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January 2019 Newsletter

Village Network of Petaluma
A nonprofit membership
community of connection and support
serving the Petaluma and Penngrove area

Village Office: 955 Petaluma Blvd. South

Aging Better Together


The office is closed through January 1.

Table of Contents

Special Events:
Weekly Walking Group
The Joy of Writing Group
Qigong Class
Film Discussion Group
Gentle Chair Yoga
Wednesday Morning Village Drop-in Coffee Hour

Gardening Group
Bocce Ball
Village Game Night
Village Singing Group
Potluck for Village Members and Volunteers
Tech Workshop
Men's Discussion Group

Frauds and Scams: What's Going Around in Petaluma
Volunteer Driving Training
Winter's Graces: The Surprising Gifts of Later Life

A Message from the Board President
Wayne Guptill: The Village's "Multi-talented Volunteer"
People Really Do Get Wiser as They Get Older
Declutter, Divest, and Discard Paper for a Simpler, Saner Life
"The Green Book" Sees Friendship as Antidote to Racism

Online calendar at

Welcome to the Village
Thursday, Jan 10 and Saturday, Jan 26, 11:00 - 12 noon,Village office.
Learn how adults ages 50+ enjoy connection with others through the Village Network in Petaluma and Penngrove.We believe a better experience of aging is possible when we can grow with, laugh with, and rely on each other as we navigate the opportunities and realities of aging. Bring a friend and get your questions answered. Meet Village members and volunteers. Questions: call the Village office at 
776-6055, or info@Village

Finding Serenity in Turbulent Times
Monday, Jan 14, 1:303:00 pm, Village office.
The mind can be trained to look for joy, hope, and connection. We will learn how to turn toward the positive and develop strategies for what we can do right here, right now to cultivate a resilient mindset. Participants gain direct experience in using specific tools and skills, guided meditation among them, and receive resources for continuing their practice. Space for up to 20 Village members, volunteers, and all those who attend the Village Qigong class. Please RSVP by January 7 to 707-776-6055 or

Presenter Elad Levinson teaches the Village’s popular Qiqong class, and has over 45 years’ experience as a psychotherapist, meditation teacher, and organization strategy consultant.

Does Long-Term Care Insurance Make Sense for You?
Saturday, Jan 19, 2:00 – 3:30 pm, Petaluma Library.
A panel on the pros, cons, and considerations when deciding whether to purchase long-term care insurance. Researchers estimate that more than half of today’s 65 year-olds will require long-term care at some point, most averaging less than two years. It’s is a complicated product, not for everyone, and it doesn't cover everything. But for many of us, having it may be good planning.

Moderator Marcy Baskin is Elder Care Manager and family coach with Senior Care Authority. Panelists are Kelly Grant, a licensed agent with New York Life Insurance Company, based in Santa Rosa; Gabriella Ambrosi, co-owner and CEO of Sequoia Senior Solutions in Petaluma; and Mike Gorman, a certified financial planner with Creekside Partners, Petaluma.

Volunteer 101 Training
Wednesday, Jan 23, 1:00 -- 4:00 pm, Village office.
Volunteers are involved in many wonderful aspects of the Village. We have openings in Transportation, Call Response, Programing, Hospitality, Outreach and more. For further information, and to discuss your interests, contact Joanne at 707-776-6055, or Please RSVP for the Volunteer 101 Training by January 19th.

Your Strength, Your Aging: A Co-presentation by the Village Network and Main Street Fitness
Sunday, Jan 27, 2:30 – 4:00 pm,
Main Street Fitness, 11790 Main Street, Suite D, Penngrove.

Learn more about the science of muscle strength and how to support your muscles and improve balance. In addition, learn how the nonprofit Village Network supports Penngrove area older adults as we navigate the opportunities and realities of aging better together.

Improving Communication with the Hearing Impaired
Monday, Jan 28, 1:00 – 2:00 pm, Village office.
This workshop is for friends and family of people with hearing impairment. Join the Village Member Connection Team as we learn how to help facilitate clearer and easier conversation with the hearing impaired. There will be informational handouts and time for Q&A and sharing personal experiences. Please note 1:00 pm start time. RSVP by January 21 to
or 707-776-6055.

Presenter Nancy Sullivan has a Master's degree in counseling and has done extensive workin this field.


Discussion Group for Retired Nurses
Wednesday, Jan 9, 10:15 - 11:45 am, in a member's home.
How does it feel to be retired from nursing? This will be a purely social group to share our nursing lives and get to know each other. The group will convene in members' homes, and determine topics to discuss, times, and days for meetings. Please RSVP by Nov. 12 to Lolly at

NEW: Village Support and Discussion Group
Second Thursday of the month, Jan thru June, 1:30 – 3:00 pm, Village office.
(January 10, February 14, March 14, April 11, May 9, and June 13).

This group for Village members offers an opportunity for support and discussion on a variety of topics relating to life changes that accompany the aging process. Topics emerge from the group or are suggested by the facilitator. No registration is required, and members may attend on a drop-in basis. We ask, though, that participants stay for the full length of the attended meeting in support of one another.

Facilitator Bev Miller worked with Hospice of Petaluma for over 30 years, providing one-to-one and group support. For more information and to suggest topics, contact Bev at

Mindfulness-Based Meditation Group
Saturdays, Jan 19 thru March 23, 10:00 - 11:00 am, in a member's home.
Village members and active volunteers signed up for this meditation series in record time, and this series is now full. The next series is scheduled to begin in April. 
For more info, contact Darcy at

Facilitator Freeman Humphrey is a retired psychiatric social worker who has led meditation groups for over ten years.

NEW: Village Book Group
Thursday, Jan 24, 2:00 - 3:00 pm.
We will discuss Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner, the dean of California writers. There are plenty of copies available at the public library. For location, please contact Lorraine Graves at


Weekly Walking Group
Tuesdays, 8:30 – 9:30 am. Meet at Walnut Park on 4th St.
We share fun, great conversations, and exercise while exploring neighborhoods and gardens, or walking across the river. Everyone welcome. Email Sue Miller at for info, and weather related cancellations.

The Joy of Writing Group
Tuesdays, 10:15 – 11:45 am, Village office.
We write for fun, in fiction, in nonfiction, memoir, poetry, etc. We write original stories in a noncritical environment. So come have fun with us, whether you are a veteran writer or a nervous beginner. All are welcome. Members free, non-members $5. For more info email

Qigong Class
Instrutor Elad Levinson will not be teaching classes at the Village Office for the next few months - Qigong at the Village Office will resume in April.

Fridays, 3:30 – 4:30 pm, Petaluma Health Center,* 1179 No. McDowell.
* Co-sponsored by the Petaluma Health Center and the Village Network.

Qigong is a mindful movement training that supports balance, relaxation, vigor, and strength. Qigong is also a meditative practice that encourages awareness, focus, and calmness. Participants report feeling confident as they walk without a fear of falling. There are no restrictions on who may come - if you cannot stand, poses can be done easily in a chair. Members free, non-members $5.

Elad Levinson has studied QiGong for many years with teacher Teja Bell. He has also practiced meditation since 1975.

Film Discussion Group
Fridays, Jan 4 and 18, 10:15 – 11:15 am, in a member's home.
Would you like to join a group of film lovers who get together to discuss the latest hits? We agree on a movie to see on our own and discuss it at the next meeting. Please RSVP to Jerry Spremich at 
415-827-3206, or For Village members and volunteers.

Gentle Chair Yoga -To Improve Balance, Flexibility and Increase Vitality
Thursdays, 11:00 – noon, Village office.
Popular Yoga teacher Pat Martin leads a practice of gentle yoga, Eden Energy exercises, breath work, and meditation to promote your well-being. The focus is on stress reduction and improving strength and resilience. We do both sitting and standing yoga. (We do not do yoga on the floor). All are welcome whether or not you have ever practiced yoga before. We now have a large quiet room. Friends are welcome. This class is free to Village members and $5 for non-members.

Teacher Pat Martin, CMT, EEM-CP, CYT, focuses on optimizing health and managing stress using Massage Therapy, Yoga, and Eden Energy Medicine. Pat also teaches yoga at P.O.S.T. Wellness by Design.

Wednesday Morning Village Drop-In Coffee Hour
Wednesdays, 9:00 -10:00 am, Aqus Cafe, 189 H St.
Village members and active volunteers are invited to a our weekly drop-in coffee hour. Member and volunteer Tiaga Liner facilitates this new way for Village folks to get to know each other.

Gardening Group
Monday, Jan 21, noon – 1:30 pm, at the home of a member.
(Meets the 3rdMonday of each month.)

Join our monthly gardening interest group, meeting in each other’s gardens. This is not about having a showplace, but about seeking suggestions, new ideas, and having fun. Please RSVP to Connie McNeill for the address, at 
707-773-3135, or

Bocce Ball
Wednesday, Jan 16, 4:00 – 5:00 pm, Leghorn Park.
(Meets the 3rdWednesday of each month.)

No experience necessary, rain cancels. We have a lot of fun! Newcomers are welcome. RSVP to George Beeler at

Village Game Night
Friday, Jan 11, 3:00 – 5:00 pm, Village office.
A great way to relax and have fun at the end of your week. We have several new games to play. Optional: You can also bring a game you like, finger food snacks, or drinks - or just bring yourself! Newcomers welcome. RSVP to the office for address at, or 776-6055.

Village Singing Group

Thursday, Jan 31, 3:00 – 4:30 pm, in the home of a member. (Meets last Thursday of each month.)
No prior experience or talent necessary, just a love of making music. We try many kinds of music – and have a lot of fun.
RSVP to Tiaga Liner at or 658-1646 for location.

Potluck for Village Members and Volunteers
Sunday, Jan 27, 4:00 – 6:00 pm, in a member’s home.
(Meets the last Sunday of each month.)

A time to get to know each other better, share good food, enjoy our “conversation café,” and have fun. For members and volunteers. RSVP to 776-6055 or for the address.

Tech Workshop
Wednesday, Jan 30, 3:00 - 4:30 pm, Village office.
(Meets the last Wednesday of each month.)

Members at all experience levels welcome in this workshop, which will assist you with computer, tablet, or cell phone issues. Learn new ways to get things done and make your life easier. Led by Village volunteers Tom Horst, Steve Schlich, and Paul Greenblatt.

Reminder: If you are a member and need someone to come to your home to help with a computer problem, you can also schedule an appointment with a Village tech volunteer.

Men's Discussion Group
Alternate Thursday afternoons, Village office.
We get together with other men on a regular basis to discuss men’s lives and other topics in a spirit of fellowship. If you are interested or even curious, RSVP to 776-6055 or The group is limited to eight members and volunteers.


Frauds and Scams: What's Going Around in Petaluma?
Tuesday, Feb 5, 1:00 to 2:30 pm, Village office.
Trained volunteers from the Petaluma Police Department visited us in 2017 to tell us about the frauds and scams floating around town. They're coming back to update us on phone calls, knocks on the door, people on the street, and mailings we should watch out for. We’ll learn how to recognize and handle these intrusions and how to report them. Open to members, volunteers, and the public. Please RSVP by January 29 to or 707-776-6055 to ensure a seat at this important presentation.

Volunteer Driver Training
Wednesday, Feb 13, 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Village office.
The Village Network has been steadily growing,which means our need for volunteer drivers, our most requested service, is also growing. Members are deeply appreciative and have glowing feedback about Village drivers. Completion of this training is necessary before driving Village members. RSVP by Wednesday, February 6 required: 707-776-6055 or

Winter's Graces: The Surprising Gifts of Later Life
Saturday, Feb 23, 2:00 – 4:00 pm, Petaluma Public Library.
Drawing on folklore, recent research, the world’s wisdom traditions, and the experience of elders themselves, Susan Stewart will describe a balanced and heartening view of age that acknowledges its challenges and celebrates its many gifts. There will time for questions and comments, and copies ofWinter’s Graceswill be available for purchase and signing by the author.

Susan Stewart, PhD, is an emerita professor of psychology (SSU), a retired psychotherapist, a regular contributor to Psychology Today, and the author of Winter’s Graces.


Message from the Board President
As January returns, I remember a favorite quote from poet Rainer Maria Rilke: “And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.” This feels like a wonderful opportunity to pause and appreciate what we’re co-creating: a caring and purposeful space for learning, laughter, and courage as we discover new possibilities for what’s next in our lives and in the Village Network.

I love the warm energy in the office, with people coming to programs and team meetings or just dropping by to connect with a friend or select a new book from our book exchange.

In 2017 we were fortunate to hire an exceptionally warm and competent half-time Village Manager, Joanne Martin Braun, and this year we welcomed a new Administrative Assistant, Mary Cruz, who has already made a big difference in improving systems and communications.

We’ve come a long way since launching in 2014: a talented and dedicated Board, a beautiful new office and member meeting space generously offered by our community partner PEP Housing, many social events, educational programs often open to the larger Petaluma community, more than 200 members, volunteers and donors, and a thriving subsidized Membership Partners fund for people living on very limited incomes. This fall, we started offering an Associate Membership, to make Village membership more affordable and to broaden our inclusiveness.

We have 14 interest groups where people build new friendships, including a weekly writing group, Qigong and Gentle Yoga, a new book group, a gardening group, bocce ball, and a singing group that brings together people who shyly sing in the shower, people who have decades of experience, and everyone in between! All these groups help provide a sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves – enhancing our well-being and inspiring new possibilities in our lives.

This is the gift of the Village Network – it offers us unique opportunities to explore new relationships with others, and the one we have with ourselves. With this trusted band of fellow travelers we’re co-creating a community grounded in the ethics of care and the opportunity we all have to live engaged and satisfying lives at any age.

Hope to see you soon!

Wayne Guptill - The Village's "Multi-Talented Volunteer"
Raised in Modesto along with 10 siblings, Wayne and his family returned every summer to their farm in South Dakota, where they all pitched in to do chores at the family reunions. Wayne met his wife, Robin, at Fair Isaac, where they both worked. They raised two children – Lisa and Tyler, now 23 and 20. After 34 years at Fair Isaac, he retired to devote more time to family, his beloved sport of golf, and volunteering for COTS. Earlier in his life he had also umpired for JC baseball and refereed high school basketball for 18 years.

Several years ago, Wayne started volunteering as a handyperson for the Village. He soon became more involved as a volunteer driver and friendly visitor. Recently he became co-leader of the Driving Team and a core member of the Office Team. When you call the office, it may well be Wayne, with his warm, friendly, can-do manner, responding to calls ranging from “I’d like a ride to the doctor’s next week” to “Want to help us create a garden outside the office door?”

“My work with the Village helps provide a tremendous sense of self-worth,” Wayne said. “I meet and get to know great people. It solidifies what my parents always taught us growing up: giving is receiving.”

Wayne is pictured in front of the garden he recently helped create with the Gardening Group and other helpful volunteers.

People Really Do Get Wiser as They Get Older
A team of psychologists asked people to read about a conflict and respond to questions about it. The scientists analyzed the responses for characteristics like seeing from someone else’s point of view, anticipating change, considering multiple possible turnouts, acknowledging uncertainty, and searching for compromise. They found that the oldest group they studied — people who were between 60 and 90 — did better than other ages on almost every count.

Declutter, Divest, and Discard Paper for a Simpler, Saner Life
Despite the generally held opinion that paper is on its way to the land of the dinosaurs, the average home does seem to accumulate alarming quantities of the stuff. Catalogs, junk mail, receipts, magazines, newspapers: they keep on coming, and sometimes it feels as if they multiply on their own when no one is watching. If you find the abundance of unwanted paper in your home overwhelming, the following suggestions may be helpful in tackling the clutter.

1. Gather all nonessential paper in one place (of course your important papers are already filed in your safe or other secure location – aren’t they?!) Keeping a basket or other receptacle by the front door, in the kitchen, or in some other convenient location will help ensure that all paper coming into the home is deposited in one place.

2. On a regular basis, no less than once a week, sort through everything in the basket. Make three piles: “Throw Out,” “Shred,” and “Save.” Place every piece of paper into one of those piles and then do what they command you to do. (Of course almost everything in the Throw Out pile should actually be recycled.) Whatever is in the Save pile should immediately be divided into items that can be scanned to your computer and those that you want to keep as a hard copy. Take the former and scan them right away; then add them to the Throw Out pile. The remaining items in the Save pile -- hopefully, there will be very few -- should be placed in appropriately labeled file folders, storage boxes, or plastic bins.

3. You can reduce the amount of paper you receive – and thereby minimize the sorting you will be doing at least once a week – by some or all of the following steps. Switch to online banking and bill payment; read the news online (OK, that’s a controversial one; some of us will never give up our newspapers. But remember, online subscriptions cost less and involve no paper); correspond by email rather than letters; and finally, use a free service such as to stop receiving catalogs you don’t want.

More detailed suggestions can be found in Marie Kondo’s amusing book, Spark Joy, though some people find her advice a bit extreme. Following the suggested simple routine for handling paper is at least a good place to start the decluttering process – and a great resolution for the New Year. - Kathy Lawrence

"The Green Book" Sees Friendship as Antidote to Racism
Having been born and raised in New Orleans and having seen racism in living color, having witnessed insulting speech bandied about in the presence of those meant as its target, the film “The Green Book” speaks volumes to me.

The two main characters, Dr. Don Shirley, a black concert pianist, and Tony Lip, a white nightclub bouncer, understand that even though racial and cultural differences divide them, they have both experienced social discrimination.

Influenced by real-life events, the story begins in 1962, when Dr. Shirley, seeking someone with muscle and not afraid to use it, hires a New York Italian tough guy who works at the Copacabana nightclub. He needs someone to drive him on a concert tour beginning in Manhattan and continuing through the Midwest and deep South.

From the moment Tony takes the wheel of Shirley’s Cadillac, with Shirley sitting comfortably self-assured in the back seat, differences surface between the three-time PhD recipient and the street-educated driver.

But as time and experiences begin to work their magic, mutual respect and consideration for each other deepen. One can forgive the occasional schtick and schmaltz because the real prize lies not just in their eventual bonding, but in the moments when both are reminded of how painful it is to be blindly denounced for merely existing.

The question arises why someone would deliberately travel to a region where discrimination is not the exception but the rule, the law. The answer, we are told by one of the members of the Don Shirley Trio, is, “It's not enough to be a genius; you need courage to change minds.”

Shirley and Lip remained friends until their deaths, both in 2013.

- Jerry Spremich

Online calendar at:

Village Network office: 955 Petaluma Blvd. South
info@ 707-776-6055


Provider of professional Home Care services since 2003.
Also providing Home Care training to family caregivers.


L to R: Paul Greenblatt; Scotti Kluess; Rick Gorman, Branch Manager, Exchange Bank Petaluma; Anne Greenblatt; Kelly Back, Branch Manager, Exchange Bank Sebastopol; Darcy Levy, Bob Stires (photo by Village Board member StarrRohrman).

Exchange Bank Foundation
Rotary Club of Petaluma
Maria DoCeu, Out West Garage
Gauchan Gopal, Everest Indian Restaurant
Bill Wolpert, Green Building Architects

Bridie Acton
Caryn & Joe Ansel
Patricia Arfsten
Teresa Barrett
Dianne & John Benjamin
Lyndi Brown & Anthony Tusler
Pat Burns
Suzanne Clarke
Janet Clover
Jan Crosby
Deborah & John Dalton
Paul & Sherri Eklof
Ann & Mel Fox
Ken & Susan Gertz
Clint & Evie Gilbert
Tina Hittenberger
Freeman Humphrey
Lynn & Gary Imm
Kathleen Kestelyn
Diane Judd & Ronald Krempetz
Nancy Kull
Darcy & Harvey Levy
Tiaga Liner
Sid & Geri Lipton
Laura Lyons
Pat Martin
John Mazzella
Mayann McCourt
Sue Miller
David & Cheryl Perry
Alice Jean Rebizzo
Regina Reilly
Junko Rich
Mike & Sue Riley
Starr Rohrman
Vreni Schnirman
Ernest & Eileen Simard
Janine & Ray Slaughter
Paul & Nina Smith
Hope Stewart
Marvin Weinbaum & Lynn Byk
Elizabeth Young

Your donations are vitally important in building a sustainable organization.
All financial and in-kind donations are tax deductible,
as we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

If you would like to support the Village Network, make checks payable to:
"Village Network of Petaluma"
P.O. Box 442
Petaluma, CA 94953

Or you can donate on-line at

We extend our appreciation to Kathy Lawrence, our newsletter writer/editor,
and to Denise Wilbanks, who handles MailChimp formatting,

for contributing their expertise.

Community-Support-Peace of Mind

As part of a national movement, the Village Network of Petaluma is a nonprofit membership organization empowering adults 50+ to live active, independent,
and connected lives in our own homes and apartments as we age.

955 Petaluma Blvd. South - -707-776-6055