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Dance for Health, at The Silver Foxes Den

A little hip, a little shimmy and a lot of laughter.

That summarizes Karma Raley’s Dance for Health class held every Wednesday at 10 a.m.

Karma reports that, “I combine a love of dance (I learned to waltz standing on my father’s toes) with basic ballet, modern dance, jazz dance and all of the dance I have studied, along with yoga awareness and an active imagination to create a full body routine. We exercise the body, mind and spirit at whatever level you want or need.”

Karma earned a master’s degree in counseling and psychology, performs with a band and has danced and choreographed for “a hundred years.” True to her word, all six dancers in a recent session were of different ages and levels. One happy dancer was injured, sported a cane and participated from her chair.

I eased into the front conference room of the community center to observe the class. As I entered the room, the six dancers were exchanging hugs and items they brought for each other.

The first part of the class was stretching, a routine that incorporated yoga, breathing exercises and loud growling. Followed, naturally, by laughter.

The second part of the class was the dancing.

Karma asked the troupe, “Do you remember the dance from last week?”

The sassy dancers hollered in unison, “Noooo!” (which was the only thing they performed in unison all morning). Karma laughed, and joyfully repeated the instructions to their new dance that she carefully choreographed just for them. A few sang with the music as they swayed.

The third part of the class was meditation.

Karma brought “Brahms’ Lullaby” and “Moonlight Sonata” to play as people sat or stretched out on blankets and mats. Afterwards, I asked the participants what they enjoyed most about the class, and the replies included “the people,” “Karma’s stories,” “the dancing,” “it’s a great workout” and “we just have fun together.”

Join us for Dance for Health at the Silver Foxes Den where men and women dance, growl, and have aching rib cages from excessive laughter.

Gizmo the Therapy Dog

By Shelby Chavez.

Gizmo the therapy dog came to visit the Silver Fox’s Den on Feb. 5. Gizmo is a Chinese pug and a member of the Therapy Dogs Inc. Gizmo was born on Aug. 15, 2008, and weighs 13 pounds. Carol Schilf is Gizmo’s owner. She will bring Gizmo to visit the Silver Foxes Den when visiting Pagosa Springs.

Before Gizmo was certified as a therapy dog, she had to complete a comprehensive screening in three major areas. The first area is the health/veterinary check, which determines if the dog is healthy and free from disease. The second area is behavior/training, which includes initial meeting, whether the handler was in control, if the dog was polite, canine-human behavior (friendly to strangers), and canine-canine behavior. The third area is temperament, which is to ensure the dog doesn’t become stressed in unfamiliar settings or around clients who may have unpredictable behaviors.

Gizmo is friendly and interested in interacting with new people. She is taught by command to allow people to pet her, lick people’s faces, and if the client doesn’t want her to touch them, she is taught not to. Tricks are another specialty of Gizmo, and she can do an amazing array of them.

The seniors absolutely love Gizmo’s company, almost as much as Gizmo loves theirs.

Senior Spotlight

Lyman Allen was born March of 1931, in Providence, R.I., and he had an older sister and brother. Lyman reports that his family was hard hit by the depression. School was a sanctuary for him, where he found his “identity through reading, thinking and good friends.” He attended Middlebury College and continued his education at Brown University, earning a master’s degree in American civics. His thesis on the success of FM radio was published as a book.

After a brief sales career in radio advertising, Lyman moved to Cambridge, Mass., was hired by Polaroid and married his college roommate’s sister. Together, they had two children, Kathy and David. As assistant director of public relations for Polaroid, Lyman discovered that he loved to teach. He quit his job and moved to Carbondale, Colo., where he taught English at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School. After six years, he moved back east with a new English curriculum he developed. He presented it all over the eastern seaboard where it was instituted.

His next business enterprise was as a carpenter and a builder, renovating homes in Norwich, Vt. He then moved on to being a sales manager for a green company named Northern Energy Homes. After his tenure there, he traveled to Sedona, Ariz., to retire, but listened to his neighbors raving about Pagosa Springs. He visited here a couple of times before buying a house and making Pagosa his home. Since retiring, he has taught in Africa, traveled, and has written and published a book titled, “To Save the Love That was Lost.” Lyman’s hobbies include skiing, whitewater canoeing, kayaking and golf.

Throughout his working life, Lyman has been a socio-political and scientific adventurer. He discovered the biggest uranium lode in the United States. He fought the New England Power Company on building a nuclear power plant, and won. He pushed a bill through the Vermont Legislature which stated that no nuclear power plants could be built without legislative approval. He was a delegate to the 1976 National Democratic Convention. He also founded several non-profit organizations and volunteered for even more.

Lyman deeply loves his family, his friends and his dog. Of life, he says, “Everything that happens to you happens for you — for you to look, accept and learn.”

Senior Prom

Archuleta Seniors, Inc. hosts a Senior Prom every year the day after the Pagosa Springs High School Prom, in the same place, with the same cool decorations. This year it will be on Sunday, April 25. Hold the date!


Are you homebound or know someone who is? Let the Silver Foxes Den help you with your meals. We have expanded our service to the more rurally isolated areas of the county and would like to help you help yourself.

These meals are the same meals prepared in our kitchen by the same cooks who prepare those scrumptious senior center meals. Our hot meal home-delivery program remains available to those closer to town four days per week, and frozen meals are delivered on Thursdays. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $3 per meal. Give me or Musetta a call at 264-2167 for further information.

Weekly activities at The Den

Friday, Feb. 19 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Tai Chi Int. 9:30 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Tai Chi Beg. 11 a.m.; Gym Walk 11:15 a.m.; Musetta’s fraud presentation, 12:45 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 22 — Gym Walk 11:15 a.m.; Seeds of Learning 11:30 a.m.; Marty Borges, storyteller 12:45 p.m.; Canasta 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 23 — Gym Walk 11:15 a.m.; Dennis Driscoll piano music 12:15 p.m.; Meditation for Healing 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 24 — Dance for Health 10 a.m.; Alzheimer’s Support 1 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 25 — No lunch, administrative day.

Friday, Feb. 26 — Geezers 9 a.m.; Tai Chi Int. 9:30 a.m.; Stitchin’ in the Kitchen 10 a.m.; Book Club 10:30 a.m.; Tai Chi Beg. 11 a.m.; Gym Walk 11:15 a.m.; IFYE Susan Kasza presentation 12:45 p.m.; birthday lunch.

Medical expenses

The Silver Foxes Den, in cooperation with Archuleta Seniors, Inc. (ASI), may be able to help with excess medical expenses. Items covered might be prescription copays, eyeglasses, hearing aids and dental care. Qualifying amounts are based on income and need. Recipients must be current members of ASI. Dues are $5 per year. For more information about how we might help you or your family, contact Musetta at 264-2167.

ASI memberships

Is it time for you renew or buy your 2010 ASI membership? You can purchase memberships at The Silver Foxes Den on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Folks 55 and over will benefit with discounts from many local businesses, including the local hot springs. This is one of the best deals in Pagosa Springs.

This week’s menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, and Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $9.75. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 19 — Crunchy baked fish, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, pineapple mandarin oranges, roll.

Monday, Feb. 22 — New England clam chowder, vegetable medley, cottage cheese with pineapple and orange bread.

Tuesday, Feb. 23 — Tahitian chicken, brown rice, peas, fruit salad, roll.

Wednesday, Feb. 24 — Roast pork, mashed potatoes, carrots, Jell-O, roll.

Thursday, Feb. 25 — No lunch, administrative day.

Friday, Feb. 26 — Chicken alfredo, beets, cranberry sauce, tropical fruit, bread.