info visit 30asongwritersfestival.com

Cloverdale Playhouse...Two For The Holidays Don’t miss these two great holiday shorts at the Cloverdale Playhouse, December 10-20, 2015. The Long Christmas Dinner–nine decades long–showcases the lives of several generations of the Bayard family, and some of their Christmas dinners. Wilder breaks the boundaries of time as we measure it, and invites us to partake of “one long, happy Christmas dinner”-past, present and future. The Santaland Diaries is based on the outlandish and true chronicles of David Sedaris’ experience as Crumpet the Elf in Macy’s Santaland display. This hilarious cult classic features comic encounters during the height of the holiday crunch. Recommended for ages 14 and above. Showtimes are Thursday-Saturday 7:30 p.m. Sunday 2:00 p.m. For more info visit cloverdaleplayhouse.org or 262.1530

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This & tHAT

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Montgomery Symphony Presents “Holiday Pops” Join Thomas Hinds and the Montgomery Symphony for an evening of holiday music guaranteed to put everyone in a festive mood. The concert will be presented on Monday, December 14th, at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center at 7:30 pm, featuring The Montgomery Chorale. Bring the whole family out for this revered holiday tradition as the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and the Montgomery Chorale get you in the spirit of the season. Let the MSO kick off your holiday season in fun, festive, and family-friendly fashion! and will feature everything from Silent Night to Sleigh Ride. For more information about MSO visit montgomerysymphony.org. For tickets, please call the MPAC box office at 334-481-5100 or visit their website at mpaconline.org.

Stamp Does 14th CreateAthon... Stamp, a Montgomery, AL based full-service advertising, interactive and media firm will donate creative services to aid non-profit organizations in an intense 24-hour creative blitz known as CreateAthon®. Stamp will be celebrating their 14th consecutive year of participating in CreateAthon, an annual event where Stamp provides services to selected non-profits that could include strategic marketing planning, brand development, broadcast scripting and recording, social media campaigns as well as copywriting and design on projects such as websites, print advertising and collateral materials. Stamp will accept applications from now until January 15, 2016. Deadline to apply is January 15, 2016. The 2016 CreateAthon® event will be held at the firm’s Montgomery office on February 25-26 and applications can be found at StampGivesBack.com. Let our creative minds do good work for your non-profit! Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ StampIdeaGroup to see special announcements. Contact Kristin Dillensnyder, Kristin@StampIdeas.com with questions at 888.244.9933.

Prattville’s Nutcracker Ballet Visions of sugarplums, swirling flowers, prancing reindeer and magical snowflakes will grace the stage at the Jefferson State Community College Performing Arts Center this winter. Prattville’s Nutcracker Ballet Production possesses the power to make people happy at Christmas. This will be the fifth biennial production by the students from C.J.’s Dance Factory, members of the Prattville Ballet and other talent in the Autauga, Chilton, Elmore and Montgomery county area. The Nutcracker Ballet celebrates the power of human imagination and puts artistic life into fanciful childish dreams. You won’t want to miss the chance to support the arts and enjoy a family friendly production. Where: Jeff State Performing Arts Center, Saturday, December 12th, 2:00 (matinee for children) and 7:00pm. General admission: $12.00

A Mini Flex Storage Adds New Location Locally owned, Isaacson Family Enterprise LLC DBA - A Mini Flex Storage

Arrowhead, has purchased and started construction on 5.6 acres across from the Arrowhead Community and Country Club on Atlanta Highway. The development will be in three phases. The first phase will include a 30,000 sq. ft. Climate Controlled Storage building with an onsite office, packing and shipping store, local and one-way truck rentals, Free Truck and Driver with storage rental program, 10,000 sq. ft. of covered RV and boat storage with electrical plug ins and dump site, as well as, 20,000 sq. ft. of uncovered parking storage. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker MSW will be on staff to provide a Senior Transitioning Program. The two remaining phases will have both standard and climate controlled units. Once all three phases are completed there will be 600 plus units. Phase one will be completed and operating in the Spring of 2016. Financing provided by River Bank & Trust. “This is a really exciting development that we are pursuing, because this is a completely local project! From ownership to financing we are all based in Montgomery, AL,” said Eric Isaacson Managing Partner. For more information, please contact Eric or Doug Isaacson at trucks@alabamatruckrentals.com or 334.281.4446 or aminiflex.com

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HOLIDAYSOUL

ERIC ESSIX & 5 MEN ON A STOOL If you’re looking to get in the groove of the holidays, you shouldn’t miss “Holiday Soul” at the UAB’s Alys Stephens Center in Birmingham., Sunday, December 13th, 7pm. Back by popular demand, this harmonious holiday celebration features UAB Artistin-Residence Eric Essix along with Atlanta supergroup 5 Men on a Stool. Following the success of their last show, Essix will once again perform his hand-picked collection of soulful “songs of the season” with bandmates Hank Stewart, Antonio Allen, Melvin Miller, and Leonard Julien III. These fine gentlemen will also treat patrons to a handful of favorites from the group’s time-tested, listener-approved set list. Together they have played venues throughout the U.S., performing their own unique blend of jazz, gospel, R&B, and spoken word. “Holiday Soul” is a unique musical experience guaranteed to fill the whole family with joyful, soulful holiday spirit. For more info visit alysstephens.org.

Light the Night With Hope

The Montgomery Cancer Center presents, “Light the Night With Hope,” a luminary service of celebration and memory, on Thursday, December 10 at 6 PM on the campus of the Montgomery Cancer Center in the parking area by Carmichael Imaging. Join them as they remember and reflect on the impact cancer has had in our lives. Let’s celebrate the ones that have fought, are fighting, have won, have lost, and those that still endure the effects of cancer. Recognize someone special in your life. Luminary lanterns are available at all Baptist Health facilities. Each luminary is yours to decorate with the name you choose in honor of, in memory of, or in celebration of someone special in your life. We will hold a brief time of celebration and reflection, offer a time for prayer and light refreshments. This event is free and open to the public so please encourage your family and friends to decorate a bag and join us on December 10th for what promises to be a very special evening. Let’s Light the Night with Hope! For more information, call 800.627.3999 or visit baptistfirst.org The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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BOOM! COVER PROFILE

Carole King & Karren Pell, Eclectic Local Authors This month’s BOOM! Cover Profile is a Twofer...Carole King and Karren Pell. They are a writing team, focusing on the local history of Montgomery. More than that they each have very unique talents...raising Grand Champion dogs, leading a band, preserving history, writing plays, loving their animal families and having more fun than most of us Boomers can remember. They are an interesting pair, together and apart. We recently spent some time with both of them and of course they made us all laugh, but they also shared some of their eclectic journeys with us. We hope you enjoy getting to know them as much as we have.

BOOM!: Please give us a brief biography, i.e. where you’re from, education, what brought you to the Montgomery area, did you raise your family here, schools, married, family, etc? Carole: I grew up here in Montgomery going to Catholic schools and graduating from Lanier. Attended Auburn in Interior Furnishings and later graduate school in historic preservation and museum studies at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, too cold for me. One of four sibs.

Carole and Karren at one of their book signings

community support for my projects, I met my wonderful husband, Tim, here, have made fabulous friends, a great collection of furry family members. I taught English for many years, but I recently retired from teaching. My last job was at Montgomery Catholic High school--a Karren: In late great experience. I am 1990s, I moved to both a breast cancer Montgomery from survivor and a heart Nashville TN where patient ( just had defib/ I had been working pacemaker surgery this as a professional July). I always credit song writer for Joy & Dickie Blondheim over a decade. as being part of the ASF had signed friend team that kept my play, Fair and me alive during cancer Tender Ladies, and treatment. Joy to Life AUM had awarded Foundation has two me a graduate Tim and Karren outdoor reception Alhambra photos in our latest school scholarship. book. I packed my car and put Nashville in my rear view window. In addition to BOOM!: The two of you have many

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talents and one of them is writing together. How did this writing collaboration begin? What’s the biggest kick out of working together? Biggest challenge? Where can we buy your books? Any future writing projects? Carole: Karren is “old hat” at writing and the words-smith. Her forte’ is the creative writing and I can root out the sources and photographs and together we pull the research together. She was approached with a book project and we had worked on a neighborhood project so it was a good match. We were able to produce our three books because, between the two of us, we could come up with the photographs, research, resources, etc. to make it work. With help from folks like Mary Ann Neeley, Jeff Benton, James Fuller, just to name a few contributors, we could pull our works together. Biggest kick—nothing is that serious…we make a lot of noise laughing. Biggest challenge—seeing things we want and can’t quite reach.

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Such as an awesome mini book. Latest installment coming with such a gifted researcher photograph and we can’t right up. and writer! find the source or get the permission to use it! BOOM!: Many of our readers would Karren: Carole & I worked Karren is a real bull dog like to write a book…can you offer some together on a history exhibit on that and won’t walk inspiration or instruction to for our away from a challenge. help them get started? neighborhood’s Our Arcadia Publishing/ (Capitol History Press distributes Carole: You can only write Heights) our books all over (well) about what you know centennial. town through OAT (Old and love, my philosophy. After that Alabama Town) Museum Take a creative writing event, we said, Store, Goat Hill Museum course to learn to put “that was too Store, Books a Million your thoughts to paper much work for Carole and her dog, Pocket and even Walgreens. Too (or computer these days). just one event,” weird seeing our books at Now if you want to sell so we went and the checkout but a market that may not your book, that’s a different got a book contract. Since frequent a book store. story! A publisher who then we have written 2 knows your subject and more--a Then & Now and Carole’s dog, Gracie While distributing our last book, Images your market is essential, our latest, Contemporary of Modern America-Montgomery, the but, bottom line, do it for Montgomery. In addition, sales rep was seeing a Civil Heritage Trail love because chances are pretty slim we write an on-going column in the brochure everywhere she went. So she you’ll ever pay any bills with those Montgomery Advertiser called “Time suggested royalties! Travelers.” that Carole is also Arcadia Karren: English teacher advice--and an important would I follow it: Be focused. Know your part of my be very objectives. Know your target audience. musical interested Structure your time so you enjoy your show, The in that for work. Get a cat. Old Alabama their line Town Revue. of city tour BOOM!: Carole, you have been working We have a lot books. We with the Landmarks Foundation of fun. WE connected for many years, helping to lead the both enjoy them with historic preservation movement here learning and Karren’s band Old Alabama Town (OAT) Revue performing at ASF the Civil in Montgomery. Can you share some working with Heritage of your Landmarks journey with us? people. Our Trail committee of the Downtown Montgomery has a very unique history; biggest challenge is finding time to work. Business Association who created and how can our community Our books promotes the Trail tour. I’m working embrace the value it are available with Jeff Andrews, the Civil Heritage represents to future at the OAT Trail committee and local attractions to generations? gift shop, produce the tour book for next spring Goat Hill Gift for visitors to do the Trail. About 10 Carole: When I came to Shop, Capitol years ago, quilt historian and author Landmarks as an intern Books & on Mary Elizabeth Johnson Huff, author in 1982 my project line. Books of Mississippi Quilt Book, asked me to was to research and have also help her on an Alabama Quilt Book. We to create a historic been sold at spent the last 10 years doing Quilt Share interior for the newly Walgreens, Days around the state documenting over relocated 1890s Grocery Costco’s and 2500 historic quilts. Mary Elizabeth has Store. The next year the Books -a written and is in the final stages of the Schoolhouse and several Million. Our writing and hopefully the Alabama Quilt other historic structures latest MA Carole showing her AKC Grand Champion, Paisley Book will be going to press soon. I have made their way to Old article--on learned so much from this experience Alabama Town and that continued for the Chappell House--has turned into a

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years. The Working BOOM!: What are you BOOM!: Favorite vacation spot? Any Block was created most passionate about? travel dreams planned for the future? with house museums that show working Carole: I totally enjoy Carole: Seen lots of fun places but situations—cotton gin, making things work there’s nothing like the beautiful beaches grist mill, print shop, together. To explain, if of the Gulf Coast! I love travelling with etc. Now there are over somebody needs a job, groups with the same interest that I 50 historic structures I want to hook them have. I like somebody to make all the at Old Alabama Town up with somebody plans, arrangements, buy tickets, hotels, with about half being who needs help. If transportation, etc. I don’t want to have house museums that somebody needs advice to fool with any of those details. My next are interpreted to show on something, I want trip in the Spring will be to northern how Alabamians lived to direct them to an Spain and the Camino de Santiago so in the 19th century. This expert on that subject. I’m reading lots about the history and was a very exciting time I guess you might call it culture of that area. for historic preservation networking or better yet in Montgomery. Not connecting…And not to Karren: Tim & I love to go to the beach only was OAT growing, sound dorky, my dogs! and our friend, Marty Martin’s, farm preservation projects in Florida. We have plans to meet our were happening all over Karren: I have been friend from Denmark, Nils Maeetoft, Karren relaxing with her “furry faces” town and Landmarks was talking for a musical adventure in the instigator for many of those—Knox about my writing and Dublin for 2016. Hall, Train Shed, and Commerce Street music, but I am also buildings. Historic neighborhoods were totally committed BOOM!: You are both beginning and continue to be revitalized to my fur faces and contributing authors to the by those pioneering folks who went back helping other animals blog, Midtown Montgomery into inner city areas and renovated. I in needs. In fact, our Living and you both live think Landmarks led by example! house is currently a in Capitol Heights, could good bit out of control you please share your BOOM!: Many Boomers are experiencing with rescue cats. Know appreciation of Midtown a renewed sense of purpose, new goals. anybody who wants a Montgomery, especially, How would you describe this sense of beautiful cat-teen? Capitol Heights? renewal in your life? Any advice for the rest of us seeking renewal? BOOM!: How do you Carole: Growing up in like to relax and wind “Lanier” part of town I never Carole: I see so many folks who have down from a hard day’s knew anything about the spent decades in occupations that even work? “Lee” side of town. When they thought I was wandering around were boring just Carole: that area one day I found for a paycheck My the cutest most awesome Karren visiting Paris and that’s not house cottage that I ended up something I can and yard are way toooo purchasing as my first house. And, like a understand. I think big for me now. So I spend lot of other folks in the neighborhood, I will always have tons of wind-down time then later bought a larger bungalow on something to do. piddling in my yard and the Parkway that is about half an acre so Although people house enjoying my four I have my own farmette! I think we take complain about very large dogs who are our Midtown location for granted—not Montgomery, the best company and much traffic, close to work, couple of there is always they are ALWAYS eager for good groceries, and plenty of culture! something to do, me to be home with them. someplace to go, Karren: Capitol Heights is a real Carole and Karren having fun and people to Karren: Relax? Really? neighborhood. Friends, people you with Joy Blondheim meet. How bout just collapse? Well, Tai Chi love, people who get on your nerves, and champagne come to mind, but they people you don’t like at all. Pot luck Karren: Now is the time to do the things don’t particularly work well together. dinners, Christmas Tree Lightings, you have postponed. Go for it. cookouts. Help with home & animals

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when you are gone, help when you are not well, others who do not help at all. Close to downtown, close to other cool neighborhoods, all the way across town from lots of stuff we need. Our 100-year-old home is comfy and full of character and we have an on-going lovehate relationship with it and the renovation it needs. It’s real.

I created the Old Alabama Town Revue-I call it a deep south Prairie Home Companion. I have developed an entire band complete with a backup group called the Pellets! We are currently in our 5th season, recording a cd at Antony Castalado’s Echo 7 recording studio (& drummer BOOM!: Karren, you for the Revue), are a performer and and have been music has been a awarded an Karren’s dogs doing their best to make her laugh big part of your life. Alabama Arts Would you share some of your musical Council Grant for a big show in the journey with our readers? Biggest spring. The next Revue is Thursday challenges? Best memories? Where can evening, Dec 3 at the Old Church in our readers hear you perform? OAT (Old Alabama Town) at 7:00; I will also be part of a more informal holiday Karren: I spent over ten years in music and words show Friday Dec 4 at Nashvagas (Nashville). I had some New South Books at the corner of Court success--gold records and grammy in and Washington St. Both shows feature Norway. Worked with some famous Nashville singer-songwriter Tom House-artist--Reba & Garth. But I was not happy one of my long time collaborators. with my lifestyle or my writing so I left. Wandered in the desert for a while, BOOM!: As you’ve aged, how have your lived like a gypsy for a while. Got back to ambitions changed? writing stuff I liked. Back to singing what I wrote. Back to writing with people I Carole: My ambitions haven’t changed, liked like Tore Anderson from Norway. I but expanded! I’m still interested in the love performing, but touring is tiring so same things and lots more.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Karren: As opposed to being rich and famous I just want to be rich. Just kidding. Ok. I would really like to be rich. But I am more focused on my hubby, my friends, and my fur family. BOOM!: Give us three words that describe you? Carole: Dependable, creative, curious Karren: Our mutual friend, Fred Williams once described me as “she ain’t right.” He’s probably right. But I will choose 3: hmmm--Creative, Big hearted, Fun BOOM!: Would you share your “pet family” with us? Any favorites? Awards? Carole: I have two Scottish Deerhounds, Paisley and Pocket, who are my show dogs. I finished Paisley as an AKC Grand Champion and Pocket has just started her show career. Gracie, an Irish Wolfhound, and Granger, a greyhound, are both rescue dogs. Karren: Tim & I have 4 dogs: our darling Sweeney lou--she & Tim win trophies and medals running; Dolly--the reason we can’t have nice things; and Sam & Lumpy--the large and small of it. Then there are the cats. Best not to count them. I should mention Sneferu, Marie, & Leopold. Do you know anybody who would like a beautiful cat-teen?? cont’d page 22

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BOOM!: If you weren’t doing what you do, what dream job would you want? Carole: I would have a fiber/book store…yes, I still believe in books, the real kind that you hold in your hand. We have a Little Free Library on the front of Rescued Relics our salvage warehouse and lots of Downtown folks frequent it. Karren: Hmmm. I wish I had the energy to have a small farm so I could have llamas and goats. Ain’t gonna happen. BOOM!: It seems like younger generations have less appreciation for our history and the people who lived it. Any ideas on how to make history more relevant to the young folks?

They love Midtown & Capital Heights, Carole’s home (left) and Karren’s home (right)

Carole: Lots of people are trying to make history more appealing to the younger generation. But I think the best way for them to respect history is for us to respect it. Lead by example. ..Restore more buildings. Build more museums. Do more research. If the governmental “fathers” lead by example with their support for historical, artistic and cultural endeavors the younger generation will follow. Karren: It’s up to us and our leaders to take a stand and save our architectural history & record our social history for the young to learn and enjoy--so they can see and feel it. In other words, the past needs to be an active part of their present. BOOM!: There seems to be a high level of fun when you’re together…laughing, cracking jokes, cutting up, plenty of wit…what’s your secret to having fun? Carole: I guess we just enjoy each other’s company, have a lot of the same interests, don’t take ourselves too seriously and are eager to have fun! Karren: Girls just wanna have fun………. We want to thank Carole and Karren for sharing their story with us this month. If you have questions or comments for Carole send her an email at cking@ oldalabamatown.com , Karren can be reached at karrenpell@charter.net. As always, thanks to Kim Bethea from Total Image Portraits for her professional cover photo of Carole and Karren, she makes taking pictures fun! If you have questions, comments or suggestions about our cover profiles, including nominating someone, please send them to jim@riverregionboom.com

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Hear and Be Heard During the Holidays: Hearing Loss Communication Tips We are all familiar with the wonderful sounds of the holidays—joyous music, lively conversation and family gatherings. But if you or a loved one has trouble hearing in noisy situations, or suffers any degree of hearing loss, the holidays may lose their luster. Not being able to contribute to family conversations is frustrating for both the person suffering from hearing loss, as well as family members who may not be aware of the hearing problem.

Healthy Hearing

have difficulty hearing in noisy situations.

A hearing evaluation and consultation will diagnose hearing loss and rule out other medical issues. The first step is a hearing test with a Doctor of Audiology; if hearing loss is present, hearing aids may be recommended.

By Casey Gonzalez, Au.D., CCC-A, FAAA Montgomery Hearing Services

• Speak face-to-face, never from a different room or from behind. • Dimly lit situations make it difficult to see facial expressions. Try to have conversations in areas with good lighting like a kitchen or near a window.

Casey Gonzalez received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Disorders from Louisiana State University, and earned her Doctorate of Audiology degree from Louisiana State University Health Science Center. Casey holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology.

The following communication tips are useful year round, but may be especially appreciated when families and friends gather to celebrate the holidays.

• While speaking, avoid activities like smoking or chewing that make lip reading difficult.

• Be sure the person is paying attention before you speak.

• Try to reduce background noise. Even people who wear hearing aids may

• Speak at a natural pace and volume level.

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334.651.0500 Located in the Park Place Building 1758 Park Place, Suite 101 • Montgomery, AL 36106 MontgomeryHearingServices.com | Follow Us on © 2015 SMPN. All Rights Reserved. 11/15 41100-15

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Beauty Buzz From our blog at RiverRegionFacialPlastics.com

The Pros and Cons of Hydroquinone Products that contain the bleaching agent hydroquinone have been the go-to skin care products to brighten dark spots. While many physicians favor hydroquinone due to its effectiveness, many question its safety. What we like about hydroquinone is that it really does work. It has the ability to block the enzyme that allows pigment to become visible. Over the counter hydroquinone cannot exceed 2% which results in a longer time using the product to see results. Physician-dispensed (or prescription strength 4% hydroquinone) will produce results in 1 to 3 months. We usually recommend that brightening agents should be used in conjunction with laser treatments or chemical peels to obtain optimal results. The downside to using hydroquinone is that it cannot be used continuously due to redness, burning and inflammation. These side effects can actually result in more pigment. Because of the side effect profile of hydroquinone, we recommend SkinMedica’s Lytera®, a non-hydroquinone brightening product. Lytera® contains niacinamide and retinol along with other non-toxic agents to brighten the skin. Lytera® can be used continuously as a part of your skin care routine. If you are switching from hydroquinone to Lytera®, overlap the products for 30 days then stop using hydroquinone all together. Combining Lytera® with a few IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments over the winter will be a holiday home run!

Be Merry and Bright!

Purchase 3 full-face IPL treatments, get a free Lytera® Brightening System!

For information & appointments call 270.2003

Botox Injectable Days are BACK! Earn double BD points!! December 4th - Dr. Cawthon, December 11th - Dr. Bowman

Holiday Tree of Savings arrives December 1st Shop the entire month and get a happy from our tree!

Time to Update Your Profile Non-invasive procedures to refresh the face are at an all time high. In-office treatments with hyaluronic acid fillers are quick and painless and produce results that are a big deal. Facial volume loss over time results in a flattened cheek appearance, heavy folds around the mouth and can often make the bags under the eyes more noticeable. With the use of fillers to replace lost volume we can recreate the youthful appearance you once loved. Fillers can make the appearance of heavy folds around the mouth soften and bags under the eyes disappear. One of our favorite products is Voluma® XC. When injected into the deeper tissues of the cheek, the cheek becomes an apple shape where you once had a flat effect. When we replace lost volume in the face with fillers, the appearance of heavy jowls become less noticeable due to the lifting of the fillers in the dermis. While fillers are no replacement for a needed surgery to tighten loose skin they can give a very updated look to your profile just in time for a kiss under the mistletoe.

Please contact us via email at Doctors@RiverRegionFacialPlastics.com with your questions or comments! 24 BOOM!

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Christmas Gift Eating Smart with Tracy Bhalla

Christmas is a time for giving so I am giving to you one of my favorite seasonal recipes – Florentines! I quote from the recipe’s author, Delia Smith, a fabulous English baker, chef and cookbook author: “If there was such a thing as a prize for the very best biscuit in the world, one bite of a Florentine would tell you this was the winner. Absolutely top drawer and perfect if you want to give a special homemade present at Christmas.”

Of course, the word “biscuit” in English means the same as “cookie” in American. Other than that, I could not have phrased it better myself. I used to make these when I was much, much younger to give away as Christmas gifts, each packaged in a lovely tin. Friends still talk about them now, years later, and many still have the tins! I do, in fact, plan to make them again this year. It’s been too long since I had the time and now, with Cool Beans closed, I finally can do it. A lot of love and patience is required, but they are oh so worth it! Recipe: Makes about 20 Ingredients 25g butter 75g golden caster sugar 10g plain flour (plus extra for dusting) 65ml double cream 50g whole almonds, cut into thin slivers 50g ready-flaked almonds 50g whole candied peel, chopped 25g glacé cherries, chopped 25g angelica, finely chopped 175g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids) Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC, gas mark 5, 375 F Equipment: Two Delia Online baking sheets, with non-stick liners, or similar

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This recipe is from Delia’s Cakes

Method Start by putting the butter together with the sugar and flour in a small, heavybased saucepan over a very low heat, and keep stirring until the mixture has melted. Now gradually add the cream, stirring continuously to keep it smooth. Then add all the remaining ingredients, except the chocolate. Stir thoroughly again, then remove the saucepan from the heat and put the mixture on one side to cool. You’ll find it easier to bake one sheet of the Florentines at a time, so now place heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto one of the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2.5cm apart (to allow the mixture room to expand while baking).

Flatten each spoonful with the back of the spoon, then bake on a high shelf for about 10–12 minutes, or until golden. Then take them out of the oven and leave the biscuits to harden on the baking sheet for 2–3 minutes, before quickly removing them to a wire cooling tray to cool. Repeat with the second batch. Next, melt the chocolate in a basin over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. This will take about 5–10 minutes. Place the cooled Florentines base-up on the wire rack and, using a teaspoon, coat the underside of each Florentine with warm melted chocolate.

Then, just before it sets, make a patterned, wavy line on each one, using a fork.

Now leave the Florentines to cool completely before packing in alternating rows of fruit and chocolate side up in airtight tins. You may substitute the following if necessary: Soft brown sugar for golden caster sugar, Soaked raisins (in rum, if you like!) for glacé cherries, Chopped dried fruit (eg. Cranberries) for Angelica (there really is no substitute, but I do not know how easy it is to obtain here), Whipping cream for double cream, though it would be best to partially whip it before using in the recipe as Double Cream is much thicker. Measure everything very carefully. Most scales will have grams on them, but if your’s do not then use the following calculation: 1 gram is equal to 0.035 ounce, so multiply each of the ingredients weights by 0.035. I do hope you enjoy these fabulous cookies (biscuits to me!) as much as I do and I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year! Tracy Bhalla, email: coolbeans.mgm@gmail.com Trained as an architect! Worked as a teacher of product design and graphic design for 9 years in England and Bermuda. Always had a love of healthy, good-for-you food. Always cooking for friends and family. Married a cardiologist in 2007. We have a shared passion about eating healthily (and wine) and both love to cook.

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Overwhelming Outpouring of Support for MANE’s 2015 “Raise the Roof” Event

Jenny Brown and Heather King who Record breaking attendance marked Paul and Connie Winn, James Michael also collected the purchased tickets and Montgomery Area Nontraditional Hinson, Ty Eiland, Mike and Jane Howard, generous Equestrians’ Chuck and Joan DiLaura, Julie Beasley, donations. (MANE’s) Doug Rice, Jeanne Drummond, Andrew Proceeds 7th Annual and Amy Hall, David Burke, Cathy Ridling, from the “Raise the Deanna Sasser, Marla Boyd, Foxwood event will Roof” Seafood Farms, The Feed Lot, Nancy Buzard in be directed Celebration memory of Bettie Baldwin, Carol Brown to retire hosted on in memory of Kelley Bartlett, Dr. James MANE’s Thursday, Johnson in memory of Elizabeth Johnson, construction October 22nd. Nan and Ronnie Barganier, Bartlett Ranch, loan, Hundreds and Polly Williamson. acquired to gathered construct to show Wintzell’s Oyster House prepared a fresh the multisupport for and fabulous feast for the eyes including use building the tri-county an array of grilled and fried oysters, fish, some 8 area’s premier chicken, and shrimp. Also included were years ago. therapeutic bacon-wrapped shrimp, coleslaw, cheese Spencer and Cindy Longshore are the proud sponsors of “Bear”, a Belgium draft horse, who is particularly valuable to The indoor riding center, grits, and other Wintzell’s Oyster House MANE’s Wounded Warriors riders. section of which serves favorites all elegantly served buffet style the complex houses offices, classrooms, a those who have physical, cognitive, and down 8 long tables dressed in chocolate break-room, and The Kiwanis Korral – an developmental disabilities through equinecolored linens. At an additional ice-filled indoor resource room where parents and assisted activities. All food and labor for food station, Wintzell’s wonderful staff caregivers can watch riders in the adjacent the fabulous seafood extravaganza were shucked raw oysters as fast as MANE covered area. completely donated by Wintzell’s Oyster advocates could load their plates! House, courtesy of owners Bob and Buffy Kim Alford, Donlon from Mobile. For more information one of about MANE, please MANE’s Guests parked along MANE’s Sensory visit MANE’s website at certified Integration Trail and then transported in www.maneweb.org. therapeutic golf carts by volunteers for a short ride to riding the front entrance of the facility. To volunteer or register instructors, for MANE’s programs, introduced The sensory trail itself spans more than 3 please call 334-213MANE’s acres and has 8 carefully designed stations 0909. Donations can twelve featuring activities that integrate the rider’s be sent to: MANE, extraordinary sensory input via sight, smell, hearing, 3699 Wallahatchie equine taste, and touch. The trail and its 10 foot Road, Pike Road, AL partners high stations also provide opportunities 36064. MANE holds to party to enhance gravitational security, balance, a 501C corporation attendees. grasp/release, and proprioceptive input status and its Kim offered all while riders are engaged in therapeutic instructors are certified Ann Longshore, Polly Williamson, and Nancy Buzzard connect at MANE’s Raise the Roof. guests horseback riding. through PATH Intl., a insights into the many benefits of The giant tic-tac-toe game is the trail’s regulatory agency that assures stringent therapeutic riding as well as opportunities newest station designed to challenge standards for quality therapeutic horseback to sponsor horses and/or riders for those MANE riders’ cognitive ability to respond riding through instructor certification, site interested in expanding their support appropriately to sensory input by making accreditation and program monitoring. for MANE’s program. The following gave a successful, organized response while MANE continues to function with an generously to support their favorite horse remaining mounted on their equine administrative overhead of less than 6%, or riders new to the MANE program: The partner. ensuring donors that all contributions are JK Lowder Family Foundation, Spencer effectively utilized for the benefit of the Longshore, Jennie and Ron Botterbusch, The guests were greeted by Board program riders. Gabe Krause, Penn White, Dr. Bob Members Michelle Parkinson, Lydia Chrzanowski, Reed Ingram, Frank Stakely, Beringer, Jennifer Gremaux, Kelly Wilson, The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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Ask an Elder Law Attorney By: Raley L. Wiggins | Attorney at Law | Red Oak Legal, PC

It’s hard to believe but another year is almost in the books. Before the turkey is carved, the carols are sung and the ball drops on Times Square, take some time read about the end of a major Social Security planning strategy.

The End is Near! Bob’s benefit amount at age 66, Jane could draw $1,000 per month, instead of the $900 she would get based upon her own work history. Obviously, an extra $100 per month would be a welcome bonus.

have grown from $900 to $1,188 per month, and she can switch from receiving a spousal benefit to drawing her own, higher benefit beginning at age 70.

Unfortunately, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 takes this planning strategy The so-called “file and suspend” off the table for for strategy is about to be a thing of the born after past. Estate Planning and Asset Protection Workshop people January 1, 1954 (i.e., Wednesday, January 27: Hosted by Red Oak Legal, PC: 1:30-3:30 people turning age As you may know, there are a pm at the Archibald Senior Center (MACOA) in Montgomery. This 62 in 2016). few ways to draw Social Security educational workshop presented by local attorney Raley L. Wiggins There is a retirement benefits. One can of grandfathering course draw benefits based upon covers wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, living provision in the new his or her own work record. In wills, probate administration, protecting assets from creditors, law that still allows addition, a married person has the bankruptcy, divorce and remarriage, nursing homes, long-term care certain people to ability to draw the greater of their and Medicaid qualification. Registration is required. take advantage of own benefit based upon their own Call 334-625-6774 today to reserve your seat or register online at old rules—at least work record, or one-half of the www.redoaklegalpc.com. for a little while. amount their spouse would receive If you will turn 66 if they began drawing benefits at full before May 1, 2016, and you have not yet retirement age (typically age 66). This filed for your Social Security retirement But there is a catch—Jane cannot draw spousal benefit can be substantially more benefits, you should consider doing so a spousal benefit until Bob has also filed in cases where one spouse has been the before this strategy goes away. an application for his own benefits. As primary breadwinner. mentioned above, Bob doesn’t intend to Everyone’s situation is different, and stop working, and wants to delay drawing For example, Bob and Jane, both in file and suspend is not for everyone. his own benefits until age 70. their 60’s, have been married 35 years. In addition there are a number of Jane works as a bookkeeper for a small mathematical calculations and other Enter the “file and suspend” strategy. business. Jane wants to retire at age 66. factors that must be taken into account. If she files for Social Security benefits Many financial advisors have access Using this strategy, Bob can file an at that time, she will receive $900 per to software that can run the complex application for benefits at age 66, month. calculations based upon a number and then immediately ask the Social of factors. (If you need help with Security Agency to suspend the receipt Bob has worked as an executive at Acme, these caclulations, I recommend Fred of those benefits. This has three primary Inc. for 30 years and doesn’t plan on Middleton, Portfolio Management Group, advantages. First, because Bob has filed retiring until at least age 70. Based on www.pmgplanning.com). an application, Jane can now elect to take his work history, Bob’s monthly Social her spousal benefit of $1,000 instead Security benefit would be $2,000 per Over time, choosing the correct strategy of the $900 she would receive based month, if he claimed them at age 66 (his for filing for Social Security benefits can upon her own work record. Second, by “full retirement age”). But Bob knows result in the difference in thousands of suspending receipt of his own benefits, that if he puts off drawing his own dollars’ worth of benefits. It is worth a Bob’s benefits will grow until he reaches benefits, he can earn delayed retirement little time and expense to make sure that 70 as he earns his Delayed Retirement credits that would increase his benefits you are maximizing those benefits, while Credits. by 8% per year. By waiting until he turns you still can. 70, Bob’s benefits will grow to $2,640 per Third, because Jane is drawing benefits month. Raley L. Wiggins base upon her spouse’s record and Attorney at Law, Red Oak Legal, PC not her own, she too will earn delayed When Jane retires at 66, she hopes to be 334-239-3625 | info@redoaklegalpc.com 445 Dexter Avenue, ste 9000, Mont, AL 36104 retirement credits until she reaches age able to draw her spousal benefit based www.redoaklegalpc.com 70. At that point, her own benefits will upon Bob’s work record. At one-half of

Attend Free Workshop

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After a century of life’s bumps...

By Kathy Flanigan

she’s ready to celebrate birthday No. 102

Alvina Merzrath runs her hands, fingernails painted the color of pink geraniums, up and down the newspaper pages in front of her. These hands have spent decades in motion, spooling colorful thread into a machine to make lettering for shirts, hats, jackets or flags. The fluid movements are a lifetime habit. Merzrath recently turned 102, no small feat for anyone but especially poignant for a woman who has been shot at and robbed at knife point. She’s been asked this question before. How has she managed to live this long? “I stuck to my ideas,” she said. “I’m so thankful I was in good condition. My mind is clear.” “I just kind of always kept on going,” she said. Merzrath had a bumpy start to life. Her mother died when she was 3 and her father sent the toddler and her brother to separate orphanages. The family was reunited when Merzrath was 14. That might have set the stage for her determination. Merzrath, who owned an embroidery shop, worked long past typical retirement sewing names on police jackets, onto leather jackets for motorcycle riders, and onto sashes and costumes for the city’s German clubs. In 1997, when she was 83, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Bill Janz wrote about Merzrath and the undying spirit that kept her going as “the owner, operator and only employee” of Merzrath Embroidery Co. He called her “Milwaukee’s sturdy stock” because her business had been broken into several times. She had been robbed at knife point during one robbery attempt. She was shot over $5 in another. That’s the story she remembers best.

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Merzrath said she and her brother were at the store when a woman they didn’t know shot her brother in the hand. Merzrath said she told the woman, “Hey, listen now. I don’t put up with this. You get out.” The newspaper account tells a slightly different version. The shooter was a man and Merzrath’s brother, Ernie, tried to knock the gun away and was shot. Either way, the assailant turned the gun on Merzrath and hit her in the abdomen. Her connections with the police helped her get a speedy response (they got the shooter) and a quick ride to the hospital, she said. Women barely had the vote when she started her own business, but she said she wanted to embroider for people because putting a name on something “meant they were somebody.” The business was on the first floor; Merzrath lived on the second floor of the three-story building. Eight years ago, she left both behind and moved to Iris Manor, a group home in a cozy bungalow. She was 94 at the time. Merzrath talks in robust spurts as she lets a cup of tea cool next to her at the table. Occasionally, she looks off into the distance as if she can see her stories there. After years of wearing an apron and an eye shade for work, Merzrath has developed a taste for costume jewelry. A necklace of white pearls falls on the purple shirt she’s wearing. Pearl bracelets circle each wrist. Merzrath is hard of hearing, and Iris Manor house manager Linda Sanchez

shouts questions in her ear. But the tiny, white-haired woman filled with more grit than actual size is often on her own conversational track. She’ll answer Sanchez with an impatient “yeah” but continues the story she is telling. Right now, she’s remembering when she cleaned floors for a woman who owned a grocery store. Then she describes the screened-in porch at the hospital where they operated on her legs. She had to keep them bandaged for a year. Merzrath was born with a piece of skin connecting her legs that kept her from standing. She still sews a little. She made a coat for Pancho, a 17-year-old terrier mix who spends his days at Iris Manor. She gets around with a walker or the wheelchair that attendants use to take her out in the neighborhood. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday she gets a ride to Catholic Charities for bingo and arts and crafts. Her long life seems to surprise Merzrath. “I didn’t see time was passing by,” she said. “I was 60. Then I was 90. Now I’m going to have a birthday.” Iris Manor celebrated Merzrath’s birthday on November 21 and the staff invited the Red Raiders Marching Band from East High School to the party! (c)2015 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Memory 2.0 Café

By Erica Curless

uses tablet, smartphone technology to help those with memory loss

Frances Weishaar looks confused and lost, nervously rubbing her wrinkled hands. Then the music reaches her ears. Weishaar’s face opens into a smile and she starts to sing and clap. “My Bonnie lies over the ocean,” she sang quietly. “Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me ... “ Instant success in the first five minutes of the Memory 2.0 Cafe, a new workshop using iPads and therapy and game apps for people with memory loss, from severe to slight, and their caregivers. Debby Dodds, whose husband is a Spokane native, recently moved to the area after completing a master’s degree in gerontology at the University of Massachusetts. Her capstone project was developing the workshop to use digital technology to engage and inspire people with memory loss. The idea came when Dodds bought an iPad for her own mother, Hazel Brown, who has dementia. She was surprised more care facilities weren’t taking advantage of available technology. Besides singing programs, there are puzzles, apps to create memory and picture books, storytelling and other games all geared for older adults. Dodds said because the technology is portable it can help ease the anxiety of doctor’s appointment or travel, or even at home when family is looking for ways to engage with an elder who has memory loss and seems distant. Researchers are already developing apps for people with memory loss. Dodds’ goal is to connect people with those technologies and let them know it is as easy as turning on a smartphone or tablet. She started a similar program with the library in Santa Cruz, California, which continues to have success helping people with memory loss, whether from Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury,

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dementia, Parkinson’s disease, connect with loved ones and caregivers while socializing in society. Weishaar, a resident in Touchmark’s memory care facility, has visited the Memory 2.0 Cafe for several Debby Dodds, center, has started offering workshops for people with memory loss and weeks. their caretakers on how to use iPads to help memory. Although Afterward, Vande Kamp lets out a big sigh she doesn’t remember, she is alert, of relief. participatory and enjoying the in-themoment activities during the hour-long “Phhhhh,” she said. “I haven’t sung in a sessions. year.” Weishaar can no longer read or She claps as a new song starts; soon she’s remember the words of songs when making hand gestures for the number of asked. But by using the free SingFit strikes in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” app, which people can download on Later, the two women are playing their phone or iPad, she can sing with Tangram, where they arrange puzzle friends and caregivers, an activity that pieces on the table so they match the onalways boosts her mood. Music is known screen shape. to spark memories, heighten mood, decrease stress and pain, and promote At another table, Niles Schomburg surfs socialization, Dodds said. for pictures of Paris to use in an electronic storybook he’s creating to email to “Music hits all parts of the brain,” she his wife, memories of their European said. “On an MRI it lights up the whole vacation. He’s sharp and vocal, but brain.” Parkinson’s is robbing his word recall and causing tremors. He shakes as he holds SingFit, designed by music therapists, the mic to narrate the picture show. provides a verbal cue of the song lyric, allowing listeners to sing along with the Karen Schomburg, Niles’ wife, arrived music. The volunteers who work at the to pick him up with her two adult sons cafe pick music lists from the 1940s and who often are caregivers. She marveled ‘50s. Weishaar and Betty Vande Kamp, at the Paris pictures and her husband’s who also lives at Touchmark, put on green description of the trip, especially the headphones connected to the iPad. The food. “It’s a powerful use of technology,” ladies smile at each other as “This Little she said. Light of Mine” starts to play. (c)2015 The Spokesman-Review Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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SingFit App The iconic 1971 TV Coca-Cola ad that every boomer remembers, “I’d like to teach the world to sing,” could actually be the slogan for a new digital health app based on music therapy that’s addressing a growing boomer health issue: Alzheimer’s disease. Instead of a group of young people from around the globe standing on a mountaintop singing in harmony, though, today it’s dementia patients and their families or professional caregivers sitting together in assisted living facilities raising their voices in song a few times a week. And the results are “the real thing.” Backed By Research SingFit, a musical health technology company, is working with more than 60 assisted living, dementia care and other senior living communities to help lift the moods, decrease wandering tendencies and generally improve the cognitive and physical health of those with Alzheimer’s. The SingFit premise is backed by research by Harvard Medical School, the National Institute of Health, McGill University and other medical institutions showing that singing has more health and healing advantages over just listening to music. During individual and group singing sessions the feelgood neurochemicals in the brain are released and the effect is inspiring.

Lyric Coach track lets dementia patients and their family caregivers or a group of patients in a facility sing along and even record their favorite songs. When senior living communities sign up for the SingFit PRIME program, a SingFit certified music therapist helps lead the group or trains the senior living health care professionals on how to maximize the benefits for residents participating in the program. The app is free if a loved one is participating through an assisted living program. To purchase a subscription on iTunes, the cost is $4.99 per

month; new songs and therapeutic programs are added constantly. Using a smartphone or tablet, the family caregiver or assisted living facilitator chooses among the 330 songs in the current SingFit playlist. During the singing sessions, which include toe tapping and swinging arms, the feel-good neurochemicals in the brain — oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin — are released and the effect is inspiring. Caregivers Report Success Staffers in a recent SingFit study said patients with a tendency to wander actually stayed engaged throughout the session. Another resident who did not participate in group activities in her residence prior to joining the program now looks forward to the SingFit sessions, asking a staffer, “When will we sing again?” “The difference with our SingFit app and SingFit PRIME programming is that we encourage the senior living facilitators to not look at this as just a ‘fun’ session but to help residents do this as part of an exercise regime for the brain,” said Andy Tubman, Singfit co-founder and a certified music therapist. Tubman advises using the app three to four times a week for 40 minutes per session. By adopting a consistent routine, he adds, the payoffs from the deep neurological work and brain plasticity that singing encourages can be amazing.

One recent SingFit study that included 250 assisted living community residents joining group sing-a-longs one to seven times a week showed a 43 percent increase in mood, with many participants going from “sad” or “melancholy” to “content” and even “overjoyed.” How It Works The SingFit mobile app (based on the iOS platform and available on iTunes) digitizes the evidence-based music therapy practice of lyric cuing. The company’s The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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Bucket List Adventure by Kathy Witt

Spa Getaway to ‘Cloud 9’ Turn your knotted muscles over to a Thai herbal poultice massage and feel the tension evaporate. Soften crow’s feet, forehead frown and smile lines with dermal filler or targeted wrinkle treatments. Leave up to eight inches behind in a treatment that firms, tones and detoxifies, and come home slimmer, softer, glowing and gorgeous. The next time the ladies in the family or the girlfriends in the club decide to book a spa getaway, consider Carnival Cruises and its Cloud 9 Spa. It’s every bit as affordable as a land-based spa’cation with the added bonuses of breathtaking ocean views, gourmet-level dining, a pack-once-but-visit-multipledestinations itinerary, and cutting-edge spa treatments, treatments that typically reach the cruise ships before they hit land. “A spa getaway aboard a cruise ship takes you back to the days before husbands and babies came along,” said Amy Shelly, Carnival Breeze’s Cloud 9 spa manager. “It’s a nice way to restore yourself, invest in your friendships, enjoy a few vacationfriendly treatments. And no one need be the wiser,” she added. With 24 ships in its fleet, Carnival has a ship going somewhere year-round: the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Pacific Islands, New Zealand, and the Panama Canal. All ships have a spa but the luxe pampering oasis that is the Cloud 9 Spa is found aboard Breeze, Splendor, Dream, Magic, Sunshine and Carnival’s soon-to-debut Vista. One of the largest of these is located on Carnival Breeze, which sails out of Miami until May when the ship repositions to Galveston to offer seven-day Caribbean

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cruises. Spread over two floors and covering 21,000 square feet, it offers sweeping views of the sea, a calming

into cushy seating, read a book, sip herbal tea or refreshing fruited water and slip into your Zen zone. Women who want to make their spa appointments together can pre-book up to seven days prior to their cruise, but these requests can also be accommodated once on board. The spa has treatment rooms for mom/ daughter and small groups of girls who want to enjoy the experience together. You can even have libations delivered from the cocktail bar on the Serenity deck. “Here come the margaritas and into your treatment room you go,” said Shelly.

color palette and pleasing aromatherapy. It is a place whose sole intent is to coddle and indulge, help you disconnect and surrender to healing ministrations. “As women, we’re so good at looking after everyone else, but looking after ourselves is the one thing we don’t do,” said Shelly. “Our spa offers that space to look after yourself, to be completely relaxed and at peace.” The spa’s Thermal Suite, with its heated chaise lounges, herbal steam and sauna grottos and tropical shower, will help in the journey to tranquility. Dip into the warm Thalassotherapy pool for the healing benefits of a bubbling spring. The Relaxation Room is the ship’s most perfect quiet space where you can sink

To get the most from this sybaritic retreat, take the spa tour offered on Embarkation Day. This personalized, guided tour, a show and tell with models and demos, is a great time to make connections with the therapists and choose your indulgences.

Making the experience even more alluring are Carnival spa suites and spa staterooms, serene havens that provide direct access to the spa. This means there is no tromping from the far reaches of the ship in robe and slippers to reach The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


the spa, but rather a short stroll down a private corridor or a quick zip in a private elevator. But be forewarned: These cabins are snapped up fast and should be booked as early as possible.

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is cool and comfortable and does stylish double duty as a base layer or casual cover-up. Insect-repellent and quick-drying, the tee offers exceptional moisture management in the most humid of conditions. It is made of NosiLife Insect Shield polyester cotton elastane jersey, in other words, super soft and skin-protective, and has a scoop neck that flatters your decolletage and a shapely silhouette. It comes in seaworthy colors ashen mist, sea salt and sunset.

It’s not hard to understand their appeal. ADVENTURE PLANNER Spa suites Carnival’s Cloud 9 Spa also includes a and spa full gym with treadmills and weight staterooms training, stair climbing and rowing have a list of machines, as well as a beauty salon come-hither with complete hair and nail services, amenities: men’s barber/grooming area and unlimited teeth-whitening services. Medi-Spa access to Carnival Breeze guests relax in the Cloud 9 Spa’s thermal suite. Services are FDA-approved. All spa the spa, treatments are tax- and duty-free. thermal and Ice mani and pedi that includes a suites and Thalassotherapy pool; priority The new Carnival Vista, set to debut in massage with hot stones and cooling spa appointments with pre-cruise May 2016, will be the cruise line’s largest marine mask to stimulate circulation. concierge consultation; two free fitness and most innovative ship to date and ● Have a blowout, straight or volume. classes (yoga or Pilates); exclusive Elemis will feature a Cloud 9 Spa (very similar Spa products (shampoo, conditioner, Said Shelly: “The to Breeze with shower gel, body lotion); comfy Cloud first sea day is many of the 9 Spa bathrobes and slippers. Personal a cruise elegant same fabulous fitness bands are in the room for guest night so after features), plus use. your spa day, the first IMAX just pop into Theater on a One of the nicest perks of these your cabin, get cruise ship, a particular cabins is the gift of a into your clothes SkyRide, the line’s customized scrub, either sugar or salt, and have a fun first onboard your choice. The Carnival Breeze is the evening out.” brewery and only ship in the fleet with a scrub bar first raft-riding where you can choose your own herbal ADVENTURE water tube slide blend: lavender, chocolate, eucalyptus, GEAR TO TAKE and more. Vista ginger. The spa mixologist will stir up ALONG marks Carnival’s your scrub and you can take to the spa’s Slip into the Thalassotherapy pool in the Cloud 9 Spa. Packing for a return to tropical shower or to your cabin or bring cruise is all about versatile pieces that Europe in three years with a series of 18 it home for a little lift when life stresses can be layered but look good on their Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona you out. own, and keep your skin from burning on to Athens, May through October. It will island excursions but also chase the chill then offer year-round six- and eight-day GIRLFRIENDS ADVENTURE GUIDE TO away in the ship’s sometimes overly airCaribbean cruises from Miami. THE PERFECT CLOUD 9 SPA DAY conditioned public rooms. Information: www.Carnival.com, ● Begin with a massage, Thai Herbal 800-764-7419. Poultice, Elemis Aroma Stone or Spa Cragghopper’s National Geographic Seaweed, Bamboo, and relax, unwind Author, travel and lifestyle writer, and travel goods NosiLife Long-Sleeve Base Tee for women and drift away. expert Kathy Witt feels you should never get to the end of your bucket list; there’s just too much ($45, www.US.Craghoppers.com) is such ● Let your skin glow and feel great to see and do in the world. She can be reached at a piece. A key wardrobe component for throughout the cruise with a facial: KathyWitt24@gmail.com or KathyWitt.com. hot-climate conditions, this wash-andBliss Triple Oxygen Treatment, Elemis (c)2015 Kathy Witt Distributed by Tribune Content wear, lightweight and long-sleeved tee Agency, LLC The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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Our Featured Artists

Bridge Over the Coosa, 36x48 acrylic on canvas Shirley Esco galleryonefineart.com/Shirley-Esco Migration, 60x36 oil on canvas, John Mazaheri galleryonefineart.com/John-Mazaheri

1st National Bank, 20x16 mixed media, Carol Barksdale galleryonefineart.com/Carol-Barksdale

Did You Say 11 O’Clock? 30x24 acrylic on canvas board, Jim Sabel galleryonefineart.com/Jim-Sabel Flowers For Boris, 30x24 oil on canvas John Wagnon galleryonefineart.com/John-Wagnon

Moon Series, 13x13 Copper Sculpture Bradley Moon galleryonefineart.com/Bradley-Moon

Freedom, 30x40 oil on canvas Anita Westerberg galleryonefineart.com/Anita-Westerberg

Boa in Blue, 10x8 mixed media, Cecily Hulett galleryonefineart.com/Cecily-Hulett

Deja’ Vu, Wood Sculpture Bowl, Ken Lever galleryonefineart.com/Kenneth-Lever


Seasons Greetings from Gallery One Fine Art

IT’S A WONDERFUL TIME to reflect on the blessings we have received this year and to celebrate the opportunities of the coming year. I was born at St. Margaret’s Hospital, I have lived in Alabama all of my life and feel so blessed to live in the greatest country in the world. Sugar Daddy 20x16 oil on canvas Anne Hugghins galleryonefineart.com/Anne-Hugghins

Ladies Who Lunch, 30x24 oil on canvas, Pamela Wesley Copeland galleryonefineart.com/Pamela-Wesley-Copeland

We (the Gallery One Members and I) want to take this moment in time to thank all of our customers/friends for their patronage and support of our Alabama not-for-profit Gallery. In my opinion, these artist members are a very kind and a philanthropic group. It is such an honor to serve as their Director. When a request for help comes in from a NonProfit organization, they are so generous with their time and talent to support their fundraiser. They paint birdhouses for Sunshine Center, children’s chairs for Child Protect, doll houses for Habitat for Humanity, lawn chairs for Leadership Montgomery, crosses for the Hymn Ministry, and others. Most of these we have supported for the last 15 years.

We teach an Art Appreciation Class at the AUM Life Long Learning Center in the winter quarter. The gallery has also given their space, at no charge, to organizations for their meetings such as garden clubs, art appreciation, major donor receptions, membership drives and public school art exhibitions. We are excited about next year, setting goals, planning upcoming exhibitions, painting classes and much more. We try to live everyday engaging our community and remembering our Mission Statement: Raising public awareness of the arts through recognition of talent, motivation to create and education. Gallery One Fine Art is located in Old Cloverdale in Montgomery Alabama at 423 Cloverdale Road. Gallery hours are Tuesday thru Friday 10 AM to 4 pm and Saturday 10 AM to 1PM Sandi Aplin, Director of Gallery One Fine Art A freelance writer living in Montgomery, AL sandiaplin@aol.com or galleryonefineart.com

Small Angel, 7x5 acrylic on board, Jane Segrest galleryonefineart.com/Jane-Segrest

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The Mayor of BOOMTOWN

HAVE YOURSELF A VERY BOOMER CHRISTMAS…

For Boomer kids, Christmas was 99% anticipation. Before there was Amazon or Kohl’s OnLine (I recently had so many discounts from them I bought something at 135% off), there was…patience! Sometime around the end of September, the stores of the time (Sears, Montgomery Wards and others) would deliver what archaeologists today refer to as “Christmas Catalogues”. Printed on glossy paper, they weighed about 15 pounds each. They were mostly filled with boring stuff like coats and adult underwear. But, tucked in towards the center was a 30-40-page toy section, and that’s where most of us learned to shop (with Santa’s money, of course). Christmas “wish lists” would begin taking shape before the Chicago leaves began to change color. We’d thumb the pages into weakened wreckage, circles appearing around items that Santa might- and that’s a key word- might leave under the tree on Christmas morning.

Thus, the anticipation began about 90 days out. My homework assignments were never written as neatly as my letter to Santa. When I asked (and he delivered!) for a Marx-O-Copter all those years ago, I didn’t want to find a copy of the Communist Manifesto under the tree

because my penmanship was lousy. And who wanted books for Christmas, anyway! Many years before I married a flying fox (my daughter’s Mom, PAN AM, may they RIP), I asked for a toy called a Flying Fox. No, it was not an anatomically correct flight attendant. FF was a 4 engine propeller plane on a pedestal.

By Greg Budell

Each engine started with its own plastic throttle and they could be revved as wished. I got my Flying Fox and it remains an all-time favorite memory. Between my imagination and a freight car of D batteries, I flew that thing at a rate that would make Obama’s use of Air Force One seem modest. When the list was complete, and addressed to Santa c/o of the North Pole, I’d accompany my mother to the corner mailbox to make sure it went in, doubleflipping the mail-door twice to make sure it was swallowed completely. By then, it was time to begin getting our outdoor decorations up. Most everyone did the same thing- stringing together lines of those large C9 bulbs across the front roof façade. We had a Coca-Cola like Santa head we hung in front and that was thatand it was enough! I didn’t get to have a Bar Mitvah, in large part because I’m not Jewish. My passage to manhood was the December day Pops let me climb the ladder and tuck the light strings into the nail hooks.

Greg Budell's column is proudly sponsored by McDonald, Barranco & Hagen Wealth Management

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When completed, you could feel how close Christmas was getting! After the lists were mailed and the outdoor lights were beaming their soft colorful glow (looking especially awesome on a snowy evening), the next Big Event was finding the family Christmas tree. It’s easy to find a perfect tree these days. My friend Aduston, who runs the tree lot on Vaughn Road just east of the Shakespeare Park, says today’s tree farms produce shapely, full trees and his are the best. I have tried to explain to him how tough it was to find a perfect tree in those ancient times. We’d often hit 3 or 4 tree stands before finding one that was symmetrical and without a gaping bald spot on the trunk. My Dad was no cheapskate but I remember him wincing as he shelled out $8.50 one year. It was a beauty. Getting it screwed into the stand was a family balancing act, Dad under the tree turning screws (occasional bad words flying) into the trunk, while the other 5 Budells

rubbing our eyes as if we were awakened too early. We were just trying to restore the moisture baked off from Cecille B. Budell’s bar o’ lights.

encircled it, barking directions down to Pops until 90 degree, upright, non-listing perfection was achieved. At last, Christmas morning! We kids were usually up at a reasonable hour, 4 or 5 AM (I suspect not long after Santa had clattered off after making delivery), and were herded into a restraining room. We were in there for what was probably 10 minutes but it seemed like a freakin’ ETERNITY. Dad, you see, wanted to capture our scramble down the stairs on his modern, Super 8MM film camera, which was mounted on a tripod and topped with a bar of lights so bright (and hot) I think it started global warming. Finally after getting his gear just right, Mom released the prison door and we scrambled down the stairs, initially unsure if Santa had left anything at all because Dad’s movie lights dilated our pupils to pin pricks. Two weeks later when we’d watch the 50 feet of film on our Kodak projector, we appeared to be

Somewhere I have those grainy 8MM memories on DVD but I’m not sure if I want to watch them. I remember those Christmases vividly and love them more as time passes. God Bless you Mom and Dad, because I know how hard you worked to provide them. I have tried to thank you by providing my daughter and stepson with equally warm Christmas memories. I tell you what I would love to do! Just one last time, I’d like to rev up my Flying Fox and take her for a long ride. Uh, you know, the one that ran on all those D batteries. Merry Christmas, Boomers! Greg Budell lives in Montgomery with his wife, children and dogs. He’s a 25 year veteran of radio who hosts the Greg & Susan morning show 6-9 am and Happy Hour 3-6 pm on NEWSTALK 93.1, Greg can be reached at gregbudell@aol.com

The Business Mini Directory

A Business Mini is a little fatter than your old business card and for a limited time we are offering a Business Mini to fit your budget. Fifty dollars will get your business message in front of thousands of people over 50 who have the money to buy stuff. Every business needs one more customer, where will yours come from? Call today and get your $50 Business Mini, 324.3472 or jim@riverregionboom.com

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5 Things To Do...

The Minute You Retire 1. Find another job. You did it! You retired! You would like nothing more than to relax, plan a trip, take a nap. The beginning of retirement means the beginning of living off what you have accumulated, right? Not so fast. We are living longer, living healthier and living in a retirement culture that puts us out to pasture while we likely have another 25 to 30 good years ahead of us. Basically your retirement saving account is going to have to stretch a good long while. And it may not. Your best chance to earn more money in retirement is immediately after you leave the workforce. Your skills are still current; your network and contacts still up-todate. Your best prospects for earning a little extra cash is now, not later. Just don’t expect smashing results. Almost 75 percent of Americans over 50 say they expect to work during retirement -- but only 27 percent actually do, says the EBRI. 2. Embrace your new lifestyle, which will be substantially downsized in every aspect. Don’t beat yourself up about how you didn’t save enough or shouldn’t have remodeled the kitchen. Maybe the recession threw you off your financial course, maybe you woke up late to the idea of saving. In any case, fishing coins out of the sofa cushions may be your best option to accumulate anything more, so accept it and move on. If you haven’t already, downsize today. Not just your housing expenses -- although those are your biggest bills -- but rethink your lifestyle. Restaurant meals? Replace them with pot lucks. Vacations? Stay with friends or relatives. Two cars? Give up one and try Uber for when you need two. You have what you have and that’s all you have. Your only choice at this point is to whine about it or accept it. You did your best, now make your best lemonade. Be happy that you’re here to see another sunrise. 3. Don’t take Social Security if you can help it. Waiting to claim Social Security will earn you a larger benefit check up until age 70. You can claim benefits at 62, but in most cases, you shouldn’t. For some reason, even retirees who have plenty of other assets think they should grab Social Security as soon as they can. A National Bureau of Economic Research study of people with IRA assets found that 34 percent of early claimers had enough savings to wait two years and 26 percent could have held out for four years. If they had waited just two years, their checks for life would have been 15.6 percent larger. Claiming at 70 instead of 66 will result in a 32 percent jump. Rule of thumb: When it comes to Social Security, all good things come to those who wait. 4. Force yourself to understand Social Security and Medicare. Arguably, this is something that you should have done before leaving your job. In any case, don’t waste another minute because what you don’t know can and will hurt you. Both Social Security and Medicare are convoluted, full of loopholes and will make you believe that nothing could be this intentionally complicated unless subterfuge was involved. Dive in anyway. Sometimes the best way to figure out which Social Security claiming strategy will yield you the most money is to ask someone -- someone who doesn’t work there. Financial planners can be your best friend. At least a good one can. 5. Keep in touch and keep active. Boredom and loneliness are the Black Plague of retirement. Get involved, volunteer, keep busy. The fastest way to fill up your calendar page with medical appointments is to not have anything else on it. Social media can help you stay connected, so don’t be afraid to use it. Source: huffingtonpost.com

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Ask Nancy: Caring for Aging Relatives How do you know if your parents need assistance and choosing the best assisted living facility

Q: I live a three hour plane ride from my parents, though we talk by phone nearly every day. Whenever I ask them how they’re feeling, they always respond with a one syllable word _ usually “fine” or “great.” But when I recently visited, I saw firsthand how much they had aged in only six months. I’m worried, but they insist they don’t need help. How do I know if my parents really need assistance or I’m just being over protective making myself feel better? _ Amy S., Englewood, NJ A: It’s understandable to want assurance that your parents are living safely and there are a pair of eyes watching over them when you can’t be there. On your last visit, did they appear confused, poorly dressed, or noticeably thinner? Those would be sure signs that they need some support. From my own experience I know that this is precisely the time that a parent will resist interference, so that they can maintain their privacy and independence for as long as possible. If this is the case, consider hiring a geriatric care manager. Rather than making daily visits, your parent could schedule weekly or bi-weekly visits with a Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) who would check their vitals, compliance with medications and work with your parents and you to arrange for services if and when they’re needed. A simple email to you would keep you informed of their condition and needs. Depending on your parents’ needs and/ or the specific arrangement you make, a GCM also can accompany a client on medical appointments and make sure that prescriptions for medications are filled and lab work is done. I have recommended GCMs to many clients and they have found them to be a perfect solution in situations similar to yours. You can find more information about GCMs on their website www.aginglifecare.org. Q: I live in California and have a formerly independent, elderly father in Florida, who is deteriorating following a mild stroke The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

and is becoming an increasing burden for his partner, who lives with him. He has an extensive support network of friends in South Florida and doesn’t wish to relocate to California, where my brother and I could more easily support him. I need to find an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) for him in the Tamarac area. I certainly intend to travel to Florida and inspect the facilit(ies) personally, but it would help me a great deal to have a starting point.

they will let you know if and how they can accommodate him with the level of attention that he needs. Once you have pre-qualified these facilities, the next step is to make an in- person visit, which will quickly reveal if a particular facility is a good fit for your father. You’ll also have a chance to observe and talk with current residents. Their comments will be certainly more meaningful to you than anonymous postings online.

Is there an online resource where I could read reviews of the available facilities and then obtain as much advance information as possible; so that my trip to Florida would be as fruitful as possible? _ Lawrence W., Los Angeles, CA. A: I would strongly advise you not to rely upon reviews that are posted online nor websites that aggregate listings of ALFs. This is too important a decision to base on others’ opinions that may not be authentic, or are written by someone whose parent’s needs and personality is completely different from your fathers. Also, you should be aware that some online resources display only those ALFs that they have contracts with stipulating payments for placements, or qualified leads. Thus, the facility that is best suited for your father may not even be included in their lists. Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) vary in the types of services they offer and the residents served. That’s why it’s important to begin your long-distance research by talking directly with the manager of each facility you have identified in the area you are targeting. After describing your father’s health status and care requirements,

If you don’t have the time or inclination to research ALFs as thoroughly as is necessary, I suggest working with a trusted resource in the area, such as a Geriatric Care Manager, or a senior placement professional who is familiar with all the facilities and who can guide you objectively to the one best suited to your father. One caveat: make sure you understand their relationships _ if any _ to the facilities. If you think your due diligence is completed at this point, you are mistaken. You must confirm that the facility is licensed by the State and has performed well on state inspections. Once you’ve done this, you will have graduated to the second level of considerations in choosing an Assisted Living Facility, which is to make sure that the ambience of the community and the daily activities and services offered will make this a successful move for your father. Nancy Stein, Ph.D., is the founder of Seniority Matters (senioritymatters.com), a caregiver advisory and referral service in South Florida for seniors and their families. You can contact her at nancy@senioritymatters.com. (c)2015, Seniority Matters, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Coping with Holidays and Family Celebrations Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s; for most people, just thinking about these special days spent with family and friends can bring back a flood of happy memories. However, for others, happy memories are dulled by the pain and sorrow of experiencing the holidays without a loved one who has died. If the loss of a loved one is recent, it’s okay to feel sad. Give yourself permission to grieve. As unpredictable as grief is, one can expect that the holidays will cause a huge wave of emotion. These events, once anticipated with joyous pleasure, are now often painful reminders that your loved one is not here to celebrate with you. However, the holidays do not necessarily have to be entirely sad. It will take time for you to adjust, but you are allowed to feel joy, even smile and laugh. Hospice of Montgomery offers bereaved individuals the following tips to help get through this difficult time of year. • Plan Ahead Those who seem to experience the most difficulty with the holidays are those who have given little thought to the challenges they will encounter. Hiding from the holidays should not be an option. You will find that when the holiday actually arrives, it is likely to be less painful than you anticipated. • Accept your Limitations The number of decisions you have to make during the holidays along with the family and social pressure that accompanies them can be overwhelming. Do not let decisions make you feel worse. Choose a few to deal with at a time so as not to overwhelm yourself. Do I accept or decline the party invitations? Should the house be decorated? What to do about traditions? • Be Prepared Expect some physical and emotional responses to your loss. Although everyone’s grief is different, there are some responses that are commonly experienced by most who are grieving. Physical Responses Stomach distress, Difficulty breathing, Muscle weakness, Dry mouth, Headache, Chest pain, Change in bowel pattern, The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Change in eating habits, Lack of energy, Nervousness, Difficulty sleeping, Over activity Emotional Responses Shock, Disbelief, Sadness, Loneliness, Guilt, Anger, Anxiety, Crying, Nightmares, Lack of concentration, Fear, Preoccupation with thoughts of the deceased • Don’t forget to take care of yourself A grieving body is more susceptible to illness and needs proper nourishment and rest. Keep in mind the importance of exercising, eating a properly balanced diet, avoiding excessive use of alcohol, getting adequate rest. One of the most difficult aspects of the holidays to deal with is the “traditions”. The loss of a loved one may mean that a much loved tradition may lose some of its joy. Do not discount the possibility that new traditions can be started. Remember if you try something new and it doesn’t work, you don’t have to keep doing it. If you always host a meal on the holiday and serve the same food, try changing the menu or ask someone else to act as host this year. Many people have found that eating out that day can reduce stress and anxiety. Attend religious services at a different time or at a different church or synagogue. Open gifts at a different time or location. Short trips can also be a welcome change. If other family members are also grieving, it is necessary to discuss what your needs are and determine if they combine or conflict with your family’s needs. During this discussion, it is important to be honest about your feelings, but also flexible and able to compromise. You can also honor your loved one’s memory by choosing an activity that they would have approved of, whether

that be an activity for the entire family or one that is appropriate for individual family members that is personal and private. Hospice of Montgomery’s Bereavement Coordinator recommends the following: • Plant a tree. Purchase a small evergreen tree from a nursery, decorate it and replant it after Christmas. • Candles. Light special memorial candles each day during the holidays or use one large candle and light it each day. • Ornament. Choose an ornament that best represents the person you lost. This could be a plaque engraved with their name, a custom photo, a favorite sports team, etc. • Christmas stocking. For those who celebrate Christmas by hanging stockings, include your love one’s stocking as you have in years past. But instead of gifts, fill the stocking with notes and stories from your family about your loved one. Holidays and family occasions are high stressors under any circumstances. If you are struggling with grief this holiday season, Hospice of Montgomery’s Bereavement Coordinator and licensed medical professionals are here to help give you support and guidance. We also offer complimentary grief support groups though-out the year. For information and bereavement resources visit hospiceofmontgomery.org or simply call us at 334-279-6677. Hospice of Montgomery. It’s in our touch.

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December 2015

{12 Things} for active boomers and beyond

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA A Christmas Carol ASF Through December 24, various times

Don’t miss A Christmas Carol at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, through December 24. An ASF tradition begins with the return of this holiday hit featuring Charles Dickens himself who, with sleight of hand and sense of humor, brings his magical story to life. When miserly Ebenezer Scrooge receives an unwanted visit from the ghost of his former business partner, an overnight journey of epic proportions begins. With a gorgeous set, period costumes, beautifully sung carols and a spectacular new ending, you and your family will be left totally enthralled! For more information call 334.271.5353 or visit asf.net

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Christmas Lights Festival Montgomery Zoo December 3-31st, 5:30pm - 9:30pm nightly See the Montgomery Zoo transformed into a Winter Wonderland sparkling with thousands of lights and festive decorations during their annual Christmas Lights Festival, December 3-31st. Take a leisurely stroll, a brisk train ride or see the lights from atop the Zoofari Skylift Ride. Visit Santa, enjoy the live nightly entertainment and no winter’s night would be complete without some warming hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies. Regular night time admission: $15 (ages 3 years old and older). Ticket includes entry and one Christmas Lights Festival train ride. For more information, call 334.240.4900 or visit montgomeryzoo.com

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Montgomery Bus Boycott Festival Juliette Hampton Morgan Memorial Library, 245 High St, Montgomery, AL Saturday, December 5th, 9-2 pm

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Join Montgomery City-County Public Libraries in celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Bus Boycott at the Montgomery Bus Boycott Festival on December 5, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Featured guests include MC Bill Ford, News Anchor Elise Roberts, author Richard Bailey, Carver Elementary School, Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Fresh Anointing House of Worship choir, local award-winning poet Jonathan “JP Da Poet” Peterson and more! This free event will have prize giveaways and activities for the whole family. For more info call 334.240.4982 or email khayes@mccpl.lib.al.us. or visit mccpl.lib.al.us/ index.asp

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Alabama Eats Museum of Alabama at the Alabama Department of Archives and History Saturday, December 12th, 11-12 pm The Museum of Alabama will offer FREE, themed tours of its all-new exhibits on the second Saturday of each month at 11 am. Led by expert staff members, these tours will focus on a wide variety of Alabama history topics. This is a unique opportunity for visitors to ask questions and gain a deeper understanding of Alabama’s story through the museum’s Smithsonian-quality exhibitions. No pre-registration for tours is required. Dec. 12th: Alabama Eats - Learn about Alabama’s unique foods and foodways. Led by Haley Aaron, Manuscripts Archivist. The Museum of Alabama is located at the Alabama Department of Archives and History in downtown Montgomery, across the street from the State Capitol. For more information call 334.242.4364 or visit archives.alabama.gov

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Old Alabama Town-Holiday Open House Thursday, December 15th, 4 to 7:00 pm Don’t miss the Holiday Open House at Old Alabama Town on December 15th, 4pm-7pm. Come enjoy the holidays Old-Alabama style! It will be a true 19th Century experience with a variety of live music, children’s pioneer-style crafts, storytelling, house tours, history of the holidays, and cookies & cider by the fire! Free admission! Free Admission! Old Alabama Town is located at 310 N. Hull Street, Downtown Montgomery. For more information call 240.4500 or visit landmarksfoundation.com The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Join the Airmen of Note live in Montgomery, AL for a Glenn Miller themed Holiday Concert on December 17th at the Davis Theatre. Programming will include new and classic repertoire. Come tap your feet and swing in the holidays with us! Ticket info TBD. More Information usafband.af.mil/events

Join RSVP Montgomery & The Capital City Club for “A Night at Studio 54 - 70’s Disco & Casino Party” . Ring in the new year with a bang at this 70’s disco & casino party. Gamble, toast and shake your groove thang! General admission tickets are $35 and include champagne toast and breakfast buffet at midnight. VIP tickets are $75 and include access to VIP Lounge with private bar & appetizers, complimentary drink tickets, photo booth ticket, priority firework viewing on terrace, champagne toast and breakfast buffet at midnight. For more information, call 334.356.4598, for tickets visit freshtix.com/ events/studio54

Airmen of Note Live! The Davis Theatre Thursday, December 17th, 7 pm

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Camellia Bowl Football Game Cramton Bowl, Downtown Montgomery Saturday, December 19th, 4:30 - 8:30 pm The 2015 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl,will be held December 19, 2015 at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery. This postseason college football game will match up the Sun Belt Conference against the Mid-American Conference (MAC). The game will be televised live on the ESPN family of networks. For more information email info@camelliabowl.com or visit espnevents.com/camellia-bowl/

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA Capital of Dreams Christmas Parade Downtown Montgomery Friday, December 19th, 6:15-8 pm

Kick off the Season on Friday, December 19th with the Capital City’s very merry Capital of Dreams Christmas Parade filled with oh-so-jolly floats and festivities. Celebrate this special season and gather with loved ones for a night that is sure to make all your Christmas dreams come true. Parade Route will run from the Capitol Steps to Court Square Fountain. For more information, call 334.625.2100 or visit funinmontgomery.com

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Baptist Health Live Nativity DeBoer Building Sunday, November 20th and Monday the 21st, 5-8 pm Celebrate Christmas with Baptist Health at their 5th Annual Live Nativity on Sunday, December 20th and Monday, December 21st from 5-8pm at the DeBoer Building (behind Baptist East and across from Winton Blount Post Office). This is a free event and open to the public. For more information, call 334.273.4507, also visit website at baptistfirst.org/patient-and-visitor-information/classes-events

A Night at Studio 54 - 70’s Disco & Casino Party” The Capital City Club Thursday, December 31st, 9-1 am

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Downtown Countdown New Year’s Eve Street Celebration Downtown Montgomery Thursday, December 31st, 9-1 am Ring in the New Year with the Downtown Countdown New Year’s Eve Street Celebration! The festivities will take place in the Commerce Street Entertainment District featuring live entertainment plus fireworks and confetti once the clock strikes twelve. Don’t miss this exciting downtown celebration in Montgomery! For more information, call 334.625.2100.

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Melissa Ethridge, This is M.E. Solo MPAC Renaissance, Downtown Montgomery Sunday, February 28th, 8:30 pm Academy Award and GRAMMY winning artist, Melissa Etheridge, Will take the stage to perform songs from her new album, This is M.E., as well as some of her greatest hits like “Come to My Window,” “I’m The Only One” and “I Want To Come Over.” Known for her iconic voice, profound lyrics and riveting stage presence; Melissa will share personal stories about her remarkable journey through life and the inspiration behind some of her most beloved songs. For more info visit mpaconline.org or visit melissaetheridge.com

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Grandparent Competition: The Holiday Season By Barbara Graham

Ever since my first granddaughter Isabelle was born three years ago, I have tried to take the high road when it comes to the other grandparents. In our family this group includes my daughterin-law’s mother and my son’s father and stepmother, in addition to my husband. We are all kind and sensitive toward one another — most of the time. But the other day when my ex-husband mentioned over the phone that our son had told him that the Thankgiving dinner they’d shared had been his happiest family gathering ever, I wanted to strangle my ex. Even if our son and his family had preferred the Thanksgiving celebration with his father’s brood to the one at my home two days earlier, why was the man telling me this? Was he being sadistic or merely unconscious? I muttered something about dinner burning on the stove and got off the phone as fast as I could. Feelings that come with the territory It’s not always easy taking the high road. It’s not always easy being the nana in Washington, D.C., when the other set of paternal grandparents and the maternal grandmother live five minutes from our grandkids in California. It’s not easy keeping my heart open and my mouth shut when I get wind of the many fabulous weekly visits between these California grandparents and the kids. I used to think something was wrong with me. I was sure that the fizzy feeling I got in my gut when I heard about all the fun the girls were having with the other grandparents was yet one more sign of my deeply flawed character. But now, a few years into this grandparent business, I’ve come to the conclusion that feelings of rivalry and jealousy — of an intensity that most of us haven’t experienced since junior high school — simply come with the territory. This makes sense when you consider that when we become grandparents, we suddenly go from being the mother or the father to one of a pack. Love for

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our grandchildren may unite us, but, like members of any pack, we sniff out the competition and jockey for position in the new order. Unfair family competition Inevitably, the playing field is uneven. One set of grandparents may live close to the grandchildren and babysit regularly, another set may be able to afford lavish gifts and annual trips to Disney World, and yet another grandparent may have the zip (and balance) to rollerblade alongside the kids. And so we worry and stew and compare ourselves with the grandparent competition. In “The Rivals,” her hilarious but pointed essay in Eye of My Heart, Judith Viorst writes: “Competition for Most Adored Grandmother seriously heats up when the mother-in-law of our daughter or son, our grandchildren’s other granny, stakes her legitimate claim on their affections. Yes, fond though we may be of this other woman, and glad though we may be that she loves our grandchildren, and resigned though we may be to the fact that our grandchildren love her back, we are hoping that our grandchildren love us more. A whole lot more.” If there is any grandparent out there who has never felt the slightest trace of rivalry toward your grandchildren’s other (living, functioning) grandparents, I would like to hear from you. I would like to know your secret, which I promise to reveal in a future column. The good news for the rest of us is that although we may not be proud of our anxious, competitive feelings, we don’t need to act on them. In fact, I’m convinced that admitting them — if only to ourselves — makes us much less likely to behave like self-centered teenagers out to win a popularity contest.

Awareness confers power — the power to behave like a grown-up. Kids who stay above the fray The other good news is that kids are naturally wise, impervious to gimmicks to win their affections, and they can never get enough love. Remember that old Leonard Cohen lyric about children: They are leaning out for love and they will lean that way forever. They are not keeping score or rating their grandparents. Every time I see Isabelle and Azalia, her baby sister, I am reminded of this. Even if they’ve spent many wonderful hours with their California grandparents during the preceding months, they’re thrilled to see me — and I, of course, am overjoyed to see them. Best of all, we meet in the present moment and my fears about being low on the grandparent totem pole evaporate like early morning mist. So, although I may be furious at my ex for his thoughtless remark, chances are I won’t strangle him when the whole family — all sides — gathers at my son and daughter-in-law’s house for Christmas dinner. (This may be a challenging event, but at least my son won’t be able to say that he preferred celebrating the holiday with his father.) And when I start getting that old fizzy feeling in my gut — as I’m bound to on occasion after I return to Washington — I’ll just turn on my Leonard Cohen CD and remind myself that not only are we all leaning out for love forever, but there’s plenty to go around. Barbara Graham, a Grandparents.com columnist, is the editor of the anthology, Eye of My Heart: 27 Writers Reveal the Hidden Pleasures and Perils of Being a Grandmother (Harper), which tells “the whole crazy, complicated truth about being a grandmother in today’s world.” The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


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BOOM! December 2015  
BOOM! December 2015  

The River Region's 50+ Lifestage Magazine