Our 60-plus members jammed the senior center eager to be entertained and to have a good lunch. They were not disappointed.

We began with birthday wishes for Marilyn Nardillo and anniversary celebrations to Scott and Shirley Wright and Linda and Don McDermott and to our new members Sue and Chuck Conklin who are enjoying 40 years. Unfortunately, they are both under the weather and were unable to be with us.

We discussed our anniversary dinner to be held June 4 at Briar Creek. A choice of strip steak, chicken parm and baked haddock are available. Call Shirley Slingerland for reservations. Also Memorial Day plans were finalized. Remember all members involved, meet at 9 a.m. at Tabor Road.

We are still looking for all veterans to either ride or walk. There is room for 60 veterans to ride. Let us make this year's parade one of the best.

Shirley reported on our trips. The trip to the Lincoln summer home was well received except of course for the weather. I was amazed to find the furnishings were  original and the condition of the home and grounds so well kept. In June is the Mac Hayden Theater outing.

In July we are going on a lunch cruise to Lake George. For further information call Shirley Slingerland. (She is a busy girl!).

We were honored to have Sean and Jennifer Lyons come and share their experiences volunteering with the Veterans Miracle Center. Sean told us that there are over 6,000 Veterans in Albany County and half of them are homeless.The veterans are eligible to come to the center and get clothes, hygiene products, furniture, food and etc. All the items are new. They collected over 200 boxes of Christmas cards that were sent to the troops. Then he told us about the Patriot Flight. Each veteran has a guardian that makes sure he or she has no problems during the flight and during the day in Washington, D.C. This organization is not affiliated with any government department. If you would like to help with a donation, work in the store,, or be a guardian on a flight.. please call Sean at 872-0812. Thank you Sean and Jen for all you do for our veterans.

Mother's Day was celebrated with the crowning of the Hilltown Senior Mother, Madeline Bradt. Hope all the mothers enjoyed their day. On the same day Albany was having the crowning of their Tulip Queen.  This year’s winner was Katherine Loetterle.

Also, Alyce Gibbs was presented a scrapbook of our Washington. D.C. trip for all she does in helping the seniors of our community.

It truly was a very emotional day.

Dates to remember

On  May 31, a lasagna dinner from 3 to 6 p.m, at the Berne Reformed Church;  May 20, breakfast at the Helderberg Church, and a roast beef dinner at the Thompson Lake Church.

Also, don't forget the meal site every Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Some of us were there this past Tuesday to work on our quilt and the meal was very good

Sooo, I hope life isn't a joke, because I don't get it.

 

Location:

It’s not my fault. There really is a national grocery store conspiracy.

They call it “marketing”; I call it psychological warfare. Every aspect of your shopping experience has been carefully analyzed and constructed to maximize your suggestibility and their profits.

Case in point: The other day, I stopped at the store to buy celery and milk. Simple, right?

I went through the entire produce department and finally found trimmed celery hearts, amongst a display of pre-sliced, chopped, and gourmet veggies. I don’t want celery hearts, I just want celery.

So, I go back through the produce department (which takes more time) until I find a store employee. He leads me to the regular celery, way on the other side of the produce section, cleverly tucked away by the kale.

Do you think this is an accident? Oh, no! Every step you take is orchestrated. Literally. Did you know that slower background music slows down your shopping, so you pay more attention to the displays?

There’s a reason why flowers, roasted chickens, and bright-colored vegetables and fruits are some of the first things you see. They get your salivary glands flowing, and make you feel hungry.

Where are you likely to linger and buy more? Surrounded by the warm smell of baking bread and the sight of crisp produce, or in an atmosphere of cardboard packaging?

Positioning doesn’t stop there, however. “Sale” items are placed on those convenient end caps to make them easy to pick up; they may also have the best markup for the store, and aren’t necessarily the best buy.

Other brand-name products are right at arm level on the shelves, and the really expensive specialties are at eye level. Of course, sugary cereals are positioned at child’s eye level, so they can be quickly grabbed by greedy little hands.

Have you noticed how much weaving in and out you have to do to get to the milk and eggs? Did you think those piles of cookies were in your way by accident? Or that you have to traverse the entire store to get to the foods that you most often need? They’re in the far back on purpose.

No one, not even left-brainers like me, are willing to do the math to figure out if using a coupon for a brand item is actually cheaper than the store-brand at regular price. (Let’s see, $4.79 minus 99 cents, divided by 21 ounces, compared to $3.49 for 22 ounces is...)

Really smart retailers also use combination positioning to increase sales. Spaghetti cheese in the pasta aisle, and potato and tortilla chips across from the soda. It’s no surprise that we usually spend more than we intended.

How did my trip come out? I needed $4.38 worth of groceries. I spent $27.75, even though, all the way through, I kept repeating to myself, “Never shop when you’re hungry, never shop when you’re hungry...”

Coming up

April is Fresh Florida Tomatoes Month, National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month, and National Pecan Month. April 30th is Adopt A Shelter Pet Day, Beltane, Kiss of Hope Day, and National Honesty Day. May begins with Global Health and Fitness Month, Go Fetch! Food Drive for Homeless Animals Month, and International Mediterranean Diet Month. Next week is Children's Book Week, Choose Privacy Week, and National Wildflower Week.

May 1st is Batman Day, May Day, and National Library Legislative Day. National Teacher Day is the 2nd. The 3rd is the Great American Grump Out, Paranormal Day, and Public Radio Day. International Firefighters Day is the 4th. Cinco de Mayo is the 5th, along with Tuba Day. The 6th is World Naked Gardening Day.

The next trips for the Wednesday shopping bus (to Walmart and Whole Foods at Colonie Center) will be May 3 and May 17. Call CDTA at 437-5161 two days in advance to schedule your ride.

The Hilltown Seniors May meeting will be the second Saturday, May 13 at 10:30 a.m. at the Berne Senior Center. Please bring your table service and a dish to share. A charge of $1 is asked for supplies (coffee, tea, paper, etc.). Annual dues of $5 will be collected during April and May; please be sure yours are up to date.

A free Tai Chi exercise class has started on Tuesdays at 11:30 a.m. at the Berne Senior Center. Each class will run about 20 minutes, and will be conducted by Mary Jo McKeon. Tai Chi is  easy and low-impact, and helps to improve balance and reduce stress. The next classes are scheduled for May 2,  16, 23, and 30.

A number of  post-lunch activities are on the books at the senior center for May and June. We will have a fire drill on May 1. May 2nd is the monthly birthday party for May celebrants. May 15th will be a discussion on emergency preparedness, and we will be painting lady bug rocks on May 16th. There will be a nutrition talk on June 6th followed by crafts (weaving a fabric box). “Painting with Fran” will be on June 13.

The Hilltown Seniors anniversary dinner will be held on June 4 at 1 p.m. at the Briar Creek Golf Course in Duanesburg. Choices are sirloin steak for $12, chicken parmigiana for $7, or baked haddock for $8. Salad, rolls, potato, vegetable, pasta, and dessert are included. Call Shirley Slingerland at 797-3467 for more information.

The Westerlo Reformed Church’s Thursday lunch program is on vacation until fall. The first and third Thursdays’ lunches continue year-round, at the South Westerlo Congregational Christian Church at 282 County Route 405. First Thursday is most likely pizza; third Thursday is usually a hot meal. Call Pastor Will Balta for information at 966-5094.

Need some legal advice? Appointments with attorneys from the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York can be scheduled at the Knox town hall by calling Pat Lightbody at 872-9400.

Menu

Next week’s menu for Helderberg Senior Services will be:

— Monday, May 1, chicken parmesan, romaine salad with shredded carrots and tomatoes, dressing, pasta, wheat bread, peaches, and milk;

— Tuesday, May 2, turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, peasa and carrots, wheat stuffing,  milk, and birthday cake; and

— Friday, May 5, pepper steak with onions and peppers, summer squash, rice, wheat bread, lemon cake, and milk.

Doors open at 11 a.m. and lunch is served promptly at noon. We also have transportation to and from lunch. Just ask Linda Hodges when you call with your reservation.

Does your Loon Lovers Society, Garden Grubbers Club, or Pit Bull Posse need an easy place to meet? Why not meet at the Senior Center? Come have lunch, and then get together with your friends. There’s plenty of space, and the center is open for all of us. We already have games, dominoes, and cards after lunch on Mondays and Tuesdays, so join us.

Please call Linda Hodges 24 hours in advance to 872-0940 to reserve lunch, or email her at: , or sign up when you come in. Tell us how many are coming, your name, and your telephone number.  If you’d just like to come and help out, call Linda or send an email to , and put “volunteer” in the subject line. Lunches are provided by Helderberg Senior Services, the Albany County Department of Aging, and Senior Services of Albany. The town of Berne Community and Senior Services Center is located at 1360 Helderberg Trail (Route 443) in Berne.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email me at phyllis.e.johnson@aol.com.

The April 8 meeting of the Hilltown Seniors was well attended with 55 members present.

Happy Birthday was sung to Katherine Loetterle, Elsie Turon. Claudia Nedelsky and Fred Wilms

Anniversary for the month was Claudia and Dave Nedelsky.

The Memorial Day committee reported on plans for the parade.

The travel committee reported in the Culinary Institute where they said the luncheon was wonderful. They also stopped at the Franklin D. Roosevelt estate which is still under repair. All in all they had a good day.

The Mac-Haydn Theatre outing is filled. But, the trip to Vermont to see the Lincoln House is in need of some more passengers. The date is May 9 and cost is $30 for members and $55 for non-members.

We are discussing having a clambake for our July outing.Our trip to Canada in August is filled. So far so good for our adventures.

Also plans are being made to visit Washington Park in Albany, May 15 to tip toe through the tulips. With lunch on your own. I can only take 15 people. So, give Linda a call to reserve your spot.

Our anniversary dinner is going to be at the Briar Creek Golf Course. The choices are, strip steak, chicken parmigiana and baked haddock. Try to make it to the next meeting as we need your meal choices and payment.

Mary White brought her beautiful butterfly afghan that we are going to display at the Altamont Fair and then raffle it off.

We are also meeting April 28 at the senior center to start our butterfly quilt. So many hands make it go faster, so we need helpers.

We were entertained by the Hilltown Brass ensemble. I didn't know we had such a group. Thank you, Staci Wright for bringing them so we could enjoy their music. We do have some treasures on the hill, you just have to find them.

Does anyone know about cell phone etiquette? The only time I use mine is to make a call or receive one. I have over 2,000 minutes, so you can see how much I use it. I am sure some of the seniors don't even have one. But, you see others on theirs constantly. I sit on my front porch and see many cars go by with the driver talking on them. When you go out to eat,, people are constantly on them. They are taking pictures and recording meetings. Personally I feel when you are out in public, turn it off and don't make it an annoyance. Frankly, I think it is rude. Rudeness has taken over the world.

With all these provisions that give people the right to do this and that, it is getting out of control. If you say something, right away they are quoting a bill, section 42 that gives them the right. I know sometimes I am rude, but I am going to try to make myself a better person and also turn my cell phone off.

Spring has sprung and with it spring vacations. My kids are in the Carolinas this week sitting on the beach and playing in the sand. We older folks are home, sitting in front of the TV and watching baseball. All's right with the world.

Remember:The most wasted of days is a day without laughter.

If a salesperson handed you an empty bag and said: “Five dollars, please,” how would you react?

I’d say, “You’re nuts!” or something equally unflattering.

But this is the situation for a lot of people living out in the country. Where I live, Internet service is purchased one piece at a time. (Here on the mountain, I’m lucky I have electricity.) There is no cable; if you want to go web-surfing, you first pay for a satellite dish and then for each byte that passes through the wires to you.You can get more bandwidth, but you’ll pay up to $250 per month for it. So why am I paying for television movies I can’t watch and services I can’t use?

I understand that communications companies need to charge extra to cover the costs of open-access channels, and public-service outlets. I agree with that. What I don’t agree with is paying for stuff I can’t get.

More channels, more money, OK. More money for streaming videos and movies I can’t access, not OK. I called the satellite television company and asked. A helpful voice called “Greg” in the billing department took my call. He assured me that he was sympathetic to my dilemma.

I’m pretty sure that every customer service rep on the planet is given a script of things to say as you are venting your frustration on the telephone. Every alleged “help” line I’ve spoken with uses the same list.

Greg seemed a bit perplexed by my question. He said his computer was having trouble finding an answer (surprise, surprise) and said he’d call me back. He didn’t.

I looked up a number in California, supposedly for the corporate offices. That number feeds directly into the same hellish loop that previously led me to Greg. I was connected to “Faith” who did not sound as though English was her first language.

I was told (of course) that it was impossible to transfer me to Greg, but, if I wanted to start all over again, she would assist me with my problem. Neither my mood nor my blood pressure was improved by this response.

She explained (over and over again) that if I had Internet, I could use all the “on-demand” features, just like customers who have unlimited Internet. I am charged the same amount because, if I had Internet, I could use those services.

Got that? The fact that I don’t have the ability to use them is irrelevant. It’s like having a broken leg and being forced to pay for ballet lessons, because, if you didn’t have a broken leg, you could use them.

I know I’m not alone. Our government advises us that big bucks are being spent (which I believe) to expand Internet service in rural areas (about which I’m not so sure). Regardless, the expansion of affordable Internet obviously hasn’t gotten this far.

Meanwhile, I’m inundated by ads plastered throughout whatever show I’m watching, advertising the aforementioned unavailable stuff. They’re lousing up the shows I can get with ads for things I can’t have. This is not the way to make friends.

I wish I could tell you that for once, the little guy triumphed, and I forced a revision of corporate policies. I’m usually pretty good at that sort of thing. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Did you know that historically, revolutions happen only when people see the possibility of getting what they want if they take action? Hand me that pitchfork!

Coming up

April is Amateur Radio Month, National Autism Awareness Month , Stress Awareness Month, and Frog Month. The week of the 23rd - 29th is National Volunteer Week, Administrative Professionals Week, Spring Astronomy Week, and National Princess Week. National Lost Dog Awareness Day and Talk Like Shakespeare Day are the 23rd.  Hairstylists Appreciation Day, Red Hat Society Day and World Penguin Day are the 25th. The 26th is National Help A Horse Day. The 27th is Babe Ruth Day and Denim Day, and Arbor Day is the 28th. Eeyore's Birthday, World Tai Chi & Qigong Day, and World Veterinary Day are the 29th, and the Interstate Mullet Toss is on the weekend.

The next trips for the Wednesday shopping bus to Walmart and Whole Foods at Colonie Center will be May 3 and May 17. Call CDTA at 437-5161 two days in advance to schedule your ride.

The Hilltown Seniors May meeting will be the second Saturday, May 13 at 10:30 a.m. at the Berne Senior Center. Please bring your table service and a dish to share. A charge of $1 is asked for supplies (coffee, tea, paper, etc.). Annual dues of $5 will be collected during April and May; please be sure yours are up to date.

A free Tai Chi exercise class has started on Tuesdays at 11:30 a.m. at the Berne Senior Center. Each class will run about 20 minutes, and will be conducted by Mary Jo McKeon. Tai Chi is  easy and low-impact, and helps to improve balance and reduce stress. The next classes are scheduled for April 25, May 2, May 16, May 23, and May 30.

A number of  post-lunch activities are on the books at the senior center for April and May. We will have vase and flower crafts on April 25, a fire drill on May 1, and a nutrition talk on June 6 followed by crafts (weaving a fabric box). May 15 will be a discussion on emergency preparedness, and we will be painting lady bug rocks on May 16. “Painting with Fran” will be on June 13.

The Hilltown Seniors Anniversary Dinner will be held on June 4 at 1 p.m. at the Briar Creek Golf Course in Duanesburg. Choices are sirloin steak for $12, chicken parmigiana for $7, or baked haddock for $8. Salad, rolls, potato, vegetable, pasta, and dessert are included. Call Shirley Slingerland at  797-3467 for more information.

The Westerlo Reformed Church’s last lunch of the season will be Thursday, April 27. Lunch is at Nnhe Reformed Church is at 566 Route 143 in downtown Westerlo; call Pastor Chris Allen at 797-3742 for more info. They also have a food pantry on site; donate or take what you need.

The first and third Thursdays lunches continue year-round, and are put on by the South Westerlo Congregational Christian Church at 282 County Route 405. First Thursday is most likely pizza; third Thursday (April 20) will be a hot dinner. Call Pastor Will Balta for information at 966-5094.

Need some legal advice? Appointments with attorneys from the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York can be scheduled at the Knox town hall by calling Pat Lightbody at 872-9400.

Menu

Next week’s menu for Helderberg Senior Services will be:

— Monday, April 24, lasagna roll-ups, Italian blend vegetables, wheat Italian bread, tapioca pudding, and milk;

— Tuesday, April 25, beef and broccoli, carrots, egg noodles, wheat bread, tropical fruit salad, and milk; and

— Friday, April 28,, oregano lemon chicken, asparagus, garlic rosemary roast red potatoes, wheat bread, pound cake with blueberries, and milk.

Doors open at 11 a.m. and lunch is served promptly at noon. We also have transportation to and from lunch. Just ask Linda Hodges when you call with your reservation.

Does your Rage Anonymous group, Customer Service Saboteurs, or Luddite Lunch League  need an easy place to meet? Why not meet at the Senior Center? Come have lunch, and then get together with your friends! There’s plenty of space, and the center is open for all of us. We already have games, dominoes, and cards after lunch on Mondays and Tuesdays, so join us!

Please call Linda Hodges 24 hours in advance to 872-0940 to reserve lunch, or email her at: , or sign up when you come in. Tell us how many are coming, your name, and your telephone number. If you’d just like to come and help out, call Linda or send an email to , and put “volunteer” in the subject line. Lunches are provided by Helderberg Senior Services, the Albany County Department of Aging, and Senior Services of Albany. The Town of Berne Community and Senior Services Center is located at 1360 Helderberg Trail (Route 443) in Berne.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email me at .

I refuse to go to depressing movies. If I’m going to spend my hard-earned cash, I expect to feel better for it, not worse.

I don’t know if the people who line up for the latest tear-jerker or outrage live pleasanter lives than I do, or if they have a more highly-developed sense of fantasy, but their choice is beyond my comprehension.

It has been said that theater involves the “willing suspension of disbelief,” and maybe I’m more skilled than others in that one aspect. When I go to a movie, I’m agreeing to exchange my reality for the director’s version.

For me, the monsters have always been real. Even as a child, I had to be careful what I saw on Saturday afternoons. The other kids could watch Frankenstein, or prehistoric lizards, and laugh, or at least enjoy being scared.

I couldn’t. Each roar, or scream, was real, and it was just too disturbing to be fun.

At an even earlier age, cartoons and Snow White could scare me. When Woody Woodpecker got stuck in a Santa suit and couldn’t get out, I was horrified; how awful to feel so trapped, and not be able to breathe

I still can’t watch a lot of Disney, because so often a character we really care about dies. I want movies where, regardless of their unreality, there is hope for the world, and it doesn’t cost a few hundred lives to get to that point.

If I want reality and pain, I can turn on the news. The problem with that is that, as a member of the human race, I have an obligation to try to make things better on the planet, and I can’t fix all the slaughter. I do what I can, and I know I can’t do it all but, if I’m going to escape from day-to-day drudgery, I want to escape to a place where truth, justice, and happiness are possible.

Maybe the movie-makers think we forget the precariousness of our existence, and need a complete review of the potential apocalypse before they can bring out the cavalry to the rescue. I do not require conflict in my fantasies.

Bring on the dancing bears and Fred Astaire; I’m ready for a trip to somewhere beautiful.

Coming up

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Emotional Overeating Awareness Month, and Holy Humor Month. The coming week is Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week, National Library Week, and National Public Safety Telecommunicators (911 operators) Week. The Hilltown Seniors will gather at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 12 for their monthly meeting. Bring your own table service and a dish to share.

The last lunch of the season at the Westerlo Reformed Church will be Thursday, April 21. Pastor Chris Allen and the crew will be getting some much-needed time off until fall. The second and fourth Thursday lunches will continue at the South Westerlo Congregational Christian Church at 282 County Route 405. Call Pastor Will Balta at 966-5094 to reserve a space.

Need legal advice? Appointments are available with attorneys from the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York at the Knox Town Hall. Call Pat Lightbody at 872-9400 to schedule.

Menu

— Monday, April 10, American goulash, Romaine salad with Italian dressing, whole wheat bread, applesauce cake, and milk;

— Tuesday, April 11, chicken cacciatore, broccoli, rice, whole wheat bread, pears, and milk; and

— Friday, April 14, beef chili, cornbread, peas, ambrosia, and milk.

Doors open at 11 a.m., and lunch is served promptly at noon. We also have transportation available to and from lunch. Just tell Linda Hodges when you call with your reservation. Does your sand-painting group, Canine Costuming club, or Sugar-glider fanciers society need an easy place to meet? Why not get together at the Senior Center? Come have lunch, and then meet with your friends. There’s plenty of room, and the Center is open for all of us. We already have games, dominoes, and cards after lunch on Mondays and Tuesdays, so come join us.

Please call Linda Hodges 24 hours in advance t 872-0940 to reserve lunch, or email her at: , or sign up when you come in. Tell us your name, your telephone number, and how many are coming. If you’d like to help out, just let Linda Know, and she will gladly add you to our schedule of volunteers.

Pages