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Amanda Hayhurst: Selfless Angel

Amanda Hayhurst: Selfless Angel

Caya and Courtney Knight posted the flyer time and again across the greater Atlanta area. For five long years, their 50-year-old single mom, Vonchelle, had been hooking up nightly to a dialysis machine to replicate the critical blood cleansing and balancing work of her failed kidneys. She feared her time was running out. The grim statistics say that once a person starts on dialysis they have an average of seven years of life remaining. Unless they are blessed to find a kidney donor. The disappointment of spending eight years on the donor wait list was wearing on Knight and her family. But she never lost her hope or optimism. Besides her family, her saving grace was her career as an analyst at Northside Hospital’s Bone Marrow Transplant Department, where she participated on a team that regularly saved the lives of others, including many children. A mission of love can certainly keep one’s spirits high. When at home, she would raise her daughter’s spirits by repeating her affirmation, “This is my year, Lord, this is my time for a miracle. I
Shawn Hardnett: Beacon Of Hope

Shawn Hardnett: Beacon Of Hope

Going above and beyond to educate those who need it most, he illuminates their future, offers a role model, and makes them a part of a legacy. He was told that North Forest was a “wasteland in Houston.” That was exactly why he was determined to go. Though weary from years of work in the struggling education system in New York, he was focused on entering one of the lowest performing districts in Texas as a force of change. Educational Reset “We opened the school for black and brown boys, taking the lowest performing demographic out of the lowest performing district. Now, these kids are outperforming the state in Reading and Math,” says Shawn Hardnett. His title is Founder and Chief Executive Officer for Statesmen College Preparatory Academy for Boys Public Charter School. That said, he has proudly worn many other worthy titles – school founder, leadership coach, principal, educational consultant and, most notably – teacher.  What Hardnett does may not be obvious to the casual observer, but his results clearly are, and they are profound. You can see it
Chad Pregracke: Rescuing Our Rivers

Chad Pregracke: Rescuing Our Rivers

One of the most powerful forces of nature, the river, has been revered the world over since ancient times, says ‘HelpSaveNature.com.’ These massive freshwater bodies have been called ‘the sources of life,’ and some of the most advanced civilizations of the world have originated and flourished on the banks of major rivers. Apart from being sources of sustenance, rivers have also been major hubs of economies. Their ease of transportation has facilitated mass mobility and trade and led to incalculable wealth accumulation. Clearly, this has been the case with America’s second longest river with the second largest drainage basin, the prodigious Mississippi River. The Noble Mississippi “The Mississippi River carries the mud of thirty states and two provinces 2,000 miles south to the delta and deposits 500 million tons of it there every year. The business of the Mississippi, which it will accomplish in time, is to methodically transport all of Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico.” – Charles Kuralt               From the time of Native Americans to the present, the “business” of the river has
Ken Schmidt: Harley Hero

Ken Schmidt: Harley Hero

This is not a story about a motorcycle company. This is the story of the man who revived an iconic American brand on the brink of being lost to history. In 1973, Harley-Davidson was turning out 37,000 motorcycles a year and pulling in $122 million in sales. AMF, the company who bought them in 1969, forced the company into producing far more than it should, causing compromised quality. The company, already having a reputation for leaky engines and such, was increasingly underperforming. A young boy was watching and falling in love with the Harleys during this time period. Born in 1959, Ken Schmidt sat his 14-year-old self in front of the TV, admiring the motorcycles that he would one day save. It’s About Reputation By the mid-70s, AMF replaced the Harley name with its own in a move that was widely disliked, they went too far. They didn’t notice the scale of that business decision error until sales plummeted. AMF then began looking to offload the company they were now burdened with. In 1981, Harley’s chief executive joined with a
Eric B. Maddox: Interrogator-in-Chief

Eric B. Maddox: Interrogator-in-Chief

As we dig deep into the lives of the highest echelon of entrepreneurial spirits, whatever be their pursuit, certain consistent characteristics emerge to explain their success. Early influences, work ethic, grit, positivity and a never-say-die mindset are all part of their recipe, no doubt. However, another less-appreciated “learned skill” is making an appearance time-and-again. In our noisy world that never stops talking, it is the art of patient, empathetic listening. Eric Maddox is famously known as the man whose investigatory techniques were most responsible for the 2003 capture of Saddam Hussein in war-torn Iraq. But he is much more than that. Let’s dig beneath the surface to discover the core of this warrior’s incomparable life-force. An Empathetic Warrior in Service When most young people are a few months away from graduating college, they are busy studying for finals, getting their cap and gown ordered, securing tickets to the ceremony, attending various celebrations across campus (i.e. keg parties), and planning for life beyond the safe campus confines, also called “the real world.” These may all describe Maddox, with one minor nuance.
Ronnie Coleman: A Mountainous Man

Ronnie Coleman: A Mountainous Man

How many athletes can we name who’ve reached the summit of their sport, in fact, who’ve been so dominant that their name is synonymous with the sport itself? The names flashing through our minds are a ‘who’s who,’ and include: Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger, Michael, LeBron, Serena, the Babe, Joe DiMaggio, Lawrence Taylor, Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis. Of course, there are several others deserving of such accolade, so please cool your jets. This subject will forever make good bar-top banter, and we’ll discuss it further over the next round. But for now, we have another obvious name to add to this esteemed list. For those who follow the sport of bodybuilding, with such notable champions and celebrities as Ferrigno, Schwarzenegger and Haney, the name often at the very top of the mountain is Ronnie Coleman. And why not? He won bodybuilding’s preeminent world championship, Mr. Olympia, a record-tying eight (8) consecutive years (1998-2005). It is said that the physique Coleman displayed on stage in the 2003 competition, at
Pavlo: Mediterranean Nights

Pavlo: Mediterranean Nights

There is one common ‘language’ that has the power to emotionally connect every human being on the planet, regardless of their race, culture or living conditions. It is the language of music – especially instrumental ‘feel-good’ music. The universal melodies can speak intimately to people of widely diverse backgrounds in a similar manner, causing spontaneous reminiscences, moving a person to tears, be they of despair or joy, and they can compel a person to leap up and gyrate their body excitedly in jubilant, celebratory dance. The inventor and reigning king of an instrumental ‘feel-good’ musical genre known as ‘Mediterranean’ is recognized across the globe only as Pavlo. The Early Years  In the aftermath of World War II, over half-a-million Europeans left their war-torn countries and emigrated to Canada, specifically to the Greater Toronto area. By 1960, a third of Toronto’s population were newcomers, including an estimated 12,500 Greek immigrants. By the 70s, the Greek population had grown to 30,000, and a section of town called ‘the Danforth’ was dubbed, ‘Little Athens.’ Among the early influx of immigrants were George and
Sarah Moshman: The Hero Within Her

Sarah Moshman: The Hero Within Her

She found her message, then traveled the country.  One fierce woman at a time, she dared to have their voices heard. In a burgundy jacket, jeans and grey boots, a non-assuming and charismatic speaker stood in front of an audience. She smiled and focused. In the audience, the people eagerly waited to hear her voice. She was slightly nervous, slightly excited but very determined. Nothing else accompanied her on stage other than a microphone and her message. The crowd slowly fell into a deep silence with full attention on her. She adjusted her hair, stood up straight, and said, “Hello, the Gina Davis Institute on Gender and Media did a study across all the popular films in 11 countries around the world and what that study found is that only 31% of those films had women with speaking roles and only 23% had a female protagonist,” said Sarah Moshman standing on the TEDx stage. Woman is Another Word for Hero Before that TEDx event, five women hopped into a minivan and drove across the United States. They traveled from Los
Major Lisa A. Jaster: Army Ranger

Major Lisa A. Jaster: Army Ranger

For many of us, the psyche of the ultra-high achiever, the elevated standard of discipline which frames their lives, is nearly impossible to fathom. We may be impressively credentialed ourselves with successful careers, we stay relatively fit and take care of our health, and at times we rise above difficult challenges. But that’s not what we’re discussing here. This is a whole other level of commitment, something so rare that we more common folk are traversing foreign territory. Why is a person this driven, this willing to push her body and mind well beyond what common willpower and human endurance typically allows? Why would any person voluntarily experience what the majority of us consider severe punishment akin to hell on earth? What motivates such a person’s actions and behaviors?We recently had the opportunity to meet one of these most extraordinary people, to dig in below the surface and find her core. Following is our briefing: The Engineer & The Soldier Some people are competitive, others are hyper-competitive, and then there’s Lisa Jaster. She is an engineer and a soldier. That’s
Captain Charlie Plumb: Pilot, POW, Survivor

Captain Charlie Plumb: Pilot, POW, Survivor

The true story of a Kansas boy’s dream, a prisoner of war’s nightmare, and a man’s hope that overcame adversity. In the hot tropical heat, their faces swollen from mosquito bites, these American prisoners of war could hardly see. Lying on his side, Charlie Plumb tasted the putrid floors, the twine tightly wrapped around his black and blue wrists. Survival training had not sufficiently prepared him or explained the use of such brutal tactics. What occurred in Viet Cong prisoner of war camps overshadowed the most hellish imaginings we can muster. A meat hook adorned the chamber he was in. It hung above them ominously like a sadistic foreshadowing. Every day the Viet Cong would use new forms of torture on the young American captives. Plumb’s wrists and ankles were rubbed raw from being hogtied, he’d been in this position for months. One night, he was dragged into an 8-by-8-foot cell, where he would endure years of physical and mental torture. Through the pain, the tears and blood, his biggest concern were his fellow brothers in arms. The days of
ALDEN MILLS: EX NAVY SEAL & PERFECTLY UNSTOPPABLE

ALDEN MILLS: EX NAVY SEAL & PERFECTLY UNSTOPPABLE

Personal Growth, A Brief History  The popularity of the ‘Personal Growth’ or ‘Self-Help’ genre of literature, and its associated seminars and training programs, is more than a century old. Just a few of the names you may be familiar with include: As a Man Thinketh by James Allen (1902), How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (1936), Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (1937), The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale (1952), See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar (1975), The Sky’s the Limit by Wayne Dyer (1980), The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (1989), Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins (1991) and Good to Great by Jim Collins (2001). These classic books and related trainings, while disparaged by some, have inspired countless success stories and even saved lives. The foundational principles involve becoming more aware of human psychology and thereby developing a better understanding of why we think and behave as we do. Then, time-honored tools and techniques are implemented to make positive changes and gain greater control over the direction of our lives. The genre
Mickey Redwine: BORN & BRED Lone Star Patriot

Mickey Redwine: BORN & BRED Lone Star Patriot

We’ve written dozens of Throomers’ features by now. Incredible, energetic, accomplished people, one and all. This is no different. We’re excited to introduce an uncommon man whose interests, achievements and contributions are so copious and diverse, we needed to discover a central theme to tie him all together. We think we found it. The Lone Star State is where Mickey Redwine was born and bred. If there’s an essential element to the man, it is this. His place of birth has influenced much of his independent streak, his impassioned drive, and his outsized dignity. He is an American patriot and an unremitting entrepreneur, no doubt, but at his core the man is a true and proud Texan. Reminiscent of a long-ago frontiersman on the open plain, Redwine sees in the distance only the bright light of possibility drawing him onward to an even better day. His adventuresome spirit won’t allow for setting up camp any longer than is necessary. He grabs his side arm, a vitamin drink to recharge the batteries, and then saddles up his Harley to get a
Laura FitzGerald
: Woman Trailblazer

Laura FitzGerald
: Woman Trailblazer

Looking out for the little guy, this gal gives oil and gas goliaths a run for their money. She is known as an honest game-changer for landowners who are seeking to secure and sell their mineral rights. Her ability to navigate through all the intricacies of mineral rights transactions helps ensure the seller of getting the best value for their minerals. Meet Laura FitzGerald, a gentle but tough southern gal who founded IIios Resources, an oil and gas exploration company based out of Shreveport, Louisiana. From the Ground Up FitzGerald started as a paralegal for some of the best oil and gas attorneys in Shreveport, Louisiana. During her four years working as a paralegal, she sharpened her knowledge of oil and gas legalities while keeping up with the latest federal and local regulations on drilling minerals. This experience would be foundational to her going full force into the field, forming the entrepreneur and leader she is today. FitzGerald made a career change leaving her paralegal work and becoming an independent landman, or shall we say landwoman, for major oil and
Steve Morello: Your Photo Fellow

Steve Morello: Your Photo Fellow

Add this to your bucket list — an unforgettable photography adventure. You’ve probably seen his stunning photographs in publications and books from prestigious publishers such as National Geographic, National Wildlife, Outdoor Photographer, The New York Times, or in the photo collection of World Wildlife Fund. Steve Morello has spent his entire career dedicated to photographing nature and travel destinations all over the world. Morello is also an accomplished author having written The Traveling Nature Photographer, considered by many as an absolute must-have for novice and aspiring photographers. The guide prepares the reader for photographic adventures in the wild and includes tips for taking professional-quality photos. It also features beautiful examples of his work as a source of inspiration. He’s also authored a plethora of articles on travel and nature photography that have been widely published in many magazines. Whether as a guide or photographer, his experiences have taken him throughout most of the world. His subjects have spanned the globe from the Arctic to Antarctica, Asia, the Americas, Africa, and Europe. Hiking through forest jungle, pontooning along a river, or
Frank M. Ahearn: Now You See Me…

Frank M. Ahearn: Now You See Me…

Have you ever wanted to track down a deadbeat who owes you money? You call, text, email, stop by, but you’re completely ignored, like you’re invisible, or they are. Have you ever been on the other side of the transaction, the pursued, hiding out from someone you’d rather never see or speak with again? If so, have you ever wanted to just disappear into thin air? In your online life, have you ever been threatened, scammed or even blackmailed? Do you know the real identity of the person you met online, perhaps a romantic interest from one of the blogs or dating sites? Are you 100% certain of their true identity and intentions? Is there something out there in cyberworld, perhaps a past indiscretion or soured relationship, that could come back to haunt you, maybe even destroy your career or marriage? Wouldn’t you just love to make it disappear?   Potential enemies are lurking everywhere in our digital world and the uninformed are at great risk. No one knows this better than privacy expert, Frank Ahearn, a magician of sorts
FoldiMate: Your New Best Friend

FoldiMate: Your New Best Friend

Folding laundry has never been this much fun.  I consider myself a pretty lucky guy. I’ve got a great wife who has always managed our household while I was hard at work. And, now that I’m retired from work, she has continued to do so. I do have a few responsibilities, however, one of them being folding my laundry. And, while I don’t claim to be an expert, I am able to get by, perhaps because most days you can find me wearing a pair of lightweight fishing pants and a t-shirt. Let me make this clear —I do not wish to pretend that I enjoy folding my laundry, and it can get embarrassing when my clothes look like a pile of wrinkles. But there’s a solution on the way, and I am excited! My new best friend is called FoldiMate, which is an automatic laundry-folding machine! Here’s how it works —you simply put a shirt or a pair of pants onto a tray that pulls it into the machine. The machine then folds each item, and perhaps ten to
Coravin: Keeping Wines Fresh Forever

Coravin: Keeping Wines Fresh Forever

How physics, mechanical engineering, nuclear power, and medical devices changed the world of wine. I am not a wine aficionado, to say the least, but I enjoy an occasional glass or two. I must admit, however, that I find it very frustrating that if I don’t finish the bottle in one sitting, or certainly, within 24 hours, I find myself pouring it down the drain! That becomes pretty painful when considering price and quality. A Fine Gadget for Fine Wine When discussing my frustrations with a friend recently, he looked at me like I was a moron and asked “Haven’t you heard about Coravin?” Well, no, I’d never heard of Coravin at that time, but I’ve certainly learned a lot since then. So, what is Coravin? It’s a device that inserts a needle into a bottle of wine, allowing you to enjoy its contents without removing the cork and, more importantly, without spoiling the rest of the bottle. Can you imagine? Every sip will taste as good as the first, you can enjoy multiple bottles at the same time, and
Bragi By Starkey: Custom Wireless

Bragi By Starkey: Custom Wireless

Lifestyle gadgets, ear computers, wearable technology, oh my! Recently, my wife suggested that I get my hearing checked because I ask her to repeat things on occasion. While I think I have what many refer to as “selective hearing,” I decided that it would be a good idea to see an audiologist, as a matter of fact the audiologist who was featured in our February edition, Dr. Alexandra Tarvin. After testing me, Dr. Tarvin concluded that I had lost a bit of my hearing over the years, perhaps due to too many rock concerts, but my biggest issue was an increasing inability to hear where there is background noise. She made several recommendations, including special ear plugs for future concerts. After addressing my hearing issues with me, Dr. Alexandra Tarvin told me about these revolutionary wireless earphones made by a leading U.S. hearing aid company, Starkey Hearing Technologies, in tandem with a high-end German audio company, Bragi. These earphones were custom-made, meaning Dr. Tarvin would need to take an impression of my ears so that the earphones would be a perfect
Italian Days: Food & Wine Tours

Italian Days: Food & Wine Tours

Fine food adventures await you in little gems across Italy. When you think of Italy, what comes to mind?  There are many answers to this question, ranging from Julius Caesar to Nero to the Coliseum to Vatican City, and we still haven’t left the magical city of Rome. We could go south to Naples and Pompeii and Sicily, or north to Pisa, Florence, and Venice.  We may think about Lamborghinis and Ferraris, or the stunning Amalfi Coast.  And way up north, we can visit Milan or Lake Como. There’s just so much to explore. Food, Glorious Food Italy has always been about one highlight after another.  But, when I think of Italy, the first thing that pops into my mind is FOOD! And there’s a little secret that isn’t so secret any more, not since earning 1,590 5-star reviews out of the 1,613 that have been posted on Trip Advisor since debuting several years ago, a stunning 98.5%! A couple years ago, I made plans to visit a variety of cities in Italy, including Bologna, which would be a base for our
Taylor Hagood: Bourbon Street Blues

Taylor Hagood: Bourbon Street Blues

I imagine myself to be one of a minority of people who prefer New Orleans in the morning. Give me bright sunshine, with palm fronds glistening, the heat and humidity already both menacing and languid, the streets webbed with runnels of fresh water dripping from hanging ferns and washing away the vomit of the night before. Few places blend garbage and beauty so well as New Orleans—no place does better, except maybe Naples, Italy. The garbage makes quite a few visitors nervous, especially folks I have known from the Midwest. But garbage is an important part of the city, and really it is hardly fair to separate it from the city’s haunting European-style beauty. For there is a lovely aesthetic in the gleaming black of 40-gallon garbage bags filled to bursting with the left-overs of some of the finest restaurants in the world. Piled in mute excess, even in the Vieux Carré, bulged like old-time friars dozing into accomplishing daylight, they emblematize the genuine love of pleasure over work and efficiency the city has always been better at than the
The Great Ugandan Gorilla Safari

The Great Ugandan Gorilla Safari

I recently had the good fortune of traveling to a destination less frequented by international travelers. Once described by Sir Winston Churchill as the “Pearl of Africa,” Uganda is in my opinion one of Africa’s best kept secrets.  This is a country of spectacular mountains, lush rainforests, sparkling rivers and lakes, not to mention a multitude of ancient cultures. In addition to a host of mammal species including endemic species such as Uganda kob and the giant forest hog, Uganda is blessed with an abundance of primates ranging from the small black and white colobus monkey to the highly endangered mountain gorilla. With a little over 1000 mountain gorillas remaining in the wild, it was naturally a great privilege to be afforded the opportunity to trek into their domain and spend precious time at close quarters observing these magnificent creatures as they went about their daily lives, foraging for food and socially interacting with each other, all the while being quite oblivious to our presence. The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest stretches some 210 square miles across rugged mountainous terrain, and being
Peter Shankman: PR Superstar

Peter Shankman: PR Superstar

How one man turned a deficit into an asset and blossomed into a worldwide sensation. Definition of Success Some people let labels hold them back, others use them to push forward. Peter Shankman is of the latter group. Diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in his mid-30s, he got tired of being misunderstood. His desire to talk to people, need for stimulation, and pursuit of creative outlets, became the impetus that catapulted him into the multi-million-dollar success he is today. Just ask him, and he’ll tell you – he wouldn’t be who he is today without ADHD. Help A Reporter Out (HARO) Unique is one way to describe Shankman. He’s fearless, and has no problem creating his own lane. He’s the founder of The Geek Factory, a boutique PR and marketing agency that’s worked with bigwig clients like American Express, Snapple, The US Department of Defense, NASA, Royal Bank of Canada, Sheraton, Napster, Walt Disney World, Harrah’s Hotels, and others. While running The Geek Factory in 2007, Shankman ventured out to create Help a Reporter Out (HARO), a revolutionary
Dynasty Trusts: The Ultimate Family Plan

Dynasty Trusts: The Ultimate Family Plan

Preserving family wealth can last forever with proper estate planning. At one time or another, many of us have heard the term “dynasty trusts” and dismissed the thought, certain that it is the exclusive domain of those with extraordinary wealth, or those wishing to pass assets to grandchildren rather than children.  This could not be further from the truth. Generation-skipping does not refer to skipping your children, it’s about skipping the payment of estate taxes, possibly for hundreds of years! As a matter of fact, a little bit of knowledge can go a long way, and you might just learn that a dynasty trust might be perfect for your estate planning.  For those who have managed to accumulate sufficient assets for retirement and, in all likelihood, will be leaving some of their wealth to their children, there are some choices: Most people leave their assets outright, or directly, to their heirs, giving them the freedom to do what they want whenever they want with the assets. These people typically believe that leaving assets in trust for their heirs creates restrictions and
Mike Michalowicz: Entrepreneur

Mike Michalowicz: Entrepreneur

Simple Strategy, Remarkable Results Most of us are competent enough to spontaneously host a successful social gathering. On the spur of any moment we can muster a compatible blend of friends, making sure to include the storytellers, the witty jokesters, the drinkers, especially those who bring along great wine (thank you, Uber), the energy sparks, the intellectual (one is usually enough), and the ones who always help out in the kitchen. Once that perfect mix has been assembled, we throw together a simple menu, tidy up, get the tunes ready, and the evening takes care of itself. But, what if we’re planning our daughter’s wedding, or hosting one of our Throomers dream dinner parties? What if we wish to deliver something extraordinary, world-class, an evening so impressive that it will be gushingly recounted forevermore? This would require an entirely different process, would it not? To accomplish such a feat, we’d need to follow time-honored procedures. We’d begin months in advance by consulting with event-planning experts. We’d then follow their clear, concise, well-articulated guidelines. In short, we’d do everything in our power
Overcoming Depression & Fear

Overcoming Depression & Fear

Some people have a difficult time in managing their depression. Sometimes, their depression and fears can become a huge factor in their personal life and professional career. Here are six tips that a person can use to help manage their depression. Challenge Your Depressing Thoughts: One of the ways to manage your depression is to challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking. When encountering thoughts that make you fearful or depressed, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense. Your fearful thoughts are usually not based on reality. Distract Yourself: Some people can get depressed over doing a certain task. When this happens, a person should take a deep breath and try to find something to do to get their mind off of the problem. A person could take a walk, listen to some music, read the newspaper or do an activity that will give them a fresh perspective on things. Doing something will get your mind off of the problem and give you confidence to do other things. Worrying Makes
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor: A Stroke of Genius

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor: A Stroke of Genius

She’s been described as “exhilarating on complexities—of the brain and of life.” There’s so much we can learn from her. Some live their lives like a dream, for others a fantasy, but too frequently there are those who live a nightmare. People who make the best of any circumstance, good or bad deserve admiration. But it is especially those who overcome extreme adversity that we applaud the most. We have all had the opportunity to meet interesting people during our lives.  Perhaps you know of someone whose vibrant life was abruptly interrupted by catastrophic illness. You may recall how you felt when you saw this person reduced to one who could no longer care for himself or herself. It may have been painful for you to see, unaware of how they must have felt inside, but incredibly uplifting to watch the love surrounding them, and family members who would never leave their side. Journey to Neverland Growing up, Jill Taylor’s brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and had episodes of psychosis. It was a struggle to confront his mental illness. Taylor experienced
JACQUELINE MARCELL – ELDERLY PARENT CARE

JACQUELINE MARCELL – ELDERLY PARENT CARE

For eleven years I pleaded with my challenging elderly father to allow a caregiver to help him with my ailing mother, but he always insisted on taking care of her himself. Every caregiver I went ahead and hired soon sighed in exasperation, “Jacqueline, I just can’t work with your father. His temper is impossible to handle and he’s not going to accept help until he’s on his knees himself.” When my father’s inability to continue to care for my mother nearly resulted in her death, I stepped in despite his very loud protests. It was so heart-wrenching to have my once-adoring father be so loving one minute and then some trivial little thing would set him off and he’d call me nasty names and throw me out of the house the next. I took him to several doctors and even a psychiatrist, only to be flabbergasted he could act so normal and charming when he needed to. Finally I stumbled upon a thorough neurologist, specialized in dementia, who put my parents through a battery of blood, neurological, memory tests and PET scans. After ruling out numerous reversible forms of dementia such as B-12 and thyroid deficiency and evaluating their many medications, he shocked me with a diagnosis
Bye Bye Boredom. Hello Entertainment.

Bye Bye Boredom. Hello Entertainment.

Get your entertainment fix with these recommendations for music venues, live theater, and the big screen. One of my favorite topics is entertainment. I enjoy listening to great music at home, at the gym or, ideally, in person, and frequent movies as well as live theater when the opportunities arise.  We at Throomers thought that it would make sense to share some ideas of how you might spend some of your spare time! I’ve recently had the opportunity to attend a number of events that I believe are worth sharing, read on. Sensational Live Music If you have a passion for music there’s nothing quite like listening to your favorite artists live, on stage. As far as the world of live music goes, I had the pleasure of seeing Pavlo, a master of Mediterranean music, who continues to grow in popularity thanks to his concerts being featured on PBS.  Wow, Pavlo and the other three members of his band were terrific from the moment they stepped on stage until the finale when a very lucky person in the audience won
Awesome Books: Two Worthy Reads

Awesome Books: Two Worthy Reads

Read a book that makes your travel destination more meaningful. And, check out a book of books guaranteed to pique your interest. One of our goals at Throomers is to provide you with fresh ideas for your spare time.  This includes informing you of interesting books, entertainment, wine, beer, travel, and one-of-a-kind experiences. I have the task of writing a monthly column introducing and/or reviewing books across a wide spectrum of topics that you might find entertaining.  I like to read a lot during my ever-diminishing spare time; and having been to Poland and Romania a couple months ago, I thought it would make sense to learn a little more about the most depressing, heart-wrenching places I’ve ever visited, Auschwitz and Birkenau. Lest We Forget I always thought that if I happened to be in Poland, I had to visit the concentration camps.  And so we did —I’m still uncertain whether this is something everyone ought to do, as it makes for a very difficult day and runs the risk of putting a damper on your vacation. We felt it
Jim Rooney: Seasonal Wine Ideas

Jim Rooney: Seasonal Wine Ideas

I’ll begin with a confession. I am neither a sommelier, nor have I ever been employed in the wine business. What possibly then could lend me enough credibility to informally offer wine suggestions to my fellow throomers (besides personally knowing the Throomers owners)? It’s a reasonable question worthy of a response, as soon as I think of one. Okay, let’s try this as rationale. In his mega best-selling non-fiction book, Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell put forward his premise of what makes anyone an expert in their field. He posited that it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated practice in any endeavor to become a true expert. I was certainly no prodigy, especially since it’s illegal to be a prodigy in drinking wine, but, ‘Three hours a day for ten years?’ Ha! – are you kidding me? I passed 10,000 hours of wine consumption many labels ago, and I don’t recall it even being a challenge. The bigger issue was convincing me at the end of many evenings that it was time to shut down my “dedicated practice” session. I was simply that
Nasimo: Walls are His Canvas

Nasimo: Walls are His Canvas

His art bears witness to freedom of expression after the fall of communism on a scale so grand, even buildings can barely contain it. It was a time of great tumult as a revolutionary wave in the late 80s and early 90s marked the end of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. After the fall of the communist regime in Bulgaria in 1989, a young artist took an interest in spray painting on walls. He would later be known as a pioneer of Eastern European graffiti art culture and become an icon of graffiti fine art in the Balkans. “Let’s go scribble on the walls,” said a young man. The year was 1994 when a young skateboarder left the theater and did just that. It was a clear night in Targovishte, Bulgaria, and Stanislav Trifinov, known as Nasimo, stood in front of a large wall, holding a can of spray paint. The sound of sirens began to blare, and everyone dispersed in every direction. “When it was my turn, I had not thought of anything yet. I took the can,
Aging is Cool: Sleepaway Camp

Aging is Cool: Sleepaway Camp

One couple is changing the face of aging in our world by showing everyone how cool it can be! What if we viewed aging as a new adventure instead of yielding to society’s accepted norm of inevitable decline in physical and mental health, losing independence, and dying alone? Why have we viewed our “golden years” as a time of loss and decay rather than a time of growth?  What if aging is actually cool? These are the questions that Amy and Damien Temperley began asking a few years ago as they created Aging is Cool, a company with a nonprofit arm based in Austin, Texas, that provides programs and services to help older adults Stay Strong, Stay Smart, and Stay Social. Looking Beyond the Status Quo For over 25 years, Amy had worked in the nonprofit sector predominantly with frail older adults who needed daily care or were dealing with a dementia diagnosis. London-born Damien was seeing a more active side of aging as a fitness instructor for a local senior center.  Together, they were both seeing gaps in service
Neal Petersen: Against All Odds

Neal Petersen: Against All Odds

He’s a solo racing yachtsman who sailed into the history books and navigated through life’s adversity achieving the impossible. His boat slammed into the roaring sea as waves crashed over him. Neal Petersen held fast the ropes and lowered the sails as best he could as the ocean recoiled and unleashed another round of fury. Sheer determination drowned any fear he must have had. Like the sirens call, every wave beckoned him to quit, but he refused to succumb. His red jacket flapping wildly in the wind, he was soaked and freezing. Hurricane force wind gusts measured 55 knots.The 38-foot sailboat was 300 miles from Cape Horn, the most southern tip of the Americas, and 200 miles from the coast of Chile. “I was using such force that my fingers began to bleed, and the sail began to rip. I had a torn mainsail. My headsail was already shredding. Big challenges were coming up,” says Petersen in his autobiography, Journey of a Hope Merchant. He couldn’t leave the tiller, the wind vane needed help. By holding the rope and using all