MEET MEMBER MARTY KAFKA (and All That Jazz)

MEET MEMBER MARTY KAFKA (and All That Jazz)

BOLLI Member and contemporary jazz pianist Marty Kafka “at play”

Last spring, Marty Kafka took a five-week “trial membership” course at BOLLI, found it to be very interesting, liked the people in the class, and decided to dive right into a full membership this past September.  “I feel like I’m back in college,” he says, “but without the grades.”

Marty appreciates BOLLI’s community spirit of cooperative learning and says he is benefitting from the broad knowledge base of our members.  “We help each other, and I am developing friendships associated with the courses and activities.”

An amateur digital photographer, Marty soon joined the Photo Club, particularly enjoying the group’s trips to the de Cordova Museum and Walden Pond.  He’s also taken part in as many current events sessions as he’s been able to attend.

Prior to his retirement a year ago, Marty worked as a psychiatrist and still supervises psychiatric residents.  As a clinician-researcher for over thirty years, he developed a specialty interest in sexual behavior disorders.  He was awarded a Distinguished Life Fellowship by the American Psychiatric Association and was selected to collaborate on the revision and publication of the 5th Edition of the APA Diagnostic Manual.

While Marty enjoys a variety of interests, he is passionate about jazz piano and loves playing contemporary jazz.   He says, as he was growing up, there was always music in his family.

“My father played the piano, the trumpet, the violin, and the ukulele. Before and after WWII (and before I was born), he spent summers as a small band leader, playing at various Catskill Mountain resorts.  That, in fact, was how he met my mother.  So, when I was six, Dad encouraged me to try the piano.  I took to it naturally.  He would accompany me on the violin for simple classical pieces and on the trumpet for popular music.  Mom was our appreciative audience.  When my younger brother Ken started playing the accordion and then the guitar, we were a trio—with our own built-in audience.

“I think I gravitated away from classical music toward jazz when I started listening to the music of Ray Charles during my teenage years.  Listening to Charles as well as Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, I learned the blues scales and chords and gradually evolved my own style.  My favorite contemporary jazz pianists were all classically trained—Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Stefano Bollani, and Gonzalo Rubalcava.

“For, me, music is meditative.  That is one of the great things about improvisational music—your mind must remain in the moment and cannot wander.  You try to hear something in your mind and then play what you hear.  It’s a lifelong challenge to improve what you create internally and then work to be able to produce it accurately.”

Last summer, Marty played in a quintet that performed at an outdoor festival in Salem, but he says that his favorite place to play is in his living room.  Currently, he enjoys playing at home with a saxophonist and a bass player–and he’d love to hear from BOLLI members who might also be interested in playing contemporary jazz!”

Finally, Marty says that “I have been blessed with my wonderful wife of 32 years, Karen, as well as two loving ‘children’ who are now both accomplished young adults. Although I am not a religious person, I am deeply grateful, every day, for having led such a fortunate life.”

To hear some of Marty’s music, here are audio cuts with the saxophone player.  Just click on the little triangle on the left end of the bar to enjoy the music!

And, PLEASE–be sure to register your “applause” in the box below!

BOLL Matters editor Sue Wurster

There’s nothing I love more than talking to people and finding out about their interests, ideas, backgrounds, families, plans, and more which makes it such a complete pleasure to focus on “Meeting Our Members” here on our BOLLI Matters blog.  Be sure to send your ideas to:  susanlwurster@gmail. com

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARCH’S CHEF’S CORNER WITH CHEF RUDY: SPARE RIBS!

MEATY SPARE RIBS

This recipe was developed from a Chinese Cuisine site on the web, though I have made a lot of alterations.  When buying the spareribs try to find those with a meaty back side (unlike what is typically found in a Chinese Restaurant where they remove that part to be used in other dishes).

The keys are to cook slowly, with the oven moist, to keep the meat tender.  Then at the end cook them under the broiler to make them crisp.

6  Spareribs (meaty)                                                                                                         ¼ cup Soy Sauce                                                                                                                  ½ cup red Chinese sauce (Ah So)                                                                          1½ Tbs Catsup                                                                                                                 1½ tsp Mustard (I use powdered)                                                                          1½ Tbs Red Wine Vinegar (or other vinegar)                                                    1 Tbs Brown Sugar                                                                                                            5 Garlic Cloves, well chopped                                                                               1/3 cup Honey (dissolved in some water)

  1. Marinate the spareribs (turning occasionally) in everything but the honey.  Best if marinated for a full day (or even 36 hours).  A 10×14” pan works particularly well.  You will probably have to cut the rack of ribs into 6” sections to fit, but don’t cut individual ribs.
  2. Bake at 335 for about an hour, with the meat side up on a rack over a cookie tray.  Put aluminum foil in the pan to catch the fat drippings.
  3. Place a tray of water a few inches under the cooking tray.  This generates steam and keeps the ribs moist.  (Make sure that it doesn’t evaporate.)
  4. Baste the ribs with honey every 15 minutes
  5. Remove the ribs from the oven, get rid of the foil and the fat.
  6. Put the ribs back in, under the broiler, about 6” from the element.  Baste heavily with the honey and broil for 5-7 minutes to crisp the ribs.  Turn over, baste the back side, and cook the back under the broiler for 5-7 minutes. A lot more fat may come off during the broiling process.
  7. Individually cut apart the ribs.
  8. Serve with Duck Sauce and lots of napkins.
Our “Chef’s Corner” feature writer John Rudy

John says that it was his mother who inspired his love of cooking and baking at an early age.  (She cooked exclusively vegetables in boil-able packages.)

john.rudy@alum.mit.edu (781-861-0402)

RETIRED–BUT NOT FROM LIFE: By Eleanor Jaffe

Dear BOLLI Friends,

I write to you from Florida, the state where a lot of people  have moved when they retire.  Why not? After all, the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay are beautiful, the weather is terrific, and here in Sarasota, cultural pleasures are sophisticated and plentiful. Even life-long learning programs abound. The easy path is for retirees to sit back, read the papers, watch TV news, critique the world from their armchairs, and then share those critiques only with those whose politics agree with their own.  After all, retirement has its rewards, and some might believe that inaction and armchair “jawing” are among them.

A certain caution is discernible here in Florida when people meet one another for the first time.  Is it “safe” to discuss politics?  (And what other subject is so front and center these days?)  We don’t, after all, want to offend and argue.  Who among these strangers voted for Trump and who voted for Hillary?  Who didn’t vote at all?  Who watches with complacency and agreement as liberal institutions in government and in society are attacked and dismantled?  Communication across the great political divide not only grows more limited but is increasingly full of disbelief and rage.  What are we to do with our passionately held beliefs and accompanying angst?

My beliefs and personality dictate action, constructive action.  The question for me is, what kinds of action will be the most constructive?  In other words, what will help to defang our present administration and re-establish a more liberal democracy that reflects our values as a welcoming, fair minded, constructive, and positive force in the world—- a Marshall Plan kind of world.  Of course, some of you who read this will not agree with me, and so, I urge you to respond.  Let’s communicate!

Two events that I attended here were heartening.  The first was the Women’s March in January.  Here in Sarasota, police estimated that 10,000 people marched!  We women and men carried signs, wore pink hats, and shouted slogans as we marched along the beautiful Marina Bay and across the bridge connecting Sarasota to Bird Key.  It was peaceful, and it was wonderful to be among so many like minded demonstrators.  Clearly, they were not “retired” from politics and life.

This past Saturday (3/18), we attended a “town hall” where the local Congressman, Representative Vern Buchanan, held his 75th meeting of constituents since taking office five terms earlier.  The Sarasota Herald Tribune said that this 75th town hall meeting (attended by more than 1,300 who packed Van Wezel Auditorium and an estimated additional 800 who couldn’t fit into the room) was unlike all his previous town hall meetings and would not soon be forgotten. We have seen television news reports of other town meetings with Republican congressional representatives and senators—full of people with strong opinions becoming raucous, erupting in chants, and even booing. That’s what this meeting was like.  Retirees do not want their health benefits messed with, want veterans and people with disabilities cared for, want fair immigration policies, and more.  And this meeting occurred in Florida, a state that voted for Trump.

We have been away from Massachusetts now for three months.  I read The New York Times and watch MSNBC, which, of course, indicates the nature of my own political bent.  I admit that I am not current with politics in Massachusetts where our citizens are overwhelmingly “democratic” and liberal, despite having a Republican Governor,  Perhaps you don’t feel the need to watch your words or wonder who supported whom in the election.  Perhaps you haven’t felt the need to become an activist, armchair or otherwise.  Some of my friends, including BOLLI friends, are becoming active and have been eager to tell me about their involvement in church and immigration groups, grandmothers’ groups, civil liberties groups, and more.

I wonder if it is time to create a BOLLI clearinghouse for organizations and actions in this perilous time for democracy, a place where actions and activism can be discussed, and information shared.  I know that beliefs and actions supported by like-minded others are more likely to be effective and succeed.  Perhaps in my absence from BOLLI, a group has been formed and is already active?  If so, count me in.  If not, let’s do it!

See you soon around our BOLLI “campus.”

Your snow-bird friend,

Eleanor Jaffe

FROM MYSTERY MAVEN MARILYN: MEET FLAVIA DE LUCE

MEET FLAVIA De LUCE

Speaking from Among the Bones

In case you haven’t met her already, allow me to introduce Flavia de Luce.  The third daughter of an impoverished British former army officer, she’s a delightful character who appeared fully formed in the first book of Alan Bradley’s series, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.  Now she’s back in Speaking from Among the Bones.

The de Luce family traces its roots back hundreds of years in England, but they have fallen on hard times.  The estate of Buckshaw, the ancestral home of Harriet de Luce, the girls’ late mother, is in arrears for back taxes that Colonel de Luce is unable to pay.  Harriet went missing, as the British expression goes, on a trek in the Himalayas shortly after Flavia was born twelve years ago.  Although Buckshaw is no longer the elegant country estate it once was, it’s the only home that Flavia and her two sisters, Daphne (Daffy) and Ophelia (Feely) have ever known, and the thought of having it taken away by Inland Revenue is casting a dark shadow over the family.

The village of Bishop’s Lacy, home to the de Luces, is preparing for the five-hundredth anniversary of the death of its patron holy man, St. Tancred.  Exactly why this should necessitate digging up his coffin and removing his bones is unclear, unless it is, as Daffy says to Flavia, to see if his body remains uncorrupted, if he has “the odor of sanctity.”  Whatever the reason, the Church of England authorities gave the vicar of St. Tancred permission to remove his coffin, but now they want to revoke that.   The vicar protests that plans have gone too far, but when the crypt is entered (and Flavia, of course, is present) to unearth the casket, the group finds the much more recent remains of the church’s organist, Chrispin Collicutt, who has been missing for several weeks.

Flavia, of course, wants to be in the midst of everything, reflecting that her past successes with local crimes should entitle her to assist the local police whether they want her help or not.  And her vast knowledge of poisons will come in handy, she is sure, in solving any and all crimes in the village, including that of the murder of Mr. Collicutt.  Astride her trusty bike, Gladys, there’s no stopping her.

Bishop’s Lacey is filled with fascinating characters.  There’s  the church’s vicar and his wife; Miss Tanty, a middle-aged member of the choir who suddenly fancies herself as a detective; Adam Sowerby, a friend of the colonel’s with a business card that identifies him as a horticulturist, flora-archaeologist, and investigator (the last under the somewhat misleading wording of “inquiries”); and the two remaining members of the once-grand Buckshaw staff:  Mrs. Mullet, cook and housekeeper; and Dogger, gardener and general handyman, formerly in the service with Colonel de Luce.

Alan Bradley has written the fifth novel in this delightful series with the same wit and verve as he did with the previous four.  You can read more about him at this web site:  alanbradleyauthor.com

BOLLI’s Mystery Maven, Marilyn Brooks

My son Rich told me the world needed a mystery review blog written by me.  Next, my husband Bob suggested that, after writing the reviews, I write to the authors to alert them to these posts.  I was sure none would respond to my emails, but much to my surprise, more than half do, sending short notes of thanks or longer items about themselves and their work.  

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Reads blog at her web site:  marilynsmysteryreads.com   When there, you can subscribe to Marilyn’s blog so that you are notified whenever she adds a new post.

MARCH SCREENING ROOM: Another Gem

A TIMELY CONFECTION

from Sue Wurster

What better way to spend a snow day than cruising through Netflix for a nice movie?  Today, I found one of those little British gems that is still making me smile.

In Dough, Jonathan Pryce plays Net Dayan of “Dayan & Son,” a struggling Jewish bakery that has been in his family for generations. His days are proscribed.  His routine is intact.  Alas, his own son chose a career as a lawyer over the business, and, now, he’s being pressured to sell out to a grocery chain with a store next door that has actually poached his baking assistant.

The woman who cleans for Dayan is a Muslim woman from Darfur whose son Ayyash has been making some unfortunate choices.  She asks her boss to take the boy on as his assistant, which the baker decides to do “on a trial basis.”

Add to this mix the ever charming Pauline Collins as a lonely widow, and you have the ingredients for a satisfying confection.

Enjoy!

BOLL Matters editor Sue Wurster

 

A confirmed snow day couch potato, Sue has an affinity for the British approach to both film and TV.  

 

 

MARCH SENIOR MOMENT with Liz David: Legacy Letters

LEGACY LETTERS

by Liz David

As we age, we begin to think about legacy.  We write health care proxies which may or may not include ”do not resuscitate” orders. We may designate  a family member or independent person as having our power of attorney.  We write wills as to how we want our financial assets distributed and include lists of those we wish to receive our personal items such as precious jewelry, family heirlooms and special, meaningful, possibly sentimental items.  We may agonize about who should get what and how much, who should receive this or that item, or who even wants anything!

Some of us offer our children and grandchildren these items as we age, before we die.  “Thank you, Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa–but we don’t have any room.  It just doesn’t fit.”  Or, worse, “it isn’t our taste.”  Or, even, “You still have a lot of years ahead, and we want you to continue to enjoy the item” of the moment while you still can.

There is another legacy, though, that may be even more meaningful than the above and doesn’t depend on legalities or whether or not anyone wishes to receive the item.  It is a “Legacy Letter,” or, as described in ancient times, an Ethical Will.  A Legacy Letter is a letter we write to our loved ones, either to be opened after death, or shared whenever you decide the time is right.  It is a way to synthesize our thoughts and feelings in a meaningful  and loving way. It is a way to transmit our love, our special stories, anecdotes, and the lessons we have learned over a lifetime.

As older adults, we consciously, or not, are models. Our behavior, attitudes and values are transmitted to those around us.  We teach by our lives, our examples, our deeds, our spoken and unspoken words. It is normal for us to think about what is important for us to transmit to those in our sphere, our family, loved ones, closest friends.

Don’t get me wrong.  Keeping our relationships “current” should be a top priority, either through confronting difficult subjects or, simply, giving a peck on the cheek as we walk out the door, knowing that, given life’s unpredictability, we may never see that person again. It may sound dramatic, but it’s true!

Here are some guidelines that I’ve used  when helping Legacy Letter participants through the process.

  1. Are there specific things you wish to say to specific people?
  2. What are the important teachings, messages, etc. you would like to leave as your legacy?
  3. What qualities in the people you are writing to have given you pride or pleasure? What do you want to affirm about them?
  4. If you have a life partner, would you want to give him or her encouragement to re-couple?
  5. What acts of charity would you like survivors to do in your memory? Do you want money donated? To a specific cause
  6. Discuss funeral plans. Remember funerals are for your survivors.

Do’s and Don’t’s

  1. Do include your favorite jokes and memories of the good times you’ve shared.
  2. Don’t scold, criticize or use this as a guilt trip to punish people.
  3. Inform loved ones where you have stored your Legacy Letter.
  4. Update periodically

Regarding whether to write your Legacy Letter on the computer or handwritten–I suggest you do both. There is nothing so precious as receiving a handwritten letter,  and it will reflect your style and personality in ways that will be appreciated beyond measure.

May you go from strength to strength.

Senior Moment feature writers Eleanor Jaffe (left) and Liz David (right)

When we were in our 40’s, my husband and I bought a sundial with the saying “grow old along with me–the best is yet to be.”  I then felt a “calling” and, at age 45, earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and became a bereavement counselor.  Later, a friend encouraged me to join BOLLI where I began to offer courses in which we discuss our aging–from the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of our lives.  My passion is to help others to gain deeper understanding of themselves and the changes, losses, gains, and glories of aging.  So, “grow old along with me–the best is yet to be.”