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Sleigh bells

ring are you listening?

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


December 2010

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

Volume I Issue 5

Carl Bard

Thought Humor Relationships Taste Health Inspiration Advice

6 14

“To me, old age is always fifteen years older than I am.” Bernard M. Baruch

Publisher’s Letter Planning Retirement

6 Factors to Consider

16 Holiday Cheer with Sparkle Wine Suggestions

22 Healthy Hearing Are You at Risk For Hearing Loss?

page 27

24 Midlife Crisis


10 Grand Gifts

Boomer Vacations For a Change

Life Renewed

25 30a Songwriters Festival

26 Grandparenting

20 16 Things To Do Before You Die

Plan Now for a Beach Favorite!

Role Modeling & Creative Days

Estate Planning 101

Departments 8 This and That

To use or not, a few tidbits of information.

28 12 Things

Something to do for active Boomers and beyond.

30 Grumpy Aging Boomer Shopping With My Mother, Then & Now

Cover Profile Charlotte Evans page 12

page 28

page 24

page 8

BOOM! magazine is published monthly by River Region Publications, 8637 Harvest Ridge Dr., Montgomery, AL 36116. The phone number for voice and fax is 334. 396.3073. Copyright 2010 by River Region Publications. No part of this publication can be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Opinions expressed in BOOM! 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.


December 2010

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

aLaBama ShakeSpeare FeStivaL

the Musical


Dec 31

New Choreography!

longest running Belle in


Featuring Broadway’s Disney’s Beauty and the


Beast, Sarah Litzsinger.



r e at G i f a G t! s e



New Cast!


20 13 - 23,


w w w. a s f. net | 800.841.4273

publisher’s letter

All I Want For Christmas... 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.

All I want for Christmas is…? I think with some age and experience we all discover the simple pleasures of life. You know the ones that deliver satisfaction and enjoyment without having to be measured against expectations. The ones that don’t come with a “brand name” attached to them, as if owning the brand name provides that pleasure we seek. The truth is, the pleasures of life come from the people we know and love; our relationships give us the real joy we experience.

Publisher/Editor Jim Watson

Associate Editor Kelly Watson

Opinion Research Jo Newell

Contributing Writers Emily Abedon

Dr. Bettie Borton

Charlotte Evans Charlotte Latvala Steven Merkel Traci Mosser Amy Sherman Scotty Scott

Alisa Singer

Cover Photography

Maria Wiggins, Reflections of Grace


Jim Watson, 334.324.3472

Design & Layout Lake House Graphics


Network Delivery

Jim Watson, Publisher

They affect us don’t they? If you’re not feeling a lot of joy heading into Christmas, chances are your relationships are in need of something and it’s not the latest “techie toy.” Maybe all it needs is a quiet chat or a sincere thank you, some alone time to express your love or maybe show some empathy for a change. One of my favorite relationship fixers is forgiveness!

Forgiveness is especially keen during Christmas because as Christians we experience forgiveness from God and therefore are encouraged to have forgiving hearts with the people in our lives. Forgiveness can begin healing a broken relationship.

All I want for Christmas is the love and joy from those in my life, the warmth and smells of the season, the laughter and song we share together. Of course, I would like to hear my favorite Christmas song which is called The Christmas Song and made famous by Montgomery’s own, Nat King Cole. It starts out… “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose, Yuletide carols being sung by a choir, And folks dressed up like Eskimos. Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe…” Now mistletoe is something you don’t see much of anymore or am I at the wrong parties? Drop me an email if you still offer mistletoe at your holiday gatherings!

I believe this month’s issue of BOOM! will be interesting because we start off by featuring one of Montgomery’s newest entrepreneurs with lots of experience in her field. Then we offer some Boomer vacation packages, grandparenting ideas, retirement tips and 16 things to do before you die! There’s lots more and if you like what you see and read, let me know. My relationship with you provides great joy and I want to nurture it, if you know what I mean. Keeping Christ in Christmas, I wish all of you the very best Christmas Holiday.



Publications Press, Montgomery, AL 334.244.0436

Please Recycle This Magazine, Share with a Friend!

Unfortunately, every relationship isn’t full of joy all the time. To receive the gift of a joyful relationship it takes effort and nurturing. Paying attention, caring, listening, and, of course, loving the best way you know how. How are your relationships this Christmas Season? 334.324.3472 cell/text

Everyone is eligible to WIN, send an email describing why you want to win up to 8 tickets and you will be entered in our drawing, deadline is December 15th. Drawing date is December 16th!

8 Tickets to See PETER PAN at ASF email entries to


December 2010

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

r i ve r reg i o n b o o m . co m

December 2010




This & tHAT

19th Annual Christmas Lights Festival. December 2-5, 9-12 and 16-31 | 5:30 - 9:30pm nightly Enjoy the splendor of the holiday season while visiting the Montgomery Zoo. Be awe-struck by the thousands of sparkling lights as you stroll the many pathways. Bundle up for a brisk ride on the Winterland Express. Delight in refreshing hot cocoa and cookies while making a craft at Santa’s Craftshop or enjoying one of the many live entertainment groups. And don’t forget to make those last minute Christmas wishes while visiting good ole Saint Nick. What has grown to become a Montgomery holiday activity, can now be your newest family Christmas tradition. See the beautiful displays by train or by foot. Enjoy live entertainment, food, gifts and pictures with Santa. COME SEE WHAT IS NEW THIS YEAR: A singing 22 foot Christmas Tree! ADMISSION: $10 (includes train ride), FREE for Montgomery Zoo members. More information, 334.240.4900,

Tuesday, December 14th, Senior Citizen Tours and Crafts Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 2 - 3:30 pm Take time out to enjoy the season by participating in Senior Citizen Tours and Crafts in the Museum’s Lowder Gallery. A Holiday tree decorated with ornaments made by Alabama artists will be the centerpiece for the event. After touring the Museum’s glass collection, explore the glittering tree before creating an ornament of your own. Refreshments will be served. Please call Jill Byrd for reservations at 334.240.4359 or e-mail

The Glenn Miller Concert featuring Airmen of Note

Friday, December 10 at 7:00 pm Tickets: Free Admission with the donation of a canned food item The concert will be held at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center starting at 7 p.m. The U.S. Air Force “Airmen of Note” will once again entertain with Glenn Miller favorites and holiday music. Tickets are not required. Seating is first-come, first-serve, and canned food donations will be accepted at the door. People are reminded that there is only one performance this year. The Airmen of Note is the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force. Created in 1950 to carry on the tradition of Major Glenn Miller’s Army Air Corps dance band, today the “Note” features 18 of the most talented jazz musicians in the country and is one of the last touring big bands. As a result, it has earned an international reputation as one of the finest and most versatile big bands of its kind in the world.


December 2010

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

ASF Peter Pan Blockbuster

to be extended through the Holiday Peter Pan the Musical, the biggest selling show in the history of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, will be extended through the holiday season, Dec. 26-31. Because the opening weekend completely sold out, ASF decided to accommodate anticipated demand by adding nine shows, four of which are matinees. In 2007, Peter Pan the Musical drew 40,000 patrons and grossed over $1 million. The additional shows will take place on Dec. 26 at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Dec. 28 at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Dec. 29 at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Dec. 30 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 31 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets for all Peter Pan the Musical performances are on sale now and are available through the ASF box office, on line at or by calling 1.800.841.4273. ASF is located at 1 Festival Drive in the heart of Montgomery’s beautiful Blount Cultural Park. Montgomery area children in the production include Greyson Hammock, Tyler Lewin, Breanna Newton, Savannah Rigby, Crispen South and Joseph Sims.

Christmas at the Alabama Nature Center December 11

From winter bird watching to making Christmas decorations from native Alabama plants, this year Christmas at the Alabama Nature Center is going to be merry and bright. Get your picture taken with jolly Ol’ Saint Nick and enjoy a holiday hayride too! It only comes once a year, so don’t miss out! 3050 Lanark Road | Millbrook, AL 36054 | 1.800.822.9453 Email - or

Morning Activities

Winter Bird Watch - Bounce House - Holiday Hayride - Holiday Decorations Workshop - Lanark Pavilion 11 a.m. - noon | Pictures with Santa Claus - Lanark Pavilion

Afternoon Activities

noon - 1 p.m. | Lunch with Santa Claus, featuring hot dogs and PB&J’s for sale - Lanark Pavilion Christmas Candy Making - Christmas Ornament Creations Bounce House - Holiday Hayride - Turkey Ridge Trail “Winter Wonderland Hike” with a trained biologist - meet in Lanark Pavilion Candy Cane Scavenger Hunt - Hilltop Pass, Turkey Ridge and Still Creek Run

Touch of Class Limousine has Expanded into Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Touch of Class has spent two years testing its non-medical program. Customers preferred the use of the Lincoln Town Cars over 15 passenger vans because of ease of access as well as the safety considerations. In addition Touch of Class has added a wheel chair service using Mercedes Sprinter vans, providing flexible transportation. Touch of Class recently won the Montgomery Advertiser Readers Choice Awards for transportation in the river region. For more information contact Melissa Hobbs. 334-284-2673

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

r i ve r reg i o n b o o m . co m

December 2010



Grand Gifts...

BOOMER Vacations for a change! Your eyesight is going. Your hair is thinning. And you can’t for the life of you remember what you just went upstairs for. Can hip-replacement surgery be far off? What you need is a vacation. And not just any vacation, either. As the forward brigade of Baby Boomers turns 65 in January, here are five trips to take years off your attitude.

Boomer Vacation: Learn to drive an open-wheel racecar at speeds of up to 130 mph. The premise: A healthy shot of adrenaline can lift a sagging outlook. The particulars: Skip Barber’s three-day Formula Car Racing School is the anti-golf vacation. Students (mostly male) master the art of braking and double-clutch/heel-and-toe downshifting, high-speed lapping, and drafting and passing, during classroom and on-track instruction. Most participants are thrillseeking Boomers. “They’re looking to escape everyday life, as well as to learn something,” says spokesman Kyle Morham. “They come for the same reason people play sports. It’s fun. Plus, you can do this after your knees give out.” Longtime race fan and voice-over actor Pat Daly, 57, of New York, took the course when he turned 50 and discovered that racing is a craft. “It challenges you physically, mentally and emotionally, and it lit me up.” Qualifications: Must be able to drive a stick shift and be willing to sign a liability waiver. Details: Cost of the three-day racing school is $3,999 and includes breakfast and lunch. It’s offered 36 times a year at racetracks in Lime Rock, Conn.; Greater Atlanta and Monterey, Calif. (800)-221-1131; Boomer Vacation: Make like a rock star in a crash course culminating in a gig. The premise: Even aging rock ‘n’ rollers exude a certain youthfulness. The particulars: Ladies Rock Camp (sorry, no boys allowed) is a twice-yearly fundraiser for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls in Portland, Ore. On Day 1, you select an instrument (guitar, bass, drums) and by afternoon, you’re a member of a rock band! On Day 3, the bands perform original songs in a local club. There’s no experience necessary - about half the campers have never played a musical instrument. “A few years ago, I taught a woman to play bass. When she arrived, she didn’t know what a bass was,” says program

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December 2010

manger Marisa Anderson. “That’s the cool thing about rock ‘n’ roll. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be good. If your heart is good and you make a noise, it’s going to carry.” Three-time alumna Lori Pesavento, 54, a classical violist and counselor who took up the electric guitar at the last session, says it’s also “an amazing bonding experience.” Qualifications: Willingness to take a creative risk Details: 2011 camps are May 13-15 and Oct. 21-23. Tuition is $390, including some meals. (503)-445-4991; www. Boomer Vacation: Go on safari and get nipped and tucked while you’re at it. The premise: There’s nothing like cosmetic surgery, which costs less in South Africa, to make you feel rejuvenated. And you may as well see some big game while you’re there. The particulars: Surgeon & Safari in Johannesburg can arrange all sorts of medical procedures, performed by skilled doctors, but for the 55-and-over set, face-lifts/eyelid lifts and tummy tucks/breast reductions are most in demand. Owner Lorraine Melville handles the details, from setting up pre-op interviews and tests to accompanying you to the hospital. A 12-day stay is the usual time required for a face-lift, including two nights in the hospital and post-op care at Melville’s guesthouse. She can arrange day safaris during the recuperation period or book longer trips pre- or post-op. Joan Paul, 67, of Fort Lauderdale, went on pre- and post-op safaris during her Surgeon & Safari jaunt. But the real purpose of the trip: “I wanted to come back looking refreshed. Not all stretched and pumped up and weird-looking,” says the retired schoolteacher. Qualifications: Realistic expectations Details: A full face-lift, including the neck and temples and supplemental liposuction under the chin, plus an eyelid lift, is $9,000, including hospitalization. Lodging at the guesthouse, with meals, laundry, transfers and post-op care, is $2,500. The safari costs extra. The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Boomer Vacation: Hiking, canyoneering and mountain biking in Utah’s spectacular red-rock country. The premise: An active getaway is more revitalizing than sitting by the pool sipping cocktails, although that’s OK, too. The particulars: Red Mountain Resort’s Signature Package includes fitness classes, guided hikes, bicycles and workshops in healthy eating and stress reduction. “We have a lot of scheduled programming, but you can do as much or as little as you like,” says general manager Tracey Welsh. “You take your makeup off, put your gym clothes on and enjoy being outside.” Individual fitness levels aren’t important, Welsh adds. “On a hike, there’s always going to be somebody first and somebody last. But it’s not how fast you are that’s important, it’s that you succeeded.” Qualifications: A willingness to get off the couch. Details: Daily rates for the Signature Package start at $229, double, and include meals, fitness classes and facilities, guided hikes and bicycles. Spa treatments and some activities cost extra. (877)-246-4453;

Boomer Vacation: A European river cruise with passengers whose average age is 72. The premise: There’s nothing to make an aging Boomer feel positively dewy like running with an older crowd. The particulars: Of the dozens of itineraries offered by Grand Circle Travel, the Great Rivers of Europe cruise is among the most popular. The 16-day trip goes from Amsterdam to Vienna with lots of stops to see castles, cathedrals and villages. Grand Circle has been geared toward older travelers since its establishment by the founder of AARP. (It’s now privately owned.) But this bunch can surprise. A few years back, 60 passengers, along with the captain and assorted crew, jumped off the ship into bracing waters at the confluence of the Main and Tauber rivers in Germany. Yes, vodka shots helped build courage. And the local volunteer fire department was ready with a rescue boat. But as jumper Chris Trull of Fairfield Glade, Tenn., who was 83 when he took the plunge, described it, it was the “most crazy but overwhelming” experience ever. Qualifications: You must be at least 50, or traveling with someone who is, and be in relatively good health. Details: Departures run March through November; low-season rates start at $2,495, double, including airfare from New York. (800)-959-0405; The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

r i ve r reg i o n b o o m . co m

December 2010



Charlotte, The Jeweler

Charlotte Evans “when you own your own business, you only have to work half days, and you get to pick which twelve hours that is”

other loved ones for the sake of the business. I think you should make sure that is what you want before opening your own business. You should also discuss it with your family and make sure they will be supportive of your decision. The old saying, “when you own your own business, you only have to work half days, and you get to pick which twelve hours that is”, still holds true. For Charlotte Evans, opening her own jewelry store was a natural for this Boomer mom who found managing an “empty nest” didn’t offer the same challenge as growing her business. That’s what we discovered when we spent some time with Charlotte at Charlotte’s Jewelry in Peppertree Shopping Center. The fiftysomething entrepreneur shared some insights about her business and personal life we think you will find interesting.

BOOM!: Please give us a brief biography, are you from the Montgomery area, what school did you go to, married, family, etc? Charlotte: I was born in Fairbanks, Alaska. My dad was in the Air Force so we traveled a lot. I attended Lanier high school where I met my husband Frank Evans. We were married in 1976 and have been married for 34 years. I did not have the financial means to attend college right away so I went to work. I worked for Winn Dixie for a few years . My husband worked the grave yard shift at Winn Dixie Warehouse and attended Auburn during the day. In 1978 we decided working for someone else wasn’t something we wanted to do. In 1978 we took what little savings and credit we had and opened our first business. Being a young married couple it was hard to establish a line of credit to buy a car, home, etc.. We saw there was a growing need for people that needed a small loan that may not be able to get it from

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December 2010

the bank. We opened our first Quik Pawn Shop. I worked in the business for about 25 yrs. After being married for ten years we had our first child and 15 months later we had our last child. With my children growing up fast I left the business in 2003 to stay at home with my kids. Once my children moved to Auburn to attend college I wanted to go back to work. I have always loved working with jewelry and wanted to open a fine jewelry store. So on April 19th, 2010 I opened Charlotte’s Jewelry. BOOM!: As an entrepreneur, what was the most difficult thing in deciding to open your jewelry business? Any lessons you can share with other aspiring entrepreneurs, especially, women? Charlotte: I knew if I was going to open a new retail jewelry store in today’s economy it would be a lot of long hours and hard work. Owning your own business is like having another child. You give up time for yourself and sometimes

BOOM!: Many of us in the Boomer age look forward to the time when the kids are finally out of the house, on their own, or off to college, so we can experience that “empty nest” syndrome. What kind of experience has that been for you? Charlotte: One of the main reasons I opened Charlotte’s Jewelry was the “empty nest” syndrome. It was very quiet around the house with my husband at work a lot. So I figured until he retired I would grow the business. With the job market being what it is today for new college graduates this business would provide my own children with a future in business. BOOM!: What are you most passionate about? Charlotte: My family! BOOM!: How do you like to relax and wind down from a hard day’s work at your store? Charlotte: After a long day at the store it’s relaxing to have a quiet dinner with my husband. We also go to the lake as often as possible. Being on the water is very relaxing.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

BOOM!: Favorite vacation spot? Any travel dreams planned for the future?

Charlotte: I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Charlotte: I love to travel so it would be hard for me to pick a favorite spot. I love any where with tropical weather. I will say Hawaii is really hard to beat. In July we will be traveling to Europe with our children for about 18 days. We will be celebrating both of our children graduating college and our 35th wedding anniversary.

BOOM!: Do you have any hobbies or other activities that grab your attention?

BOOM!: What is it about living in the Montgomery/River Region area that you like? Charlotte: I grew up living in the downtown area. We used to walk to the movies on Saturdays which is where the Davis theater is now. For a while downtown just dried up. I love how it has come back to life. BOOM!: As a busy entrepreneur, do you have time to be involved in community, civic or other activities? Charlotte: As an entrepreneur I have very little time for anything. BOOM!: In the jewelry business, there are many different skills, gemologist, repairs, appraisals and designers. What’s your specialty? Charlotte: At Charlotte’s, we do it all. We have a Graduate Gemologist on staff and four others currently take the Gemological Institute of America course. Having a gemologist in the store allows us to do appraisals that are accepted by almost all insurance companies. We also have a jeweler in-house that can repair or make anything. A lot of people come in with a piece of jewelry that is sentimental to them but is no longer in style. We suggest ways to restyle the piece so they can get more enjoyment out of wearing it. BOOM!: If you weren’t in the Jewelry business what kind of work would you be doing?

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Charlotte: I love the outdoors. I like to work in my yard. BOOM!: What do you think when someone refers to jewelry as “Bling”? Is this good for the kind of jewelry you offer to customers? Charlotte: In my opinion bling refers to big and flashy jewelry. Everyone has different taste in jewelry. Some customers have more conservative taste and others more flashy. We have jewelry that will suit everyone’s taste. BOOM!: What advice do you have for a man when buying jewelry, either for an engagement, marriage or just expressing his love? Are there things we should know to avoid an awkward moment, like price, size, type, etc? Charlotte: When most men come in they have already been told by their significant other what style she likes. Sometimes they feel awkward about telling you their price range. Most of the time, they have no idea what the ring they have in mind may cost them. I ask the customer to tell me the budget they are working with and I will find them the biggest and nicest piece I have in that price range. We also have a laya-way program and financing to those who qualify. BOOM!: Not to be too clichéd, but why are “Diamonds a Girl’s Best Friend”? Charlotte: Diamonds always make you smile. When a girl is given a diamond it is usually for a special occasion. Even on a bad day you look at the diamond and the memories of that occasion will lift your sprits just like a best friend would.

Back row left to right, Tammy, Holly M., Judy, Jessica and Holly p. Front row from left, Charlotte & Autumn.

If you have any questions about jewelry or how to get the best jewelry value for your money, go see Charlotte. In fact, she offers, refurbished Rolex watches and other pieces that will appear brand new! We want to thank Heather Sellers for coordinating our efforts and Charlotte Evans for participating with the BOOM! team on this month’s cover. We enjoyed the discovery!

Do you know someone who would make an interesting BOOM! Cover Profile? Send an email with info to r i ve r reg i o n b o o m . co m

December 2010



6 Factors to Consider as You Plan for Retirement One of the major financial milestones you are likely looking forward to is retirement. However, a successful retirement — how ever you choose to define it — is not likely to just happen. You will need a plan in order to reach your retirement goals. To help you better plan for your retirement, here are 6 factors to consider. 1. Debt As you plan for retirement, you will need a plan to reduce your debt by as much as possible. Debt obligations represent a drain on your income. Plus, you are paying interest to someone else, rather than using the money for your benefit. Before retirement, do your best to pay down your debt — including your mortgage debt. The fewer encumbrances you have for your money, the more likely you are to enjoy a successful retirement.

2. Expenses Think about what you will be spending money on during retirement. Consider what you want to do with your money during retirement. Estimate the costs related to travel, housing, food, transportation and more. You can use your expenses now as a guide for what you will pay later. If you plan to have your debt paid off, your expenses might be smaller than what you pay now. Downsizing your home and your lifestyle can also limit your expenses. 3. Income You will still need some income of while you are in retirement. Many people think about this in terms of saving up a large enough nest egg in some sort of investment account that makes it possible for regular withdrawals without overly depleting the capital. However, this is not the only way to plan for regular income during retirement. You can start now to cultivate income streams from web sites, a business, royalties, or other sources. Consider your monthly needs, and how you can meet them. 4. Long Term Living Arrangements We don’t like to think that there may

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December 2010

come a time when we are incapacitated, but it could happen. And it may be that you need to spend some time in a longterm care facility, such as an assisted living community or a nursing home. If that is the case, your money may not go as far as you would like. Carefully consider how much you might need to take care of long-term arrangements, and consider your options. In some cases, certain annuities and long-term care insurance policies can work well. However, it is important to carefully read the terms of these contracts, since not all annuities and long-term care policies are the same.

5. Estate Planning Not only should you consider your money situation leading up to retirement, and during retirement, but you should also think about what happens after you pass on. Unless you don’t care what happens to your estate, and what sorts of expenses and taxes your heirs will be saddled with, estate planning is a good idea. Figure out what you want to have happen to your estate, and whether there is some way to protect your assets as much as possible. You might also need to consider what happens to a spouse or other dependent, and make arrangements to cover a shortfall in pension payments or other income when you pass on. A good attorney can help you sort out your options. 6. Social Interaction This last factor doesn’t have much to do with money, but it is quite important. Few people plan for a lonely retirement. Consider your friends and family, and your social options. Now is a good time to cultivate relationships that can last through retirement, and that can provide you with a support system and social interaction. If you have a life partner, it is important to continue developing that relationship now, so that you can enjoy retirement together. Social interaction can help keep you happy, as well as positively affect the health of your mind and your body.

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Find Hope Make a differenCe reDiscover your faiTh wiTh The frazer family. Dr. Tim Thompson, senior minisTer TradiTional & ConTemporary Worship 8:00, 9:30 & 11:00

m a i n C a m p u s : 6 0 0 0 aT l a n Ta h i g h Way 3 3 4 . 2 7 2 . 8 6 2 2 asbury Campus: 4540 narroW lane road 334-281-8971 The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

December 2010 BOOM! 15 | r i ve r reg i o n b o o m . co m

The Wine Taste

by Scotty Scott,

scotty @

Holiday Cheer with Sparkle! Ah, December, that magical month of Christmas cheer and anticipation of the New Year! “Parties for toasting, marshmallows for roasting” and all that. Or how about “Glasses are clinking with wine we are drinking”? Ok, maybe that’s corny, but the sentiment is alright. Undoubtedly you will attend, or perhaps host, a party this month. If, like me, you find wine to be more than just another beverage, here are some ways to get wine off the kitchen counter and out to the forefront (where it belongs!)

2. Another fun twist on wine tasting is to have a blind tasting. To do this, simply put the bottles in brown bags to mask the label. So as to not make it too difficult, it’s best to stick with the major varietals such as Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, etc. Guests will have fun trying to figure out what each wine is, and you can go a step further and offer a door prize to the one who guesses the most correctly.

Now, no self-respecting wine guy can write anything for a December issue and fail to mention Champagne. Whether you have true Champagne (from Champagne, France), or Cava (Spain), or Prosecco (Italy) or just good old Sparkling Wine (U.S. and elsewhere), wine with bubbles is always December 2010

• Blanc de Noir: literally, white of blacks. This is a white wine made from dark skinned grapes, usually Pinot Noir. Generally has more acidity than Blanc de Blancs, with flavors of strawberry and cherry.

New Year’s Eve. Champagne is good for those things, to be sure (and I do them both!), but it is often overlooked as the versatile food wine that it is. Try it and see for yourself…go down to the store and get a bottle (I suggest something $15 or $20 and up) and drink it with Turkey, Ham, grilled Chicken or Pork Tenderloin. You’ll be surprised how well it goes with the food, particularly if you’ve chosen a bottle made from, or containing mostly, Pinot Noir.

• Cava: a Sparkling Wine made in Spain from indigenous Spanish grapes. Usually fairly inexpensive, with a little more acidity and bite than Prosecco.

Wine Tastings are Great for Starting Conversations

1. Wine tastings are great for starting conversation, so why not add a tasting component to your party. Many parties I’ve attended don’t have the hors d’oeuvres in just one place…they are spread around the home in various places: kitchen, breakfast table, dining room table, coffee table. For the wine tasting, put a red and/or a white wine in each food location, and make sure that the wines complement the food. Placing an index card with a tasting note for each wine is a nice touch.

16 BOOM!

ready to help us enjoy our morning juice, to celebrate good news or to ring in the New Year. Bubbles are fun, they’re festive and ready to party! But they’re good for much more than an occasional Mimosa, and certainly more versatile than merely raising a glass on

I know I used to have a confused/worried look on my face when trying to pick out a Sparkling Wine. Here’s a quick guide to help you decipher some of the common words/phrases on labels of Champagne and other Sparkling Wines:

• Prosecco: a Sparkling Wine from Italy, made from the Prosecco grape. Generally light-bodied, with a pronounced fruitiness. A good, crowd-friendly style.

• Brut: means the wine is dry.

• Extra Dry: means the wine is just a tiny bit sweeter than Brut.

• Demi-Sec: means the wine is somewhat sweet to the taste.

Hopefully all this info will help you survive the Holidays, and possibly even make you the hero of your party! Have a great Holiday season, but please celebrate responsibly! Cheers!

• Champagne: the wine is grown and produced in Champagne, France. The bubbles come from a second fermentation that takes place in the bottle. • Champagne Method or Methode Champenoise: the wine was not made in Champagne, France, but was made using the second fermentation in the bottle. This is a good sign of quality.

• Blanc de Blancs: literally, white of whites. This will usually indicate the wine is 100% Chardonnay. Generally a creamier, smoother style of wine.

Scotty Scott is a local wine consultant and coowner of Ted “The Wine Guy” & Co. He welcomes your wine questions at scotty @ tedthewineguy. com

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December 2010



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December 2010

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Women of Hope Christmas Party December 14th, 5:30- 8 pm

Women of Hope, a non-profit organization of men and women dedicated to offering education, awareness, and mentoring for breast cancer families, will have their Christmas Party on Tuesday, December 14th at Frazer UMC, Room 8114, 6000 Atlanta Hwy. Please come and join Women of Hope as we celebrate a successful 2010 and welcome in a New Year filled with HOPE! Enjoy fun, food and fellowship with your breast cancer “sisters” and friends! For information please call 334-220-4599 or email Our goal is to make sure that all women AND men are educated about breast cancer and the effects it has on family and friends. Hope is the assurance that one day we will be able to live cancer free! Your support is greatly appreciated and helps so many deserving breast cancer patients and survivors including their families. Women of Hope Breast Cancer Support Group meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month (Jan-Nov). Meetings are held at 5:30 p.m. @ Frazer United Methodist Church, Room 8114, 6000 Atlanta Highway, Montgomery AL.

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December 2010



16 Things To Do Before You Die

Estate Planning 101

While many of us like to think that we’re immortal, the old joke is that only two things in life are for sure: death and taxes. Not only is it important that you have a plan in place in the unlikely event of your death, but you must also implement your plan and make sure others know about it and understand your wishes - as Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote goes, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. If you’ve procrastinated on your estate planning, this article will help you get going in the right direction.

a year and make sure you close out any credit cards that are no longer in use. (For more, see Digging Out Of Personal Debt.)

2: Non-Physical Items Inventory

Next, start adding up your non-physical assets. These include things you own on paper or other entitlements that are predicated on your death. Items listed here would include: brokerage accounts, 401k plans, IRA assets, bank accounts, life insurance policies, and ALL other existing insurance policies such as long-term care, homeowners, auto, disability, health and so on.

Legion, Veteran’s associations, AAA Auto Club, College Alumni, etc, you should make a list of these. Include any other charitable organizations that you proudly support or make donations to. In some cases, several of these organizations have accidental life insurance benefits (at no cost) on their members and your beneficiaries may be eligible. It’s also a good idea to let your beneficiaries know what charitable organizations are close to your heart.

Here you’ll make a separate list for open credit cards and other debts. This should include everything such as auto loans, existing mortgages, home equity lines of credit, open credit cards with and without balances, and any other debts you might owe. A good practice is to run a free credit report at least once

Your Estate Administrator When your lists are completed, you should date and sign them and make at least three copies. The original should be given to your estate administrator (we’ll talk about him or her later in the article), the second copy should be given to your spouse and placed in a


Organization & Charitable Memberships List If you belong to certain organizations such as the AARP, The American


Physical Items Inventory To start things out, go through the inside and outside of your home and make a list of all items worth $100 or more. Examples include the home itself, television sets, jewelry, collectibles, vehicles, guns, computers/laptops, lawn mower, power tools and so on.

3: Credit Cards & Debts List

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5: Send a Copy of your Assets List to

by Steven Merkel, CFP®, ChFC

safe deposit box, and the last copy you should keep for yourself in a safe place. (For more, see Your Will: Why You Need A Power Of Attorney And Beneficiaries.)


Review IRA, 401(k) and Other Retirement Accounts Accounts and policies where you list beneficiary designations pass via “contract” to that person or entity listed at your death. No matter how you list these accounts/policies in your will or trust, it doesn’t matter because the beneficiary listing will take precedence. Contact the customer service team or plan administrator for a current listing of your beneficiary selection for each account. Review each of these accounts to make sure the beneficiaries are listed exactly as you like.


Update Life Insurance & Annuities Life insurance and annuities will pass by contract as well, so it’s just as important that you contact all life insurance companies where you maintain policies to ensure that your beneficiaries are listed correctly.


Assign TOD Designations Many accounts such as bank savings, CD accounts and individual brokerage accounts are unnecessarily probated every day. Probate is an avoidable court process where assets are distributed per court instruction, which can be costly. Many of the accounts listed above can be set up with a transferon-death feature to avoid the probate The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

process. Contact your custodian or bank to set this up on your accounts. (Learn more on how to avoid probate in Skipping Out On Probate Costs.)


Select a Responsible Estate Administrator Your estate administrator will be responsible for following the rules of your will in the event of your death. It is important that you select an individual who is responsible and in a good mental state to make decisions. Don’t immediately assume that your spouse is the best choice. Think about all qualified individuals and how emotions related to your death will affect this person’s decision-making ability.

10: Create a Will

Everyone over the age of 18 should have a will. It is the rule book for distribution of your assets and it could prevent havoc among your heirs. Wills are fairly inexpensive estate planning documents to draft. Most attorneys can help you with this for less than $1,000. If that’s too rich for your blood, there are several good will-making software packages available online for home computer use. Just make sure that you always sign and date your will, have two witnesses sign it, and obtain a notarization on the final draft.

11: Review & Update Your Docu-

ments You should review your will for updates at least once every two years and after any major life-changing events (marriage, divorce, birth of child, and so on). Life is constantly changing and your inventory list is likely to change from year to year too.

12: Send Copies of Your Will to Your

Estate Administrator Once your will is finalized, signed, witnessed and notarized, you’ll want to make sure that your estate administrator get a copy. You should also keep a copy in a safe-deposit box and in a safe place at home. (For more, see Why You Should Draft A Will.)

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13: Visit a Financial Planner or Es-

tate Attorney While you may think that you’ve covered all avenues, it’s always a good idea to have a full investment and insurance plan done at least once every five years. If you’re not looking to spend the money for professional help, there are several good books out there on getting your financial plan and estate in check. As you get older, life throws new curve balls at you such as considerations for long-term care insurance and protecting your estate from a large tax bill or lengthy court processes. Tips like having an emergency medical contact card in your purse or wallet are little things that many people never think of.

14: Initiate Important Estate Plan

Documents Procrastination is the biggest enemy to estate planning. While none of us likes to think about dying, the fact of the matter is that improper or no planning can lead to family disputes, assets going into the wrong hands, long court litigations and huge amounts of dollars in federal tax. At minimum, you should create a will, power of attorney, healthcare surrogate, trusts, living will, and assign guardianship for your kids and pets. Also make sure that all the concerned individuals have copies of these documents.

15: Simplify Your Life

If you’ve changed jobs over the years, it’s quite likely that you might have several different 401(k)-type retirement plans still open with past employers or maybe even several different IRA accounts. While this normally won’t create a big problem while you’re alive (except lots of additional paperwork and account management), you may want to consider consolidating these accounts into one individual IRA account to take advantage of better investment choices, lower costs, a larger selection of investments, more control and less paperwork/easier management when assets are consolidated. (For more, see the Top 7 Estate Planning Mistakes.)

16: Take Advantage of College Fund-

ing Accounts The 529 plan is a unique tax-advantaged investment account for college savings. In addition, most universities do not consider 529 plans in the financial aid/scholarship calculation if a grandparent is listed as the custodian. The really nice feature is that growth and withdrawals from the account (if used for “qualified” education expenses) are tax-free.

Bottom Line Now you have the ammunition to get a pretty good jump-start on reviewing your overall financial and estate picture; the rest is up to you. While you’re sitting around the house watching your favorite sports team or television show, pull out a tablet or laptop and start making your lists. You’ll be surprised how much “stuff” you’ve accumulated over the years. You’ll also find that your inventory and debts lists will come in handy for other things such as homeowners insurance and getting a firm grip on your expenses. (For more tips on finishing off your financial bucket list, see our Estate Planning Tutorial.) Steven T. Merkel, CFP®, ChFC, is the Managing Director of wealth management operations for Piedmont Investment Advisors, LLC in Naples/ Bonita Springs, Fla. Steve is a former U.S. Army air defense artillery officer and has been giving financial advice for more than 16 years. He is a Certified Financial Planner® practitioner and a Chartered Financial Consultant. Mr. Merkel has been featured and widely quoted in numerous publications including The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Entrepreneur, Consumer Reports, Investment News, Financial Planning Magazine and Fidelity’s Stages Quarterly. He enjoys fishing, golf, military history, Miami Hurricane football and relaxing on the beaches of South Florida.

Does your business or service want customers age 50+? BOOM! Can Deliver, Call Today! 334.324.3472

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December 2010



Healthy Hearing

by Dr. Bettie Borton Au.D.

Are You at Risk for a Hearing Loss? Do you or someone you love have a hearing loss? If so, you’re not alone. Almost 20% of adults in the United States will develop hearing loss during the course of their lives, and if Dr. Bettie Borton Au. D. undiagnosed and untreated, its affects can be devastating. Impaired hearing can have a profound impact on emotional, physical, economic, and social well-being. People with hearing loss have documented decrease in quality of life, reporting symptoms of depression, dissatisfaction with life, reduced functional health, and social isolation. Statistically, they have lower income levels, and frequently complain of frustration in relationships and various communicative situations, as well as inability to enjoy social situations, and fatigue. Despite the fact that most people with hearing loss can be helped with today’s state of the art amplification, many never seek help, or resist the use hearing aids or other assistive listening technologies. The causes of hearing loss are varied and resultant impact on auditory capability may range from mild to pronounced. Sometimes the cause or etiology, such as wax build up in the external ear canal or an ear infection, is readily apparent. In other instances, the cause of hearing loss may be more obscure. Decreased hearing is often called “the invisible handicap”. Because hearing impairment (especially loss related to aging) often presents very gradually, those with significant hearing impairment can be unaware of their loss. Family members, significant others, co-workers and friends are frequently the first to notice communication problems related to decreased hearing sensitivity. Given that 36 million Americans are faced with this “invisible handicap” what kinds of risk factors increase the likelihood that someone will develop hearing loss? Why do some people develop hearing loss and while others do not? Some risk factors are obvious, but others are much more obscure.

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Perhaps the Did you know hearing loss Is the third most prevalent chronic health most widely condition in America, behind high blood pressure and arthritis? recognized risk factor is aging. Various diseases of the ear certainly pose Presbycusis, or the loss of hearing that risk to hearing sensitivity. Ear infection, gradually occurs as we grow older, is a faotosclerosis (a bony growth in the middle miliar scenario for those of us with older ear cavity), Meniere’s Disease, acousfamily members. In fact, about 30-35 tic neuroma (a tumor on the auditory percent of adults between the ages of 65 nerve), and a host of other maladies are and 75 years have a hearing loss, while obvious risk factors for hearing loss. But an estimated 40-50 percent of people 75 did you know that hearing loss is about and older have a hearing impairment. twice as common in adults with diabetes compared to those who do not have the Loss associated with presbycusis is disease, according to a new study funded usually greater for high-pitched sounds, by the National Institutes of Health resulting in the frequent comment “I can (NIH)? Visual deficits have long been hear people talking, but can’t underassociated with diabetes, but hearing loss stand them clearly”. It is most commonly is an under-recognized complication. Bebinaural (in both ears), affecting the ears cause of the strong correlation between equally. Because this type of loss in heardiabetes and hearing loss, The National ing sensitivity is so gradual, people who Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and have presbycusis frequently lose their Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), recently sugframe of reference for normal loudness gested that people with diabetes should of sounds, and often do not realize that consider having their hearing tested. their hearing acuity is diminishing. The resultant relationship dynamic is frequently the subject of jokes – “My husband suffers from ‘selective’ hearing and he’s driving me crazy”! In reality, however, hearing impairment is no laughing matter and can take quite a toll on communication with significant others. Research indicates that for couples where one person has unaddressed hearing loss, the divorce rate is actually significantly higher.

Aging and noise exposure are two rather obvious risk factors for hearing loss, but there are many other factors that are more insidious. Studies suggest that there is a strong genetic component inherent to hearing loss, both for childhood deafness as well as presbycusic loss. If your parent or grandparent had hearing loss, your risk factor for developing a similar impairment may increase. If you had a relative who was hearing impaired from birth, family members of child bearing age need to be mindful of this risk factor, and be particularly vigilant with regard to insuring that the newest members of the family are effectively screened at birth for hearing sensitivity.

Use of common drugs such as antibiotics, aspirin, diuretics and chemotherapy can cause hearing loss. Typically, hearing loss from ototoxic drugs is high frequency, which often results in the hearing impairment less obvious to those it affects. All radiation and chemotherapy patients should insist on baseline hearing assessments before, during, and following their course of treatment to insure that auditory effects of ototoxic interventional strategies are carefully monitored and treated.

To learn more, visit or call for an evaluation at (334) 396-1635.

Dr. Bettie B. Borton is a licensed audiologist in Alabama, was the first board certified audiologist in Montgomery, and recently served as National Chair of the American Board of Audiology. She and her husband, Dr. Tom Borton, are the only audiologists with ABA certification in the Montgomery area.


The group will meet the second Thurs. of each month at First Methodist Church, 4-6 PM, refreshments and speakers will be provided.

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e x p e r i e n c e a s i m p l e ta l e o f

Christmas past, f e at u r i n g

m u s i c f r o m t r a d i t i o n a l c e lt i c t o c o n t e m p o r a ry , b r i n g i n g a timeless message of

forgiveness and hope.

for more Frazer Christmas events visit us online at

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December 2010 2010



Midlife Crisis: Life Renewed As you transition through life, you are making many changes and going through many different stages. With a life expectancy of 78 (five years longer for women), when you turn about 40, you are entering what is known as middle age. Everyone goes through this transition, but not everyone experiences the same thing. Often times, men, more than women, will feel the brunt of these changes at this mid-point in their lives. When do the trials and tribulations of everyday life turn into a midlife crisis and how do you know you are in it? Good question. It really depends on the degree to which you feel you can handle it. How deep is your inner dissatisfaction? How much has your self-esteem and confidence affected your ability to function? How often do you second-guess your choices? What’s causing the confusion about who you are or where your life is going? A true midlife crisis may take years to resolve and you may feel helpless, disappointed, distressed, entrapped or even just bored. Sometimes you think it’s easier to hold on to your “youth” and just ignore the changes. Getting past the crisis is difficult because it takes much insight, patience and strength to do something about it.

You may be aging, but it doesn’t mean you’re getting old. Midlife is an exciting time. According to Marianne Williamson, author of “The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife,” she says, “What we have called middle age need not be seen as a turning point to death. It can be seen as a magical turning point to life as we’ve never known it, if we allow ourselves the power of an independent imagination.” With children older or out of the house, you have the opportunity to spend time on things you most enjoy. Make it a fun time of your life. Even though the crisis is bound to transform

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you, you also will be transforming what it means to go through midlife. Therefore, set new goals and develop new hobbies. See, explore and discover who you are now. It’s a time for rebirth and renewal. Re-examine your past choices and commitments and revise them into an exciting and different journey ahead. Refocus your time and energy on doing new things that are more important to you, like going back to school or planning an adventurous vacation.

Here are some things you can ask yourself to be sure you are heading in the right direction: _ Are my thoughts directed on lifelong learning and personal growth?

_ Can I maintain my sense of purpose and be driven to fulfill a certain goal or passion? _ Do I believe that everything happens for a reason and that I can learn from my mistakes?

_ Do I believe that life is to be lived and that I am entitled to live it through fun and frivolity? _ Am I attuned to my body so that I practice healthy eating and exercise routines?

_ Do I feel younger than my chronologi-

By Amy Sherman

cal age and enjoy being around people younger than I am?

_ Can I rely on others to help me get through difficult times that are causing a lot of stress? _ Do I believe every year I am getting better and better? _ Am I able to enjoy a healthy and hearty sense of humor?

_ Am I able to pace myself and find time to smell the roses?

When faced with approaching changes, you need to remind yourself of how well you’ve done before, handling previous crises. You may think you don’t have the strength or the endurance to deal with things this time, but you do. Part of the universal lesson in all this, is knowing that you CAN handle most anything and that things will get easier as time goes on. Shakespeare said, “This, too, shall pass,” and it will. It takes courage and work to face the changes at this stage of your life, but the ultimate result is something extraordinary. You will find that the journey is wonderful and that it reveals a new expression of yourself that embraces your giant leap into living the rest of your life. ___

Amy Sherman is a licensed mental health counselor and trainer. She is the founder of Baby Boomers’ Network, a resource designed to give baby boomers the insights, information and inspiration they need to live their best lives. To learn more, go to www. Sherman is also the co-author with Rosalind Sedacca of “99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 and Yes, 60!” Go to for more information. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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30A Songwriters Festival Named Best Of The Beach By Birmingham Magazine

Here’s an excerpt from the article... Don’t you love a good song? Have you ever wondered about the story behind the lyrics? Now in its second year, the 30A Songwriters Festival will knock your socks off. Its inaugural 2010 festival hosted acts like Rodney Crowell, Matthew Sweet, The Indigo Girls, Shawn Mullins, Jeffrey Steele and more. Audiences were blown away to find themselves in intimate concerts with some of the most awarded and lauded songwriters in the industry. Tickets sold out early last year. The event is held during Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in January, and tickets are on sale now for the 2011 festival. 2282 W. Scenic Hwy. 30A, Ste. 5, Santa Rosa Beach. (850) 622-5970

Scenic Highway 30A will again be transformed into a music highway this coming Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend (January 14-16, 2011) when an internationally prominent line up of singer-songwriters converge in Northwest Florida’s Beaches of South Walton for the second annual 30A Songwriters Festival.

Produced by the Cultural Arts Association of Walton County and proudly sponsored by the Beaches of South Walton, the 30A Songwriters Festival will feature three nights and two days of stellar musical performances by over one hundred industry greats, rising songwriting stars and local talent. The artists will perform in seventeen venues up and down 30A, which is the scenic highway that runs along the Gulf of Mexico. Fans of great music, miles of white beaches, world class restaurants and unique bars are invited to be a part of this holiday weekend.

The Festival kicks off Friday, January 14 at 4:00 pm with an opening celebration for all artists and attendees at Pandora’s in historic Grayton Beach. From there, venues will be open for three nights and two days of songwriter performances, including intimate solo shows and “in the round” singing and storytelling sessions, along with large scale concerts in big outdoor venues. A weekend wrist band will allow access to all shows and workshops. Seating is first come, first served in all venues. Weekend passes may be purchased online at for $75, and $35 day passes will also be available. Weekend passes may be purchased locally at Central Square Records at 89 Central Square in downtown Seaside, FL. The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

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December 2010




Grandkids are watching & listening, show them your best! of unconditional love. They can give grandchildren so many positive messages about family and loved ones.” Betty Ann Krischan, 59, of Buffalo, N.Y., frequently takes her 6-year-old grandson, Josh, to visit his 88-yearold great-grandmother. “He’s learned a great deal about sympathy and caring as he watches my sisters and I care for our ailing mom,” Krischan says. “I’m totally honest about some of the things that are happening to her _ why she doesn’t remember how to do things, why we don’t leave her alone and why it’s important for us to help her.”

By Charlotte Latvala


ven when you don’t say a word, you’re teaching lessons to your grandchildren. So think twice before tossing a candy wrapper out the car window or gesturing at the driver in front of you. “Everything you do reflects your values, and kids pick up on it,” says Scott Haltzman, professor of psychiatry at Brown University and author of “The Secrets of Happy Families” (Jossey-Bass, $24.95). Even when you think they’re not paying attention, kids are watching _ and listening. So be careful out there. DISPLAY HEALTHY HABITS Grandparents who reach for fresh fruit and oatmeal instead of coffee and a doughnut are planting seeds for a lifetime of healthy eating, says Maureen Schuster, a licensed social worker in Atlanta who specializes in older-adult services. Staying physically active sends a message, too. “Playing a game of catch or taking a nature walk shows children that even though you are older, you are still vital and fun,” she says. As for smoking or drinking in front of the kids, Schuster recommends this rule of thumb: “If it’s something you don’t believe your grandchild should do, don’t do it yourself.” SHARE THE LOVE Grandparents are in a unique position as role models, Haltzman says: “They typically discipline less than parents or teachers, and are full

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BET ON BOOKS One of the most influential acts you can perform in front of a small child? Turning off the TV and picking up a book. “Whether it’s sports or American Idol, television tends to draw our attention away from everything else _ and sometimes we don’t even notice it’s on,” Haltzman says. “By reading, doing crossword puzzles, and using five-dollar words _ even if kids don’t understand them _ you’re showing that books are important and language has power.” Fostering a love of reading will help boost your grandchildren’s confidence, and maybe even raise their grades. TAKE THEM TO WORK To give her grandson a taste of the grownup world, Krischan occasionally lets Josh visit her office. “It’s helped him to learn patience,” she says. “For instance, he has to be quiet

when Grandma is working, talking on the phone or meeting with people.” If you’re retired, show your grandchildren the benefits of giving back to the community by letting them see you do volunteer work. “Kids pick up on whatever signals you’re giving off,” Haltzman says. “It’s up to you whether you give off a Mr. Rogers vibe _ or a Scrooge one.” TAME YOUR TONE Think about how you treat other people every day. Do you snap at a waitress who forgets your salad dressing, or chew out the cashier who doesn’t ring up the discounted price of an outfit? Kids notice rudeness _ even in small exchanges. “If you want your grandchild to be generous, thoughtful and gracious, demonstrate those traits,” Haltzman says. “Show patience, and the message your grandchildren take away is: ‘Here’s someone I admire handling a tough situation with a sense of humor.’” Similarly, watch what you say about other people, especially your grandchildren’s parents, whenever the kids are in hearing distance. “Grandchildren tend to blend into the background,” Haltzman says. “We think they’re not listening, but they hear everything. And if you’re talking negatively about your son-in-law, or the neighbor you don’t like, kids will pick up on it. Being negative just generates more negativity.” And that’s one thing grandchildren don’t need to learn from you.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune.

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Make it a ‘day’ with your grandkids Memorable moments with grandkids don’t have to involve national holidays, airline trips or Ronald McDonald. Create your own special memories by focusing on the things you and your grandkids love and setting aside a day to share those activities , you can even give the day its own name. With a little creativity and a lot of enthusiasm, these made-up days may turn into cherished annual events.

TASTE-TEST DAY Borrow the bracket system used to organize tennis tournaments and develop your own championship tourney to decide the ultimate pizza topping, snack food, ice-cream flavor, candy, doughnut variety, or whatever the kids love. Convene with the kids in advance to choose eight competitors. Then select pairs at random to go head-to-head, and taste-test to determine everyone’s winner for each bracket until you’re left with an ultimate champion. The more ambitious the contest, the more excitement _ drive around and collect slices from eight different pizza joints, or make a rule that each ice-cream flavor has to be something at least one judge has never tasted. Keep an official record book so you can revisit past champs year after year.

D.I.Y. DAY If you’re a handy type with a talent for tooling around in the workshop, build a team project each year. Cobble together a simple wood picture frame, showing the kids how to do it, while they work alongside you creating art for it. As kids grow, and their workshop skills mature under your watchful eye, they can graduate to more-challenging projects like a bird feeder, a bench, an artist’s easel, a dresser or a doll’s crib. If you’re a chef, or your grandkids are aspiring gourmands, create a menu and spend the day with the kids preparing a five-course feast to serve to the whole family for dinner, menus and fancy place-settings included. The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

TRIP DAY Make your outing a high-brow event by escorting them to the opera, the ballet, or a jazz club. For a berry good day, visit a local orchard and see what you can pick to prepare back home. Or stay close to home, but not too close, by visiting a town the kids have never explored to see what kinds of playgrounds and pizza it offers. You can also surrender some control to older grandkids and let them plan your itinerary. Bess Kelley, a grandmother of five in Spotsylvania, Va., recalls how her teenage grandson Josh, who lives in the Outer Banks of N.C., took her out on his boat to watch the sunset. It was something she should see from the water, he told her. Josh provided pizza, dessert and drinks onboard. “We had a wonderful evening enjoying each other’s company and the beautiful sunset,” she says.

SKILL-SWAP DAY Make plans for a skill-swap _ the kids teach you something, and you teach them something. For example, Louella Starr, of San Clemente, Calif., taught grandson Robert various yoga poses. “I showed him the bridge, table and tree poses,” she says. “He was a natural.” For his part, Robert has taught his “Lola” a proper baseball batting stance. For your own skill-swap, consider teaching the kids a classic card game, or how to shuffle cards, while they teach you to play a new video game. Or teach them a simple piano scale, then let them teach you their favorite dance moves.

By Traci Mosser

5K DAY Set an annual goal of participating in a local fun run or walkathon. Many road races feature shorter components geared to families and walkers. Toddlers and babies can ride in wagons or strollers while older kids try to set a personal best. You can make the day more meaningful by choosing an event tied to a charitable cause with a connection to your family and encouraging the kids to find sponsors for their run. ( lists events around the country and the causes they support.) Make the run a special weekend event by “carbo-loading” on a pasta dinner the night before, then celebrating with a special dinner out when everyone crosses the finish line.

PICTURE DAY Here’s a simple way to get everyone clicking together: Break out the cameras. David and Linda Batron of Colorado Springs, Colo., regularly snap shots of their four granddaughters on their staircase. “It has given us a photographic history of growth and change. They love it,” David Batron says. You can make picture day a special occasion by having the kids come over dressed in their best, taking the picture, then letting them change into their worst, run around the yard, and take another shot for a hilarious before-and-after. Or assign the kids a project like shooting something beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Or ask them to bring their best photos from the past year and use them to create a calendar for the year ahead. r i ve r reg i o n b o o m . co m

December 2010




{12 Things} for active boomers and beyond


someone you love at Montgomery’s favorite Holiday Pops Concert. Join Thomas Hinds and the MSO for an evening of Christmas and Hanukkah medleys guaranteed to put everyone in a festive mood. Soprano Michelle Lott will join the Orchestra as the featured guest soloist in favorite popular and sacred songs of the season. The spotlight will also shine on a number of our own Orchestra members as they perform special arrangements of holiday “classics”. The Holiday Pops Concert will be at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center (MPAC). For tickets, please call the MPAC box office at 334.481.5100.

Christmas on the River December 2nd - 5th

Since its debut in 1972, Demopolis, Alabama’s Christmas on the River has grown into one of the Southeast’s leading attractions. People travel from coast to coast to see the floats that really float. This year, our 2010 festival takes place from Thursday, December 2nd to Sunday, December 5th. As in years past, we will gather to hear the reading of the Christmas Story, enjoy candlelight tours of our antebellum homes, see the crowning of St. Nick, and the famous championship BBQ cook-off. 334.289.0270


Christmas on the Coosa December 11th, 10 am-8 pm


Sounds of the Season Concert December 6th, 7:30 - 9:30 pm “Sound of the Season” with the McCraneyCottle Singers to be held at the First United Methodist Church Located at 1 Jordan Avenue, Tallassee. Come and enjoy as the Season as it is celebrated in song.


The Bell and the Rose December 11 & 12, 7 pm Wesley Hall, Frazer Church A Christmas Musical Drama set in Victorian England. When tragedy strikes close to home, will it steal a child’s faith? Rediscover the true meaning of Christmas with the Bell and the Rose, back for a second year and promising to be even better this year. Features 300+ voice adult and children’s choirs, full orchestra, music from traditional carols to contemporary, Celtic piper John

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Maschinot, professional ballet dance and a wonderful drama cast. Two performances (Saturday and Sunday 7 p.m.), free admission, childcare provided ages 0-3. 334.272.8622


The Montgomery Symphony Holiday Pops Concert Monday, December 13th, 7:30 pm Holiday Pops... Make a holiday memory with

The annual Christmas extravaganza with arts & crafts,street parade, food concessions, handmade quilt show, classic car show, entertainment and activities on the Coosa River culminating with a spectacular fireworks exhibition at dusk. 10a.m.8:00p.m. 12K’s of Christmas Fun Run, Arts & Crafts Show, children’s Activities, Antique Car Show & Quilt Show, Street Parade, Christmas Concert - Gold Star Park, Boat Parade, followed by a Fireworks Grand Finale. Downtown Wetumpka Admission Fee : Free 334.567.1313


Disney Live! Mickey’s Magic Show, December 18th, 3 & 6 pm Abracadabra! It’s Disney Live! Mickey’s Magic Show! Mickey, Minnie, and a host of Disney friends come together with worldThe River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

class magicians to perform magic from legendary Disney films right before your eyes. See the Fairy Godmother transform Cinderella’s rags into a beautiful ball gown in a split second; the spectacular levitation of Aladdin’s Princess Jasmine; and the enchanted dancing brooms of Fantasia. Join Donald and Goofy, Alice and the Mad Hatter, and many more for a one-of-a-kind stage show you’ll never forget. Mickey’s Magic Show is a whole new way to experience Disney Magic with your family! Tickets: $15, $20, $35(VIP), $40(Front Row)


Eudora Welty, Exposures and Reflections Troy University Rosa Parks Museum Now-January 7, 2011 “A snapshot’s now or never,” recalled Eudora Welty about her photos of the 1930s South. The writer’s Great Depression “snapshots” were published in an American chronicle entitled One Time, One Place. Eudora Welty, Exposures and Reflections is a landmark exhibit of the photos developed in partnership by the Mobile Museum of Art with the Southern Literary Trail and the Alabama Humanities Foundation. Traveling along the Southern Literary Trail through Autumn 2011, Eudora Welty, Exposures and Reflections leads audiences on a unique journey to another time and another place with 40 of her photographs, while providing a contemporary look into Welty’s life as writer and Southerner. Curated and organized by The Museum of Mobile from the writer’s original negatives. 334.241.8701


Montgomery Ballet-Nutcracker A holiday classic the world over for 200 years, The Nutcracker, will be performed at The Davis Theatre for the Performing Arts on December 17th, 2010 at 7:30PM, December 18th at 2:30 & 7:30PM, December 19th at 2:30PM, December 20th & 21st at 6:00PM. The performance is approximately The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

2 hours long, with a short intermission. The Nutcracker; story of a little girl’s dream of a Nutcracker Prince from a Fairy-Tale kingdom takes you on a magical journey with Clara as she travels with her Cavalier to the Kingdom of Snow and the Land of Sweets. This performance will feature the Montgomery Ballet Professional Company, the Montgomery Youth Ballet and students from the Montgomery Ballet School. The Nutcracker has been a holiday tradition in Montgomery for over 30 years. 334-409-0522


Peter Pan the Musical at ASF Through December 31st The biggest selling show in the history of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Peter Pan the Musical, in all of its high flying glory is part of ASF’s Silver Anniversary season. Producing Artistic Director Geoffrey Sherman will once again direct the spectacle. Peter Pan the Musical broke all box office records when it was produced at ASF in 2007. Tickets start at $30 and are available through the ASF box office, by visiting on line at or by calling 1.800.841.4273. ASF is located at 1 Festival Drive in Montgomery’s beautiful Blount Cultural Park.


Fantasy Lights, Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia Through December 30 Nestled amidst wooded landscape of Callaway Gardens, Fantasy In Lights is the Southeast’s most spectacular holiday light and sound show with more than eight million twinkling lights celebrating the holiday season. This spectacular show has attracted almost two million visitors since it opened in 1992.  Fantasy In Lights has become an essential holiday tradition for many families, as much as a part of the season as caroling or attending “The Nutcracker.”  1-800.225.5292


Christmas Lights

Pack some snacks and drive through yopur fasvorite neighborhoods and see who offers the best display of Christmas Lights. You’ll be surprised at how beautiful and tacky this holiday tradition keeps on giving joy!


Moonpie Over Mobile

New Year’s Eve Celebration Tired of Times Square on New Year’s? Try something new. Go Coastal! New Year’s Eve plans in Mobile, Alabama just got sweeter - thanks to a massive MoonPie that will fall from the sky at midnight to the sounds of the O’Jays. Revelers can enjoy a RC Cola or a glass of champagne to ring in the New Year in downtown Mobile. This year’s free celebration will be held in a new location and feature live entertainment with an electronic display debuting at midnight. The 12-foot-tall MoonPie will descend from a 34-story building as the city welcomes 2011 and the beginning of Mardi Gras season. This year’s MoonPie Over Mobile celebration will start the afternoon of Dec. 31 with a Mardi Gras-style parade. Afterwards, a street party featuring two stages of live entertainment will help draw thousands of people downtown. From the legendary O’Jays and their “Love Train” to the sounds of big bands and other musical tastes, downtown Mobile will be one giant street party. At midnight, all eyes will be on the RSA BankTrust skyrise for the new MoonPie countdown, accompanied by an elaborate laser and fireworks show.

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r i ve r reg i o n b o o m . co m

December 2010



Grumpy Aging Boomer by Alisa Singer

Shopping with my Mother – Then and Now Shopping with my mother is, surprisingly, much the same experience for me now, in middle-age, as it was for me in middle-school. There are several reasons for this but they all flow from my mother’s unshakeable belief that, as God made Adam in his own image, so each of her daughters will eventually emerge as more-or-less duplicate copies of herself. She appears to reject the concept of the separate and unique DNA of her progeny, perhaps subconsciously believing that we were conceived with a full set of her chromosomes through mitosis or other mysterious form of cell division. From her perspective it’s a simple matter of peeling away all those layers of mistaken identity we call “ourselves” to reveal the true person underneath – that being “her”. Understand that my mother is neither an egomaniac nor a control freak. She just knows this. Disappointingly for my mother, so far neither my sister nor I have turned out much like her, nor have we given any indication that we ever will. For my part, I share with her only frizzy hair and an intense, nervous energy; my sister appears to have inherited none of her traits. Still my mother persists in her belief, wearing her faith boldly as a shield against any form of criticism from her daughters on any matter. “Hah! Just wait,” she warns, “someday you’ll do the same thing.” (That day, of course, being the day when we finally actually become our mother.)

If pressed my mother would probably acknowledge that this evolution will not occur suddenly (we are unlikely to emerge one day as full-formed images of her, like Athena springing from the forehead of Zeus), but she likes to hasten the process along a bit whenever she sees the opportunity. She has always found clothes shopping expeditions to be auspicious occasions to further this agenda. (I should mention that my mother had been in her day a “beauty”, in fact an actual beauty queen, winner of “The Girl I’d Most Like to Spend Christmas

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Vacation With” and other sundry titles. And she thrived on being recognized and noticed for being “fashion forward” - the first in the neighborhood to wear pants suits, go-go boots and mini-skirts.)

So there was my mother, a woman firmly committed to the proposition of redrafting her offspring into her own stylish image, attacking the mall with her two girls reluctantly in tow. These seasonal escapades (fall/winter and spring/summer) painfully highlighted the vast gulf between my mother’s dreams for her daughters and the reality of the paltry raw material she had to work with. I represented a particularly arduous challenge due to my morbid dread of drawing attention to myself through my appearance. In other words, I feared the result which is the very essence and purpose of fashion. Viewing me as simply a younger, unformed version of herself, the idea that I did not appear to share her views of fashion or self-image surprised and puzzled her (and continues to do so to this day). As I said, the pattern of behavior between us shopping together today is eerily reminiscent of scenes played out between us four decades ago. The ritual begins with my mother shoving several colorful, trendy pieces into my hands: “Try these”, she says, then adding as though to seal the deal, “all the girls are wearing them”. This last familiar phrase inevitably touches several “hot buttons” at once, sending me (I’m ashamed to admit) reeling back to 7th grade, seething with the spirit of adolescent rebellion. At these times I am irritated by at least the following three things: first, by the implication that I haven’t yet evolved beyond the need to dress myself according to certain rules promulgated by unknown fashion mavens (I haven’t); second, by her refusal to notice that adult (okay, middle-aged) women are not “girls” and, a corollary to that, what would be appealing on a 12-year old girl would likely be appalling on a 50-something year old “girl”; and, finally, by any

unsolicited advice my mother offers regarding how I should dress or handle any other aspect of my life. (I did say adolescent rebellion, didn’t I?)

The typical next steps in this traditional mother-daughter dance vary depending on my reserves of patience and good will at the moment. Some days, I confess, I simply thrust the items back onto the rack: ”Mom, I was too old for that look 20 years ago”, my churlish, whiny tone contrasting ironically with my words. But when I have myself under better control I will at least pretend to seriously consider the item in an effort to humor her. And once in a while I might even buy the thing. (She does, after all, have a good eye for color and design.) On those occasions my mother beams with pleasure and I feel the piece is worth the price, even if it‘s likely to never leave my closet. Every so often it turns out that the item my mother selected for me is actually kind of perfect, like the iridescent gold bomber jacket that proves to be just the thing to wear over jeans for a Saturday evening dinner and movie. Shimmering in a metallic glow I float into the living room, buoyed by the hope that I might possibly look, sort of, cool. There I face the most exacting of judges – my teenage daughter. She looks up from her laptop, appraising me with narrowed eyes and studied skill. “Cute”, she pronounces finally, then pauses, “but, I don’t know, not exactly ... you.” I head to my bedroom to take a final look in the mirror. Peering back is, of course, me but also a hint of someone else, someone quite familiar. “I told you so,” my mother/myself seems to say as she stares back at me with a triumphant gleam in her eyes, “and it’s about time.” G.A.B.

Alisa Singer’s humorous essays have appeared in a variety of print and online newspapers and magazines across the country. You can learn more about her work by visiting her website: or contacting her at

The River Region’s 50+ Lifestage Magazine

Don’t get


by whooping cough. Get your Tdap immunization to prevent whooping cough (pertussis). Pertussis can last for weeks and can often result in hospitalization. Pertussis cases are increasing rapidly. Adolescents and adults are the primary source of infection for infants and children. Parents, grandparents, and other caretakers of children should get a dose of Tdap. Infants and children should get DTaP vaccine. For more information, go to or contact your health care provider.

Immunization Division Alabama Department of Public Health

BOOM! December 2010  
BOOM! December 2010  

The River Region's 50+ Lifestage Magazine