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December 2016

RiverRegionBoom.com

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


HealthNEWS

December 2016

for Boomers and Beyond

Beat back winter blues

Can you predict your mood by the calendar?

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n late fall or early winter—as the days grow darker— does your mood darken too? And do you feel like yourself again several months later when there’s plenty of sunlight? If this pattern sounds familiar, you may have what doctors call seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes like clockwork, often starting in October or November and going away by spring. Its main trigger appears to be shorter days, which disrupt the body’s internal clock and may affect serotonin--a brain chemical that helps regulate mood. Symptoms of SAD include: • Feeling hopeless or irritable. • Feeling tired during the day. • Oversleeping. • Craving carbohydrates. • Gaining weight. Highly treatable If there’s any chance SAD is affecting you, tell your doctor. Research shows that light therapy—a treatment using artificial light—eases SAD symptoms for most people within a few weeks of starting it. Typically, this therapy involves sitting in front of a box that emits a very bright light for 30 minutes every morning-and doing so faithfully well into the spring. And when light therapy isn’t effective by itself, doctors may combine it with antidepressants, talk therapy or both. Are all those jingle bells making you feel stressed? You’re not alone. There can be a lot of pressure this time of year, with meals to cook, presents to wrap, company on the way and a house to clean—quick! So how can you cope?

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Get real. There are only so many hours in the day. If your house isn’t decorated or you need to skip a holiday event, it’s OK. Control spending. Buying gifts you can’t afford will stress you out long after the holidays are over. Plan a budget before shopping, or consider making your gifts. Make connections. Keep the focus on friends and family and having some fun. Use the holidays to reach out to old friends. Take care of yourself. If you’re feeling too stressed, take a break. Try a nap or a brisk walk. It can help you feel better. If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. If you need a primary care provider, call The Jackson Clinic at 334-293-8888 or visit JacksonClinic.org.

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

Contents

December 2016 Volume 7 Issue 5

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

Facebook.com/RiverRegionBoom C.S. Lewis

Thought Relationships Taste Inspiration

Humor Advice Health Community

“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

3 Jackson Hospital’s Health News 8 Publisher’s Letter 10 MANE’s Raise the Roof! 11 Getting To Know You “Cloverdale Dry Cleaners” 12 Go Where Everybody Knows My Name, Leigh Anne Richards 14 Donald Trump: The New CEO of the United States of America Brandt McDonald

page 32

Features 32 Video Chatting

With far-flung grandkids.

36 Christmas Celebrations

Step into a small-town Christmas.

42 Thoughtful Gift Ideas

A special gift for that someone.

Getting You “In the Know”

18 30A Songwriters Festival 18 It’s A Wonderful Life and Sockball Fight

Departments 18 This and That

17 Healthy Hearing Casey Gonzalez

44 {12} Things

Special Events for Boomers

40 Greg Budell

20 Mary Ellen’s Hearth Presents An Evening with Chonda Pierce

IT’S A WONDERFUL DOG

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24 BOOM! Cover Profile

COVER PROFILE

30 Worth Fighting Over? Ask an Elder Law Attorney

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page 43

page 46

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34 Dating Coach: This is why other women are getting the guy! 35 10 Things You Should Be Doing for Your Wife 43 To Be Happy Find Intrinsic Motivation

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page 42

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46 Eating Smart with Tracy Bhalla: Healthy Holiday Snacks

BOOM! The River Regions 50+ Lifestage Magazine is published monthly by River Region Publications, 3966 Atlanta Hwy, Box 266, Montgomery, AL 36109. The phone number is 334.324.3472. Copyright 2016 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

Get Out Your Shovel Do you ever stop and wonder which way you’re going? Or better yet, what’s my destination? For me the Christmas Holiday is a time to examine the direction of my life. Am I the person I want to be? Or have I failed to measure up to my ideals? What about my ambitions, are they compatible with my age? Does it really matter? Most of us don’t think too deeply during the year but when Christmas arrives I get out the shovel.

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

Contributing Writers Sandi Aplin Tracy Bhalla Greg Budell

Lisa Copeland Casey Gonzalez Jacqueline Simon Gunn Treva Lind Brandt McDonald Leigh Anne Richards Becky Squire Clare Weil Raley L. Wiggins Kathy Witt

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

Advertising

Jim Watson, 334.324.3472 jim@riverregionboom.com Please Recycle This Magazine, Share with a Friend!

My motivation begins with God. You see, of all the relationships I have throughout the year it’s my relationship with God that gives me the most rewarding experience, I love the peace when all is well with Him. I will examine Jim Watson, Publisher many aspects of my life this month but I begin with Him because it sets the foundation to build on. Whether you share my priority or not it’s worth noting that Plato said “An unexamined life is not worth living”, so get out your shovel, start digging and see what you can discover. Our Cover Profile this month is a woman who some of you may know through her community leadership or maybe she has shipped many of your packages. Her name is Clare Weil and she’s full of energy and maybe a little zaniness, at least that’s what some of her employees might say. She owns the local UPS stores in the River Region and is in love with shipping stuff! Oh, by the way, she has a huge collection of rocks and geodes, one of the best I’ve ever seen! I know you’ll enjoy getting to know Clare as much as I did. There are many other good reads in this month’s issue including a feature on video chatting with your grandkids so if you haven’t tried that yet, maybe it’s time to use technology to love on your grandkids more often. We have a feature on the value of intrinsic motivation, we all need to develop some of that. There’s also thoughtful gift ideas for someone special in your life and ten things you should do for your wife on a regular basis. Greg Budell’s It’s a Wonderful Dog will warm your heart for the holidays and Brandt McDonald explains what Donald Trump will be doing as the CEO of the United States. Tracy Bhalla has some excellent ideas on healthy holiday snacks you may want to check out. I hope you’ll sit back grab your favorite holiday beverage and enjoy the best reading experience for the 50+ community in the River Region. Please share BOOM! with your friends and your comments with me. I love to listen. Please sign up for the free subscription to the Digital & Interactive BOOM! online at RiverRegionBoom.com. Thanks for being part of our BOOM! Community. Merry Christmas!

Jim jim@riverregionboom.com 334.324.3472 cell/text

Digital & Interactive

When you read the Digital & Interactive version of BOOM! on your digital device you will be interactive with every website and email link in the magazine. You can click through to a writer’s source, an

advertiser, send comments and suggestions, request more info and share your favorite reads on Facebook and Twitter. The Digital & Interactive version was built for the new you so go ahead and sign up for a free subscription at RiverRegionBoom.com “BOOM!, the best reading experience for the 50+ community”

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December 2016

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Wintzell’s Rocks MANE’s Raise the Roof!

The atmosphere at MANE on the evening of October 20th was reminiscent of a Hollywood movie set: perfect weather, high energy, and a feast for the senses. However, unlike a Hollywood façade, MANE’s therapeutic riding facility is a real place where horses change real people’s lives. Dedicated volunteers and staff, Wintzell’s Oyster House, The Whiskey River Band, and overwhelming community attendance made the evening magical and memorable!

Proceeds from the annual Raise the Roof Seafood Celebration will be directed to retire MANE’s construction loan, acquired to construct the multiuse building, completed in 2007. The indoor section of the complex houses offices, classrooms, a break-room, and The Kiwanis Korral – a resource room where parents and caregivers can watch riders in the adjacent covered area. The outdoor portion of the building houses a 15-stall handicapped accessible barn and The Kiwanis Care Korner – a special horse washing/grooming area, tack room, and feed storage room designed to ensure the health and safety of MANE’s equine partners. A mounting paddock with hydraulic lift, donated by the Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation, abuts the expansive covered Poarch Creek Arena! For more information about MANE, please visit MANE’s website at www.maneweb.org. To volunteer or register for MANE’s programs, please call 334-213-0909. Donations can be sent to: MANE, 3699 Wallahatchie Road, Pike Road, AL 36064.

MANE board members Jim Edwards, Michelle Parkinson, and Lydia Beringer

The Side by Side Singers are dedicated to sharing music to keep our minds strong. Music can improve our mood and boost cognitive skills. We invite those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their care-partners to join us for 8-week sessions each Tuesday, 1:00-2:00 pm at First United Methodist Church in Montgomery. The music we sing ranges from Sinatra to Elvis. photo by Mickey Welsh/Montgomery Advertiser

SIDEbySIDE singers singers

Please contact Jack Horner at ivortickle@aol.com or Laura Selby at 834-8990 for more information. 10 BOOM!

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NO FEE, PLEASE JOIN THE FELLOWSHIP!

First United METHODIST CHURCH

2416 W. Cloverdale Park Montgomery, AL 36106 334.834.8990 www.fumcmontgomery.org

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A BOOM! FEATURE

Getting To Know You CLOVERDALE DRY CLEANERS Celebrates Third Anniversary

My name is Betty Rollins and I feel so blessed to be given the opportunity in November 2013 to own my business. In 1961, I was born at John Andrews Hospital in Macon County. My family lived in Montgomery where I attended Billingslea Elementary, Baldwin Jr. High and graduated from Robert E. Lee High School. My first job dealing with clothes was working for Victor’s Clothing on Dexter Avenue. I have three sisters and one brother. My husband, Ronald and I have together eight children, we love all dearly. When I was offered the opportunity to open my own business, there were two very strong emotions, excitement and fear (scared to death). So my first call was to Reverend Clifford Prevo, my pastor and we prayed for guidance. He also suggested we bless the building to start a new The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

respect one another, help the less fortunate have a happy holiday. Another goal in the future is to someday open my own cleaning plant, so I can personally do my customers clothes to give them the best service in Montgomery. We have a special of 20% off on everything brought into the shop on Wednesdays.

Betty Rollins, Owner, Cloverdale Dry Cleaners

beginning. Down through the years, blessings have come to me in so many ways, I am so grateful and try to help others in need, as I have been helped. My goal is to try and give the best customer service possible. Our customers are our friends and neighbors, we thank you so much for your business. We are reminded during the coming holidays to love and

Let Us Be Your Dry Cleaner Our hours of operation are Monday thru Friday 7 am until 5:30 pm Saturday 8 am until noon.

Cloverdale Dry Cleaners 419 Cloverdale Road 334.241.9900 R ive r Re gio n Bo o m . co m

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I Want to Go Where Everybody Knows My Name “Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. You wanna be where you can see, our troubles are all the same. You wanna be where everybody knows your name. Do you remember these lyrics? Yes, the Cheers sitcom. We all loved Norm, Cliff, Diane, Woody and even Frazier. I was talking in the locker room with my friends about MetroFitness being a Cheers. We even labeled some of our members as these characters. Honestly, this Cheers atmosphere is why we love exercising with people at MetroFitness The challenge is to enjoy exercise, and keeping it social is a way to make physical activity more fun, and increase the odds of your sticking with your exercise program. Exercising with a group can provide support as well as structure to an activity program. An interesting study that was done and published in the British Medical Journal in 2007, found women with breast cancer that exercised with a group reported a higher quality of life than the group that exercised on their own. The “social” exercisers enjoyed the activity more and remained active in the months that followed. MetroFitness members have expressed what Metro means to them for a social outlet as well as benefitting physically. Boo (Elizabeth) Archer, life coach, client and dear friend expressed to me how the “family” of Metro has changed her life. Below is her “testimony” on the social aspects of exercising with people. Leigh Anne has referred to the sitcom theme song Cheers. The words to that song are SO true, because you want

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people to know who you are. But, when it comes to accountability, motivation, encouragement, community, and relationship, it’s ALWAYS great to go where everybody knows you and is glad to have you there. That is what my gym, Metro Fitness, is to me. I guess you could say I was in a rut.

want more of that. No, you may not want to sweat and work hard but you do want more of THAT- Relationship, Love!! On mornings I feel my bed telling me it’s my “best friend”, I think about Jessica, Moose, Ray, Neal, Leigh Anne, Susan, Michael, and all of the other friends I have at Metro. THEY get me out of the bed. THEY are what motivate me to show up, five mornings a week. I cannot stress enough the benefits of community, especially as by Leigh Anne Richards we grow older. Many of us don’t have the “get up and go” we used to, so we need a much more “heart centered” As a Lifecoach working from home, I reason for motivating ourselves to found myself hibernating. Now, I’m all get out the door. No matter what about hibernating for a season and our age, we can choose to challenge for a reason. But my reason was not ourselves in ways to grow physically a very good one. I was just kind of and emotionally... Having a community “relationally lazy”. I figured that since of people of all ages has been a life my clients were in and out of my house changer for me. When I leave the gym, all day, I had plenty of friends. I also the physical effects of my workout pale am very self-motivated. So finding in comparison to the way my heart ways to workout was not feels. I feel cared about. a problem. But there was I feel seen. I feel as if I a time when I knew, like matter, and that’s a big many of you do, that I deal as we get older, as had to change something. many lose their sense Change is never easy- you of purpose. Oxytocin, never want to change. Dopamine, EndorphinsIt’s never going to be the that’s all “GOOD stuff”. “right time”. My heart They are the benefits knew it needed “a fix”. A not only from exercise, gym- Metro Fitness was but relationship. As we my answer. Community. age, we need as MUCH THAT is what my heart of that good stuff as Ted Hails and Lee Ellis, participating in weight training needed. There was an possible. Yes, change adjustment period. Getting to know is hard. You never really WANT to. It’s people takes effort, but because never the perfect time, until you realize we all shared a common interest, that this is all the time you have- Right common goals, the conversation came now. Come join us at Metro, or find easily. Then it just progressed into your own community of exercisers to friendships... Before I knew it I longed build you up. Body, Mind, and Spirit. to see these people. They filled an CHEERS to YOU!!! emptiness in me that I had not realized I was missing until I had it. When you If you don’t want a health club, there walk in a room and people smile, and are several other ways to make exercise are genuinely interested in YOU-, you social

Fitness over Fifty

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


• Find a sport- tennis, golf, and bowling. It might even be a walking group that meets at a park or mall. Check local community centers and find yourself a “team.” The AUM Lifelong Learning Center keeps active agers going with sports like hiking, dancing, etc. • Find a buddy- Just like Boo said, you may be more likely to get out of bed if you have a partner that is meeting you for a walk or bike ride. You need that accountability • Exercise for Charity- Sign up for a fun run/walk. You’ll meet lots of people, get some exercise and raise money for a good cause- all part of the altruistic behavior which seems to improve longevity. In the mornings at MetroFitness, we have a big group of active agers. I overheard Ted Hails, one of our active agers discussing why he enjoyed Metro. I asked if I could interview him for this article and he so happily obliged. He loves the “gym” atmosphere because he says he gets to work his body physically, he works his mind with deep discussions on world problems, and he loves to be around “good folks.” He refers to his time at Metro as a full life experience. Metro does it all- body, mind and spirit. The feeling of community and support is why he looks forward to coming to workout. He always has role models around his age that give him support and encouragement. Ted and his wife Barbara love to travel- their motto when they send out their Christmas cards each year is to be “strong enough to do this again next year.” Exercise is not all about the physical- We all want to belong!!! Cheers!!! 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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Donald Trump

The New CEO of the United States of America On Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 Donald J. Trump shocked the world by winning the United States Presidential election. All of the pundits expected Hillary Clinton to win in a landslide. But, by the dawn of the next day the electoral map was a sea of red. No one saw it coming. Donald Trump defied all of the odds makers by not only winning The White House but his coattails ran deep into house and senate races around the country. By the time the dust settled, the Republican Party had accomplished something that had not been done since 1928. The Grand Old Party will control The Executive Branch, The U.S. House of Representatives, and The U.S. Senate. Speechless is about the best word I can come up with!

The second priority will be to reform the Dodd-Frank regulation that become law some 6.5 years ago. The law itself was a bold attempt to protect U.S. financial institutions and U.S. citizens from a similar crisis that occurred in 2008-2009. There are elements of the law that are too far-reaching and has strangled traditional banking. Complying with the regulation is relatively easy for the large money center banks but is a noose around the neck of small to medium size banks. Clearly, there is an unfair advantage for the larger banks and any reform to the law would certainly level the playing field. Furthermore, middle market lending, the life blood of former traditional banking all but evaporated under Dodd-Frank and the void was filled with lesser regulated products and financial instruments created by Wall Never in my 28 year career as a financial Street. Reform of the law would seek advisor have I seen such massive gyrations to reverse this trend and likely return in the global equity markets. Never have I small, medium and large banks back to experienced the myriad of conference calls their rightful place in traditional lending. and private conversations with respected Reforming the regulation will keep all and noted asset and portfolio managers of the positive attributes of protecting with like I have since the election results. Never and insulating the financial services Brandt McDonald have I seen such a state of paralysis and industry from future chaos but will also confusion on Wall Street. No words can trim out the onerous aspects of the law even begin to describe the schizophrenic that was overkill and created unintended commentary and trading activity from consequences. thousands of credible individuals and institutional market participants. Simply put everyone is stymied and in search of The third priority would be to rescind key parts of the Affordable any useful information to try and build an economic thesis for Care Act through the Budget reconciliation process in the first the next four years. But, I think we can all agree that change is half of next year. It will be difficult to repeal the Act entirely. coming and it will be bigger than any of us could have imagined. Through the budget process congress will act to remove the What kind of change? Let’s cut through the rhetoric and identify penalties for not getting insurance, eliminate subsidies for the key components of the Trump platform. buying government approved insurance, and to slow down the expansion of Medicaid. This will result in a substantial reduction Based on information gathered through various conference in government spending and increase the incentive for American calls it is becoming abundantly clear to me that the top priority workers to work more hours. in the first 100 days of Mr. Trump’s presidency is to reform the corporate tax code and to offer a one day moratorium on It is my belief that immigration reform, trade deals, and corporate cash held overseas that could be brought back into the energy policy will be addressed in the second through fourth United States at an estimated corporate tax rate of somewhere years of Trump’s presidency. My only fear is that if Mr. Trump between 10%-20%. Currently the corporate tax rate is 35% moves towards protectionism and starts a trade war that it - one of the highest in the developed world. Most estimates will absolutely be damaging to the economies of all developed anticipate that such a move would bring close to $2 Trillion nations. For now, I choose to believe that cooler heads will dollars back into the U.S. That’s approximately 10% of the size prevail and that smart and fair trade agreements will take place. of the U.S. economy!! The key is to connect the dots and figure out where that cash will end up once it’s back in the confines In the end, a Trump presidency means a dramatic shift towards of U.S. borders. Every corporation will have to determine the pro-growth, free market policies that should boost jobs, wages, highest and best use of its own capital. I suspect for some we and asset values. Under this ideology we will all witness a return will see new investment in research and development, new to a more normal interest rate environment. Once the velocity manufacturing facilities, and new technological advancements of money gains momentum, inflation will pick up pace and as a result. Some companies will choose to buy back stock or asset values should rise. In general terms, there is a tectonic return some of the cash to its shareholders in the form of special shift occurring where no longer will we live in a low-yield, lowdividends. And, yes some will invest in human capital by hiring inflation economic environment. This won’t occur immediately. and training new skilled workers. Certainly there are a range of But by all means, the trajectory has shifted. From a portfolio options and more than likely we will see some or all of these in management perspective, we at McDonald & Hagen Wealth 2017.

Financial Thoughts

continued on page 16

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Management are spending countless hours conducting due diligence and research around various investment themes to come up with a concrete economic thesis that we can have confidence in. But, for now we continue to gather information as to what life under a Trump administration will look like for investors. We look forward to sharing our opinions with you in January. 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 & Hagen Wealth Management LPL Branch Manager mcdonaldhagen.com Direct comments and questions to bailey.worrell@lpl.com or 334.387.0094 The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly. The economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful. Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by Wealth Management Systems Inc. or its sources, neither Wealth Management Systems Inc. nor its sources guarantees the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. In no event shall Wealth Management Systems Inc. be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with subscriber’s or others’ use of the content. © 2016 DST Systems, Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part prohibited, except by permission. All rights reserved. Not responsible for any errors or omissions. Securities offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA & SIPC. Investment advice offered through McDonald & Hagen Wealth Management, a Registered Investment Advisor, and separate entity from LPL Financial.

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Hearing Tips for the Holidays!

‘Tis the season to be jolly. But it’s also the season when hearing loss can become more obvious — and problematic. Holiday gatherings can be exhausting for those with hearing loss, as they work doubly hard to follow conversations. To help, we have put together some hearing tips, so everyone can get in the spirit this season.

Holiday hearing tips for people with hearing loss 1. Situate yourself in the quietest area of any venue. 2. Find smaller groups to mingle with, as fewer voices are easier to follow. 3. Position yourself so you can optimally read lips. 4. Stick with a “buddy” who can repeat parts of conversations you may have missed. 5. Shop at times you know stores will be less crowded. 6. Take breaks and plan activities so that “loud” events aren’t back to back.

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7. If you wear a hearing aid with noise cancelling technology, take advantage of it! Technological advancements have made listening in noise more comfortable than ever. 8. Tell people that hearing well is not your forte. You’d be surprised how

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

accommodating hosts and fellow revelers will be. Holiday hearing tips for advocates 1. Volunteer to be your friend or family member’s “buddy” – stay by their side, repeat things if necessary and keep them included in conversations. 2. If hosting, set up an area or room that’s quieter than others – well suited for more intimate conversations.

3. Arrange seating so guests with hearing loss can be closest to the action. 4. Ask your friend or family member if there are any special accommodations you can make to ensure their comfort. 5. Be inclusive. The best part of the holidays is sharing it with those you love most. 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.

Free Hearing Screenings

This month, Montgomery Hearing Services is offering FREE hearing screenings and technology demonstrations. Call us to schedule an appointment: (334) 651-0500

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This & tHAT The 8th Annual 30A Songwriters Festival

The 8th annual 30A SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL- set for January 13-16, 2017 has announced the initial line-up for the 2017 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 JOHN PRINE, CHEAP TRICK, DR. JOHN & THE NITE TRIPPERS, AND SHAWN COLVIN. Also confirmed on the main stage are Parker Millsap, Drivin N Cryin, and Amy LaVere. Featured artists in venues at night on 30A include John Fullbright, Over the Rhine, JoJo Hermann (Widespread Panic), Chely Wright, Murray Attaway (Guadalcanal Diary), Sarah Lee Guthrie, Matthew John Prine Sweet, Tom Gray (The Brains), Shawn Mullins, Peter Case, John Gorka, Nicole Witt, and Farewell Angelina. The 30A Songwriters Festival takes place January 13-16 along scenic highway 30a in Northwest Florida. There will be 150 artists and 25 venues. The 30A Songwriters Festival production team transforms amphitheaters, town halls, restaurants, theaters, bars and covered patios into unique music venues ranging in capacity from 75 to 500 seats indoors and 5,000 outdoors. Festival weekend passes are now available for $265 and can be purchased at www.30asongwritersfestival.com Shawn Colvin

Capri Classics: It’s A Wonderful Life and Sockball Fight The Capri Theatre is getting into the spirit of giving. We’ve partnered with the MidAlabama Coalition for the Homeless (MACH) to host the Capri’s first-ever Sockball fight - I.e., a snowball fight, but with socks. To participate, the rules are simple: Bring clean, unused socks to It’s a Wonderful Life on December 9 at 7:30. After the pre-show talk is finished and a year-long Capri membership is raffled off, participants will ball up the socks and try to protect their drinks as best they can. We’ll do a countdown, and then everybody goes to town. It might be the closest thing to a snowball fight we get all year! After a couple minutes (this is our first sockball fight, so we’ll play it by ear), volunteers will come by to collect the sockballs. All socks will be donated to MACH. Everyone who brings socks gets a limited-edition Capri cup. You can refill it with soda all night long, but only for this show. Cups are available while supplies last- so one cup per person, please. Don’t get all Pottersville on us. After the sockball fight sit back and enjoy one of the holiday’s best movies ever! For more info call Phone: 334.262.4858 or visit www.capritheatre.org/calendar

Old Alabama Town Holiday Open House We would like to show our appreciation to the Montgomery community by opening our doors once again for Old Alabama Town’s annual Holiday Open House, December 13th, 4-6 pm. 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, candlelight house tours, history of the holidays, and cookies & cider! Admission: Non-perishable food item for HandsOn River Region’s Christmas Clearinhouse. For more information please call 334.240.4500. www.landmarksfoundation.com

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BOOMERS, share your stuff with BOOM! We Love to Bring BOOMERS Together, send info and pics to jim@riverregionboom.com

Oak Grove Inn Residents Hold Pep Rally for Iron Bowl The residents of Oak Grove Inn and some of their family members participated in the annual Alabama-Auburn Iron Bowl Pep Rally in November. The rally was attended by residents and dignitaries from both Alabama and Auburn. The residents of Oak Grove Inn also got to see both Big Al and Aubie perform some of their exciting cheer routines and have pictures taken. The festivities once again showed the kind of Iron Bowl spirit the residents of Oak Grove Inn have exhibited over the past years. If you want to know more about their spirit give them a call at 334.215.8881 or visit www.oakgroveinn.org

Depot Players are Preparing Cinnamon GRITS While the turkey is defrosting and place settings are being set for Thanksgiving dinner, the Depot Players are preparing Cinnamon GRITS. The Christmas musical inspired by the “Girls Raised in the South” writings of Erica McGhee, the show celebrates holiday traditions both old and new. Playing December 13-18 on the Depot stage the musical is a season extra on the Depot’s 36th Season. “Cinnamon GRITS isn’t the latest recipe floating around social media,” said Kristy Meanor, Depot executive director. “Depot audiences may remember our production of GRITS the Musical a while back. Audiences enjoyed the show so much, we decided to bring them back for this Christmas show that celebrates Christmas southern style! Audiences will be tapping their toes to delightful songs including, “Do the ReGift”, “The Crazy Aunt Blues” and “What the River May Hold”. Tickets are available by calling the Depot box office at 334.868.1440 or visiting wetumpkadepot.com. The award winning community theatre is located at 300 S Main Street in historic downtown Wetumpka.

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L to R, Desirae Lewis, Adrian Borden, Kim Mason and Cindy Veazey

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Mary Ellen’s Hearth at Nellie Burge Center Presents An Evening with Chonda Pierce Mary Ellen’s Hearth will present an Evening with Christian comedian, Chonda Pierce. Proceeds from the event will go to support homeless women and their children. Mary Ellen’s Hearth offers hope, help and healing to homeless women and their children throughout the River Region and is a private 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible. We Tickets to see Chonda! are privately funded and rely almost completely on the generosity of churches, businesses and individuals in the River Region. Because we are a Christian ministry, we are not eligible for many types of government grants. We are a United Way agency so you can rest assured your money is spent wisely to provide needed services to our families. Emmy® -nominated and best-selling comedian Chonda Pierce or “the country comic” as Billboard Magazine dubbed her, has been making audiences laugh for more than two decades with her winning combination of fierce wit and southern charm. Pierce is fresh off an incredible year after debuting her movie “Chonda Pierce: Laughing in The Dark,” to rave reviews from audiences and critics alike. The show is February 23, 7:30 pm at Saint James United Methodist Church, 9045 Vaughn Rd, Montgomery.Tickets are $25$45. Visit www.nellieburge.org or call Brenda Dennis, 334.239.1971

“Perfect” Stocking Stuffer

Montgomery Botanical Gardens at Oak Park Announces New Executive Director

The Montgomery Botanical Gardens at Oak Park, a nonprofit with the mission of establishing and nurturing the gardens for the education, enjoyment and enrichment of all and to preserve Alabama’s unique plant heritage, has announced Jacque Smith Foshee as its new executive director. Jacque will be the first executive director. “We are excited to announce this appointment,” said Heather Davis, incoming president of the Gardens. “Jacque’s experience and creativity will move the Gardens to its next chapter of formation. With her leadership, we are looking forward to planning events this spring and planting the first phase of the garden.” Jacque brings more than 25 years of nonprofit management experience in Washington D.C., Atlanta and Montgomery. While director of development at Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, she managed the fundraising, membership and volunteer programs. Most recently, she has served as the donor relations director for the Junior League of Montgomery redesigning Shawn Colvin the corporate and individual giving programs which increased giving by 600%. “I remember visiting Oak Park to see my future niece clogging during the Festival in the Park,” said Jacque. “The park has a rich history in Montgomery dating back to 1886 and I look forward to seizing on this rich history while producing a beautiful garden for all of Montgomery citizens and visitors. Education will be at the core of what we create and I look forward to children and adults learning about our natural world while visiting the gardens.” The Montgomery Botanical Gardens at Oak Park is a 501(c )3 nonprofit organization which promotes knowledge and appreciation of plants, the environment, history and art through educational offerings. It will be an oasis for residents and visitors alike. For information on joining or donating to the Montgomery Botanical Gardens, please visit www.montgomerybotanicalgardens.com.

River Region Alternative Gift fair

Our mission is to offer folks in the River Region a convenient and fun way to give Christmas and other holiday gifts that have a redemptive effect on our community. To that end, we will host an Alternative Gift Fair. It is called “Alternative” because the event seeks to offer an alternative to the stress and materialism that sometimes takes over our Christmas and holiday celebrations. Area nonprofits will set up booths and be available to talk about their work. “Shoppers” will be able to buy “gifts” from these groups. But these gifts will not be something tangible to give the gift recipient. Instead, they will fund specific needs of the nonprofit—for example, a week’s worth of hot meals for an elderly couple in need. (Gifts will be available at a variety of prices, starting at $5.) The gift recipient will receive a card recognizing the gift—not to mention the warmth that comes from being associated with our participating groups’ important work in the community. Saturday, December 3, 2016, 10 am - 2 pm, Cloverdale Campus of Huntingdon College, 1125 East Fairview Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36106. Visit www.givehoperiverregion.org

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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 Tuesday, December 13th, at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center at 7:30 pm. Bring the whole family out for this revered holiday tradition as the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra gets 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.

My Three Angels My Three Angels is the final show of the 2016. Eleanor Davis directs this charming revival of a holiday show you may remember from the Montgomery Little Theater. The scene is French Guiana, where on Christmas Day the temperature has dropped to a mere 104 degrees. Three convicts are employed by a family whose roof is in desperate need of maintenance. An evil-minded cousin arrives from France to oust the father of the family from his business, accompanied by his cold-blooded nephew who has designs on the father’s daughter. The three convicts—two of them murderers, the third a swindler— are passionate believers in true justice. They take the ne’er-do-wells on with true criminal art and redeem themselves as real-life angels to the grateful family. “A completely captivating comedy.” —Philadelphia Inquirer, “Exudes a welcome and congenial air of humanity.” —Christian Science Monitor . *Recommended for ages 8 and above* For more information, please call 334.262.1530 or purchase tickets at www.cloverdaleplayhouse.org The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

In Praise of Women Who Read One morning a husband returns to the cabin after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out, since it is such a beautiful day. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book. Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, “ Good morning, Ma’am, what are you doing?” “Reading a book,” she replies , (thinking, “Isn’t that obvious?”) “You’re in a Restricted Fishing Area,” he informs her. “I’m sorry, officer, but I’m not fishing, I’m reading.” “Yes, but you have all the equipment. I’ll have to write you up a ticket.“ “For reading a book,” she replies. “You’re in a Restricted Fishing Area ,” he informs her again.” “But officer, I’m not fishing, I’m reading.” “Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I’ll have to write you up a ticket and you’ll have to pay a fine.” “If you do that, I’ll have to charge you with sexual assault,” says the woman.” “But I haven’t even touched you,” says the Game Warden “That’s true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment.” “Have a nice day ma’am,” and he immediately departed. MORAL: Never argue with a woman who reads. It’s likely she can also think.

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Light the Night With Hope Join us as we remember and reflect on the impact cancer has had in our lives. We want to celebrate life and hope – 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. Luminaries 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. Return it to a staff member by December 4 to be placed along the front of the Montgomery Cancer Center on December 8 at 6 p.m. We will hold a brief time of celebration and reflection, offer a time for prayer and light refreshments. This event is complimentary to the public. For more information, please call 334-273-7000. More Information visit www.facebook.com/ events/1128931483822352/

Online program at AUM earns Top 15 status Affordable Colleges Online, a leading resource for online learning and college affordability information, has ranked Auburn University at Montgomery among its “Best Online Colleges in Alabama for 2016–17.” Affordable Colleges Online recognized AUM’s “wide range of online programs and degrees and non-credit, continuing education courses” as well as the university’s use of Blackboard, which enables students to participate in online class discussion and submit assignments online. According to AC Online, AUM’s programs also are flexible, allowing students to earn degrees without “sacrificing their work and home lives,” and, AC Online noted, AUM offers support to students through its Learning Center and Center for Disability Services. Carolyn Rawl, AUM’s senior director of Online and Digital Learning, applauded the ranking. “Auburn University at Montgomery is dedicated to providing online education opportunities that deliver an exceptional learning experience. Our faculty are certified to teach online by completing a comprehensive faculty development program,” Rawl said. “By becoming a Quality Matters institution in spring 2015, our focus has been on certifying the quality of our online and hybrid courses through an extensive peer review process,” she said. According to a recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics, 16 percent of all Alabama students are enrolled exclusively in distance education. “We wanted to highlight the schools in each state that are driving innovative learning and meeting demands of students,” said Dan Schuessler, CEO and founder of Affordable Colleges Online. “These schools are not only offering great programs, but they have expanded their program excellence to the much-desired online environment.”

Depot Players Win Statewide Competition

The River Region’s oldest community theatre is once again dusting off their lobby display case to make room for new trophies awarded to the cast and crew of The Glass Menagerie, the Wetumpka Depot Players entry to ACTFEST17. October 28-30 the Wetumpka Depot Players hosted six other community theatres from across the state to showcase comedies, dramas and musicals in an adjudicated festival. ACTEST17, sponsored by the Alabama Conference on Theatre, is a yearly event designed to promote networking and professional development for community theatres across the state. “We were so pleased that our production of Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie was selected as Best in Show,” said Tom Salter, director and Depot volunteer. “We are delighted to be advancing on to the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) this March in Lexington, Ky. Not only did our show advance, we were honored to be awarded with Best Director, Best Actor (Stephen Dubberley), Best Actress ( Kristy Meanor), Best Supporting Actor ( Chris Sims), Best Lighting (Hannah Meherg), and Best Musical Design ( Elizabeth Bowles). For more information call 334.868.1440. For ticket information and all show schedules visit wetumpkadepot.com. The theatre is located at 300 S Main St in historic downtown Wetumpka.

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The Montgomery Chorale: Annual Messiah Sing-A-Long

The Episcopal Church of the Ascension hosts Montgomery’s Annual Messiah SingAlong, one of the season’s most eagerly awaited holiday traditions on Tuesday, December 20th at 7:00 pm Come enjoy this sing-along performance of Handel’s Messiah performed by members of the Montgomery Chorale and the Montgomery Symphony. This event is free and open to the public. For more information call 334.265.3737. For more Information visit montgomerychorale.org, Church of the Ascension, 315 Clanton Ave, Montgomery, AL 36104

Artist Pop Up Foomatic Makers Emporium is bringing back the holiday popup shop, December 1-23! Find unique gifts available only in Montgomery. There will be live artist demonstrations and meet and greets hosted throughout the event. The Holiday Pop-Up Shop will be located in Airr at Cottage Hill, 540 Clay Street. Store hours: Monday - Friday, 12- 7 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 11 am-7 pm For information on the event or how to apply to sell at the Maker’s Holiday Pop-Up, email popup@foomatic.org. More Information on Website: www.popupmgm.com

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BOOM! COVER PROFILE

Clare Weil, She’s Got Mail & Music

This month’s BOOM! Cover Profile is Clare Weil. Many of you are familiar with Clare because of her involvement with our community over the past many years. She also owns the 5 UPS Stores in the area so she’s probably shipped a few of your holiday packages over the years. All of us are customers many times a day and one of the mottos that Clare applies to her business relationships is United Problem Solvers (UPS). We all want to do business with people who solve our problems! In addition to Clare’s business, she is very involved with community service, a value she learned from her family growing up. In fact, many Montgomery organizations, such as the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and the Museum of Fine Arts were founded by Clare’s family members. We recently had an opportunity to share some time with Clare and she shared much of her life’s story. We enjoyed getting to know Clare and her husband Bob; as well as the best way to break open geodes! We hope you enjoy getting to know Clare too.

GNO girls- Taken last January, Front row: Clare Weil, Michelle Goodwyn, Rhonda Holtan, Sandra Dossett, Donna Marietta Back row: Dana Thornton, Grace White, Carol Collins, Cristen Bozeman, Charlotte Bent, Terry Chilton, Alison Williamson Missing: Harriett Dorosin, Jill Sheen, Rosalind Toles, Sarah Kinzer

BOOM!: Please give us a brief biography, i.e. where were you born, education, what brought you to the Montgomery area, etc.? Clare: I am a native, born in Montgomery and have called it home for all but about 10 years of my life. I attended Cloverdale Grammar and Junior High School and am a proud graduate of Sidney Lanier High School. I studied music at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida and ultimately graduated with a BA from Huntingdon College. After Stetson, I played in a small pops orchestra in central Florida before moving to Birmingham to play in the Symphony there. After lots of other careers in between, I wound up in The UPS Store. I met and married my husband Bob Weisberg 9 years ago and between us, we have 3 grown children and one grandchild. We are active members of Temple Beth Or.

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BOOM!: You’re the owner of the 5 UPS stores in Montgomery and Prattville, would you please share how you got into the shipping/mobile office business and explain the value of a UPS store? What have been some of your biggest challenges in creating a successful company? Are there any advantages or disadvantages to being a woman business owner?

Clare: I became manager of a Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE) Store in 1997, then 4 of them. In 2001, I bought my 1st store. It was still an MBE Center, I bought the 2nd one in 2002, #3 in 2007, opened a new store in Prattville in 2009 and acquired #5 in 2012. We rebranded to The UPS Store in 2003. The draw of helping customers has been a strong calling for me. This is a highly customer focused business. When the opportunity presented itself to work in the industry, I said yes and apparently have been doing so for 20 years! The value of the business is in helping people. Whether packaging a Picasso (which I have done), performing notary service, receiving mail for a small business or designing and printing invitations, we have a direct impact on that person’s life. I love that we help people every day and have taken to our new slogan of being United Problem Solvers.

Clare with husband Bob

I think the secret to my success in business is that I work all the time. The 2nd secret is that I am flexible. It takes

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a lot of time to just keep up with the business. My parents owned an art Finding and keeping great employees paperwork for 5 stores, taking care of gallery and picture framing shop. I is another challenge. I have also problems with shipments, scheduling, worked in the shop for many years been blessed with many outstanding e-mails, beginning as a teenager. The entire employees websites, business philosophy was based on over the social media, excellent customer service and producing years. One regulations, quality products. If you treat customers employee equipment like you want to be treated, and you have has been changes, a good product, you should enjoy some with me for training and measure of success. Today, I see less and 15 years and so forth. I less of great customer service in my daily has been also think world. When we provide that excellent recognized you have to service at The UPS Store, customers are as the be flexible surprised and come back when they have Associate and change a need. I work hard to instill this in my of the Year with ever employees. Excellence counts! We will nationally changing occasionally fall short of that mark, but if by The UPS Clare playing at a Holocaust Memorial Service at Maxwell AFB times. we start out with mediocre as a standard, Store, Inc. You must keep up or you will be left well, that is just not acceptable. One of my proudest accomplishments is behind. To that thought, I try to take any employing 20 people. All opportunity to further my knowledge. As far as leadership but one of my managers This has been quite rewarding in that I style is concerned, began as an associate. am serving in a leadership role in a Super I try to keep that MCO group (owners who own between small family business Being a woman business 3 to 17 stores) for the southeast. I also atmosphere in owner has had its spent 6 years serving on the national the stores. I try to challenges, but I think Marketing Advisory Council of UPS Stores create a fun work being in business, period, spending the last 2 years as chair of the environment for has its challenges. I try to committee. These unpaid volunteer everyone. I meet take it all in stride. Many a committees provide great insight into our weekly with the salesman has come in and business from a regional and national team leaders and overlooked me in favor of perspective. In my view, you can never we have quarterly one of my male employees learn too much! meetings with all wanting to speak to team members. someone in charge. There have been many challenges over When we have a Because I was a woman the years. The recession beginning quarterly meeting, owned business, last year in 2007 was probably the greatest the employees I received the Chamber challenge. Many never know what of Commerce people lost to expect. I have Point of Light their jobs and come to meetings Award for a commerce was as Sherlock Holmes, woman or sparse. When minority owned As “Sherlock Holmes” inspecting UPS Stores! a fortune teller, a I opened the magician and a ring business. This Prattville store in master, all in costume of course. I have a was such an honor. 2009, I made the theory that you can learn while you are statement that having fun and might remember even BOOM!: As a local anyone crazy better. I absolutely believe in ethical entrepreneur, how would enough to open behavior in all things we do. I believe you describe your business a business now in training employees and giving them philosophy and leadership should do it on responsibility, then I try to get out of style? Many times, our April Fool’s day. their way. spouses can play important I am with my daughter Diana Lacey and Well, we worked roles in our businesses, does grandaughter Sophia Miner on the occasion hard and opened of Diana’s graduation from nursing school at your husband give you a Bob is not involved in the business. But, AUM in 2014 (They live in Montgomery) on April 1. I am if it weren’t for him and his support hand? not sure how I survived that time except I for everything else in life, I couldn’t do was too stubborn to fail. the things I do. He is also the ultimate Clare: I grew up in a small family

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time consuming but you still participate in many community organizations, what are some of these organizations and their purposes? Also, please share the importance of serving others?

With my son Coleman Lacey at the foot of Mt. Hood in Oregon in 2008 (He lives in Portland, OR)

sounding board. He balances me and some of my crazy ideas. He almost always presents another side of a problem that I hadn’t considered. I don’t know what I would do without his wisdom. BOOM!: The Montgomery Symphony Orchestra is an important part of our “quality of life” in the River Region, would you share your experience with MSO and why you think our readers would benefit by attending MSO concerts? How often do you get to play your instrument?

Coleman Lacey with Sophia Miner on a visit in 2013 ( Uncle Cole- taken in Montgomery)

an essentially volunteer orchestra. It had turned into a great endeavor. Hopefully, I had a small part in making the symphony a better place. I loved playing with the orchestra for 27 years before I retired from the MSO. The only reason I retired was not enough hours in a day. The year I retired, I had added store #4, got married again and my precious granddaughter was born. After 27 years, it was nice to be home on Monday nights (when rehearsals and concerts happen).

Clare: I think community involvement is essential and in my blood. My great grandfather, Maurice Kahn was a founding member of the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, my great aunt, Adele Kahn Weil helped found the Curb Market and Museum of Fine Art, my mother, Carol Weil was president of the National Council of Jewish Women, Montgomery chapter, Temple Beth Or Sisterhood and Brantwood Children’s

Clare: The Montgomery Symphony is so near and dear to my heart. When I moved back to Montgomery in 1980, my lifelong friend, Helen Steineker dragged The symphony matters to me, kicking and screaming to a rehearsal. this community. If nothing Helen and I had grown up together else, the 6th grade concert At Bob’s birthday this past August with daughter Lanier Weisberg and her fiance Russ Waltz (They are from Birmingham) playing violins in the Montgomery Youth provides all Montgomery Orchestra under the direction of then students with a taste of live orchestral Home. I guess I felt an obligation to make Lee High School band director Johnny music. The classical concerts and the my own contributions. I have served Long (of legendary fame and now band pops and holiday concerts are a highlight on many boards including American director, emeritus of Troy University). She for many in the community. The quality Cancer Society, Montgomery Symphony assaulted my sense of of life is greatly enhanced Association, Montgomery Symphony civic duty and made me by the MSO’s presence. League, Arts Council of Montgomery, join the orchestra (it was Temple Beth Or, Girl Scouts of Central pretty bad back then). While I don’t play in the AL and Montgomery Rotary Club. I was In those days, there orchestra any longer, I still a member of Leadership Montgomery, were often more bodies have an active musical life Class XX. I am past president of the Arts on stage than in the with Rosewood Strings, Council of Montgomery, Montgomery audience. The orchestra a string group as large as Symphony League, and Montgomery grew and became better a string quartet. We play Rotary Club. and better and a few for weddings and often years later, Helen became for non-profit events I currently serve on the boards of the manager. In the where classical music will Montgomery Rotary Club and T.S. Morris meantime, my friend help the ambiance and Elementary School Partners Alliance. I am and colleague from the fund raising. A favorite for a member of the Montgomery Chamber Birmingham Symphony, the ladies of Rosewood of Commerce, Prattville Chamber of Thomas Hinds became Strings is playing for Commerce, AFA (Air Force Assn), Women the conductor. Tom and Sunshine Center events. Business Owners of the River Region, Helen took the orchestra Our babies are Lil’Bit and Buddy. They and a CEO Roundtable. I think we all both rescued us and came from the to new heights. Great BOOM!: Managing a should pay civic dues. We all live in this Elmore County Humane Society. music was coming from business can be very community. Why wouldn’t every person

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want to make this a better place to live?

I love to listen to music and while I am not much of a TV watcher, I enjoy Antiques Road Show and Big Bang Theory. I know this is a little quirky, but I love to open geodes. I have collected rocks for most of my life and I have discovered how much fun it is to open a geode and be the 1st eyes to see what’s on the inside (mostly quartz crystals but sometimes something else). I have probably opened over 100 geodes and am always delighted when I do. BOOM!: What do your future challenges look like, retirement, business growth, community service?

BOOM!: Do you have a favorite vacation spot? Any travel dreams planned for the future? Clare: Bob and I love to cruise. This fits nicely into the question of what I do to relax and wind down. There is something about the rocking of the ship that lulls me into relaxation, plus, I turn off my cell phone. Last year we went to Alaska on the inside passage. Just beautiful. We have been to the Caribbean before and have planned a trip for early next year. Italy has been my dream vacation spot for at least 15 years. Next year we are traveling to Tuscany and I can hardly wait. BOOM!: What are you most passionate about in your life? Clare: I have many passions. Family is #1, my husband Bob, children Diana, Coleman and Lanier, and Sophia my granddaughter. I am also passionate about music, rocks (gems and minerals, geodes) the Montgomery Biscuits, Rotary Club, and of course, The UPS Store. BOOM!: How do you like to relax and wind down? Clare: A good glass of scotch or cabernet and the company of good friends. There is a group of us “girls” that has been

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Clare and Bob live in a “house divided”, attending the Auburn/Alabama baseball game at Riverwalk Stadium

meeting for dinner for at least 15 years. Our “Girls Night Out” ladies range in age from 30 something to 70 something and come from all walks of life. We are friends that laugh and cry together. This is better than any therapy group. During the spring and summer, I am a huge fan of the Montgomery Biscuits. There are a group of us who have had season tickets since the 2nd season. That is the best entertainment for the money in town!

Clare: I hope to say I have stopped with 5 UPS Stores and probably have. I still love the challenges of my work, but I do occasionally think about retiring. If I entertain that thought, I have a huge closet full of sheet music waiting to be played, a good set of watercolors (I used to paint), some geodes to crack open and about 2500 classical CD’s waiting to be listened to. Seems like I have volunteered my entire life. I see no reason to change that part of my life. It is so rewarding. As long as I am able, I hope to make contributions to improving our community. BOOM!: You have seen a lot of changes in Montgomery, especially in the downtown area, how would you rate the quality of

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life in the River Region? What do we need more of? Clare: My great grandfather settled in Montgomery sometime in the 1860’s or early 1870’s. He lived on the corner of Bibb and Catoma streets. I imagine that he would love what is happening in downtown Montgomery as much as I do. People are now living in new housing in the downtown area near where he lived. The rebirth of the downtown is nothing less than a miracle as I see it. Our city leaders have had great vision in this revitalization. A vibrant downtown makes the rest of Montgomery vital too. A few years ago, I would not think of going downtown, but now we go often to Biscuits games right in the heart of the city. I rate the quality of life as A++. That said, we still have room for improvement. While there have been many good strides towards race relations, we still have a way to go and I feel we need to improve our school system. There are many who are working hard to make these improvements. But all in all, I can’t think of anywhere else on earth I would rather live. BOOM!: As you’ve aged, how have your priorities changed? Clare: I am not in quite as much of a hurry to get wherever it was I thought I needed to go. I am trying to stop and smell the roses more, take vacations more often, spend time with family and generally take the tempo down a little. BOOM!: Give us three words that describe you? Clare: Determined, persistent, passionate BOOM!: Do you have any hobbies or other activities that grab your attention? Clare: You already know that I like to collect rocks and open geodes. This year I joined the Montgomery Gem and Mineral Society. Can’t wait to see what I can learn! I love to make music. I love to bird watch. I love to cook and entertain. BOOM!: Many people over 50 are experiencing a renewed sense of

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purpose, new goals, new careers…How would you describe this sense of renewal in your life? Any advice for the rest of us seeking renewal?

pieces of music on my iPod, identify what kind of rock I am looking at and help identify a rose breasted grosbeak at the bird feeder in seconds! And I love to ask Google for the most obscure questions.

Clare: I think you must reinvent yourself Yes, indeed, we periodically. And still have the 3D you should keep printer. We print up or you will mostly parts for be left behind! people but also I try to live, have “dreamers” really live, each who want to see day; experience their inventions new things in 3D. It looks each day, try completely something new The rocks and geodes shown are part of my collection different on a flat that I haven’t screen or piece of tried before. You paper than it does in 3D. We also have a aren’t going to like everything you try, state of the art wide format printer that but to stay young and relevant, you have can print the image, then cut it out to to keep trying. And you must have friends the desired shape. Perfect for someone of all ages. I like to say and believe with wanting bumper stickers, neighborhood all my heart that you need friends in high emblems, bottle labels or anything else places and in low places, because you that has a shape. That printer makes never know when you will need a friend. outstanding banners and posters too. If you don’t have friends, go volunteer. And we have a new digital press that You will make friends quickly. The more is amazing. Again, state of the art, this you give of yourself, the more rewarding printer makes outstanding invitations, your life is. One of my favorite lines flyers and small posters (up to 12x18). comes from the movie Auntie Mame, Business cards have become a hallmark who says “Live, live, live, life is a banquet of that new printer. We do all of this in and most poor suckers are starving to house and in most cases in a day or two. death.” I think a lot of people don’t Printing, in all forms has become a huge realize what an amazing world we have part of our business. and what opportunities await if only we open ourselves up to them. BOOM!: Technology is rooted in almost every aspect of our lives and some of us are reluctant to embrace it. How is your relationship with technology? How has it made your life and work more effective? Do you still offer 3D-Printing at your UPS Store? Clare: I love technology! For a person my age, I think I am fairly astute. I have fully embraced computers and mobile technology. I bought my 1st computer around 1987 and have continued to buy and upgrade ever since. I must be a bit of a dichotomy in that I love old world activities like making music, rock identification and bird watching, but technology allows me to have 16,430

We want to thank Clare and Bob for sharing their time helping us put together this month’s BOOM! Cover Profile. Clare is a great example of what it means to do business with people who love our community as much as we do. If you what to learn more about Clare’s UPS Stores, visit www. theupsstore.com and search by zip code. Better yet drop in and see what kind of services they offer. If you want to reach out to Clare, please email her at cweil3465@theupsstore.com. As always, thanks to Keith Hildebrand, from Total Image Portraits for the professional cover photo of Clare. If you have questions, comments or suggestions about our cover profiles, including nominating someone, please send them to jim@riverregionboom.com

Cover Profile Suggestions If you would like to nominate someone to be a BOOM! Cover Profile please share at jim@riverregionboom.com

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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

“NOTHING WORTH FIGHTING OVER” Who is going to get what after you’re gone? I often hear clients tell me they’re not worried about who will get what after they’re dead and gone because, after all, “they haven’t got enough to be worth fighting over.”

mean that your family relationships haven’t been damaged. So, what can be done to prevent it? Here’s my simple two-step recommendation for avoiding these kinds of disputes. First: have a plan. Second: communicate that plan to your loved ones.

wishes in your estate plan to ensure that they are carried out. Not to mention the fact that these kind of oral instructions or agreements are not enforceable after your death.

After you have a formal, written plan in place, now is a good time to The first part is easy. Decide who you communicate with your loved ones would want to manage your financial about why you made the choices you Certainly, the value of your earthly made. Start with possessions can have some impact your executor/ upon whether a lawsuit is filed agent, and then talk regarding your estate. But forget Estate Planning and Asset Protection Workshop with your children about lawsuits for a moment. or other closest Wednesday, January 25: Hosted by Red Oak Legal, PC: 1:30-3:30 Let’s just talk about good ol’ relatives. If there is pm at the Archibald Senior Center (MACOA) in Montgomery. This family feuds. any property that is educational workshop presented by local attorney Raley L. Wiggins divided in a way that covers wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, living The root of these disputes may might be perceived as wills, probate administration, protecting assets from creditors, not be about the money or the less than equitable, bankruptcy, divorce and remarriage, nursing homes, long-term care property, per se. Instead, it may explain your choices and Medicaid qualification. Registration is required. be a feeling that one sibling to your loved ones took advantage of an ailing and give them the Call 334-625-6774 today to reserve your seat or register online at parent’s generosity (or absentopportunity to ask www.redoaklegalpc.com. mindedness) and wound up with questions. When the a vehicle, a piece of furniture, or time comes, they will other heirloom that was “supposed” to affairs if you are no longer able to do so. be less likely to read into each and every go to them. On the other hand, perhaps This person should be your agent under decision you made, because they will it is because the loved one’s last will and your Durable Power of Attorney. This have had the chance to discuss it with testament didn’t treat everyone exactly person is probably also a good choice to you face-to-face. the same, giving further credence to one serve as your Executor to manage your child’s suspicion that their parent always assets after your death, although your There is no way to guarantee that loved their brother or sister just a little executor and your agent do not need to your loved ones won’t fight over your bit more. be the same person. Then, determine worldly possessions once you’ve passed how that person will manage your assets on. However, communication goes a It doesn’t matter what the source of during your life (if the need arises) and long way in avoiding hurt feelings and the perceived slight may be. Once the how they will divide your assets at death. misunderstandings. Now that we’re in damage has been done in the mind of the holiday season, take a moment to the aggrieved family member, there may Next, decide how your assets should discuss your plans with your family while be no going back. The point is that after be divided upon your death. Do you you’re all together and in good spirits. we are dead and gone, we can’t explain want any specific pieces of property to Raley L. Wiggins the choices we made during the estate go to specific people? If yes, then the Attorney at Law, Red Oak Legal, PC planning process. This often results in only way to ensure that they get it is to 334-239-3625 | info@redoaklegalpc.com 445 Dexter Avenue, ste 9000, Mont, AL 36104 loved ones “reading the tea leaves” to make a gift of those specific items of www.redoaklegalpc.com draw their own conclusions about the property via your will or other estate meaning of every estate planning choice planning document. Don’t count on their loved one made while alive. Often, other family members to “take care of they see only what they want to see. it” based upon your conversations with Even if a dispute doesn’t wind up in an them. Over time, memories fade, and expensive and public court battle doesn’t people die—you must formalize your Well I’m here to tell you that there’s no such thing.

Attend Free Workshop

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Video Chatting

By Treva Lind

with far-flung grandkids

Jerome and Debbie Rauen like to fist bump with their 4-year-old grandson, a touch that crosses more than 800 miles.

bit of the gibberish where it sounds like conversation.”

At the end of FaceTime video chats several times a week, the north Spokane residents blow a kiss goodbye to him and his 2-yearold sister, who live in Northern California.

His mother-in-law, Joy Wesselman, had a medical condition for about six months that prevented her from driving, so regular screen time with Izzy gave her much-needed grandma fixes, Tolley said.

Jerome Rauen, 59, also makes a pop sound with his mouth after running a finger along the inside of his cheek. His ritual fascinates the kids, who try to mimic him. What doesn’t escape them: They know their grandparents’ faces and voices when they do visit in person. “We’ve used FaceTime pretty much since the first one was born, probably more so since they’re older,” said Debbie Rauen, 60. “Since they live in Northern California, and we’re still working, we usually see them three times a year. It’s a way to stay connected.” Their grandson will bring a favorite toy to show them, and his sister says “Nana” and “Papa.” Video chats are becoming part of everyday life, also providing a way for grandparents to visit regularly with grandchildren who live remotely. They read bedtime stories or watch a baby’s first steps. It’s made easier by built-in cameras and microphones now commonplace on computers and mobile devices, and with better broadband connections and apps. Sometimes, grandparents living in the same city use video chats to strengthen bonds. That’s true for the Tolley family. Isabelle Tolley, 17 months old, regularly babbles with two grandmothers who both live a short drive away. “Izzy is just at a perfect age for interacting, talking, waving, blowing kisses,” said Izzy’s father, Luke Tolley, who uses the Google app called Duo to work across both Android and Apple platforms. “She even does a little

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Though Wesselman, 56, saw the Tolleys during weekend visits, they started using short video chats typically every night before Izzy’s bedtime. “She isn’t really talking yet, but she gets excited to hear my voice,” Wesselman said. “The first time she sees me on the phone, she tries to kiss my face.” Izzy’s grandfathers participate too. And Izzy’s other grandma, Wanda Tolley, 60, also enjoys short video chats during the week. “Both families are busy all the time,” she said. “I’m working. Her parents are working. I think it’s really important so she can see a face and connect with you. “We try to get together in person as much as possible, but sometimes when we’re all busy, we can go actually weeks. With video chats, she can connect the voice with the face. You actually get to see her a little more often. Even a five-minute video helps.” Skype, which Microsoft acquired in May 2011, marked 10 years in January and reached a milestone of 2 trillion minutes of free Skype video calls during that decade. It joins Apple’s FaceTime and Google Chat among options for distant face-to-face conversations. “I think Skype is a miracle,” said Betsy Lawrence, 57, who video chats from

Spokane with an adult daughter, her husband and 20-month-old grandson living in Austria. “He’s being raised bilingually. He just jabbers, but I’m grandma.” “Sometimes, he plays hide-and-seek or peekaboo, and he’ll get behind the drapes,” Lawrence added. “I’ll do the same playacting and go away from the camera and back in again. I’m hoping we can start doing some reading, looking at a book. We blow kisses at each other and make funny faces.” Medical Lake resident Shannon Waechter, 57, uses FaceTime every evening for a short visit with one of her granddaughters, 16-month-old Scarlett, who lives in Tacoma. “When I visit them in Tacoma, Scarlett knows me,” Waechter says. “It’s amazing to me when that little redhead who has just learned to walk stumbles over to me smiling like a maniac and throws herself at me like I’m there every day.” Waechter has a motto for those frequent, brief video chats. “It’s not quality. It’s quantity. We should all go for quantity because you never know when those important moments will happen.” And now, moments happen almost magically, she said. “It’s just an accept button; it’s foolproof.” The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


“The minute Scarlett does something new and they know I’d appreciate it, they FaceTime me right away so I can be a part of it. Those five minutes a day are way more meaningful than an hour on a Saturday would be.”

Spivey, 61, uses FaceTime a couple times a week with four grandchildren, from age 3 to 7, who live in Portland and Everett. When the connections occur, even on a screen, she describes them as moments of mutual delight.

Regular video-chatting grandparents say certain tips help with young children.

“I can remember with all of the grandchildren that moment when they recognized who we were on the other end, and the happy face they had,” she said. “They were still babes, about 7 or 8 months old.”

Read a children’s picture book, and show illustrations on screen. Keep sessions at first to perhaps five to 10 minutes. Also, watch them play or do an activity; it doesn’t all need to be talk. Find a ritual that becomes familiar such as a game or funny faces. For older children, show a family artifact to talk about shared history. Rauen says playfulness goes a long way when children aren’t very verbal. “Have a certain game you play with them,” Rauen said. “It might just be making faces or a ritual that becomes familiar. Don’t expect it to be very long. They have a short attention span.” Mental health counselor Melissa Spivey has both professional outlook and personal experience with video chats as a way for grandparents to connect beyond physical visits.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Regular chats also support a child’s need, or anyone’s really, to be seen, heard, and known by another who loves them, Spivey added, and to develop a sense of who they are. Now that her grandchildren are older, they typically start conversations by asking the child about recent activities. “Our grandsons are really into Legos, and often they’ll put their current structure in a do-not-disturb place in the room because they want to show it to us,” Spivey said. “With our granddaughters, it might be a new song they learned in Sunday school or preschool.”

Social media also provides generational connections daily, including photographs exchanged on iPhones, she said. “I’d love for them to live across the street, but when that can’t happen, I love as a grandmother getting to be included in some of the firsts.” Bill Sachse, 81, and his wife Jackie, 79, started about five years ago, using weekly video time to see the youngest three grandchildren in Seattle and California. “It’s kept us very connected. They know who we are when they see us. We can see how they have grown, because children grow so quickly during those first years,” Jackie Sachse said. Now, a 4-year-old granddaughter she’s read to during video chats will go get a book to share with her. “She doesn’t read yet but she tells me what’s in the book and shows me the stories. Her little brother is starting to do the same thing. It’s so cute.” “I would recommend it for all grandparents.” (c)2016 The Spokesman-Review Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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DATING Coach

This is why other women are getting the guy! Women tell me all the time how amazed they are by a girlfriend who gets a zillion dates while they are struggling to get one date with a good man. What do these women do that you might not be doing? I’m going to share three of these secrets with you today. Secret No. 1 It all starts with recognizing a great catch. Do you remember the plot of the Disney movie, “Beauty and the Beast?” (How many times did we watch that with our kids?) Belle falls in love with the Beast because of how kind he is and how well he treats her. She doesn’t know that beneath his ugly exterior is a man who was once very handsome. Even though at first, she is repelled by his appearance, once she gets to know the Beast, she finds her heart opening to him. Often times, women tell me that a MUST HAVE quality is the handsomeness of a man. Here’s a little secret for you ... as you get to know a man, your attraction to him can grow big time! What counts for getting the long-term relationship is his personality which combined with his looks can make him cuter and how he treats you.

Secret No. 2 Listen to a man the way he wants to be heard. When you’re speaking with girlfriends, you talk about one subject then in the middle of that subject, you move to another subject, then you go back to the original subject then back out again to something else. In the midst of all this, you’re talking over each other, finishing sentences, asking questions and starting new trails of conversation that all of you can follow. Right? This is how women communicate! But it’s not the way men communicate. Most men can follow only ONE STREAM of thought at a time. When you interrupt a man with additional questions, he thinks you aren’t listening to him because you didn’t give him a chance to finish his thoughts before you asked something else. Believe me, I know that you are listening. But you’re listening in a female way that men just don’t understand.

This is why you want to consider giving Average Joe a chance.

I want to show you what you can do instead that really works with men. Ready?

He can make a far better boyfriend for you than Mr. Hottie will any day. Mr. Hottie will want you to feel lucky he chose you.

Ask a man ONE question at a time. Allow him to talk and get everything out he needs to say about this one question until he slows down and stops talking.

On the other hand, Average Joe will feel honored you chose him and he’ll do everything he can to show you he’s worthy of being your prince.

Often times he’ll even say, “I’m done,” or “That’s it.”

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Now, count 5-10 seconds before you ask him another question just to be sure he’s finished with the last one.

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I promise when you do this, you will touch his heart and he will feel like the luckiest man around. When he feels treasured, he’ll want to do everything in his power to make you his princess.

change.

Secret No. 3 Make a man feel like your hero and watch your dating life

In this day and age with what you’ve gone through in life, you’ve probably become pretty self-sufficient. You had to. You didn’t have a choice or you wouldn’t have survived. But what it did was it took away a man’s power of feeling like he’s needed in your life. Men are wired to keep you safe, protected and provided for to the best of their ability. When you can do it all, he thinks, what does she need me for? Try making a man your hero. It can be as simple as letting him open the door for you or asking him for a favor or his help. Watch a man’s body language when you allow him to be your hero. His chests puff up and he struts because he is so proud he made you happy. Just be sure to thank and appreciate what he’s done. If you do, he will always want to be your Prince Charming and the man who loves making his princess happy. Lisa Copeland, “The Dating Coach Who Makes Dating Fun and Easier after 50!” Find out more at Findaqualityman.com (c)2016, Lisa Copeland, findaqualityman.com Distributed by MCT Information Services The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


10 Things You Should Be Doing

for your wife on a regular basis

1. Cuddle with her Physical needs between men and women are so different. There are various ways to be intimate so keep her needs in mind. Hint: cuddling is a good start. 2. Be a gentleman When you were dating, you did everything you could to woo your wife. Then life happened. It doesn’t take much thought or energy to act like a man. Open her door, and not just when you’re on a date. Open it every time. Speak kindly to her, about her and about others.

family. Help her keep her identity by pushing her to do the things she loves. 9. Hold her hand Maybe PDA isn’t your thing and that’s OK. Taking her hand in yours is just a small physical gesture that shows her how important she is to you.

10. Open up Men don’t generally like to look vulnerable. You want to be tough mentally, physically, emotionally, etc. Your wife wants to know how you are really feeling. Real communication is so important in marriage. Source, Becky Squire’s Blog makeminehappy.com

3. Listen without fixing If you haven’t seen the video about the nail in the forehead, you must! It is ridiculous and illogical, but it is the truth. This is how women work. Go against your every instinct, and just be there and listen. 4. Compliment her You think your wife is beautiful, you think she’s funny, you think she’s smart. You admire her in so many ways. Have you told her lately? 5. Pray with her A good husband prays for his wife daily. A great husband prays with her. 6. Ask her out I’ve been married for nearly 14 years, and one thing that still gives me butterflies is when my hubby actually calls me to ask me out. It is so much more romantic than a “Hey, the baby needs a diaper change and we should do something tonight”. 7. Date her Now that you’ve properly asked her out, keep at it. Dating does not need to be expensive. Whether it’s dinner and a movie or a night in, keep dating a consistent part of your relationship. 8. Encourage her hobbies It is not uncommon for a woman to forget about herself in service to her The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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Christmas Celebrations in America Travel Trending with Kathy Witt

Step into a small-town Christmas. Visit the North Pole, in Indiana. Ask a Fairy Godmother for a Christmas wish. Meet George Bailey’s kids _ yes, that George Bailey. Here are four places where families and couples can make holiday memories and traditions.

Unwrap a Magical SmallTown Christmas

Where Angels Get Their Wings

Bardstown’s Annual Christmas Parade

“Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wing.” The most famous line from “It’s a Wonderful Life” was spoken by Karolyn Grimes in the role of Zuzu Bailey. Fans of the beloved 1946 Jimmy Stewart holiday classic will be able to meet Grimes and her movie siblings, Carol Coombs (“Janie Bailey”) and Jimmy Hawkins (“Tommy Bailey”), during the movie’s 70th Anniversary Celebration weekend, Dec. 9 through 11, in Seneca Falls, N.Y. This is the first time the trio will appear together in Seneca Falls, known as “the real Bedford Falls” and home of the It’s a Wonderful Life Museum. This museum displays hundreds of pieces of memorabilia from Grimes’ personal collection, including pictures affectionately signed by Stewart: “To Zuzu with my love.” Two special dinners will take place during this event: The Preview Dinner: Celebrating the Premiere of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and Frank Capra’s Legacy and Days of “Auld Lang Syne”: Celebrating the Final Scene from “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

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Special guests include Mary Owen, the daughter of Donna Reed (“Mary Bailey”) and Monica Capra Hodges, granddaughter of Frank Capra, the movie’s director. Special exhibitors include Lynn O’Leary Jameson, “Portraying ‘Janie’ As a Baby,” and Richard Goodson, “A Passion for Preserving the Legacy of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ “ For Grimes, continuing the legacy of this movie is a gift. “I have a lot of gratitude,” she said. “It has given me the opportunity to be this little girl who lives on through the movie. The movie has so much to give to people and it means so much to so many people all over the world.” Only here: Grimes will be autographing copies of her new children’s book, “Zuzu’s Petals, A Dream of It’s a Wonderful Life,” during the event. Copies of the book may be purchased at www.Zuzu.net. Information and tickets: 315-568-5838, http://therealbedfordfalls.com, www.wonderfullifemuseum.com.

Get immersed in the beauty, joy and magic of a small-town Christmas at Christmas Round Bardstown in Kentucky. This seven-weeklong celebration packs 25 unique events into the holiday calendar, including Light Up Bardstown on Nov. 25 when the town comes together on picturesque Court Square for the official lighting of the Christmas tree and lamppost wreaths. Families have their pick of Santa-themed train excursions. Get a ticket for the North Pole Express with Kentucky Railway Museum (KRM), Friday-Sunday, Dec. 2 to19, and on Monday, Dec. 19, featuring cookies and hot chocolate. KRM will also have a Santa Express every Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 3 to 18, and on Monday, Dec. 19. My Old Kentucky Dinner Train hosts its popular North Pole Express the first three Saturdays and Sundays in December. Children can make crafts and watch a movie in the depot before boarding the train, where Santa Claus will join everyone. The Bourbon Capital of the World, Bardstown will present a special evening with legendary Jim Beam Master Distiller, Fred Noe on Dec. 9 at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse. The “Come Home for the Holidays” dinner includes live

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine


music, mixology creations and premium bourbon tasting, along with a Christmas gift: holiday swag bags. At one of the world’s most well-known distilleries, Maker’s Mark, evening candlelight tours will take place at its decorated 1850s Victorian village on Dec. 3 and 10.

$259 per night Sunday through Thursday and from $349 per night for weekends.

Only here: Book a love spell. “Couples choose to spend their holidays at Barnsley Resort to experience our carefree magic The annual Santa Claus Christmas Parade in the midst Information and tickets: 800-638-4877, of what can be a hectic time of year,” www.visitbardstown.com. said Fairy Godmother, who prefers to North Pole Network at Santa’s Candy remain anonymous. “A love spell during Castle; watching the holiday production, Christmas Wishes Come True the holidays helps add romance to any “Scrooge’s Christmas”; and shopping at winter getaway.” Christmas-themed shops and among There is a magical place in the foothills of the homemade crafts and goodies at the the Blue Ridge Mountains with a fairytale Information and reservations: 877-773Santa Claus Arts & Crafts Show. English-inspired village dressed for the 2447, www.barnsleyresort.com. Check holidays, castle ruins trimmed in winking the Events Calendar for dates and rates The annual Santa Claus Christmas Parade white lights and a Fairy Godmother who for the Gingerbread House Crafting and takes place on Dec. 10. New this year is makes Christmas wishes come true. Wreath Making Class. the Brew Ho Ho, a beer fest featuring local breweries, on Dec. 17. Shimmering with more All Santa All than one million lights the Time Several packages are available for the for the holidays, Barnsley Santa Claus Christmas Celebration, The name says Resort in Adairsville, Ga., including “Rudolph’s Family Christmas” it all: Santa is an enchanting holiday at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Claus. That is, getaway for families Resort. Enjoy a two-night stay in a the place, not and couples alike. Rudolph’s Christmas cabin, two vehicle the person _ Winter activities include passes to the Santa Claus Land of Lights, although he horseback riding through a continental breakfast with Santa and definitely is a the woodlands, crafting $20 worth of Rudy Bucks for family huge presence a gingerbread house Christmas activities. $310. 888-929-7010, in the town or wreath, enjoying www.lakerudolph.com s’mores around a firepit that bears or finishing up holiday his name. Only here: The famous Santa Claus “America’s shopping at the resort’s picture postmark, created annually by Christmas boutique and sporting a local student, that will cancel postage Hometown,” shops. stamps on holiday mail is here, at only Karolyn Grimes, aka “Zuzu Bailey,” will be in Seneca Falls, N.Y. (Bedford Falls) Santa Claus, post office in the world with the Santa Book the resort’s “Light Ind., holds its Claus name. Up The Holidays” package (valid Nov. 26 annual Christmas Celebration the first to Dec. 29, 2016) and enjoy luxurious three weekends of December. Information: 888-444-9252, cottage accommodations, a $50 resort SantaClausInd.org/Christmas. Download Highlights include driving the 1.2credit and a keepsake Barnsley Resort Christmas Event Guide here. ornament. Use the credit for shopping, mile Santa Claus Land of Lights at a spa treatment, activities like clay Lake Rudolph; visiting the Santa Claus Museum & Village where children can shooting or dinner in one of the three Author, travel and lifestyle writer, and travel goods expert Kathy Witt feels you should never get to the end of your bucket list; there’s write a letter to Santa; presenting your restaurants, which dish up gourmet just too much to see and do in the world. She can be reached at case – naughty or nice – to an elf on the new southern cuisine. Rates start at KathyWitt24@gmail.com or KathyWitt.com. Only here: Take an evening candlelight tour of My Old Kentucky Home, Dec. 15 through 18. Recognized all over the world and one of the most cherished historical sites in Kentucky, Federal Hill shares the story of a Victorian Christmas accompanied by holiday music and refreshments.

(c)2016 Kathy Witt Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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December Featured Artists

Bold Azure 24x48 mixed media, Carol Barksdale galleryonefineart.com/Carol-Barksdale

Eye Candy 20x20 oil on canvas, Anita Westerberg galleryonefineart.com/Anita-Westerberg

The Good Shepherd, 48x36 oil on canvas Pamela Wesley Copeland galleryonefineart.com/Pamela-Wesley-Copeland

Leung II 30x22 watercolor, Clint Herring galleryonefineart.com/Clint-Herring Sprawling Silver Coffee Pot 48x36 oil on canvas, John Wagnon galleryonefineart.com/John-Wagnon Hear Me 24x12 oil on canvas Trish Gober

Vision Quest I 12x12 mixed media, Jane Segrest galleryonefineart.com/Jane-Segrest

Purple and Oranges 24x18 oil on canvas, Anne Hugghins galleryonefineart.com/Anne-Hugghins

Single Season 36x36 mixed media, Cecily Hulett galleryonefineart.com/Cecily-Hulett Sunflowers by Bradley Moon galleryonefineart.com/Bradley-Moon

Visit Gallery One Fine Art 423 Cloverdale Road, Montgomery Gallery Director Sandi Aplin, galleryonefineart.com

Sylacauga Marble Bowl 2�x12� marble sculpture, Ken Lever galleryonefineart.com/Kenneth-Lever

As Seasons Change 24x36 acrylic on canvas, Shirley Esco galleryonefineart.com/Shirley-Esco


Seasons Greetings from Gallery One Fine Art

We want to take Yavis, Wendy Slaten, this opportunity Catherine Ross to thank all of McLemore, M.W. our patrons for Edwards and many their continued more. support of our Alabama not-forWe try to live profit Gallery. I everyday engaging am so pleased our community and Angel by Barbara Gallagher and feel it is such remembering our an honor to serve as their Director Mission Statement: Raising public for the last sixteen years. awareness of the arts through recognition of talent, motivation to We are excited about next year, create and education. setting goals, planning upcoming exhibitions, painting classes and much more. In addition to our Abstract by Barbara Gallagher amazing Whippet by Wendy Slaten inventory of artwork created by our members, we also have our preloved inventory of artwork some of them 30, 40 and 50 years old. These paintings include artists such as Barbara Gallagher (original and prints) Deb Watson, Sharon

Paper Tapestry by Barbara Gallagher

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, Saturday 10 AM to 1PM and later by appointment.

Sandi Aplin, Director of Gallery One Fine Art A freelance writer living in Montgomery, AL sandiaplin@aol.com or galleryonefineart.com

Rooster by Deb Watson

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By Greg Budell

The Mayor of BOOMTOWN

IT’S A WONDERFUL DOG

I never wanted anything more for Christmas.

Bella until an up close and personal visit on a trip to South Florida shortly after the adoption.

Last year’s Christmas list contained but one item. Just one. And I had to have it!

Janelle’s “baby” became my Grand Dog.

Bella was soon her rambunctious self. A year or so later, Grand Dog had an unusual condition develop as spots appeared on her belly. It was back to the doctor for treatment of a rare blood disorder.

A few years back, Janelle called The getting was to frantically report Bella was She rebounded beautifully. something completely very ill with what seemed to beyond money, be a stomach problem. I knew Don’t misunderstand. Bella is not a sickly resources or effort. I something was seriously up dog. When she hasn’t had to face a had been a pretty good because she would never challenge, she’s as happy and playful as Janelle and Bella the Puppy boy all year, sometimes interrupt my afternoon radio any other dog. great! 2015 was another show, and that particular day, felony-free year. Some good deeds along my guest happened to be the brilliant, I’ve included one of my all-time favorite the way put my account at the First local veterinarian, Dr. Cade Armstrong. pics with this column- perhaps the coolest National Bank of Karma in the black. group selfie ever- Janelle, her boyfriend Cade spoke Ryan, and Bella are Just this one thing, God! He took his time to Janelle and in the car and ready answering the prayer, as it would be deep asked her to to go. The look of into Christmas Eve day before I’d know have the Florida anticipation on where everything stood. vet send a copy Bella’s fully-tongued of the x-ray to face is a sight that “Please heal my daughter’s dog, Bella!”. his cell phone. warms me every He concurred time. When Janelle left the dorms of Florida with his peerAtlantic University for her own small Bella had That’s the face of a apartment 6 years ago, she adopted Bella, underwear for dog you do what you a Catahoula leopard hound. Actually, she lunch and it was need to do to save. rescued Bella, who was days from being lodged in her destroyed. People don’t line up to adopt a digestive tract. And that is dog that was born deaf. Grandpa’s job! The surgery was Honestly, while I thought any dog might be a success, and Janelle once a handful for a college girl, I was touched I made it down reflected on the Bella Ready to Go! that she took in a dog with special needs. to Florida in cost of these canine My little girl has a big, caring heart. I was time to celebrate her release from one of calamities and it was a no brainer. all-in, but didn’t really fall in love with Broward County’s best animal ERs. Relief! Greg Budell's column is proudly sponsored by McDonald, Barranco & Hagen Wealth Management

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I simply said, “When you had your first apartment was she your best roommate ever? Your best friend? Did Bella make you feel safe and protected (a natural instinct to the Catahoula leopard hound)? Unconditionally loved?”.

A diagnosis would take time. I’d been waiting for a call to see what our Christmas Eve plan would be, and when she did, I was directed to a Miami pizza place where she was awaiting the doctor’s verdict.

Situations like this are never easy, but a life and death scenario Bella not feeling so good You can’t put a on Christmas Eve was price tag on any creature that provides stressful. At 3PM, Janelle said we may as such a high return on investment. well go back to the vet’s office and wait there. Unfortunately, in the days before Christmas, 2015, Janelle again noticed I followed her down Biscayne Boulevard Bella was in distress and took in Miami contemplating her to the vet. She was sent how I might help her home, and that night, 12/22, get through a worstI brought over dinner and we case scenario situation. watched a movie while Bella Answers weren’t easy laid quietly on her bed. to come by. As we pulled into the parking The next day, Bella still did not lot, my stomach was seem right so Janelle took her burning with anxiety. to a different vet. This time, an x-ray showed an unusual Suddenly, Janelle’s positioning of her spleen. More car door burst open medication, back home, and and she jumped out the next day- Christmas Eveshouting “She’s going Janelle trying to cheer Bella up Bella was still not right. to be OK! She’s coming home today!” Determined to get to the bottom of things, Janelle took Bella back to the original The doctor had called her with the news vet, who ordered a more exhaustive set as we were driving back to his office. of tests. The range of possible outcomes included a few for which there was no Janelle and I were enjoying our 26th hope. Christmas Eve, and all the smiles from the previous 25 added together wouldn’t

equal the look of joy (and relief) on my daughter’s face. The exhaustive tests found a treatable condition in Bella’s back- likely caused by climbing the uncarpeted stairs in Janelle’s townhouse. We gathered our rambunctious leopard hound and took her home. I picked up a nice dinner and we settled in to watch Christmas Vacation in Janelle’s cozy living room, with Bella nestled My Grand Dog, Bella, comfortably feeling great again! in her bed. As we watched Aunt Bethany recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the Griswold dinner table, another Christmas classic came to mind. How lucky I was, celebrating Christmas Eve with my beautiful, big-hearted daughter, my Grand Dog healing and sleeping peacefully, and my wish granted. God, I have had a wonderful life. Greg Budell lives in Montgomery with his wife, children and dogs. He’s a 30 year veteran of radio who hosts the Newstalk 93.1FM Morning Show with Rich Thomas, Jay Scott & LaDonna Brooks, 6-9AM Monday-Friday. He returns weekday afternoons from 3-6PM for Happy Hour with sidekick Joey Clark. Greg can be reached at gregbudell@aol.com Greg can be reached at gregbudell@aol.com

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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A Few Thoughtful Gift Ideas Fossil Nate Q Smartwatch

The Nate Q may look like an analog watch, but underneath its rugged, military-inspired exterior lies the beating heart of smartwatch. Touted as a hybrid smartwatch by Fossil, it uses Bluetooth to wirelessly communicate with your phone. It provides instant notifications, records activities including steps, distance traveled and calories burned, controls your music, takes photos and even tracks your sleep. Battery life lasts approximately six months. Customize your look with interchangeable straps. For more smartwatch choices check our guide to new smartwatches. Price: $195 at Amazon; $215 from Fossil

ether. The Home is best used as a search tool, though it happens to be a dynamic speaker as well. From basics like weather, time and traffic to pretty much any

question you might type into your Google search bar, the Home recognizes your voice and cheerfully gives you the answer. Other functions include sharing video with any Chromecast-enabled TV on your Wi-Fi network and syncing with Google Calendar or Google Now. Price: $99 from Google

De’Longhi Livenza All-Day Grill The space-saving DeLonghi America CGH1030D Livenza All-Day Grill,

Kate Spade Activity Tracker

Bose QuietControl 35 NoiseCanceling Wireless Headphones Nobody does noise cancellation technology like Bose. Its newest set of headphones combines active noise-

canceling technology with Bluetooth connectivity, a lightweight folding design and 20-hour battery life. But how do these headphones make things so quiet? Microphones inside and outside the ear cups allow unwanted sounds to be moved to a pair of digital electronic chips, then canceled out in nearly real time. Thankfully, the audio is equally powerful and balanced, thanks to a digital equalizing system and DSP sound. Price: $349 at Amazon or Bose

Temptu Airbrush Makeup Kit

This is a no-brainer for fashion-forward gifting. The Kate Spade Activity Tracker is a stylish band made from silicone that links to the free, Kate Spade Connected app to provide basic wearables features. In addition to alerting you with light notifications, it tracks your fitness and sleep, controls your tunes and snaps selfies, all while looking chic and pretty on your wrist. It comes in seven different colors and styles. Price: From $98 at Amazon or Kate Spade

Google Home Smart Speaker

Ask and you shall receive. Shaped like a six-inch futuristic air freshener, this new smart speaker is like having Google in the

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Griddle and Waffle Maker lets you cook anything from steaks to waffles, all without turning on the stove. Three interchangeable sets of plates, including a grill, a griddle and a waffle, allow for seven functions including contact grill & panini press, open full grill, open full griddle, half grill half griddle, waffle mode and oven broiler mode. The grill uses embedded heating elements to provide a more even cooking experience on its extra-wide 9-inch by 14.5-inch cooking surface. See settings on a large LCD display. Best of all, this grill saves major real estate on your countertop. Price: $287 at Amazon

This professionally designed makeup system airbrushes a light mist of makeup onto your face using snap-in pods. Choose a matching shade from one of two tones, snap it in the Temptu, then point and shoot. Three air-flow settings help control the density of the makeup mist. Apply as many layers as you need, depending on your mood and destination. With long-lasting and natural-looking makeup, this gadget makes a flawless face an everyday luxury. Price: from $195 at Temptu

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To Be Happy Find Intrinsic Motivation Patrick, a tall, lanky, 67-year old man came into therapy describing a general sense of malaise. “Not quite a depression, Doc,” he explained as he loosened his tie. “Something doesn’t feel right, but I can’t tell what’s bothering me.”

retirement, with his kids grown and his home paid off, the intrinsic motivation of his work began to decline. He no longer held the same enthusiasm and passion for the work itself; it was losing its meaning. And with that, Patrick felt an overall lack of motivation.

Patrick expressed feeling aimlessness, restless, even lost. It became clear after a few sessions: Patrick was suffering from a sense of meaninglessness. Meaninglessness as a form of psychological distress is not uncommon, but it’s often hard for people to articulate. There’s usually a sense of general uneasiness, but the reason for the discomfort is unknown. We all have desires, longings, passions that live within us. The problem is that sometimes we don’t know what these are. Or we may think we are doing something we want, but it’s what we think we should want, as opposed to what we actually want. Additionally, what is meaningful can change as we age, so that, what was once meaningful isn’t any more. There are basically two types of motivation: Extrinsic Motivation Extrinsic motivation is the pursuit of a goal for the purpose of an external reward. The most obvious example is a financial gain, but it can be anything from good grades, or a good work evaluation, to external praise for an accomplishment. When we are extrinsically motivated to pursue a task, we are looking for something outside of ourselves as a reward. In a culture where success is most often measured in concrete terms, such as status, money or looks, extrinsic motivations are high. This is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. It’s good to be motivated toward something that can lead to more financial security, greater job responsibility, higher performance in a sport or art, or the

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admiration from respected peers. However, extrinsic motivation alone, without some intrinsic motivation, will inevitably lead to waning desire and a crisis in meaning. Intrinsic Motivation By contrast, intrinsic motivation involves the pursuit of goals that have personal significance, such as volunteer work. In other words, these pursuits are motivated by the desire to fulfill something personal, without an external reward. Let’s take exercise motivation as an example. Extrinsic motivations for exercise may include: weight loss, looking better at an upcoming event, or better physical health. Again, these are all important aspirations. But many people who start exercising and then stop, do so because the motivation is purely extrinsic. People are more likely to continue an exercise program when there’s at least some intrinsic motivation involved. Examples of this are: feeling strong, using exercise as a respite from daily stressors, gaining endurance, or being spiritually fulfilled. Why Having Meaning Matters In Patrick’s case, he had worked in finance his whole adult life; he had built a home and was intrinsically motivated to be an excellent provider for his wife and three children. As Patrick neared

Meaninglessness can happen at any point in our lives; our motivations change as we age. The transition into retirement is a particularly important time to reevaluate life meaning. An empty nest, with children being grown and less in need of support, is also a time to reassess. Patrick and I spent a few weeks exploring Patrick’s other passions and desires: things he wanted to do when he was younger, but pushed aside in pursuit of raising his family. He decided that he always wanted to learn French, and that he wanted to pursue his music. He even decided to take piano lessons. He and his wife joined a community center, where they met new people. Patrick soon reported feeling better. The malaise had lifted and he felt reinvested in the new life he created for himself. A life of purpose. Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl wrote, “the meaning of life is to give life meaning.” And while our motivations may change over time, we must rediscover our personal yearnings so that we can live a fulfilled, enriched life. It’s then that happiness will ensue. About the writer Jacqueline Simon Gunn Jacqueline is a Manhattan-based clinical psychologist and author. She holds master’s degrees in both forensic psychology and existential/ phenomenological psychology, and has a doctorate in clinical psychology. Her specialties include eating disorders, trauma, interpersonal and relationship difficulties, alternative lifestyles and sports psychology.

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December 2016

{12 Things} for active boomers and beyond

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA A Christmas Carol Alabama Shakespeare Festival Through December 24, various times

The River Region’s favorite holiday tradition! A heartwarming-must-see that will get you into the swing of the holiday season with Scrooge’s search for redemption and a spectacular, magical evening of ghosts, spirits, festivity and goodwill. “God bless us, every one!” Recommended for ages four and up. For more information, call 334.271.5353 or visit www.asf.net. Alabama Shakespeare Festival, One Festival Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Christmas Lights Festival Montgomery Zoo December 1-31st, 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

Season of Light at the W. A. Gayle Planetarium Montgomery’s Oak Park Sundays, December 4, 11, and 18th, 2 pm

A spectacular show about the season that holds some of the warmest and brightest celebrations of the year. It is also the coldest and darkest of seasons. Tracing the development of many of the world’s endearing holiday customs, and how they light up the winter season, we portray everything from the burning Yule log and sparkling Christmas tree lights to the lighting of the Menorah and luminaries. ‘Tis the Season also recounts the historical religious and cultural customs practiced during the time of winter solstice, including Christian, Jewish, Celtic, Nordic, Roman, Egyptian and Hopi. For more info call 334.625.4799 or visit www.facebook.com/events/1731464927175132/

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Mondays, December 5th, 12th, 19th, 5:30-7:30 pm The Alabama Governor’s Mansion serves as the people’s house. One of the most special traditions is opening it to the public for Christmas. Bring your family to this year’s Holiday Tours: December 5, 12, and 19 from 5:30-7:30 pm. Admission is free, and tickets are available at the Governor’s Mansion Gift Shop. No reservations are required. Alabama Governor’s Mansion, 1142 S Perry St, Montgomery, AL 36104 For more information, call 334.834.3022 or visit governor.alabama.gov/governors-mansion/mansion-tours/

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Montgomery Ballet Presents The Nutcracker Davis Theatre, Downtown Montgomery Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, December 9-11, 7:30 pm and 2 pm

Montgomery Ballet is proud to announce its 41st annual performance of Tchaikovskys The Nutcracker December 8-11, 2016 at Troy University’s Davis Theatre in Downtown Montgomery. Founded in 1958, Montgomery Ballet is the only professional dance company in the city of Montgomery and is one of two in the state of Alabama. Friday, December 9 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, December 10 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm, Sunday, December 11 at 2 pm. Tickets are $10 - $30 and can be purchased online. For more information, call 334.409.0522 or visit montgomeryballet.org

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

The Black Jacket Symphony Presents Prince Live At Purple Rain MPAC-Downtown Montgomery Friday, December 9th, 8-10 pm The Black Jacket Symphony offers a unique concert experience by recreating classic albums in a live performance setting with a first class lighting and video production. A selected album is performed in its entirety by a group of hand-picked musicians specifically selected for each album. With no sonic detail being overlooked, the musicians do whatever it takes to musically reproduce the album. Following the album and a brief intermission, the Black Jacket Symphony returns to the stage to perform a collection of greatest hits by the evening’s artist. For tickets and more visit mpaconline.org or ticketmaster.com

Alabama Governor’s Mansion Christmas Candlelight Tours Alabama Governor’s Mansion

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MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Come aboard the Harriott II for Montgomery’s first Casino Royale Cruise. Your cruise ticket will include $1,000.00 worth of play money to be used in real casino style gaming: Black Jack, Texas Hold ‘Em, Craps and Roulette. At the end of the night you can trade in your chips for a chance to win some awesome prizes. This cruise is two hours long with a post 30 minute dockside, Live DJ Entertainment, Appetizers and a Full Cash Bar. Must be 21 and over. Don’t Miss the Boat! Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online. For more information, please call 334.625.2100. For more info visit www.facebook.com/ events/1146104365427287/

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.

Casino Royale Holiday Cruise on the Harriott II Montgomery Riverfront Thursday, December 15th, 6:30-9:30 pm

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA Capital City Christmas Parade Downtown Montgomery Friday, December 16th, 6-8:30 pm

Kick off the Season on Friday, December 16th with the Capital City’s very merry Capital City 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 334.625.2118 or visit funinmontgomery.com

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Camellia Bowl Football Game Cramton Bowl, Downtown Montgomery Saturday, December 17th, 4:30 - 8:30 pm

The 2016 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl,will be held December 17, 2016 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

Baptist Health Live Nativity DeBoer Building Sunday, December 18th and Monday the 19th, 5-8 pm

Downtown Countdown New Year’s Eve Street Celebration Downtown Montgomery Thursday, December 31st, 9-1 am

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

Garrison Keillor, An Evening Of Storytelling MPAC-Downtown Montgomery Saturday, March 11th, 7 pm

He’s a writer and humorist best known for his popular live radio variety show, A Prairie Home Companion , which attracts more than four million listeners on more than 600 public radio stations each week. Keillor is also the host of the daily radio and online program, The Writers Almanac, and the editor of several anthologies of poetry, most recently, Good Poems: American Places. A best-selling author, he has published more than two dozen books, including Lake Wobegon Days, The Book of Guys, Pilgrims, Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny, and Homegrown Democrat. With Grammy, ACE, and George Foster Peabody awards, Keillor has also been honored with the National Humanities Medal, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Offering insight and stories from his journey as one of America’s greatest storytellers, Keillor captivates audiences with his unique blend of comedy, charisma and wisdom.For tickets and more visit mpaconline.org

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Celebrate Christmas with Baptist Health and faith radio at their 6th Annual Live Nativity on Sunday, December 18th and Monday, December 19th 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 334.273.4389, also visit website at www.facebook.com/events/705430529633088/

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Eating Smart with Tracy Bhalla

Healthy Holiday Snacks We all know it is all to easy to pick up a cake or tray of cookies, box of chocolates or whatever other version of unhealthy treats we can think of for your office or church or neighbor’s holiday party. It’s just that time of year, we all do it. If you love to bake, then I’m sure you have a special recipe that just gets made this time of year. It makes it feel “proper” somehow, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t tweak it a little to make it a healthier version for 2016 onwards. Replace the canola oil with coconut oil for example – trust me, this tastes absolutely delicious in any cake! Substitute half, or all, the sugar for an alternative like date sugar, coconut sugar, honey or molasses! Plus, you’d be surprised at how many recipes you can literally cut out half the sugar and no one would notice. Substitute the All Purpose white flour for a gluten free option – coconut or almond work well, or even just with an All Purpose wholewheat flour. The flours are the most difficult, you may have to play around with quantities, as their absorbencies are very different, but the sugars and oils are a cinch! When it comes to taking chocolates or candies to a gathering or to the office, let’s try and think of a more healthy, but interesting alternative. Of course, there are always fruit, vegetable and cheese platters, which everybody loves, but they can look quite boring. With a little preparation, though, who wouldn’t adore them if you made them look like this:

Not actually that difficult to do at all. Just a little time. Any of them could be 2D or 3D - like the middle one, just get a foam florist’s cone from a crafts shop and use toothpicks to attach the pieces of food to the cone. Love the pretzels for the trunk of the broccoli tree and the slices of yellow peppers criss-crossed for the star. Genius!

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If you are feeling a little more creative perhaps, how about Strawberry cheesecake Santas: Slice the leaves off, giving you a flat bottom for him to stand on, then make another slice 2/3 up the strawberry, these are squeezed through a piping bag but you could just as easily just use a small spoon to top the large section with whipped cream cheese then place the small section on top. Optionally eyes can be added, as here with chocolate chips, or sprinkles, cookie crumbs, small raisins…. go wild! Or how about watermelon Christmas trees? Take ¼ fresh watermelon (quartered lengthways) Slice into ½ inch

thick slices. Cut each slice in half. Slice the rind into thirds. Trim off the left-hand and right-hand pieces of rind. All the steps are shown in the photo: The drizzles and dots of icing are optional, but do look cute and festive! Yet another tree example is pita bread triangles smeared with mashed avocado and garlanded with pieces of red pepper. Add a pretzel “trunk” to pick it up with and you are set! Tip – lightly toast the pita bread first, and allow to cool, before decorating and it will keep its shape better. Tracy Bhalla, Independent Consultant with NYR Organics, website: us.nyrorganic.com/shop/tracybhalla email: nyrbhalla@gmail.com You can also visit Tracy’s blog at Tracybhalla.com Continuing my obsession with all things organic, I have been working with NYR for two years now, using their skincare products myself for over 25 years! Your skin is the body’s largest organ, it deserves to be well looked after. I am here to answer any questions you may have.

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