Phone:(703) 503-3384


Print a condensed .pdf copy of this newsletter, two web pages per sheet of paper.

Town Hall Meeting, Tallwood, November 6, Including
Presentations by Mason’s Office of Military Services

November 13, 2015

Editor of the Week: Leslie Vandivere
Table of Contents

Alerts & Notices

The OLLI E-News will not publish again until December 4. During the break between terms we will also publish on December 18 and January 8.

What’s in the Daily News? Continued was inadvertently left out of the winter course catalog. The group will continue to meet between terms and during winter term. Information on the meeting schedules follows: Mondays, January 4–11, February 22–March 14, 10:00–11:30 at Tallwood. Questions? Contact facilitator Don Allen at 703-830-3060.

Optional Extra Session of F602 Gospel According to St. Paul. Open to all OLLI members. Friday, November 13, from 12:30–2:00 in TA-1.

Back to Top of Page

Town Hall Meeting

By Irene Osterman, Board Secretary

The annual town hall meeting was held on Friday, November 6, at Tallwood. Jennifer Disano presented statistics about OLLI-Mason, including our record membership of 1,246.

The parking lot regrading at Tallwood will most likely begin next summer. Classes will be moved to Lord of Life and Church of the Good Shepherd. In addition to paying for this work, Mason will provide funds for replanting the garden that will be affected by the work.

The commemoration of our 25th anniversary in 2016 will include programs related to the theme “Living Well, Aging Well” and a special speaker series in collaboration with Mason. It will also include two parties: an all-OLLI party and volunteer celebration and a VIP party with area dignitaries and founding members. Members will be able to buy a book being written about the history of our OLLI.

Glenn Kamber discussed the work of the Board. In addition to placing a priority on preserving what members value about OLLI, we are also working to enhance our relationships with components of the university to make ourselves a firm asset to Mason. Included in this effort is becoming involved in Mason classes and mentoring as well as starting a scholarship for staff and families of the facilities department.

The meeting closed with a presentation by Jennifer Connors, Director of the Office of Military Services (OMS) at Mason. OMS has been chosen to receive our 25th anniversary gift to Mason. OMS does not receive programming funds from the university and so our gift will make a significant impact on their operations.

Back to Top of Page

Fun Facts to Celebrate OLLI’s 25th Anniversary

By Ray Beery, Member, Board of Directors

In 2001 Ray Solomon began a campus-wide landscape project for LRI’s 650 members. Ray submitted his landscape plan to the Board of Directors, stating that the purpose “was to develop the LRI campus into an oasis of beauty and pleasure.” In other words, it was to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. (Source, History of the Dirty Knee Club, November 2015, Valerie Braybrooke.)OLLI will celebrate its 25th year of classes for seniors in 2016. We’ll be publishing fun facts and interesting milestones about the Institute each week that OLLI E-News is published from now through the end of the fall term, 2016.

Back to Top of Page

Dirty Knee Club

By Alice Slayton Clark, Communications Associate/Registrar

Anyone who visits OLLI’s Tallwood campus is immediately struck by the beautiful grounds. The botanical canvas you see today is largely the brainchild of Valerie Braybrooke, chair of the Dirty Knee Club, who just released a book chronicling the evolution of Tallwood’s landscape design.

Read the book and you will see that the Tallwood grounds have come a long, long way! In just 15 years, OLLI landscapers have completely transformed an unkempt property spotted with crumbling asphalt, wild shrubs, and old trees into a cornucopia of botanical delights—autumn ferns, bearded iris, creeping phlox, anemone, and heuchera dancing in a sea of nandinas, crepe myrtles, hydrangeas, and yews.

Landscaping at OLLI began with member Ray Solomon, who assembled a committee, collected money, and began taming Tallwood in 2001with a few raised gardens and mowed lawns. Two years later, Valerie joined OLLI and was quickly co-opted to the committee because of her background in professional landscaping. She has led the committee ever since.

It has been a herculean task creating an OLLI oasis given the drainage and erosion challenges associated with the sloping terrain, and the incessant damage caused by deer, beetles, and winter salting. Nonetheless, Valerie and her dedicated team did their homework and found plants, designs, and hardscapes to withstand almost any challenge. The Dirty Knee Club was born!

Since then, the team has worked hard, with spectacular results. Tremendous thanks to Valerie and her wonderful team for the 12 inspiring gardens that grace our campus!

(A flip book version of Valerie’s book can be found at

Back to Top of Page


By Betty Smith, OLLI Ink Editor

OLLI Ink, OLLI’s annual literary journal, is looking for submissions for the 2016 issue. The deadline is February 15, 2016, the end of OLLI’s winter term.

Submit as many pieces as you like. Prose—fiction, personal essays, and memoir—should be no longer than 2,500 words, and poetry no longer than 30 lines if you want to be considered for the hard-copy edition. If your work is too long for the hard-copy journal or if you submit more than one piece, we will try to have an online edition in which space won’t be a problem. All rights remain with the authors.

Please email your entrees to me ( by Feb. 15. Let me know if you have any questions.

Back to Top of Page

French Club

By Beverley Persell, Professeur

OLLI’s beginning French class ended the term Monday by celebrating with a French lunch and French film, Les Chorists.

Back to Top of Page

Computer Club
By Paul Howard, Program/Publicity Coordinator, OLLI PC User GroupTHE COMPUTER CLUB (OLLI Personal Computer User Group or OPCUG) will meet with its partner, the Potomac Area Technology and Computer Society (PATACS), on Saturday, November 21 at Tallwood. Join us at 12:30 for soft drinks and socializing in the social room. Presentations will begin at 1:00.Identity Theft: Are You Prepared? Presented by David Haase
Hardly a week goes by without news of some hacker stealing thousands, or even millions, of credit card numbers, addresses, birth dates, and Social Security numbers from banks, retailers, and even the U.S. government. Whole nations—think China, North Korea, and Russia—are vacuuming up the most intimate details of federal workers’ lives.

Identity theft is the new big-money crime of choice for anyone with loose morals and a laptop. Are you the next victim? What CAN you do? What SHOULD you do? What WILL you do?

Former investigative reporter and digital consultant David L. Haase will address these questions with real-life, practical solutions. This presentation is not meant to scare you (although it will); it’s meant to prepare you (and it will)!

Learn 30: Back Up Your Computerwith Emphasis on Macs, Presented by Lorrin Garson
Virtually everyone knows they should back up their computer(s), but not everyone does. Lorrin will present a brief overview of backup schemes that apply to all kinds of PCs. A demonstration of backing up an Apple MacBook Pro laptop will be given. Retrieving file(s) will also be shown.

Lorrin had a long career in technical publishing, and has been providing great presentations to our members on a wide variety of topics since the club’s first meeting in January of 2009.

See full details on these meetings by clicking here. For information on the Computer Club, see the OPCUG website. OPCUG dues of $5 for 2016 will be collected at this meeting.

Can’t make one of the meetings in person? Dues-paid club members may attend via Zoom’s cloud meeting service, beginning at 12:45. Send a message to if you plan to attend in this way. Join from PC, Mac, iOS or Android:

Back to Top of Page

Spotlight on Volunteers: LiaisonsBy Martha Powers, Member Services

They’re most visible before each class starts, when they make the announcements. If the instructor is an OLLI member, then that instructor performs liaison duties; if not, then an OLLI volunteer is asked to do the job. But it’s not “just reading the announcements,” as many people believe. Liaisons play an important role in improving the classroom experience and being sure that our non-OLLI-member instructors are happy to come back to teach again.

Liaison assignments are made around ten days before the beginning of each term, when members of the Liaison Subcommittee (part of Member Services) contact prospective liaisons in each class. In some cases, this is as simple as emailing someone who has thoughtfully checked “Yes” to the liaison question during online registration. In other cases, when no one has volunteered, the class rosters are scrutinized and potential liaison candidates are contacted until someone agrees to volunteer.
Liaisons’ jobs actually start about a week before class when they are given contact information for the instructor. One of the behind-the-scenes, but most important, tasks to be completed is to make sure the instructor is aware that the class is starting soon, and to ask if they have any specific needs.

As liaison, Michelle Blandburg can testify, this pre-term phone call can avert a disaster: she once contacted a new instructor and discovered that he thought all of his classes had been cancelled, when only some of them had been. He also didn’t know where Tallwood was. Michelle stayed in touch with him and saved the day; otherwise we might have had a classroom full of puzzled and disappointed OLLI members.
Liaisons also help the instructor immediately before each class, providing water, distributing hand-outs, reminding them of class ending times, and doing whatever it takes to make the class as good as it can possibly be. They also take a head count during the class, and jot the number on the roster so that the office staff will have more information for planning future classes.

The number of people who have said “Yes” to being liaison over the years is countless. Some are even willing to serve for more than one course during a term. Among them are the following:

Helen Anderson Sherri Lis
Joanne and Skip Beale Rala & Russell Stone
Michelle Blandburg Doris Weisman
Gordon Canyock Manny Pablo
Bob Coffin Alan Rubin
Beverly George Kathryn Russell
Shelley Gersten Russell Stone
Mel Goldfarb Rita Way
Sherry Hart Enid Weber
Ute Hill Ann and Ralph Youngren
Harriett Kaplan … and many more.
(You know who you are!)

Plus there are the OLLI-member instructors who teach more than 60% of our classes and now serve as their own liaisons. Thank you all!
Being a liaison is a fun, easy way to help “pay back” OLLI for the classes you enjoy, and to make our classes the best possible. If you enjoy talking to a crowd and have common sense (like knowing when it’s time to turn off the lights), please check “Yes” when the liaison question pops up during registration. We need you!

Back to Top of Page

OLLI Players 2016 Calendar

By Kathy West, Instructor

This year’s calendar is “Into The Tall Woods,” a takeoff of Into The Woods, the musical. The characters are portrayed by costumed OLLI Players. The price, $15, benefits the players’ road shows and outreach. The calendars are for sale at all between-term events and at the holiday party. Please support us as we do like to tickle your fancy with our enjoyment of life

Back to Top of Page

Poet’s Corner

Courtesy of the Poetry Workshop

Going to Church on a Weekday

Moving with the simple elegance of a dancer,
exquisitely patient.
Each deliberate exertion,
weighed down by deadly intent.
Gunmetal grey feathers
soften his spindly frame.
The color of where water and sky meet
and lose themselves in each other.

His patience far exceeds my own.
I stop on my walk to drink in this vision.
He freezes in place, has he seen me?
We share a moment of dead quiet.
I begin to wonder,
how long can I stand unmoving?
When I stop wondering
being still becomes easier.

This is the grace of wild things,
that all my desires and deceits
dissolve into this singular moment.
All I can ever remember wanting
is to be here watching him,
as long as he allows it.

I can’t say how much time passes,
but it is long enough.
Just as thoughts of tasks ahead begin
to invade my peace, he plunges
his sharp beak into the pond.
Raises his perfect neck victorious,
skewering a silvery fish
bigger than his own head.

Two swallows and the fish is gone.
He returns to his motionless stance.
My shock is only surpassed by my delight.
Blessed by the ministry of the Great Blue Heron,
I continue up the path.

By Susan Bennett

Back to Top of Page

Arts & Music at George Mason

Performances, next ten days
By Shelly Gersten, OLLI E-News Staff WriterFor tickets for either Center for the Arts (CFA) or Hylton, call 1-888-945-2468, buy tickets online through the event calendar (see links below), or visit the venue’s box office. For more information see the CFA ticket page or the Hylton ticket purchase page.

At the Fairfax Campus Venues

Virginia Opera: La Bohème
Sat, Nov 14, 8:00
Sun, Nov 15, 2:00
Pre-performance discussion: Dr. Glenn Winters
Concert Hall
Admission: $98, $80, $48.

Back to Top of Page

Mason Student & Faculty Performances
(see for additional student recitals)Mason Dance Company: New Dances
Fri, Nov 13, 2:00
Fri, Nov 13–Sat, Nov 14, 8:00
Harris Theatre
Admission: Adults, $15; seniors, $10.Mason Jazz Vocal Night
Sun, Nov 15, 7:00
Harris Theatre
Admission: Free.Traditional Jazz/Saxophone Ensemble
Mon, Nov 16, 12:30
Harris Theatre
Admission: Free.

Jazz Workshop Concert, School of Music
Mon, Nov 16, 8:00
Harris Theatre
Admission: Free.

Back to Top of Page

At the Hylton Center

Nature Visions Traveling Exhibition
Dec 4–Nov 15
Buchanan Partners Art Gallery
The gallery is open to the public Tue-Sat, 10:00–6:00, Thu, 10:00–8:00 and two hours before performances.
Admission: Free.

Back to Top of Page

For further details on any of the above events, please see the CFA event calendar and the Hylton Center event calendar

Back to Top of Page

Meetings & Clubs

The following list covering the next three weeks is extracted for your convenience from the master online calendar maintained by the office, with direct web links added when available. The list is accurate as of mid-week but to check anytime for the latest information, please view the latest forecast of upcoming events on our website (News/OLLI Calendar). Note: All OLLI members are welcome at, and encouraged to attend, meetings of the Board of Directors, committees and resource groups, kickoff coffees, etc. (bolded below).

Sat Nov 14 10:30am Tai Chi Club–TA-3
Mon Nov 16 10:00am
What’s in the Daily News cont’d–TA-1
Member Services Committee–Annex
Tue Nov 17 9:30am
Cottage Art–Cottage
Knitting and Needlework Club–Panera, Herndon
Wed Nov 18 10:00am
Bridge Club–TA-3
Mah Jongg Club–TA-2
Tom Crooker Investment Forum–TA-1
Paul Howard A/V Committee–TA-1 & Cottage
Fri Nov 20 9:00am
Recorder Consort–TA-3
Board of Directors Meeting–TA-1
Craft and Conversation–Fairfax City branch of
Fairfax County Public Library
Classic Fiction Book Club–Cascades Library
Homer, etc–Annex
Photography Club–TA-1
Sat Nov 21 10:30am
Tai Chi Club–TA-3
Computer Club–TA-1
Tue Nov 24 10:00am Knitting and Needlework Club–Panera, Hendon
Sat Nov 28 10:00am Tai Chi Club–TA-3
Mon Nov 30 10:00am What’s in the Daily News, cont’d–TA-1
Tue Dec 1 9:30am
Cottage art–Cottage
Knitting and Needlework Club–Panera, Herndon
Wed Dec 2 10:00am
History Club–TA-2
Bridge Club–TA-3
Mah Jongg Club–Cottage
Special Event Committee–Annex
Tom Crooker Investment Forum–TA-1
Fri Dec 4 9:00am
Recorder Consort–TA-3
Craft and Conversation–Cottage
Homer, etc–Annex

Back to Top of Page

About OLLI E-News

OLLI E-News was created by Rod Zumbro, who served as its editor from 2005 to 2013.

Editorial Staff
Chief Editor/Technical Editor: Irene Osterman
Associate Editor: Sheri Siesseger
Weekly Editorial Team: John Nash, Paul Van Hemel, Sheri Siesseger, Leslie Vandivere, Jean Boltz
Proofreaders: Gordon Canyock, Jerry Moore, Marilyn O’Brien, Susan Van Hemel
Backup Chief Editor: Alice Slayton Clark

Submissions. Members are encouraged to submit letters to the editor, letters to Ms. Ollie Ettakit (on etiquette matters), OLLI-related news items, articles and photos. Submit material to:
Deadline – 6:00 Tuesday for that week’s issue (6:00 Monday for letters to the editor); early submissions are greatly appreciated. Please limit articles to about 250 words.
Note: You can view past issues of OLLI E-News on the DocStore. To search the content of issues, use Search Our Site or put your search term in Google followed by “” without the quotes.

Back to Top of Page