Rearrange Your Living Space and Bring Positivity into Your Life

October 29, 2019

At Sterling Court, we love to promote healthy, active, independent living. It’s amazing what fresh air (have you been enjoying the great weather recently?) and even a short walk around the block (the leaves are almost ready to change so no better time to get out than in the fall) can do for your overall well-being. And what about all those classes we offer? There

is something for everyone and it’s a great opportunity to make new friends. We always want to hear your ideas for new classes or events, so stop by the front desk and share with us.

In the meantime, we ran across a few tidbits recently that can promote positivity in your living space – and who doesn’t love that? Research shows that our immediate sur- roundings can have a tremendous impact on our physical and mental health. Take a moment to assess your apart- ment. What sort of changes could you make, big or small, to help bring a fresh start every day into your life? Here are some ideas to get you thinking.

Clear Out Unneeded Items

A full life can lead to full shelves… and closets. Some of your belongings are surely worth keeping, but many other items may be doing nothing more than taking up space. Enlist the help of friends and family to help you lift and sort through your belongings. You’ll be surprised at what you can donate or toss out. Once the process is finished, you’ll have beautiful new free space for those things that are meaningful to you. Perhaps some new books, family photos, or space for your hobbies.

Try Wall-Hanging Frames

Are your side tables filled up with framed pictures of loved ones? Consider getting a few wall-hanging frames to leave table space for other objects and general use. Many stores and websites offer multi-panel hanging frames to display photos — ideal for family collages.

Go Digital!

Wall frames are great, but you can take things a step further by using digital frames (drop a hint to a family member for one as a holiday present 😁 ). Digital frames cycle through hundreds of your favorite photos on a single, space-efficient screen that easily sits on a shelf or piece of furniture. If you’re computer savvy, this can be a snap to set up. Otherwise, recruit a techie friend (or come to one of our computer classes) to help get your photos digitized. This also makes it easy to update with any new photos as you receive them via texts and emails.

Continuing down the digital path, you may have several other possessions – VHS tapes, vinyl records, CDs – that could be converted into digital formats and free up tons of space. There are companies in the area that will convert your music and videos recordings to smaller files for storage. This is Silicon Valley after all                                 .

Clear Out Pathways

Keep your mobility flowing by making sure there is plenty of space to walk within your apartment without running into anything. Seems obvious but moving one piece of furniture might make it easier for you. Or perhaps adding a new small piece might be helpful for your keys and phone.

Furniture Placement & Light

And speaking of furniture, this can be one of the best things to consider for a fresh start! Are you taking full advantage of the sliding glass door and the natural light it brings into your apart- ment? Is your furniture placed to allow for the views that are outside your door and windows? Do you make a point of open- ing the curtains every day for natural light? Would a change in furniture placement be a benefit for how you use your space for watching tv or working on hobbies? Sometimes just relocating a chair and a small table to the other side of the room can open up how you navigate your space and, most importantly, enjoy the views. A few simple changes can make all the difference.

Gerald Caudle: Hard Work Made Happy Memories

October 25, 2019

On the day Gerald Caudle was born, his family was given a devastating decision to make.

They lived on a farm in a small town in Oklahoma. When Gerald’s mother went into labor, his father jumped on their horse to fetch the doctor. Later, the doctor announced, “I can only save one of them” and asked which one that should be.

“My mother’s sisters said to save her,” said Gerald, “but we both made it. My mother lived to be 34 days short of 100 and I’m 85 years old.” Just a year after Gerald’s birth, his brother was born.

This was the 1930s, when Oklahoma was known as “The Dust Bowl”. By 1934, the Great Plains were a desert and Gerald’s dad couldn’t make money farming, so he and his brother took the family west.

“My dad knew he had an uncle in Modesto, California, so three adults and two kids crammed into a Model T,” remembered Gerald. When they arrived after the 1,700-mile drive, they didn’t have an address for their uncle, so they hung around the post office until he happened to show up.

The family picked peaches at a local farm. Gerald’s dad and Uncle James were good workers but at the end of that first day got “paid with
change.” They ate a lot of flour gravy and biscuits in those days. Ultimately their dedication paid off because the family was able to work that one farm and put down roots. Gerald’s dad built a home that stayed in the family until 2014!

As a teen, Gerald worked in a lumber yard. His boss noticed his aptitude with numbers and promoted him to work in the accounting department. Gerald went to night school for advanced accounting and of the 60 people who started in the class, he was among the 6 who finished. He and his brother then attended the new Sacramento State College and worked part time.

“We got an apartment above a garage and I made $300 a month. Th at’s when gasoline was 17 cents a gallon and McDonald’s had two cheeseburgers, two shakes, and fries for a dollar,” he said, so he felt pretty rich.

Gerald’s parents showed up at his graduation ceremony with a letter. “It said, ‘Greetings’ – so I was drafted,” he recalled. It was peacetime and he had hopes of being stationed in France but ironically, found himself back in Oklahoma. Using his accounting skills for the Army, he also made extra money doing taxes in the evening and his supervisor encouraged him to become a CPA.

After the Army, he joined an accounting firm and became a partner. He lived in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill for 38 years, had a view of the City, frequented clubs such as the Purple Onion and hungry i, and ran 5 to 10 miles every day. He loved City life. After 20 years as a CPA, Gerald left to become the Controller at a firm called Nurserymen’s Exchange in Half Moon Bay where he worked until retirement.

One thing that becomes apparent throughout Gerald’s story is that he is grateful to every person, family member, professor, or supervisor who ever encouraged and helped him along his journey. His cozy Sterling Court apartment is filled with mementos of a life well-lived – including a photo of him and his brother on that farm in Modesto.

Where Words Come From

September 27, 2019


This phrase means peaceful and undisturbed; a time of ease or quiet enjoyment. The saying comes from the frequent repetition of the phrase in bulletins issued during the War Between the States, 1861-1865. The original expression has been ascribed to General George B. McClellan (1826-1885) who was in command of the Army of the Potomac in 1861 and 1862. He received much criti- cism in Washington because of his lack of aggressiveness in pursuing the war against the rebels of the South.

The phrase sometimes is used as “All quiet along the Potomac,” from the poem, “The Picket-Guard” (1861) by Ethel Lynn Beers.

Following is the sixth stanza:

“All quiet along the Potomac tonight, No sound save the rush of the river, While soft falls the dew on the face of the dead,

The picket’s off-duty forever.”


In the United States, one “raises Cain” when he or she causes a distur- bance. The saying refers to the first child of Adam and Eve, Cain who killed his brother, Abel. Cain was jealous of Abel and his anger knew no end. Cain’s name has been associated ever since the Bible was written with losing one’s temper and causing a real problem in society.


A person, with not much to do, is said to be “at loose ends.” During the days of the windjammers and other great sailing vessels, rigging grew more complex. On many ships, there were, literally, hundreds of ropes.

If these ropes had been left free to unravel, a hopeless tangle would have resulted, so every ship’s master prided himself on the good condition of his “ends” – the taped end of his ropes on board. And when other work was

slack, the captain might just put his sailors to work repairing the loose ends of the ropes. Such a ship’s master was accused by his men of ordering such work to keep the men occupied and they were working at the “loose ends of the ropes.”

Have you ever been at loose ends with just busy-work to do?

Frank and Lena Venturelli: Partners in Business and Life

September 24, 2019

Frank and Lena Venturelli have done it all together. The longtime San Mateo residents, married 68 years this July, owned and operated a successful business and raised two children. Along the way, they also became something they never expected: pioneers.

Frank was a TV Technician who also installed antenna systems. In the 1960s, when Foster City was in its infancy, the city wouldn’t allow antennas on rooftops as per city ordinance and by-laws since the flight paths of planes landing at SFO passed directly overhead.

“People had to use rabbit ears to get reception,” Frank said. “A plane would pass overhead every two or three minutes, causing the TV picture to flutter, becoming unviewable.”

Frank saw an opportunity. Along with his brother-in-law Al Cerro, he approached the Foster brothers in 1966 with the idea of installing cable television in Foster City. A deal was struck, the company Cer-Vent Cable TV was born, and Frank helped to change the way Foster City residents watched television.

“We installed 70 miles of cable,” Frank said, while showing me newspaper clippings from the time heralding the deal. “We were offering 12 channels, which was a big deal back then. It’s unbelievable to me what cable is today.”

Lena was Frank’s partner in the business – “She was our right-hand ‘man’,” Frank recalled – and wore several hats, from bookkeeper, to saleswoman, to receptionist. Together, they kept things going until they couldn’t keep up with the demands of the rapidly-expanding city. They sold   Cer-Vent Cable in 1968 to Continental Telephone and used the profits to buy a portion of the Burlingame Plaza Shopping Center (with Lunardi’s as one of their tenants) which they still own today. Frank kept his TV Sales and Repair business until he retired, and now assists his son David and nephew Alan Cerro in running the shopping center.

Frank and Lena moved to Sterling Court last July and immediately felt at home. They already knew a few other residents before moving in and have made more friends along the way. Frank even met another resident who was in his high school senior class.

“There are great people here,” Frank said. “They’re friendly and the staff is great. They just really treat you well here.” They’re also big fans of the food. “It’s hard to get thin here!” Frank said, laughing.

The couple stays busy, enjoying many of the activities offered at Sterling Court. Frank even makes time to entertain the other residents with his accordion, which he’s played since childhood. They’re also active members of the Peninsula Social Club and enjoy spending time with their two children, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Frank and Lena’s impressive business acumen is admirable, but it’s their personal story that resonates the most. It’s a testament to the strength of their relationship that they have accomplished so much while staying at each other’s side along the way. Raising an amazing family and shepherding a pioneering business are great triumphs on their own, but to do both is something truly special.

When they met through a mutual friend who happened to be working on Lena’s family home, both felt it was love at first sight. It’s safe to say that they were right.

Staying Healthy: Everyday Dietary Tips for Seniors

September 23, 2019

As we grow older, our dietary needs change. The foods we used to love may not agree with us anymore, and lifestyle changes might be necessary for the benefit of our health.

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still enjoy our favorite meals; instead, it means we must be more aware of what we’re eating and sometimes make healthier choices. Here are some foods to both avoid and seek out as we get older in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle – and remember

to always check with your doctor first before making any major dietary changes.

Avoid: High-Sodium Foods

Too much salt in a diet can lead to health problems, especially for those with a history of hypertension. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends anyone over the age of 70 to limit their sodium intake to 1,200 milligrams per day, or around two-thirds of a teaspoon. A good way to cut back on salt is to read the labels of any pre-packaged foods you buy – you may be surprised by the amount of sodium you find. And if your food is bland, try adding different herbs and spices for added flavor rather than table salt.

Seek Out: Fish

Fish is a wonder food for seniors containing many nutrients that are beneficial. Seafood is high in omega-3 fatty acids which have been found to combat heart disease,

Alzheimer’s, and degenerative eye diseases, to name a few. If you don’t like seafood, Omega-3 supplements are available; however, they don’t have the same amount of nutrients you would get from eating fish alone.

Avoid: Caffeine

Not only can caffeine keep you awake, it can also in- crease anxiety and make your heart beat irregularly – which is highly dangerous for anyone with a heart condition. It may be best to avoid caffeine altogether, but sodas should especially be avoided since they also contain huge amounts of sugar as well as caffeine.

Seek Out: Water

It sounds simple enough, but how often do we go through most of our day without drinking any water? As we age, we tend to have a reduced sense of thirst, meaning we may miss the telltale signs of dehydration. Drinking water every day is important to overall health, though how much of it varies by the individual. Make sure to ask your doctor how many glasses of water per day you should be drinking, especially if you have kidney or liver issues.

Avoid: Empty Calories

Foods like potato chips, donuts, or French fries may satisfy hunger, but they won’t provide you with any nutrients you need; instead, all they’ll give you are a few extra pounds to work off. And since our activity levels tend to drop off as we get older, working off extra weight only gets harder. Avoid the situation all together by saying no to empty calories.

Seek Out: Fiber

Our digestive system slows as we get older, which can lead to issues like constipation. Foods rich in fiber help to move food through the digestive track and have also been shown to help combat heart disease and high cholesterol. Wholegrain breads and pastas, brown rice, and vegetables are just a few foods rich in fiber.

Learn More

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