Tuesday, November 19, 2013

NVFF -Day 2

The screenings at the Napa Valley Film Fest (NVFF) are too numerous to mention with movies being shown in 4 cities - Napa, Yountville, St.Helena and Calistoga - and at more than 12 venues.  I watched the documentary, ONE CHANCE, about Paul Potts, the first winner of the Britain's got Talent Show.   It was quite inspirational as he had to overcome so many obstacles just to get on the show.    

It was such fun working the Fesitval Gala and with NAPA Valley being so well-known for its many fine vineyards, well, the wine flowed like water.   The former COPIA Center was resplendent with Hollywood like decorations and rocking with several bands spread throughout the venue.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

At The Movies!

I'm so excited as I love working Film Festivals and I'm in NAPA right now working this event.  In the past I've worked both the Denver Film Fest and the biggest and the best, Sundance.   I've done everything from arrange transportation to cooking for the starving artists to working the Red Carpet.   At this one I'm a concierge for the the VIP patrons.

I just love the ambiance and the environment which makes me feel like I'm inhaling creativity everywhere I go.

Today I set a new record, 2 movies and 5 short films in 8.5 hours plus worked 3 events.

The Fabulous Ice Age is an interesting documentary exploring the popularity of the old skating stars like Sonja Heine and the extravagant shows -- like Ice Follies and Holiday on Ice.  I loved the movie as it reminded me of all the Saturday afternoons I've spent with my mom watching ice skating competitions.

Old Stock was a quirky picture about a young man who decides to hide out and live
in an assisted living home after a car accident.......so he starts acting as if he's 65 instead of 20.   


Friday, June 14, 2013

For my DAD!

As Father's Day approaches, I'd like to honor my dad with a few comments.

My dad was hard-working and always did whatever it took to support our family of 9 kids, born in less than 12 years: 5 boys - 4 girls.   There was always a baby around but he loved kids, so he was thrilled to be blessed with so many.   Money was scarce, but we were never on welfare--because like so many men of his generation he took pride in taking care of his family.

He was the baby of 6 children, born to Sicilian immigrants and did not even speak English until he was 9.   But unlike many of the immigrants of today who want everything handed to them and in many cases even refuse to learn and speak English, he fully recognized the importance of fitting into our society, to the point that he would not even allow us kids to learn Italian........which would have been so easy as we always lived near my Italian grandma Rosa.

My favorite piece of advice from him was:  
"Getting your education is like constructing a building.   You must have a solidly built foundation or the entire building will crumble."

From the first day I started school, no grade other than an A was acceptable.  I'm fortunate because  in the 1950s, he stressed education for his daughters an idea that was definitely ahead of its time because at that time, most women were getting married right out of high school.

Being the oldest, he pushed me so hard that by 27 I had a degree in Accounting and an MBA.  At that time, in 1976, I was somewhat of an oddity as there were not many women in the business world, but I was grateful as my strong educational background gave me a real advantage in finding a job.

There wasn't any problem he couldn't solve and he always had a helping hand for anyone -- family or friends -- who needed his assistance.  I also love that he taught me to always take in "strays" for the holidays.  So, no matter how many family members we might have at a holiday celebration (upwards of 50 with all my relatives), he wanted us to make sure our single friends had somewhere to go.

He was an incredible dancer and even met my mom in a nightclub!   I have many fond memories of our times on the dance floor -- whether in the living room, at a wedding or even in a nightclub.  He's the one who made me a concert junkie as he took me to see Bobby Darin when I was just 11 years old.   We had the most fun though going to see the Ike and Tina Turner Revue at Club Imperial in St. Louis.  We were regulars at the Nightclub.  This was was back in 1961 when I was just 13 and way before they were famous.

Check out this  Luther Vandross Video as it's one of my favorites and reminds me of the many times I danced with my dad.  For all of you who are missing your dad on Father's day, this one's for you!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Attacked by my Microwave!

There are numerous articles and statistics to support the theory that over 75% of accidents happen right in your home and I certainly have helped to prove that theory.
I’ve had a few accidents in my home and until this microwave incident; the oddest accident happened when I fell while trying to get out of my recliner and broke my right foot.   While it hurt a lot physically, I think more than anything it hurt my pride because I just felt so stupid and careless.   And since it happened in September (off ski season), I couldn’t even make up a good story, “like I was flying down a double-black diamond” when I lost control.

But nothing prepared me for the injury I suffered recently when I hit myself on the left side of my head while closing the microwave door.  Yes, I know, it’s hard to picture that happening, but my microwave is elevated above the stove and again while hurrying, I slammed the door into the left side of my head.  I didn’t think much about it until 2 days later when I suffered severe episodes of vertigo. 

After much research and talking to nurse Ginny (my sister), I discovered I was suffering from BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) which is caused by the crystals in your inner ear being knocked loose.  See http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vertigo/DS00534/DSECTION=causes

I had to go to a therapist for a canalith repositioning procedure during which I was rolled off the edge of a table to try and knock the crystals back in place.   It’s so dis-orienting, that I felt like I was being rolled around in a washing machine!  
While it’s not life-threatening, it’s devastating because before I experienced this, I hadn’t really thought much about how important balance it.   And as we get older one of our biggest fears is our loss of independence and I learned first-hand how your ability to stay balanced affects everything – walking, doing daily chores and especially driving.
So, learn from me and slow down because the therapist told me this is not an uncommon injury, especially for older people.    It's so hard for me to break those habits, as I've been a fast-paced, type A person my entire life.   Also, protect your balance by doing some strengthening exercises.  Check out http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/CardiacRehab/Strength-and-Balance-Exercises_UCM_307384_Article.jsp

It's a good time of the year to check out your home for potential accident areas, so for additional home safety tips, go to: https://www.westmetrofire.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/553

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Don't Stop Thinking about Tomorrow!

Fleetwood Mac, one of the biggest bands of the ‘70s, was quickly becoming nothing more than a footnote in Rock History until Bill Clinton decided to use their  anthem “Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow” as his theme song for his 1992 campaign.  

That song, combined with his playing the sax, connected with the younger generation and helped get him elected.  And when President Clinton requested they perform that song at his first inaugural ball; band members (who had not performed together in 10 years), put their egos aside and gave a rousing rendition.  http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/flashback-fleetwood-mac-reunite-for-bill-clintons-inauguration-20130122

Being the “concert junkie” that I am, I just don’t know how I missed seeing them back in the ‘70s; so I was thrilled to hear that all the original members except  Christine McVie had reunited for a tour this year and would be here in Denver at the Pepsi Center.  Tickets were hard to get, but for a 23% premium, I managed to score some on the secondary market – Flash Seats.  http://www.flashseats.com/  
Time apart didn’t diminish their onstage chemistry and during that high energy concert, lasting more than 2 hours, they covered most of their big hits.  It was an exciting, nostalgic show, complete with a psychedelic light/slide show reminiscent of the ‘70s concert scene.   They rewarded our enthusiastic audience with 3 encores ending with “Say Goodbye”, a heart-tugging song of lost love.  (Fleetwood Mac fans all know the story of the Nicks/Buckingham breakup…..put to music here.)

I love the song “Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow”  because it’s a song of hope and optimism.
It should be our Baby Boomer’s anthem because that attitude of thinking about tomorrow, planning for the future and not living in our past--no matter how exciting and rewarding it might have been—will keep us young.     Take a few minutes – enjoy the video and read the lyrics.   I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.
2013 Fleetwood Mac touring members

Are you having FUN?

Since I'd last written in February about losing a friend, I have suffered the loss of 3 more friends and 1 cousin in just 4 months!    It's definitely had an impact on me as one of the hardest things I'm dealing with as I get older is "acceptance". 

I just don't want to accept the fact that as I age:
  •  time really does seem to move faster (it's already JUNE).
  •  I have to deal with even more unexpected medical issues.
  •  I can't do things as fast as I did before.
  •  I have to deal more frequently with the death of family and friends.
Every time I hear of another death, it's like a cold, hard slap of reality hitting me across the face, reminding me that life really is so short that all I want to do is have more fun before I'm too tired or it's too late.

Only you can define "what's fun" or what activities put a smile on your face -- but I sincerely encourage you to follow Nike's famous slogan and "JUST DO IT".     Don't be sitting in your rocking chair at 80, saying "I wish I had" when you still have the time to build new, exciting memories.

So, STOP right now and plan a fun activity - be it a hike, movie or concert - something you can look forward to!

Single? Retired? Need Money?

You've all seen those ads offering you ways to make more money in retirement doing everything from addressing envelopes to phone soliciting.  99% of them are schemes and you actually spend more money than you'll make.

But you might be able to increase your monthly retirement income just by reviewing your Social Security (SS) Benefits!   That simple -- YES!!

As I talk with divorced and widowed retirees (especially single women), I'm finding out that many of them are not getting the maximum SS benefit that they could receive in retirement because they have had to take their SS payment at the earliest eligibility date rather than wait until age 70.

What they are unaware of is that they "might" be eligible to claim benefits from their former or deceased spouse instead when they reach the minimum eligibility age, and hold off collecting under their own work record.   I stress "might" because each case is different and there are certain criteria that have to be met.   The exact wording from the SSA website:

"If you qualify for benefits as a widow, widower or surviving divorced spouse on another record, you may choose to apply for survivors benefits now and delay your retirement benefit until later."

In cases of divorce, your EX must be retirement age eligible, BUT the EX does not have to be retired.

To apply you must have a copy of your marriage certificate, divorce papers or proof of death and that other person's SS number.  You can easily start your research online, but I highly recommend you go in person to a SS office for a final determination of your benefits.

Why not take a few minutes and explore the SS website?  Who knows, you just might be one of the lucky ones and find hundreds of dollars in unclaimed benefits waiting for you!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Rock'n'Roll Never Forgets

That's the Bob Seger I fell in love with in the '70s.......the long-haired sexy dude who could turn-you on just with his sensuous voice and seductive words!

I recently saw him at the Pepsi Center, Denver, and just like the rest of us he's changed quite a bit (see picture below), but his voice is as fabulous as ever.

I loved his show as he just doesn't need all the props, lights and other hoopla that some current singers need because, let's face it, their voices aren't that great.  They are more into the 'production' side of a concert; whereas, Seger's voice and a piano or guitar is all he needs.

Seger became an even bigger hit after his song "Seems Like that old time Rock & Roll" made Tom Cruise's career skyrocket in the movie "Risky Business".    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsSVcRYh8dE

He's still on tour so check out his schedule at:  http://www.bobseger.com/

Is a Reverse Mortgage for you?

The FONZ -- we all know and love him from Happy Days fame and now he's back on the small screen trying to sell us on Reverse Mortgages.  

But before you jump out there and use your home as a "piggy bank", do you really know what you're getting into?

A reverse mortgage is a loan for senior homeowners that uses a portion of the home’s equity as collateral. The loan does not have to be repaid until the last surviving homeowner permanently moves out of the property or passes away.

At that time, the estate has approximately 6 months to repay the balance of the reverse mortgage or sell the home to pay off the balance.  All remaining equity is inherited by the estate. The estate is not personally liable if the home sells for less than the balance of the reverse mortgage.

However, an extremely critical factor for married couples is to ensure that BOTH spouses are listed on the reverse mortgage -- otherwise, the surviving spouse can be kicked out of their own home.

Image the trauma of losing your spouse, only to find out that now, in your golden retirement years, you don't even have a place to live?

There's an excellent article in the May 2013 issue of the AARP Bulletin on Mr. Robert Bennett who's in danger of losing his home because when his wife applied for the Reverse Mortgage no one informed her that her husband's name had to be on the loan. 

 Another good article is at:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


 Are you one of us Boomers who willingly spent the last 40 years working a 40-hour work week in exchange for the dream of a carefree retirement? 
So, let's say that your dream came true and now you and your spouse are enjoying the fun-filled days of retirement, traveling, visiting friends, grand kids and overall, very satisfied with your golden years.
BUT, you are depending on your spouse's pension to make your dreams come true, so what happens when one of you die?   ARE YOU PROTECTED?
I felt compelled to write about this as I recently met 2 ladies who I feel are representative of the surviving spouses (mostly women)  who up until the day their spouse died thought they had covered all bases in retirement planning.   Little did they know that when he died, they might be forced to visit free food kitchen like the poor little, old lady shown above.
One lady had knowingly agreed to and accepted that her husband's pension would run out when he died and had hoped that she would still be young enough to find work.  Unfortunately, she's been looking 2 years for a job.
The other assumed that she was covered by her husband's pension and would receive 55% of his base pension upon his death only to find out that he had never changed his beneficiary from WIFE #1.   I can only imagine her shock when she found out.
LADIES -   it's in your best interests to ensure that your husband has totally protected your financial security. 
PAY ATTENTION:  Many companies now require your signature on his retirement papers if he is waiving your right to a partial pension upon his death.    Thoroughly read those retirement papers and know what you're signing before you accidentally forfeit your rights to any or all of his pension.  I say "LADIES" because most of you will outlive your husband.

7 Deadly Sins!

That's definitely the number one concern of anyone facing retirement.      We all like to think that we have adequately planned for our retirement, but for most Boomers, it's frightening to think that I might outlive my money.  A new book, "The 7 Deadly Retirement Sins" by Ryan Zacharczyk, CFP offers some excellent tips to ensure your money doesn't expire before you do.    The first part of the book is a fictional account of a compilation of many retirees who have faced several of the same issues we all do in retirement.   It's just to give you a little insight into what others are facing.
The 7 Sins according to Mr. Zacharczyk are:
1.  Retiring too early or living above your means.
2.  Improper Investment Asset Allocation.
3.  Collecting Social Security at the wrong time
4.  Working with the Wrong Advisor or No Advisor
5.  Paying too much in Fees and Expenses
6.  Trying to Time the Market
7.  Lack of Health Insurance
Overall, I felt he made some excellent points regarding retirement planning and the only one I disagree with is # 3.   He advocates holding off as long as possible to take Social Security (SS).  I disagree as in most cases it will take a person 7 to 8 years to recoup what they could have gained in taking SS as soon as possible.   My thoughts on taking it early are:
1.  You may not live until full retirement age.
2.  SS may no longer be available.
3.  The present value of money.
Obviously, if SS is going to be your only retirement income, you may want to postpone it as long as possible.
BOTTOM LINE:   You can never over plan for your financial security in retirement; so, why not take a few hours and read his book.   It's an easy read with some very insightful tips.
For additional info go to:

Friday, February 8, 2013

OMG!! I'm on Medicare

As Boomers, we've all experienced catalyst numbers that we just couldn't wait for like sweet 16 when our parents finally let us date and 21 when we could legally drink. We didn't like 30 because then we became part of the establishment.

But 65! Well, that's the magic number for Medicare and whether you want to or not you have to sign up for it. You can enroll 90 days prior to your birthday and become eligible on the 1st day of your birthday month. For me, that was February 1st as I soon turn 65.

You know, there's just some things that make me feel old and using my Medicare card for the first time last Friday sure did. I kept my health insurance, but I still had to name Medicare as the primary.

Parts A, B, C, D............it's like alphabet soup and hard to understand so you need to do a lot of research to determine which parts to enroll in as that will determine your monthly payment.
For additional info on the enrollment process and Medicare, go to http://www.medicare.gov/

Also, AARP has some excellent options for additional health insurance coverage so check them out at www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/

At this stage in our lives, we definitely don't want to be underinsured!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

On the Mountain

Most of you know my #1 passion is skiing. Nothing excites me more than flying down the slopes on a clear, sunny Colorado day. So, I'm just thrilled because I'm back in Summit County, CO for several weeks.

In my younger days, I did it all -- tree skiing, the bumps and double-black diamond runs -- with my brothers, sisters and friends. We'd be the first ones on the lifts at 8:30 a.m., the last ones off the mountain, then rush home, clean up, and off to hit the bars and dance all night. I have so many wonderful memories of skiing in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and all over Europe with them.

This year has been a little tougher on me after having had my left knee operated on a year ago and not skiing at all last season. My left knee just hasn't felt quite right nor stable enough for the past year, but I just had to figure out a way to get back on the mountain. So, now I'm skiing with a brace on my left leg. That first run was nerve racking as I was so scared to make the first turn down the slope as it had been 2 years since I skied and I'm dealing with a brace and breaking in new boots! I survived not only the first run but on day 2 I took my first fall of the season and suffered only a jammed thumb.

I'm just so happy to be back on the mountain, though now I arrive about 10:30 and am lucky to last 4 hours. And while I might hit a Happy Hour, no more all night partying for me.

What did you love doing?

Have you given it up just because you've gotten older?


Maybe it's time to dust off those tap shoes or start playing tennis again.

I guarantee you that once the passion returns you'll feel much younger!

Below is one of my favorite mountain shots taken in Bachelor Gulch.

Before It's Too Late!

Most of us feel that we have enough time to visit love ones and reconnect with old friends before one of us dies.

Recently, I reconnected with an old friend Steve through FB. We'd met when I lived in Germany and he was a great, fun-loving guy. We had spent many fun-filled Sunday afternoons together drinking and dancing in our local German hangout, Dr. Flotte's and had taken several ski trips together. I had planned to visit him in Sarasota in the spring.

What a shock to learn this morning through an email that he had recently died of a heart attack.
It was like a slap on the face reminder as to just how short life is for us Boomers!
It really upset me and I wanted to just mope around all day. But instead, in his honor I hit the slopes and did a few runs as he loved skiing too!

DON'T DELAY! Who have you been thinking about from your past that you'd like to see at least one more time? Call them immediately as the clock's ticking away.

Remember - at this age we have fewer tomorrows than yesterday's!