‘Aging Gratefully: The Power of Good Health and Good Neighbors’ test screens April 25th

alan mri machine

Filmmaker Alan O’Hashi had to take a “before” and “after” MRI as a participant in the FORCE Study. Get free tickets for the movie test screening by clicking on the photo.

“Aging Gratefully: The Power of Good Health and Good Neighbors” has a first cut test screening at the Dairy Arts Center – Boedecker Theater. Doors 630pm – cash bar and snacks in the Polk Cafe – movie at 7pm. Tickets are free, but sign up so we can keep track of seats.

Check out the facebook event page. Tickets are free, but sign up on eventbrite so we can keep track of people since the Boedecker has limited seating

Filmmaker and Silver Sage Village senior cohousing resident Alan O’Hashi is mostly recovered from his 2013 death bed illness. As a result of that experience he’s become much more aware of his health, almost to the point of hypochondria.

One of his neighbors circulated information about a research study at the University of Colorado about the effects of exercise on brain health.

Curious, he applied and was selected to be a research subject. To measure success, the criteria emotional health and strength of relationship building.

gtc group toast

Residents of the Germantown Commons cohousing community in Nashville, TN enjoy a neighborly get together.

Is living in an intentional community, such as cohousing, an added benefit to physical exercise? He interviewed CU researcher Angel Bryan about her research to gain an empirical perspective and six residents of newly-formed Germantown Commons to find out their anecdotal motivations to living in cohousing and whether living intentionally with neighbors was a positive experience and what physical activities happen in a group setting.

Germantown Commons Residents:
– Essie Sappenfield (retired)
– Doug Luckes (still working)
– Suzanne Glasgow (still working)
– Sarah Carroll (single mom)
– Chris Corby (still working)
– Ginger Lange (retired)
– Vicki Metzgar (retired)

Also Appearing:
– Bryan Bowen, AIA (Caddis Architects)
– Angela Bryan PhD,( Principal Investigator CU FORCE study)

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Collaborative Communities 101 and Lincoln Court

Boulder Senior Cohousing Communities

Click on the image of Lindy Cook and Alan O’Hashi and join the Lincoln Court facebook page. (Photo By Brent Lewis/The Denver Post)

Baby Boomers have kicked the birdies out of their nests and downsizing from years of accumulating the detritus of life.

Millennials are finding it increasingly difficult to find low cost housing for themselves.

One lifestyle that’s getting some traction is that of living in a community whether it being a traditional retirement village or having housemates which are well known alternatives or in not-so-well known communities like cohousing.

While cohousing is far from mainstream, there is growing interest in intentional neighborhoods. Architects Chuck Durrett and Katie McCamant studied in Denmark and coined the term “cohousing.”

What if the six characteristics of cohousing were applied to an urban community consisting of not only housing but a mix of businesses and public uses?

A small group of cohousing, mixed use visionaries, including myself have started a 20 acre project on the urban fringe of Cheyenne, Wyoming called the Lincoln Court. We’re laying cohousing approaches over a high density, mixed use community anchored by a city owned and operated indoor ice rink and a proposed indoor sports complex. It’s a grassroots project that will come about as a result of a high degree of consensus among the future community denizens:

back-40-subdivisionCollaborative neighborhood process. Future Lincoln Court denizens will have a chance to participate in the design of the community so that it meets their needs. There will be a series of meetings as the project progresses to define them. Some collaborative communities are initiated or driven by a developer.  The Lincoln Court Collaborative Community is a combination of both with the developer playing more of a technical role making the community member vision real. This collaboration will result in a well-designed, pedestrian-oriented community that integrates with the adjacent West Edge community, as outlined in the city of Cheyenne Missile Drive Corridor Plan.

ssv-coho-alan-boulder

Collaborative neighborhood design. Rather than a top-down approach with planners, architects driving the design, the physical layout and orientation of the buildings will be initially determined by a “focus group” of people who attend various informational meetings. The design process encourages a sense of community and facilitates social interactions from the get-go. For example, the private residences will likely be clustered on the site, leaving more shared open space; compatible businesses are planned to co-locate in the common house or on other common spaces. The goal: create a strong sense of community using physical design choices – walk-ability, live / work artist spaces, community and private spaces for public and private performance and art exhibits and classes, co-working spaces for residents.

garden-dayCollaborative common spaces. Common facilities will be designed for daily use, and for special community activities. They are an integral part of the collaborative community, and complementary to the private residences and businesses. The extent to which the private businesses and studio spaces are public will be determined. There will likely be an expectation that community uses and activities will be a part of the private business spaces. Participating in community life is optional – denizens may have as much community as or as little community as they want.  Since the buildings are clustered, the Lincoln Court may retain several or many acres of undeveloped shared open space for future expansion.

henry-facilitatingCollaborative management. Lincoln Court denizens will manage, to a great extent, the business of the collaborative community, and also perform much of the work required to maintain the property. The cohousing sub-communities participate in the preparation of common meals, and meet regularly to solve problems and develop policies for the community. A master Community Association may be formed to deal with issues concerning common spaces of the entire collaborative community, such as snow removal, open space maintenance, and managing community business relations.

ssv-sharing-circleCollaborative consensus. Leadership roles will evolve and based on how and when community members join Lincoln Court. However, no one person (or persons) has authority over others. As individuals, families, businesses and organizations join the collaboration, each take on one or more roles consistent with their skills, abilities or interests. Lincoln Court will make decisions by consensus or similar forms of consensus decision-making. Although likely will have a policy for majority-rules voting if the group cannot reach consensus (nuclear option).

cr-art-showCollaborative community economy. The community is not a source of income for its individual members. However, in the Lincoln Court, rental income from businesses, use of performance / exhibition space, studio / co-working spaces would accrue back to the community at-large to decrease homeowner / community owner association fees / reserve funds. It is possible that the master association or a sub-associations could contract with a resident / tenant to perform a specific task for compensation, but more typically the work will be considered that member’s contribution to the shared responsibilities. It is possible that community residents will earn income from rented studio or business location.

CFD-Production-5948Collaborative higher purpose. The envisioned community “higher purpose” is around arts, culture and fostering creative thinking in the day-to-day community functionality. The site has a great story. The original site was a part of a Homestead Act land grant at the turn of the 20th century. Historic Highway 30, also known as the Lincoln Highway spanned coast to coast in the 1930s. The Lincoln Court was built as a motor hotel which later evolved into the Hitching Post Inn. The Hitching Post was a legendary Cheyenne landmark. There are some great stories associated with the site which are big selling points for the project. Mine, for example? My first job when I was a 12-year-old was at the Hitching Post.

An introductory meeting is being planned for early December. We’ll provide some information about the project, about collaborative communities, cohousing, the arts and cultural higher purpose. We’ll ask those in attendance to “break ground” and help with some general land use concepts for the site. It will be informative and a lot of fun.

Part III – I got my handicapped parking permit the other day – and shot a movie

Who would have thought. The Affordable Care Act open enrollment period is ending soon and from what I gather, there’s been a big flurry of people trying to get signed up, including a bunch of young people to counter balance us oldsters.

I think the news and fake news people forget that who we’re talking about here is 15percent of the labor force who are schmucks like me who are self-employed or otherwise don’t have another source for insurance as a benefit, compared to the 85 percent of the workforce covered by employer benefit plans, Medicaid, Medicare or another program like Romneycare in Massachusetts

It will be interesting to find out the final enrollment numbers are after the March 31st deadline passes. There are a lot of data to crunch so I’m not holding my breath as to when they will be known.

Back to reality.

I got my handicapped parking permit the other day.

They can be good indefinitely or for three years. Mine is for three years. The best guess is that I will be better before then, but you never know.

I also have the option of a handicapped license plate. After talking to a guy in the county clerk’s office, he advised me against it since they can get stolen and I’m not quite ready to give up my old plate number.

I didn’t see the day that I would ever need one. I took the weekend to check out the handicapped parking scene as part of my occupational therapy which was to make a movie.

I organized a shoot for a short called “Caught Up in the Moment” which I wrote based on a short story by a facebook pal, Mark Trost, who lives up in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota. The movie is called “Caught Up” the other was too long.

It was cast in a couple days, the locations were set up a few days after that and the crew was skeleton. I checked out the handicapped parking situation at the Dangerous Theatre where we shot. Turns out the theatre is in a warehouse district and there was scads of parking.

The theatre is owned and operated by Winnie – the actor I cast as Jane in the short movie. Her character is a chain smoker, and the space worked perfectly for that character quirk.

Movie? Did I say we’re making a movie?

Whenever I talk about movies, it always entails some script analysis.

So bear with me.

There’s a big difference between screenplays and just about any other written form. Novels have the advantage of giving the reader insight into what’s happening in a character’s mind and generating hundreds of gray pages.

I’d say most writers – probably myself included – don’t want their words changed, but I’ve become okay with it, if the story stays in tact.

Screenplays have to portray words and thoughts through visuals and action. One mistake to avoid is writing characters who talk too much which, more times than not, entails rewriting and truncating the original words and likely adding different words – especially when using other source materials.

I don’t think writers like that so much. William Faulkner said something like, writers have to learn how to kill their darlings. Novel writers, pretty much, have as many pages as they want to get across their story. Good screenwriters kill their darlings, bad screenwriters keep them all in their work and cluttering up the story.
Screenwriters have, in the case of this short film contest, around 10 pages and for a feature around 90 pages. When I have too many darling lines or scenes, I don’t kill them, I put them aside for other projects. This is based on one page equaling a minute of movie.

Had I wanted long dialogue, I would have written a stage play. Oh and another big diff, novels are set in the past, screenplays in the present.

In the case of the “Caught Up” project, the 10 pages of source material I had is an excerpt from a much longer work. I didn’t have much context for the characters.

Mark seemed to be religious and I left that, but there needed to be a little more, so I used his character also for exposition. Since the movie had to be set in Wyoming, he became a University of Wyoming professor in the Space Sciences Department, and also an avid UW sports fan, of which there are many in Laramie.

Jane was pretty much a chain smoking writer with a love – hate relationship with Mark. She’s left in tact.

I cast Winnie (Jane) and Brainard (Mark) because they have a natural rapport – turns out they have worked together before. In a character-driven story like this, I’d rather have nature rapport than trying to get two people to develop it.

Enough Robert McKee screenwriting gibberish.

As mentioned previously, my Eurovan has been in and out of the shop for the past few months with major and mInor repairs. I gave it a work out by driving the Eurovan to Denver, which gave me a little more confidence in the vehicle.

Anyway, the Dangerous Theatre is in Denver – 2nd and Bryant, just off I-25, as mentioned before, is owned and operated by Winnie. Turns out Brainard Starling is actually a rocket scientist.

The movie will be entered in the Wyoming Short Film Contest. The main rule is the story has to be shot in Wyoming. I’ve had three films finish as the runner up and five in the top 10, so I think I have the formula down. The grand prize is winner take all $25,000.00 for the next film made in Wyoming.

The day started at 6am for me and I had a production assistant, Ian Glass, to help me load out all the gear. I used to be able to schlep everything, but now now. I probably should have had a strong back or two help me all along.

The shoot went smoothly from 9am to 2pm on Sunday. My style is run and gun and we finished an hour early. We’ll see how the edit goes.

Needless to say, I was tired when I returned to Boulder.

I’m still on oxygen from time-to-time, mostly when I exert myself too much or exercise. If I exercised more I probably wouldn’t exert myself so much through daily life.

I took Ian for a meal on the Pearl Street Mall and there were no handicapped parking spaces near Illegal Pete’s and the Parking garage was closer.

We had a pretty good talk. He’s just back from Argentina where he taught English and has an interest in film and video production and is trying out lots of different roles. He also may find a new place in the world to teach English – he’s an English / humanities major.

We also talked about college majors that do no good when out in the labor market. My degrees are in biology and political science. No wonder Ian and I connected, we’re academic square pegs trying to fit into a job pool of round holes.

Trader Joe’s.

I did make it over to Trader Joe’s in Boulder today for the first time. A new one here that opened up at the 29th Street Mall. I’ve previously been to one in Acton, MA and NYC just down the block from my friend Tom Crisp.

They’re not very big, but mostly carry their own brand of food.  Trader Joe’s marketing effort is a push and pull between being a healthy food store and a run of the mill store. I think they are mostly known for their pre-prepared dry and frozen foods, which by definition aren’t that healthy because of all the preservatives that are required and are over packaged.

Since being down and out, I’ve been having groceries delivered from King Soopers (Kroger’s) for the past couple months. I’ve become more aware of grocery prices.

I must say that Trader Joe’s prices for some items are less than the other places – but maybe it’s for stuff that a guy really doesn’t need to be eating like potato chips, but I mostly buy staples. A gallon of milk at Trader Joe’s was $3.29, which is comparable to other places.

I did find bargains on rye bread, oranges, frozen fruit and a few other things. That’s saying something since Boulder has a huge number of food stores: 2-Safeway; 2-Kroger’s; 2-Sprouts; 1-Alfalfa’s; 3-Wholefoods; 1-Walmart Marketplace; 1-Target; 1-Lucky’s Market (indie).

One thing I did notice when I got home.

I decided to have a pan-Asian breakfast: instant Thai rice noodle soup and kimchi. Trader Joe’s sourced the noodles from a company in Thailand, but not exactly the most enviro-friendly food.

There was the cardboard cover, then the cellophane wrapper around the bowl, then the plastic bowl with the styrofoam covering.

Inside the bowl were the food stuffs including two cellophane bags of oil and other veggies and a foil bag with the spices. The soup cost 99cents and I’m pretty sure it will cost more than 99cents to sort through all the packaging that ended up in the regular garbage. I was able to recycle the cardboard cover and the bowl.

I had kimchi already fermenting in the fridge.

Oh, I did finally get to use the handicap parking permit at Trader Joe’s.

If anyone needs a passenger driving anywhere, I’m your guy.

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NOTE: This is likely the last part on this topic unless something drastic happens – positive or negative in the upcoming couple weeks. I have figured out that one good thing about facebook, is there is this note / blog function that operates outside the timeline and the front page. I’ll write things from time to time as the ghost of newspaper writers past move me.