Recall Jackson Browne’s 1977 song The Load Out: “We do so many shows in a row
And these towns all look the same.”
The last line underscores why many Athenians want to save unique places like Ciné – the only nonprofit cinema and arts venue in northeast Georgia. It contributes to making Athens different and provides a special sense of community.
Founded in 2007, Ciné presents independent, foreign, documentary and classic films. But it’s so much more. It also serves as an art gallery, a music and performance space, and a gathering site for cultural and academic organizations. A year ago, the Athens Film Arts Institute (AFAI), which supports and manages Ciné, began a three-year, $2.5 million capital campaign to purchase, maintain, and improve the facilities. The looming problem is AFAI has only a brief opportunity to keep its exclusive right to purchase the building through June 30. After that, it will be offered for sale on the open market, and the location at 234 W. Hancock is highly desirable, prime real estate.
Ciné is close to being able to secure the $1.5 million mortgage loan but they must have $150,000 in cash reserves to show solvency to the bank. To that end, they’ve launched a Crowdfunding Campaign: “Let’s Buy Ciné! Help Save Athens’ Only Art House Cinema!”
“There are various ways to support the effort by donating online at www.athenscine.com,” explains Pamela Kohn, executive director. “More creatively, buy a seat for $150. Theatre 1 seats have already sold, but there are still seats available in Theatre 2.” Anyone who buys a seat or seats will get a plaque on one of them. Isn’t there someone you know or knew who was a real movie buff? Immortalize them at Ciné. The theater’s two screening rooms seat a total of 232.
Kohn adds that another way to support Ciné is to buy a membership: “Memberships are available at different levels, with such benefits as screening passes, free popcorn, and free parking. All members receive the benefit of discounted Member Nights which are held each Tuesday evening. It’s a chance to gather and see a movie for reduced price.”
Avid movie fan and Ciné supporter, Rebecca Silver notes, “I cannot imagine Athens without Ciné. Movies you can’t see anywhere else are shown here. It really serves our town and reflects the artistic and creative nature of our city.” Or, as longtime supporter, Gary Crider, adds, “My quality-of-life index would drop significantly if Ciné was lost.”
Film buff Kent Silver points out, “Ciné is a great meeting place for people of all ages.”
Campaign Hashtag: #LetsBuyCine
The AFAI Volunteer Board of Directors: President: Ruta Abolins, Treasurer: Mary Lillie Watson, Secretary: Myung Chang Cogan, and board members: Greg Barnard, Cassie Bryant, Brian Carney, Todd Kelly, Karen Kenyon, Mike Landers, Dave Marr, Carl Martin, Richard Neupert, Peter Smith, Susanne Warrenfeltz, Mark Weathersby
Several years ago, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, and then I had knee surgery in 2013. My doctor had little advice to offer except to avoid direct stress on the joints.
Since then I’ve done some research and reading and learned all kinds of ways to keep my joints flexible. Here are some personal tips I’ve discovered through trial and error that work for me:
Body Rolling. What!?
Body rolling looks like a form of yoga using partially inflated rubber balls to massage muscles and stimulate bones. My daughter Laura, who was an aerialist, discovered how much body rolling eased her sore muscles after teaching and performing, and she convinced me to go with her after my knee surgery. Thank goodness!
I regained much of my former flexibility. Foam rollers are all the current rage but Julie Phillips, who teaches body rolling at Studio in the Leathers Building, explains they only get to the surface muscles. “This goes a lot deeper, realigning bones and creating space.”
I typically do my body rolling right before bed, taking about 10 minutes to roll down my spine on the 10-inch ball. The balls are heavy duty rubber and partially inflated, with different sizes for different parts of the body. Using a smaller ball for a hamstring roll, I was able to loosen the tight muscles around my hip and knee. Phillips says her classes are designed for home healing, which has certainly worked for me. Check out www.juliephillipsbodywork.com or google Yamuna body rolling.
Wake up joints before getting out of bed. Do wrist and ankle circles and stretch before your feet hit the floor. It helps reduce stiffness.
Take a warm shower BEFORE weight lifting or any other exercise class. I take a warm shower before exercising at the gym to loosen up joints and get the blood flowing. It’s like doing a pre-warm-up before the class warms up together.
Do gentle stretching breaks throughout the day. Occasional movements (such as neck rolls, gentle back bends, hip circles) keep blood flowing to joints especially for anyone who sits for any length of time. Gentle stretches at rest stops help me handle long car rides better, too. I even take my body rolling ball to use in the car.
Slow down if necessary but stay active. These days I walk quickly and avoid the “pounding” exercises like jogging. My dogs still like to run, but I can throw them a tennis ball in the backyard and not run with them.
Gentle yoga and Tai chi. Yoga and Tai Chi can be great ways to keep joints active without stressing them. Choose a class that moves at the best pace for you. Or develop a routine at home that you enjoy enough to keep doing it regularly. Keep moving!
Get enough sleep – naps are great! Tired joints mean aching joints for me. Naps allow the body to totally relax even for a short amount of time. Avoid cell phones and computers at night. Try gentle stretches before bedtime.
Avoid certain foods such as sugar and overly processed foods. Better nutrition has helped my joints feel better. Staying away from too much sugar, salt, alcohol, red meat, and caffeine improves my energy levels, too.
He works with stiff joints every day!
Yancey Shuman, a physician assistant with Athens Bone & Joint, has 25 years of experience in the joint systems of the human body, of which there are three. But, the synovial joints are the ones we’re most aware of as we age because they are the ones that move, or are supposed to. The name synovial comes from the synovial fluid that’s in the joint capsule. Many of us can’t move our synovial joints as easily these days and we may feel pain in them.
Shuman explains there are several types of synovial joints, but the two most common are the hinge joints and ball & socket joints. Hinge joints allow us flexion and extension. Flex your bicep by bending your elbow and then extending your arm out straight. Your elbow is a hinge joint, along with your fingers and knees. Some allow a bit of rotation but not much.
Our shoulders and hips are ball & socket joints. These joints allow motion on a multiplane and not just extension and flexion. They also allow internal and external rotation. Think how the movements in the shoulder allow you to reach back to throw a ball forward. The shoulder joint moves through six different planes!
What allows this movement is the synovial fluid and 3-4 inches of articular cartilage at the end of a bone. During most of our lives we have the right amounts of that cartilage and fluid to move our joints easily. But, over time, it wears away, and unfortunately, our bodies don’t have a way to rebuild it. However, Shuman says there are some things we can do that will slow the deterioration:
Strengthen the muscles around the knee joints for stability. Knee extensions and squats strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings, ligaments, and the tendons surrounding the knee. But, schedule workouts for times of the day when your medications are working well to reduce inflammation and pain.
Lose weight. The likelihood of joint damage is greater for those who are overweight. One extra pound gained equals three pounds of additional stress on knees. And just losing 11 pounds cuts the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis by half!
Review your behavior. Is there something you are doing frequently that is causing wear and tear? Listen to your body. For example, if there is swelling or pain in the hip or knee joints, then it’s not okay to go running or lift weights. Instead, transition to “non-pounding” exercises such as water aerobics, biking, swimming, or elliptical workouts. Just walking in a pool can be great exercise.
Do range of motion exercises to keep your joints flexible. Gentle movements that involve bending the joints are good because the health of the joint capsule depends on use. If the joint isn’t used the capsule will shrink, limiting motion.
And for those of us who already are experiencing joint pain? Shuman advises that hot shower in the morning and ice on the joint later in the day to limit inflammation. Joint braces can add warmth but he advises against overuse because muscles will begin to atrophy. And runners need to change their shoes regularly, ideally every six months. Walkers should buy “stability-type” shoes with a rigid sole and supportive insole. Most importantly, stay active!
Living Well with Osteoarthritis: A guide to keeping your joints healthy. Harvard Health Publications. Go to www.health.harvard.edu to find over 50 reports on health topics.
Wear and Tear: Stop the pain and put the spring back in your body. By Dr. Bob Arnot, 2003. Still available on Amazon and an excellent book on the problem of wear and tear with simple ways to diagnose your issues (heel pounders, stiff man syndrome, fatal flaws, etc.) and good advice on painkillers, protection, building strength, etc.).
“Mom, you baby-boomers are the collectors, my older daughter says, with some exasperation. I’ve asked what she’d like for Christmas for her apartment in Manhattan. “We millennials want experiences and memories, not stuff.’’
I get it. Many of the young are on the move and don’t want to be weighed down. And they often live in small places, but that’s only part of the story: They are allergic to dusting knick-knacks.
Nowadays our boomer friends lament: Who will take the family china? We’re downsizing but our kids don’t want it! Instead, many of our children are happy to hold potlucks and parties with mismatched plates and glasses. And they jump at the chance to travel, attend performances, engage in sports, or just hang out with friends.
So where does that leave us boomers when it’s time for holiday gifts for our grown-up children, nieces, nephews and the other young adults in our lives? In an informal poll, here’s what I found:
– Tickets to plays and concerts are high on their lists.
– Gift certificates to special restaurants are welcome.
– Consumables work well: Organic, shade-grown coffee, fine wines, olive oil, spices and rubs make fine gifts.
– Many young adults are dedicated locavores, that is, their diet consists principally of locally grown or produced food, so locally made honey, jams and pickles are well received. They also like to support artists and craftspeople in their communities – useful pottery and hand-crafted jewelry can fill the bill.
Less stuff for us
Another enjoyable change in the holiday gift-giving is that many of us boomers also are receiving less stuff. For example, here’s what happened last Christmas after my husband, Mike, found a colorful and cozy Manhattan apartment on Airbnb.
Our family of four, two in-laws and a friend squeezed into the warm living room to exchange gifts. We had asked everyone to think “small” for gift giving since the holiday vacation was focused on just being together in New York. The three baby-boomers opened our packages from the young adults to find “I heart NY” mugs with miniature liquor bottles inside each one. We politely said thank-you for the nice but simple presents.
“Wait! There’s more in your mugs! Look again, urged our adult children. Sure enough, a small folded paper at the bottom of each mug revealed a ticket to “Fiddler on the Roof” on Broadway. What a surprise and such a delightful, musical experience! Plus, none of us had to squeeze it into a suitcase for the return trip home.
Sometimes family members are not available for a holiday. We’ve enjoyed small gatherings of friends who are also alone then. One Thanksgiving, a recently divorced friend planned to be by himself that day. We said, “No way!” and had a great time while he tried out different gourmet recipes for our tiny Thanksgiving. As one boomer friend says at holiday time: “No family around? Then make family!”
A former Athens resident and boomer, Laura Nehf, describes how holidays changed when she and her husband became empty-nesters several years ago. The key word in the way they plan their holidays now is flexibility.
“We find ourselves traveling to see our children because we are more flexible than they are with their school and jobs,” Nehf says. “And we’ve also become flexible about the date of the holiday itself. We may celebrate Christmas the weekend before. After all, bigger crowds and higher costs typically make traveling closer to the actual dates more challenging.”
She also points out that not every holiday is spent as a family these days. “Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter used to mean that the whole family would be together. But now, we focus on one or maybe two holidays for everyone to get together. This year it will just be Christmas.”
Hosting holiday gatherings has changed, too. When all your adult kids are coming to visit, you don’t have to do it all, she advises. “A holiday gathering works well as a group effort. Put people in charge of different tasks, including the music selections and setting up a sing-along.”
Nehf agrees that most young adults refuse to put energy into collecting stuff and recommends the approach of make-it, bake-it or grow it when it comes to gifts. She also supports local artists and suggests finding small, creative gifts that are easy for travelers to take home. “In general, we’ve moved away from commercial Christmas gifts to more creative ones,” she says.
Special experiences make holidays memorable for all generations. The entire Nehf family squeezed into a horse drawn carriage for a tour of downtown Beaufort, S.C., one year as part of their celebration. Everyone grabbed an elf hat or silly reindeer horns. Unlike when they were teens, “they’re all for it now.”
As boomers age, sharing more of our history, memories and traditions with the younger generation becomes more important. One family compiled a cookbook with favorite recipes of all the older siblings. Nehf makes a family calendar with photos of each family member engaged in an activity. A mix of funny, sweet and poignant pictures, it’s a unique gift for everyone in the family to enjoy throughout the year.
Being an empty-nester and a boomer is like looking at a glass that’s half empty or half full, Nehf says. “For us, it’s a chance to relearn what personal freedom feels like again. The glass is more full than empty! Right now, we are post-kids, post-pets and pre-grandchildren, so we’re enjoying freedom and flexibility. But we don’t take it for granted; we try to give back whenever we can.”