Friday, January 27, 2012

Marigolds' Wine-Tasting

NKA members recently assembled at Marigolds Wine & Delicacies for a cozy evening of sampling different wines and pairings with tasty cheeses. Jean Christensen and B&J Distributing were the instructor/hosts.
The centerpiece of Marigolds is a wall-length electronic wine dispenser. Customers may purchase a "key card" that allows them to sample a huge variety of wines. That way they can do some experimental tasting before settling on a larger quantity of their favorite selections.
Marigolds' wall of wines, for those who are ready to buy an entire bottle.
Other delicacies and wine accessories are also available.
Each customer may autograph a cork, which is then hung from the ceiling.
In the evenings, Marigolds features live music for our listening pleasure. We'll return for more of Marigolds' wine, delicacies, and friendly atmosphere!
Located in the Gold's Gym Plaza on Flandro Drive, just off of Yellowstone Avenue, Marigolds is a relaxed, friendly place to wind down after work and jump-start your weekend fun.

Click on the card to see Marigolds' contact information.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Creative Writing

Sometimes billed as "low-impact" writing, NKA's Creative Writing group has been meeting regularly for several years. 
Marg Griffin, the facilitator, describes the class as a "close-knit group" of 18-20 dedicated writers who take their art seriously, yet have a great time writing and sharing what they've written with one another. Even though Marg modestly says that she doesn't "pretend to teach anything," she accepted the challenge of holding the group together after Bob Marsh, who originally started the class, had to bow out suddenly. 
The group meets once a week for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Each meeting, the class members write for a specific period of time and then conduct a read-around. The emphasis of this writing group is on sharing, more than on critiquing one another's work. Marg says, "We measure our growth by what we discover within ourselves."
Marg provides gentle guidance. She says, "Sometimes I go in with a topic or even an object" that serves as a prompt for the day's writing. She describes one such prompt: a rough, homemade stationery box rescued from Deseret Industries that so fascinated the group that they wrote some amazing pieces about it.
The carved items in these photos were brought in by Alan (pictured above), and each class member chose an item to inspire the day's writing.
Most of the writers--who range in age from 55 to 89--focus on non-fiction and personal memoir, with some occasional poetry. Joe, the group's senior writer, has published a memoir about his military service during World War II.
The group is currently closed to new members, but openings may occur for the fall semester, and the names of interested potential members may be placed on a waiting list.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

City Finance 101

David Swindell, Pocatello's Chief Financial Officer, met with NKA members to explain the nature and powers of city government in Idaho. 
Mr. Swindell discussed the relationship between the government and private sectors in regard to allocation of resources, regulation of services, and the political process. He emphasized that the government sector exists "because the commercial market fails." That is, "the private sector provides goods and services as a means to the ultimate end of making $ [money]", but the government sector "provides goods and services as an end in itself." 
Common myths about state laws and the city's tax structures were debunked and/or clarified.
Class participants learned how cities operate financially. Mr. Swindell used easy-to-understand graphs (see examples below) to illustrate how levels of city services are set.
Residential Sewer Rates
Residential Water Rates
Residential Sanitation Rates
To learn more about the city's financial operation, click on this link to the city's website:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Yoga for Seniors

Yoga is "the yoking of body, breath, and mind," according to Kathleen Olsen, RN, PhD.  Dr. Olsen, or "Kath," as she prefers to be called, shared a new way of looking at yoga as therapy. She started the NKA class off right away with a grounding exercise: our feet flat on the floor, deep breaths ("belly breathing") and listening quietly to our own bodies. Kath emphasized a key tenet of therapeutic yoga: the importance of "witnessing today and accepting what's happening in the moment."
Dr. Olsen received training in therapeutic yoga for seniors through Duke University's Integrative Health Program. This program combines the best of modern, evidence-based medicine with the ancient wisdom, experience, and tradition of yogic teachings. Kath shared the latest research findings about the benefits of including yoga in treatment plans for patients with arthritis, respiratory and cardiac issues, chronic pain, osteoporosis, and other related health problems. 
Kath stressed the "mindfulness" aspect of yoga practice and contrasted it with overly-strenuous, "no pain, no gain" exercise that is the model for many American exercise programs. "If something hurts you," she said, "you should stop doing it." Therapeutic yoga positions may be modified for those with less-flexible bodies and problems such as dizziness that occur as part of the aging process.

Dr. Olsen is a very busy professional: she has taught for 23 years at ISU and is currently offering weekly yoga classes through Mind Your Body, a local center for yoga, pilates, gyrokinesis, dance, and massage. 
There are approximately 2 million Americans over 55 years of age who are practicing yoga. If Kath's vivaciousness is a result of practicing therapeutic yoga, we should all sign up immediately!
Mind Your Body is located at 234 S. Main Street in Old Town Pocatello. Here's a link to their website:

Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy New Year!

As NKA starts a new semester of activities and classes, it's fitting to thank Shirley McElprang, Management Assistant for Idaho State University's Continuing Education and Conference Services. This department includes NKA, with which Shirley has worked since 2002.

Shirley not only keeps the office running by handling a huge volume of telephone calls, emails, and paper correspondence, but she also manages financial deposits (which she coordinates with the NKA Board Treasurer), sets up classrooms, moves tables and chairs, arranges audio-visual aids for class presenters, and assists class facilitators. She works with the tech support staff to ensure that the NKA classrooms' electronic communication systems function efficiently.

Shirley types the entire NKA Catalog twice a year and prepares it for publication, and performs "all other duties as assigned," an ISU catch phrase that can include almost anything. Shirley is the go-to gal for the Continuing Education building; she says that even maintenance and security personnel ask her where the keys are. She describes herself as a Jack of All Trades and says that she "learned to juggle," a necessary skill for her job, which often entails working extra hours to meet deadlines.

NKA is a self-supporting organization--it receives no funding beyond membership dues--run by its members, and Shirley acts as the liaison between NKA and ISU. For example, she coordinates updates to the official NKA website with ISU's webmaster (see website link to the right).

Preparation for her current job included earning an associate degree in Marketing/Management & Hospitality from ISU's College of Technology. As part of her training, she fulfilled a three-month internship at Walt Disney World in Florida. Shirley's personal motto is "Don't tell me CAN'T." As proof, she recalls her quest to be photographed with all of the Disney characters, a feat that had never been accomplished by anyone working at Disney World, yet Shirley managed to make it happen (see photo below). At Disney World, Shirley earned a "Ducktorate" degree, as well as her set of "ears." Sadly, those significant ears were later stolen during a 4-H event at the Bannock County Fair.
That can-do attitude comes in handy on the job now. Whether she's following up on someone's inquiry or rearranging a classroom configuration to make it more user friendly or helping class facilitators make last-minute contacts with NKA members, Shirley is fast, efficient, and friendly.

Here's to Shirley and to another great semester of NKA activities!